Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #5


Yesterday I mentioned in passing that fighting Beowulf from Devil May Cry 3 was a boss fighting experience that transcended the staples of normal gaming challenges.

To me, the difficulty of fight with Beowulf stemmed not just from the challenges presented by the gameplay of that segment, by also by the psychological stress the battle places on you, the player.

Now, I consider myself a particularly seasoned gamer, so whenever a videogame is able to genuinely cause me stress, and not just anger or annoyance; it tends to stand out to me as something special.

Such is the reason the battle with Beowulf stood out to me as both an incredibly difficult and exhilarating fight entirely worthy of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

On that same note, today’s boss just happens to have earned their spot in much the same fashion as Beowulf.

As chatty as he is dangerous, the #5 entrant on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:

#5. Sinistar – Sinistar

Pictured: A lone fighter pilot prepares to face the dreaded Sinistar head-on.

“BEWARE, I LIVE!”

If ever there were a phrase in gaming history capable of sending a chill down a gamer’s spine, that quote from Williams’ Sinistar would have to be it.

Announcing his presence with a Jack and the Beanstalk-esque “Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum!” of sorts, the arrival of Sinistar at the end of each level in the game of the same name is one of those moments in gaming that, though it may seem ho hum by today’s standards; will live on forever as a classic of it’s time.

Sinistar’s hilariously minimalist taunts and battle cries will likely live on forever, however it’s easy to forget that, as fun as it could be when you were winning; the game was hard as fuck.

A classic twitch shooter through and through, Sinistar was one of those mean-ass arcade games that would bait you into thinking it wasn’t all that tough, only to stomp the ever loving shit out of you by level 2.

Be it Centipede, Missile Command or Robotron, arcade games of the early 80’s, and indeed throughout much of the history of arcade machines thrived on inviting players in win the promise of a fun first level, only to drop the hammer and crush them just a few stages down the road.

Centipede: A whole helluva' lot harder than you'd think.

I’m guessing this was supposed to trigger a “What the fuck? Let’s try this again…” psychological response in the players or something.

Things were different back then.

It was a lot easier to justify pumping money into a machine for a few minutes of fun when few people owned consoles of their own, not to mention the fact that the home systems weren’t capable of the graphical sophistication presented by arcade machines of the time.

History lesson aside, Sinistar was entirely guilty of the gameplay model mentioned above.

It was pretty easy in the first level, but holy Ewoks and graham crackers brother, you gotta’ be a motherfuckin’ pinball wizard to get much further than that!

The boss of the game, Sinistar; being largely responsible for said nut-crushing difficulty.

Fighting Sinistar is not what you’d call a “fight” in the traditional sense.

Much in the way I wouldn't call this a "fight."

Up until his arrival, you spend your time in the game piloting your star fighter, shooting the occasional enemy, and, quite literally; shaking down asteroids for “Sinibombs” and crystals.

The gameplay during this phase of the game, at least during some of the earlier stages; is actually kind of eerie in terms of how quiet and relaxed it can be.

Like many arcade games of the day, the game features no music during play, resulting in a unnerving silence in between the occasional laser or explosion sound effect.

Don’t let my overly romanticized descriptions fool you, this phase of the game is merely the calm before the storm.

Allow me to paint for you, a picture (in words) of how a typical fight with Sinistar goes down:

As you’re collecting shit out in space, at some point you’ll likely notice the enemy ships zipping about and snagging crystals before you can get to them.

For whatever reason they aren’t trying to shoot you down…. For what purpose could they be gathering the crystals for?

As this process continues for a time, it will likely dawn on you that those little ships are up to something…

Something…. SINISTAR.

Just as you’re starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together in your mind, suddenly a horrifying call resonates from the void of space, shooting shivers down your spine and dookie out your poop-hole.

“BEWARE, I LIVE!”

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

The ravenous space-beast Sinistar has arrived!

His hunger knows no bounds!

He dares you to run, as it is truly your only option in the face of such a beast!

Moreover, he is Sinistar, and he lives!

From the time the hunting call sounds, precious few seconds remain before the great gray beast comes into view and gives chase.

Innumerable questions come flooding into your mind with the utmost urgency:

Should I go out looking for Sinistar, or let him come to me?

Do I have enough Sinibombs to kill him?

Am I a bad enough dude to rescue the president?

Eventually, all questioning and speculation goes out the window as the mighty Sinistar rears his demonic head and cuts a swath through the flotsam of the cosmos, bellowing insults and taunts at every turn!

You juke left!

You juke right!

And all the while Sinistar follows close behind!

In your panic, your fingers trace their way across the surface of the arcade cabinet in search of the one weapon, the one source of sanctuary that can hope to save you from the advance of Sinistar:

The Sinibomb button.

You mash on the button again and again, scattering scores of Sinibombs into the massive face of Sinistar!

With every impact the great beast howls in pain, delivering a shock to your nerves, and a morbid sense of satisfaction…

Bomb after bomb makes it’s mark and your confidence begins to build.

13 direct hits are all that are needed to fell the space monster, could victory be within reach?

NO.

You depress the Sinibomb button one last time only to realize:

You’re out of ammo.

The gray space leviathan follows close behind without any semblance of fear across it’s battered, mechanical visage.

"Never wound... What you can't kill."

In a desperate bid for survival, you begin making attempts to rebuild your ammo supply, carefully skirting asteroids while slowly giving ground to the rapidly encroaching Sinistar.

You juke left!

You juke right!

And just before you recover the last Sinibomb you need to finish the monster pursuing you, it happens:

You accidentally bump an asteroid, Sinistar slams into your ship and crushes it in his terrible maw; sending fiery chunks of debris out into every corner of space.

Such is the ordeal that is fighting Sinistar.

The actual procedure is little more than a fairly straightforward chase, however due to the panic-inducing presence of the boss in question, coupled with the variables of the level construction, (I.E. enemy ships, asteroids) the difficulty piles up very quickly.

If that’s not Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights material, I don’t know what is.

Oh yeah, after all my fanciful storytelling I guess you deserve a look at what the actual battle with Sinistar looks like in-game:

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

Used Game Store Grand Opening Today!

Pictured: My buddy posing with a Halo dude. No, I don't ACTUALLY know Wes Studi. One can dream though...

Today I was fortunate to have attended the grand opening of a new used game store in my neighborhood.

Technically it was actually re-opening of a currently existing store, but in all fairness the changes made to the building were extensive to the point of being a brand new facility.

The store was called Game Gurus, and to my surprise; they went out of their way to throw a little party for their grand opening.

There were free hot dogs and popcorn, 50 cent games for sale in the parking lot, (mostly crap, but even so, 50 cents for a 360 game is pretty good regardless) and a raffle giveaway every 10 minutes.

For what essentially amounts to a mom and pop videogame store, I was amazed by the great lengths that the owners went to in making a good first impression.

While I was mulling about in front of the store, rooting through the cheap games my friend and I, who shall henceforth be referred to as Wes Studi; happened to notice an enthusiastic fellow customer perusing the wares while wearing what appeared to be a ODST getup.

Wes Studi insisted I take a photo of the 2 of them together, and as you can see at the top of this post; I did just that.

For a guy that’s not really up on cosplay, I have to say; they guy had some pretty snazzy digs.

Seriously man, the guy had some sort of microphone system built into the helmet that made him sound all loud and bell diver-ish.

Anyway, as impressive as the outdoor festivities were, the actual store itself was something to behold.

Though the shelves and inventory were arranged much like a typical Gamestop, there were a lot of little bells and whistles in Game Gurus that will no doubt lead to the risk of theft; but were nevertheless enticing to potential customers like myself.

For instance, throughout the store there were several monitors hung from the ceilings, each with a playable game console and single controller hanging from the ceiling like a mobile.

I saw lots of people messing around with these demo rigs, and it put a smile on my face to see little kids stand on their tippy-toes to try and get a grip on the dangling controllers.

In addition to this, there was also free to play, 2 player MAME arcade rig with Street Fighter Alpha 2 loaded on it.

I played Wes Studi a few times, and though my joysticks’ kick buttons weren’t functioning, I had a lot of fun.

By the way, I won every round.

*ANYWAY* On our way out, Wes Studi and I also took a minute to check out the “back room” of the store, where they store not porn; but rather a cache of about 6 Xbox 360’s running Black Ops, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and a few other shooters.

From what I understood, all of these rigs are free to play on the weekends, which in my opinion; is a great gesture to make the store out to be a neighborhood hang out for the kids.

Despite all the fun toys scattered about, the one thing that made me think to myself, “I might have to come back here sometime;” was the fact that the inventory was pretty solid.

While obscure consoles like the Turbografx 16 and Wonderswan weren’t on display, pretty much every major American console from the 8-bit era up was for sale, along with countless games to go with them.

Best of all, they had seemed to have a fairly robust selection of Super NES titles, with many of the rarer titles coming with their original packaging.

While I saw some extraordinarily rare stuff there, Wes Studi and I both ended up walking away with pretty basic stuff.

Having no job will do that to yah’…

Wes picked himself up a copy of Eternal Darkness, Mega Man X: Command Mission, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, while I got Pitfall: The_Mayan_Adventure, Gradius III, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse at a special 2-for-1 price.

Nothing special, but I saved a few bucks and walked away happy regardless.

All in all, I was wholeheartedly impressed with all the love and hard work that obviously went into the new Game Gurus store.

I sincerely thank the owners for their efforts, not just to make a good neighborhood store; but to reach out to the kids in the area and provide a fun place for them to hang out.

Back in my day, if I wanted to go to an arcade my only option was a laundromat with Primal Rage and Area 51.

Given that it’s within walking distance of my house, and the fact that Pink Gorilla’s inventory has been kind of iffy in the Super NES area as of late; I could see myself doing a lot of my retro game shopping at Game Gurus from now on.

That’s not a knock on Pink Gorilla, ’cause don’t get me wrong, I love them; but I’m jus’ sayin’ is all…

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The Best Track In The Game #14: Knights of the Round

Yes, I did in fact buy this just the other day...

Knights of the Round was, and forever will be; one of my favorite beat ’em ups of all time.

Truth be told, I didn’t actually play it in it’s original arcade form all that much, I played through the Super NES version an ungodly number of times.

While the graphics and animations of Knights of the Round may not be up to standard with many of it’s contemporaries, both in the arcade and on home consoles; it’s relatively unique gameplay, setting, and terrific soundtrack continue to sustain it even to this day.

Well, in my eyes anyway.

You see, Knights of the Round was one of those rare games that really made me feel “heroic” when I was playing it.

Sure, all you ever do in the game is walk from left to right and bash people’s brains in with swords and axes, but because of the character designs and music; it felt like so much more to me as a kid.

Seriously man, you try taking down a giant fuck named BALBARS and tell me you didn’t feel awesome for doin’ it.

THAT'S a BIG hammer...

Anyway, the original 1991 arcade release of Knights of the Round was a 3-player arcade game that was, of course; based on Arthurian lore.

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t really play the arcade version all that much; so for the purposes of this article, I’ll largely be referencing the Super NES version from this point onward.

Like many beat ’em ups of the time, there were multiple characters to choose from in Knights of the Round; each with their own individual strengths and weaknesses in the areas of attack power and speed.

"Choose Your Destiny..."

Arthur, whose sprite is curiously puny; is the Leonardo of the group, boasting the most balanced stats of the group.

Lancelot, who looks absolutely nothing like Richard Gere with his shimmering golden hair; is the fastest in both movement and attack speed, however his power is somewhat lacking; making battles risky by forcing one to engage their opponents more frequently to finish them off.

 

Somebodies lying to me...

Finally, Percival is the green pants-ed Incredible Hulk of the group who wields an axe, and can indeed mess people up most mightily; at the cost of being slow as molasses, as well as having the most pathetic of all jumping attacks in beat ’em up history.

The character roster of Knights of the Round was always a huge selling point for me as a kid.

Thanks to movies like Jason and the Argonauts, as well as TV shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and King Arthur and the Knights of Justice; I got really into mythology at a young age.

Here’s why:

Greek and Japanese stuff was always my favorite, but thanks to that AMAZINGLY FUCKIN’ AWESOME cartoon; Arthurian stuff always had a place in my periphery.

In that sense, even though Knights of the Round has absolutely nothing to do with the mythology of King Arthur; just having a trio of recognizable characters from the myths present in the game did a lot to draw me into the experience.

Anyway, I think it goes without saying that, whenever I played this game with my friends; there was always a scuffle over who’d get to play as Arthur.

Seriously man, the word “King” is part of his name, he’s arguably the best character in the game, and by the end of the game he gets to wield Ex-FUCKING-Calibur, how could any kid not want to play as Arthur.

In all, I think that’s only bad memory of Knights of the Round.

That, and playing as Percival.

 

Really? You're wearing THAT into battle?

It didn’t happen that often, by I can recall being tricked into playing as Percival once or twice by some of my weaslier friends.

As indicated by the relatively balanced characteristics of all the playable characters, Percival isn’t intended to be a shitty character; but the sad truth of the matter, is that he is.

Too fuckin’ slow, zero fuckin’ jumping attack, and the proud owner of a He-Man esque bowl-cut; Percival is the fuckin’ Aquaman of Knights of the Round.

Nobody likes him, and if anyone should ever make a claim to the contrary; it’s ’cause they’re trying to be ironic, and thusly must be killed with hipster flames of violence.

 

This guy likes Percival... I just know it.

Anyway, I should probably get on track, right?

The gameplay of Knights of the Round was much like most Capcom beat ’em ups of the day.

That is to say, there’s 2 buttons, 1 for killing with auto combos, and 1 for jumping like a damn foo’.

If both are pressed at once, the player can sacrifice a bit of health to blow everyone around them ass over teakettle and to the floor.

Like I said, standard stuff.

In addition to this however, were the addition of horse riding, a few special attacks that could be executed with simple directional inputs, (no Hadoukens here) and an incredibly awesome experience and leveling system.

Virtually identical to the Bizarrians of Golden Axe, mounted combat in Knights of the Round was a bit of let down.

Lacking the flash of the elemental powers of the mounts from Golden Axe, horse riding felt slow and somewhat counter-intuitive.

While riding a horse, one’s attack power was boosted, and one could perform a leaping stomp attack by double-tapping forward on the d-pad; however the downside in all this was the fact the horse was actually kind of slow, and required pressing of the jump button in order to turn around.

Really, there was no reason not to hop on a horse whenever the opportunity presented itself, particularly when enemies that could ride horses were around; however I always felt a little more vulnerable on a horse, and would usually defer the luxury to whoever was playing alongside me.

 

"Yay, I'm on a horse! Now what...?"

The special attacks in Knights of the Round consisted of a damaging stun attack that, while somewhat slow in execution; would knock enemies on their ass, and cause them to stand up in a defenseless “dizzy” state.

Curiously enough, the execution of this attack was done in exactly the same fashion as a horizontal Smash Attack in Super Smash Bros.

 

If you can do this, you can knock a foo' silly in Knights of the Round.

Another special attack, was a strange launching attack that I never really found a practical use for.

Basically, you do an “Up Smash” motion; and the character will perform an upward stroke, followed by a leaping chop attack.

I think the intent is supposed to that of a “knock ’em up, smack ’em down” kind of thing, however the follow-up attack always ended up causing me to advance to far and get smacked upside my head.

Oh well, it looks cool; but I never use it.

While not an attack, it needs to be mentioned that Knights of the Round actually had a blocking system.

 

No, not that kind of "block."

Blocking is not exactly a common feature in most beat ’em ups.

Despite it’s unique medieval setting, being able to block was a feature that served to set Knights of the Round apart from many of it’s contemporaries.

There were 2 ways to block in the game.

The most common method of blocking, was by pressing and holding the attack button, while holding the directional button away from the incoming attack.

While this was the most common method by most standards, the other method; and indeed the one that I used most often as a reckless youth, was one that was triggered automatically by pressing back on the directional pad the moment an attack was landed on your character.

In other words, if one’s timing was good enough; (mine never was) the game would give you the benefit of the doubt and allow you to block attacks simply by attempting to run away from them.

Thankfully, the timing required was quite precise; making this a gameplay mechanic that not at all feasible to exploit.

Unlike this shit:

Anyway, despite all the coolness of the swords and medieval skull-bashing; the real reason Knights of the Round was awesome, was the leveling system.

At the time, I can think of no other beat ’em up that, while linear as fuck; had any sort of cumulative upgrade system for it’s characters.

Throughout the game, one’s character gains experience by defeating enemies, collecting gold and jewels, eating food (health power-ups) on a full stomach, and of course; breaking shit.

Upon reaching a predetermined level of experience, one’s character levels up, bringing forth some pretty awesome cosmetic upgrades.

 

... I want that cape.

Sadly, as far as I can tell; the benefits of a level up are purely cosmetic, with no changes to the gameplay occurring whatsoever.

Despite this, when I was a kid, seeing Arthur go from leather armored pussy to red-caped, golden armored KNIGHT OF JUSTICE, was one of those accomplishments that made me feel really awesome.

Sure, the game was structured to have you max out your levels no matter what.

Sure, the game made no attempt to make you feel like you were getting any stronger.

Even so, none of that bothers me; ’cause the game is awesome regardless.

More importantly though, it’s an awesome game that I have some truly awesome memories of.

I remember playing with my one friend that we’d always call the “Bad King.”

 

Pictured: The "Bad King."

Basically, this friend of mine would always manage to be quickest on the draw in selecting Arthur.

That alone made him kind of a punk in the eyes of my friends and I.

In addition to that though, said friend would go out of his way to hang back and stay out of harms way, effectively forcing his partner to do all the fighting; yet at the same time he would horde all the gold and food, essentially stealing all of the experience and health.

We always called him the “Bad King,” and indeed; he never made any attempt to play the game more altruistically, but goddamnit; he owned the game so we’d always end up playing with him anyway.

 

Ping Pong tables and videogames make us a lot of dumb friends when we're kids...

Another thing that I don’t think any article on Knights of the Round can gloss over, is the fact that there’s a fuckin’ GHOST SAMURAI in Knights of the Round.

Similar to Capcom’s own Bishamon from Darkstalkers/Vampire Savior, there was a boss character in Knights of the Round named Muramasa that was essentially an animated suit of samurai armor.

 

Uh... I wouldn't turn my back on that guy.

In medieval England.

To this day, I don’t take offense to this; however I wish they hadn’t made the fucker so goddamn cheap.

I can’t tell you how many times I got a game over during the fight with Muramasa.

Goddamn fire magic bullshit…

Oh well, payback’s a bitch:

Speaking of goofy bosses, another one worth mentioning from Knights of the Round, was a skinny fuck in black pajamas named Phantom.

Early in the game, you fight Phantom; and he’s really no big deal.

Sure, he can run real fast, throw cleavers at you and fire magic at you, and even make duplicates of himself; but for the most part he’s too weak to be a legitimate threat.

Now, while he really isn’t any harder the second time around, it’s worth noting that this time around he sees fit to bust out his pulley and chain operated GIANT FUCKING ROBOT.

I did mention this game needed to be a movie, right?

Seriously man, no joke; a giant fuckin’ robot!

In medieval England.

As I mentioned earlier, the fight isn’t really all that hard, or even thrilling; but the novelty of fighting a pre-steam age robot was always something that tickled me just right.

Anyway, this post was, as indicated by it’s title; supposed to be about music, so let’s get down to that, shall we?

The Best Track in the Game for Knights of the Round is…

Village on Fire

Why?:

You know how I said Knights of the Round made me feel “heroic” when I was a kid?

Well, this track was largely responsible for that.

I love how it has that medieval minstrel sound to it, while at once being upbeat and action-oriented in nature.

When you think about it, that’s kind of a difficult combo to pull off.

Anyway, I don’t know what else to say; other than that this is brilliant track to begin a game with.

It gets your blood pumping, makes you feel badass, and more importantly; makes you feel like you’re fighting for something.

Runner-Up:

The Knight’s Tournament

Why?:

Well, you did listen to it, right?

Seriously, this is just a really good piece of music.

It sounds like medieval dance club music!

I remember this track only playing for about a minute or so in-game, but even so; it always struck me as, at the very least; the second best piece of music in the game.

‘Nuff said.

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Azn Badger = Hypocrite

The Azn Badger has been feeling a little hypocritical as of late.

Despite my general disdain for the UFC/MMA culture, I’ve found myself playing the demo for UFC: Undisputed 2010 pretty much every day this week.

I know, I know:

“How can a hardcore boxing fan that talks shit about the UFC all the time allow himself to support the organization by playing it’s official videogame!?”

Well, A): I’ve never had anything bad to say about the actual sport of MMA, only the culture and obnoxious fanbase that seems to have sprung up as a result of it’s ascension into the mainstream.

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but...

And B): Chill out, dick wad.  It’s just a videogame, and a fairly good one at that.

To be fair, I used to play the previous iteration of the game with my roommates for shits and giggles.

Only 1 out of the 3 of us (the one with legitimate interest in the UFC) actually took the time to learn how to play, so for the most part the matches boiled down to little more than button mashing sessions not unlike a round of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

"AND IT'S ALLLLLLLLLLLL OVERRRRR!!!!!!!"

At the time, I used to watch a fair amount of UFC, usually in support B.J. Benn, (he’s a Hawaiian pro athlete, therefore he’s worth my time) as well as for the social value it presented in me in hanging out with my roommate.

Though I no longer have roommates to play games or watch cagefighting with, for some reason I feel like I’m mentally in just about the same place that I was back then.

That is to say:

I’m not exactly the most cerebral of people these days.

I would probably shit myself with glee if I had one of those bubble thingies right now...

As with most things these days, I blame work; as it has retarded my brain functions to the point of making games like Undisputed 2010 seem like the coolest ever made, and dare I say; potentially worth buying.

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of Hell freezing over.

While I still don’t have a clue how to play the demo properly, (the command list in the options screen is like 50 pages long) the pick up and play factor has been a godsend in terms of keeping me sane this week.

I don’t know if it’s just the 60 hour work weeks or what, but I just can’t seem to find time for more involved games like Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I want to finish Batman, but for whatever reason I just feel “too busy” to play it.

Batman: Great for Azn Badger on 3 day weekends, too "smart" for him during 60 hour work weeks.

UFC gives me an experience that can be over and done with inside of 5 minutes.

While I’ve never been one to seek out instant gratification in my games, (if it’s any indication, Demon’s Souls was my 2nd PS3 game) at this point in time, I think it’s the only kind of gaming entertainment I can handle.

Though I’m legitimately excited to try games like Valkyria Chronicles, games that require a high-degree of time investment and involvement from the player; the more hours I put in at work, the less I see myself being able to fully enjoy a game like that.

In my current mental state, I'd probably just try and bumrush my way through every mission...

Anyway, I’m beat to shit, (anus still recovering…) so that’s all I’ve got for tonight.

Chances are I’ll pick up UFC at some point, though I assure I’ll do so grudgingly, and while mumbling under my breath that boxing is the superior and more gentlemanly sport.

Unfortunately the new Fight Night Champion doesn’t come out until next year, so for now I’m going with UFC.

Either that or Splatterhouse, ’cause Splatterhouse was the shit back in the day, and from what I’ve read; the new one ain’t so bad.

Plus it’s bloody as fuck and probably as cerebral as your average UFC fan.

Haha!  BURN.

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

Demon’s Souls Is… Not So Hard Anymore

Hah! Not so bad anymore, are yah'!?

About a week ago I posted a bitchy/whiny article about how Demon’s Souls knocked me down and took my lunch money.

I was about 2 hours into the game at the time of writing said article, and I just wasn’t “getting” how the game worked.

I was frustrated by the game’s punishingly restrictive rules, and humbled by it’s timing heavy combat system.

I’m now 8 hours into Demon’s Souls, and I feel like I’ve got it by the nuts.

'DESE NUTS!

At around hour 3 I had memorized the layout of the 1-1 section of the Boletarian Palace level, making harvesting souls (money) quite a bit easier than before.

Around this time I also began finding uses for my souls in the form of upgrading my Knight’s  long sword among other things.

Did I mention I named my character after the Ultimate Warrior?

Now if only I could make him look like this...

Now that's just a terrible photo... Sorry about that.

After toughing it out for some time, advancing by inches every time, I met and defeated my first boss demon, Phalanx.

It was a tedious battle to be sure, but unlike some of the stiffer challenges I’d faced up to that point, (I’m lookin’ at you Red Dragon of one-hit kill-ery…) I managed to best the blob monster on my first try.

I should probably note, that I really admire the artistic design of the Phalanx demon.

Consisting of a hoard of shield-faced blobs armed with spears, all protecting a central core, I found it to be an inspired take on the Sumerian/Grecian military formation.

Behold, the only culturally significant photo on the Azn Badger's blog!

In doing so, I was awarded with what I had spent the entire game to that point wishing for:

A waypoint.

4 hours into the game, and I encountered my very first checkpoint.

Eerily enough, as if crossing that first major threshold served to change the entire dynamic of the game from then on out; playing Demon’s Souls has become a markedly less devious affair.

While the early goings were teeth-grittingly difficult and frustrating, ever since I took out that first boss demon; my progression through the game has eased into a much more natural, and far less tedious pace.

Maybe I’ve just become accustomed to the cautious play style required to navigate the game, or maybe my character has just gotten strong enough that he’s able to power through what used to be one-hit kills; but either way, I’m enjoying the experience a whole helluva’ lot more than before.

I’ve killed no less than 4 more bosses in the past 4 hours of gameplay, 2 of which I didn’t even really have to fight.

What I mean to say is, there were 2 bosses that I took out through exploitative means.

No, that would be "blaxpoitative," but it shows you're thinking...

As mentioned earlier in this post, as well as probably every first time Demon’s Souls player’s writings, there is a Red Dragon in the first stage that pwns you like a bitch if you so much as look at him funny.

Good riddance you flying, red piece of fuck....

Truth be told, he’s not so much a boss as he is a predictable, but still dangerous environmental hazard, but seeing as he killed me a few times and has a meaty health bar, I count him as at least a mid-boss.

Anyway, as an environmental hazard, the Red Dragon is stuck on a very simple looping movement pattern, making him unable to reach you in certain areas, as well as unable to defend himself from attacks launched from certain areas.

That being said, I took note of this, bought 80 arrows, and sat down for 15 minutes slowly chipping away at his health with a wimpy bow and arrow while standing completely out of harms way.

It was silly, it was spiteful, but good God was it satisfying to get that fucking dragon off my back for the remainder of my gameplay experience.

Exploitative Boss Kill #2 came in form of slaughtering the Vanguard boss of the Shrine of Storms using a similar tactic.

My money's on the big guy. Jus' sayin' is all...

This one was not as satisfying as in the case of the Red Dragon.

The Vanguard was a demon that I had spent much of my time in Demon’s Souls expecting to have an epic showdown with at some point in the game.

You see, The Vanguard was the demon featured in the opening tutorial segment of the game.

While I don’t actually know if it’s possible to defeat The Vanguard during the opening sequence, in my case he killed me in 1 hit, thusly handing me my first humiliation of many to come while playing Demon’s Souls.

Sadly, my revenge would be bitter sweet; as instead of facing him head on, I found a way to get behind him and, much like the Red Dragon; peppered him in the back with arrows without him so much as trying to hit me.

Oh well, at least he coughed up a shit ton of souls.

"Vanguard! Your brother's soul, is MINE!"

As of writing this, I feel that I’ve grown to like Demon’s Souls very much.

It’s a tough game, for sure; but it’s one that can be very rewarding if you’re willing to play by it’s terms.

Not long ago I ran into a Mind Flayer-like creature in the Tower of Latria (a place I got lost in and quickly retreated from in favor of the Shrine of Storms).

Huh, wouldn't you know it they actually call it a "Mind Flayer." How very proper of them.

Said creature could be killed quite easily, however I found that it could do the same to me with even greater ease.

Though I was killed in my encounter, on my second; I changed up my tactics and stayed out of sight until it drew very close.

In a very Solid Snake-esque maneuver, I dashed out from the shadows and caught the monster off guard, thusly killing it before it could even lift a finger/face tendril to attack.

It was a very satisfying moment, that would not have been nearly so rewarding if not for the fact that the game forced me to rethink my strategy.

Now that I think about it, I like that; that the game is always difficult, no matter how buff your character gets.

Not only does it keep you humble, it serves to make the gameplay more involving in the sense that you’ve always got to be on top of your shit, regardless of how puny your opponents may be.

Much like another game I happen to like a lot, Devil May Cry 3.

While I may be a much better player than I was at the start, make no mistake; I still die in Demon’s Souls quite frequently.

Except for a few instances of ridiculous fall related deaths in the mine stage, I can concede that most of my deaths in Demon’s Souls are my fault.

I still get frustrated, yes; but I haven’t really felt the causes to be unfair or cheap.

Every now and again I get a little bit too adventurous, or a little bit too overconfident; and that’s generally when I find myself dead.

Thankfully, the penalty is just losing your money… All of it.

I’ll probably never get used to that, but I’ve never been too upset by it.

After all, it’s just money.

Thankfully, I’m not having to say that in regards to my purchase of Demon’s Souls.

Yet.

 

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The Best Track in the Game #12: Battletoads and Double Dragon

Ah, woodpaneling... So very 70's. So very, Atari...

Battletoads and Double Dragon represented a novel and innovative concept for it’s time.

Bear in mind, this was long before the days of the Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and the general cross-overy nature of the Super Smash Bros. series.

Basically it's like this. I assure that's not 2 different kinds of poop.

By taking 2 action game franchises, and marrying their character rosters and gameplay styles, the folks over at Tradewest and Rare succeeded in accomplishing 2 things:

They made the easiest, and therefore most accessible Battletoads game, and they also made the simplest, and therefore worst traditional Double Dragon game.

Bear in mind, even the very worst of the Double Dragon series (which would be Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls) is still pretty good.

Okay, I take that back. Double Dragon V was ass... The cartoon was kinda' fun though.

Put together, those 2 facts result in a game that is straightforward, fun, but ultimately kind of mediocre in comparison to the other games in it’s respective series’.

That being said, I spent a good portion of my youth playing Battletoads and Double Dragon, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

You see, when I said Battletoads and Double Dragon was the “most accessible” Battletoads game, what I really meant to say, was that it was the only game in the series that was playable to non-Super Saiyans or non-mutants.

Or Non-Super Saiyan Mutants!

The Battletoads series is well known throughout gaming circles as being SOME OF THE MOST DIFFICULT FUCKING SHIT KNOWN TO MAN, and as such, the majority of us mere mortals simply can’t play them without tearing out our hair and/or breaking the fucking controller.

Pictured: The Result of Attempting to "BEAST" Battletoads.

Personally, I was only able to get about halfway through both Battletoads and it’s Super NES sequel, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t have a problem with that.

In fact I’m proud to say that I got as far as I did.

Pictured: The Day I Beat Battletoads.

Fortunately, Battletoads and Double Dragon is quite a bit easier than your traditional Battletoads game, resulting in my having beat it about a half dozen times or so.

I also beat the Battletoads arcade game way back in the day, but that was when my parents were feedin’ me quarters at a birthday party, so that doesn’t really count.

To be fair though, most of the time I was just playing Aliens vs. Predator AKA THE BEST BEAT 'EM UP EVER.

The one thing I always found be downright mean about Battletoads games, was the fact that they always bait you into thinking that the games’ gonna’ be fun and easy by giving you a cast of a colorful and cartoony characters to play as,

Zitz, Pimple and Rash: Corporate Whores.

and a laughably easy beat ’em up intro stage:


Every fuckin’ game in the series does this, and as a kid you think that’s gonna’ be the whole extent of the gameplay experience, but no, they had to go and change up the gameplay for EVERY FUCKING STAGE.

True, for the time this was a fucking revelation in gameplay variety on a single cartridge, but for those of us who were too dumb to read the back of the box, or failing that, the instruction manual, this really fuckin’ FUCKED you over somethin’ fierce.

Needless to say, I had problems learning the goddamn Turbo Tunnel,

I had problems learning fuckin’ Karnath’s Lair,

and you can sure as hell bet I never had a chance in goddamn fuckin’ Volkmire’s Inferno:

That’s right, I remember the names of the levels.

Hard to forget when they STEAL YOUR SOUL.

Anyway, the fun part about about Battletoads and Double Dragon, was that it kept the varied gameplay of the Battletoads series, but placed more of an emphasis on the sidescrolling beat ’em up action due to the inclusion of the Double Dragons.

Billy and Jimmy Lee: Proud Owners of Pimp-Ass Pompadours.

It should be noted however, that the general gameplay mechanics of the fighting are based purely off of the Battletoads games, meaning the movement controls are “slippery,” running attacks are king, and enemies can only be defeated via flashy, and sometimes dangerously slow, smash attacks.

Make no mistake, this is Battletoads and Double Dragon, not the other way around.

Some of the alternative gameplay functions that were carried over from the Battletoads series were:

A pathetically easy Turbo Tunnel segment,

Also known as, "A Complete Waste of Time."

and a brief rappelling segment akin to the Wookie Tunnel from the original Battletoads:

Complete with Toad 'Morphin Action!

In addition to this, there was also an absurdly difficult Asteroids inspired spaceship shooting sequence in one of the later stages in the game:

Believe it or not, this was the easy part of the stage!

I fuckin’ hated that stage…

Anyway, my fondest memories of Battletoads and Double Dragon, will always be playing it with my Korean buddy from up the street.

Pictured: Said Korean. He made this, not me.

For whatever reasons, he insisted on playing the game, in particular the 3rd stage, while blasting 50 Cent’s “In Da’ Club.”

Fortunately, through the wonders of technology, I can replicate the experience for you!

CLICK HERE

Anyway, the basic plot of the game involved the Battletoad’s eternal nemesis, the delicious Dark Queen, hopping in her new Rat-Ship, The Colossus, and headin’ on down to Earth to wreak some havok.

Mmmm, sexual...

Along the way though, she recruits the aid of the Double Dragon’s regular punching bags, The Shadow Warriors and their leader, the Shadow Boss (they mean “Master”).

Oh Brock, we keep finding ways to slip you in...

This of course results in the Battletoads responding by giving Billy and Jimmy Lee a jingle.

Really!? THIS, was the best you could find?

With the “Ultimate Team” assembled, our heroes set off into the cosmos to whup the Shadow Boss/Master, and kick the Dark Queen right in her sweet, luscious ass.

Mmmm, pixelated...

*Ahem!* Pardon me…

That being said, let’s get down to the real business at hand.

The Best Track in Battletoads and Double Dragon is

The Title Screen

Why?

If ever there was a track that better represented the Battletoad’s style, (aside from their theme music of course) it’d have to be the Title Screen music of Battletoads and Double Dragon.

Despite the game being the product of dual franchises, the music, graphical style, and gameplay of Battletoads and Double Dragon are almost uniformly based around the Battletoads aesthetic.

Indeed, every track in the game includes the heavy metal-ish simulated electric guitar work we’ve all come to expect from the Battletoads games, and I for one love that about it.

Seriously man, this track has wonderful sense of “let’s go kick some ass” to it that really gets you psyched to play the game.

At the same time however, it’s not an overly aggressive piece of music.

Much like the heavy metal-ish sound I just mentioned, the Title Screen track has an appropriate sense of “fun” to it that serves to remind you of the inherently cartoonish nature of the game you’re about to play.

My only complaint about the soundtrack of the game, is the fact that it doesn’t include any of either of the two franchises signature tracks.

Both the Double Dragon and Battletoad’s themes are absent from the game, as are any pieces of existing music from either franchise.

While it may seem fanboy-ish of me to say it, I’m actually surprised that Rare went ahead and made an entirely original soundtrack for the game despite the treasure trove of existing tracks they could have recycled.

Oh well, brownie points to them for putting in the extra hours.

Anyway, it’s been a long time coming, but that’s it for The Best Track in the Game #12.

To make up for the lack of Double Dragon factoids, (I felt I pretty much covered them in some of my earlier posts) here’s the intro of the old Saturday morning cartoon I used to watch way back when!:

Man that shit sucked balls…

I love how they actually went so far as to rhyme “dragon” with “braggin’.”

Also, the repetition of “You (blank) are dragon master, NOW” is just fucking awful…

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part IV

It's time to end it...

We’ve reached the end of my long reminiscence on the rail shooter series that is Time Crisis.

To wrap things up, I figured I would take a moment to talk a little bit about the Time Crisis games that I haven’t played.

Released in arcades in 1999, Crisis Zone was the first spin-off of the Time Crisis series, and the first that I would never play.

The game borrowed the duck and shoot mechanic of Time Crisis in the form of a riot shield that the player character wields throughout the game.

Not quite as fun as landing a riot shield kill in Modern Warfare, but oh well...

In addition to this, instead of the standard issue handgun of most rail shooters, the player was, at all times, armed with a submachine gun.

Remember when I said machine guns make for dumb rail shooters?

Well, that’s pretty much the reason I had so little interest in Crisis Zone despite the “Crisis” name.

My feelings on the subject would carry on years down the road, well past the 2004 console release of Crisis Zone on the PS2.

Nearly 5 years after the console release of Time Crisis 1, Namco saw fit to make a Playstation exclusive entry in the series called Time Crisis: Project Titan.

As an owner of both Point Blank and Time Crisis, as well as 2 Guncons, I remember being curious about Project Titan, however I never actually played the game.

Point Blank: Best Character Designs EVER.

I remember reading a review of Project Titan in my Playstation Magazine, (PSM) wherein the editor saw fit to give the game a solid, but otherwise unremarkable score.

This was back when the writing staff was still cool by the way.

The release of Project Titan was marred by horribly outdated graphics for it’s time, a lack of new features, and the impending release of the infinitely superior Time Crisis 2 on the PS2 within the same year.

For the last fucking time, "NO ONE CAN BEAT THEM."

A minor plus to the game came in the form of several major characters from Time Crisis 1 making an appearance; namely Richard Miller as the player character, and Kantaris and Wild Dog as the game’s antagonists.

Sorry Dog, can't come out to play this weekend...

That’s right, not even an appearance by Wild Dog could get me to play Project Titan.

In essence, from what I’ve seen and read, Project Titan tried hard with what it had, but came up short in just about every area possible.

I like how I stumbled across this pic by searching for "small penis." That made my day.

Released in arcades in 2006, Time Crisis 4 is the most recent “proper” entry in the Time Crisis series.

I have seen the game available for play at Seattle Gameworks, and while I was somewhat impressed by the game’s graphical fidelity, I was also miffed by a few minor details.

Minor in most people’s eyes anyway.

In short, I was both flabbergasted and appalled by two aspects of Time Crisis 4’s design:

The character designs, and the addition of swarms of creatures called “Terror Bites.”

Honestly, I don’t what kind of Final Fantasy bullshit Namco was trying to pull with this game, but the character designs are utterly ridiculous.

Take a look:

Wow. Just, "wow."

These designs are what you call, “flash for the sake of flash.”

The clothing and hairstyles of the two guys on either side are outlandishly over-the-top, and the dude in the middle’s white man dreads are just plain scary.

Ever since Final Fantasy X (which I have not played, and have no desire to do so), I’ve always bashed the series’ character designs as being too “fashion magazine” like for their own good.

Of course time marches on and... Okay then, I guess nothing's changed after all.

That’s Final Fantasy though, it’s fantasy, it’s supposed to be gaudy.

We’re talkin’ about fuckin’ Time Crisis!

Look at some of the designs from the old game.

Richard Miller, bomber jacket + blue jeans = Hero.

Sometimes simple is better.

Part of what always separated the Time Crisis series from many other light gun franchises, was the fact that your enemies were always human.

Sure, there were always mechanical bosses to deal with from time to time, and the 3rd game put a huge emphasis on putting you up against all sorts of vehicles and what not, but never was there a time in which you were fighting bugs or animals.

Pictured: Time Crisis 4

To make matters worse, from what I saw in the arcade attract demo, the Terror Bites attack in swarms, which is also a big no-no in a Time Crisis game.

Time Crisis games never swarm the player with enemies, in fact most of the time the enemy count on screen at any given moment is relatively low for a light gun game.

In Time Crisis 1 and 2, the difficulty stemmed from clever enemy placement and the requirement of great accuracy and speed on the part of the player.

Enemies rarely scored hits by overwhelming you, and they never swarmed you or otherwise forced you to spray and pray.

Personally, I felt these two additions to the gameplay structure of Time Crisis 4 have served to potentially send the series down an ugly road.

Yeah, pretty sure you'd find this place on "ugly road."

It doesn’t look horrible, and I still want to play it, however I’m in no hurry and will gladly wait until the price per play at the arcade goes down a bit.

We went over this before, I’m Azn and therefore cheap.

Time Crisis is a wonderful game series, and potentially the best of it’s kind.

I tip my hat to the folks over at Namco for enriching my childhood, adolescence, and teenage years with memories of playing the first 3 Time Crisis games early in the morning on Christmas day.

Huh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, but Time Crisis was my favorite Christmas gift, 3 different times.

"3!? That's impossible, even for a computer!"

So no matter how critical I may get of the later entries in the series, when I say I’m a lifelong fan of the series, you know I’m not bullshitting you.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got to say about Time Crisis for awhile.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t played a Time Crisis game in the arcade before, maybe now you’ll consider giving it a spin next time you’re out and about!

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part III

Time Crisis 3 marked a major transition point in the Time Crisis series.

While the core gameplay of Time Crisis 1 and 2 consisted of little more than ducking and shooting, Time Crisis 3 added a new spin to the mix in the form of a number of new weapons.

Wouldn't you know it, the first Google Images for the search terms "new weapons" just happens to be shit from Halo.

For the first time in the series, a new “inventory system” was added, granting the player access to a machine gun, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher at all times throughout of the game.

The addition of these special weapons changed the dynamic of the game drastically.

Selecting weapons was done by pulling the trigger while in cover, so there was very little pressure to select weapons quickly, however, by giving the player options on how they wished to approach every gun fight, it slowed down the pace of the game somewhat.

Time Crisis 3: It Brakes For The Elderly. Do YOU!?

It should be noted that the “Time” aspect of the 3rd Time Crisis, is almost entirely a non-factor at this point in the series.

In addition to this, because the expectation was that the player would be using these powerful new weapons throughout the game, the difficulty level was padded in the form of granting several enemies a lifebar system as opposed to the “one shot, one kill” dynamic of the previous games.

Yup, they've got one of these this time around.

I use the term “padded,” because the whole lifebar system felt tacked on and inorganic.

In prior games in the series, one shot was usually enough to kill virtually any enemy in the game.

These guys'll be dead in about 2 seconds flat.

Some bosses in Time Crisis 2 would take several shots to stun, but even then, none of them had a fatty lifebar floating over their head to tell you when they were going to flinch.

Or if they're BUFF, they don't flinch at all. 'Cause only pussies flinch at gun fire.

Despite the lifebars hanging over most enemies’ heads in Time Crisis 3, for the most part they didn’t flinch when being shot, which resulted in many instances where enemies would land hits on the player while eating entire clips in the face.

Strangely enough, despite the vast assortment of enemies with lifebars in Time Crisis 3, the overall difficulty level is decidedly lower than Time Crisis 1 or 2.

Once again, I attribute this fact to the new weapons.

Remember how hard Doom 2 was when playing with a BFG 9000 with unlimited ammo? That's Time Crisis 3 for you.

In short, giving the player a machine gun that never has to be reloaded is always a bad idea in a rail shooter.

Why?

Because the core gamplay, no matter how frenetic or Paul Greengrass-ed the fuck out, consists of nothing more than spotting enemies and pointing your gun at them.

Okay, bad example. Whac-A-Mole was pretty fuckin' hard...

Do you realize how easy that is when all you have to do is wave the gun across the screen few times to kill everything at once?

Well I’ll tell you:  Pretty fuckin’ easy.

Either that, or it's Gunblade. Which isn't a bad thing...

Difficulty level aside, Time Crisis 3 was a solid entry in the series.

The color palette was once again made even more vibrant than in the previous game, giving the game a cartoonish, almost anime-like aesthetic.

In fact, many of the character designs in the game reflect this trend, with outrageous, and often; flat-out stupid hairstyles and clothing being the norm for most of the cast.

Case in point:

Apparently our heroes shop at the Gap...

Sadly, not even Wild Dog was able to escape the aesthetic shift, as his appearance in the game was marred not only by the inclusion of a fruity sidekick/son(?) named Wild Fang, as well as his least pimp, and by far worst “look” in franchise history.

Damn, he got a fat head.

Interestingly enough however, one thing Time Crisis 3 did with just the right amount of flair, was it’s story.

Unlike the majority of the cutscenes in the previous 2 games, Time Crisis 3 included a great deal of action in most of it’s story sequences.

In addition to this, the player characters, Alan and Wesley, were a helluva’ lot more defined than any of the previous ones, with a goofy sort of “buddy cop” dynamic being played up between the two.

Although at no point is it ever made clear that “No one can beat them.”

SUPERIOR.

The story involves a fictional Mediterranean nation called Lukano, which is being invaded by the Zagorias Federation.

The head of the Zagorias Federation, Giorgio Zott, intends to use the location of Lukano to serve as a launch pad for tactical nuclear missiles.

Whoever the fuck named “Giorgio Zott” deserves to get smacked upside their head, ’cause that is just about the goofiest and least threatening last name I’ve heard in a while.

Seriously, that's a NAME.

Anyway, international badasses that they are, VSSE dispatches 2 agents, Alan Dunaway and Wesley Lambert, to handle the entire conflict CONTRA style.

Well okay, maybe not THAT hardcore, but hardcore nonetheless.

After a bloodsoaked beach landing, and a romp along the coast, our heroes find themselves under fire from a giant ass gunship.

GIANT ASS GUNSHIP.

Fortunately, the pair happen upon a foxy young member of the Lukano Liberation Army, named Alicia Winston, who just happens to have the world’s fastest and most well-armored jeep in the world.

Okay, maybe I lied about the whole "foxy" thing.

While riding the jeep, our heroes battle the games’ first boss as he bears down on them with his gunship.

Despite the impressive visage of taking on a big ass plane while riding a jeep, the battle is really pretty straightforward once you’ve taken out the plane’s defenses and forced the flame-haired brute to fight you out on the loading ramp.

Couldn't find a good pic. This'll do nicely though...

Other than the occasional lateral juke every now and again, the guy really just stands there and eats whatever you throw at him.

Oh yeah, and at one point he pulls a 10 foot long Vulcan out, but even so, he’s cake.

Yup, still a tool.

Long story short, he dies, the plane goes up in flames, everybody macarena.

With that, Alicia begins to guide our heroes through Lukano and towards the tactical nukes.

Unfortunately, a fuck ton of enemies show up, forcing Alan and Wesley to split off from Alicia and fight their way through a marketplace.

Did I mention Lukano was in the Mediterranean?

This was one of my favorite parts of the game, largely because of the music and the cute little motorcycle battle towards the end.

Eventually, our heroes make it through the town and reunite with Alicia, hitching a ride on a train while they’re at it.

While riding the train, a foppish, clawed ninja-like character, similar to Moz from Time Crisis 1, attacks them, serving as the stage boss.

Not the scariest boss around, but, then again looks aren't everything.

The character has no dialogue, but unlike Moz, he actually puts up a decent fight.

Oh yeah, and he doesn’t take 3 shots to kill either.

The boss moves about quickly, often forcing the player to take their shots at times when he is just likely to hit you as the other way around.

To add to the excitement of things, the train the players are on is progressively falling into a pit during the fight, causing your perspective to be obscured for most of the fight.

That's just plain unsafe.

Despite the bosses arsenal of grenades and claw slashes, he too ends up kicking the bucket like all those that came before him.

Curiously enough though, there is no explosion following his death.

NO EXPLOSION!!!!!!???

Sometime during the 3rd and final stage, Wild Dog, and his new apprentice, Wild Fang, show up for their obligatory showdown with our heroes.

Uh, nice ponytail there, Mr. Fang...

This time around, Wild Dog is looking a little worse for wear, with his hair long and unkempt, and beginning to gray at that.

Despite this, Mr. Dog demonstrates further improvements in his arsenal, fielding a flamethrower, a rocket launcher and a sword-like blade attached to the machine gun arm he had last time around.

Wild Fang is somewhat of a mystery to me, as despite his armaments consisting of little more than a Mauser pistol or two, his main method of attack involves him kicking objects at you.

By “objects” of course, I mean things like forklifts and I-bars.

You think I'm shitting you? Play the game asshole.

You know, standard stuff.

It’s never explicitly stated, however I believe one can assume that Mr. Fang has had some sort of bodily enhancements.

Although if BUFF Bryant is any indication of what a “strong” human being is capable of in the Time Crisis universe, then I could be wrong.

Anyway, the Wild Pair attack in tandem, offering up an exhilarating and diverse challenge that is definitely a step up in difficulty from Wild Dog’s appearance in Time Crisis 2.

However Wild Dog looks like shit, so the game loses brownie points for that.

Eventually, the Wild Pair is defeated, with Wild Dog going about his normal routine of, you guessed, blowing himself up.

After heated gun battles against ninjas, machine gun toting hooligans, and even the occasional submersible or two, it isn’t long before our heroes find themselves at odds with Mr. Giorgio Zott himself.

While Ernesto Diaz from Time Crisis 2 saw fit to hang back and let his dummy satellite do most of the fighting, Zott demonstrates a passion for fighting up close and personal.

Like, with a fucking sword, up close and personal.

Zott begins the fight with a submachine in one hand and a sword in the other.

He is exceedingly accurate with both, and even sees fit to borrow Johnny Cage’s shadow kick from time to time.

Do I really need a reason?

During the fight, the arena is constantly being flooded with all manner of enemies, ramping up the difficulty level to an extent.

For the final phase of the battle, Zott switches out his weapons in favor of a pair of 4 tubed rocket launchers.

8 rockets, more than enough to kill... Oh, come on, by now I'm sure you know the rest

Despite the imposing nature of a man firing more rockets than any human probably should, Zott goes down shortly thereafter, proving be a gaudy and colorful, but otherwise harmless final boss.

Also, he doesn’t explode.

WHERE'S THE GODDAMN EXPLOSION!!!?

Even as Zott bites the big one however, the missiles he had set up earlier suddenly spring to life and begin to launch!

Fortunately, Alan and Wesley have the power of “dynamic cutscene intervention,” which the put into to play just in time stop the rockets and rob the player of any measure of participation in the games’ final crisis of time.

And HOW do they save the day? Why, by doing cartwheels and shooting things, that's how!

Remember how I said the cutscenes were flashier this time around?

Well, this is just about the only case wherein I felt this was a bad thing.

That being said, thanks to the power of cool cutscenes, Alan and Wesley get to walk away from a massive explosion, whereupon they are greeted by Alicia.

Pictured: Undoctored still from the end of Time Crisis 3.

High-fives, fist-pumping, and three-way fucking ensue.

As a supplement to the main story mode, the console port of Time Crisis 3 includes a series of single player side missions wherein the player assumes the role of Alicia as she assists the VSSE agents and attempts to find her imprisoned brother.

Alicia’s missions include a new leveling system wherein her weapons start out in a downgraded state, only to steadily increase in power with repeated use.

By the end of the game, her weapons display power and rates of fire well in excess of their capabilities in the main story mode.

In addition to this, Alicia also makes use a sniper rifle, which is cleverly implemented into the gameplay by way of a zoom-in button in place of normal “duck” button.

BOOM! HEADSHOT!!!

Perhaps the most impressive use of the sniper rifle in Alicia’s game is it’s use during a pivotal point in the main storyline wherein Alicia saves her brother from Giorgio Zott by shooting a pistol out of his hand.

It’s a nerve racking, one-shot, slow-motion sequence that is largely reminiscent of Namco’s Point Blank/Gun Bullet series.

After saving Alicia’s brother, whole experience culminates with a fast-paced battle against Jake Hernandez, a traitor to the Lukano Liberation Army.

The battle is fought under a strict time limit, and is perhaps the most difficult boss battle in the entire game.

Sorry, no pics, so you're stuck with The Fat Man.

In all, Alicia’s missions are intensely varied and excellent throughout, with many of the mission adopting Crisis Mission parameters, such as extremely limited ammo, time, and even the occasional innocent civilian from time to time.

That’s not to say that Time Crisis 3 doesn’t include Crisis Missions of it’s own, however their largely the same as the previous game, so we’ll consider that covered from last time.

COVERED.

Aside from it’s exceptionally colorful and action movie-esque plot, another highlight to Time Crisis 3 was it’s soundtrack.

In short, the soundtrack of Time Crisis 3 is excellent, regardless of it’s connection to the Time Crisis series.

Time Crisis 1’s soundtrack consisted of only a minute or two of of actual composition, with most of it’s running time being made up of variations of the same core theme.

Time Crisis 2’s soundtrack was greatly expanded from the first, however the instrumentation was weaker and not as engaging as the first.

Time Crisis 3 however, has a very robust and exhilarating soundtrack, that while bearing very little resemblance, if any, to the previous entries in the series, definitely stands out as perhaps the best of all Time Crisis games.

My favorite track, by far, was the Stage 2-1 music:

A close second was the first bosses theme:

Sadly, Wild Dog’s theme is once again a step down from it’s original debut, however, given his severely demoted standing among the other villains in the game, it’s entirely appropriate.

Despite Time Crisis 3’s relative lack of difficulty, and borderline childish aesthetic, it stands as a worthy successor to the series, if not a dramatically different one.

Check back for a possible Part IV!

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part II

I said it before, I’ll say it again; Time Crisis 2 is my favorite light gun game of all time.

While Time Crisis 1 was an excellent and innovative game for it’s time, #2 managed to improve upon it in every way.

Released in arcades in 3 years after it’s successor in 1998, Time Crisis 2 featured a new visual cue to alert the player of incoming fire, an increased bullet capacity from 6 to 9, the limited inclusion of a new weapon, (a machine gun) and the option to play the game co-operatively with a friend.

Not the best example of co-op gaming, but whatever...

The new visual cue, dubbed the “Crisis Flash” system, would go on to become a staple of the series included in every subsequent sequel.

The “Crisis Flash” was a rose colored flash that would emit from from incoming bullets just a moment before striking the player.

Pictured: The "Crisis Flash"

The system was created in response to the sometimes random instances in which the player would get hit.

While enemies’ colors denote their accuracy levels in all Time Crisis games, in the original there were some instances in which the seemingly harmless blue enemies would somehow turn into deadshots.

Cheating motherfuckers...

Time Crisis 2 corrected this by affording the player with an opportunity, however brief, to avoid any instance of potential harm.

This, along with most of the other new features in the game, served to lower the difficulty of Time Crisis 2 in comparison with it’s predecessor, while at the same time making it more accessible and fun to novice and expert players alike.

Although I think the game would probably be too easy for these kids.

The increased bullet count per load in Time Crisis 2 was, in my opinion, one of the most significant improvements from Time Crisis 1.

The original Time Crisis had the player using 6 bullets per load, a number that, while standard for the time, was somewhat difficult to work with.

But, isn't six shots, more than enough to kill anything that moves?

“Time” was a huge factor in the original Time Crisis.

The player was afforded 40 seconds to deal with any one situation, with extra time awarded for killing orange enemies or reaching checkpoints.

The timer would count down at all times, even during scene transitions when the player was unable to control the game.

Similar to how even when you are safely disarming the bomb in Counter-Strike, the mistakes of other people can, in fact, still fuck you over:

Running out of time in Time Crisis would result in a game over, while in all of it’s sequels, the player merely loses 1 hit point.

While enemies rarely swarmed you, it was often difficult to effectively dispatch any one wave of enemies with a single load of 6 rounds.

This would often force the player to duck and cover repeatedly for every wave, thusly draining your precious time limit quite rapidly.

Providing ever more chances that shit like this would happen.

While the enemy count on screen was bolstered significantly from the first game, Time Crisis 2 granted the player flexibility in dealing with them by giving them 3 extra bullets to mount a more sustained offensive, and a more forgiving time limit for times when the player needed time to collect themselves.

In case, you know, you just happen to be one of those assholes that decides to do this during a gun fight.

Time Crisis 2 marked the first time in franchise history that the player could acquire new weapons during the game.

The only other weapon available in Time Crisis 2 besides the default infinite ammo pistol, was a machine gun given to the player for very specific situations.

The “situations” in question were a few instances in which the player was faced with the challenge of taking on heavily armed APC’s.

HOW you manage to take down one of these with a machine gun, is beyond me.

When using the machine gun, the player would be treated to the advantages of automatic fire, and unlimited ammo.

Unfortunately, the game’s player characters, Keith and Robert would always see fit to discard these wonderful guns upon taking out the APC’s, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”

"No One Can Beat Them"

Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but hey, the game would probably be too easy if they let you keep the machine guns.

Just ask Time Crisis 3

Better not blink, you might miss them beat the game...

Despite all of the neat little improvements that Time Crisis 2 made over it’s predecessor, by far the most significant of these was the addition of two player co-op gameplay.

Light gun games and co-op go together like spaghetti and meatballs.

Despite this, it’s easy to understand why the original Time Crisis didn’t include the feature.

Namco already broke the mold by introducing the “Hide and Shoot” pedal mechanic, and the creative fatigue associated with this, coupled with the technical limitations of 1995, probably resulted in them being unable to incorporate the feature.

1995: When the peak of technology allowed for Jim Carrey to be unfunny, and Batman's costume to have nipples.

At least that’s my guess.

Co-op in Time Crisis 2 was executed in a unique and brilliant fashion.

While virtually every light gun game before had the player characters occupying the same field of vision, on the same screen, the Time Crisis 2 arcade cabinet was split into 2 separate screens, allowing for instances in which the two players would split up, viewing the same scene from different angles.

FUCK YEAH.

This, combined with the nifty recoiling light guns, made for an exciting and colorful experience, wherein the two players would often times be caught up in cross fires while trying to cover one another.

It also made it possible for the two players to mess around and shoot one another if they so desired.

This, boys and girls, is what you call "team killing."

Fortunately, the game only penalizes the players for doing so by removing points, not by damaging the player.

Whatever man, you’d have done it too…

That's right, YOU.

I played Time Crisis 2 like a mad man in the arcade, but it wasn’t until I bought it on the Playstation 2 that I truly began to love it.

The PS2 port of Time Crisis 2 came out in 2001, and, like it’s predecessor, it featured a lot of bonus content.

The game featured remixed music, a massive graphical face lift, optional permanent weapon enhancements, the option to play the game “mirrored” with enemies appearing in new places, and a number of scenario missions called “Crisis Missions.”

All of these features, as well as a few others, resulted in a console light gun game that was hard to get tired of.

Unlike this quarter munching pile of ass.

Done with the single player game?

Play it “mirrored” and you’ve got basically a whole new game on your hands.

Done with “mirror” mode?

Try playing through the game with a shotgun, see how it feels.

Tired? Sleepy?

Try 5-Hour Energy.

*Ahem!* Sorry about that, WAY too many Hulu ads.

*Cocks Head To Side* "My delivery isn't condescending. Not at all..." *Cocks Head To Side*

The “Crisis Missions” were essentially training missions designed to challenge your skills and help you become a better player.

Either that or they were just cruel jokes meant to make you feel dumb for being unable to complete them.

In short, the “Crisis Missions” were very hard, much harder than the story mode of the game, even on the hard settings.

Most of my memories of “Crisis Mode” are ones of contempt and frustration.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wasn’t one of those guys that break things when they get mad, otherwise I’d have a lot of broken GunCons.

...And a lot of dead cats.

The story of Time Crisis 2 is standard action movie fare, however it’s progression is a little bit muddled and detached, resulting in an experience that isn’t nearly as memorable or dear to me as the the first game’s.

Basically, there’s this company called Neodyne Industries, whose CEO just happens to be a megalomaniacal asshole named Ernesto Diaz.

With a scar like that, you KNOW he's legit.

Using his company as a front, Diaz intends to launch a nuclear satellite into space so he can… Well, it’s never really explained as to what he intends to do, but whatever, you end up killing him anyway so it’s all good.

As members of VSSE, Keith and Robert, it’s your job to take on Diaz and his thugs, destroy the satellite, and rescue Christy, an agent assigned to infiltrate Neodyne.

Hmm, I guess she's worth it... I GUESS.

It’s a good thing that “No One Can Beat Them,” otherwise that’d be a tall order.

Skip to 2:10 or risk losing your sanity:

On the way, you encounter a series of strange and colorful bosses.

The first is a man named Jakov Kinisky, a weasly and effeminite man in a pink shirt and black suit that carries a suitcase.

Oh yeah, and a machine pistol.

No Comment.

You spend the entirety of the first stage chasing Jakov through the streets of a picturesque town and port, literally knocking him on his ass everytime he makes the mistake of trying to shoot back at you.

Eventually, you chase Jakov onto a heavily armed and armored speed boat, which leads to a crazy boat chase complete with attack divers that try to shank you at every corner.

After disposing of the boats defenses, you then cap Jakov in his face, thusly causing the boat to crash, and yes, explode.

Using the intel gathered from Jakov’s precious suitcase, Keith and Robert drive off to intercept a train that is carrying the nuclear satellite.

And yes, “No One Can Beat Them.”

After a hard fought battle, our heroes are faced with the challenge of taking on a black man so tough, they saw fit to give him a Russian accent: BUFF Bryant.

You better believe that that radio in his hand is about to get smashed...

Seriously, BUFF Bryant.

The only other Buff I’ve ever heard of was Buff Bagwell, and he wasn’t nothin’ compared to Mr. Bryant.

...Although that doesn't mean he wasn't awesome in his own right.

As BUFF makes his entrance, a helicopter shows up, airlifting the nuclear satellite off the train and out carrying it far off into the distance.

None of that matters though ’cause BUFF sees fit to distract our heroes by spraying fire at them with a train mounted minigun.

A Minigun: The Only Weapon Suitable For A Man Named "Buff."

When that proves ineffectual, BUFF casually hops out of his seat, strolls over to a surface-to-air missile stowed on the train car, and proceeds to pick it up to club you over the head with.

Naw, he's not on the 'roids. No way...

What the fuck Namco, did I miss something?

I can understand if the man’s supposed to be bulletproof, ’cause he’s wearing nothin’ but a dress shirt and suspenders and somehow it takes like 50 rounds to make him flinch, but when the guy starts picking up 30 foot long missiles, then I just get confused.

It must be the pimp-ass suspenders, after all, Wild Dog’s got ’em and you saw all the crazy shit he was doing in Time Crisis 1…

I swear man, it's gotta' be the suspenders...

Anyway, BUFF drops the missile eventually, whereupon he decides to pick up his minigun and hop onto a nearby helicopter with it.

Man, I didn't need to know this mothefucker could FLY.

After doing a few passes on you, eventually BUFF takes one too many bullets to the face and he rears back in his seat, shooting out the Jesus bolt in his helicopter in the process, thusly causing, you guessed, an explosion.

Yeah, somehow I don't think this would be enough to kill 'ole BUFF...

For whatever reason, the train starts to fall off a cliff after this, thusly forcing Keith and Robert to flee the ensuing destruction and explosions.

Fortunately, “No One Can Beat Them,” and after a bunch of stupid bullshit involving Last Crusade nonsense and inept guards, our heroes manage to commandeer a nearby helicopter that just happens to have a pre-programmed flight pattern for Ernesto Diaz’s island hideout.

With that, our heroes head over to the island and start killin’ bitches.

Pictured: Keith and Robert killing bitches... Or a cat yawning. I really don't care either way.

Just as things seem to have escalated as far as they can however, our old buddy, the pimpest man in existence AKA Wild Dog decides to show up and make things complicated all over again.

I came.

Armed with a brand new robotic gatling gun arm and a fatty new facial scar to boot, Wild Dog puts the hurt on our heroes while Diaz hangs back and shoots rockets at them every now and again, you know, like you do.

Pictured: Steve Jobs during Corporate War III.

Despite looking, unbelievably; even more pimp than ever before, Wild Dog is nothing more than a minor obstacle in Time Crisis 2.

“Obstacle” being the operative word in that sentence.

In Time Crisis 1, Wild Dog was the big boss, the guy you had to kill to get to the end, while in the sequel he comes across more as an element of the level design than a concrete “presence” or character in the game.

In either case, being as “No One Can Beat” Keith and Robert, (Note: “No One Can Beat Them”) Wild Dog ends up gettin’ capped somethin’ fierce, only this time he makes the conscious decision to click his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” on himself, thusly setting off a charge in his robotic arm and causing him to explode.

Again.

BAD. ASS.

Anyway, upon seeing the pimpest man in existence extinguish his own life in a blaze of B ADASS glory, Diaz rabbits like a little bitch and takes Christy with him.

Chasing Diaz through the installation, Keith and Robert manages to cap Diaz in the face enough times to make him let go of Christy, though in an act of douchebaggery he actually has the nerve to try and toss her ass into a fuckin’ hole.

I’m amazed he even tried to put up a fight, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”

Fortunately, Christy is saved just in time by our heroes, thusly leading to the final battle.

With the shuttle carrying the nuclear satellite beginning it’s launch sequence, Diaz confronts our heroes at the top of the launch platform while straddling a dummy satellite mounted on a complex armature.

Satellite or not, shoot it in the face. That usually does the trick.

Despite being a dummy model for a nuclear satellite, the machine proves to be heavily armed with conventional weapons like laser beams and rockets.

Once again, I don’t get it, but whatever, it’s hella’ fun to shoot to shit.

Taking potshots at you while hiding behind his mechanical monstrosity, Diaz proves to be a decent, if not colorful challenge, however he doesn’t even come close to approaching the level of difficulty that Sherudo or Wild Dog achieved in Time Crisis 1.

Still, BAAAAADDDDD ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

It isn’t long before Diaz and his satellite, quite literally, fall before the power of Keith and Robert’s infinite ammo pistols.

Oh yeah, and “No One Can Beat Them.”

Diaz and the dummy satellite fall onto the launching shuttle, thusly damaging it enough to stop it’s ascent and destroy the installation in the process.

Explosions ensue.

Yup, pretty sure he's dead. Had it been BUFF in there though, I don't know...

With that, our heroes are blown out to sea, whereupon they are greeted by the sight of Christy driving over to them in an inflatable raft.

Cue BLATANT rip-off of music from The Rock, roll credits, everyone fucks, the end.

"What the fuck do you mean they STOLE the fuckin' music!?"

Time Crisis 2’s soundtrack, both in the arcade, and remixed on the console, was nothing to write home about.

The Time Crisis theme is evident throughout the game, however the intensity level of everything is significantly taken down a notch.

I mentioned that the ending theme of the game is, in my opinion, a rip-off of the theme from the movie The Rock.

In case you’re curious, here’s the evidence of my claim:

Skip to 9:05 for the source material:

Now skip to :40 of this one, and tell me they aren’t nearly identical:

In the console version of the game, this theme, ripped-off or not, is repeated throughout the game at several points, most notably during stage 2.

Rip-off or not, this theme can’t hold a candle to the original Time Crisis theme.

Wild Dog’s theme is thankfully reused for his appearance in the game, though once again, the intensity level just isn’t there.

Time Crisis 2 stands as my favorite light gun game of all time.

It may not have connected with me on as personal a level as the first in the series, but sometimes that’s not important.

I’ve seen The Shawshank Redemption only once, but I’ve seen Bloodsport about a billion times.

Why?

Because Bloodsport is a fucking fun-ass movie and Shawshank requires a bit more investment than I prefer to give in most cases.

Time Crisis 2 was just plain fun, end of story.

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part I

Let it be known that the Azn Badger loves him some Time Crisis.

I’ve been hooked on the series ever since I first played the original Time Crisis at the University of Washington Hub.

Pictured: A real school. Unlike the one I went to...

Arcade light gun rail-shooters have always been one of my favorite genres of videogames.

I think the key to their appeal lied within the simplicity of the gameplay, coupled with the fact that, for most of my life, they were a genre of game that was exclusive to the arcade.

Really, it wasn’t until the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn age of gaming that arcade perfect ports of light gun games started seeing release.

Thank you gray box, thank you black box, you made childhood and adolescence worth living through.

I’ve never really been an arcade game enthusiast, largely because I was never one of “those guys.”

You know, the guy in the arcade that strolls up to the Tekken, or Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or Street Fighter III: Third Strike cabinet, and proceeds to dominate all comers and play off of the same 50 cents all day and all night.

Pictured: The Godfather of "Those Guys"

While I was a pretty competent Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament player back in the day, most of my time in the arcade was spent playing the first few stages playing the first few stages of beat ’em ups like Aliens vs. Predator or X-Men.

Perhaps the finest beat 'em up of all time. Turtles in Time (SNES version) is right up there with it though.

I say “the first few stages of” because I’d usually only be willing to play for one credit.

Yes, even as a kid I was that Azn AKA cheap.

Make that duck Irish, and this pic is spot on.

Either that, or I’d be having the time of my life playing Mr. Driller or Raiden Fighters over in the “cheap games” section of Gameworks.

BEST GAME EVER.

Some of my favorite light gun games were Gunblade NY, Laser Ghost, House of the Dead 2, and of course, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

Pictured: The part of The Lost World arcade game that everyone remembers.

Time Crisis 1 was exceptional and unique due to it’s introduction of “the pedal” system for allowing the player to reload and duck into cover at will.

Enemies in the game were purely of the human variety, and would go down with a single shot; an important factor seeing as your magazine capacity was only 6 shots per load.

"Six shots, more than enough to kill anything that moves..."

Like most rail shooters, enemies were color coded to provide a quick means of visually acquiring and prioritizing targets.

To my knowledge, the blue guys were basically worthless, the white guys were a little bit more accurate, the brown guys were about the same, the green guys had heavy weapons, and the red guys were aimbot motherfuckers that could hit you just about every time.

Haxxorz! Aimbot! TK!

Graphically speaking, Time Crisis was no House of the Dead, but it got the job done regardless.

People looked like people, helicopters looked like helicopters, and ninjas looked like ninjas.

Well, as much as ninja's could look like ninjas back in '95...

The game wasn’t flashy, with no fancy gore effects or crazy character designs, but it’s unique and exciting gameplay made it something truly special.

Did I mention that Time Crisis actually had a story?

In fact, it’s funny to think it now, but back in the day I actually thought Time Crisis had a pretty good story.

Bear in mind, this is coming from someone that thinks THIS is a modern American classic.

Sure it’s just a standard “the president’s daughter has been kidnapped, are you a bad enough dude to rescue her?” story, but my barely 10 year old imagination spun it into something more than that.

Hell, I can remember dreaming up ideas of how to adapt the game to a fucking movie, even as a kid.

That’s not to say they were good ideas, but come on, I was 10.

Pictured: What Hollywood would be spending 200 million dollars on if 10 year olds ran the show.

The main gist of the story is that a man named Sherudo Garo is trying to overthrow the rule of his homeland by claiming his ancestral birthright.

Sherudo Garo as played by Hugh Grant.

Mr. Garo enlists the aid of an army of terrorists headed by a man named Wild Dog in order to accomplish this, kidnapping the president’s daughter, Rachel in the process.

Once the introduction is over, the rest of the story is told through a series of in between mission cut scenes.

Captain Bowl-Cut's 'bout tuh' cut a bitch...

Nothing really profound or unexpected really happens in the story, but all through the game you feel like an action hero.

As Richard Miller, generic, bad ass and mute agent of VSSE, you are treated to a handful of boss fights that take the otherwise mundane experience of killing the same soldiers over and over again, and make it all worth while.

Freeze Frame Character Intros, the action hero's best friend.

The first boss is Moz, a ninja who takes three shots to kill, and is a waste of your fucking time.

Note how the game encourages you to skip this pile of fail.

Moving on.

Next up is Sherudo Garo, who in a decent twist, isn’t actually the final boss of the game.

Crazy, bowl-cut sporting son of a bitch that he is, Mr. Garo actually brings a knife to a gun fight and tries to best you using ornamental ferns as cover.

Richard Miller used Bullet Seed on Potted Plant! It's not very effective...

It’s a fun fight, made all the better by his progressively more visible signs of weakness during the fight.

The big finale comes on the roof of the castle, at sunset, just moments after Wild Dog puts a bullet in Rachel’s arm.

Such drama, and yet the game still urges me to skip it all...

Yeah, with a set-up like that, you know it’s gonna’ be a hum-dinger.

I’d just like to take this moment to say that Wild Dog deserves some sort of award for how truly badass he is.

I mean look at him:

BAAAAADDDDD ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

He’s got the trench coat, the pimp goggles, the greased back hair, and fuckin’ red suspenders underneath it all!

He’s like the pimpest thing that ever walked the Earth!

On top of that, he’s got one of the coolest, and most over-the-top voices and deliveries I’ve ever heard.

Seriously, the first time I heard this man laugh, I knew I was looking at a living legend.

Anyway, as if Wild Dog wasn’t pimpalicious enough, he fights you with a pair of Broomhandle Mausers.

That’s Han Solo guns to you and me.

What begins as a duel based around a circular fountain, quickly escalates to something more, as Wild Dog pulls out his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and starts clickin’ that fucker like no tomorrow.

Enemies start piling out of the woodwork, the castle starts blowing up ’cause Wild Dog keeps clickin’ that fuckin’ button, and all of a sudden the game gets crazy fuckin’ hard.

Wild Dog pulls out all the stops in the last minute or so of the battle.

He jacks some dudes’ machine gun.

He starts throwin’ grenades.

He starts teleporting.

Hang on, what?

Well okay, he doesn’t really teleport per se, rather the flames of the explosions serve to mask his movements, making it seem like he’s teleporting.

At least I hope that’s what they were going for.

Finally, as if Wild Dog’s dick wasn’t massive enough already, the final phase of his attack is not to pull a rocket launcher on you, nor to turn Super Saiyan and blast you into the fuckin’ sun (yes, that did in fact happen once or twice), but simply to run straight at you, and try to punch you in the face.

If that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is.

In short, if you’re man enough to put a bullet in Wild Dog as he reaches out to sock you, he falls over backwards, drops his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and, surprise, surprise, gets blown the fuck up in the process.

Richard carries the wounded Rachel onto a nearby helicopter, they flee the exploding island, they fuck, roll credits.

The console release also had a multi-branching sidestory regarding Wild Dog’s arms supplier, a woman named Kantaris.

The story took Richard Miller on another mad dash, this time as he chased Kantaris through the hotel that was the front for her arms deals.

There were only two bosses in this mode, a random-ass dual-mohawked motherfucker named Web Spinner, and a big fuckin’ robot.

Sadly, no.

Web Spinner was encountered early in the game, and was basically like a faster, more unpredictable Moz with electrified boomerangs for projectiles.

I don’t know why you would want to electrify a boomerang, but whatever, the man has 2 mohawks, I don’t question men of such character.

Pictured: A man of such character.

The big fuckin’ robot was really hard, but lacked personality, so I don’t have much to say other than the fact that he was cheap as fuck.

There wasn’t much story to the Kantaris mission, however there were a number of cutscenes to draw my little 10 year old mind into the drama.

Part of the fun of the Kantaris mission was the fact that, though the game branched a number of way, nearly all of the ending resulted in Kantaris getting killed in some embarrassing way.

Pictured: An embarrassing death.

In one ending you shoot at her red sports car, that is, not hitting her, and she flinches like a bitch and rolls it over, thusly causing it to explode with her inside.

In another, her big fuckin’ robot goes haywire and turns on her, pushing her out the window of the hotel, and yes, exploding on top of her.

In still another, you don’t even shoot at her, and the plane she’s escaping in just sort of craps out and crashes on it’s own.

You best be screamin' bitch, YOU GOIN' DIE!!!

Aside from the gameplay and story, it should be said that Time Crisis’ soundtrack, while repetitive, was wonderfully memorable soundtrack.

I am a fan of thematic scores, and Time Crisis’ entire soundtrack is based on reworking maybe 3-4 major themes throughout the entirety of the game, with most of them being pretty good.

Soundtrack HERE.

“Stage 1-3” is my favorite, as it’s a medley of every major theme in the game.

I was very happy to find that, while the main action theme was absent from Time Crisis 3, and maybe 4, Wild Dog’s theme has made an appearance in every game, as has he.

You see, yet another sign of just how badass Wild Dog is.

The original Time Crisis was, and always will be one of my favorite light gun games.

It was fun, it was different, and it was balanced, but more importantly, I bought into the drama of the game and made it out to be something more than it was.

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