Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Best MAN!!! #8

Click me, I took hours to make...

Well folks, after a week straight of nothing but Mega Man related blogging, we’ve made it to the big finale.

That’s right, today we’re gonna’ be taking a look at the 10th anniversary game of the Mega Man series, Mega Man 8 on the Sony Playstation!

As previously explained Mega Man 8 will be the final installment in The Best MAN series, as I haven’t played Mega Man 9 or 10, and thusly don’t feel qualified to elect a Best MAN for those games.

That being said, let’s dive into Mega Man 8!

8’s story was, much like 7, somewhat more involved than previous entries in the series, largely due to the unprecedented inclusion of hand-drawn anime cutscenes.

At the time of it’s release, Full Motion Video (FMV) was already old hat, however after the release of the Amiga 32CD, Sega CD, 3DO, and other such CD based consoles, many game developers saw fit to include FMV in their games, resulting in the technology being en vogue for much of the 90’s.

Mega Man 8’s FMV sequences were fairly entertaining, and decently well-animated, however the English voice acting was absolutely atrocious.

For real man, Dr. Light sounds like fuckin’ Elmer Fudd after a stroke, no joke.

He also stutters.

Like a fattie.

The end result was a series of fairly entertaining, but often times, all too tempting to skip, cutscenes.

There was 1 scene in particular though that I remember keeping an extra save file (it was a Playstation game, of course you could save!) for just so I could watch it over and over again:

It seems kind of lame now, but when I was 10, that was the coolest thing ever.  Even though my Playstation would freeze during it just about 90% of the time…

Anyway, the story of Mega Man 8 is based around a capsule of “evil energy” that falls to Earth.

EVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

This energy grants it’s wielder great power, and multiplies by feeding off of it’s host’s evil intent.

Think the Venom symbiote from Spider-Man.

And now, gentleman, for your viewing pleasure: A T-Rex wearing the Venom symbiote.

Dr. Wily of course gets his hands on this evil energy and uses it to power his latest creations to tangle with Mega Man.

In the meantime however, an intrinsically “good” robot from outer space named Duo (the big dude in Dr. Light’s lab during the video) crash lands on Earth, only to awaken halfway through the game to serve as an ally to Mega Man.

That is, not before trying to kill him, of course.

On the side there’s also a very Dragonball Z-esque “Goku and Vejita” dynamic that plays out between Mega Man and Bass.

Basically, Vejita, I mean Bass; has an inferiority complex, which results in him attempting to use the evil energy to grant him the power to defeat Mega Man.

Oh Bass, we do this dance again and again, and yet you just don't seem to learn the steps, do you?

I like Bass, really, I do; but he’s a total pussy in Mega Man 8.

Haha, get it!? "Bass!"

Mega Man 8 was vastly different from any Mega Man that came before it.

From a presentation standpoint, it was easily the most graphically intense iteration of the series, well, pretty much, ever.

The animations were silky smooth, and the music was excellent all-around, with most of the tracks being quite memorable.

Although from a cosmetic standpoint Mega Man 8 was a drastic departure from the norm, and undeniably, an improvement, the gameplay was merely different, and not necessarily for the better.

One of the comments I received on my Mega Man 7 post from yesterday made note of the fact that the game was slower than the NES games in the series.

I failed to address this in my post, and for that I apologize, however it is an incontrovertible fact.

Mega Man 7 was a much slower-paced game than it’s predecessors, and Mega Man 8 followed suit by being even slower.

THIS FUCKING SLOOOOOWWWW.

The sprites in Mega Man 7 were very large, excessively so, and thankfully 8 addressed this by increasing the screen resolution, while at once one-upping their level of detail.

Despite being a sidescroller like every other Mega Man game, 8 was a much more vertically oriented game.

The screen orientation was “taller,” and Mega Man’s jump controls were changed so that he jumped higher than normal, however, due to his much slower walking speed, his horizontal jumping distance was toned down a bit.

While definitely a much slower-paced, and in-fact, much easier game than it’s predecessors, Mega Man 8 was still quite fun.

TONS OF FUN.

New gameplay features in Mega Man 8 were plentiful (for a change).

The shop from Mega Man 7 made a return, though this time around it was run by Mega Man’s sister, Roll, and the currency used there consisted of an extremely finite, and difficult to acquire, supply of bolts scattered throughout the robot master stages.

Items in the shop consisted of equipment to dampen the “knock-back” effects of getting hit, decrease the charge time for a Mega Buster shot, change the function of Mega Buster, and a variety of other things.

Part of the fun of the shop was the fact that not all of the items were all that useful, such as the one that increases your climbing speed, or the one that disables your Mega Buster!

I greatly preferred this shop system, as unlike 7, where all you had to do was “farm” for money by killing enemies, purchases in 8 felt much more strategic.

A Hummer: THE strategic purchase.

In addition to the shop items, there were also a total of 4 Rush items, all granted to the player after defeating minibosses during the robot master stages.

While virtually all of the Rush items were nothing more than novelty items that could net you a nice item or two here and there, I always thought it was a neat idea to turn Rush into a motorcycle and ride him into battle.

PIMP.

But, that’s just me.

In addition to the changes made to the overall pace of the game, Mega Man 8 also featured some truly inspired level designs.

No longer consisting purely of platforming action, 8 contained a several vehicle segments and a few maze-like stages that couldn’t be completed linearly.

While Mega Man 5 was the first in the series to feature on-rails vehicle sequences, in the form of a jet-ski ride during Wave Man’s stage,

Mega Man 8 took this concept and greatly expanded on it.

Frost Man and Dr. Wily’s tower both featured perilous snowboarding sequences wherein the player would have to alternately jump or slide to survive the course.

JUMP.

Tengu Man’s stage featured an extensive on-rails shooting sequence in the skies.

"FUCK YOU, WHALE!"

This sequence was one of my favorites in the game, as it had you riding Rush while shooting numerous enemies, all while gradually recruiting a huge DEATH SQUAD of Mega Man’s buddies to help you out.

The Mega Man Death Squad in all their glory.

Auto, Eddie and Beat all made appearances in this sequence, with Beat finally redeeming himself as the single most powerful ally you could acquire.

I'm lettin' you off easy this time... Chump.

Sword Man and Astro Man’s stages served as the first maze levels in Mega Man history.

While Sword Man’s stage was not really a maze, but rather a series of trials that had to be completed while making use of specific robot master weapons, Astro Man’s stage was one mother of a maze.

ARRRRRGHH!!!

Seriously, I fucking hated Astro Man’s stage…

Well, I think I’ve said more than enough about Mega Man 8, it’s time we got down to deciding who’s The Best MAN, for the very last time.

The Best MAN of Mega Man 8 is…

Frost Man

FROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST MAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!!

Didn’t see that comin’ didja’?

You know why Frost Man’s The Best MAN?

‘Cause Mega Man 8 was the first game in the series to give it’s robot master voices, that’s why.

Okay, okay, that’s not the only reason I picked him, but it had a lot to do with it.

You see, Frost Man’s voice made me laugh as a kid.

His character was supposed to be that of a huge, powerful, dopey idiot, and his voice reflected this very well.

"I will love him, and kiss him, and I will call him George..."

Seriously, when the biggest fuckin’ robot master in the fuckin’ series leaps into the arena, smashing a bunch of Mega Man ice sculptures to show off his strength, only to yell out something retarded like:

“I’m gonna’, crush you! I will…… Beat, you!”

I just can’t help but smile.

Tune to 4:45 for example:

Seriously though, Frost Man has a lot going for him.

His “walking igloo” design is inspired and truly a sight to behold in-game with it’s vivid animations, his weapon, the Ice Wave is fun to use, (although much cooler looking when he uses it) and his stage is lots of fun to play with one of the better background tracks in the game:

If anyone could usurp Frost Man’s position as Best MAN, I’d say it would be Clown Man or Search Man.

Seriously, I actually had to rewrite a big portion of this post on account of me changing my mind about Search Man at the last minute.

The problem with Search Man is that, while he’s got personality up the ying-yang, and a cool weapon to boot, I didn’t care much for his stage.

You see, like Mega Man 7, 8 split up it’s robot masters into 2 groups of 4.

Because I rarely finished the game as a kid, the second group of robot masters were one’s I didn’t end up seeing all that much of.

Sorry Aqua Man, no one likes you...

On top of that, I’ve never actually fought Search Man without having the Flame Sword to pwn his ass with, so I’ve never really gotten to experience a real fight with him firsthand.

Clown Man on the other hand, while one of my favorite designs in any Mega Man game, suffered for exactly the same reason Frost Man was promoted.

His voice annoyed the piss out of me.

EXAMPLE

He had an extensive repertoire of interesting attacks, his stage was cutesy fun, and his weapon was not all that bad, but his voice was just painful to listen to.

Oh yeah, that and he was WAY too fucking easy…

Protip: Sticking your arms into the ground isn't a viable combat tactic. It just gets you shot. In the face.

Well folks, we’ve named our last Best MAN.

Hopefully everyone had fun along the way, I know I did.

See you tomorrow when I (hopefully) think of some other shit to write about…

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Crappy Book Covers Are Crappy!

Say what you will, it's still THE BEST COVER EVER.

Yesterday’s post was an example of intentionally bad cover art for a book.

Today I figured I would take a moment to show you a few examples of published book covers that are potentially worse from a design standpoint than the juggernaut that was “Dr. Vladimir’s Space Virus.”

Shitty book covers aren’t hard to find, one has only to venture down to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of any book store or library to find them.

Or don't. That would be my suggestion anyway.

All of the images that follow were taken at the University of Washington Book Store.

It should be noted that most of these covers were far from the worst I’ve seen.

I blame myself for this, as Barnes & Noble seems to stock a larger quantity of rubbish books with shitty covers.

Good job UW, way to keep the crappy book cover population to a minimum.

Anyway, let’s begin our journey through the world of shitty cover art with the book that prompted me to start this whole day of adventure in the first place:

Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo.

The moment I saw this on the shelf, I found myself stupefied, gawking in horror at the masterpiece of ass-itude that lay before me.

Now, first thing’s first, Werewolf Smackdown is a truly awful title.

Unless of course THIS was the subject of the story.

In my opinion, the most frustrating part of this cover isn’t the horrendous graphic of the werewolf character, but rather the typography of the title.

The “Down” part of the word “Smackdown” is on a slightly lower plane than the “Smack” resulting in a rather confusing appearance.

I guess one could theorize that this was done intentionally as a visual metaphor to put emphasis on the fact that werewolves are in fact smacked down in this book, but I seriously doubt most would come to that conclusion on first glance.

Hell, it took me like 20 minutes to even come up with that half-assed explanation.

Werewolf Smackdown, definitely playing second fiddle to Werewolf RAW is WAR.

Next up is Eric Flint Time Spike by Marilyn Kosmatka… Or is it Time Spike by Eric Flint and Marilyn Kosmatka?

Here we have our basic Tyrannosaur eating a Spanish Conquistador cover.

Other than my confusion over what’s the title and who’s the author (thank you very much, shitty typography), this is a pretty crazy-awesome/retardly-awesome/shitty cover that I honestly don’t have problem with.

That doesn’t make anything more than a shitty cover though.

Just ask any of my friends, I have a tendency to find reasons to like truly awful things.

Pretty sure I'm the person I know that actually liked this movie...

Moving right along, next we have Pyramid Power by our homeboy Eric Flint, or wait maybe it’s by that son of a bitch Dave Freer, I honestly can’t tell:

Like the previous cover, this one isn’t overtly bad, it’s just really fucking stupid.

I mean come on, it’s a fuckin’ dragon holding a viking with it’s tail.

On paper that sounds pretty cool, but I would’ve preferred to see a less static representation of this most epic of encounters, you know, something a little more action oriented or dynamic.

Goddamn you Monster Hunter, lookin' all cool n'shit...

Conceptually speaking, this is like looking at a heavy metal album cover.

You aren’t allowed to ask “why,” you just sort of accept it in all it’s insanity and excess and get on with your life.

Either that, or you briefly question the band's sexuality for a moment, then rock until you just don't care.

Pyramid Power loses points for it’s shitty title, however, like the previous cover; the cover isn’t all that bad, just uninspired.

Finally, I’d like to take a minute to look over a couple of covers from an author that seems to have a knack for generating crappy novels deserving of crappy covers, Mr. John Ringo.

Holy shit! He looks like Muldoon!

First up is The Road to Damascus:

In case you couldn’t tell, that is in fact a child in red pajamas, holding a teddy bear in one hand while holding a laser gun in the other.

Oh yeah, he also appears to be facing down a tank.

Based on the color palette and (shitty) fonts, my first instinct upon viewing this cover was to compare it to one of those choose-your-own-adventure novels.

I know they look nothing alike, but I just felt like using this image 'cause I acutally own this one.

Though silly in nature, The Road to Damascus, once again, doesn’t have all that bad a cover.

The image is provocative, with some definite time and effort put into the illustration, with some very straightforward and easily distinguished focal points to the layout.

The fonts are pretty boring, but not clip art bad.

I will say this though, the cover seems a little too busy in places, particularly at the top, where the tag line is inappropriately large given it’s close proximity to the author’s name/names.

Our last cover is another John Ringo book, called Gust Front; and this time it actually is shitty, not just bad like most of the others.

I apologize about my leniency towards these shitty book covers.

Many of them probably deserve harsher words than I’ve given them, but I guess it’s just not in my nature to gripe about and be unnecessarily or overly critical of things, no matter how shitty they may be.

Oh well, here’s Gust Front:

Holy fucking shit that’s bad.

Pretty much everything bad that can be said about cover art can be applied to Gust Front.

The title is ass.

The fonts are ridiculously over-the-top, oversized, and horrendously colored.

Oh yeah, and the composition is off-balance, somehow managing to be both cluttered and sparse, with truly awful original Starcraft quality CG renderings for all the figures present in the image.

Hmm, I don't remember the old Starcraft looking like this. Sadly, no trace remains of it ever since the announcement of #2.

It’s kind of funny actually, the dude in the power armor reminds me of the Starship Troopers CG cartoon, Roughnecks.

Yup, these guys and the Extreme Ghostbusters were my best buddies after school...

Man, that was a good show…

Hang on, now that I think of it, the title font seems to bear a certain resemblance to the Starship Troopers one, at least in terms of it’s alignment.

I'm proud to say that the DVD I own of this film has a MUCH better cover.

I see, so we’re to buy this no doubt shitty novel based on the associations it brings on in our minds in relation to Starship Troopers?

Clever girl Mr. Ringo… Clever girl indeed…

I feel it is worth noting that John Ringo’s section at the UW bookstore was pretty much a shelf unto itself.

That’s a lot of shit novels.

Huh, guess I really can be an asshole when I put my mind to it.

Go figure.

Anyway, this has been a truly half-assed post.

Things will pick up a little bit more tomorrow, promise.

Praise be to Space Bobcat.

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