Flavorful, scorching hot, like a pepper from Mexico, and extremely delicious. I visited Shaking Crab near Porter Square in Cambridge for dinner with my best friend. My experience definitely could’ve been better, but it was great overall.
The decorations of the restaurant are boat themed with anchors and seashells scattered upon the wall. They play hip hop and R&B music, have dim lighting with a huge wall decorated with white crystal lights that spell Shaking Crab next to a bookshelf.
The customer service was excellent. We were greeted as soon as we stepped inside and brought right to our table. Even though it is a seafood restaurant and things tend to get a little messy while eating, there wasn’t a crab shell, food scraps or anything else around or on the tables.
Unfortunately, they were short-staffed due to a few call-outs, so I tried to take that into consideration and be patient.
We ordered virgin Carribean Coladas, which took a while for them to make but were perfect. The coladas tasted like sugary almond milk mixed with a vanilla smoothie, topped with a small lime and an umbrella on the side for decoration. We ordered a pound of shaking hot snow crabs, barbeque wings and cajun fries.
The snow crabs were full and not skinny or skimp. The crabs had full pieces of meat when you broke them open instead of breaking in small parts. The wings came in six pieces and were drenched with barbeque sauce with steam coming from them while being brought out. The cajun fries were lightly salted which I enjoyed because certain restaurants are very heavy on the seasonings.
The food took 20 to 30 minutes to bring out, but once again, they were short staffed and food takes a while to cook so we were very understanding.
The staff was very nice, apologized every chance they had for being short-staffed, checked on us multiple times and were on top of refilling drinks. Overall I enjoyed my time at Shaking Crab. I would recommend it to a friend and most likely go again.
Shaking Crab is located at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, a short walk from Porter station on the red line. They are open from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday
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Courtesy Image Comics
In the world of comics and graphic novels, it can be sad to think of all the amazing books that will never receive the massive audience they deserve because so many different stories are published and released yearly. “Kill Six Billion Demons” by Abbadon is one of those stories. It’s a recent addition to the growing genre known as “webcomics,” comics that are read page by page online. Webcomics are often drawn and written by the same creator, an impressive and difficult task. This means that they come out at a much slower pace than comics from DC or Marvel, often one or two pages weekly.
This page-a-week release rate can be a serious turnoff for new readers, but the amazingly detailed art of a girl’s journey through a butchered heaven will keep many including myself turning new additional pages every week.
The story itself — in which Allison escapes heaven but then returns to save her ex-boyfriend — can sometimes be overshadowed by the bombastic action scenes that erupt throughout. While this speaks more to the expertise of the artist than the weakness of the plot, one cannot help but feel that the storyline, while decently executed, is only present because of a need to tie the more awe-inspiring moments together.
The art and action of the webcomic are hard to outdo, however. The images flow, the backgrounds fully drawn and detailed, with the anatomy of drawn creatures respected. There is real physical weight to the movement of figures, their lines of movement easy to follow even when they are clothed in billowing fabrics.
The delicate construction of the plot is miraculously capable of supporting not only brilliantly original characters but their development as well. We watch our main “hero,” Allison, find personhood in a weird cast of characters on a seemingly endless journey. These side characters start off  somewhat milquetoast, with an angel who serves god (not the Christian one), unimpressively fitting into the role of a “Lawful Good” character trope. Thankfully, this character, among others, improves significantly in terms of their originality. Allison herself becomes stronger and more complex through her experiences, having to fight her literal inner demons and passing through many more "Fight Club"-esque trials to reach her goal.
Lastly, I would like to draw some attention to an element of writing that is often ignored in many genres, but webcomics especially: world building. “Kill Six Billion Demons” almost seems like its world was built before its story was written. The setting, a heaven described as “a corpse being picked clean,” is a fun and diverse area for us to watch the characters traverse. Some characters can be a little too overflowing with exposition, but the author is decently self-aware about this, cutting them off before their dialogue becomes exhausting.
Also, for those who complain about the release time, this story is being released in print volumes by Image Comics. In my opinion, they are well worth the cost.
Find “Kill Six Billion Demons” for free online at https:// killsixbilliondemons.com/ or in print at your local comic book retailer for $15.
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Courtesy IGDB
After an eight-year hiatus, Marvel’s coveted Ultimate Alliance series is back with “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.” The action role playing game features characters from every facet of Marvel’s publication history, allowing you, and up to three friends, to create your own super team in a race against Thanos to gather the infinity stones in a fun romp through the Marvel Universe.
Building off of the previous entry’s four-player arcade style, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” also introduces the synergy system that allows characters to attack together, causing significantly more damage while looking really cool. This mechanic makes “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” feel less like a mindless punch-a-thon, and adds a focus on cooperating with friends to build the ultimate team.
During my playthrough, my party and I played as a hodgepodge of characters, usually ending with some combination of Star-Lord, Ghost Rider, Scarlet Witch and Captain America. In the game, roster size is both a blessing and a curse. While there are over 40 playable characters, and more on the way, it often felt like quantity over quality. “Ultimate Alliance 2,” for instance, had a similar roster size, but the characters felt more alive, quipping and commenting on the world around them. In “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” all of the characters seem two-dimensional.
Focusing more on gameplay than plot is hardly a bad thing, but I was hoping for a bit more personality in a game that features such iconic characters. Speaking of team competition, while you’re free to mix and match heroes as you see fit, should you decide to play as an established team like the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy you’ll reap a sizable stat boost that will push you through the game’s more difficult sections.
On the bright side, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is not afraid to challenge players. Going in on the “Mighty” difficulty, the harder of the two available at the start, my party and I got our butts handed to us fairly regularly, but every loss felt deserved and every win felt well-earned. There were multiple occasions where we would have to rethink our plan of attack, often by switching up our team to better counter our foes. Having a difficult game is almost controversial in the industry right now with many studios preferring more casual, pick-up and play game design. “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is no “Dark Souls,” but it isn’t a cakewalk either, providing a very refreshing challenge for those looking for it.
My praise at being virtually punched in the face aside, “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is not a perfect game, but it presents some good old fashioned arcade gameplay with the mechanical integrity you would expect from the Nintendo Switch. “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3” is at its best when played with friends, making it a great way to spend a laid back summer night with the non-gendered friends of your choosing, especially the ones who need a pick me up after “Avengers: Endgame.”
Find “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order” exclusively on the Nintendo Switch for $59.99 at your local retailer or https://marvelultimatealliance3.nintendo. com/buy/.
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Courtesy Dreamville Records
“Follow your heart. Don’t follow what you’ve been told you’re supposed to do,” Jermaine Lamarr Cole, aka rapper J. Cole, said in an interview. And that’s what he did in this atypical new album.
After his “Revenge Of The Dreamers III” album dropped on July 5, it has remained at the top of the Billboard charts, peaking at the number 1 spot. ROTD3 is the third studio album created by Dreamville, J. Cole’s label which features the rappers Bas, Cozz, Omen, J.I.D, Lute, Earth Gang and J. Cole himself, and singer Ari Lennox all with their own unique sound. In addition to this they invited tons of outside artists and producers including Cleveland rapper Dababy and famous producer Kenny Beats, making it a truly special project.
Because of the uniqueness of each member, each song feels completely unattached from the last. It’s hard to listen to this album as one cohesive project; it’s a much more enjoyable experience if you listen to it as a collection of solo songs rather than an album. Despite this, each song has something different to offer and any fan of hip hop should be able to find a song they enjoy.
The album kicks off with “Under The Sun” which is easily one of my favorite songs from the album. It has a relaxing and melodic beat which uses a gospel sample as the intro. The sample sets the mood for the whole song. On top of that it uses vocals from famous Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar singing, “I woke up for some money” as the chorus. It really brings the whole song together.
J. Cole fittingly takes the first verse of this album, which he made possible through years of his own classic rap albums and slowly assembling the Dreamville team. The lyrics of this first verse are fairly basic and don’t have any particularly deep message. But, he does use some clever word play including at least one double entendre. What he lacks in lyrics he makes up for in every other way—the flow and rhythm of Cole’s verse really brings an upbeat energy and creates an unshakeable anticipation for the rest of the album.
Next is Dreamville rapper Lute who proves his own abilities in this verse. He has a slightly more gritty cadence than Cole, but his fits perfectly with the beat and the overall tone of the song. Even with less experience, he is nearly able to keep up with Cole’s impressive flow. He even drops a couple of really great lyrics, like in the middle of his verse where he raps “I don’t even need a reason, loyalty over treason,” to show his loyalty to Cole and the rest of the label.
The final verse is rapped by North Carolina artist Dababy, a feature no one could have seen coming because of his unique style. It seems like it would be out of place with the Dreamville cast. Despite this, he is able to hold his own against Cole and Lute in this masterpiece.
I am also a big fan of “Self Love” and “Sleep Deprived.” In both these songs there’s a chill beat, and Ari Lenox introduces beautiful vocals with clear RnB and soul influences. It’s incredibly refreshing for a rap album.
“Self Love” has a great message of being confident in yourself and not changing yourself for other people. Ari and the artist Baby Rose take turns singing the hook of the song, “self love is the best love, buy your love is the worst drug…” Ari and Rose have beautifully alternating vocal tones with Ari taking higher notes while Rose focuses on the lower end of the spectrum. Overall it’s a really beautiful song with a beautiful message that even someone who's not a fan of rap could enjoy.
The final gem from this album is a song called “Wells Fargo.” This song has a surprisingly large roster of four rappers, considering the song is only about two minutes. This song is not a lyrical or storytelling masterpiece but its a fun song to listen to and I can’t help but keep coming back to it. Even before the music starts I find myself amused by the intro where the rappers talk in fake wealthy British accents and plan to rob a Wells Fargo bank, saying things like “your grace is that my flame thrower beside you” and “ my lord, my lord, please hand me the bazooka”. Along with the funny undertones of the lyrics, I find the chorus beyond catchy and JID’s flow in the first verse is easily one of the most impressive off the entire album.
Even though I love this album and a lot of the songs on it, like any album there are some songs I don't like at all and I feel like they have no replay ability after the first listen. You may not agree but one of my pet peeves in hip hop is when there’s a beat switch in the middle of a song, instead of one good complete song you end up getting two broken segments of songs with no chemistry whatsoever which makes it nearly impossible for me to listen to more than once.
Because of this I really don’t like the songs “Oh Wow...Swerve” and “Rembrandt...Run It Back.” Ideally these songs would be broken in two separate pieces both of which would be better than them being squished together under the guise of being one song. However if you were to break them in half, both halves would still need significant work to be able to be considered complete songs.
Overall this is a great project and I highly recommend everyone listens to it at least once. Even if you don’t like most of the songs, chances are there will be at least one which you will enjoy. Along with the music, Dreamville uploaded a documentary showing their process in making the album on their YouTube channel. The documentary shows the artists and producers writing and practicing lyrics, creating beats and getting to know each other. In only 10 days the Dreamville team and those they invited created about a hundred songs then narrowed it down to the 18 best ones which appeared on the album.
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Courtesy Playdead
Lots of gamers play first-person shooter games, but what they are missing out on is an experience no FPS can offer better than a game like “Inside." “Inside” is an indie, 2.5D puzzle platformer. The game has some 3D aspects like allowing the player to get behind objects, but the environment is primarily two-dimensional.
Throughout the game, there is lots of action varying from being chased by a pack of wolves to playing as a big blob of limbs trying to escape a lab. You play as a boy and start by sliding down a cliff into the frame. I didn’t mind the absence of the back story because it allows the player an infinite amount of creativity. “Inside” makes up for its lack of story with the chilling but beautiful 2.5D environment. To solve the puzzles, the player interacts with boxes that can be pushed or pulled and walls that need to be climbed using colorful birds. The black and gray color scheme allows for the developers to play with other colors as part of the storytelling.
One might think that since this is an indie adventure game there won’t be challenges, but that is untrue. A simple FPS enemy couldn’t compare to some of the puzzles in this game that require creative thinking more than spamming. The game challenges you the second you slide of the cliff onto land. Rather than just fighting, you’ll have to find ways to avoid dogs that chase you down and snap your neck, mermaids that try to drag you to the bottom of the sea, evil men who are trying to kill you, drones that are trying to track you down and tase you to death, big sonic cannons that blow the flesh off of you and possessed animals trying to kill anything and anyone that crosses their path. The challenges that you face really push the average gamer to think harder.
There may be a lot of enemies, but you have allies. Two little chickens follow you and help you get through parts where you need to get over large obstacles like walls, and there are mindless human bodies — fully intact but empty vessels — that follow you when you gain access to the helmets that control them. The vessels help you jump higher by picking you up and stop you from falling to death by catching you.
The game has different settings and lots of  puzzles and you complete the game after you solve them all and escape the lab. If you are scared of getting lost in the challenges, there are lots of YouTubers that post walk throughs you could refer to for that little bit of help. If you complete all the hidden challenges, help or no help, you will unlock an ending fit for all the work you did with more mystery and questions than the normal ending. “Inside” is a perfect mix of thriller and adventure all fixed into a perfect package. The game will take on average 3-4 hours to complete and will leave you feeling accomplished.
“Inside” is available for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, iOS and PC. Find out where to purchase it for your device at https://playdead.com/games/inside/. Rated M (17+) for Blood and Gore and Violence.
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