Les Mills Combat Challenge


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LES MILLS COMBAT. Work out like a warrior. Get shredded in 60 days.

I’m so excited to share this news with you! Some of you know that I’ve been taking kickboxing classes for a while now. Most of you know that I’ve been trying to get in shape because I’m running the Spartan Race in October. Everyone should know that I’m so dedicated to the cause that I made “Spartan” the one word I focus on over the course of the year.

I’ve decided to bring those three things together and am organizing a Les Mills Combat Challenge Group that will run from May 4th to July 3rd. We’re going to get in the best shape of our lives just in time for fourth of July parties.

LES MILLS COMBAT is an explosive mixed martial arts body transformation
program that will help rip, shred, and lean you out for unparalleled results.
Blending dynamic martial arts movements with High Intensity Interval Training
(HIIT), LES MILLS COMBAT pushes your body far beyond where it’s ever been
before. You’ll punch, kick, and strike your way to the biggest adrenaline rush—
and your best body ever—in just 60 days!
Beachbody® and Les Mills International have teamed up once again to bring you
a high-octane workout program based on the immensely popular BODYCOMBAT®gym classes taught in 80 countries around the world, with expert trainers, chart-topping music—and muscle-shredding results. Now for the first time, LES MILLS COMBAT is available for home use.

What makes LES MILLS COMBAT so exciting?
• LES MILLS COMBAT is the first home-based mixed martial arts–inspired workout program designed to get you a lean, chiseled body—in just 60 days!
• Trainers Dan Cohen and Rachael Newsham are incredibly fun to work out with! As experts in a great number of martial arts disciplines, they will teach you, challenge you, inspire you, and keep you accountable in your quest to unleash your inner warrior—and build an outrageously strong,
sexy body.

If you want to do this with me, make sure you like my Facebook page and let me know!  This is going to be amazing, and I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you!

Lynne Bubbles’ New Direction

2015_new_yearA few days ago, I made a passing mention that this blog was no longer going to be focused on book reviews.  In fact, I said I was giving up book reviews altogether and was going to focus instead on book recommendations.  Some of you might miss my cutting wit, and I might lose a few followers for changing the focus of this blog.  That’s okay.  I hope that those of you who stick around will find things to love with the new format.  We won’t stop talking about books.  We’ll still talk about books in a larger sense, and I will give hopefully weekly recommendations.  We just won’t be producing any more scathing reviews, no matter how much the book might warrant it.  I will now leave my negative reviewing to the star system on goodreads.   Any book that I think is a two star or below will just not get a written review.  (Sadly, I still need to give them a star rating, or else goodreads will not count it towards my reading challenge.)

Obviously even when I was reviewing books, I couldn’t sustain seven days a week worth of blogging on books alone.  So if I’m going to blog on a consistent basis, we’re going to need some new content to talk about.

Besides the books, there are a few things you can look forward to reading about on this blog.

First, we’re going to be talking about health and fitness.  Not in a crazy way, but as I am training for the Spartan Race in October to the point where Spartan was my one word resolution for the year, I want to be able to share that experience with everyone.  Furthermore, there are so many health issues that we can take control of.  Once in a while, you’ll get some scary news that was completely out of your control.  It happens.  It just happened to me this morning, and I’m still processing it.  There are things you can control though, and that’s why it’s so important that we take care of the things we can control.   That’s another reason why I want to share my health and fitness journey with you.

We might also talk about tv shows on occasion.  That probably won’t happen too frequently though, because I have to watch everything on Hulu and by the time I get around to watching everything, it’s old news.  Hannibal is pretty much the only show I make sure to watch when it airs.

We are most definitely going to talk about things that impact the books I am working on.  This category could cover anything from current events to something I found in my research.  Anything I nerd out over is going to be fair game.

Those are some of the changes you can expect to see over the next coming weeks.  I hope you enjoy them.

* I have now posted for three days in a row, which might not seem like much, but for me is a huge accomplishment.  As mentioned in my post One Of Those Blogs, it’s all about making little, sustainable changes that will add up to great results.

50 Shades of Bad Romances


A few weeks ago, I was directed to a link showing an infograph of some of the most common grammatical errors in 50 Shades of Grey and comparing them to other romance lines in other famous novels.  Included on that list was works such as The Notebook, Pride and Prejudice, and about seven other works I don’t think I had heard of before reading this infograph.  While the information in itself was entertaining, all it did in my mind was solidify the connection between 50 Shades of Grey and Pride and Prejudice as examples of the worst that the romance genre has to offer.

Do not let the five copies of Pride and Prejudice sitting on my bookshelf fool you.  I despise the novel and pretty much everything about it.  Two of those editions were from college, and I have a hard time getting rid of books, even when it is books I hated.  I can’t in good conscience sell them to the book store when they contain all my disparaging notes, nor am I happy with the notion of destroying them.  Another edition is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Don’t let the internet fool you.  It’s not that good.  The other two are an erotic version that turns the original into one giant orgy and a gay fan-fiction respectively.  They’re also the only two out of the five that I enjoy.   Before you start to think I’m just going to deride these two particular books for the next five hundred words, let me be clear.  It’s not really the books that give rise to these loathsome feelings.  It’s the genre they represent.  A genre that is overwhelmingly popular and does real women little credit.

The Power Play

The grounds for my distaste in  the romance genre and romance plots are rooted in the fact that almost every romance revolves around a powerplay.  In most cases, the heroine is somehow indebted to the hero for at least a portion of the work.  For our purposes, we’re going to use the term “heroine” to apply to the protagonist and the term “hero” to apply to the romantic lead.  These problems can also appear in gay and lesbian romances.  As much as I love Sedric and Carson from The Rain Wild Chronicles, I will never forget or forgive that they initially hooked up because Carson prevented Sedric from suicide.  Granted, after that it was one of the most balanced gay relationships to ever grace the pages of fantasy fiction, but it doesn’t change the fact that it started out awkwardly.  I mean, at one point Sedric got to go out and do badass things while Carson got to stay at home and brood.  Honestly, check out The Rain Wild Chronicles right now.  So even though it got better, the way it started out left a bad taste in my mouth.

In most of the older romances, the hero usually has far more wealth than the heroine does.  In some cases, this leads to an event in which the hero more or less attempts or succeeds to buy the heroine’s love.  For instance, in Jane Eyre, she is originally hired to be Mr. Rochester’s governess, which puts him in a position of power over her from the time that they met.  In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy buys a marriage for Lydia so that Elizabeth and her family don’t have to suffer the shame.  In 50 Shades of Grey, Christian replaces Ana’s car with a much more expensive model, complete with GPS tracking so that he knows where she is at any given time.

Still, at some point in the history of the romance genre, barring 50 Shades of Grey, women said enough.  They were tired of having the heroine financially being dependent on the hero.  They wanted a self-sufficient heroine who didn’t need the hero to buy next meal.  The genre took a step forward and started creating heroines with careers.  Heroines who didn’t actually need the hero in their life in order to find financial completion.  Except, that can’t be right.  The heroine needs the hero or else the whole romance falls apart.   This led to a development even worse than the financial power play.

The Rape Intervention

You’ve read this romance arc.  We’ve all read this romance arc.  I have repeatedly complained about this romance arc and yet it continues to happen.  The plot somehow involves the heroine nearly being raped by some bad person, only to have the hero come in and save the day before any harm can befall the heroine.  This can happen at any point in the development of the relationship.  I’ve seen it happen when they first meet, and I’ve seen it happen during the climax of the book.  It doesn’t matter when it happens, it’s still crap.  There’s a number of problems with this.  The first is that it reduces rape to to a plot device.  The second is that it still makes the heroine indebted to the hero, only this time in a sexual manner.  If I had a nickel for every time the heroine threw themselves at the hero for saving them from rape, I’d be an incredibly rich woman.

The worst instance I’ve seen of this rape intervention problem occurred in a novel my friend let me borrow.  The heroine was unconscious.  One of the hero’s friends wanted to rape her.  He refused to allow it to happen, not because rape is wrong, but because they didn’t have time for it.  The man the heroine is supposed to fall in love with doesn’t think rape is wrong if there’s time for it.  I can’t eagerly anticipate her falling in love with him.  I’m eagerly anticipating him to fall off the edge of the nearest cliff.  Needless to say, I didn’t finish reading the book, and I am now questioning my friend’s taste in literature.

What Can Save Romance

Not all hope is lost for the romance genre or romance plots in general.  What we need more of is couples that are balanced.  Couples that don’t have a weird power play going on.  Couples that are in happy, stable relationships between equals.  And less rape. Far less rape.

What we really need more of is relationships like Monica and Chandler from Friends.  Yes, there were ups and downs, but for the most part, the show treated them like equals.  They were both from the wealthier branch of the gang.  They both had abusive childhoods.  When it came time for the show to throw the infertility plot at them, they were both revealed to have low fertility.  The show could have just as easily pinned the blame on one of them and throw in a power play, but they decided not to.

Not that Friends was perfect on the relationship front.  They had plenty of mishaps along the way as well, which is unsurprising given the length of the show and the comedy aspect.

If anyone has examples of romances or romance arcs that focus on a couple of equals, please send them my way.  I would love to see them.

The infograph for your perusal, thanks to grammarly.com/grammar-check

One of Those Blogs


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I never wanted this blog to be one of those blogs where it’s only updated once every couple months or so and readers say “Oh, right, it’s this person.”  Unfortunately, that’s what happened.  This type of inconsistency isn’t good for me, it’s not good for business, and it’s not good for you, my readers, either.   You come here for a reason, and whatever that reason might be, I have not been holding up my end of the bargain.

I had lots of excuses as to why I wasn’t posting.  In the end, that’s all they were.  Empty excuses that did not make up for my lack of content.  Especially when I was not bold enough to share those excuses with my readers.   Every year I make a resolution to post more, or at least with some sort of frequency.  Every year, that resolution starts to fade away a little bit earlier.

The truth is, I let life get in the way.  To be honest, it’s not even a life that I’m happy with.  There is so much about it that I want to change, and for the longest time I thought that there was no way I could change it.  I blamed my circumstances, or anything else to avoid taking responsibility for why I was so miserable.  The job market is terrible, there’s nothing out there,  I’m too tired and stressed from work to do my writing, just let me sit here and play mindless Facebook games instead.  I let myself believe that my job was more important than my passions and that I could be perfectly happy working 50+ hours a week for barely above minimum wage, and I just kept becoming more miserable.

Then through some strange set of circumstances, I met a woman who indirectly completely changed my perspective on things.  First of all, she had faith in me when I was starting to lose faith in myself.  I have yet to measure up to that faith she has put in me, but I’ve made it my goal every day to exceed her expectations.

The other thing she did for me was she introduced me to a book that really opened my mind on what it took to be successful.   Many of you know that I have been trying for many years to be a writer.  And by trying, I mean that I wrote a few books, did very little editing, and then expected the first person who looked at them to see how absolutely wonderful they were.  I did no platforming (unless you want to count blogging once a month as “platforming”) and I was absolutely terrified of the idea of peer review.   This book helped me open my eyes to the idea that if I really wanted it, and I do, then I was going to have to work for it.  That book, of course, was Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect.

The-Compound-EffectI  haven’t written a review for this book, because I feel as though my days of book reviewing are coming to an end.  My days of book recommending, however, are just beginning, and this is the first one I am going to recommend.  While it’s too early to say what impact this book will have on my life, it has really been an eye-opener for me.  This book helped me realize that if I ever wanted to be successful, if I wanted to follow my passions, first of all, I had to stop blaming work.  I had to own up to the time that was not spent working on myself.  Even when I work six days a week, that’s only eight and a half hours out of my day.  Plus I have two 15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch, so work is really only taking eight hours out of my day when you factor in travel time.  Okay, so I personally know I need to sleep eight hours of the day, and I need to do my workouts which can last anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half.  If you factor in eating dinner, time spent getting ready for work and for the gym, and my Italian lessons, that still leaves me with 5 hours a day that I could spend growing my business and working on my writing.   That’s nearly two thousand hours a year, and I was making excuses that I did not have enough time to do stuff.  If you really want something, work for it, and don’t make excuses.

Even small, consistent changes go a long way towards helping you realize your goals.  Because  small, consistent changes, eventually becomes habit, and then you’re getting stuff done without even thinking about it.

If you’ve read the book, share what your favorite parts were in the comment section below!

Remember if you liked the content of this post, hit the little like button down at the bottom there.  Also, you can follow me on Facebook  for all the latest updates.

If you have a friend that you think could really use this book, make sure to share this post with them.  And the book if you have a copy.

How a Good Bra and Pair of Earrings Can Change Your Life


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I’ve seen many variations on the above quote. Most of the time, it’s from shoe stores trying to sell me a new pair of shoes. This one, however, of a runner tying up her shoes is the only one that resonates with me. Running can change your whole mood around. Feeling down? Go for a run! Except sometimes you can’t even convince yourself to go for that run. Maybe you hate treadmills like I do. Maybe you can’t get to your gym to use their indoor track. Maybe it’s too cold to go outside and get moving. Or maybe there’s ice on the roads and sidewalks making it too dangerous to walk outside, let alone attempt a run. So what do you do when you need that quick mood boost and you can’t put on your running shoes? I suppose you could just put the shoes on and see what happens. Unfortunately, when my running shoes are on, they compel me to move, so if I need a quick boost, I just can’t slip them on and get to work.

There are days I have trouble believing that it’s all worthwhile. If I don’t have to go to work, I sometimes feel like there’s nothing else to do that day because I feel it won’t get me anywhere. I have a dead-end job. Literally, dead-end. They gave a promotion I was up for to someone else because they felt sorry for the other candidate and she had held that position before. I once again woke up this morning sore all over from my workout attempts that have had no results other than a sore body. I’ve been trying to sell a book for over six years. Not just the one book, oh no. I’ve had several books I’ve finished and failed to sell. It’s hard to get up and working some days when there doesn’t seem to be a future in front of me.

So, on days like today, how do I get myself motivated to get up and going instead of lounging in bed all day? For me, it’s a good bra and a fierce pair of earrings. I love earrings. Ironic, because I haven’t had them for most of my life. My first attempts at piercing when I was a child ended up with a plastic earring post broken inside my earlobe. It wasn’t well until adulthood that I got my ears pierced again. Unfortunately, when I’m at work I’m limited to studs only, which eliminates half my earring choices. So, on my days off, it’s a chance for me to wear some of my favorite earrings, even though nobody else will be able to see them. Today, my earrings are a pair of fierce gold tigers from the Katy Perry ROAR collection. ‘Roar’ can be quite the motivational song and the earrings help me to keep that mentality in mind as I go about my business today. I also have a pair of Pinkie Pie earrings I keep on hand to remind myself that life is a lot more fun than I make it out to be at times.

As for the good bra part, well, I can’t function without a bra. At all. I can’t even play video games unless my girls are contained. I understand that doesn’t work for some of you. Some people find bras uncomfortable. It’s okay to be a braless wonder. I applaud you and even envy you a little bit. Because good bras are expensive and hard to find. I have student loan debt hovering over my head. I need to combine six Victoria’s Secret coupons just to buy one bra.

Okay, so maybe a good bra and a pair of earrings isn’t really going to change your life. The pair of shoes didn’t change Cinderella’s life either. She changed her own life by deciding to go to that ball. She went with a little push from her fairy godmother and extra confidence from her pretty shoes and fabulous dress. Something that gives you that little mood boost can be exactly what you need to make your day better. A succession of better days will make your life seem better than it was in the past.

Maybe it is a great pair of shoes. Maybe it’s your favorite pair of earrings. Maybe it’s a particular shade of lipstick that makes you feel fierce. Maybe it’s a particular coffee you drink in the morning that makes you feel great. My uncle thrives on Starbucks. Whatever it is that changes your mood around, I’d love to hear about it.

January 2015 Wrap-Up


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Spartanone word

Here we are, February 1st, 2015. The first month of the year is behind us, and for some people, so are their resolutions. The gym I attend has already started to thin out after seeing a huge upsurge at the beginning of the year. On the one hand, it’s nice to have some room to breath again while I’m there. On the other, I wonder what happened to all those people. Did they set their resolutions too high that they felt defeated after only a month? Were they expecting things to change too fast? Did they realize that they were already in the shape that they wanted to be? Are they ever going to use that expensive gym membership again? Are they going to pay the even more expensive early termination fee? I just hope they’re happy with whatever prompted this decision.

As for me, you may recall that this year I decided to go with the one word challenge, where I picked a single word to represent my goals for the year. I choose Spartan, which is fitting for many reasons, not the least of which is my running of the Spartan Sprint in September. I can’t give up on my resolutions now, or else I would would fail before I even started running in September. As for fitness, I’m still going strong with my goals. I hit the gym several times a week. I have sessions scheduled with a personal trainer. This upcoming month, I’m participating in a push-up challenge and a burpee challenge. I refuse to slack off when it comes to my physical fitness.

However, the physical fitness was only part of the reason why I chose Spartan. I also chose Spartan for the mentality. I may not have posted as much as I would have liked in January, but I don’t need to see that as a failure. I just need to realize that if I want to post on a regular basis, I’m going to have to learn to budget my time better. Tumblr in particular is the bane of my existence. “I’m just looking for the fitness inspiration,” I say. How much fitness inspiration do I need that I end up scrolling through Tumblr for forty minutes at a time several times a day?

In contrast, I am on a six day streak and going strong with my Italian lessons. It’s a language I’ve wanted to learn for a long time, and I have several books on the subject. I always got so far and would give up. The program I’m using now has been helpful in keeping me on top of my lessons and forcing me to review trouble words. I’m also making an effort to listen less to doubt, which will do me worlds of wonder in the future, I’m sure. If I could give up on doubt entirely, I might be able to find another job, or finally publish a book. It’s the fear of failure and feeling like I will look like an idiot that stops me from putting myself out there and attempting to make the sale. Even when I do make the effort, I think my doubt is perhaps seeping through into my efforts, self-sabotaging my work as if to say “Look, you were right, you’re never going to be successful.” I have issues with putting too much of my heart into the sale. I think the fear is if I put too much into something, if I fail, it’s going to hurt a lot more than if I let it go.

How’s everyone else doing on their resolutions? Did you stick with traditional resolutions, or did you attempt the one word challenge? I’d love to hear from you.

One Word: Spartan


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Spartanone wordI’ve always been a fan of publicly sharing my resolutions.  I think it helps to keep me accountable for what I’m doing, even if the only person I’m checking in with at the end of the year is myself.  I was all set to do it again this year as well, until a commercial on K-Love changed my view on my 2015 resolutions.  I heard about a website called oneword365.com where people were encouraged to condense their New Year`s resolutions down into a single word.  One word that you could focus on over the year, a word that you could come back to in May, June or even November.  I decided this was the perfect route for me, as long as I could narrow it down to one word.

To pick my word, I had to think about what I wanted to accomplish over the course of the year.  Most of the resolutions I had started planning were similar to those I had picked in previous years.  I want to finally finish making Kurogane`s clothes since I came so close to finishing them at the end of last year.  I want this to be the year where I finally know Italian well enough to survive in the country long enough without forcing everyone around me to speak English. (Rude!)  2015 will be the year I finally sell a book.  I have several that I`m working on, and Ive been on fire recently with my editing.  Finally, I want 2015 to be my fittest year yet.  I’ve restarted my running program four to five times a week.  I scheduled a session with a personal trainer.  I signed up for the Dirty Girl in June with my sister.  Thanks to the Spartan race coming to Pittsburgh, I`ll finally be able to cross that one off my mud run bucket list.

I chose Spartan as my focus word.  Being a Spartan is not just about being physically fit, it’s a mentality.  It’s about not listening to the demons between your ears that tell you you can’t accomplish something.   It’s about looking at the obstacles life throws your way and saying “I can handle this.”  It’s about letting go of self-doubt and fear.  It’s taking life by the horns and riding that bull.  It’s about giving everything your one hundred percent, because if you try, there is no failure.

Here’s the obligatory link to the Spartan Race, so you can sign up for one nearest you!  Make this the year, that you too, become a Spartan.

I also encourage you to check out the oneword website.  Perhaps you might be inspired to take the oneword challenge, or maybe somebody else’s word will help you to make this year you finally stick to those good resolutions.

2014 Resolutions Failed and Accomplished


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It’s that time of year again!  Time to look back at my resolutions of 2014 and figure out how much I accomplished and what I need to do differently in the upcoming year.  Expect to see a post with this year’s resolutions within the coming days

1. Deja vu! Remember these guys?  Kurogane and Fai from Tsubasa Reservoir chronicles?  If you read the update from 2013, you already know that Kurogane is still naked.   This will be year five that making his clothes has topped my resolutions.   Perhaps this will be the year that he will finally get the clothes he was always meant to have.

Kurogane has pants!  I consider this resolution 50% accomplished!  He has pants and they’re beautiful!  He almost had a shirt as well, but I accidentally made it too small.  So, perhaps this year we will finally be able to take this entirely off the list.  After 5 years, Kurogane finally has pants.

2.  Get even more fit.  I have a gym membership I’ve been using regularly for the past six months.   I’ve started kickboxing (brutal!) and have incorporated a running program into my routine.   I’ve also signed up for my first 5k, a zombie run in a neighboring city.  I’m also contemplating running the Dirty Girl the following week.

My zombie run was very sadly cancelled.  I did, however, complete the Dirty Girl.  My sister and I have signed up for the Dirty Girl in 2015 already and I’m contemplating a few other runs as well.  I somehow managed, however, to end the year not any more fit than I was at the beginning of the year despite a great effort during the summer.

3.  Write even more.  I have so many book ideas floating around in my brain, it might be beneficial to get some of them down on paper.  To that end, I’m going to further my Italian knowledge.   I have a Ferrante biography that took me forever to track down I need to read, and these masterpieces in my head aren’t going to write themselves.

Ha!  Hahaha!  I completely blame my job for this one.  Working six days a week was far too much of a soul suck and for a while there I gave up writing entirely.  Never fear, however, as I have decided to make myself a priority instead of my job and this year I hope to do even better.

4. Continue on my quest to be financially stable.  Less bills, more security, a job I enjoy, the whole nine yards. Maybe I can sell a book in the process.  That would be amazing.

I’m not even going to touch this one.


So, that’s it, the recap of 2014!  Happy New Year everyone!  The 2015 resolutions will be posted in a few days!

Extra Life Dragon Age Inquistion


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Today I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in Extra Life 2014 by playing 24 hours of Dragon Age Inquisition and streaming it via Twitch.

For those of you who don’t know, Extra-Life.org is a non-profit that allows gamers to raise money for a Children’s Hospital of their choice.  The idea is to play games for 24 hours, usually straight through, but in my case I’m breaking it up into three eight hour segments.  The first will by Wednesday November 19 from 8am-4pm.  The next two will be from 12pm-8pm on Thursday November 20 and Saturday November 22.

Since it is Dragon Age Inquisition, however, and I can’t wait that long, I will officially begin livestreaming around 1 pm on Tuesday November 18th.  If you like Dragon Age or livestreams, you’re more than welcome to try it out.

Even if you don’t particularly care for watching people play games, you can still donate.  In fact, all my donors so far likely have no intention of watching me play, they just wanted to help.

My twitch stream can be found here.

Donate here!

Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 3


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re0This week finally brings us to the Resident Evil series, fitting since The Evil Within just came out on the 14th.  While it is one of the least remembered games in the series (Code Veronica, Outbreak, and Dead Aim being the other three), Resident Evil 0 is my favorite.

Week 3 : Resident Evil 0

Originally released only for the Gamecube and recently rereleased for the Wii, Resident Evil 0 remains the only game in the series to be a Nintendo exclusive.  Following Rebecca Chambers of STARS, the game takes place in the hours preceding the mansion incident of the original Resident Evil.

resident evilThe game introduced a partner swap system, allowing a single player to take control of either Rebecca or Billy in real time depending on the situation.  Rebecca could make medical kits from green and red herbs while Billy was reserved for heavy lifting and taking heavier hits from the game’s various enemies.  While they were next to each other, the computer would take control of the other character.  The gameplay style in Resident Evil 0 was a precursor to the multiplayer partner system that would be featured prominently in Resident Evil 5 and 6.  However, unlike current gen games that lost a certain scare factor by having someone play with you, you were still on your own for the entire game.

If you are a fan of both the old school Resident Evil and the partner system of the newest games, check out Resident Evil 0.  You will not be disappointed.

Also, this week includes my favorite fan video from Resident Evil 0 by Yuffie255.  Enjoy!


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