Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped Death Reel

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Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back Death Reel

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Crash Bandicoot Death Reel

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Space Ace Death Reel

Don Bluth death reels never get old.

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Braindead 13 Death Reel

 

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The Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Trailer Gets It Right

Do you remember back in the day when pre-rendered cutscenes were the coolest shit ever?

I sure do.

Back in the early days of CD based gaming, pre-rendered cutscenes, that is, ones produced outside of the in-game engine; seemed almost like a reward for playing some games.

Remember booting up Final Fantasy VIII for the first time?

Still don’t like that game, but damn that’s a good opening.

In most cases, cutscenes were used to bookend the gaming experience and/or highlight set piece moments that likely couldn’t be produced in-engine.

In keeping line with the (eventual) point of this article, Resident Evil games serve as a good example of this style of implementation for pre-rendered video, though the majority of the minor cutscenes were also produced in-engine.

I know I’ve used that clip before, but I don’t think I need a reason to justify re-using it.

On the other hand though, many other games, particularly in the early and mid-90’s, went so far as to “wow” gamers through essentially structuring the entirety of their gameplay around FMV.

For example, the early multi-platform game Braindead 13, in the tradition of Dragon’s Lair, was essentially one long interactive cutscene:

As was Cyberia, though with several shooting and adventure segments interspersed throughout.

In retrospect, many of these videos served to break up the flow of the gameplay of the games they inhabited, but back in the day, just the act of seeing full-motion video on a game console was akin to bearing witness to black magic.

Maybe it was just the fact that I was very young when it came to prominence, but to me, FMV in games was a big fucking deal.

Now that I’m older and decidedly more curmudgeonly and cynical, know that FMV has it’s ups and downs.

Perhaps one of the biggest “downs” that comes to mind, pertains to it’s use as an advertising tool.

It’s funny, for as long as I can remember, videogame advertising has been obsessed with finding ways to reel people in without showing a pixel of the actual product.

Pictured: An Earthbound ad. A failed experiment in "unjustified scratch and sniff" advertising.

Similar to a horror movie with a shitty-ass monster trying to sell itself by teasing but not showing said sad-ass monster in it’s advertising, videogame advertisers are a sneaky lot that get off on deceiving their audience.

It’s very likely that it’s just a cultural trend that just happened to grow up with me, but for whatever reason, most of the game ads I can remember throughout my life, both print and video; have done well to conceal the nature of the in-game product they were selling.

Hell, in the 90’s, it was far more common to see totally fucked up and insane imagery as game advertisements than it was to see screenshots of the actual games.

It was the 90's. Don't ask....

Guess that’s to be expected for an era when words like “radical,” “tubular,” and “EXTREME” passed as colloquialisms.

Now that I think of it, even the cover art of most American games was deceiving to some extent, often adopting an art style that was contrary to that of the (very likely Japanese produced) in-game product.

I’m rambling.

The point I’ve been trying (and failing) to lead up to with all of this, has to do with the new trailer for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.

In short, I thought the imagery was stunningly rendered, the action sublime, and all in all, I really liked it.

I’m still cautiously optimistic about the game, as though I love the setting of the game, (between #2 and #3, my favorites) as well as the concept, at the end of the day the thing just won’t work without decent gameplay mechanics.

That being said, while this trailer did nothing to address my concerns regarding the gameplay, it did do well by my in the sense that it did what many other pre-rendered trailers have failed to do in recent days:

It showed off actual gameplay mechanics, in the context of a pre-rendered video.

Allow me to explain.

Remember that super-duper overhyped pile of sappy bullshit that was the initial trailer for that super-duper overhyped plate of fuck-sauce that was Dead Island?

Remember how, with the exception of the location, the zombies, and maybe a homemade bludgeoning instrument or 2, absolutely nothing in that trailer was featured in the actual game?

Well, that my friend is an example of a game company trying to sell it’s “meh” product with an overproduced ad campaign.

While it’s entirely possible that Capcom is essentially trying to do the same thing with Raccoon City, I appreciate the fact that they took the time to inject their fancy FMV trailer with a few nods to the actual gameplay.

How did they do this, you say?

With all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, that’s how.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the development of Raccoon City with the same fervor I have, but if you’re at all in the loop, you’ll have noticed that many of the sillier and less organic moments in the trailer reflect actual elements of the gameplay.

For instance, there is a sequence wherein one of the Umbrella commandos notes that a man’s blood trail is going to attract zombies and other creatures.

Later on, a pheromone grenade is tossed during a battle, leading to one of the soldiers spouting exposition regarding it’s function in attracting monsters.

Throughout the trailer there are instances of melee combat peppered throughout.

Towards the end, there was a sequence where a soldier grabbed hold of a zombie and used him as a human shield.

All of the techniques listed above were confirmed to be usable in-game in some capacity long before this trailer dropped.

Not only that, the underlying story behind the trailer, the clashing of Umbrella and government sponsored troops amidst a battlefield of T-Virus creatures, fits the mission statement of the game to a “T”

In short, I’m proud of Capcom for putting their name on a trailer as beautiful and informative as this one.

Sure, the script was kind of shitty, (what Japanese-written English script isn’t?) but at the end of the day, I’m just happy the damn thing at least tries to exposit some of the gameplay mechanics despite the decidedly pre-rendered nature of the video.

Pre-rendered video trailers are a double-edged sword in many ways.

They are useful for building hype, in that they are often beautiful and cinematic in nature, however too often they pay far too little service as to the actual nature of the product they are selling.

In a perfect world, movies and games would be advertised strictly with materials cut directly from the source material, however when budgets get inflated to the point they’re at nowadays, I can see why production companies feel the need to put together these fancy ads on the off chance they might get a few more buyers than they would otherwise.

All it takes is a bunch of dumbasses thinking this represents what they buy when they pick up World of Warcraft:

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Geese Howard: Ace Attorney

I wish I knew the origin of the audio for this video, ’cause in all honesty it sounds like the original skit/stage show was pretty funny to begin with.

Truth be told I know close to nothing about the Ace Attorney games, but the Geese-factor combined the stellar animation/lip synch add up to something special.

Actually, now that I think about it, the Geese-factor alone puts this one over the top…

I found this about a year ago, and to this day, it continues to put a smile on my face.

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And Now, A Message From Brock Lesnar

In case you’re wondering, the clip above comes from an advertisement for the upcoming videogame, WWE ’12.

For whatever reason, they hired Brock Lesnar to show up in the last 3 seconds of the video so he could scream at the audience.

Apparently that qualifies as good sales technique these days.

Anyway, I apologize if you fail to derive any sort of humor from this clip, though you should probably know that I cut it together just for you.

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And Now, Watson Doing The Jason Voorhees Teleportation Tango

So, I found this clip from Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis awhile back.

From what I can tell, the thing has become quite well known across the vast expanse of the internet since then.

Regardless of whether you’ve seen it or not, I thought this was amusing, and I was feeling kind of nostalgic.

Enjoy!

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The Worst Comics I Own: Army Of Two – Dirty Money


Why I Bought It:

Believe it or not, there was a time when I thought Army of Two was poised to be a force to be reckoned with in the realm of co-op gaming.

As evidenced by both the first and second games’ vanilla gameplay, obvious technical flaws, and tiresome usage of “bro-iness” in place of characterization; the franchise pretty much failed to live up to any of the promise I saw in it.

Despite poor reviews, I actually bought the first Army of Two, almost entirely due to the impressive nature of the character designs.

I don’t know about you, but if you ask me, the tactical armor+mask combo that Salem and Rios wear are some of the more iconic designs the of past half decade.

Seriously man, if you ever go to any airsoft meet, I guarantee you there’ll be at least one kid wearing one of their masks.

Pictured: Cosplay for people too "manly" to call it cosplay.

In many ways, the character designs blinded me to what I knew, deep down, was little more than a mediocre third-person shooter.

That being said, I ended up picking up a copy of “Dirty Money” in anticipation of the games’ release.

…And because it was on sale on Amazon.

Why It Sucks:

Army of Two: Dirty Money isn’t necessarily a shitty comic, it’s just incredibly bland.

In nearly every element of it’s composition, there’s a niggling sense of vanilla-ness that just sucks the fun out of what could’ve been a decent military conspiracy comic.

The art by Brandon McKinney is actually pretty good, but indistinct and poorly reproduced so as to muddy the colors and actually pixelate the text.

While I’d love to show you some examples of said mediocrity, all images of the book’s interior seemed to be buried in the internet, as I can’t find any scans of it.

If that’s not a sign of crappiness, I don’t know what is.

Instead you get a pic of Salem and Rios high-fiving... During a firefight.

The plot is your run of the mill military/revenge thriller stuff, with a double-crossing phantom of the past (a past introduced to the franchise solely within the context of this comic) reemerging to tangle with our heroes in the present.

The real problem with “Dirty Money,” is the horrendously “bro-ish” dialogue penned by John Ney Rieber.

I know it was a conscious decision of the designers of the Army of Two game to make both Salem and Rios foul-mouthed, high-fiving bro’s of the highest degree; likely in the hopes of reeling in the A.D.D-afflicted UFC/Spike TV demographic, but in written form, their dialogue just doesn’t work.

In the game, most of the annoying and ludicrous bro-isms are used as asides, sound bites that only occur intermittently.

In “Dirty Money,” bro-isms aren’t just used as asides to the action, they make up virtually every exchange of dialogue between our 2 heroes.

That’s like 80% of the fuckin’ book!

Seriously man, any book that includes the use of the terms, “Eat Me” and “bro” within it’s first page is one that takes pride in it’s bro-iness and doesn’t give 2 shits about whether you like it or not.

This guy likes it.... He likes it A LOT.

Potentially worse than the palpable nature of “Dirty Money’s” bro-osity though, is it’s excessive use of profanity.

I don’t mind swearing, in fact I do quite a bit of it myself; but the way the characters in “Dirty Money” let ’em fly would make even the saltiest of potty-mouthed sailors blush in embarrassment.

Virtually every speech bubble in the book has a 4-letter word of some sort, and if I recall correctly, I seem to remember Rios referring to someone as an “asswipe.”

I don’t know about you, but battle-scarred, Vin Diesel-esque bro-hemoths aren’t exactly the people I picture tossing around schoolyard terms like “asswipe.”

Then again, I pretty much described exactly the type of dudes I tend to avoid in my daily life, so I’m not exactly drawing from a great deal of life experience in this regard.

All in all, “Dirty Money” pretty much lives up to the standard of the game it serves as a prequel to in the sense that it’s bland and lacking in most regards, and completely without depth or substance.

Is It Still Worth Reading Anyway?:

“Dirty Money” was published by Prima Games, (a publisher of strategy guides) likely on the cheap and in short order, and it shows in virtually every regard.

Like most licensed comics, “Dirty Money” was likely produced for the purposes of cross-media promotion, however in this case, Army of Two was as a particularly weak source material, and a comic of said franchise was a very poor choice of medium.

Put it all together, and you have a lame comic that is constantly winking at you with the fact that it’s based off a game, but fails to hide the fact that said game is a piece of crap.

They got my money with all the pre-release hype, and I’m still kicking myself over it, but without all that to suck you in; there’s really no reason for an intelligent human being to ever pick up a copy of “Dirty Money.”

That is, unless the clip below describes an act you’ve performed on others at some point in your life:

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