Kresh Plays: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. Awhile back, Kresh completed Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (The N. Sane Trilogy version). Below is the archived footage and a bit about the game.

Kresh completed this game on a live stream March of 2021, and you can find our live stream channel over on Twitch. If you like to watch live streams, come check us out when you’ve got some free time. Currently we stream two days a week, and run archived footage on the Saturdays. Be sure to follow our Twitch for more information, and to be updated when we go live.

If you’re a monthly subscriber to our Twitch channel (any tier) you also get access to our official Discord server as well.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

For those of you who want a bit more information, let’s just gloss over some of the basics. This is your stereotypical 3D platformer of the late 90’s early 00’s era. Although the remastered version of the game lives up well to its predecessor, it can still be a tad clunky from time to time. Then again, you come to expect that from a game like this.

In general, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a family friendly title as most platformers tend to be, (although when it comes to commentary, Kresh and I certainly aren’t since we swear so much). If you pick this game up for your household it shouldn’t disrupt too many sensibilities.

The game originally came out in 1997 for the PlayStation. It’s the sequel to Crash Bandicoot, a game that came out in 1996. The series is developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

In 2017 the game was re-released as part of the  Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Those of you who’ve played a platformer like this know what you’re in for. These platformers were known to be a bit difficult and this game lives up to expectation on that front.

We’ve got a blog post and play-through of the first game in the series that you can find below. You may want to check it out first if you’ve never seen a Crash Bandicoot game before, although I’m sure that’s pretty unlikely. Anyway, if that interests, you, you can find the link to that post, and the gameplay footage below.

For returners of the series, it’s back to the standard formula, more or less. There’s stages to beat, crystals to collect, boxes to smash and the fictional “Wumpa Fruit” to collect. Like always, you’ll gain extra lives when you collect enough of them. Trust me, you’re going to need them.

You play as Crash Bandicoot, a goofy protagonist with an adventuresome spirit. Crash once again is being manipulated by the (hilarious) evil villain named Doctor Neo Cortex. The crystals you need to collect are scattered between 25 different levels. Every now and then, you’ll encounter a boss battle.

Your usual foes are back with a vengeance he demented Ripper Roo, the Komodo Brothers and the ravenous Tiny Tiger make an appearance. Of course, once you collect all of the crystals, you’ll also face down Doctor Neo Cortex himself.

Nitro boxes make their first appearance in this game, and they can act both as boss mechanics and little green boxes of doom scattered around the stages. No, really, these are boxes you don’t want to touch or try to smash. They’ll explode on contact, There’s only three levels that they don’t show up in at all; The Pits, Totally Bear and the Intro, which acts as a game tutorial.

All in all, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a solid game throughout. It has a decent story-line, and although Kresh and I absolutely suck at platfomer style games, we both agree this is one you should try if you’re looking for something to play.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll catch you next time… meanwhile, check out our other great content below.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
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Kern’s Collections: Emma: A Victorian Romance

Note: This was a video made back in the summer, but I never got around to posting it It’s being posted up now, Hope you enjoy it.

Loneliness is a hard burden to face, and heartache is isn’t so easily soothed by a few kind words and a passing glance. If it were that simple, these two souls would have likely passed each other by without a single care. However, that’s not what happens, because life and love just isn’t that simple.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, and welcome to another Kern’s Collections. Today I’ll be talking about Emma: A Victorian Romance.

Video Production of This Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.

This is a truly interesting anime because it lacks so much of what we consider to be typical in the medium. You could completely take this story and make it into a live action series without any hesitation at all, and almost everything would still fall into line perfectly with what the story. It wouldn’t even be jarring or out of place, because this anime doesn’t contain many of the tropes we’ve come to expect from anime as an art-form.

A simple maid of all work, and a bright eyed young gentleman cross paths. Love blooms between them despite the class divide. This is the entire crux of this anime reduced down into a few simple words. It isn’t a particularly complicated series, but it’s not over the top either. It is subdued in many ways, a slow burn romance the likes of which you just don’t see anymore.

Emma: A Victorian Romance is a soft and gentle story about romantic love between a man and a woman. Frankly, that’s all it needs to be. It isn’t a question of if these two lovebirds will end up together, because they certainly will. Instead, it’s a question of how they will navigate that romance in a world so keep to keep them apart.

The series came out back in June 2005, offering fans a true glimpse of heartfelt storytelling set in 19 century England, London to be exact. In that way, you may in fact consider this to be a sociology anime in some ways, because the social system put into place is what divides these two characters. In most ways, it’s the only thing that divides them at all.

As a maid of all work, Emma is tasked to care for the complexities of a small household. She cleans, cooks meals, makes tea, answers the door and anything else that her employer may need. Her life is a simple one, meager because that is the life of most maids. Particularly for the maid of all work. This station was a commonality for households that lacked grand estates that would employ several people all with a key set of tasks. Hiring one promised a symbol of status at the time. If you could afford to hire one back in those days, you did because it made you more respectable. Emma’s general backstory is a common one for women of this era.

Young girls were raised into the trade, and so was Emma. This was a life most girls would come to understand if they sat below a certain social class. They could learn by an employer that had taken them in, or by their families in hopes of helping their child find a job. Women just didn’t have many places of employment back in those days, and a certain level of decorum was expected among the classes. A certain responsibility loomed over society at the time, and Emma’s story shows how romance unfolds when two people deny that responsibility outright.

When a simple maid steps into the world of the gentry, there are a hurdles to overcome. William, is a member of this gentry and he is the eldest son of a wealthy family. Now, that’s not be confused with royalty. He’s not royal blood. Gentry have high status, but often times they do not carry royal bloodlines. The confines of status mixes looms heavily upon William’s shoulders, especially when he meets Emma, and falls in love with her. He doesn’t care what society demands of him, he loves her.

This is a series that relies heavily upon implication and pleasantries. While you’ll find all of the usual wrappings of your typical romance anime here, a layer of firm composure rests atop every interaction. You’re not to see goofy levels flirting or inane romantic stupidity. Instead, you’ll tend to find the budding romance is composed, refined, and full of unspoken nuance. Love between these two isn’t easy, and the uphill battle they have is one strictly left down to the confines of their society.

Like Gaming?

Kresh Plays: Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu isn’t a bad game, all thing considered. It’s not far and away amazing, but it’s not god awful. It’s a solid experience and narrative is worth the ride if you can pick it up on sale.

If Emma had been born into the gentry herself, she could have fallen in love openly and honestly with William, with very little difficulty or opposition. Since she is a maid however, that’s just not the case. They both have their statuses to consider, even though William often doesn’t really care what people think.

All-in-all what makes this story so interesting isn’t that they fall in love, but the confines and intrigue of that love. As you watch the show, you’re brought to wonder what it means for Emma and William to have this connection in a world that would staunchly disprove of the mere idea, let alone actually doing it.

This is a series that keeps melodrama to a minimum, and focuses more on truly emotional events to drive the plot forward. There is a key character death for example that heavily impacts Emma’s livelihood, just as it would have in 19th century London at the time. That event and a few others are handled with the same gentleness as the rest of the show, even in those melancholic moments.

Ultimately, this is a series made for a true romance anime fan. Someone who likes the slow burn romantic entanglements, and the issues that might arise from them. Emma: A Victorian Romance is one of the best true romance anime I’ve ever seen. The title says it all, and if you enjoy romance between a man and a woman, this is certainly worth your time. That being said, if you want to see a healthy mix of GLBTQ or GRSM representation in the anime you watch, I’m sorry to say it’s just not there. Though if that’s more what you’re into make sure to follow the channel, because I will be covering an anime with those sorts of themes too in upcoming videos.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time, in the meantime, check out our other great content below.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

TDF Update: We’re Affiliates!

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. I’ve got some cool news, we’re now affiliates on Twitch! Yeah, pretty cool, it took a while, but we’re slowly growing.

It’s been a weird year, all things considered. Between my mother’s health problems, and taking that long several month break, we weren’t sure we’d hit that point so soon. We’re there, and it’s kind of like a breath of fresh air. It’s one of those “wow, we’re really doing this” moments where it feels… well, not so much a “milestone” but more like it’s another little step in the grand scheme….

It’s like life is really starting to look up now that my mother is doing a little bit better and we’re now affiliates on top of it. If you haven’t been checking us out over on Twitch, you really should. If you like to hang out, watch gamers, and just have an all around good time you’ll probably have a good time over there.

We’re finishing out Dream Daddy on Thursday, November 4th (today at the time of this post). Come stop by if you want to see us make a mess of that for sure. It’s a goofy little dating simulation, but we’re having fun with it.

So, What Are We All Up To?

Well, you know me, Kern, your friendly neighborhood ferret that breaks things and messes everything up so that Kresh needs to fix it. That’s the same old thing of course. I’m still breaking things, sometimes on a daily basis. I think I’ve re-written this post twice now, trying to find the right words. We’re still streaming over on twitch, of course, and I’m still writing blog posts.

YouTube stands as a weird middle ground, both as a video archive and a place where some of our reviews and other content can be found. Usually I cross embed those bits of footage here too, in the form of let’s plays and what-not, and that goes unchanged. Kresh is working on a project, but I don’t know when that’ll be finished.

It’s funny when I look back to this old image, one of Ruka’s earliest pieces of artwork, I’m a bit nostalgic. It’s been about a year since we started this whole idea. It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure.

I was supposed to be the ferret tied up and laughing, Kresh the one looking grumpy, and Ruka’s early avatar was that skull and crossbones sitting on the television in the background. We’re all a little rough around the edges, much like that drawing itself is a rough conception of our personalities distilled down into one cartoon drawing.

We’ve come a long way since then. I’m not entirely sure what the future holds, but it seems like a bright one. One of the important things that’s so key to who we are as people is the concept of our diversity. We have an American person, a British person, and a person hailing for Puerto Rico. We’re all on the GLBTQ spectrum, or as Kern (me) would rather call it, GRSM… which is why we’re all so gender ambiguous on the streams and here on the blog. We don’t “sound” as we identify, so it’s just easier for all of us that way. That and gender isn’t everything, we’re more than that, of course.

We do believe representation is important though, and with that, don’t forget to check out Ruka’s blogs when she posts them up.

If you see this icon, that’s Ruka’s avatar over here on The Demented Ferrets. Ruka is writing blog posts now, so if you haven’s seen the first post you really should check it out. Especially if Spanish dubs are important to you.

Anime and Its Translations

Do I believe the Spanish dubs are worth it? Absolutely! Spanish is one of the most spoken languages ranking 4th worldwide and 2nd in Native-speaking countries in the world.

Ruka has been our artist since the start, but the completely unique perspective on anime and gaming that Ruka brings to the table can’t be understated. The blog post above about Spanish dubs is a great example of that. I (Kern) don’t speak Spanish very well (as in I completely butcher the language when I try to speak it/read it) so having Ruka add in those two cents really matters. Usually when we think of anime dubs here in the states, Spanish speaking dubs just aren’t often discussed… or at least, I don’t often hear them discussed at length.

Fun fact, Ruka’s planning to come up for a visit here sometime in the new year, and that’ll be a lot of fun. We’ll probably have some cool footage of that eventually whenever it happens.

Well, that about does it for this post. It’s just a small update. I’ll see you around next time. Ruka’s working on her next blog post, and so am I. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time. Until then, don’t forget to check out some other great content.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

Game Review: The Static Speaks My Name

Warning: The game I’m reviewing today is called “The Static Speaks My Name”. This game contains mature themes.
Mature Content: This game deals with the concept of suicide… it’s not too overly dark or graphic, but the theme is looming and present.
Kern’s Disclaimer: This is not just a typical little indie title, it has a narrative that needs to be handled with care and respect. Know that going into it. One more time for the people in the back. This game is NOT for young or impressionable gamers. If you have delicate sensibilities regarding the content warnings above, maybe just don’t read this review or play this game. I won’t be held responsible if it triggers the absolute crap out of you.

I enjoy indie content, particularly when it pushes the conventional narrative limitations of media in an interesting way. The game I’m reviewing today does strictly that. Before I begin my review though, I do hope you didn’t disregard my content warning above. If you did, scroll back up and read it first.

The thing that sets this game in a different category from other indie horror titles, is that this game is less “terrifying” and more along the lines of “tragically unsettling”. I wouldn’t call it a horror game per say, because I don’t find it scary in the traditional sense, nor unnerving in the general one. Rather, this game dives deep into the realm of psychological horror in ways I rarely ever see.

It’s not scary, it’s chilling. Thematically speaking, “The Static Speaks My Name” is a short title, but far from a sweet little package. The game is more of a “narrative experience” than a game itself. Actually, I’d hesitate to call it a game because there is a clearly a narrative to be found here, but there’s not a whole lot of “gameplay”. The price is right though. As of writing this blog it is completely free on steam, and the time investment to complete the game is minimal.

The fact that it will take most people about ten minutes to to complete it says enough on its own. Honestly, you can beat in it half that time if you really wanted to rush it. Now, while some people may find the length lacking, the content isn’t. What you’re given in that short time isn’t anything to scoff at.

When you begin the game, a brief prologue begins. Surrounded by a dark space, you’ll see something in the distance and you’ll have to walk closer to it. As you do, you’re given three things. A name, an age, and a cause of death. When you get close enough to what is basically that floating cloud in the middle of a dark expanse, you enter into the body of a man, and you live out is last moments alive.

The beeping alarm drags the man from slumber and he awakens to a home that’s just a little strange. Everything seems just a little out of place and just slightly out-of-sorts.

As a first-person game, you play as a man named Jacob Ernholtz. As a player, you soon put the pieces together to find out more about this man, and his final decision. To be clear though, the game isn’t all doom and gloom. It’s not all awfulness caked in pure and unbridled cynicism. If it was, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

Actually, “The Static Speaks My Name” does something else. It attempts to tell a story that has little to do with the event that ended this man’s life, and more to do with his final moments that preceded it. This game is not an analysis nor a deconstruction of the prevailing topic at hand. It’s not even about the physiological nor social conditions at play when ones goes about making such a choice.

Rather the game carries a heavy undertone with the concepts of obsession more than taking one’s own life. As though the pictures hanging upon the wall act as an all consuming focus that Jacob Ernholtz couldn’t possibly escape a fascination with. He isn’t a good man in the slightest, which only further makes it hard to relate with him on any level. I’d say that that fact alone is what makes it a horror title. It isn’t the inevitable end that makes the game so unnerving to me, it’s the character you play as, and just how disturbed he obviously is.

Just take a look at the image below as a hint to just how obsessed he is with that one painting and the painter behind it. I assume you could extrapolate all kinds of meanings from this if you really cared to, but as for me, I don’t care to try at all… really, just playing as the guy is enough for me to be unsettled about just what in the hell could have been going on in his brain.

As for gameplay, it’s just a game about slowly twisting mundane moments in this one man’s life. Cleaning the microwave, admiring his collection of paintings among the wall, or eating his pet shrimp. Simple details, really. However, it soon becomes clear that this is the point of the game, the simplicity beyond horrific spectacle, which the game cares very little for. it doesn’t glamorize it’s core themes, but rather, it seems to spit upon the idea that typical cliche’s about depression needs to be continued on in ways we would normally expect.

They’re tired, they’re dusty, they’re old and we don’t need them. The game seems to say this, to exemplify that notion in every act, The game doesn’t spell things out for you concisely, there is no neat or tidy conclusion, and you won’t be likely to find yourself re-playing the game more than once to pick to pieces every little detail.

Once is enough, and the slow spiral of madness seemingly induced by paintings upon the walls is truly macabre in notion, but not quite in a way that inspires empathy or compassion… especially after you notice just what else this man keeps in his house.

The fact of the matter is, what makes this game notable, is that it inspires a gambit of emotions. There’s dark humor mixed with tragedy and although it is sad, dark and pretty disturbing, I find that it is a fitting end to this short game.

Now, onto the “static” concept and the idea of seeing other “static deaths”. If you look at the reviews, or commentators on Steam you see that notion brought up often enough in their reviews section. Here’s the thing, I’m glad we only have one story. One glimpse, one looking-glass, and that’s all. I don’t want more than this, and I’m glad that we don’t get more than that.

The reason for this is because while I do think that perhaps more “statics” would have been interesting, I believe it would have made the game rather unpalatable in the long run. There’s only so much of this grittiness that anyone can take, and there comes a time when a compelling point to explore these concepts crosses a line too far.

If this game had been any longer, if it had explored too many more deaths or the disturbing minds behind them, it wouldn’t have just crossed the line for me. In fact, it would have trampled all over it and left a big steaming pile of dung in its wake. The solo developer, Jesse Barksdale, was wise not to take this narrative, or this game that far.

So, I guess the final question is, do I think you should play this game? All in all, if you can handle these sorts of themes, it might be worth your time to play it. Keyword being might. Once again, it’s short and it’s free. Those are low barriers to entry, so long as you can swallow down the core themes, which is the much larger, prevailing question. I can’t answer that, and to me that remains the ultimate conflict.

I think “The Static Speaks My Name” is an interesting narrative experience. However, I don’t think most people would “enjoy” playing as as such a disturbed man who eats his pet shrimp and has a nasty little propensity to obsess about a single painting. Honestly, give it a try if you want to take a dive down into that kind of character. If you have no interest in that, then this game is not for you… keep away from it.

This has been Kernook from The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time. Don’t forget to check out our other great content.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.