Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

500 Hits Kids, 500 Hits…

Well, it actually happened ladies and germs.

We got to 500 hits.

Thank you to all among you who clicked on this hopeless mess of a blog.

Originally I had planned to put out a celebratory post for the 100th hit, but when that happened within the first 2 weeks I decided to hold off for a more meaningful milestone.

Well, that time has come, so we’re going to take a moment to celebrate the 500th hit on Azn Badger’s Blog!

Annnnnnd, go!…………………………………………………………………………….

Okay, that’s enough of that.

At the risk of talking at dead air, I’d like to take this opportunity to reach out to whoever the fuck reads this blog, and ask for your help in improving it.

Over the past 6 weeks or so, I have posted EVERY DAY with the intent of providing entertainment to my readers, while at the same allowing myself to have fun exploring topics I hold dear.

My question to you, my thus far voiceless, although apparently loyal readers, is this:

What would you like me to do with this blog?

Is there anything you would like me to change?

I have already established a number of regular “segments” to the blog, namely “Let’s Look at Comics” and “The Best Track in the Game,” however from time to time I wouldn’t mind writing about things that aren’t quite so close to home.

Don't worry, we'll get to THIS someday...

By now, everyone should know what this blog is all about.

I’m not a current events man, nor am I a political man.

I write about fun stuff I grew up with, and fun stuff I enjoy to this day.

Though it may not have been said up until now, I would just like to throw it out there that comments are, and always will be encouraged.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by again, looking forward to your feedback/comments.

By the way, regardless of how many requests I get, there will be none of this:

I have small hands and a small mouth so it probably wouldn’t work out anyway…

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Moon Knight, Thank You For Being So Freakin’ Crazy.

Marvel Comic’s Moon Knight is fucking badass.

Until recently, Moon Knight was always just a niche hero to me, a cheesy Batman clone with a cool costume and D-List villains to go with his D-List superpowers.

Moon Knight's gadgets range from a spermicidal bodysuit, to a portable stripper pole.

By the way, his “powers” consist of augmented strength in synch with the phase of the moon.

Oh yeah, and his “powers” don’t work anymore.

And his fighting technique is described as “hurting peoples fists with his face.”

Kind of like these guys.

So why is it that I like Moon Knight anyway?

About a month ago, I read my first Moon Knight story, and I’m kicking myself for having waited so long to do so.

It wasn’t until November 2009, when I saw Jerome Opena’s incredible interior artwork in the current “Vengeance of the Moon Knight” series, that I made the conscious decision to find a nice jumping off point to start reading Moon Knight.

Yeah, it's cheesy, but goddamn I love it!

Hell, I figured that, if the art was that good, Moon Knight had to be doing something right over the years.

My first Moon Knight story came in the form of the Charlie Huston’s 2006 relaunch of the series, “The Bottom.”

“The Bottom” was a violent and gritty character study of Marc Spector AKA Moon Knight.

Marc Spector: The Avenging Hobo.

Let it be known, that when it comes to “violent” and “gritty,” David Finch’s artwork is a perfect match.

Oh yeah, make sure to add “stylish” to that pile of adjectives too, ’cause yeah, Mr. Finch does stylish, and he does it well.

Even when he’s drawing stuff for that pile of ass-fuckery, X-Men: Messiah Complex.

Pictured: Messiah Complex.

Seriously, fuck Messiah Complex.

Fuck it with fire.

And rhinoceros cock.

And a dental dam.

Hmm, sexual....

ANYWAY, “The Bottom” begins with Spector crippled and dispirited due to horrible injuries inflicted on him by his lifelong nemesis, The Bushman.

You see!? THIS is what happens when you give cocaine to Joe Pesci!

The Bushman and Spector were originally partners in crime in a mercenary unit during the Gulf War, (in the original, 1970’s version, they were in Southeast Asia) however due to moral differences, they’ve been at each others throats ever since.

In any case, Bushman throws Moon Knight off a roof, shattering his legs in the process.

No way in hell this guy didn't get paid to take this photo. Douche-Rocket...

Despite this, Moon Knight manages to stay in the fight long enough to, literally, cut Bushman’s face off.

"I want to cut his faaaaaace... Off."

Did I mention that Moon Knight was badass?

It was moments like this that cemented my love and appreciation for Moon Knight.

That and the fact that Moon Knight is perhaps the only “superhero” I’ve ever read, that was completely bat-shit crazy.

I mean, check out his bio:

He’s a former mercenary that hated his father, got shot to shit in the Middle East during the 90’s, then found himself brought back from the dead to serve as the earthly avatar for Khonshu, the Egyptian god of the moon and, apparently, vengeance.

At least that’s what he thinks anyway.

As Moon Knight, Spector is unforgivingly brutal and over-the-top in how he handles criminals.

Trust me, that red shit ain't strawberry jam...

Early on in The Bottom, Spector makes a side-comment regarding his status as a street-level crime fighter, something along the lines of:

“Someone has to do this, someone has to do the fun stuff.”

That sums up Moon Knight pretty well.

He’s the living embodiment of vengeance.

He regards the very concept of it as spiritual, holy.

To him, busting heads and cutting bitches, no matter how inconsequential or petty, is like going to evening mass.

Mr. Ike Turner here knows what I'm talkin' 'bout.

I gotta’ say, it feels sick of me to think it, but I love reading Moon Knight, because deep down I know his moral compass, his concept of justice, are both totally fucking wrong.

Try saying that about your average superhero.

"Superman, you're WRONG! You're... Oh, I can't stay mad at you Christopher Reeve. You handsome devil, you."

In “The Bottom,” Huston cleverly makes use of the fallen (and still faceless) corpse of The Bushman to serve as a representation of Khonshu’s influence on his thinking.

Think it as an homage to the “Jack” character in An American Werewolf in London.

Oh Jack, you were alive what, 10 minutes of the movie?

Spector’s interactions with Khonshu serve as a highlight to the story on many levels.

From them, we learn that Spector is conflicted with his identity as Khonshu’s servant, as well as the fact that Khonshu may or may not be a manifestation of Spector’s own mind.

From what I’ve read, Marc Spector was originally written as having multiple personalities, and in many ways, I feel that Charlie Huston managed to do more by simply alluding to this, than in actually implementing it as a plot point.

In The Bottom, we learn that Spector’s support system, his Alfred Pennyworth and Barbara Gordon, have left him due to his “retirement” and general lack of self-worth.

And if THIS is the only way you know these characters, you can go right ahead and continue to suck cock.

If you don’t know who either of those two characters are, get the fuck off my blog.

Seriously folks, it’s fucking Batman.

If you don’t know FUCKING BATMAN, then congratulations, your life has been a big waste.

Anyway, back to Moon Knight…. Yah, bunch of retards.

For the most part, I was very impressed by Charlie Huston’s handling of the ancillary characters in Moon Knight’s universe.

From his use of them, I felt I got to know them, and their respective histories with Marc Spector, without them ever having to come into play in the main storyline.

By stories’ end of course, Marc Spector again assumes the mantle of the Moon Knight, leading to a confrontation with a stunningly original villain, The Profile, who has the ability to literally “read” people with pinpoint accuracy.

Now THAT, is one sketchy motherfucker. Seriously, he looks like a cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Donnie Brasco. Oh wait, that's Johnny Depp.

Oh yeah, and the always enjoyable Taskmaster also makes an appearance as during the climax of the story in a rare, action-heavy role.

Goddamn, Taskmaster is pimp...

Despite the bombast of the Moon Knight’s return to ass-kicking form, the ending ultimately turns out bittersweet for our hero, as he finds himself still under Khonshu’s thumb, friendless and without even himself to trust.

Unlike THIS GUY. THIS GUY knows EXACTLY what he's doing...

“The Bottom” was a riveting experience that goes all too well with my collection of MAX Punisher and Thunderbolts books.

Violent, and full of questionable morals and stellar artwork to boot, Moon Knight is fucking awesome.

These days I’m reading “Midnight Sun,” the second volume in the 2006 Moon Knight series.

And so far, I’m still loving it.

Charlie Huston drops off as writer after this volume, as does artist David Finch, so I’m not sure the series will retain it’s quality after this point, but even so, I’ll be happy with just the two books regardless.

My “Moon Knight Plan” after reading “The Bottom” was always to read Huston’s work, and then move on to the first arc of the brand new “Vengeance of the Moon Knight,” then maybe give the new Secret Avengers a try.

After all, “Vengeance” apparently deals with the resurrection of The Bushman via the combined efforts of The Profile and The Hood, so I guess by the time I start reading that, I’ll be all caught up anyway.

Yup, it's true, nobody stays dead in comics.

Anyway, enough gushing and comic bullshit, have a good night everyone.

Hopefully we’ll hit 500 hits tomorrow, that’d be a milestone worth celebrating, right?

With that, I leave you with this awesome (and officially published!) Moon Knight cover in which our heroes battles a pair of Luchadores.

In a word: AWESOME.

Filed under: Comics, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #2: Bust-A-Groove

Someday, I'll become that guy on the right. Fuckin' pimptastic...

I know what you’re thinking, “I thought Bust-A-Groove was a dance game?  How does it have boss theme, let alone a good one?”

Well, nearly every video game has a final challenge, or a final stage, and in Bust-A-Groove’s case, I count that as it’s boss music.

JAPANESE DENIM. MONEY STUFFED IN 'EM. COOLEST OF THE CARS AND THE BADDEST OF THE WOMEN.

Beginning in 1997, the GMD (Bemani) divsion of Konami began blitzing the arcades and home consoles with dance and rhythm games.

The first of these was Beatmania, which utilized a vertical scrolling, timing based button input mechanic to simulate a DJ-ing experience.

Don't ask me. All I did was Google "Beatmania" and this was what I got. Fuckin' pedo-Japanese...

In 1998, Konami followed up the success of Beatmania with the creation of the iconic, and wildly popular, Dance Dance Revolution.

Pictured: An Otaku/Narutard in it's natural state.

From this period on, Konami began cranking out dozens of expansions on their dance and rhythm gameplay concept which, effectively giving birth to a new genre, as well as making way for a host of imitators.

Bust-A-Groove is one these imitators.

...Also an imitation.

Developed by the wildly prolific Enix Co. and published by the now defunct 989 Studios, Bust-A-Groove (Bust-A-Move outside of the U.S.) was an interesting experiment in dance/rhythm game mechanics that was released on the Sony Playstation.

Not so much a pure imitator of Konami’s rhythm game formula, as it was an innovation of it, Bust-A-Groove combined the timed button input format of Beatmania, with the head-to-head style gameplay of a two-player puzzle or fighting game.

Chess Boxing: Not quite the same as Bust-A-Groove, but awesome nonetheless.

As if to point out to the player the similarities between Bust-A-Groove and fighting games, the developers were kind enough to include an attack command that each player could utilize to offset the rhythm and momentum of their opponent.

Every character in Bust-A-Groove was colorful and unique, each with a dance style and musical theme to call their own.

Standouts among the cast, both in terms of music and character, were Heat, a breakdancer,

Well, he looked cool in the game, anyway.

Hiro, the leisure suit wearing disco dancer from the cover,

Is it just me, or does this guy look like he's about to shank/rape someone HARDCORE.

and Capoeira, a duo of aliens that utilize a dance style that more closely resembles the Brazilian martial art than it does any traditional dance style.

Pictured: The typical result of the average white man's attempt at Capoeira.

It’s worth noting that a fair amount of censorship was involved in the U.S. release of Bust-A-Groove.

Differences include Hiro no longer perpetually smoking his cigar, (as his song ironically declares to be the norm for him) and the hip-hop dancer, Strike, having his bottle of hard liquor being replaced with a cola can.

Yeah, 'cause these are just about the same thing.

In addition to this, many of the songs in the game were translated and re-recorded from the original Japanese.

It’s funny, normally I’m a purist when it comes to “dubbing” or serious localization of media, but in Bust-A-Groove’s case, I honestly feel that the English revisions of some of the songs are in fact superior.

In example, I found Shorty’s English song to be infinitely better than the oh-so-pedo-it-can’t-be-legal-Japanese version.

Give ’em a listen:

Seriously, it sounds like the singer was 10, maybe 11 years old, and worse yet, had no aspirations to be a singer whatsoever.

...Not that that isn't typical in the music industry or anything.

That ugliness aside, let’s get to the “boss music” of Bust-A-Groove.

Bust-A-Groove’s final stage, it’s final boss, is a giant dancing robot named Robo-Z.

Pictured: Tetsujin 28 strikes a pose to ensure bowel regularity.

Robo-Z’s stage consists of a downtown cityscape, wherein your player character stands atop a skyscraper, while Robo-Z does some sort of trance/vogue dance while standing in a busy intersection.

Let be known that Bust-A-Groove is for HARDCORE dance fans only.

It’s pretty epic actually, the idea of someone dance battling a 50 foot robot in the middle of the city while cars careen down the road and slam into the robot’s feet.

As icing on this already surreal-as-fuck situation, Robo-Z’s theme song is an over-the-top, fast paced trance-techno song called “Flyin’ to Your Soul.”

Pretty cool, huh?

When my brother got this game for Christmas in 1998, I really sucked at it.

I’ve always had a good ear for music, but for some reason my fingers just couldn’t keep up with inputting the button commands on the fourth beat.

Nowadays I can play the game with my eyes shut, but back in the day, I usually couldn’t get past Kelly’s stage.

Okay, now there be two stripper bitches... This is not altogether a bad thing.

Kelly’s stage is usually stage 2.

I remember watching my brother beat the game again and again though, and every time, I’d make sure to be in the room for when he played Robo-Z’s stage.

Like I did with Sakura’s song, “I Want You to Know,” I used to listen to “Flyin’ to Your Soul” as much I possibly could from the sound test screen.

“Flyin’ to Your Soul” may not be the most intense, or archetypal boss theme around, but it’s catchy, and it’s just about as epic as music in a dance game can get, and for that reason, it’s ONE OF THE BEST BOSS TRACKS EVER.

Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Track in the Game #7: Battleclash

Yup, that's my "rig." Would probably burst into flames if I tried to run a Super NES game on it.

Did you ever buy a game just because you liked it’s sequel?

I have, a lot of times actually.

Buying the original Devil May Cry after beating Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening was a dumb move on my part, I can admit that now.

Every element of the game was a step down in quality and intensity from where I had jumped onto the franchise, and I was a fool to think it would turn out any other way.

Thankfully, I wasn’t dumb enough to so much as look at that piece of shit Devil May Cry 2.

Devil May Cry 2: Full of Suck.

Allow me to go on a tangent for a moment.

These days, comparisons between the film industry and the modern video game industry are a dime a dozen.

I’ve even heard it said that most game developers these days are just film school rejects that couldn’t cut it in the industry.

Injecting “cinematic” elements into games these days seems to the be the new status quo, regardless of the genre or subject matter.

Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up being served a Contra game with voice acting and half hour long cut-scenes some time in the near future.

Now imagine the cerebral conversations these two could have... for an hour at a time.

Game/Movie bullshit aside, one major difference between the two mediums, is the fact that in one of them sequels are considered contrived and needlessly commercial, while in the other, they are praised and lauded for their contributions to advancing the industry.

Game sequels are rarely made without reason, whether it be due to loose ends in the plot, or a lack of advancement in gaming technology that allows the developers to crank out cookie-cutter sequels without rightful objection from the players.

I'm lookin' at you, you jolly blue fuck.

The same cannot be said for unwished for movie sequels like Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Wallstreet 2: Money Never Sleeps.

I know it wasn't a sequel, but don't tell me anyone actually asked for this pile to be made.

Though it is not a genuine fact, for the most part, game sequels generally improve on what came before them, even if it’s only by inches at a time.

End tangent.

Battleclash was one of the first Super NES games made for it’s bazooka-shaped peripheral, the almighty Super Scope.

Yes, I do in fact store my cock on a bookshelf. It needs space, otherwise it gets ancy.

The Super Scope was meant to be a successor to Nintendo’s previous “gun” peripheral, the Zapper.

Duck Hunt, and Bayou Billy. Only fuckin' games I ever used this thing for.

On a technical level, it was a major success.

Though it required an absurd amount of batteries, (6 AA’s) and the use of a controller port to plug in an infared receiver, the end result was a unique and surprisingly accurate “gun” that, like the Zapper before it, was sunk by the lack of games supporting it’s functionality.

As a child, I played but one game on with the Super Scope: Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge.

No, the game didn't consist solely of shooting blue balls at robot's crotches. Well, for the most part anyway.

We’ll talk about Metal Combat some other time, for now, let’s just say it was a great game, and I love it to this day.

I loved Metal Combat to the point in which I ended up purchasing it’s predecessor, Battleclash, solely based on the principle that, “if the second one was great, the first one was probably pretty good too.”

Battleclash proved to be just that, pretty good.

Basically, if you took every aspect of Metal Combat’s presentation and gameplay, and turned it down a few notches, Battleclash would be the result.

The music and sound was more tinny, the gameplay was less complex and involving, the graphics were smaller and less detailed, and overall the whole experience just felt lacking.

At it’s core though, the concept of Battleclash is one that could probably still hold water to this day.

Unlike invading Russia. In the dead of winter.

Basically, the sole gameplay element of both games consisted of shooting robots from a simulated robot-on-robot first-person perspective.

Holding down the fire button would shoot weak, almost completely non-lethal rapid fire shots, while holding your fire would cause a “power shot” meter to charge, allowing you to shoot single, powerful shots every few seconds.

Essentially, the rapid fire stuff was meant to knock down SLOW MOVING enemy fire, and the charged shots were basically the mainstay of your offensive arsenal.

Along with setting fire to peoples' crotches.

Enemies were often fast-moving, with numerous armored portions.

This, coupled with the fact that charged shots could only be fired every few seconds or so, led to Battleclash’s combat being based on timing and accuracy rather than overwhelming your opponent’s with a hail of bullets.

Protip: Shoot fat people in the belly. It is both messy and effective. Hey, it works on the Pillsbury Doughboy, so it must work on all of 'em.

Once per battle, the player was also granted the use of a devastating bomb attack.

To be fair, the bomb was a truly unfair addition to the player’s arsenal.

And to the arsenal of the good 'ole U.S. of A

In Metal Combat, bombs were not so much damaging to the opponent, as they were debilitating.

They were a means to clear the screen of enemy fire, knock out whatever bits or drones the opponent had, and in some cases, they also provided a means of exposing the enemies’ weak spots.

In Battleclash however, bombs did all these things, while also inflicting massive damage.

Yeah, that's right. I posted the crab.

To call the gameplay of Battleclash “deep,” would be an insult to the word.

Despite this, unlike most shooting gallery games, Battleclash and Metal Combat went the extra mile and actually had storylines.

Essentially, the plot of Battleclash is like a cross between a rip-off of Robot Jocks, and a rip-off of Bloodsport.

BEST. MOVIE. EVER.

An asshole named Anubis (original, I know) has taken control of the world using his giant robot, or “ST” (Standing Tank) as they are referred to in game, named Thanatos.

The boss himself.

You, the gunner for a pilot named Mike, in his ST, Falcon, decide to enter a worldwide ST battle tournament for the right to challenge Anubis on Mars and avenge Mike’s father’s death.

Don't ask.

Each battle in the game was preceded by and concluded with a exchange of dialogue between Mike and the opposing pilot.

Little details, such as giving the enemy ST’s a pilot, a face and a voice to go with them, were what made Metal Combat so special to me.

Battleclash did an alright job in this area, however due to ugly in-game art, and a mostly uninspired soundtrack, most of the characterization ended up seeming cheesy and extraneous.

THAT'S inspired dialogue!

As you can probably tell by now, I felt sort of let down by Battleclash.

I bought it in honor of my love and respect for it’s sequel, thinking it would ultimately prove to be an equally good, if not better experience.

Sadly, the only truly great thing Battleclash did, was lay the groundwork for the creation of Metal Combat.

Because of this, I have always maintained that Metal Combat could use a sequel, not because the story needs one, but because even if they did nothing to improve the gameplay, and simply through on a new coat of paint, the end result would still be a game worth playing.

Hell, with the Wii’s motion controls, rail-shooters seem to be making a comeback anyway, so we may yet see another Battleclash game.

That being said, while it’s hardly one of the better soundtracks in the Super NES library, The Best Track in the Game is…

Player Statistics (Ending Part 1)

Why?:

This track plays immediately after you beat the game, and rightfully so.

It’s upbeat, it’s fun, and it serves to remind you of the fact that that you didn’t just save the world, you just beat the fucking game!

Despite having a decently thought out storyline, the world of Battleclash is a colorful and cartoony place where men can escape from giant robot explosions with nothing but band-aids and fat lips.

In that sense, I feel it goes perfectly with the tone of the game.

More importantly, this music goes perfectly with what it’s used for, namely a brief sequence that revisits all of the ST’s you’ve defeated while displaying the various times it took for you to beat them.

Though the game has a proper ending credits theme that is more serious and melodic, I personally prefer to think of the Player Statistics music as the actual ending theme.

Runner-Up:

Friend’s Help (Skip to 6:26)

Why?:

Isn’t strange that both of my favorite tracks in Battleclash are ones played outside of the actual gameplay experience?

Even though the composition is actually only like 10 seconds long, I’ve always liked Friend’s Help.

It’s a bold and powerful track played during the cheesy and consummately Japanese sequence where most of the enemy pilots you previously defeated show up to lend their support in the form of refilling your shield gauge before the final battle.

Despite being only 10 seconds long, Friend’s Help is easily my second favorite track in Battleclash.

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Best Track in the Game, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #1: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie

Hello everyone, this will be the first in a new series of short-posts on my favorite tracks of boss music from video games.

Hopefully you’ll all enjoy and learn something at the same time!

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie was a multi-platform game released in tandem with the film of the same names’ release.

Despite the movie license, and the general ho-hum quality of most movie tie-ins, I found the game(s) to be a pretty solid entry in the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre.

As a youngster, I played both the Genesis and Super NES versions, though most my my time was spent with the Genesis version.

These fuckers was a pain in the ass...

In my opinion, the Genesis version, despite it’s technical limitations, (sound quality mainly) was actually the better iteration of the game.

Though both games were sidescrollers, the Genesis version maintained a more conventional design, I.E. each of the players had a one-button combo attack, utilizing both action buttons in tandem would perform a life-draining “knockdown” attack, players could move vertically and horizontally etc.

The Super NES version was an oddity among sidescrollers in that it had none of these features.

YOU HAVE TO PUNCH HIM IN THE BIG "Z" ON HIS CHEST, OTHERWISE HE'S INVINCIBLE!!!!???

Instead of allowing the player free vertical and horizontal movement, the Super NES version instead restricted the players to moving on one of two separate planes, a foreground, and a background; though sometimes the players were restricted to a singular plane.

Using a single button-press, the player could switch to either plane, an action that was sometimes necessary to avoid obstacles.

Most of the enemies in the game were also dispatched with only one or two hits, a rarity in most beat ’em ups.

LOOK OUT IT'S A PURPLE PUTTY!!! THEY TAKE TWO HITS EACH!!!! THAT'S MORE THAN ONE!!!!!???

Also worth noting was the fact that, despite the fact that the various versions of this games’ status as a movie tie-in, the enemy rosters of them largely consisted of characters featured on the TV show and not the movie.

For instance, the Super NES version makes extensive use of Lord Zedd’s Z-Putties, who were completely absent from the movie.

These guys, who were actually revealed to be even easier to kill than NORMAL Putties.

The Genesis version does a much better job maintaining continuity with the movie I.E. it includes Ivan Oozes Ooze Men and Tengu Warriors as grunt characters, however even it is guilty of a few slip-ups, particularly in including characters like Goldar as bosses.

Always thought this guys was hella' pimp. Well, at least whenever he wasn't talking...

Perhaps most strange of all however, was the fact that the Super NES version’s gameplay completely omitted any inclusion of the Power Ranger’s Zords.

The Genesis version had numerous stages where the players would take control of the Mega Zord(s) and/or Falcon Zord (the best guy in the game), with the gameplay maintaining it’s usual controls.

The Super NES version though, has the player assuming the role of an Angel Grove High School student or Power Ranger from the opening stage to the final battle with Ivan Ooze.

Speaking of Ivan Ooze, the whole reason I’m typing up this article, is the fact that the boss music in this game kicks ass.

Seriously, check it out:

I love the unrelenting energy of this track.

The rockin’ over-the-top guitar/synth riffs really give the track a dangerous and dramatic flair, while at the same time doing a wonderful job of maintaining a similar sound to the Power Ranger’s TV soundtrack we are all so familiar with.

For a game with mediocre action gameplay, it’s pretty amazing to think that a track this energetic and powerful was actually composed for this game.

It’s worth nothing that, despite my focus being solely directed at this track, the soundtrack as a whole is actually really solid.

In many ways, I think that speaks volumes as to the skill of the composers over at Natsume and Bandai.

The two companies also collaborated on a Super Famicom exclusive game, Gundam Wing: Endless Duel, which just happens to have a very similar soundtrack, with much of the same midi “instrumentation.”

In example here’s my favorite track from Endless Duel:

Did I mention Natsume kicks ass?

Well, they do, Ninja Warriors Again and Pocky and Pocky serve as living proof of that.

We’ll revisit Pocky and Rocky on this blog sometime, that’s a promise.

Anyway, the Super NES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie had a crazy-awesome boss theme, and thusly I hereby declare it ONE OF THE BEST BOSS TRACKS EVER.


Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Mega Man Monomyth

Mega Man (and a little bit of X) Heroic Formula:

• A crisis of some sort is initiated, often times involving a heist, jailbreak, or decimation of a city.

• The Hero, initially a normal young person, is born through his commitment to or association with a wise and kindly Old Man. This Old Man possesses the capability to lend The Hero great power, however he is hesitant to do so as he has vowed to dole out this power only for the sake of all things good and decent. Impressed with the young Hero’s purity of heart, he imbues The Hero with great power to combat evil. One of these powers includes the ability to call upon the aid of enchanted animal companions, some of which have the ability to change their shape or form to assist The Hero.

• The Hero arrives on the scene and puts a stop to the ensuing mayhem, only to find that this was merely the beginning of a much bigger ordeal.
• The Hero again enlists the aid of the Old Man, this time to inform him of the nature of, and location of the forces of evil.
• It is revealed that the Old Man is somehow affiliated with the leader of the evil organization, typically in the form of a former colleague. As a result, both the Old Man and the Villain possess similar powers to imbue and/or create beings of great power, though their intent in the use of this power is where they differ most.
• With his forces spread across the land, it is revealed that the Villain has divided up his conquered lands into 6-8 geographically unique territories, each headed by a powerful guardian or chief possessing a singular magical, mechanical or elemental power. Each region is also crawling with clone armies of enemy soldiers, manifested or enlisted with the intent of hindering or overwhelming The Hero, with none possessing the strength to best The Hero alone.


• For whatever reason, the Villain’s fortress proves to be unreachable and/or located in an unknown region, forcing The Hero makes the difficult decision in choosing which chief to tackle first on his long crusade to rid the land of enemy forces.
• The Hero then embarks on his first mission, eventually reaching and slaying his first chief, whereupon it is revealed that, among the powers given to him by the Old Man, he was also given the power to absorb the powers of each of the guardians upon their defeat at his hands.


• On his next sortie into enemy territory, The Hero utilizes his newly acquired power on the next region’s chief. Going by the region chief’s name, which serves as a clear label of his elemental, mechanical or magical ability, The Hero selects his next opponent by matching his new power with the chief who’s power would fare weakest against, I.E. fire vs. ice. This formula proves largely effective, though there may be occasions when The Hero is simply stumped or confused by the logic of his opponent’s weaknesses. On occasion, The Hero may also discover items that have the power to replenish his energy in time of need. These items possess capabilities including but not limited to: instant use life-restoration, instant use power/weapon energy restoration, as well as extremely potent energy reserves of both varieties that can either be replenished indefinetly via the acquisition of surplus energy restoration items, or used as single use reserves. These extra potent items are seemingly hidden, intended to be accessible, but not without employing special efforts to acquire. In general, one can assume that all of the instant use restoration items are composed of the life force of fallen enemies, as they often emerge from fallen foes.


• After having dispatched exactly half of the Villain’s guardians, The Hero is alerted by the Old Man to the emergence of a previously minor or unknown evil force. This evil is typically a retainer or general of the Villain’s, either that or a neutral and possibly misunderstood third party. Nevertheless, The Hero rushes to the scene, combating the evil as he would any other. As fate would have it however, the battle comes to a premature halt, in most cases with the opposition revealing that they were merely testing The Hero, inevitably leading to their declaration that the two of them will meet again. In the case of a neutral third party being the source of the disturbance, The Hero and this new character will come to an understanding of sorts, agreeing to either come to terms with, or fight alongside one another.


• Following this episode, The Hero gets back to slaying chiefs.


• Finally, with all of the chiefs defeated, The Hero is given the location of the Villain’s headquarters by the Old Man. The Hero then proceeds to raid the Villain’s fortress in stages, starting with the front gate then working his way to the interior in 2-3 successive raids.

There is a possibility that The Hero will return back home in between each raid, presumably to receive a debriefing of sorts from the Old Man. Regardless, at the conclusion of each raid, The Hero is faced with a bizarre and distinctly inhuman monstrosity that possesses great strength and no visible weaknesses. Through trial and error though, The Hero manages to discover that the creature does in fact possess a weakness in the form of one of his previously acquired powers.


• Once The Hero has reached the section of the fortress just prior to the heart, he is once again confronted by the character whom opposed him at the halfway point of his chief slaying adventure (if such a character is incorporated into the story). At the outset of, or shortly after combat, it is revealed that the fiend has either acquired new powers since their previous encounter or has chosen to reveal their true strength. In either case, the battle is hard fought, but eventually The Hero is victorious, though in some cases a comrade may intervene, sometimes resulting in their death.


• Upon reaching the heart of the fortress, The Hero is confronted with a hall lined with 7 or 9 transporters, with all but one, usually the one in the center of the room, activated. In entering any one of these transporters, The Hero finds himself transported to a room inhabited by one of the previously defeated chiefs! Using his intimate knowledge of his former foes abilities, The Hero dispatches these resurrected fiends with relative ease.

Upon re-dispatching each successive chief, The Hero is transported back to the transporter hall, with the small “reward” of his fallen foes life energy in between battles as a means of keeping himself replenished. Eventually, The Hero succeeds in clearing every transporter, leaving only the final, previously inactive transporter…
• Proceeding through the transporter, The Hero is whisked away to a great hall in which he is confronted by a gigantic war machine housing the Villain. Being frail and slight of build, as well as elderly, the Villain has used his great power to create/summon this awesome tool of destruction as a personal final option for use in combating The Hero. As the two duke it out, The Hero once again employs the logic of trial and error in regards to his arsenal against the great behemoth. Eventually, The Hero discovers the weakness of the great monstrosity, often times finding that the most esoteric and seemingly useless of weapons proved to be the only effective means of damaging his opponent. With the outer shell destroyed, the Villain deploys his final weapon, a tiny vehicle housed within his once awe-inspiring, now smoldering, ultimate weapon.

This vehicle proves to be exceedingly agile, yet severely lacking in firepower. Unfazed, The Hero grounds the flying machine before the Villain can escape. Realizing his situation, the Villain cowtows before The Hero, begging for mercy. Being the pure-hearted soul that he is, The Hero scolds the Villain for his actions, then promptly carts him off to prison.


• With that, the world is given the gift of a new champion and enjoys a period of peace and harmony. Inevitably though, the Villain will escape from prison to cause more mayhem, (occasionally under the guise of new, assumed identities) though The Hero will always be there to stop him.

Optional:
• The Old Man may exist merely as a spirit guide to The Hero, awakening powers within them progressively as a means of cultivating greatness through various trials.


• Within the various exotic regions the chiefs occupy, The Hero may discover or be given various tools or armors that serve to improve his capabilities. In some cases, some of these tools or armors may be required to bolster The Hero’s abilities as a means to defeat the Villain’s ultimate weapon.


• The Hero may have sibling(s) that lend support and/or shadow him throughout his adventure. Typically, if they have a sibling seemingly operating in opposition to them, The Hero will discover that they are merely testing them, not genuinely possessing evil qualities or motivations.


• At some point in the journey, The Hero may be inclined to revisit regions which he had presumably cleared some time earlier. His reasons for doing this vary to some extent, ranging from: collecting recovery items to hold in reserve for future battles, or searching for hidden items or tools that he may have missed.

Some of you may have read this awhile back, but oh well, hope you enjoyed it the second time around!

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I Hate The Blue Whale.

HATE.

I hate The Blue Whale.

I hate his smugness.

I hate his  perpetual goofy-ass grin.

SOOOOO MUCH HATE...

But most of all, I hate that he’s a fat-gluttonous-fuck and everyone loves him anyway.

I refer to Blue Whales as “him” because I find it anthropomorphizes and individualizes them, thusly making “him” easier for me to hate.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE.

When I was little, Zoobooks were my life.

Every month we would get a new issue in the mail, and every month I would devour every page of them.

Mind you, these were the cool Zoobooks, the stoic and dignified Zoobooks, not the stupid rebranded ones.

Now tell me, which one is easier to take seriously? Yes, I am aware that one is in Spanish.

One of these issues was titled “Animal Champions II,” within which were a host of factoids about world-record holding species of animals.

This issue taught me that The Blue Whale was essentially the Mr. Perfect of the animal kingdom.

The Blue Whale, personified.

“Animal Champions II” taught me that The Blue Whale was the world’s largest, most massive, strongest, and most gluttonous animal.

You see!? He even holds the record for being "Most Harpoon Resistant." WTF, man, WTF...

Basically, this issue, as well as the “Whales” issue, seemingly existed solely to suck The Blue Whale’s cock.

Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure The Blue Whale’s cock also holds at least 3 world record’s too.

In example of Zoobook’s cock-sucking, here’s a two-page spread from the “Whales” issue praising the majesty of The Blue Whale:

Not good enough for you?

Well guess what, here’s another, this time from “Animal Champions II”:

Type “Blue Whale” into Google Images and the first page of your results will be littered with cock-sucking diagrams like the ones above.

My problem with The Blue Whale stems from the fact that he stands atop the world in terms of achievement, and yet he has done nothing to earn it.

Well, other than being a fat fuck that eats too much.

What happened to you Ice Man? You used to be cool... Well, not really. But, still...

Did you know that The Blue Whale subsists by eating plankton, a lifeform that it is approximately 100 million times larger than, thusly setting a world record for greatest disparity in size between hunter and prey?

GAAHH!!!  You see!?  Do you see the bullshit that fuckin’ Zoobooks fed me as a child!?

The Blue Whale’s list of achievements is simply far too long.  No creature should get as much hype as The Blue Whale does.

All my life, I’ve been told that The Blue Whale was the man, that he had the mic skills of The Rock, the technical wrestling of Bret Hart, and the high flying perfection of Hayabusa.

If this were true, I probably wouldn't hate The Blue Whale. I would love him THIIIIIIIIS much.

You know what the problem with all this is?

I don’t give a shit!

You can tell me he’s the man, you can prove to me that he’s the man, but if I don’t like him, guess what?

From my standpoint, HE’S NOT THE FUCKING MAN.

Nothing will ever change the fact that The Blue Whale probably holds a world record for holding the most world records, but the point is:  he stinks, and I don’t like him.

This has been a special report from the Azn Badger, being bitter on his birfday.

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Fire of Conscience: A Fiery Letdown…

Fire of Conscience was supposed to be the Chinese version of Michael Mann’s Heat.

It was supposed be a rollicking cop drama with hardcore shootouts and pyrotechnics in the busy streets of downtown Hong Kong.

It was supposed to be a movie I was willing to wait 3 months to see.

It opened with one of the most unique sequences seen in commercial film, (but not the medium itself, see here) which effectively drew me in and got me psyched for what was to come.

The plot was derivative of many Hong Kong cop dramas, I.E. bad cop and good cop slam into each other, discover brotherhood/parallels between one another, merry mishaps ensue.

That didn’t bother me though, I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was that Fire of Conscience would take my expectations for it and shit all over them.

My first impression came in the form of a trailer I stumbled across:

When I saw this trailer, I saw a movie that promised action, bullshit Chinese melodrama, and at least one instance of a man exploding.

In truth, Fire of Conscience does in fact contain all of these things, however the balance, the amount of screen time and care devoted to each of these elements; is all out of whack.

Well, except for the exploding man thing. I don’t think any movie should be expected to have any more than one of those, no matter how hardcore it is.

PWNED.

The action in Fire of Conscience is not really “action” per se.

In more dramatic films, “action” usually boils down to something more like straight up “violence” or “tension.”

In the case of Fire of Conscience, I came into it expecting ACTION. After all, the trailer proclaimed the film to be an “action powerhouse.”

There’s really only a pair of true ACTION sequences in the film, and while both are fairly impressive on a visceral level, both suffer from irritating use of the “shaky cam” effect we seem to see everywhere these days.

It’s not that the cinematography ruins these scenes, it’s simply that it feels forced, as if the filmmakers are using it as a cheap trick to fool us into buying the tension, into buying the gritty and grim situation the players find themselves in.

Personally, I prefer action that is staged well over action that is manufactured using simple tricks and nonsense.

I will say this though, the pyrotechnics and stunt work in Fire of Conscience were top-notch and certainly deserve praise.

I liked how subtle wire-work was incorporated into many of the explosions in the film, effectively simulating the concussive effect produced by such an event.

Also, it wouldn’t be a Hong Kong movie without people falling off buildings and being thrown through glass.

It's a common new year's custom in Hong Kong to jump through windows as a celebratory gesture.

In fact, I found myself smirking as Richie Jen got put through a windshield during a curiously low-key beat of a fight scene.

It was almost as if the filmmakers were so completely unimpressed by the prospect of putting someone through glass at that point in the film that they didn’t even bother to properly frame the stunt with a camera.

The drama aspect of Fire of Conscience is sufficient to move the story forward, but like the film’s implementation of the “shaky cam” effect, much of it feels inorganic and forced.

In fact in the earlier stages of the film, much of the plot progression is achieved in the form of dropping new characters into our lap.

This results in a film that gives the viewer a feeling of being perpetually missing something in the narrative until it’s later stages.

I found this to be as much provocative as it was confusing.

The film does a pretty good job with giving it’s characters a significant amount of depth, however I feel it often reaches too far, giving us details on 5-6 fairly important characters, when doing the same for 1-2 major ones would’ve been more appropriate.

Fortunately, the film does manage to deliver in terms of fleshing out it’s 2 main characters, although I will say that Richie Jen’s character was criminally underused for the most part.

Despite this, the film embraces pop-star Leon Lai as it’s main character, and often manages to hit all the right notes when it comes time to explore his “detective with a troubled past” backstory, particularly during quieter and more contemplative scenes.

Lai’s acting however, consists of being vacant and gruff while never moving his face.  It’s not all that effective, and is downright creepy at times.

One thing that surprised me about Fire of Conscience, was the fact that it was directed by Dante Lam.

Lam’s career these days seems to be derived from his 1998 film, Beast Cops.

I name dropped this movie during my Epic Donnie Yen Post, and with good reason.  Beast Cops was a great movie that was filled with energy, drama, violence, and a host of colorful characters that we cared about.

In many ways, it is everything Fire of Conscience tries to be.

Dante Lam doesn’t have a perfect track record by any means, *cough!* Sniper and Twins Effect *cough!* however he usually has the chops to piece together entertaining movies with impressive set-pieces and high-points.

Fire of Conscience has no real high-point.

In fact, though it feels childish of me to say this, one of my biggest objections to the film lies in the fact that the scene from the trailer that I was anticipating most amounts to almost nothing.

Did you catch that brief moment when Leon Lai runs through the streets with a big-ass G3-SG1 in hand?

Hey, if it was a cool enough gun for Ice Man, it's cool enough for me.

That was supposed to be the climax of the film.

That was supposed to be the scene in which Dante Lam aped Michael Mann by staging a massive shootout in the streets of Hong Kong ala Heat.

That scene lasts maybe a minute, and only about 3 shots are fired, all semi-auto.

When that scene in the movie came and went, my heart sunk.

There was maybe 20 minutes left in the film, and I already knew there were no more surprises or set-pieces to look forward to.

In my mind I’d like to believe that that scene was cut-down as a result of filming costs in downtown Hong Kong, after all, I have yet to see another film that truly SHUTS DOWN A FUCKING CITY like Heat did, and Hong Kong budgets aren’t exactly up to standards with Hollywood’s.

Fire of Conscience was ruined by my own expectations for it.

It just goes to show you that, the movie on the screen is no match for the movie in your mind.

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The Best Track in the Game #6: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Yes, that is in fact a WWF European Championship belt. Hey, everybody needs a hobby.

After yesterday’s Zelda rant, I figured I should follow thing’s up with a Best Track in the Game of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

A Link to the Past was the only Zelda game released on the Super NES, and with good reason.

For Zelda fans, everything they remembered and loved about the original NES Zelda, as well as a host of new improvements and innovations that have since become adopted as standard elements in nearly every Zelda game since.

Despite the fact that the publication was owned and operated by Nintendo, it’s worth noting that Nintendo Power magazine had A Link to the Past rated as their #1 game for no less than 5 consecutive years.

That’s roughly a whole console generation to you and me.

Well... Maybe just me.

A Link to the Past was one of those games that I just didn’t get.

As a child, I played A Link to the Past exclusively at my Double Dragon neighbor’s house, thusly placing me in a positive and energetic environment to play the game, while at the same time limiting my actual hands-on face time with it.

As a result, I didn’t end up hating A Link to the Past the same way I did The Legend of Zelda, and Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link.

Don’t get me wrong, the game still made me feel dumb, just not to the same extent as those that came before it.

I don't think this guy needed help to feel dumb. God rest his soul.

We already went over that yesterday though, so for today we’re gonna’ keep things on a positive note.

For the most part.

Improvements to the gameplay of A Link to the Past included a greatly expanded inventory of unique items and equipment, including the Pegasus Boots for running, and the wicked-awesome Hookshot for, well, hooking and shooting things.

Yeah, even I thought the Hookshot was pretty pimp.

Not as cool as the motherfuckin' Sky Hook though!

Like previous games in the series, secret passages and sealed off areas were scattered across the map.

This time around however, much of the player’s ability to explore the environment was largely tied to the abilities given to them by various items they acquire throughout the adventure.

For instance, those black stones that I mentioned in yesterday’s post, were only able to be picked up upon acquiring the Titan’s Mitt in one of the games earlier dungeons.

8TH. FUCKING. DUNGEON

Whatever man, fuck you.  I beat the game eventually…

In addition to the new equipment, the gameplay was also enhanced  by the expansion of Zelda’s famous dungeons into multi-tiered structures with numerous floors.

This element of the gameplay not only increased the overall size of the game, (which was already made larger by the increased storage capacity of the Super NES’ cartridges) it also had a hand in enhancing the complexity of some puzzles.

A common element to many puzzles in A Link to the Past involved dropping down to lower floors in the dungeon from specific locations to find otherwise unreachable rooms or treasures.

In many cases, both as a child and just recently when I finally finished the game, I found that my simple, non-Zelda attuned mind had difficulty memorizing the layouts of multi-tiered dungeons, largely due to the top-down view.

First screen of the game: "Holy shit! I'm lost!"

From a bird’s eye view, room layouts become familiar and easy to remember, however when it comes time to connect those rooms into a coherent, interconnected whole, I just couldn’t do it.

I know, I know, “Use the map dumbass.”

Well, for your information, I did, and it helped sometimes, but not when I got lost.

Speaking of “lost,” did I mention that A Link to the Past introduced the popular Zelda concept of “The Dark World?”

It's okay, I don't know what the hell this is either. It's got that one dude from Scarface in it though, so yay!

The Dark World in A Link to the Past, was a unique concept that took the classic overworld map of Hyrule used in the previous games in the series, and effectively doubled it in size.

You see, a key element in the storyline of A Link to the Past involves Hyrule’s resident douchebag, Ganon, and his ownership of a “Golden Power” that created a twisted parallel world.

This parallel world became layered on top of the original Hyrule, and could be accessed by way of numerous portals scattered across the map, as well as through the use of the awesome Magic Mirror.

Magic Mirror, more like Magic "Get The Fuck Out of Jail Free" Mirror. Bless you Nintendo...

By giving the player two maps that they could transport between at will, Nintendo succeeded in not only creating a massive game world, but also in pissing me off by creating various puzzles and secrets that could only be solved or discovered through careful observation and manipulation of how the two worlds connected.

Trust me, it always sucks to see something cool just down the hill, only to find that it’s inaccessible unless you jump back and forth between the two worlds and put your non-linear thinking cap on.

My non-linear brain gets stumped by “creamy” or “chunky.”

SUPER CHUNK!!!? Man, now I'll never be able to decide...

As icing on the Zelda cake, A Link to the Past featured a wonderfully composed and technically advanced soundtrack for it’s time.

Koji Kondo, the legend that brought us nearly every major Mario and Zelda soundtrack, served as A Link to the Past’s composer.

... Okay, apparently he's also a fuckin' Nazi. Go figure.

Like many of the video games from major franchises of the time, A Link to the Past’s soundtrack was a thematic mix of old and new.

Many of the tracks and audio cues (I.E. the “item get” and “secret uncovered” cues) present in the previous games were remixed to great effect.

Fortunately, Mr. Kondo also succeeded in creating a number of brand new tracks that managed to live up to expectations, with some, like the Hyrule Castle theme, being utilized in future games, thusly securing their place in thematic history.

That being said, I can’t believe we’re already there, but it’s time for the Azn Badger to reveal that the Best Track in the Game is

Overworld Theme (Dark World Version)

Why?

*Warning!* Cock-sucking up ahead! *Warning!*

The Dark World theme is the Armored Armadillo stage theme of A Link to the Past.

You listen to it a fuck ton of times throughout the game, and yet you relish every moment of it.

Me saying that about a piece of music featured in a game I mostly hate, speaks volumes as to the quality of this track.

I love that it has an element of severity, of, dare I say it, “darkness,” that seems to resonate from the faux midi strings.

The Dark World Theme is a terrific action and adventure track that goes together all too well with the bizarre and hostile landscape it inhabits.

End cock-sucking.

Runner-Up:

Overworld Theme

Based on it’s pedigree, most would expect me to declare the Super NES version of The Overworld Theme as The Best Track in the Game for A Link to the Past.

However, in my opinion, I feel that this particular remix is a little weak when compared to some other versions.

The original Overworld Theme was tinny and hollow, but it had a strength to it, a soul, that made it timeless.

This version feels a little too “pokey” to me, like it really is just the theme music of a little boy traipsing through the woods on a bright sunny day.

To me, the Zelda Theme has always been about bombast and adventure, about a larger than life fantasy that demands a bold and powerful theme so audacious that it would sound downright ridiculous when played over anything pertaining to real life.

Unfortunately, no one told these guys.

In my eyes, the Zelda Theme has yet to be done justice, even when presented in orchestral form:

To me, this version has the appropriately “big” sound to it, however it’s conducted far too slow a pace.

It’s a wonderful composition, and many great renditions of it exist, however I feel that we have yet to see the definitive version of the Zelda Theme.

That being said, that’s all I’ve got to say about The Best Track in the Game this time around.

Have a good night watching Lost and not reading my blog.

Imma’ watch my brand spankin’ new DVD of Fire of Conscience or some shit.

Payce.

Filed under: Games, The Best Track in the Game, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zelda Made Me Feel Dumb…

DUMB.

Have you ever played a game that made you feel dumb?

I have.

In fact, I’ve played a lot of them.

Chess, Connect Four, Battleship, they seriously fuckin’ wrecked my self-confidence as a kid.

Don’t even get me started on Candyland.

That motherfucker, Gloppy the Molasses Monster, used to kick my ass all the way back to that fruitcake Plumpy’s plum tree every fuckin’ game…

Lookit that fat fuck... Stewin' in his own feces. Eat a dick you fuckin' gamebreaking whore.

All that ugliness aside, this post is primarily concerned with the evils of the Zelda franchise.

It all began in my childhood, as all things on this blog seem to blog do.

I was over at one of my spoiled friend’s houses when I played The Legend of Zelda for the first time.

Seriously, this kid had all of the cool shit like a divorced kid, Power Wheels, Nerf Guns, and a Super NES IN HIS ROOM, only without the whole divorced parents thing.

COOLEST. BABY. EVER.

Anyway, on most days we would sit around and play cool shit like Monster Party, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, but on this particular day, he had to step out for an hour or two to go to a Kumon class.

Yeah, he was spoiled and he had tutors.

Guess which one of us grew up to be retarded and socially maladjusted?

That’s right, both of us.

Hey, at least we didn't up like these two...

Normally when this would happen, only my friend’s mom would be at home, necessitating my coming with them for the trip.

However, on this particular afternoon, my buddies’ dad happened to be home early from work, so it was decided that I would hang out at the house while my friend was away.

How I wish I had gone with them that day.

I remember sitting down for a minute and pondering what to do for the next few hours.

Being unwilling to play the usual stuff without my friend, I considered playing something different, like M.C. Kids (which isn’t nearly as bad as it should be.)

Hell, I even remember playing Sesame Street Countdown for a minute or two.

But then I noticed something different, something golden.

Not THAT you perv.

Do you have any idea how irresistable a golden videogame is to a child?

Totally fucking irresistable, that’s how much.

I plugged that sucker in faster than you could say “Jiminy Christmas,” and after removing the cartridge and blowing on it about a billion times, I was transported to the land of Hyrule for the first time in my young life.

By then, I knew who Zelda and Link were, thanks to those godawful cartoons they aired on Saturday mornings, but I had yet to play any of the games in the series.

If you actually finished that video, you’re a fag.

Regardless of your faggot/not faggot status, I knew that the Zelda games were supposed to be crazy good, so much so that many of my friends liked to brag about their progress within them, especially in the second, and supposedly much harder game.

Needless to say, I was pretty psyched to give Zelda a try.

My first, and easily best memory of Zelda was being enchanted by the classic Zelda overworld theme.

It was wondrous, certainly one of the most memorable tracks of game music I had heard up to that point in my life, despite it’s age, even back then.

The first screen had a cave clearly visible in the background, so of course I went in.

Upon entering the cave I was greeted by an old man that told me it was dangerous outside, so I should take a sword with me.

Apparently we're in the HARD part of Hyrule. Like, South Central HARD.

With sword in hand, I set out into the world of Hyrule to……

Do absolutely nothing.

You see, Zelda was the first “open world” game I ever played.

The map was designed in a non-linear, explorable fashion, thus making the objective of the game to, well, stumble across your objectives.

Much unlike the games I was accustomed to:

What do I do again? Oh yeah that's right, KILL EVERYTHING.

I was not aware of this at the time, however it didn’t really matter either way, seeing as I never actually stumbled across said objectives.

I spent 2 hours killing monsters and collecting a billion fucking rupees, while never once figuring out what I was supposed to do, or where I was supposed to go.

It made me feel stupid, like I was lame for missing something all my friend’s had apparently gotten with ease.

It's not that I don't "get" it, it's just that I don't "like" it.

As an older and wiser Azn Badger, one that now understands the “rules” of every Zelda game ever made (they don’t change), I could probably beat The Legend of Zelda in an afternoon with a little Energon and a lot of luck, but as a kid, I was hopeless.

Brownie points to those that got the reference.

Not long after my failure at the hands of The Legend of Zelda, I tried playing Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link at my neighbor’s house (the same ones that I used to play Super Double Dragon with.)

It took me only a few minutes to understand that straying off the main road caused monsters to spawn, but outside of that discovery, I was once again dead in the water.

All I ever saw of Zelda 2.

Zelda games had me by the balls as a kid.

Imagine growing up as a Nintendo kid and having that hanging over your head.

Zelda is one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises, and as such, every subsequent release in the series garners disgusting amounts of hype and praise.

I remember getting a sour taste in the back of my throat every time a Zelda game came out and my friend’s went nuts over them.

When The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past first came out on the Super NES, my Double Dragon playing neighbors suddenly converted to a Zelda cult overnight.

Thankfully they didn't go this far though...

I remember they let me start my own save file one time.

Thankfully, the game managed to provide me with a little bit of instruction at times, thusly allowing me to progress through the adventure somewhat.

By somewhat I mean I got through the introductory Hyrule castle segment.

It took me about an hour and a half.

After that, I remember walking up to an ordinary black stone and being frustrated by my inability to pick it up and throw it at a chicken.

My neighbors said to me:

“You need the gloves to pick that up.”

“Where are the gloves?”

“It’s part of the game, you’ll find ’em later.”

All through my childhood, I never found those damn gloves.

Turns out Michael Jackson had 'em the whole time.

I remember my brother getting the Game Boy exclusive, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Christmas one year.

He loved that game, he used to play it for hours every day.

I hated that game, but I used to love watching my brother play it.

I remember it well cause he used to get pissed when my head would put shadows on the screen.

My only real fond memory of playing Link’s Awakening came in the form of abusing a chicken until his friends showed up to pwn my ass.

By the time Ocarina of Time AKA “OMG The Best Game EVER!!!” came out, I was still feeling sour about Zelda games and how they had taken my nuts without asking.

I played Ocarina of Time exactly once, at my barber’s house.

No, not the same barber that gave me my first Nintendo Power.

Her son had a Nintendo 64 that I would tool around on while waiting for my mom to get her hair cut.

I usually played Starfox 64 and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, often times getting medals and achievements that my barber’s kid had failed to get.

I was good at those games, I liked those games; and they liked me back.

You can't see it, but I was hugging the console while taking this screenshot.

One day though, I was feeling confident and decided to plug in the ‘ole golden cartridge once more, this time on the N64.

I soon discovered that not much had changed in 10 years.

I remember being pissed off because all of the advertising material for Ocarina of Time had Link portrayed as an adult, a grown-up with a big ass sword.

During the segement I played, I was forced to control a tiny-ass Link with no sword, and no jump button.

Oh come on! Look at him! He's tiny as shit!

Once again, I was unable to get my bearings in the game, resulting in me doing nothing but ride my horse around aimlessly and occasionally go fishing.

Outside of the fishing, which was admittedly pretty fun, I walked away from Ocarina of Time without so much as reaching for my stolen nuts.

Now if only I could get 'em back from that fuckin' squirrel...

After Ocarina of time, I would never play any of the new Zelda games.

Until now.

A few months ago, not long before I started this blog, I fired up my Super NES one day, as I tend to do, and decided to do something bold.

A good friend of mine was kind enough to give me his entire library of Super NES games last year (he’s a really good friend), among which was A Link to the Past.

For the first time in over 10 years, I found myself playing a Zelda game.

Not only that, but I told myself I was going to beat it and get my nuts back!

Well, maybe tomorrow then. Yeah, that's right, tomorrow...

After a month or two of chipping away at dungeons and peeking at GameFAQs, I managed to defeat Ganon and unite the Triforce.

True, I didn’t beat the game legit, as evidenced by my liberal use of strategy guides, and my general lack of motivation for finding all of the equipment and treasures, but I didn’t care, I had beaten a motherfucking Zelda game.

I was often bitterly frustrated during my exploits throughout the game, and in fact found very little enjoyment in the experience as a whole, but by the end, I considered my nuts rightfully reclaimed.

And not a moment too soon.  I am, after all, a 20-something, handsome, (single) college graduate.

Did I mention I drew the cover for a published novel?

That's right honey, I do it all...

Bullshit aside, following my victory over A Link to the Past, I made the decision to try my hand at The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker on the Gamecube.

Honestly, I think I decided to subject myself to more Zelda torture simply because the experience promised a lengthy adventure that could not be beaten quickly.

As I mentioned in a previous post, games are like a way of killing time for me nowadays, so a playable, but ultimately confusing and frustrating game is now something that appeals to me on some twisted level.

Maybe I’m a masochist, who knows?

This guy knows what I'm talking about. God rest his soul.

Currently, I am maybe 20% into Windwaker, though I haven’t been playing with the same sense of urgency or fervor that I did Link to the Past.

The game is actually very good, with responsive controls and persistent yet simple puzzles around every corner.

I do however still feel stupid from time to time, usually when it comes to figuring out which items to use in dungeons.

Protip: Use the Deku Leaf FUCKING EVERYWHERE.

Despite this, I honestly like the cartoony, “island” aesthetic of the game, it reminds me of good things I remember from Hawaii.

And that’s always a good thing.

I am still using FAQs from time to time when I get stuck, and though I fear I will never be able to conquer a Zelda without the use of one, I don’t care.

“Beating” a Zelda game has never been the point.

Zelda games still make me feel dumb, but at least they don’t have my nuts anymore.

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