Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Fallout 3 Didn’t Do It For Me…

Fallout 2 is one of my favorite games of all time.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped into the boots of the savior of Vault 13, but I’d figure the number would have to be close to triple digits.

For the most part I skipped Fallout 1, largely due to the absurd degree of enjoyment I experienced from my time with the sequel.

That being said, Fallout 2 had a charm to it that few other games, in my eyes; have managed to live up to.

See? CHARMING.

There’s just something about the inherent minimalism of the first 2 Fallout games, and indeed most text heavy adventure games; that lends so much to the experience.

Reading a graphic description of how I just blew some poor shmuck’s eyeball out his ear, while watching the same shit different day stock death animation play out; was a primitive gameplay element that really worked for me.

Which brings me to my feelings on Fallout 3.

In short, I really didn’t care much for Fallout 3.

Being as it’s a Bethesda product, I came into the game fully expecting the game to play like “Oblivion With Guns,” (and equally shitty animations) and to be honest; I don’t think anyone could dispute the fact that it does.

You got your Oblivion in my Fallout! No wait... THIS SUCKS!!!

There was a time in my life when I played a lot of Oblivion.

I missed out on Morrowind, but regardless; Oblivion was a neat game with a colorful world and an impressive breadth of content to uncover.

Sure, there were a shit ton of problems and issues that cropped up while you played it, but for the most part; my time with Oblivion was a positive experience.

Fallout 3 however, despite borrowing several ideas and gameplay systems from Oblivion; just didn’t do it for me.

Kind of like Puke Face Zellwegger.

The first major problem that I’d like to address in Fallout 3, was the fact that the dialogue system feels weak compared to Oblivion, or even previous Fallout games.

That’s right, I said “first.”

As stupid/pointless as the speechcraft system in Oblivion was, I kind of liked the idea of playing a brief mini-game to stand-in for the very real process of developing a rapport with someone.

In short, Oblivion gave one the option to improve their standing with a person through idle chit-chat, thusly expanding the number of subjects they could converse with them about; and the depths of which they could probe into said topics.

Fallout 3 ties it’s dialogue options directly to your character’s skill ratings, with speech skill centric options being listed with a percentage of success statistic.

In other words, if you have a high enough rating in appropriate areas; then a special speech option becomes available.

What I discovered, early on; was the fact that all of these special speech options, were the “right” thing to say.

"Success!" Get used to seeing this a lot...

In Fallout 2, the “right” thing to say wasn’t necessarily the appropriate thing to say.

I can recall an instance or 2, particularly in New Reno; wherein I said something that seemed lucid, that seemed like what needed to be said; only to have the character I was speaking to take offense to my logic and blow me off.

This wasn’t because I didn’t have a high enough speech rating, but rather because I failed to read the character of their personality properly, and simply said the “wrong” thing.

By my reckoning, there wasn’t a single person I wasn’t able to talk down in Fallout 3.

With all of the “right” dialogue choices clearly outlined for me, all of the guess work and intricacies of conversations faded away the moment my skill ratings got high enough.

Honestly, the “right” comments were so boldly outlined; that  I’m pretty sure I managed to get through more than a few conversations without even reading what people were saying.

That’s enough about that, let’s move on; shall we?

I think a huge part of the problem for me, was the scrounger/pack rat mentality the game instills in you through scattering usable/pick-up-able items fuckin’ EVERYWHERE.

I understand that about 80% of what you find in the game is in fact junk, and not really all that useful; but the fact of the matter is, there’s simply too much shit to pick up/look at/jam up your ass.

Do I really need to be able to pick up a garden gnome? Or worse yet, do I really need the option to turn on a useless ham radio?

Seriously, I don’t even want to think about how many minutes or hours of my life I spent dumping shit out of my inventory, picking up a busted-ass rifle, using said rifle to repair my slightly less busted-to-shit rifle, and re-picking up my previously dumped shit.

I hardly got anywhere in the main story of Fallout 3, quitting around the time I first got power armor; but rest assured, I did every fuckin’ fetch quest and sidequest up to that point.

I’m a completist, I do shit like that.

That’s why sandbox/open world games never work out for me, ’cause in trying to do everything, I end up accomplishing nothing.

Pictured: Agent 47 demonstrating the Azn Badger's typical reaction to sandbox gameplay.

*Ahem!* Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

Another gripe I had with Fallout 3 that was somewhat similar to the hoarding bid’ness of the gameplay, was the fact that items and equipment felt somewhat “cheaper.”

I use the word “cheaper” in the sense that, with so many items strewn about the environments; the frequency of quality items, or failing that; shitty items that can be pawned for profit, made most every item I ran across seem far less important or special.

In Fallout 2, good armor and guns were really fucking hard to get your hands on unless you were a really skilled thief, had a shit ton of money, or managed to kill someone equipped with said items.

All of the above methods required either high skill ratings, a little energon, or a lot of luck to enact.

"More than you imagine, Optimus Prime..."

Not only that, even if one were to have all of the above going for them; the number of items in any given environment was significantly lower than in Fallout 3, resulting in items being scarcer, and thusly more vital.

In Fallout 3, I can’t think of a single moment wherein I couldn’t afford to buy whatever the fuck I wanted, nor can I think of a time in which my inventory wasn’t full of decent shit that I was never going to use due to the extraordinary wealth of better shit I’d run across on a regular basis.

I think the worst example of this that I can think of, was at the very beginning of the game.

I just came out of the Vault, and the game told me to go to Megaton.

Given that I’m me, and I’m not one to go anywhere without looking for hidden goodies first; the first thing I did, was run up onto a collapsed highway.

To my surprise, I happened across a hoard of bandits that wanted my nuts.

Despite my being armed with little more than a baseball bat, using the power of circle strafing and bunny hopping; I beat the ever-loving shit out of about 20 bandits and took all of their shit.

Yeah, I was basically doing this to people with a bat...

That’s right, I fought 20 bandits, with a bat; and took all their good shit, thusly putting me ahead of the curve in terms of equipment and weaponry for, I don’t know; THE WHOLE FUCKING GAME.

Speaking of killing 20 bandits with a bat, that brings me to another gripe I had about Fallout 3: the “cheapness” of life within the game.

Killing someone, anyone; especially in the early portions of Fallout 2, was a fuckin’ EVENT.

Given the turn-based, purely statistic based structure of Fallout 2’s gameplay, it was very much appropriate that difficult battles; wherein your character or his party were severely outclassed or outnumbered, were really fuckin’ hard to win.

That's right, get used to listening to Ron Perlman tell you that you just died like a little bitch.

I’d never say Fallout 2’s combat was realistic, but it’s inherent difficulty made it seem appropriate given the nature of the game’s environment.

Fallout 2 was a mean game that often took it upon itself to dick-slap you across the face and remind you that, as cool as your character was; he was still just a man.

As opposed to a Batman, who is of course a symbol; and thusly cannot be killed or corrupted.

Fallout 3 seems to have tossed this concept out the motherfuckin’ window and into a 4-lane highway.

As mentioned above, I took out 20 bandits, with a bat; all within the first 5 minutes of the game.

Admittedly, that was kind of cool at the time, as I can recall humming the Conan theme at some point during all the mayhem and carnage; however after it started happening every 5 minutes, it started to bother me.

During my time with Fallout 3, I killed hundreds upon hundreds of raiders, robots and crab monsters.

I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU!!!!!

I did that in Fallout 2 as well, (with the exception of the crab monsters, of course) but the only difference is; it took me the whole fucking game to achieve said kill stats, not the first half of the game.

You what’s really fucked up though?

Of all the things I killed, I’m pretty sure I ended up taking out Super Mutants more than anything else.

SUPER MUTANTS.

The LOU FUCKING FERRIGNO’S of the Fallout universe.

Holy shit, way to rock the Ultimate Warrior hair Hulk.

In Fallout 2, Super Mutants would utterly wreck your shit.

You could be decked out in power armor, and rockin’ a motherfuckin’ Bozar; but Super Mutants could still tear your ass up unless you came in with a plan.

In Fallout 3, I found myself killing Super Mutants with alarming regularity.

Not only that, I did so with leather armor and a fuckin’ hunting rifle.

To be fair, I could do that in Fallout 2 as well, but only because that game afforded you the option of scoring pinpoint shots to people’s eyes and radioactive packages; making it easier to disable or severely cripple your enemies.

*Sigh* Believe it or not, I’ve got more; so I’m just gonna’ dump these last few gripes in bullet point fashion.

Money is far too easy to acquire, given that anyone will buy anything from you for a decent price, even if you never put a single skill point into barter like I did.

Dungeon textures and layouts are cookie cutter at best.  There wasn’t a Vault or cave I walked into that felt at all different or unique.

Karma is too easy to acquire, (through giving water to the unfortunate) nor is it seemingly all that important.

Perks are too frequent, and too powerful.  Seriously, since when does Bloody Mess give you a damage bonus?

Weapons and enemies aren’t varied enough.  Like the dungeon textures, everything kind of felt same shit different day.

Anyway, there’s probably other shit I can say about Fallout 3; but in all honesty, I think I’m running out of steam.

I bought Fallout 3 for $10 retail, knowing full well that I probably wasn’t going to like it.

From what I read and saw before picking it up, it seemed to me like a pretty good game; but in my heart, I knew from the get go that in my eyes; it just wasn’t Fallout.

In all, it’s still a neat game world; with some neat characters and places, but for me it all just seems like too much.

I think the first-person perspective and 3D engine hurt the game in the sense that it forced the game world to contain all the things that a real world would.

In the real world, cans probably would be fuckin’ everywhere following a nuclear holocaust.

SHIT. EVERYWHERE.

In the world of Fallout 2, said cans indeed were apparent; however they served as static scenery and couldn’t be interacted with.

In Fallout 3, pointless interactive shit like this is fuckin’ EVERYWHERE, simply because; in order to maintain the illusion of a livable 3D world, it must.

Anyway, I ended up selling my copy of Fallout 3 to my brother; so for me, the nightmare is over.

Hopefully this marks the end of my days raging on Fallout 3.

Come to think of it, here’s hoping my brother doesn’t suffer the same fate…

 

 

 

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The Sankara Stones

Ugh.

I just spent my whole weekend playing through God of War 2 and 3.

While I must admit I feel like a mega-dork for wasting an entire weekend on videogames, thankfully both games turned out to be worth the effort.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed the God of War series.

The first in the series was the only one that I played when it first came out, and while I liked it a lot at the time, I felt it had some pacing issues that seriously crippled the overall fun factor of it’s gameplay.

2 and 3 streamlined the feeling of progress awarded to the player, largely through making the puzzles less arcane, and changing venues more frequently, as opposed to the rather static feel that the first God of War had once you got to the Temple of Pandora.

Anyway, having conquered God of War 3, I’m presently without a new game to dick around with; so chances are a new purchase is in my near future.

As always, Valkyria Chronicles is at or near the top of my list for new games to pick up; however this time I might do something bold and give one of the new Fallout games a chance.

I’m not much for free-roaming games, but I loved Fallout 1 and 2; and given the almost universal adoration 3 and New Vegas have received, I’m thinking they might be a worthy investment.

Anyway, I’m done for now, see you tomorrow when we reach 100,000 hits!

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The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #25-21

Welcome folks, to the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks!

After weeks of preparation, carefully researching and measuring untold numbers of musical pieces against one another, I’ve finally managed to put together a list that meets my ridiculous standards.

I’ll admit, there’s sure to be an odd pick here and there, but bear in mind:

This is my list, and I honestly couldn’t give 2 shits about what you think of it.

2 SHITS.

That being said, much of the difficulty I had in crafting this list of music, came in the form of a very specific ground rule I decided to lay out for myself from the get go.

Said rule required that I would be restricted to choose only 1 track per game franchise.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Azn Badger, why on Earth would you place such a horrible restriction on yourself, won’t that just make you all nerd-rage-y n’shit?”

"STUPID FUCKIN' PRINCIPLES N'SHIT!!!"

While I did in fact have a hell of a time with this, I decided to abide by this rule because I felt would force me to truly pick the cream of the crop for fear of dishonoring long-standing game franchises with sub-par tracks.

Yeah, believe or not, I actually care that much…

Not only that, said restriction also kept me from making a Top 25 of Best Mega Man music, ’cause to be honest, this list could’ve easily been made up exclusively of Mega Man music had I allowed myself to do so.

Anyway, we’re gonna’ do this 5 tracks at a time, so without further ado, here’s tracks #25-21 of The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks!:

#25. Skate or Die 2: The Search For Double Trouble

“Skate or Die 2 Theme Song”


FUCK.  YES.

Skate or Die 2 was one of those games that I remember for all the wrong reasons.

I remember it as a game that my brother rented one time that had shitty controls, shitty graphics,  and…

Did I mention it was a shitty game?

Anyway, the one positive memory I have of Skate or Die 2 was of course, the title screen music.

How many NES games can you think of have their own theme song?

With actual digitized lyrics?

Well, Skate or Die 2 had one, a SHITTY ONE, but it was the good kind of shitty.

Y’know, shitty in that Mystery Science Theater 3000 way, where it’s terrible, but in such a way that you can laugh at it.

Anyway, this is the closest this list has a to a “joke” entry, so brace yourself for SERIOUS BUSINESS for the rest of it.

#24. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

“Training Theme”


Ah, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, how you shat on me in my youth… And continue to do so to this day…

Punch-Out!! is a gaming classic notable for it’s bold-faced racially stereotyped cast of boxers, intuitive gameplay, and out-of-control difficulty level.

 

Mostly just the racism though...

Anyway, I loved Punch-Out!! as a kid, but to this day, I suck balls at it.

I can put half of the guys in Super Punch-Out!! down within 15-20 seconds, but the original Mike Tyson version is a whole ‘nother story.

I was tempted to put the standard “fight music” that plays throughout the game on this list instead of the “Training Theme, but after careful consideration I think I made the better choice.

Both tracks are heavily inspired by Bill Conti’s work on the Rocky films, and as such, are FUCKING AWESOME, but in my opinion the “Training Theme” just has that little extra something, a little extra swagger in it’s step, that makes it the flag bearer for Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

#23. Fester’s Quest

“Boss Theme”


Fester’s Quest is a shitty game.

Thanks to the Angry Videogame Nerd, everyone is now aware of this.

What most people don’t know however, is that I spent most of childhood thinking it was actually pretty decent.

For whatever reason, my brother and I owned Fester’s Quest back when it was brand new.

I don’t think either of us knew who the Addam’s Family were at the time, (I don’t even think the AWESOME movie had even been made yet) so I can’t explain what compelled my family to possess the ‘ole Quest of Festering, but I digress…

As a kid, I played a lot of Fester’s Quest.

With my poor sense of direction, inability to grasp the control scheme during the “3-D” segments, and acute fear of the green blobs in the sewer levels though, I didn’t really manage to get anywhere in the game.

FUCKIN' BLOBS!!!!

I just sort of wandered around and died, over and over and over again…

Anyway, on 1 or 2 occasions though, I actually managed to get to the first boss.

I never beat him, however the musical memories of said moments are something I treasure to this day.

That being said, Fester’s Quest was, and is, a truly horrible game, however it had some seriously boppin’ tunes, and the “Boss Theme” was easily the boppin’est of the boppin’.

BOPPIN’.

#22. Batman

“Streets of Desolation”


Batman.

How could I have a list, any list; without Batman?

Obviously, I couldn’t, ’cause Batman’s stage 1 theme “Streets of Desolation” is a wonderful piece of music, wholly deserving of a place in the Top 25.

To be honest, I didn’t actually play Batman until very recently.

As in, within the past few months or so “recently.”

In my youth, I had a cheap-ass bulk strategy guide to NES games that my mom gave me to shut me up during a flight to Hawaii.

 

Kind of like this, but a little less ghetto.

It was one of those “hint books” that gave you shitty advice like:

“In Fire Man’s stage in Mega Man, don’t touch the fire!”

or

“In Bayou Billy, shoot your enemies quickly or they’ll shoot you back!”

Even as a kid, it was pretty fuckin’ lame.

Anyway, Batman was featured in this guide, and from the pictures, I always thought it looked really fuckin’ cool.

Unfortunately, I was too busy renting Snow Bros. every weekend to remember to give Batman a try, so I never really got around to playing it…

Psst! They're made of CRACK.

Boy am I glad I took the time to seek it out and give it a whirl.

Batman really is a great NES game.

It’s final stage is too hard, and the game is way too short, but for the most part it’s a fun and graphically intense game that deserves all the praise it receives.

That being said, “Streets of Desolation” is a fantastic piece of gaming music that, had I any nostalgia for the game it’s from, would probably be ranked much higher on this list.

#21. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

“Office Stage Theme”


Gremlins 2: The New Batch scared me as a kid.

Not the movie mind you, the movie was hilarious.

No, I’m talking about the game.

Oh yeah, and this one fuckin’ picture book of the movie that had a close-up of Mohawk in his spider form, that was some scary shit…

Nowadays he looks pretty fuckin' pimp to me. Funny how a few years makes all the difference...

Basically, every Gremlins 2 related product, except for the movie itself, creeped me out something fierce.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t the (quite good) visuals that bugged me in the Gremlins 2 game, rather it was the music.

“The Office Stage Theme” scared the piss out of me as a kid.

Sure it has a goofy, cutesy note here and there, but the overarching theme of the music is one that struck terror into my soul as a child.

I remember my brother rented this game exactly once.

I liked playing it, as it had good graphics and controls, and I always thought Gizmo was cool, (my brother preferred Mohawk, as he was the badass Gremlin…) but the music just made me too anxious to play it for more than a few minutes.

That and the fear of running into one of the scary looking bosses…

Like a stunning number of games in the #25-21 bracket (Fester’s Quest and Batman) Gremlins 2 is a Sunsoft game, and as such; it’s music has that wonderful Sunsoft flavor to it.

Something about the way they do their bass work is just wonderful to listen to.

Anyway, “The Office Theme” might be a little obscure to some, but it’s on the list for scaring me to death as a child…

Check back tomorrow for #20-16 of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks!

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