Azn Badger's Blog

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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #7


Alrighty, now we’re starting to get to the part of our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights where the fights get just plain, Anne Ramsey-ugly.

Up until now, there was at least some quantifiable element of “fun” to be had in fighting the bosses on this list, but pretty much from this point on, the fun gets tossed out the window, and all we’re left with is 7 scalp ripping-ly frustrating douchebags that make up the stuff of gaming nightmares.

In case you couldn’t tell from my “colorful” language above, I’ve got beef with a lot of the bosses to come; in particular today’s entry.

That being said, #7 on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, and quite possibly one of the most unabashedly douchey motherfuckers in the whole thing is:

#7. Duriel – Diablo II

Pictured: A brave and/or stupid player faces down Duriel one-on-one.

“Looking for Baal?”

THIS…. MOTHERFUCKER.

Of all the bosses on this list, Duriel has to the one I hate the most.

It’s one thing to have your balls torn out of your scrotum and stuffed into your ears by a boss, but to have them do it over and over and OVER again without a hint of motherfuckin’ progress to show for all of your attempts, well…. That’s just plain fuckin’ mean.

Like, irrational fictional character hate-spawning, mean.

Okay, so we’ve established that I’ve got problems with Duriel.

So then, why exactly is it that I hate Duriel?

.... Pretty much sums up what to expect when facing Duriel.

That would have to be the fact that he’s a cheap, overpowered motherfucker that represents one of the steepest and most sudden difficulty spikes in gaming.

Don’t get me wrong, Diablo II is a wonderful game that I’ve happily played on and off again for many years now, (though not at the time of it’s release, my computer was too wimpy) but when it comes to Duriel, somebody at Blizzard dropped the fuckin’ ball straight through the floor and into the depths of Hell.

Let me just explain a little something about how I’ve played Diablo II, as I’m sure there’s plenty of Diablo experts out there who are laughing at me right about now:

I’ve never played Diablo online.

I’ve always trudged my way through the game solo, usually with melee-based character like a Barbarian or *sigh* Paladin

"Hi, I'm a Paladin! I suck balls like a motherfuckin' Dyson on speed!"

As far I understand, this is just about the worst way to take on Duriel, solo or otherwise.

ESPECIALLY with the fuckin’ Paladin, ’cause as I hope we all know, he sucks monkey balls.

SERIOUSLY.

Moving on, Duriel’s abilities and attributes are tailor made to chew up guys whose only option is to go toe-to-toe.

He’s beefy and can take a hit with the best of them.

He hits harder and faster than you.

He moves faster than you.

And to top it all off he strikes with a Cold Aura that slows your actions, effectively enabling him to land 2 for every 1 of your hits; as well as make escape an unreliable backup tactic.

Enough of my words, take a look at this video of a group of about players barely edging a victory over Duriel to get an idea of what I’m talking about:

The term “buzzsaw” comes to mind when watching such blood-soaked spectacles.

While all of the crazy cheap-ass shit listed above indeed sounds insurmountable, the real kicker is the fact that it didn’t have to be.

Duriel’s speed/freeze combo is a motherfucker, but the clunky nature of Diablo’s mouse driven controls and equation based combat results are in many ways equally to blame for the difficulty one faces in dealing with him.

If you were to take a boss like Duriel and drop him into a precision-based action game, there’s a good chance he’d be a little less of a prick.

Unfortunately, Diablo II isn’t a precision-based action game, leaving us with Duriel in his current state of ungodly douchey-ness.

Probably the saddest part of actually beating Duriel, at least for me; was discovering that there really was no good way to do it without exploiting the mechanics of the game.

True, I was playing solo what basically amounts to a multiplayer experience; but even so it made me sad to have to stoop to out-douche-ing the douche that is Duriel in order to finally defeat him.

The way I finally did it, with my brawny melee beast of a Barbarian, was to bring a dinky (and mostly unwanted) bow from my stash, and poke the bastard with arrows until he either beat my ass so bad I had to Town Portal my way out of his lair; or I killed him.

For all intents and purposes, my skills, my stats, and my equipment had little to nothing to do with my victory.

He had the muscle to put me down with only a few hits, no matter what.

Really, if any one thing is to be praised as the ultimate conqueror of Duriel, it’d have to be the Scroll of Town Portal.

"Winner, and STILL champion!"

I’m fuckin’ serious.

Unless you turn off the game, the bosses’ health doesn’t regenerate over time, making it an entirely viable tactic to ‘port in and out of the battle zone to re-supply as one sees fit.

This tactic can be used for any boss in the game, however Duriel was the only one I felt I had to.

If that’s not ABSOLUTELY FUCKED game design, I don’t know what is.

The only reason Duriel isn’t WAY the fuck higher on this list is because he’s just plain unfair as opposed to outright “hard.”

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #8


As we work our way up through the bottom tier of our list of the The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, it’d dawned on me that our previous 2 entries both earned their slots, partly through an element of “cheapness” in their attack patterns.

While far from the cheapest or most annoying bosses of all time, (hence their low placement on the list) it’s hard to look at the Yellow Devil and Shredder and not say to yourself:

“Man, there’s just no good way to fight these guys without getting dick-slapped here and there.”

That being said, while I admit, wholeheartedly; that the next entry on this list isn’t anywhere near as annoying as the 2 bosses that have preceded him, I’d argue that he was the more difficult, and the more thrilling challenge overall.

Our #8 entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:

#8. Sigma – Mega Man X

Pictured: X doing battle with Wolf Sigma, the nefarious Maverick's final form.

The Mega Man X series has produced some of gaming’s best boss fights.

Fighting a futile battle against the indestructible Vile in his robot ride armor was an experience few gamers will forget their first time around.

You can't beat him in the beginning of the game. Trust me, I've tried.

Similarly, fighting Zero, the protagonist’s partner and close friend; yielded real drama in my young imagination (mostly because of the simple, but AWESOME music) way back in the day.

By the way, the only reason you’d ever have to fight Zero in Mega Man X 2 is either because YOU SUCK, or because you’re lazy.

My guess is that guy was lazy.

Despite all this, in terms of both drama and overall difficulty, no other boss in the X series ever sucked me in and tested my platforming skills quite like Sigma in the original Mega Man X.

BAD ASSSSSSSSSSS.

While many would dispute Sigma’s placement on this list, one has to understand that, at the time of the original Mega Man X’s release; the gauntlet style of final boss encounter that has since become his signature was in the process of being pioneered.

Like many contemporary games, fighting Sigma is a multi-stage affair involving 2-3 back-to-back fights of ascending difficulty.

Sigma is relatively difficult in all of his appearances, with the notable exception of X 2 and 6 where he was a total pussy; and truth be told, I was actually tempted to put his iteration from X 4 on the list as opposed to the original.

The kicker however, was the fact that 2 out of Sigma’s 3 forms in X 4 were pathetically easy, making for an experience where all of the difficulty in the battle is reserved for the very end.

Even so, that last fight was pants shitting-ly insane:

Unlike in X 4 though, the battle is very much pants shitting-ly insane all the way through from start to finish in Mega Man X 1.

Oddly enough, the first fight with Sigma in X 1 is against his robot dog, Velguarder; who sadly did not become a recurring element of Mega Man X universe, despite having a pretty badass design.

INSUFFICIENTLY BAD ASSSSSSSSSS.

Given his extensive range of context sensitive attack functions, and tricky wall climbing dash, Velguarder can be pretty tough; however after you’ve spent about 20 seconds with him, or put some Shotgun Ice up his ass, usually he folds pretty quick.

Despite this, the dog is a credible threat that, if able to get the drop on you enough times; can sufficiently gimp your life meter for the battles to come.

Next up is the big boss himself, Sigma armed with a pimp-ass beam saber:

Sigma, about to put the hurt on, the wall, apparently.... Seriously, I don't know where the X sprite is in this pic.

Similar to Velguarder, Sigma has the capacity to dash onto the walls and basically follow you wherever you go; however his movement speed is actually a bit slower.

The tradeoff is, Sigma’s sprite is about twice as big as the dog’s, and he does quite a bit more damage.

While he can be strung along and forced into chasing you up the walls in a diagonal fashion, on occasion Sigma breaks his pattern and plants his feet for a devastating slash with his beam saber.

Seriously man, while it’s entirely possible, and indeed, necessary; to make it through Velguarder and Sigma without using a sub tank, one hit from the Chartreuse Beam Saber of Ultimate Destruction is good enough to nearly cut your life bar in half.

IN HALF!

In other words, if you’re planning to fuck up against Sigma, do so without sitting on his fiery, lime-green popsicle of Death.

You see, the really hard part about fighting Sigma, is the fact he forces you to enter into the battle thinking 2 steps ahead of yourself.

The fight in Mega Man X is 3-stage gauntlet, and with (ideally) 4 sub tanks AKA 5 total life bars at your command from the start, you have to be judicious with your life refilling or face the consequences in the form of getting to the finish line, only to run out of gas.

By far, the most frustrating part of fighting Sigma is getting to his final form, using all your sub tanks on a good effort, only to lose and realize that your sub tanks won’t refill automatically on your next life.

That being said, as mentioned earlier, it’s in your best interest to get past both Velguarder and Sigma’s first form without using a sub tank, as the final boss, Wolf Sigma; is one mean motherfucker that’ll wreck your shit, and then shit on your shit that’s just been wrecked.

SERIOUSLY:

Like the Yellow Devil from #10, Wolf Sigma is one of those nasty fuckers that won’t let you hit him until he’s good and ready.

His attacks are numerous, constant, and savage enough to take a third off your life bar every go; and the only way to get at his weak point (read: THE FACE) is by jumping on and riding his quick moving claws that are trying to kill you all the while.

Like most Mega Man bosses, Wolf Sigma has a weakness, in the form of the Rolling Shield; however it can take awhile to figure that out your first time through.

Put it this way:

You’ve got 8 weapons at you’re command at this point in the game, and that means you have to survive to hit Sigma with each them almost 8 times to test out the Rolling Shield.

That means you need to eat a lot of Wolf Sigma claws, lightning, and fire breath before you figure out his weakness, by which time you very well may have burned through most of your sub tanks.

While not exactly the hardest boss of all time, Sigma’s debut in gaming will always stick out in my mind as one of the more taxing mind games I’ve encountered in an action game.

3 fights, all in a row, and you’ve got to ask yourself, “Do I go all in, or will I do better next time?” all the while.

Of course, you could be a bastard and just use the hadouken to plow through the first 2 fights… but not third.

Capcom wanted to make sure you’d suffer just a little bit, even if you decided to cheat…

Filed under: Games, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summon Cardboard Box!

Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve made a Magic card!

This one took a lot longer than it probably looks, mostly because I went to great lengths to actually make it as opposed to just snagging something off Google Images and slapping a filter on it.

If you want an example of how easy this card could’ve been to make, here’s an image that probably could’ve done the job just fine that I found in about 5 seconds of searching:

Pictured: The easy route.

Anyway, the card above is of course an homage to the famed cardboard box device from the Metal Gear series.

In all honesty, though I’ve played through every entry in the Metal Gear Solid series multiple times; I’ve rarely found a use for the cardboard box in any of them.

I know they’re useful for quickly jumping around the map via trucks and conveyors, but outside of punching Meryl to make the wolf pup pee on my box; I never really made use of them.

What?  You didn’t know about the wolf piss?

*ANYWAY* much like the old N64 Turok games, it’s hard to deny that Metal Gear games are big on loading you up with cool gadgets and abilities; only to end up giving you very little reason to use them.

Turok gave you awesome guns, but nothing to shoot at.

Metal Gear gave you an amazing range of abilities, but no real practical reason to employ them outside of for shits and giggles.

As fun as that looked in the trailers, for the life of me I never found a reason to do a barrel roll in Metal Gear Solid 4.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, let me know if the text on the card needs to be changed or anything.

Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s The Deal With Asura’s Wrath?

(E3 Footage HERE)

Today I decided to sit down and watch some of the demo footage from this year’s E3.

While I’ve been (halfheartedly) following some of the news from E3, truth be told; today marked the first instance in which I actually watched any footage from it.

Given that I see myself as kind of a Capcom whore, the game I decided to check out was their enigmatic and supposedly “different” upcoming game, Asura’s Wrath.

At first glance, the game seemed pretty decent; but within the span of literally 2-3 seconds, my impression of it changed dramatically.

In case you’re wondering, the character designs were the one major positive I took from the videos I watched.

Pretty pimp...

The 2-3 or character models (2 if you only include major characters, 3 if you count generic enemy fodder) featured in the trailers were all striking and wholly unique, with some pretty fluid animations to boot.

Outside of the character models though, everything I’ve seen from Asura’s Wrath managed to rub me the wrong way.

Despite the beauty of the characters, the backgrounds and scenery were bland and simplistic; bearing a color palette of the Gears of War 1 style “gray and brown.”

The voice acting is atrocious, not only in terms of quality of performance, but also in terms of the actual sound of it.

Also on the audio side of things, the music was mindblowing-ly lazy, with about 15 minutes worth of “intense” in-game footage playing host to a boring drone akin to the early seasons of the American Dragonball Z dub.

Speaking of Dragonball Z, Asura’s Wrath clearly seems to draw a lot of inspiration from it, not just in terms of aesthetic, but also in terms of pacing.

Basically, the formula goes:

Inane and indecipherable dialogue, followed by manic action scene, followed by another inane indecipherable dialogue scene, followed by power-up scene, followed up by dramatic epiphany, followed by even more dramatic power-up scene.

*Sigh* How many years of my life did I devote to watching this exact frame played over and over and over again?...

I swear, all they needed to do was insert a cut away or 2 of grass blowing in the wind, and Asura’s Wrath would straight up be Dragonball Z.

Maybe it’s just because I’m older, but for whatever reason; I just can’t play along with these old fashioned anime tropes anymore…

So far I’ve spent this whole article harping on Asura’s Wrath from face value alone.

Truth be told, that’s where most of my complaints lie, however I do in fact have a gripe or 2 about the gameplay (from what I could derive from the in-game footage).

First and foremost of these complaints is of course:

Is there any gameplay?

While it’s of course far too early to make any serious speculation, from what I could tell from the footage I viewed, Asura’s Wrath has a God of War/Devil May Cry/Ninja Gaiden/Bayonetta/Heavenly Sword/Dante’s Inferno/Etc. action mechanic.

There are attack buttons, there is a shoot button, and there is a context sensitive counter button.

With the exception of the counter button, these buttons are used maybe 5 times over the course of the trailer.

It was actually kind of funny watching the player use the shoot button, as he never really seemed to get the hang of the aiming mechanic; which resulted in him taking damage whenever he tried to use it.

Not that the game ever really seemed to offer any sort of challenge that required him to…

The vast majority of the 15-20 minutes of footage that I viewed, all taken from a boss fight mind you; involved extremely simplistic quick time events.

By “extremely simplistic,” I mean, “if you fail one of these, congratulations; you are a retard.”

The point is, I spent 20 minutes watching in-game footage of a game that looked kind of cool, sounded really dumb, and only asks you to touch the controller once every 5 minutes.

...And no, I'm not talking about Metal Gear.

Worse yet, most of the “gameplay” I saw basically involved repetitiously countering or performing a menial task in order to fill a gauge of some sort, activation of which basically rewards you by sending you to the next repetitive portion of the gameplay/cutscene.

Note the repetition of the word “repetition.”

Like virtually everything to come out of Japan, ever; Asura’s Wrath is very high on style, but seriously seems to lack in substance.

Other than the cool visuals, and distinctly anime-like cinematography and pacing, I really can’t figure out what would make it fun to play.

Bayonetta and God of War were quick-time event heavy, however they also had extremely robust gameplay mechanics to one to play around with in between it all.

Again, it’s far too early to make any serious speculation as to exactly what kind of game Asura’s Wrath is, but as of now; my opinion is largely negative.

At this point I’m still just wondering, what’s the deal with Asura’s Wrath?

Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Movies That SHOULD Be Remade

And the point of this was.....?

These days it seems every big budget summer movie is a remake or a sequel.

While this is hardly a new phenomenon, it’s alarming just how many of these films seem unwarranted given the nature of their predecessors.

In my eyes, the point of remaking a film is to improve it, or in the case of films that are severely dated; repackage them for contemporary audiences.

Some of the worst examples of a remake that I can think of are A Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, and Rollerball.

In the case of the former 2, neither made any attempt whatsoever to expand on what made the original films great.

Psycho was of course a shot for shot retread, making it essentially “Psycho with Vince Vaughn” and little else.

Elm Street expanded on a sub plot or 2 that was already embedded in the mythology (though wisely underplayed) of the series, but ultimately came across as soulless and downright ugly due to it’s poor pacing and even worse special effects.

Sometimes the old ways are best...

Rollerball… Well, Rollerball was pretty much as complete a fuck-up a filmmaker can produce… Especially when said filmmaker happens to be someone talented like John McTiernan.

I think it’s best we all just move along and pretend Rollerball never happened.

Anyway, in light of all the buzz surrounding the new embarassingly Twilight inspired Teen Wolf and Fright Night remakes, I decided to put (literally) a few minutes into coming up with a handful of movies that I actually wouldn’t mind seeing get remade at some point.

1. Robot Jox

Robot Jox = Rocky IV with giant robots.

That alone should tell you this movie is worthy of a big budget remake.

The original Robot Jox was a pretty awful low budget sci-fi film with mediocre stop-motion and miniature effects.

Despite all this, the core concept; that of robotic gladiatorial competitions being staged in place of war between nations, definitely still holds water in my book.

It worked for Rocky IV, it worked for Ip Man 2, and it would’ve worked for Robot Jox, had the production had some flash to go with it’s premise.

The end product would be dumb as all hell, but with state-of-the-art special effects, and even an ounce of the heart of Rocky IV; I think it could be stupid fun.

REALLY stupid fun.

At the very least, a Robot Jox remake would probably turn out better than Real Steel… Or either of Michael Bay’s Transformer movies.

Anyone wanna’ come with me to see Real Steel when it drops this October?

2. The Land That Time Forgot

... Is that T-Rex drowning?

Surprisingly enough, this one was already remade in 2009, in the form of a “mockbuster” produced by the oh so infamous crew over at The Asylum productions.

Given that everything The Asylum produces is essentially of the “ironically bad” variety, I don’t think it’s asking too much if we pretend the 2009 version of The Land That Time Forgot never happened.

Hmm, I wonder how many times I’m gonna’ have to say that over the course of this article…

Anyway, The Land That Time Forgot was a classic adventure story loosely based on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs AKA The Tarzan Guy.

When I was young, this film was one that I could always depend on to bring a smile to my face.

Even to this day, Land has a lot going for it.

It had cool period costumes and tech (WWI), explosions and volcanoes, and of course; giant dinosaur puppets fighting German sailors.

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Dinosaurs are always a win in my book, but when you put them head to head with U-boats and machine guns, well; it’s very hard to get that wrong.

In my mind, a solid modern remake of Land would play out kind of like the Skull Island segment of Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake, only for 2 hours instead of… Well, 1 hour… And with less giant gorilla ice-skating.

In my eyes, more dinosaurs always equals a better film.

3. The Day of the Triffids

The Day of the Triffids’ plot concerns a meteor shower than blinds everyone on the planet who views it, leaving the vast majority of the population virtually helpless.

The remaining sighted individuals find themselves thrust into a nightmarish world of violence and danger as disorder and chaos threatens to consume the last vestiges of society.

As the icing on the cake of it all, a new threat emerges in the form of vampiric, mobile plant creatures called Triffids that consume humans and multiply at a fantastic rate.

Triffids has been remade before, but not successfully; or with a Hollywood budget.

It’s hard to argue Triffids’ premise isn’t intriguing, however the reason I’d be interested to see a remake, is because the film is kind of silly to look at by today’s standards.

Pictured: The title monster.

On paper, the plot sounds amazing, but in execution; the film just doesn’t hold up all that well.

As with seemingly every movie I mention on this list, I think Triffids would be a helluva’ thrill ride with a new coat of paint and a few extra bits of characterization.

4. 2o,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Anyone who’s read a post or 2 from this blog probably already knows how much I love Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

What can I say other than the fact that it’s a thrilling and accessible adaptation of an amazing piece of fiction.

From a technical standpoint, few films can measure up to Leagues’ combination of Oscar winning effects work and absolutely brilliant casting direction.

In that sense, it’s hard to imagine a retread of Leagues being better than the 1954 version, however it’s one of those stories that I feel should be shared with the youth of every generation.

What I wouldn’t give to see what modern special effects could do for the giant squid sequence…

5. Them!

Them! is a great movie.

It’s a B-movie by today’s standards, and is indeed kind of hokey; but if you ask me, Them! is a terrific suspense thriller.

The pacing is absolutely brilliant, the Cold War metaphors none-too-subtle, and the monsters memorable, formidable, and truly horrifying.

At it’s core, Them! is about giant ants trying to take over the world of man.

One of the greatest successes of Them!, is the fact that it tells an epic-sized story without sacrificing characterization.

To that end, if Them! were to be remade, I think I’d actually prefer to see it maintain a similar scale to the original.

Modern special effects allow filmmakers *cough!* Michael Bay *cough!* to fill the screen with all sorts of crazy shit, to the point in which some of the craziness and spectacle actually loses some of it’s impact, or worse yet; ends up going unnoticed on the periphery of the screen.

While I admit it would be cool to see an army of ants bum-rushing L.A., truth be told; I found the sewer sequence at the conclusion of the original film to be more than sufficient for a climax.

The really cool thing about remaking Them!, and this is totally unrelated to the actual integrity of the film; is the fact that you could do all sorts of crazy J.J. Abrams shit with the marketing.

A good chunk of Them! didn’t even make mention of giant ants, so I think it would be kind of cool to tease the movie as a cop thriller or military action flick, without showing a frame of ant action.

Imagine how fucked up that would be to show up at the theater expecting Black Hawk Down or L.A. Confidential, only to end up having giant ants thrown at you a half an hour into the movie?

Sure, plenty of people would feel robbed or jilted somehow, but if the movie ended up being half as good as the original Them!, chances are a lot of people would end up loving it.

Then again, maybe “a lot of people” don’t appreciate giant monster movies the way I do…

Anyway, there’s my list, feel free to point out some movies you think I left out.

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OMFG: Hulk Hogan’s Main Event

I’ve written exactly 1 article detailing my thoughts on the Xbox Kinect.

Said article consisted of an ungodly amount of pissing and moaning regarding my general disinterest in the technical innovations the peripheral offered, as well some whining about how many of them I had to pack while working at the Amazon.com warehouse during it’s launch.

To this day, I have yet to visit a household in possession of a Kinect, nor have I had any desire to make a fool of myself on the demo rig at my local Best Buy.

In short, I have little to no interest in the Kinect as a gaming peripheral/LIFESTYLE CHANGING, LIVING ROOM DOMINATING APPLIANCE, nor have I ever found myself viewing any of the software designed for it as anything less than high-budget niche market tripe.

Well, let me tell yah’ somethin’ brothers, today I heard about a game being developed for the Kinect that, if it should live up to any of it’s potential, I might just might end up eating my words.

Said game is of course the upcoming, Hulk Hogan’s Main Event.

WHATCHA' GONNA' DOOOOOOOO!!!!!??????

From what I can tell, the game utilizes the motion sensor to gauge the players movements as they perform not just wrestling strikes and movements, but crowd pumping gesticulations as well.

It would be really awesome if all this included not just winning wrestling matches, but “selling” them as well.

I ask you, how cool would it be to thrash around your living room pretending to get your ass kicked by an imaginary/digital wrestler opponent?

I think Hulk Hogan is lending his voice and likeness to the game as well, though I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing at this point.

The Hulkster has been kind of hit and miss since his days at the WWF, and given that he’s supposed to be a trainer of some sort in the game, I’m guessing the Hulk we’d be getting would be more in line with American Gladiators Hogan:

… Let’s just forget that all happened, ‘k?
In other words, Hulk’s in it; but I’m only excited if it’s the real HULK HOGAN as opposed to the recently divorced corporate whore we’ve been seeing the past few years.

In my mind, I picture the game as being kind of a like a dance game, but cast in the skin of a wrestling and entrance walk simulator.

I know it sounds dumb, and the chances of it being at all a technically sound production are slim to none, but I ask you this:

What self respecting MAN wouldn’t want to try their hand at strutting down the ramp to the ring at Wrestlemania while aping the hand motions and posture of Hulk Hogan?

Hell, I’ve done played out this scenario both in real life and in my head plenty of times, but the idea of seeing my own wrestling avatar play out these same motions, to music and fireworks etc., just sounds fuckin’ awesome.

Anyway, the game will probably suck some serious balls, but if I ever see a demo of it; rest assured I will man-up and give it a shot.

If said scenario should ever come into play, expect to see some video footage of my performance at some point…

I guess this will have to do for now...

 

Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #3


Well folks, we’ve finally reached the Top 3 of our Top 10 Videogame Songs, and appropriately enough; today marks the first occasion of a “serious” song adorning our list.

That’s not to say trashy Jpop isn’t without it’s value, it’s just not quite as substantive as some of the stuff that’s to come.

Pretty much every song on the list so far have been included in their respective games for the purpose of being “fun” or “colorful.”

Today though shit’s about to get REAL as we delve into the musical world of Metal Gear Solid:

#3. Metal Gear Solid – The Best Is Yet To Come

Assuming you skipped the lengthy (and mostly extraneous) briefing sequence at the beginning of the game, one’s first few musical minutes with Metal Gear Solid were bound to be some of the most memorable in gaming history.

I don’t know about you, but from the moment “The Best Is Yet To Come” first starts playing during the opening infiltration sequence of the game, I could tell Metal Gear Solid was going to be something truly special.

At that point in my life, you could probably count on 2 hands the number of games I had played that had any sort of digitized voice or CD quality audio, so needless to say; I was caught entirely off guard by Metal Gear’s use of a hauntingly beautiful traditional Irish song at that time.

To put things in perspective, I still had this in the back of my mind around the time I first played Metal Gear Solid:

Okay fine, that was actually kind of awesome, but you know what I mean…

Sung by Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, (good luck pronouncing that…) “The Best Is Yet To Come” stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable and thematic songs in gaming, if not the most beautiful.

Truth be told, it’s folksy nature prevents me from listening to it as often as some of the other songs on this list, but few can deny that it’s first minute, the one used repeatedly in the game to drive home the drama at key points; is utterly unforgettable.

In that sense, “The Best Is Yet To Come” won it’s high placement on this list largely due to it’s inestimable contribution to the gameplay experience of Metal Gear Solid.

Many of the songs on this list are opening and ending themes, songs that are awarded to the player for booting up or finishing the game.

“The Best Is Yet To Come” is very different from these songs in that it serves as the overarching theme song for the ENTIRETY of Metal Gear Solid, making it a key element in the overall experience.

Hell, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t genuinely touched by it’s inclusion in the Shadow Moses segment of Metal Gear Solid 4, as “The Best Is Yet To Come’s” presence in that game really served to bring the themes of the series full circle.

Anyway, enough gushing, that was song #3.

Check back tomorrow for something even better!

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The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #4


Wow, hard to believe we’ve actually gone 3 days on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs without mention of a Mega Man song.

That being said, today we reach #4 on our list, which takes us to that most awesome of Mega Man spin-offs, the Mega Man X series:

#4. Mega Man X4 – Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru

Mega Man X4 was the first of the series to debut on the (at the time) next generation console, Sony’s Playstation.

While Mega Man X3 pushed the Super NES to it’s limits by throwing in a host of features, both notable and forgettable; X4 was a far more straightforward production, albeit one with sensational animation and sound.

Yes, that is in fact a giant walrus robot with fists as big as a Ski-doo.

While my initial reaction to X4 was actually kind of lukewarm when it first came out, it’s since grown on me and easily ranks as one of my top 3 in the series.

I suppose that’s not quite as big a deal as it sounds, given that the first 4 games out of a total of 8 are just about the only ones worth playing.

Seriously man, if ever there was a game series that lost it’s way in it’s second half, Mega Man X would have to be it.

Define "Lame": An onion robot with wind powers.

Mega Man rant aside, the song of the day, namely “Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru” AKA “Unbeatable Love I Surely Have,” is one that I was sadly never fortunate to have experienced in-game.

Only featured in the Japanese version of the game, my initial exposure to “Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru” came via the, then brand spankin’ new client download service, Morpheus.

I was in middle school, with access to a 56k modem, so you better believe I spent hours downloading Mega Man midi files and mp3s that I would later struggle to find programs to play them with.

In searching for “Rock Man” in Morpheus, I ran across a file with a series of squares for a name, which I would later find out was “Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru.”

Given that it’s ranked #4 on this list, I’d say it goes without saying that I really like this song.

It’s been in my music library since 1997, and to date I haven’t gotten tired of it.

Sung by Yukie Nakama, the song has a rare combination of Jpop-y “uppity-ness” and sincerity that make it noteworthy in an typically soulless genre of music.

The instrumentation in particular is quite inspired, as some of the synthesized guitar work is exceptionally potent, lending a lot to the strength of Nakama’s beautiful vocals.

As great as the song is, it’s interesting to note that, after having finally heard it used in Mega Man X4, I honestly don’t think it fits all that well.

Take a look:

Great song, poor usage.

Anyway, that was #4, check back tomorrow as we crack the Top 3 of the Top 10 Videogame Songs!

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The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #7


As indicated by the Best MAN article lovingly tucked away on this blog, it should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of the Mega-est of Mega Men; Mega Man.

With the exception of some of the more obscure games in the franchise, namely that of Wily and Light’s Rock Board: That’s Paradise and the EXE and Star Force series; I’ve played and enjoyed the vast majority of Mega Man’s games.

Pictured: Monopoly, Mega Man-style.

A funny thing about Mega Man, is the fact that many of the spin-offs to the linear series are actually some of the better games in the entire franchise.

In example, the Mega Man X series is probably my favorite in the entire Mega Man continuity.

In terms of both art design and gameplay mechanics, I’ve always felt that the X series was a logical and welcome progression to the Mega Man games of old; such that I’ve actually found it somewhat difficult to go back to the basic “run and jump” style of the older games.

I like my dash, thank you...

On that note, today our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs takes us to a Mega Man series that represents a rare instance in videogames, that of the spin-off of a spin-off.

Said series is of course the uber-difficult but oh so rewarding Mega Man Zero series:

#7. Mega Man Zero 2 – Clover

Mega Man Zero 2 is probably my favorite entry in the Zero series, largely on the grounds that it’s gameplay, story, and features seemed the most cohesive and streamlined out of all of the games.

Taking place far in the future beyond the one depicted in the X series, Zero casts the player as the titular character of the same name that was introduced in the prior series.

The core gameplay between these 2 series wasn’t all that different, however Zero went the extra step of granting the player a number of new weapons and abilities, as well as a complex and customizable upgrade system.

As mentioned previously, the Zero series also went out of it’s way to significantly up the difficulty level, occasionally to obscene levels; but largely for the better.

The real star of the show of the Zero series, at least in my book; was the artistic design:

TALENT.

In terms of outstanding art design, there are few game series that can measure up to the Zero series in terms of creativity and colorfulness, as well as outright beauty.

I bought the Mega Man Zero art collection pretty much as soon as it became available, and to date it’s probably the most flipped through art book on my shelf.

While the visuals of Mega Man Zero were indeed a key selling point for me, I was surprised to find that, upon first picking up the series; the music was also quite good despite being played through a Gameboy Advance speaker.

On that note, “Clover” is kind of unique on this list, as it represents a song that actually is only featured in-game in an instrumental form, yet is included on the Mega Man Zero 2 soundtrack as an actual song.

While some would argue that this should disqualify the song for inclusion on this list, I stand by my decision on the grounds that it’s a awesome fucking song, and probably shouldn’t have been in the game given that it was featured in a Gameboy Advance game and likely would have sounded like shit being played through it’s tinny-ass speakers.

That being said, as was the case with “God Hand,” part of the overall appeal of “Clover” spawns not just from it’s quality as a song; but from the fact that it took some serious time and effort to gain access to.

The instrumental version of “Clover,” titled “Awakening Will,” serves as the ending theme of Mega Man Zero 2, and for my money; I think it was worth the effort:

As I made my way through the Mega Man Zero series, I made it a point to sit down and listen to the official soundtracks of each game in sequence, and I’ll never forget the time when I first had “Clover” play through my headphones.

Sure, there’s better pop songs out there, but much like “God Hand,” part of the appeal of “Clover” to me is the fact that I actually remember most of the lyrics.

As someone who still slips up on lyrics from “Eye of the Tiger,” despite having heard it 6 BILLION TIMES, I think it goes without saying that learning songs is not one of my strong suits.

I haven’t heard “Clover” all that many times, and yet for some reason the lyrics come quite naturally to me… Despite being sung in Japanese.

If that’s not an indication of a well written/catchy song, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, that was #7 on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, check back tomorrow for more!

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The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #8

#8 of our Top 10 Videogame Songs brings us to a genre of game that very likely should have a larger presence on this list, yet due to my personal taste in games; doesn’t.

Said genre is of course that of the ever popular rhythm/dance game.

As with many genres of games that don’t involve the words “fighting” or “scrolling,” rhythm games have never really appealed to me.

Dance Dance Revolution was kind of popular among my friends way back in middle school, and indeed I must confess to having hopped around on the dance pad a few times at a birthday party or 2; but for the most part dance games have never been my thing.

No surprise, given that real dancing is not exactly something I’d consider all that fun.

While I generally loathe dance rhythm games, I’ve had my fair share of fun with musical games that make use of a standard controller.

In case you’re wondering why I’d take the time to make mention of the “standard controller,” let me just say this:

Videogame peripherals like guitars, drums, or turntables have no business in my home.

The only game peripherals I’ve ever owned were light guns, and even then I kind of regret buying those.

Well, except maybe my GunCon. GunCon was the shit...

That ugliness aside, Amplitude and the Beatmania series were rhythm games that I remember enjoying alongside my friends back in the day.

On that note, I’d like to present to you a song from 1 of 2 musical rhythm games I’ve owned over the years, and the 8th best song on our Top 10 Videogame Songs list:

#8. Bust A Groove – Bust A Groove


I’m a believer that pop for pop-ness sake isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Going by that logic, songs like “Bust A Groove,” while hardly original or anything beyond cheap knock-offs of Madonna’s old shit; can be a lot of fun if you’re in the mood for them.

That being said, I must have been in the mood for cheesy translated Jpop music back in 1998, ’cause I ate up the tracks from Bust A Groove like they were fuckin’ Willy Wonka Gobstoppers.

Pictured: CRACK COCAINE.

For those who might be unaware, Bust A Groove was of course the American version of the Japanese original, Bust A Move.

Like many Japanese imports of the 90′s, much of the content of Bust A Groove was altered, resulting in many of the songs being re-written and performed in English.

Unlike many other examples such as this however, many of the English songs of Bust A Groove ended up being just as good as, if not better than the Japanese originals.

Take for example Shorty’s song:

Japanese

English


The Japanese version sounds like it’s sung by a bored 11 year old with no talent, and truth be told; I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the case.

I realize this was likely the intent of the producers, given the relative age of the character that’s supposed to be singing it, as well as the undeniable fact that Japan is a nation of pedos; but even so, I just can’t stand the sound of a singer that doesn’t seem like they’re enjoying themselves.

The English version, while still not all that great, at least has some degree of feigned enthusiasm to it; making it at least somewhat bearable.

Shitty examples aside, I feel confident in saying that “Bust A Groove” is indeed a better song than it’s original Japanese iteration.

The original Japanese version, “Blue Knife” is pretty good, however at the end of the day it just sounds like a wimpy Jpop song among a sea of similar, but far better produced songs.

The lyrics of the English version are stronger, and the overall sound of the song is made stronger and more unique by the fact that American pop songs of it’s style are less common than in Japan.

That being said, while nearly every song in Bust A Groove is remarkably entertaining, (unlike most the shit from Bust A Groove 2…) I’ve always felt that “Bust A Groove” was the cream of the crop.

Anyway, thus concludes #8 on our list, check back tomorrow for more!

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