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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #5: Godzilla Crashes the Party

Today we finally crack the Top 5 of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies!

While the majority of the MANLY moments leading up to this one have been highlights from various MANLY action star’s careers, today we’re going to be tackling a moment that belongs not so much to a MANLY MAN of MANLINESS; but rather a fictional character that embodies many of the same values.

Said fictional character is of course the walking symbol of nuclear holocaust, Godzilla.

FUCK YES.

Anyone who’s read a post or 2 from this blog is likely aware that Godzilla is, and always will be one my biggest heroes.

I’ve been watching the Big-G’s movies since before I could speak, and though he’s not exactly human; even at a young age I found I identified with him in some bizarre way.

Now, as many of you are aware, Godzilla is a character who has been portrayed by a number of actors, in a number of different ways.

In his earliest appearances as well as much of the 90’s, Godzilla was essentially a wild beast; a force of nature driven by a wholly reptilian brain.

Hey, just because Godzilla's MANLY doesn't mean his brain isn't the size of a peanut.

In the 60’s and 70’s though, as the franchise lightened it’s tone to appeal to youngsters; Godzilla began to take on a more human-like characteristics, both in appearance and behavior.

More importantly, the kid-friendly Godzilla was often portrayed as a hero; a factor that was largely responsible for securing his place on this list.

In that sense, it should come as no surprise that our 5th MANLIEST MAN moment comes from the 1975 Godzilla flick, and last of the original Showa era of films, Terror of Mechagodzilla AKA Mekagojira no Gyakushu AKA Mechagodzilla’s Counter-Attack:

Terror of Mechagodzilla is hands down my favorite Godzilla movie.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, the director of the original 1954 Godzilla; the movie pretty much has everything you could want in a sci-fi B-movie.

Seriously man, despite the title of the movie only listing 1 monster, Terror of Mechagodzilla included aliens, secret agents, the only instance of exposed boobs in Godzilla movie history, and 3 giant monsters for the price of 1!

The copy of the movie I had when I was a kid didn’t have the boobs, but rest assured; everything else listed above went a long way towards making me watch it every fuckin’ day of my youth.

In particular, I found that Titanosaurus, a rare “tooth and claw” monster in Godzilla’s gallery of rogues; did a lot to keep me coming back to Terror of Mechagodzilla as a kid.

"DuRR! I HaS a RaDiO TOWer!!! DuRR!!!"

I loved his unique, cackling roar, and how he was tough and scrappy despite being largely unable to handle the Big-G without tagging Mechagodzilla in every now and again.

In all, I have a lot of love for Titanosaurus, and am still surprised that this was the only film he ever appeared in.

Bearing a decidedly more severe and mature tone than most of the other 70’s Godzilla movies, Terror of Mechagodzilla is for sure a dumb enough movie for kids to understand; however it goes out of it’s way to do so without being condescending.

In addition to this, the movie also gets brownie points for serving as a time capsule for perhaps the gaudiest and most hideous examples of mid-70’s Japanese fashion.

Seriously man, if the lapels were any bigger in this movie the actors probably would’ve suffocated on the set…

My favorite character in the movie (besides Godzilla of course) was Jiro Murakoshi, the pimp-ass Interpol agent who I’d later learn stole his entire pimp-ass wardrobe from the Japanese apex of pimp himself, Golgo-13.

Cosmic...

I could go on an on about how awesome Murakoshi was, but in the interest of keeping this post at least a little bit focused; I figure I should move on to our MAN moment for today.

In all my years of watching Godzilla movies, I’ve found that the overall quality and tone of a Godzilla movie can often times be gauged by the awesomeness of Godzilla’s first appearance in the film.

As I mentioned earlier, Terror of Mechagodzilla is easily my favorite Godzilla movie; and as such, it also happens to be the film that bears his finest entrance sequence:

At this point in the movie, Mechagodzilla hasn’t been completed yet; so Titanosaurus is really the only monster we’ve seen in action.

Tearing his way through Yokosuka under the control of Akihiko Hirata’s Dr. Mafune and his daughter, Tomoko Ai’s Katsura; Titanosaurus easily routs the JSDF and makes his way towards the downtown area.

Meanwhile, the alien leader Mugaru played Goro Mutsumi consults with his right hand man regarding an incoming source of radiation approaching Yokosuka from the sea.

Pictured: HD TV in the 70's.

Concluding that this massive source of radiation can only be Godzilla, the aliens snicker to one another as they decide to let the monster make landfall and confront Titanosaurus in the hope that 1, or both will die in the resulting conflict.

We then cut back to Titanosaurus stomping through the city, causing incalculable amounts of property damage; when out in the distance an angry shadow emerges…

As yet another building falls to the wanton fury of Titanosaurus, out of nowhere a familiar beam of sapphire-blue fire streaks across the sky and knocks the long-necked beast the ground:

Smoke billows from the streets beneath Titanosaurus as the camera sweeps across the skyline to key in on the massive shadow in the distance.

An electrical crackle lights up the night sky as Akira Ifukube’s legendary score roars to life and the shadow emerges from the darkness, revealing the scowling face of our savior and hero, Godzilla!

Godzilla bearing his classic, "Angry Shave Monkey" look.

Seeing his would be opponent felled so easily, the King of the Monsters lets off a domineering roar, to which Titanosaurus can only respond with a reluctant whimper.

His challenge accepted, Godzilla enthusiastically bashes his knuckles together and bears his claws; signaling his urge to fight.

With that, the tension mounts as the 2 monsters square off in classic samurai fashion, only to abruptly slam into one another; sending a cloud of debris and dust into air.

Minutes later this sequence comes to an equally abrupt end as Dr. Mafune orders the retreat of Titanosaurus as a result of Katsura being injured during the engagement.

Watching Godzilla emerge from the shadows in such bad-ass fashion is a memory I’ll always treasure as one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in movies.

Truth be told, the score during this sequence, and indeed the entirety of Terror of Mechagodzilla; is largely responsible for it’s awesomeness if you ask me.

Sure, the music played during this sequence is just the same old Godzilla march we’ve been hearing for the past 50+ years; however this particular version of it is one of, if not the strongest version I know of.

It’s slowed down a bit, with a deeper and harsher sound to it, lending the track a severity that is foreign in an otherwise colorful and energetic piece of music.

Anyway, this was MANLY moment #5, check back tomorrow for #4!

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #13: Super Godzilla

Super Godzilla was one of those games that I really wanted to like.

Oddly enough, that seems to be the case for me with pretty much every Godzilla videogame I’ve ever played.

You see, even though Godzilla and Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters on the NES were both shit, the fanboy kept finding stupid reasons for me to give ’em second chances.

“Sure the gameplay is sloppy and monotonous, but c’mon; it’s motherfuckin’ Godzilla!”

As a kid, (minus the profanity) these were the kinds of thoughts that would run through my head every time I’d stick a Godzilla game in my NES.

 

Nowadays it's more like: "GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKER, WHY AM I STILL PLAYTHING THIS PIECE OF ASS!!?"

Despite the Big G’s spotty track record up to that point, Super Godzilla, in my young mind; was supposed to be the game that made up for it all.

I remember reading preview articles in Game Players and GamePro that made Super Godzilla look like the shit.

The screenshots looked sharp, the gameplay sounded fresh and unique, and the roster of monsters, while quaint by some standards; was packed with fan favorites and a host of Heisei era kaiju that had yet to gain exposure in the U.S.

Not only that, the game promised a thrilling and campy Godzilla story involving aliens taking control of Earth’s monsters, with the Earthlings responding in kind by taking control o Godzilla and piloting him via remote from the cockpit of the Super X2!

It looked and sounded like a Godzilla fans dream.

I rented Super Godzilla as soon as it became available at my local videostore, and I can honestly say; I was disappointed.

 

The first thing that hit me right off the bat, was the game’s general lack of quality in both audio and visual terms.

I mentioned that Super Godzilla looked good in stills, and I wasn’t lying.

 

HOLY SHIT!!!

The game makes extensive use of extremely large and detailed character portraits for Godzilla and all of his Toho frat brothers, however therein lies the problem:

The character graphics consist almost exclusively of barely animated, or worse yet; “Ken Burns-ed” animation cycles.

You see, the core gameplay of Super Godzilla consisted of 2 basic functions:

Finding and then fighting the enemy monster of each level.

While one would think this would be an action-packed process, Toho made the decision to structure the “finding” aspect of the game as sort of a grid-based strategy game, and worse yet; made the “fighting” section a barely interactive mashup of repetitive cutscenes.

You remember the lengthy and unskippable summon cutscenes from Final Fantasy VII?

Well, imagine a fighting system where all you do watch 4-5 shitty looking summons over and over and over again, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s like to play Super Godzilla.


Rest assured, one can take time to make many a sandwich while playing Super Godzilla…

Okay fine, the “fighting” in Super Godzilla has at least some level of interactivity to it, but believe when I say it; it’s not much.

Basically, when one enters into combat with an enemy monster, the screen morphs from the overhead map to a 2D sprite-based fighting game layout.

Pictured: The Thrilling Battle Screen...

From this screen, the player can make use of 3 buttons and maneuvers:

Punching, blocking, and using items.

While blocking is self-explanatory, landing a punch is required in order to initiate the aforementioned cutscene attacks, which are empowered by the player’s “fighting spirit” meter at the bottom of the player’s HUD.

As one would expect, given it’s massive place on the HUD, the “fighting spirit” meter is the crux of the Super Godzilla “fighting” system.

When one advances towards one’s opponent in Super Godzilla, the player’s “fighting spirit” increases, gradually falling when the player retreats.

Upon landing a punch on the enemy, the player’s “fighting spirit” will freeze in place, inviting the player to retreat and open up the attack command window at the center of the HUD.

Depending of the volume of the player’s “fighting spirit,” as well as the distance that they retreat, the player will be given more powerful attack commands to select from.

In all Godzilla has access to 4 attack commands: tail whip, body slam, fire breath, and hyper fire breath from weakest to strongest respectively.

Sadly, no tail slide though...

Items gathered from the “finding” phase of each level consist of instant use health power-ups, defense boosters, and a “fighting” spirit

Perhaps the worst part of the gameplay system, was the addition of enemy UFOs as random encounter enemies in most of the stages.

Taking only 1 hit to destroy, these UFOs absolutely shit ALL OVER what little enjoyment was to be derived from the “finding” portion of each level.

I don’t mind random encounters in RPGs, but when said encounters involve only 1 enemy type, and a pathetically weak one at that; I just don’t get it.

I suppose it doesn’t help that many of the levels in Super Godzilla have time limits, making these random encounters have zero possibility of doing damage to you, but still serving to potentially end your game through wasting your motherfucking time…

Make no mistake, finding and killing the Mothership hidden in each stage is deeply advised, as it is the only thing that will stop you from having to fight baby UFOs every 5 seconds.

 

KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Despite the bland and painfully slow-paced gameplay, Super Godzilla did have a few little things going for it.

For instance, during the “finding” portion of each level, the player was often free to choose their own path in maneuvering the map, making item gathering and avoidance of stationary enemy emplacements entirely up to the player.

In addition to this, there’s a great deal of variety in the tasks heaped on the player on their plodding march to finding the enemy monster.

For instance, in the 3rd stage, you are required to raid (read: step on) several enemy bases in order to free a captive scientist.

In the 4th stage, the player must do battle with a pair of Battra’s, however if one is quick enough in reaching the second while it is still in it’s chrysalis, it is in fact possible to destroy it before it hatches.

These variations in gameplay also extend to the “fighting” segments of the game in the form of each enemy monster having certain attacks in Godzilla’s repertoire that are ineffective against them.

Thankfully, most of these variations are fairly logical, with Biollante’s superior mass making her invulnerable to Godzilla’s body slam attack, and Battra’s speed making them unable to be hit by anything but Godzilla’s most powerful fire breath attack.

Yeah, somehow I don't think running into it would be an advisable course of action...

Toho can suck a dick though for making Mechagodzilla able to counter Godzilla’s basic fire breath.

I know he did in the movies, but for fuck’s sake; didja’ really have to make the fire breath one of the most common attacks to pop up in the attack window?

Anyway, the 1 huge plus Super Godzilla has going for it, (besides being a Godzilla product) is the inclusion of, well; Super Godzilla.

During the last few stages of the game, the player can go out of their way to obtain a series of power ups to transform plain ‘ole Godzilla into Super Godzilla.

What's this, Godzilla's evolving!? Godzilla evolved into SUPER Godzilla!

Bearing a truly awesome design, that was largely transplanted into the design for Space Godzilla the year after the game’s release, Super Godzilla granted the player access to a brand new set of attack commands, a Mega Buster like chargeable punch, and the ability to walk through buildings and obstacles on the map screen without taking damage.

Most of Super Godzilla was tough to slog through, but for what it’s worth, the final battle against the Super Godzilla exclusive, and exceedingly well-designed giant monster, Bagan; is a far better one than the game probably deserved.

Say what you will about the game, Bagan was pretty tight lookin'...

That being said, while Super Godzilla does in fact have a truly horrible soundtrack, with many tracks serving to utterly butcher some truly classic Godzilla themes; the boss music played during the Bagan fight is actually… good.

That’s right, I said something was “good” in Super Godzilla.

Seriously, give it a listen:

While it’s honestly not a great piece of Super NES music by any standards, it’s easily the best track in the game; and has a pretty serious sound to it that’s rarely heard in 16-bit game music.

I love the opening notes, and how bizarre and frankly, “alien” it feels, making it quite appropriate for the climax piece of a giant monster alien invasion story.

Perhaps the track’s biggest accomplishment though, is that it actually sounds like Godzilla music.

Godzilla movies have played host to some of Japan’s finest composers, and as such, have always bore a distinctive and powerful sound.

Many of the tracks in Super Godzilla feel generic and flat, but the final boss theme has a “big-ness” in it’s instrumentation that make it sound like a cross between the trumpet heavy orchestrations of Akira Ifukube and the synth-heavy work of Takayuki Hattori.

Anyway, Super Godzilla is one of those games that I want to like.

I know it sucks, but the Godzilla fan in me still tries to find ways to redeem it.

While most pro-Super Godzilla arguments are likely to be filled to the brim with bullshit, let it be known that any argument citing the final boss theme as a redeeming factor have at least that going for them.

"You WILL play Super Godzilla, and LIKE IT."

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

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