Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #4


A recurring subject in our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights thus far has been the important distinction between bosses that are genuinely hard, and those that are merely “cheap” or “broken.”

In my mind, no other bosses in gaming embody both of these definitions with as much ease as fighting game bosses.

Given the limited functionality of fighting game play mechanics, fighting game bosses are often some of the more difficult in gaming due to the head-first manner in which they must be dealt with.

There are no switches to be flicked, or items to be used; it’s just you and them, one-on-one.

Often possessing movesets consisting of absurdly quick and high profile maneuvers, as well as enhanced attributes, fighting game bosses typically boast every conceivable on-paper advantage over the standard player characters.

What’s more, in most cases bosses in fighting games have a tendency to “stretch” the rules of their respective game’s mechanics I.E. being able to execute special attacks without charge time or possessing a few unblockable moves.

...Or in the case of Nancy, totally break the standard mechanics of the game.

These “unfair” advantages make most fighting game bosses an easy target to be labelled “cheap,” however in some cases, I actually welcome the challenge they represent.

Let me just stress the use of the word “some” in that last sentence.

Fighting games are usually won through knowing your arsenal and being able to anticipate your opponent with precision.

In games like Street Fighter, all it takes to block an attack is to hold back on the d-pad.

In that sense, the unfair advantages owned by fighting game bosses shouldn’t be looked at as straight up cheapness, but rather padding to the computer’s (hopefully) human-like AI.

The best fighting game bosses are the ones that are challenging, but human in the way they occasionally make mistakes or overextend themselves.

The hardest fighting game bosses are the ones that boast absurd attributes and flawless, frame-by-frame AI routines.

Today’s entrant on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights occasionally shows glimmers of the former in his behavior, but most of the time he proudly embodies the latter.

‘Cause he’s an epic, diaper-wearing douche-hole.

*AHEM!* That being said, our #4 is:

#4. Gill – Street Fighter III: Third Strike

Pictured: Ken Masters lying at the feet of Gill following a narrow defeat.

Let me just get things started off here by saying that Gill is an anus sucking turtle-fucker.

Seriously man, as far as fighting game bosses go, few others have carved out a spot for themselves on my naughty list as emphatically as Gill has.

*COUGH!* Now that I’ve gotten that ugliness out of my system, I feel I’m obligated to mention the fact that Gill also happens to one of the better designed fighting game bosses in gaming history.

That should give you a good idea of how many “good” fighting bosses there have been over the years.

Gill’s natural on-paper advantages over you, the player; are extensive, to the point in which it’s hard to deny the cheapness of his design, however his AI, at least on the mid to mid-high difficulties, veers a little closer to “fair” on occasion.

Close to, but still nowhere near fair.

What I mean to say is:

Gill is a blue and red BEAST of the highest order.

He does more damage than most of the characters in the default roster.

His attacks generate an absurd amount of stun damage.

Most of his attacks strike from troublesome angles and have priority and reach advantages.

He is able to execute charge moves without charge time.

His projectiles strike twice, ensuring that he’ll win any exchange of fire.

His durability and speed are both well above average.

To fight Gill is to enter the room outgunned and outclassed from the very start.

In essence, this screen is a forgone conclusion.

While I’d never consider myself much more than an experienced novice at fighting games, to date I’ve only been able to beat Gill twice.

Once using a brute-force strategy with Hugo, and once using defensive tactics with Ken.

Both times it took several continues to achieve the serendipitous task that is defeating Gill.

You see, despite all the nasty traits of cheapness that I mentioned above, Gill also brings to the table a pair of utterly devastating super combos that do wonders to ruin his standing as a “great” boss in my eyes; and make beating him a feat often times a feat equally attributable to luck as to skill.

Allow me to clarify.

Gill’s greatest asset as a fighting game is his inherent fallibility.

While his moves and stats are all better than yours, I have to admit that Capcom did well to program Gill with the occasional human-like lapse in his concentration.

He never acts silly, or outright dumb, but there are times when Gill slips up and takes a hit he shouldn’t have, or fails to capitalize on a round winning opening.

Gill’s greatest success as a boss is that he’s difficult enough be one of the hardest bosses in gaming, while at the same time easy enough to be fought with some degree of success on every occasion.

Nothing is worse than a hard boss that doesn’t even let you get a hit off every time you continue.

I'm lookin' at you Duriel....

Nearly every time I’ve fought Gill, I was at least able to take his health down considerably, or on a good day; beat him one round.

That said, Gill’s AI generally behaves with stunning precision, making use of his high priority moves to counter most of your attacks; making him a stiff challenge most of the time.

Which brings me to the aforementioned game breaking super combos:

With a full super meter, Gill has at his command the power to instantly reverse the outcome of a round.

The gameplay mechanics of Street Fighter III restrict the players to selecting and utilizing only one super combo in battle.

Gill is the only character in the entire roster that is capable of making use of all 3 of his super arts in one fight.

One of these moves, Meteor Strike; is relatively harmless.

Meh. I've seen worse...

The other 2, are utterly devastating.

First is the fearsomely boosh-tastic Seraphic Wing:

Sprouting Wings: A sign that shit has well indeed, just got real.

Seraphic Wing is a move that drains about a third of your life bar when blocked, and virtually all of it when landed at close range.

While it can be stopped preemptively, in most cases the deployment of Seraphic Wing usually means the end of the match in Gill’s favor.

If that’s not a kick to the boner, I don’t what is.

Oh wait, there’s one more move!

Gill’s other dick slap of a super combo is his Resurrection ability:

Awr?...

Basically, Resurrection is exactly what it sounds like.

Imagine this scenario:

You’ve just spent the past hour battling Gill, continuing over and over again while cycling your way through the entire roster numerous times.

Finally, after countless attempts, you’ve managed to get the upper hand on Gill and are only a precious few hits away from victory!

The tension is palpable.

Your eye twitches involuntarily.

With the clever use of an EX attack you manage to upset Gill’s impeccable timing and rocket a Shoryuken into his chin and straight towards the realm of victory!

His life bar depleted, Gill collapses in a heap on the ground in slow-motion.

Throwing up your arms in victory, you are shocked to hear the familiar sound of a super art being deployed.

Suddenly, Gill beings to levitate, and immediately his life bar begins to rapidly refill!

Pictured: What happens when you poke the bear.

You quickly fire a Hadouken, only to watch as it is harmlessly repelled by the powerful vacuum generated by the Resurrection field.

Eventually, Gill’s health is restored in full, leaving you to fight him with what little you have left.

Exhausted from the historic effort you put forth from getting this far, ultimately you lose to Gill in the third round as you have on every occasion prior.

Such is the epic douchey-ness of Gill.

He’s better than you from the start.

He’s pretty damn smart, even when he’s stupid.

And to top it all off, he can take all of your hard fought efforts, and render them irrelevant with the use of a mere super combo, one of which he doesn’t even have to be alive to use.

To this day, I still hate Gill, however I do retain a certain level of respect for his AI design.

On a side note, I’m pretty sure Capcom was the first to make a genuinely incongruent 2D fighting game sprite, but that’s besides the point.

Gill: An atypically hard boss that has the gall to max-out his douchey-ness by holding back and shitting on you when it hurts the most.

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

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #7


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

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

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

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

#7. Duriel – Diablo II

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

“Looking for Baal?”

THIS…. MOTHERFUCKER.

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

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

Like, irrational fictional character hate-spawning, mean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve never played Diablo online.

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

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

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

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

SERIOUSLY.

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

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

He hits harder and faster than you.

He moves faster than you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Winner, and STILL champion!"

I’m fuckin’ serious.

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

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

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

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

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

Looking Forward To Sector 7

As anyone who’s read a few posts on this blog is probably aware, I have a weakness for monster movies.

Growing up, Godzilla was my biggest hero, and guys like Ray Harryhausen and Stan Winston’s name listed in the credits of a movie was enough to make me beg my parents to rent it for me.

If there was any genre of film I’d love to see return to the splendor of it’s past, it’d have to be the “Monster on the Loose” sub-genre.

The genre isn’t dead by any means, but mainstream releases are few and far between.

Thankfully, with the release of Cloverfield a few years back, and the impending release of both Super 8 (which may or may not include some sort of monster) and the new American Godzilla movie; it would seem my wish is well on it’s way to coming true.

Nice, but if it ain't got a man in a suit; it ain't Godzilla.

Running parallel to all this, is the curious emergence of South Korea as a major player in the monster movie genre.

Before the 2000’s, the only Korean monster movies I knew of were Pulgasari (which was NORTH Korean) and Yonggary, 2 movies I’m sure the land of Starcraft and Taekwondo would like to forget.

...Though they're probably still kicking themselves in the pants over the remake.

In the past several years though, movies like the uber-hit, The Host, the uber-expensive shit-fest D-War, and even the boar on the loose movie, Chaw have been produced in Korea, contributing some legitimate hits (and misses) to the ongoing renaissance of the South Korean film industry.

Which leads me to the film of the title of this post, Sector 7.

I posted an article awhile back professing my love, not just for monster movies, but more specifically for aquatic monster movies.

Given that Sector 7 takes place on an oil rig, and involves some sort of tentacled and (presumably) man-eating whats-it, it’s hard for me to deny that; even on paper, Sector 7 sounds like a must see for me.

Thankfully, the trailer seems to deliver the goods for the most part, with stellar production values, a neat location, and all without a clear shot of the monster in sight:

Call me crazy, but I’m one of those guys that really likes to be surprised by the big reveal of the monster in a movie.

Hell, I remember struggling, day and night; to avoid all the media hype surrounding Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla movie, just because I didn’t want to have the Big G’s appearance ruined for me.

Pictured: The sight that put the nail in the coffin of my childhood.

What a waste of my motherfuckin’ time that was…

Anyway, I really don’t know a whole lot about Sector 7 at this point, but the concept, neat sets, and promise of a nasty monster on the prowl have me itching in my boots.

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Used To Like Snow…

I WAS IN TRAFFIC FOR 6 HOURS THIS EVENING.

How ‘Bout You?

And I thought me an’ snow was cool…

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

Best Boss Music #11: Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga


Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga is one of the cutest and most endearing games I’ve ever played, on the Gameboy Advance or any other console.

Not only that, it’s also a damn fine RPG as well.

Essentially picking up where Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario left off, (and then picked up again…) Superstar Saga is a far cry from the traditional console RPG.

Name another RPG that has EXTREME JUMP ROPING!

As it’s title indicates, Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga is a game that follows the exploits of the 2 plumber brothers as they work together to recover Princess Peach’s voice (it was replaced with word bubbles that turn into bombs) from an evil witch of the neighboring Bean Bean Kingdom named Cackletta.

Pictured: The Hemaphroditic Bowser/Cackletta hybrid known as "Bowletta." You can't make this shit up...

Along the way, the player assumes control of the 2 brothers throughout the entirety of the adventure, acquiring and putting to use a number of interesting and unique powers that can be used in tandem to accomplish any number of crazy (but often necessary) feats.

 

Not sure if playing leap-frog during a life or death battle is all that "necessary," but oh well, to each his own.

It should be noted that the story and gameplay of Superstar Saga are top of their class in every regard.

In particular, like most sprite based RPGs, I found the interplay between the vocalizations, scripting, and pantomime of the various characters to be among the best I’ve encountered in any game, period.

Seriously, every character has at least some sort of trademark nuance or quirk to their movements, speech, or sound effects that makes them, and indeed the entire game world, come alive.

DISCO DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!

That being said, let’s get to the gameplay.

Being as the source material is grounded in the Mario canon, it’s only appropriate that the game include a great deal of platforming and coin gathering to go with it’s turn-based combat and level grinding.

 

While I love Diablo as much as the next dork, I thank the heavens that Mario hasn't tried to bite off it's mechanics. Yet...

The key innovation that Superstar Saga brings to the table, and indeed all Mario RPGs prior and since; is the hands-on approach to gameplay elements that are typically automated in most RPGs.

Said elements are no more apparent, than in Superstar Saga’s highly detailed and interactive combat system.

Monsters are encountered on the overworld map, not as random battles, but in the form of fast-moving and aggressive character sprites that maneuver the landscape.

Once a battle begins, the player assumes control of both Mario and Luigi in a turn-based fashion.

From there, timed button inputs are required on the part of the player to effectively attack and defend.

For the love of God, push the "B" button to not die!

Every enemy attack in the game has a means to be avoided or defended in some way, provided the player has the timing and reflexes necessary to do so.

This effectively makes the difficulty of the combat in Superstar Saga a product of the players skill, rather than the stats of his characters.

Being as I’m really an RPG guy these days, I for one really appreciated this.

 

By the way, thank you Demon's Souls for shitting all over my previous statement.

While the game was far from difficult, the battle system kept the boredom and tedium at bay for the most part, leaving me with a terrific and off-the-wall story to enjoy.

Trust me, if you’re looking for a way to indulge your inner child and feel like a 9 year old all over again, try playing Superstar Saga; you won’t be disappointed.

Anyway, this post was supposed to be about music, so what’s say we get to it shall we?

Superstar Saga, like virtually any Nintendo product, has a wonderful soundtrack.

Composed by the prolific and talented Yoko Shimomura, the whole soundtrack is very well-rounded, and more importantly; thematic and appropriate to the setting and mood.

Superstar Saga is a colorful, light, and “bouncy” game, and the soundtrack was tailor-made to suit those feelings.

Defne Adj. "Bouncy": Any game that includes a sequence wherein 2 Italian plumbers do battle with a barrel of sentient cola.

Despite this, the game is still an RPG nonetheless, and thusly features a wide array of battle themes, not to mention a few boss themes.

While every track of the game is deserving of special notice, the Best Boss Music in Superstar Saga is…

Rookie and Popple:

This track plays whenever Mario and Luigi do battle with the wily thief named Popple, and his new protege, “Rookie.”

The fun part of these battles, comes from the fact that the “Rookie” is in fact Bowser; albeit a Bowser with amnesia.

Scratch that. Amnesia and a pimp-ass hat.

Despite the memory loss, whenever the player attacks Bowser in these fights, a little light bulb will flicker on in his head, and he’ll suddenly bust out some decidedly Bowser-like moves.

I guess you could call it a case of muscle memory winning out over mental memory.

Anyway, this track was only played a handful of times in the game, but I found myself happy to hear it every time it did.

It’s far more energetic than the standard boss theme, and better composed for that matter; but in some ways I feel that Popple and Rookie’s reduced frequency of occurrence in-game is part of what makes it stand out so much.

Despite many of the other Best Boss Music entries listed on this blog being of the more epic or dramatic variety, Popple and Rookie earns it’s spot purely off of it’s fun-factor.

Let it be known, that which makes us happy is often that which is most important to us.

Tune in tomorrow for another real post!

Maybe…

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

Demon’s Souls Is Hard…

 

ARRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!

So, I bought Demon’s Souls from a friend the other day.

He told me he played it for 5 hours and then called it quits.

This is coming from a Korean fellow that specializes in, as he phrases it; “beasting” games faster than they can come out.

As fate would have it, there would be no “beasting” of Demon’s Souls for my Korean buddy.

In fact one could go so far as to say that the game “beasted” him.

Despite this, like a fool I thought I could do what my friend could not.

Before I bought the game, I read scores of reviews singing the praise of Demon’s Souls, and heralding it’s difficulty level as the Battletoads equivalent to the modern era of gaming.

While it does indeed seem like it could be a great game, make no mistake; Demon’s Souls is a punishingly difficult game, to the extent that it feels borderline unfair.

As of writing this, I’m barely 2 hours into the game, and I’ve done exactly nothing.

My first created character was a Barbarian.

I set out into the game with the mindset of creating a Conan-esque tank, however to my surprise; the Barbarian was just about the worst choice to do so, at least in the beginning stages of the game.

Turns out, despite their inherent physicality, Barbarians start out the game with no armor, and some of the worst equipment imaginable.

Not good when the game derives most of your survivability from your equipment and armor rather than your stats.

Despite spending about an hour getting a good feel for the timing and nuance of the game’s control scheme, (while dieing about 9,000 times…) I found that; for a beginner level player, a Barbarian was simply too fragile for my skill level.

Enter my second character within an hour of starting the game, a much sturdier and well-equipped Knight.

Well, after dieing every 5 minutes as my Knight, I think I can honestly say that he’s probably going to be my primary character from now on.

Every time I play Demon’s Souls, I feel like I’m moving a half-step forward, only to get thrown 20 feet back every 5 minutes.

When I said the game felt borderline unfair, I was referring largely to the checkpoint and currency systems.

The checkpoint system is a pain in the ass because, well; near as I can tell there are none.

This wouldn’t be a problem except, unlike friendlier games like Diablo; Demon’s Souls has no “scroll of Town Portals.”

Not only that, Demon’s Souls thoroughly rapes you by forcing you to reclaim your “souls” (money) while wading through every enemy in the level up to that point.

Enemy placement is always the same, and any entry or exit of a level causes them all to respawn.

My main issue with the currency system, is not that you lose all your money when you die, but that there’s no banking or storage system in the game.

Do I really have to carry all of my wealth on me at all times?

Seriously man, if you had 5,000 souls of demon’s in your possession would you go walkin’ around with ’em in your wallet?

No, you’d put ’em in a fuckin’ bank.

That being said, the currency system is largely why I’m “nowhere” in the game as of yet.

Simply put, I can never survive long enough to save up my money to purchase items with.

Not that there’s any items I want/need anyway.

I suppose it doesn’t help either that I haven’t the slightest clue how to level up my character…

Anyway, I’m whining; so I’ll stop now.

As it stands, Demon’s Souls is a brutally difficult game, but for drastically different reasons than I am accustomed to in my “hard games.”

When it comes to twitch reflexes and memorization I.E. Contra, Raiden, Devil May Cry; I have no problem.

In the case of Demon’s Souls though, the game’s difficulty comes largely from the stringent rules of it’s gameplay, as well as the fact that timing and precision are the order of the day, rather than quick reaction time or fancy button combinations.

It’s a frustrating and loathesome game that truly hates it’s players, but truth be told; I actually feel compelled to keep trying at Demon’s Souls.

After a few years of getting raped by Battletoads, I put my controller down and said “No Mas.”

Though I’ve only spent a few hours with Demon’s Souls, those few hours have shown me that; despite all the teeth-gritting frustration, there still may in fact be a game worth experiencing hidden beneath it all.

Here’s hoping I’m right…

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

The Best MAN!!! #8

Click me, I took hours to make...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also stutters.

Like a fattie.

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

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

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

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

EVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

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

Think the Venom symbiote from Spider-Man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haha, get it!? "Bass!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS FUCKING SLOOOOOWWWW.

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

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

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

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

TONS OF FUN.

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

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

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

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

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

A Hummer: THE strategic purchase.

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

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

PIMP.

But, that’s just me.

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

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

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

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

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

JUMP.

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

"FUCK YOU, WHALE!"

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

The Mega Man Death Squad in all their glory.

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

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

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

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

ARRRRRGHH!!!

Seriously, I fucking hated Astro Man’s stage…

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

The Best MAN of Mega Man 8 is…

Frost Man

FROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST MAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!!

Didn’t see that comin’ didja’?

You know why Frost Man’s The Best MAN?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just can’t help but smile.

Tune to 4:45 for example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry Aqua Man, no one likes you...

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

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

His voice annoyed the piss out of me.

EXAMPLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy Book Covers Are Crappy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo.

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

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

Unless of course THIS was the subject of the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy shit! He looks like Muldoon!

First up is The Road to Damascus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I apologize about my leniency towards these shitty book covers.

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

Oh well, here’s Gust Front:

Holy fucking shit that’s bad.

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

The title is ass.

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

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

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

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

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

Man, that was a good show…

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

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

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

Clever girl Mr. Ringo… Clever girl indeed…

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

That’s a lot of shit novels.

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

Go figure.

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

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

Praise be to Space Bobcat.

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

Donate