Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Thoughts On Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Since it’s release, I’ve had no less than 5 people tell me to by Call of Duty: Black Ops, usually because quote:

“Trust me, you’ll like it.”

That’s 5 different people inside of what, a week?

Now it should be noted that most of these people are not exactly close friends of mine, and are thusly unaware of how cheap/Azn/stingy I am when it comes to purchasing games, particularly at full retail price.

I suppose it also helps that I have a distinct phobia of register clerks, which makes the purchasing process all the more difficult.

We’ll get into that some other time…

Anyway, while I have yet to buy into the hype and pick myself up a copy of Black Ops, today I was fortunate to have the game quite literally brought to my door by my Krn buddy from up the street.

While both of us are veterans of the Call of Duty series, spanning all the way to the original title; my friend has been playing them online on his PS3 quite consistently in the past few years, making him a far more experienced player than myself.

I sort of dropped out of the series after Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

I had it for the PC, and really enjoyed it for the most part, however I never played it online; and rarely caught myself missing it when I had to format my PC.

That being said, I would never consider any game in the Call of Duty series to be anything less than excellent.

Well, except maybe Call of Duty 3… And maybe Big Red One.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say here, is that I’ve played COD, and I like COD, so don’t get butt hurt if it sounds like I’m being mean to your precious COD.

That being said, here’s my first impression of Black Ops after about 2-3 hours of online split screen play with my friend:

Black Ops makes me feel like an old man.

An old man with poor eyesight and shitty reflexes.

In short, like any online COD experience, the game is an insanely fast-paced rollercoaster ride of half second moments of awesome, followed by equally miniscule (yet all too frequent) moments of fail and butt hurt.

You run around, you shoot at things that move/have evil red words hanging over their head, and you die.

A LOT.

And yet, this unbelievably troglodytic cycle of mayhem and Red Bull fueled chaos somehow equates to something fun.

This is coming from somehow who’s probably played 10 hours of COD over the past 5 years, and just played Black Ops for the first time today.

What I mean to say is:

From what I can tell, I sucked pretty epicly at Black Ops my first time out.

My kill-death ratio was in the neighborhood of .70-.80, while my buddy’s was 2.0 even.

As mentioned above, the online component of Black Ops has an interesting (well, at least to me it’s interesting…) flow to it.

For a FPS newb such as myself, the game felt alarmingly fast, as if everything in the game world, my character included, was moving just a half beat quicker than I was ready for.

Then again, I’ve been playing Demon’s Souls and Metal Gear Solid 4 for the past several weeks, so by comparison; just about anything would seem fast…

Being a newb really hurt me in Black Ops.

At times, I found myself getting killed quite rapidly, to the point where it felt downright embarrassing.

Despite this, to it’s credit, Black Ops, like any COD game I’d imagine, manages to counter this quite well with it’s quick pacing.

In short, you simply aren’t given enough time to feel shitty about anything in the game, ’cause in most cases you’ll be back in the fight in no time anyway.

That being said, it should be noted that I felt myself “going numb” at times.

That is to say, I would kill and die, (mostly die) and do something cool every now and again, but everything came so clustered together, that I would just stop caring after awhile.

When you don’t care whether you live or die in a game, that either means that the stakes of the game aren’t all that important, the actual gameplay experience isn’t as meaningful as one would hope, or the player is someone that truly doesn’t give a fuck.

I was somewhere between the first and the last portions of the above statement, however I’d imagine it would really ruin someone’s day to find that their feelings coincide with the second.

Make no mistake, playing COD online is a very different beast from playing something like Demon’s Souls that severely punishes failure.

It’s an instant gratification game that punishes and rewards by inches, with all the worthwhile rewards only coming as a result of logging a great deal of playtime hours.

Personally, I prefer my games to have tangible stakes tied to my performance, however this is simply a case of personal preference.

Regardless, I died all the time when I was playing Black Ops, and while that pissed me off from time to time, particularly when I was getting my ass handed to me mere seconds after respawning, I’d usually forget about it once I got my legs back under me and scored a kill or 2.

In a sense, playing COD online is a strangely bipolar experience, with pleasurable and frustrated emotions coming and going as rapidly as they can manifest.

And they say A.D.D. isn’t a problem among the current generation…

From a features standpoint, while I can’t really compare it to the previous COD games all that much, I have to say, it seems like Black Ops has a lot going for it.

The equipment and perk customization is back, largely unchanged from it’s previous iterations.

The map selection is well varied, and seems adequate in quantity, with a number of the maps being tailor made for the Ground War mode in the sense that close-quarters engagements are almost a guarantee.

The Nazi Zombie mode from World At War is back, and seems to be a little more forgiving than it’s previous iteration.

That is to say, the weapons are more effective for the most part, and the initial map is far more spacious, lending the player a great deal more survivability due to their ability to turn tail and run if need be.

Outside of that though, Nazi Zombies feels largely the same, albeit with a lighter tone, a few campy power ups, and a more frantic pace.

Anyway, I only played Black Ops for a few hours, but those are my thoughts.

It seems like a pretty good game, though my lack of skill, combined with my recently adopted positive stance towards “deeper” gameplay experiences, leads me to believe that I probably won’t be buying another COD game anytime soon.

Sorry peoples that told me to by Black Ops, while I did indeed “like it,” I think I’m gonna’ hang onto my $60 for now.

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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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“Two-Player Simultaneous Gameplay”

Chicks, whips and helicopters, oh my!

My first experience with the Double Dragon series came in the form of playing Double Dragon II: The Revenge with my older brother on the NES.

Our parent’s didn’t really have any objection to the idea of us playing video games, but after I was born, they insisted that a majority of the games they bought us have “two-player simultaneous gameplay.”

I remember my brother and I liked to say that ’cause it made us feel smart.

Anyways, outside of maybe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game on the NES, Double Dragon II was the first beat-em-up I can recall playing.

I can attest that my experiences with both games are largely responsible for my lifelong passion for side-scrollers.

As a child I largely preferred playing Ninja Turtles over Double Dragon, not because I thought it was a better game, but because I didn’t suck at it.

… And because you got to be one of the Ninja Turtles in it.

C'mon now, are you telling me you'd pick the guy with the pompadour over a Ninja FUCKING Turtle?

You see, even though my brother kept most of the instruction booklets for our video games, I almost never took the time to read them.

As far I could tell though, my brother did, ’cause throughout all of my childhood he seemed to know every game we owned like the back of his hand.

Well, maybe not as well as Batman knows his, but still...

The differences in the complexity of the gameplay and controls between the two games was typically what made me lean towards Ninja Turtles over Double Dragon, that and the overall difficulty.

The depth of Ninja Turtles II’s gameplay consisted of standard attacks, jumping, jump kicking, and the so-key-to-the-game-you-would-be-crazy-to-play-the-game-without-it-SPECIAL ATTACK.

See diagram below:

Double Dragon on the other hand, utilized an intuitive (or counter-intuitive, depending on how you feel about it) control scheme that permanently mapped the two NES face buttons to specific directional attacks, B for left, A for right.

On top of that, both buttons had to be pressed SIMULTANEOUSLY (love that word) to perform a jump, during which one could perform a jump kick with the additional press of either face button, or a spin kick by pressing both buttons at the height of the jump.

You know that last thing, about the spin kick? Yeah, nobody told me about that.

Whenever I’d play Double Dragon with my brother, or any other game for that matter, I would find myself whining to him:

“How do I play!? What’s this button do!? How did you DOOOOOO thaaaaat…?”

Of course, being as he was the older brother, he wouldn’t tell me… or he’d smack me upside the head and not tell me.

On the off chance we were playing a head-to-head, two-player versus game though, he’d school me with whatever move I wanted to know how to do.

Pretty much every match between my brother and I.

Needless to say, in a two-player co-op game like Double Dragon, I was more of a liability than a help to my brother’s progress, especially if we were playing “Game B” AKA “Let’s-forget-about-saving-the-world-and-beat-the-shit-out-of-each-other, ON ACCIDENT” mode.

I could only occasionally pull off the spin kick through mindless button mashing, and almost never pulled off the SUPER UPPERCUT or instant kill SUPER KNEE, (press both face buttons while recovering from a jump landing) but even so, the game was good fun, provided I had my brother there to do the fighting for me.

I remember shrieking in terror whenever we ran across any of the Abobo’s with hair.

Doesn't take a genius to know which one's more powerful.

Yeah, getting cornered and thrown into a fucking hole by a big asshole named Abobo EVERY FUCKING DAY will do that to you.

EVERY. FUCKING. DAY.

I remember late in level 4 there was a sequence where you are trapped in a one way corridor with spikes on the ceiling.

Jumping is obviously a bad idea here, which is unfortunate, seeing as nearly every useful attack in the game can only be executed after standing up or landing a jump.

In most cases this resulted in massive amounts of fail, typically generated by the long-haired Abobo that decides to show up at the last minute.

That is, unless you were a smart person and stood in the one safe spot in the entire corridor and let your enemies walk face-first into your attacks.

Guess which one I was, I dare you.

All in all, my relationship with Double Dragon II as a child was kind of love-hate, very similar to my relationship to Star Fox.

I wasn’t very good at the game, and only rarely reached the later stages, but had fun with it and kept playing it anyway.

To be honest, I believe I beat Double Dragon II only once, with the help of my brother, of course.

The last stage consisted of standard NES cheapness, including instant death spike traps and “clones” of pretty much every boss you faced in the game up to this point

Even these twin ninja fucks.

At the end of the stage you face off with a pair of purplish-black “shadow clones” of the two player characters, Billy and Jimmy Lee.

They were a pain in the ass, but no more so than your average Abobo.  Although I don’t think they could measure up to an Abobo with hair…

Defeating the “shadow clones” normally results in a premature ending to the game, but because my brother always insisted we play on SUPREME WARRIOR mode, AKA hard mode, we were treated to a showdown with the real final boss.

And let me tell you, that last battle was fucking epic.

The whole thing begins in some sort of underground tunnel, where the only person standing before you is a woman that’s supposed to be Billy’s lady friend, Marian.

Kind of a big deal seeing as she was riddled with bullets at the beginning of the game.

Machine Gun Willy used M-16 on wild Marian! It's not very effective...

As soon as you step forward to embrace/punch Marian, the screen goes black, the girl disappears, and out of nowhere some crazy, cape wearing, green-haired fuck appears on a platform in the background!

Look at 'im... Standin' up there... bein' all cool n'shit... Ass.

The background fades up from black to reveal some sort of galactic/astral landscape where the Troll Doll dude apparently has god-like powers, ’cause believe me, he fights like a cheap bitch.

His move set basically consists punches, gravity defying mule kicks, spin punches, and back flips, lots and lots of back flips…

Oh yeah, and most of the time he’s invisible.

Just like this. Except without the red bullshit.

You’d think that as a kid I’d be pretty annoyed by this pig fucker and his broken ass fighting wouldn’t you?

Well, that would be the case, if I hadn’t drained all of my continues during the fight with the “shadow-clones.”

Behold: The extent of my Double Dragon skills circa 1990.

That’s right, the only time I got to see the last boss, and I didn’t even survive to fight him.

But that’s okay, I didn’t mind, so long as I got to stick around and watch.

Knowing me, I probably annoyed the shit out of my him by talking too much and generally being a pain-in-the-ass little brother, but regardless, I was happy just to be sitting in front of the TV with my brother.

Now that's just about the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

My brother fought long and hard, and by that I mean he stood in place and constantly performed the spin kick attack, causing the boss, invisible or not, to repeatedly walk into his attacks.

Okay maybe “epic” wasn’t the best word to describe the final battle, but as a kid, when your older brother is seconds away from beating the game, a game you’ve never seen the ending to; and the music suddenly changes to this*:

Yeah, you get pretty excited.

Ultimately it was these kind of moments that kept me coming back to Double Dragon, as well as most co-op in general.

Back then, video games were not something I devoted any time to outside of playing alongside my brother or my friends.

Somewhere down the road though, I think my attitude towards gaming changed from viewing it as a privilege, a precious experience granted to me by my friends and family, to that of disposable, time killing entertainment.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy video games, just on a more superficial level.

However, I used to look forward to playing games.

Nowadays I am only able to, and only do play games when I have some sort of gap to fill in my schedule.

I’m never expecting to, or even really want to be playing games, I just kind of fall back on it when I don’t have enough time to watch a movie, or it’s too cold to go for a walk.

Every now and again though, I’ll have a friend over and we’ll sit down in front of the TV for a quick game.

We don’t play all day like we used to, but it’s still every bit as fun as it was when I was a kid.

Games are fun, but they’re always even better with a friend.

Or a brother.

*Sidenote:  This music track is called “Roar of the Double Dragons” and it is used, with good reason, as the final battle theme in most Double Dragon games.

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