I write about any old shite, 95% of the time I'm criticising something, such is life.

"Retro" Junk Food!

Junk food is amazing, and it was even more so when we were younger, and whilst feeling rather queezy from a rapidly consumed Cadbury Easter Egg, I got thinking about what different kinds of edible tat were popular back in the late 90’s and early 00’s that seem to have blown off of the radar in the present day, as well as those brands where you think “I can’t believe they STILL make those!”.
We all like a bit of retro crap, especially me, so let’s dive right into those slightly nostalgic junk foods…

Might be worth mentioning I’ve already talked about those horrendous Panda Pops, in a previous article:
http://cacolantern.tumblr.com/post/12606781303/remember-these-day-2

#1: Toxic Waste

 

Good God above, these were like the Heroin of the sweet world, if you regularly consumed Toxic Waste, you were either bat shit insane, or had testicles of pure steel. As you may tell, these were “hazardously sour” boiled sweets that came in a nice little yellow radioactive barrel, they came in an assortment of flavors, but if I recall, the lemon one was unsurprisingly the most dangerous of the lot.
They’ll probably seem a bit pedestrian to us now, but back then, they separated the men from the complete pussbags, I never really cared for them myself…
Toxic Waste do indeed live on, there’s even an official webpage, with various clips of people taking the Toxic Waste challenge, (i.e. eating one), take a look if you like… http://www.toxicwastecandy.com/video.aspx

#2: Space Raiders

Ahh, Space Raiders, they’re out of this world! For just 10p you could have a small back of alien head shaped corn snacks, that was until 2007, when they went up to 15p…
The familiar, and yet somehow eerie extraterrestrial face has donned the front of packets since the 1970’s when they were first introduced, everyone recognizes the green Pickled Onion alien, but I don’t seem to remember the Spicy and Saucy flavors at all, the covers look even more disturbing though. 
There’s not much else to be said about Space Raiders, except that they tasted nice for the price! 
As you’d expect, they’re still around today too, but as an adult I’m obliged to buy Walkers in order to avoid looking like a pauper, *sadface*. 

#3: Frisps

I wont go on about these much because I’m probably the only one that remembers them, and they might not be around anymore, these are what first inspired me to write about old junk foods. These were just crinkle cut crisps, a bit like McCoys except that they weren’t absolutely horrid, (yes, I’m a McCoys hater). 
There was a cool mustached chef holding a Frisp on the old multipacks, and I can’t find any evidence for his existence, but I swear he was there, THERE WAS A CHEF!! D:

#4: Discos

Speaking of obscure crisps, who remembers these bad boys? They were marketed as some sort of groovy snack, which was quite odd. This is evidenced by the “Big Hittin’ Salt N’ Vinegar FLAVA” seen on the photograph, now I don’t know if it’s just me but, I hate things that put ‘n’ instead of “and”, it doesn’t make it sound modern or cool, it makes it sound lazy and tacky, rant over…
Anyway, back to Discos (which by the way are still grooving around in the cheap-jack food shops) they were very round, very flat, and tasted a bit shit if I’m honest. Next.

#5: Cadbury Freddo

I couldn’t write a post about nostalgic junk food without mentioning Freddo bars, known for being the best confectionery based indicator of national inflation rates. When Freddo bars hit 17p, the country was in a state of frenzy, and apparently they’ve hit 20p now, which means all hell is about to break loose…
As for the chocolate itself, it’s just a frog shaped piece of Dairy Milk, you can get caramel ones, but if my memory serves me correctly, the caramel Freddo bars were previously known as:

 

I know, I just had a retrogasm too…



Well, I think I’ll wrap it up there, I don’t think Freddo bars can really be topped, I’ll probably do more of these another time, I just thought it’d be quite fun to take a quick look at some of the shite we used to (and for some, still do) consume! 

Until next time!

Cacolantern out!

x


A Tomb Raider Personal Retrospective! (Part I)

I thought I’d take a nice break and relay my personal experiences with one of my favorite game franchises of all time, this is going to mean taking a look at each Tomb Raider installment, and what my thoughts were at the time (and now), I’ve been following this series from the beginning so this should be a great trip down memory lane, not just for me but for anyone who is as big a fan of the series as I. 
Everything in here is just my personal reflection and opinion, if you think differently, that’s fine, these aren’t “reviews” as such, just a retrospective! This part of the retrospective will cover Tomb Raiders 1-3 :) 

TOMB RAIDER (PS1/PC/NGAGE)

 PAL cover of the PlayStation version of Tomb Raider

It’s the year 1997 and the Sony Playstation was a new and exciting addition to our household, after vague memories of playing Earthworm Jim and The Lion King on an old Super Nintendo, my four year old self was about to discover the game series which would capture his imagination for years to come. The original Tomb Raider needs no introduction, it’s a true revolutionary in video game history, this (along with Doom and Tekken 2) was one of the first Playstation games I remember looking at, I used to watch my Dad play along the 15 enemy infested and puzzle filled levels, I was in awe, although I did used to get scared whenever Lara was callously maimed by spikes or charred by a rouge burner. I’ll mention this now and this applies to all 3 games mentioned here, the music is fantastic in all three, the cues can be eerie yet a pleasure to listen to at the same time, the composer, Nathan McCree deserves a salute! 
  File:Trex tr1.jpg 
It didn’t take me long until I picked up that grey controller and had a go for myself, not surprisingly, I spent a lot of time in the training gym at Croft Manor, just the feeling of exploring an expansive (and at the time beautiful) 3D environment was something I’d never experienced before, and as for the protagonist, Lara Croft, my pre-pubescent self didn’t fully realize the appeal of her pyramidal shaped breasts and well rounded posterior until a few good years later. 
 Atlantis.jpg
As I got older the game became easier, and in my opinion it’s the easiest out of the first five. Some moments I’ll never forget include the battle with the T-Rex in the Lost Valley, the seemingly endless ascent through an enemy infested pyramid in the penultimate “Atlantis” level, and duking it out with a legless mutant and a demonic Miss. Natla in a brutal final stage. 
Recently I’ve acquired the PC version in the hope that I can play the “Unfinished Business” expansion pack, but alas, the game does not seem to want to play nice with Windows 7, so I can’t really talk about it, damn! Believe it or not there was an N-Gage version, which I did actually play, because I was one of the few that owned one of the oft mocked phone/handheld games device hybrid, it was awkward to play because of the control, but it was a faithful enough port (i.e. nothing was omitted from the original) too bad I didn’t keep the N-Gage long enough to beat the whole game…
The original Tomb Raider got my hyped about video games and hyped about what the Sony Playstation would throw at me next, and to my joy, it threw me more of what I liked…

TOMB RAIDER II (PS1/PC)

TombII cover.jpg

Simply put, Tomb Raider II is my favorite in the entire series, and one of my favorite games of all time. By the time we’d mastered the first installment, a new challenge was approaching, and in November of 1997 we got blown away by Tomb Raider II. This took everything that was great about the first Tomb Raider and improved it, the controls were smoother and faster, there were more weapons, more enemies, more moves, new vehicles to drive, and the challenge was increased almost twice over. The PC version is even better, aside from the fact it actually works on my system, the graphics are far superior and look much crisper and brighter, as well as that, there’s the Golden Mask expansion, which is a a great bonus for those of us begging for more, it’s just as weird as the main game, trust me.
The story goes something like this: Lara travels to the Great Wall of China, Venice, an offshore oil rig, an undersea shipwreck, the icy Tibetan mountains and finally back to the Great Wall for the legendary Dagger of Xian, which turns whomever sacrifices their life with it into a fire breathing dragon, WOW. She’s also racing/pursuing the notorious Italian crime lord Marco Bartolli who is after the same thing.
Dragon.jpg 
Along the way she’ll fight hoards of Italian gang members, snow leopards, yetis and the aforementioned gang leader transformed into the aforementioned firebreather. She’ll take control of speedboats and snowmobiles, enter a rundown opera house, swim with sharks, break into a peaceful monastery, defend her home from burglars and travel to a nonsensical tripped out world with floating islands* of jade. (the level is actually called “Floating Islands” 0.o)
 
Sound like fun? It fucking is!
Yeti1.jpg

 Tomb Raider III (PS1/PC)

TombIII cover.jpg

My expectations for the third installment in the series were sky high, it was going to be hard to top Tomb Raider II, and to be honest, Tomb Raider III didn’t manage to be BETTER than its predecessor, but it’s still a great game. This time Lara is looking for four meteorite artifacts from around the world, in locations you can play in any order your choose after you beat India, the South Pacific, London and Nevada await you, as well as Antarctica that serves as a finale section.
   
The graphics have had the best upgrade yet, colored lighting, weather, and better fire and water effects, there are also more FMV cutscenes, which, when teamed with the “in-game” style movies, make the story a lot more flushed out in comparison to the previous games, one thing that always made me smile is the way that in the first three games, the characters heads bob up and down when they speak as opposed to their mouths actually moving, gotta love it. The weapons inventory is once again improved (the largest out of any of the games if I’m not mistaken). Lara is given new crawl and sprint moves to help her along, but the tried and tested control formula does not feel any different for the worse as a result. Vehicles make a return too, but serve more as a means of annoyance rather than fun to drive, like the quad bike can be awkward and the kayak, well, it’s horrendous. 
 
Whilst the previous two games have been possible to master eventually, this game will kick your ass and leave you pleading for mercy, the difficulty is boosted up full force, if it’s not enough that one of the hardest levels in the game is the second one in, then how about quicksand with no escape, losing your weapons in a Nevada prison and (for the first time) having to use stealth tactics as a way around, a relentlessly hard set of London stages, a barrage of killer mutants teamed with a frustrating mine cart journey in Antarctica, and to to top it all off, the end boss is fucking scary, as a kid, I shit my pants, I’d never seen anything so frightening in a video game!
 Willard.jpg

This is the only game out of the classics which I have failed to beat, I know the ending because I’ve seen my Dad do it, but I have failed to do it myself, if London doesn’t get me, Antarctica will, it always seems to be one or the other, the rest of the game seems like a cakewalk in comparison! Like with Tomb Raider II, the PC version does contain superior graphics, as for the expansion pack, I’ve yet to play “The Lost Artifact”, but from what I can see it looks good, and probably just as difficult as the main game! 

OK, now if I kept going this would go on forever, so I’ve split it up into parts, check out next time we’re gonna look at Tomb Raider IV, Chronicles (V), and the infamous Angel of Darkness…

Cacolantern Out 

x

Christmas Adverts! :D :D

A very Merry Christmas to you all, realizing I haven’t posted since November 30th I thought it only right that I give you an obligatory Christmas related article to keep you all in the festive spirit! Tonight I’m going to take you through some of the classic (and not so classic) Christmas adverts from past and present, so make yourself at ho ho home and we’ll begin ;P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDoDUC9M0Sg

This advert is about as festive as you can get, so much so that a fair majority of people say that Christmas doesn’t even begin until it airs, and much pant wetting excitement occurs upon the first sighting (usually around October nowadays :P).
This particular version linked is the one shown in the USA, but it’s very similar, a catchy jingle, a Cola swigging Saint Nick and a very warm feeling inside on every viewing, what more is there to say except, holidays are coming! :D 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4s7LkqCoz9M&feature=related

One for your mum and dad here, there’s a lot you need to to make a good Christmas advert, and our sorely missed friends at Woolworth’s sure did know how, making sure celebrity cameos were aplenty in each of their flashy festive romps of the 1980’s. The hardest thing about watching these adverts aside from the creepy lion costumes is knowing we’ll never see anything like that from Woolworth’s ever again… :(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ojnDo7anK4

Here’s one even Ebenezer Scrooge would find hard to watch, from our child loving friends at Morrisons we have Andrew/Freddie Flintoff wandering around a market in the nicest weather you’ll never see at Christmas. Speaking of things you’ll never see, Morrisons supermarkets in market stall format, can’t forget the kinky look from the British beef vendor, the Stilton which is the only thing more cheesy than the advert itself, and… What the fuck? Where did Bruce Forsyth come from?! and why is he flanked by two gorgeous women when Freddie Flintoff gets some loudmouth brats? Forsyth will most certainly be feasting on a different type of pie when the cameras cut, good game indeed… 
Oh and Freddie, stop saying “people will come”, it’s making the dirty part of my mind hyperactive…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGIN_SbjtYA

Speaking of loudmouth brats, this turkey of a commercial is perhaps the most annoying in a few years, to summarize it’s some spoilt little shits singing about expensive things they got for Christmas from Littlewoods, attempts to make it cute by dressing these demons up in little costumes don’t seem to quite cut it, if you look at the comments I think the general consensus is “HATE!”.
What the darlings don’t realize is yes, they may have got all of that nice stuff, but Littlewoods work on a credit based buy now pay whatever whenever sort of system, so basically, they got given things their parents couldn’t afford normally… Just wait till they release a July advert with the same kids, it’ll be (to the same tune)

"Who got some interest they couldn’t forsee?"
"Who’s in debt now just for me?"
"and who didn’t pay off the TV?" 
My Mother. :’)
Merry Christmas, kids.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSLOnR1s74o

One last one from this year, many are hailing this as one of the greatest ever, I wont give anything away, many of you will have watched it, but for those who haven’t, you must do so. Personally, I think it’s very well done, moving in a nice way… you may want to get the tissues out for this one (I didn’t need them… obviously…)

I’ll leave you with that one, have a great Christmas and not forgetting a happy New Year, come on, we’re all getting pissed on New Year’s Eve! 

See you in 2012 chums… :D :D 

Cacolantern out xx

Remember these?… Day 5

POKEMON: The Trading Card Game

What were they?
 Collectible trading cards with a sometimes cute but most of the time freaky looking monster known as a Pokemon, I’m sure you all know what Pokemon is! The card game was created in 1996, was based initially on the video games of earlier in the same year (Pokemon Red and Blue) that we all played. Then after 1997 it incorporated some artwork and characters from the TV series we all watched on Saturday mornings. 

Awesome! So how did you play the game?
Umm… I just traded them with people for the sake of collecting the ones I wanted… Didn’t know how to play the game, and to be honest, didn’t care. :P

What has become of it?
Still going! Of course nowadays things are a little different from 1997 for the Pokemon franchise…
The Trading Card Game has really lost its way with the modern generation of the kids it has always marketed toward, a lot of newsagents I go in fail to even SELL the cards, and at around £3.60 a small pack it’s not really the cheapest thing to collect either. In my experience it’s cards like Match Attax and Moshi Monsters (whatever the fuck they’re supposed to be) that rule the trading card roost. In other words, nobody really gives a crap anymore
The TV Show, in my humble opinion, died on its arse the moment they changed the voice actors from the ones I grew up with, fair enough if you started watching it after that, you probably think the opposite. So dead to a lot of old school fans but has a somewhat modest audience with the new generation.
The Games, arguably still one of the strongest money makers for Nintendo and actually great games, but there’ll come a time and a place where enough will be enough, there’s already what, 600 strong Pokemon?! 0.o


 

Remember this?… Day 4

JungleRun.jpg

What was it?
An epic adventure style game show for cool children shown on CITV, it went something like this: *inhales* A team of young kids would journey through five different jungle destinations doing physically demanding tasks to collect statues of silver monkeys which gave them 10 seconds more time in the “Temple of the Jungle King” in which they solve 4 varying puzzles of increasing difficulty going from a stone monkey statue room to a gold monkey statue room all within a set time limit and plus there’s two asshole monkeys called Sid and Elvis that torment the kids on the way *aaaannndd breaathhe* :D 

What happened to it? :(
Cancelled in 2006. BULLSHIT!