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What About the Lysine Contingency…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or Non-Super Saiyan Mutants!

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

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

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

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

Pictured: The Day I Beat Battletoads.

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

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

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

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

Zitz, Pimple and Rash: Corporate Whores.

and a laughably easy beat ’em up intro stage:


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

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

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

I had problems learning fuckin’ Karnath’s Lair,

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

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

Hard to forget when they STEAL YOUR SOUL.

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

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

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

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

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

A pathetically easy Turbo Tunnel segment,

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

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

Complete with Toad 'Morphin Action!

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

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

I fuckin’ hated that stage…

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

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

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

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

CLICK HERE

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

Mmmm, sexual...

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

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

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

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

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

Mmmm, pixelated...

*Ahem!* Pardon me…

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

The Best Track in Battletoads and Double Dragon is

The Title Screen

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man that shit sucked balls…

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

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

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Best Boss Music #7: Einhänder

Einhänder was Squaresoft’s first and only scrolling shooting game.

Released in 1998 on the Playstation, the game represented a rare foray into the action genre for Squaresoft.

Despite the companies’ reputation for producing almost exclusively RPG games, the late 90’s represented a wonderful era of experimentation and change in the types of games Square would produce.

Pictured: A game we won't be talking about.

During this time Square would branch out and produce a great number of quality games across a myriad of genres.

Tobal No. 1 and 2,

How come we didn't get this awesome cover art in the U.S.?

Bushido Blade 1 and 2,

Pictured: Why Bushido Blade was the shit.

as well the Namco collaborative project, Ehrgeiz, represented Square’s first 3D fighting games.

Pictured: The only reasons any of you fanboy fuckers remember the mediocrity that was Ehrgeiz.

Parasite Eve 1 and 2 turned the RPG genre on it’s head with it’s modern and horror infused plot, as well as it’s hybrid real-time, turn-based combat system.

Oh yeah, and boobies.

Brave Fencer Musashi was one of Square’s first (and best) attempts to create a Zelda-style dungeon crawling adventure game.

I fuckin' LOVED this game. Never beat it though...

And Einhänder, was one of the finest space shooters ever made.

The game was absolutely gorgeous, with spectacular art design, wonderful atmosphere, and an especially noteworthy soundtrack by Kenichiro Fukui.

The basic story of the game was that, in the future, mankind expands it’s civilization to the moon, which at some point sparks a war between the people of the Earth, and the people of the Moon.

The player takes control of the moon-based pilot of a special, wasp shaped plane with a giant manipulator arm for snatching and using enemy weapons, or “Gun Pods.”

Essentially, the game represents a suicide run on the part of the player, wherein they are expected to destroy as many enemy facilities as possible to force the end of the war.

By the end of the game however, the player is faced with the unfortunate task of having to fight for their lives against their fellow soldiers, the reasoning behind which being that they were in fact expected to die on their suicide run on Earth.

"Can't you even die right!?" I'll never get tired of Revolver Ocelot quotes...

Einhänder was presented in a beautifully well-executed 2.5D format.

Essentially, the entire game takes place on a horizontal scrolling, 2D plane, while the graphics and camera angles are rendered in 3D polygons, resulting in a number of dynamic angles that do little to disrupt the relatively simple nature of the gameplay.

Thankfully the camera is in fact better than Superman 64.

At the outset of the game, the player is given the choice of 1 of 3 different “Einhänder” planes, the word being German for “Single-Handed.”

The Endymion FRS Mk. II was a larger plane that could house 3 Gun Pods at any given time, but could only operate one of them at a time.

The Endymion FRS Mk. III was a plane recommended for beginners, as it fielded 2 machine guns by default, as opposed to the normal 1, and it could only hold and operate 1 Gun Pod at a time, limiting the complexity of the gameplay.

And the Astraea FGA Mk. I, was a beastly powerhouse of a machine that could operate 2 Gun Pods at any time, making it the most difficult to pilot, but by far the cream of the crop in my opinion.

Trust me there’s a reason they put the Astraea on the cover.

Throughout the game, the player is faced with the task of battling enemies, while properly managing their Gun Pod arsenal from situation to situation.

Gun Pods could be mounted on the top or bottom of the plane, (or both when using the Astraea) and came in a huge number of varieties, with each having limited ammo so as to require the player to switch them out constantly.

Weapon types ranged from machine guns like the common Vulcan, and it’s overpowered cousin, the Juno, to oddities like the Riot lightning gun, and the defensive chaff gun, the Hedgehog.

Several Gun Pods could only be unlocked by meeting certain conditions, such as killing all of the enemies in a particular scene, or defeating certain bosses in certain ways.

In fact, there were many secrets and branching paths in the game depending upon the player’s performance, resulting in a rare shooter that had the potential to play out differently every time.

Unlike this game, where you can bet on dieing pretty much every time.

Like any other scrolling shooter, bosses were plentiful and spectacular throughout.

Many bosses had weaknesses and could be taken out relatively quickly, (especially when using the ridiculously overpowered Grenade) though in most cases this was ideal, as many of the bosses had variable patterns depending upon the types of damage inflicted on them.

Of course we all know the best damage, is Collateral Damage.

All the bosses in the game had multiple damage quadrants, resulting in interesting scenarios wherein the player would have to quickly decipher which spots made for the most effective targets.

Some of my favorite bosses in the game were the games first boss, a massive elephant like whats-it,

The spider-legged mid-boss of level 3, which could be insanely difficult if not taken out quickly,

KILL IT. NOOOOOOWWWW.

the giant bipedal monkey robot from level 5 that makes Doom noises when it roars,

and the giant satellite that serves as the game’s second to last boss.

PIG FUCKER of a boss. But awesome music, so all is forgiven.

Of course, none of these boss battles would be half as great if not for the game’s amazing soundtrack.

The game doesn’t have a singular boss theme, though in this case I think I would call the first boss theme, “Shudder” the Best Boss Music in Einhänder:

Ah hell, here’s the rest of the boss themes I just listed, in order:
Warning

Madness

and closest runner-up to Shudder, Thermosphere

Much of Einhänder universe uses German and Greek mythological terms, and as such, the game has an appropriately German techno-esque soundtrack.

Pictured: The physical embodiment of German Techno.

The atmosphere is moody, energetic, and undeniably futuristic, giving the game an uncommon sense of drama and urgency for a space shooter.

The game was incredibly difficult, using the annoying-as-fuck “back to the checkpoint every death” system of Gradius, and yet it was packed to the rim with so many beautiful sights and sounds that it was hard to put down.

Einhänder is one of those games that I find myself playing again every few years, and I scarcely believe I will ever get tired of it.

I wouldn’t be lying if I said Einhänder reminded me of Axelay at times.

That’s probably the biggest complement I can give to a space shooter.

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pictured: The Godfather of "Those Guys"

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEST GAME EVER.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haxxorz! Aimbot! TK!

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

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

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

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

Did I mention that Time Crisis actually had a story?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sherudo Garo as played by Hugh Grant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mean look at him:

BAAAAADDDDD ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

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

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

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

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

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

That’s Han Solo guns to you and me.

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

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

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

He jacks some dudes’ machine gun.

He starts throwin’ grenades.

He starts teleporting.

Hang on, what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, no.

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

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

Pictured: A man of such character.

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

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

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

Pictured: An embarrassing death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soundtrack HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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The Best Track in the Game #9: Final Fight

Looks like a gay porno cover. Not that I would know anything about that kind of stuff.

Final Fight is one of the finest beat ’em ups ever made.

It’s not the prettiest game, nor is the gameplay the most complex, but for some indefinable reason, it endures to this day as a poster child for the genre.

The plot of the game is pretty simple, but fairly involved given the strength of it’s characters.

The mayor of Metro City, former pro-wrestling champion Mike Haggar’s daughter, Jessica; is kidnapped for ransom by the local Mad Gear Gang, resulting in Haggar, Jessica’s boyfriend, Cody, and in the case of the arcade version, Cody’s gym buddy and ninja friend, Guy, taking justice into their own hands until they rescue her.

Asses are kicked, heads are busted, and wheelchair bound men are tossed out 30th story windows.

Seriously, check it out (skip to :58 for the paraplegic beat down):

Of the two characters available for play on the Super NES version of Final Fight, (Haggar and Cody) Cody was my favorite to play.

I know, I know:

“Haggar’s the coolest fucking character in gaming, he’s the motherfucking MAYOR.  How could you not pick THE FUCKING MAYOR!?”

Don Frye: The Closest the World Will Ever Get to Creating a Real-Life Mayor Mike Haggar

Well, because as much as I love Haggar, an as much fun as it was to piledrive the shit out of Mad Gear chumps and deliver swift justice via my ass in their faces, as a kid I vehemently subscribed to the theory that Cody was the more well-rounded, and thusly, better choice.

That, and he wore blue jeans and a white t-shirt.  And we all know how cool that combo was back in the day…

You don't mess with success, man.

Most importantly though, using Cody allowed me to more easily pull off my patented “Super Combo” (coined well before Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo!) much easier than with Haggar.

The “Super Combo” by the way, consists of starting a punch combo on an enemy, and then during the second-to-last hit of the combo, you press the directional pad in the opposite direction you are facing while still mashing the attack button.

When done correctly, this will result in your character throwing the enemy behind them instead of finishing their combo, thusly giving you a few invincibility frames, as well as knocking down anyone behind you.

Okay, maybe the REAL Super Combos are a lot flashier than mine was, but still...

Remember how I said there were 3 playable characters in Final Fight?

Well, you can thank U.S. censorship, lack of confidence in the Super NES hardware, and a poor conversion from the arcade version robbing you of Guy, as well as a host of other tidbits.

For instance, the (supposedly) transvestite enemies Roxy and Poison were redrawn for the U.S. version to become the male characters Sid and Billy.

Evolution: From "Wannabe Female", to "Mostly Male."

Also, many character names were changed, which I have noted later in this post, and Haggar’s daughter’s portrait was changed to show her in a dress instead of a brassiere.

The Goods.

I can understand most of these changes, trannies weren’t exactly socially acceptable for “family friendly” consoles of the time, but really all I was bothered by was the whole “no Guy” thing.

Blockbuster took 5 bucks off of me just so I could rent the bullshit Final Fight: Guy, only to find that in that version, Cody was removed and there still wasn’t two-player simultaneous support.

Fuckin’ bullshit I tells yah’.

Bitch stole mah' money.

Playing Final Fight as a child gave me a feeling that I imagine kids these days get from games like God of War III, or one of those UFC: Undisputed games.

It made me feel like a bad ass, like I was the toughest of all the tough guys and all the world’s problems could be solved via a few repetitive punch combos.

Basically, I felt like this guy (the guy on the right dumbass). God rest his soul.

At it’s core, the gameplay of Final Fight consisted of little more than walking to the right, stopping to mash the games’ one attack button until everyone onscreen was dead, and then repeat until you beat the game.

I know, it sounds boring and dumb, but that’s beat ’em ups for yah’.

Same shit, different vehicle.

There were of course, various subtleties to the gameplay that made Final Fight special.

While there were only two buttons, attack and jump, pressing both in tandem allowed the player to perform a life-draining, spin attack that was useful in interrupting and canceling overzealous enemies’ attacks.

Okay, fine, that move is in every beat ’em up, but still, it’s worth mentioning.

My favorite element of Final Fight’s gameplay was it’s general feel.

The various punches, kicks and throws, both from the player and the enemy characters; all had a satisfying “oomph” to them that made it hard to get bored of busting heads, even after you’ve been doing the same 3 moves over and over again the whole game.

Or in the case of Golden Gun matches in Goldeneye, the same ONE move over and over again.

One key rule of thumb that is prevalent in virtually every sidescrolling beat ’em up ever made, is the fact that approaching enemies from an angle, that is; from any direction other than straight-on, is always the wisest course of action.

Because the 2-D sprites were drawn flat, attacking from an angle effectively allows the player to bypass any sort of reach advantage that the enemy characters may possess, thereby severely limiting the chances of a successful counter-attack.

Essentially, you do this to them.

Final Fight took this elementary gameplay element, and made it feel just plain right.

When I swooped in at a 45° angle and slipped into an enemies’ reach to grab hold of him, it felt like I earned it.

I know it sounds trivial, but think about it in terms of say, a first-person shooter.

Most of them tend to play similarly, but it’s the one’s with the right feel, the right amount of “oomph” in the weapons, and the right amount of weight, of “drag”, when readjusting ones’ aim, that stand out from the all the hum-drum and chaff.

Well okay, 100 million dollar production budgets seem to help these days too, but you know what I mean.

*AHEM!* Not that I'm talking about anything in particular...

The expertly crafted hit boxes and trembling, painful looking damage animations for the various characters in Final Fight, were a huge contributing factor to it’s success in my opinion.

Unlike say, any of the games in the Rushing Beat AKA Rival Turf series, whenever it looked or felt like I hit someone in Final Fight, the game always agreed with me.

Don’t get me wrong, as a kid Brawl Brothers was one of my favorite rentals, (purely as a result of Hack having a bad ass bomber jacket.  Hey, I thought it was cool back then.) but compared to Final Fight, the sprites were ugly and the collision detection was atrocious.

...Although it did have the best cover art EVER.

Attack damage was probably the icing on the cake for Final Fight in terms of achieving this impossibly gratifying  feel that I keep gushing about.

Attacks in Final Fight did a fuck-ton of damage, especially when the bad guys were beating on you.

Unlike the Rival Turf, or Bare Knuckle AKA Streets of Rage series, enemies didn’t swarm you and whittle you down in Final Fight, so much as they snuck up on you an made you pay your mistakes.

Taking on the bad guys in Final Fight required you to corral them in such a way as to keep them from getting your back, or any angles on you really.

Even the wimpiest of characters, Two-P or J, had a significant amount of pop to their punches that would make you think twice before letting them slip behind you.

"Sand People always walk single file to hide their numbers."

Let me tell a little story about a nasty guy named Slash.

Slash is a mid-tier grunt in Final Fight that where’s cowboy boots, and an all red-leather biker outfit.

Lookat' 'im, pickin' his cock...

In short, he looked like Swayze if Swayze had no shame.

SHAMELESS. Oh wait, maybe that was just Farley...

Slash appears from the first stage on, and in his earliest appearances he has a miniscule, almost laughable (given his considerable size) life bar.

Slash’s one outstanding trait in the game, is the fact that he, along with his palette swap, Axle; is the only enemy in the game that can block your attacks.

This man however, has yet to grasp such a concept.

Slash only has two attacks, a wimpy kick, and a DEVASTATING double axe-handle.

Guess which one he uses ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

Slash’s double axe-handle can take you out in two hits, no foolin’.

If you see this, it's already too late.

I didn’t mind this so much in the earlier stages of the game, but there’s this one part in the LONG-AS-FUCK Bay stage, in a public bathroom, (not gay, I swear) where you are assaulted about a half-dozen Slash’s in all their red-leather clad glory (also not gay.)

Among a cast full of colorful and iconic characters, Slash stood out to me, not for his look, or his personality, but simply because I hated his guts.

Hugo Andore, the giant-fucking Andre the Giant look-alike, was tougher for sure, especially in his ‘roided out Abigail form, but aside from El Gado/Hollywood always catching me with their goddamn jumping knife attack from off-screen, I can think of no enemy in the game that consistently pissed me off as much as Slash did.

Look at him, you just know he's about to do something sketchy...

Well, except for maybe Sodom AKA Katana, he was a cheap bitch that really didn’t like it when you tried to pick up his swords.

In all, not a man I would fuck with.

Now that I think of it though, Simon could also be a bitch on account of his broken-ass, twenty layers thick life bar.

And his fuckin' memory game bullshit.

In case you couldn’t tell from my ramblings, Final Fight was a tough game, with tough enemies, and yet it was still buckets o’ fun.

More importantly though, the strength of it’s characters really shines through, given how easily I am able to recall each of them by name and appearance.

Final Fight was a great game that will always feel right to me, regardless of whatever advancements we may achieve in the future of gaming.

How the fuck do these Best Track in the Game posts always end up with me rambling about everything but the music?

Guess we’ll never know.  Anyway, The Best Track in the Game is…

Subway Alley/Sodom’s Theme:

Why?:

Final Fight’s soundtrack is a typical example of arcade game music.

You ever been to a video arcade?

They’re noisy places, aside from the chiming of the token machines and the kids cursing God for their lack of Missile Command skillz, you can’t hear shit.

In that sense, music was never the most essential aspect of the production for arcade games.

The Super NES era of gaming was one of the last ones that saw prevalent releases of arcade conversion games.

Mind you, this was back when “arcade conversion” meant “shitty, peared-down version” to console gamers, not like today where everything is “arcade perfect” or bust.

Pretty much the only example of an arcade conversion that was infinitely superior to the original.

As a result, Final Fight has a distinctive, but hardly exceptional soundtrack.

It is worth noting however, that the Super NES arrangement of the music sounds much better than the arcade original in my opinion.

The tracks are appropriately dingy and gritty given the back alley street fighting gameplay.

Sodom’s Theme is one of the more uppity tracks in the game, but, once again, appropriately so.

The battle takes place in a hidden boxing/wrestling ring setup somewhere in an abandoned subway.

As you fight Sodom, the massive samurai wannabe clad in football pads and a traditional kabuto.

Oh yeah, and he has two katanas.

(pic)

You of course have only your fists, (or in the case of Haggar, ass) making for an exceptionally difficult fight.

I think the completely off-the-wall and ridiculous nature of this situation, coupled with the dire circumstances as a result of the difficulty of the fight, are what make this scene, and this track, so enjoyable.

With it’s loud and grandiose nature, the music feels like a late 80’s version of gladiatorial arena music,.

During the fight, there is a massive (and hostile) crowd present, adding to the theatricality of the situation.

At times the music takes on an almost baseball anthem like sound.

Sodom’s Theme is hardly a work of art in the realm of videogame music, but for Final Fight, it’s pretty damn good.

Runner-Up:

The Bay:

Why?:

The Bay Theme in Final Fight is pretty much right on par with Sodom’s Theme in terms of overall quality and enjoyment, however one key factor separates them in my eyes:

I got sick of listening to The Bay Theme, while Sodom’s Theme has yet to wear out it’s welcome.

I mentioned earlier that The Bay was a LONG FUCKING STAGE, and as a result, you end up listening to it’s theme music for A LONG FUCKING TIME.

True, the music changes no less than 2-3 different times, with the latter portion being an almost irritatingly energetic standout,

but for the most part, The Bay Theme always sticks with me as the theme music of the stage.

In addition to it’s length, The Bay is also an exceptionally difficult stage, which often caused me to have to continue, resulting in my having to play through the stage more than once to beat it.

In short, as good a piece of music as it is, I was simply overexposed to The Bay Theme as a kid, to the point in which it lost it’s luster before I could even be nostalgic about it.

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