Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Heavy Rain Doesn’t Like Me…

After months of indecision, I finally took the plunge and decided to pick myself up a copy of Heavy Rain.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the game thus far, so much so that I’ve been playing the game in long stretches; something that is atypical of my gaming habits these days.

Unfortunately, yesterday one of said protracted play sessions came to a grinding halt in the form of the game freezing on me.

In response, I waited a minute or 2 to see if things would pick up again; only to find that the game had indeed locked-up so severely that I was forced to turn off my PS3 via it’s embedded power button instead of the wireless button on the controller.

Following this, I ejected the disc, gave it a once over with some cleaning materials; and then popped it right back into the console.

As I did this, I found myself thinking of my days blowing on NES cartridges for minutes at a time to get them to work, or even worse; tilting my Playstation 1 at a perfect 45 degree angle to get it to read discs properly.

Aw... Now that's just cute.

While those were happy memories, having Heavy Rain lock up was an experience utterly devoid of joy.

Upon reinserting the game, things would run smoothly for a time, only to crap out an lock up a few hours down the road; usually during the beginning of a new chapter.

Despite this minor annoyance, I had buckets of fun with Heavy Rain yesterday; making it unfortunate that it would refuse to allow me to play it today.

That’s right, after randomly locking up a handful of times yesterday; today I encountered a sequence that is seemingly unplayable.

I tried restarting the console numerous times, and after reading through a number of reports regarding a similar phenomenon; even took the time to reinstall the game and it’s obscenely massive patch, resulting in virtually zero forward progression.

I don’t know if it’s my disc, my console, or just the game itself; but for now, in the house of the Azn Badger; Heavy Rain has taken it’s ball and gone home.

To date, I believe this is the first time a current gen game has ever frozen on me.

As mentioned earlier, freezing or otherwise misbehaving games and consoles are nothing new to me; but for whatever reason, I find this instance to be particularly vexing.

We’ve come a long way since the days of blowing on carts, and in all honesty; I feel like shit like this just shouldn’t happen anymore, not with the amount of time and money invested in products of the gaming industry these days.

I know it sounds like I’m whining, but bear in mind; I’ve never been red-ringed before, so my experience with the current crop of consoles is both limited and mostly fortunate.

BWAHAHA! That's what you get for buying a FPS/Halo Box!

Anyway, I’ll likely be exchanging my copy of Heavy Rain for a different disc, though based on the fact that my current disc seems perfectly clean, and loads quickly to boot; I’m not so sure it’s going to help anything.

For what it’s worth, I do like the game; and sincerely hope I can get a chance to finish it, especially considering there have been a handful of decisions I’ve made during the course of the game that I’d really like a chance to approach from a different angle.

See yah’ tomorrow.

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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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Global Operations: The Best Game Ever

What Global Operations is all about: Bruthas' with guns...

Global Operations is a Counter-Strike clone.

Plain and simple.

Despite this, the important thing to remember is that it is a damn good Counter-Strike clone.

Unlike this pile of fail...

Counter-Strike had already been out a few years before the release of Global Operations, and while the former may indeed have ended up being the better game, I personally had more fun plugging away at terrorists in Global Ops.

Looks kind of familiar, don’t it?

Familiar, but AWESOME.

Counter-Strike was, and in some ways, still is a phenomenon in the realm of online first-person shooters.

It’s legacy stretches on for miles, and yet anybody can see after only a few minutes of playing, that the game has it’s fare share of problems and issues.

The round-based respawn system is a pain in the ass.

Oh, man... Now you have to wait 10 minutes on account of all the campers...

The weapons, while nicely varied, are very distinctly grouped into a frustratingly polar system of “good” and “bad” types.

Well okay, maybe none of them are as bad as the Bio-Rifle in Unreal Tournament...

The fact that hopping around was a viable combat tactic was downright mind-boggling.

Global Operations addressed all of these issues and then some, resulting in a fun and fast-paced game that, while lacking the online community of Counter-Strike, was always a good time, both online and off.

The most important change that Global Operations brought to the table in terms of gameplay, was the addition of a Team Fortress-esque class system.

Unlike Counter-Strike, where the players were only differentiated by their equipment, Global Ops both restricted and endowed the player with abilities based upon which class they selected.

In all there were 6 classes altogether:

There was the basic Commando, who could handle virtually every weapon in the game except for complex explosive devices.

The Sniper, who could handle long range rifles.

The Medic, who carried a cache of healing hypodermics that could be used to restore the health of himself and his comrades, as well as resuscitate incapacitated soldiers.

The Heavy Gunner, who could handle heavy machine guns.

The Demo Man, who could handle complex explosive devices, both in terms of planting, and disabling them.

And finally The Scout, who came equipped with a multi-directional heartbeat sensor that when pointed at enemies, would display their location on the entire team’s radar.

Aside from The Sniper and Demo Man, who I honestly didn’t play as all too often, I found pretty much all of the classes in the game to be quite distinct, and very fun to handle.

Who the wouldn’t like to be able to go one round as the Heavy Gunner, tearing the opposition to shreds, only to change it up by switching to The Medic on your next respawn and play a more supportive role?

Well okay fine, I'm sure THIS GUY would ALWAYS play as the Heavy Gunner. Y'know, 'cause he's EXTREME.

It was this sense of variety that made Global Ops hard to get bored of.

Now, I mentioned a lot of issues I had with Counter-Strike, how’s about we take a look at how Global Ops addressed, eh?

When it came to the issues that players may had with the round-based respawns of Counter-Strike, Global Ops fixed it in just about every one could.

When a player is killed in Global Ops, they don’t necessarily die right away.

"There's a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead..."

Instead, players are incapacitated, whereupon they can call for a Medic as their health bar’s total value continually shrinks.

Once the bar is empty, the player dies.

Alternatively though, if the player is aware that there is no Medic around to save them, (often the case when they themselves are the Medic) they can simply choose to bleed out immediately and respawn.

Respawning in Global Ops places the player in a helicopter, or other such transport vehicle in the company of all their fallen comrades.

Yup, just kickin' it in the afterlife here with my buddy Steve...

You see, every spawn point in Global Ops is continually reinforced on a strict schedule, resulting in the occasional lucky death that results in a near instantaneous respawn.

It is during this down-time in the chopper that the player has access to the plethora of weapons and equipment available in Global Ops.

In short, Global Operations had a shit ton of weapons ranging from basic pistols, to savage-ass grenade launchers.

Can you guess all the guns?

Perhaps more importantly though, Global Operations went the extra mile by allowing players to customize their equipment with various attachments.

Like setting your Glock 18c on full-auto?

Buy an extended magazine for it.

Hell, it worked for Larry Fishburne.

Like blinding motherfuckers before you open up on ’em with a shotgun?

Slap a flashlight on that bad boy.

Good times man…

Anyway, in addition to the massive variety of weapons in Global Ops, each of these weapons were remarkably balanced.

You know any other games (besides the original Halo) where cruising around with nothing but a pistol is actually a good idea?

Oh wait, I forgot about The Specialists:

Finally, in regards to Counter-Strike’s hop-happy gameplay, Global Operations went ahead and made the gameplay more, how shall we say, “grounded.”

In fact, that’s really the only gripe that comes to mind whenever I think of Global Ops.

The bot AI was pretty good for the time, the sound effects were powerful and of great quality, the mission types were nicely varied, but the movement controls were a little sluggish.

Jumping in Global Ops resulted in what amounted to little more than a barely noticeable bit of screen jitter, as if your character was glued to the floor, but would mysteriously be struck with bouts of palsy whenever the player saw fit to tap the space bar.

Dude, that's not a wink. That's palsy...

I know, it’s a small gripe, but worth pointing out regardless.

Anyway, Global Operations was a big part of my high school days (and any time I spend hanging out with my Get Stingray cast mates), and as such I felt it deserved to be mentioned on this blog.

Indeed, wrecking people’s shit with the FAL, followed by mass sessions of spamming the “I need a Medic” audio command, were some of the best times I had on my PC…

"Medic. I need a medic. I'm hurt, and need assistance. Medic. I need a..."

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The Best Overkills in Movies: Honorable Mentions

The BFG 9000: A Classic Instrument of Overkill.

Hello all, I decided it would be a good idea to follow-up my list of the Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies with a short list of some of the kills that didn’t quite make the cut.

Hopefully this will preemptively kill some of the nasty comments or disagreements that no doubt will spawn from my choices of the Top 10…

Anyway, the first runner-up I’d like to mention, is one that I really regret omitting.

Said overkill, is Jet Li’s (surprisingly awesome) 2 on 1 handicap match against Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 4:

Hah, I still can’t get over how Jet Li just can’t seem to get out of the way of Danny Glover’s girlie punches.
Anyway, outside of that; the fight was great.

This movie was one of the first DVD’s I ever bought.

Not only that, but it was crazy savage watching Jet Lit get impaled with a rebar and then shot to shit with an AK-47, especially considering the relatively tame nature of the violence in the Lethal Weapon series.

I especially love the part of this overkill where Mel Gibson picks up Jet Li via the rusty-ass rebar sticking through his midsection.

*Sigh* The only reason this overkill didn’t make the Top 10, was because of fuckin’ Bonnie and Clyde.

You stylish fucks...

Despite not giving 2 shits about Bonnie and Clyde, I couldn’t help but pay tribute to it’s place in history by giving it a spot on the list somewhere.

Fuckin’ conscience, not letting me make cool lists for the sake of coolness…

Anyway, the second runner-up I’d like to mention, is a scene from a movie that, like Bonnie and Clyde, I have not seen.

The movie in question, is the French film, Irreversible:

Be mindful that this sequence is extrememly graphic and should not be viewed by those with weak stomachs.

LAST WARNING, CLICK HERE

I discovered this film, and in particular, this scene; several years ago when I was browsing the web for the “most violent movies.”

Gimme’ a break, I was like 15 at the time…

Anyway, after watching this scene, and reading some reviews of the film, I came to the conclusion that, while the film is very provocative on many levels, it’s not something I really have all that much desire to see.

I’m sorry, but when reviews for a movie cite a rape sequence as being “the most brutal and realist committed to film,” it’s kind of a turn-off.

Honestly, I think my conscience kept me from posting this as one of the Top 10, as it’s simply too brutal to have a place in a Top 10 list on what is supposed to be a fun and entertaining blog.

Next up is yet another Steven Seagal overkill, this time in the form of his famous dismantling of an (almost) young Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege:

Man, that has gotta’ be one of the best knife fights in movie history…

Anyway, fight-gasm aside, this scene doesn’t really qualify as an overkill in my book.

Sure, the fight is of decent length, and the actual kill has a lot of flesh-wounds building up to it, but for the most part, this is just a standard action movie life-or-death fight.

A fight with stabbing, eye-gouging, and someone getting their head put through a computer monitor….

Okay fine, it’s not just a fight, it’s a Steven Seagal fight, but a fight nonetheless.

Last, but not least, no mention of overkill can be made without mentioning the so-bad-it’s-good kung fu movie, Riki-Oh, a live-action Chinese adaptation of a Japanese manga starring a very young (and buff) Fan Siu Wong.

In short, the final fight in the movie takes the rampant gore and bloodletting of all the previous violent episodes in the film, and puts them to shame:

While this is a superb overkill, an indeed probably the bloodiest I’ve mentioned, I told myself from the outset of things that I was going to omit Riki-Oh, most horror films, as well as any animated films from the list.

I did this to maintain some sense of order and equilibrium on the list, as most of what I decided to exclude from the list are overkills that are exceedingly bloody, and entertaining to bood, but not really worthy of being considered among “the best.”

I also consciously left out the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Mostly because I don’t care much for Monty Python, but also because that scene was played for laughs, and didn’t really gel with the other entries in the Top 10.

Oh fine, I’ll embed the clip for you…

I just don’t get it…

Also, technically that wasn’t an overkill, as the Black Knight never actually died.
Anyway, off the top of my head, that’s all I got.

It needs to be said however, that the “ice” kill in Van Damme’s Timecop,

The "ice" kill in question. Sorry, no clip available...

as well as just about any fight from Hokuto No Ken (Fist of the North Star) deserve special mention, as does the theater death scene of a certain fascistic monarch in Inglourious Basterds.

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