Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Cowboys & Aliens WILL Kick Ass.

Despite it’s ridiculous title, and dubious connections to the original comic book source material, I’ve got a good feeling about Cowboys and Aliens.

Aside from the inherent possibilities that could emerge from the peanut butter and chocolate combination of cowboys and aliens, I think the biggest thing going for the movie (at least the movie that’s being marketed to us) is it’s serious, but not too serious tone.

Given the goofy title, Cowboys and Aliens could very easily have ended up being a pandering and goofy-as-fuck giggle fest, but based on the visual aesthetic, and “hardened” expressions of most of the cast; it would seem director Jon Favreau has opted to imbue his film with at least some semblance of class and drama.

In addition to this, with a cast consisting of an Onimusha/Devil May Cry 4/Lost Planet/God Hand/EVERY CAPCOM GAME OF THE NEW MILLENIUM gauntlet armed Daniel Craig, the always excellent Sam Rockwell, and an aging and hammy-as-fuck Harrison Ford; the possibility of Cowboys and Aliens being anything less than “fun” are nearly non-existent.

The real reason we're all going to see Cowboys and Aliens: ADAM BEACH.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t always as up on Cowboys and Aliens as I am now.

In fact, when I first heard of the movie, I thought it sounded like a lame joke; another Snakes on a Plane without the loving support of every meme-gobbling fanboy in existence.

Don’t pretend you weren’t one of them.

In other words, I didn’t expect much; and I certainly was planning to see it.

That all changed when I found myself reminiscing about an old Ray Harryhausen movie of my childhood, The Valley of Gwangi:

In case you couldn’t tell from the trailer, The Valley of Gwangi was one of the coolest movies ever, especially to a dinosaur obsessed child like myself.

You could take pretty much any expectations you’d have for a cowboy or dinosaur movie of it’s day and expect to find them met in some way shape or form by Gwangi.

It was an excellent movie that I’ll continue to love for the rest of my days, and will likely see fit to show to my kids whenever I’m fortunate to have them.

That being said, in remembering Gwangi; I realized that, in the case of Cowboys and Aliens, there’s a good chance it could all work.

There’s a good chance Cowboys and Aliens could capture the magic of something like The Valley of Gwangi, and by golly; I’m excited to see if it does.

Come this July, I’ll be heading to the theater for Cowboys and Aliens, not as some internet retard looking for a cheap laugh; but as a wide-eyed man child looking to be blown away by a movie that’s title advertises exactly what I think we’re all hoping for:

FUCKIN’ COWBOYS, fighting FUCKIN’ ALIENS.

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #6

To be great, a song needn’t be a work of compositional genius.

Perhaps more so than any other medium, the best songs often consist of simple but memorable tunes that succeed in triggering an emotional response in their listeners.

In my book, empty or soulless pop music doesn’t have be garbage, so long as it’s “fun.”

Hell, it worked for The Monkees...

That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll pay money to listen to it though, as that’s what FM radio’s for.

Our #6 entry on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs is hardly a “great” song, but in terms of pure unadulterated “fun,” it’s a classic in my book:

#6. Mystical Ninja 64 – Ore Wa Impact!

I mentioned in my article for the #9 entry on this list, “God Hand,” that I have a weakness for tokusatsu hero music and songs, and by golly, I fuckin’ meant it.

“Ore wa Impact” AKA “I am Impact” is sung, with great verve and zeal I might add; by Ichirou Mizuki, a veteran anime and tokusatsu vocal performer.

Uh... I'd hide my kids if I were you.

The music is proud, boisterous, and ludicrously funky, such that I’d be 12 steps beyond happy if it were to play every time I walked into a room.

If that weren’t enough to put this song in my “good” pile, the nonsensical lyrics celebrate the retarded-ly fun nature of the song in a manner only the Japanese could manage.

Strangely enough, the English subtitles serve as a poor translation for the majesty of “Ore wa Impact,” largely due to their attempts to inject the song with an unusual and largely unwarranted sense of dignity.

The Japanese lyrics have the singer (presumably the giant robot Impact himself) declaring himself gorgeous, sexy, and even funky; while the English subtitles lamely translate these bold declarations in this manner:

Best? BEST!? In no what fucking world does SEXY, GORGEOUS, and FUNKY translate to "Best"!?

That’s just fuckin’ sad.

Anyway, despite this somewhat disappointing subtitle issue, Mystical Ninja 64, along with virtually every other Ganbare Goemon game; was epic-ly fuckin’ awesome.

I grew up playing Legend of the Mystical Ninja on the Super NES with my brother, and as such; I went on to spend many hours and days playing it’s N64 successor.

Of all the neat features included in Mystical Ninja 64, Impact was something special.

While he had been featured in prior games in the series on the Super Famicom, the N64 game marked the first occasion in which he was given an actual theme song.

While “Ore wa Impact” was and is a really fun song, in truth I found some of the original instrumental themes for the character to be somewhat superior, particularly the version used in Ganbare Goemon 2:

What I wouldn’t give to hear a remixed version of that tune with Ichirou Mizuki’s vocals backing it up.

History lesson aside, this has been our 6th best song on our Top 10 Videogame Songs list.

Check back tomorrow as we crack the Top 5!

Filed under: Games, Top 10 Videogame Songs, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #9


Alrighty folks, we’re back with more of the Top 10 Videogame Songs.

Yesterday we started off things off with a track from Devil May Cry as our #10.

That alone should give you some indication that this is very much a list of my personal favorites, and probably isn’t going to make everybody happy… Particularly RPG fans.

That being said, today’s entry on the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Videgame Songs is:

#9. God Hand – God Hand

To those who may be unware, God Hand is a tremendously awesome game.

Don’t believe me?  Check out the article I wrote on it awhile back.

The last game produced by the now defunct Clover Studio, (the same guys that made Okami and Viewtiful Joe) God Hand was a late addition to the PS2 game library, and one that didn’t nearly as much press as it likely should have.

I bought myself an import copy of God Hand when it was first released, and I absolutely played it to death.

While I don’t always buy into the over-the-top nonsensical zaniness of Japanese games, God Hand serves as an example of one that just “did it” for me.

The character designs, music, and frenetic gameplay of God Hand all came together for a very complete and brutally difficult gaming experience.

Gorilla Luchador FTW.

Speaking of “brutally difficult,” the ending theme of God Hand, also titled “God Hand,” served as a fitting reward for the innumerable hours I put into the game.

Now, there are at least 2 versions of the song, Japanese and English; but I don’t think I have to tell you that the Japanese original is the superior version.

Don’t get me wrong, the lyrics are equally nonsensical regardless of which language they’re sung in; but the Japanese ones flow much smoother, and the feigned enthusiasm is 20 times as infectious.

That’s the beauty of “God Hand.”

It’s a stupid-ass song, for a stupid-ass game, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make itself out to sound like the most awesomely over-the-top theme song in the history of awesomely over-the-top theme songs.

That being said, it needs to be said that a big reason why this one made the list, is not just because I love the game it came from; but also because I genuinely like the style of the music.

It has a tokusatu/superhero-y quality to it that reminds me of Kamen Rider or Tiger Mask, or even some of the sentai stuff.

I grew up watching that stuff, and in fact, still do watch it from time to time; so it goes without saying that this style of music is very much my cup of tea.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that, as a non-fluent Japanese speaker, the lyrics of “God Hand” are kind of fun for me in that they’re simple enough for me to actually understand for the most part.

It’s a minor point, but one worth mentioning all the same.

Anyway, this was #9 on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, check back tomorrow for #8!

Filed under: Games, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Videogame Songs, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #9: God Hand

*ATTENTION, THIS POST IS BROKEN-AS-FUCK ON ACCOUNT OF YOUTUBE SUCKING BALLS.  IT WILL BE FIXED ASAP.*

I treasure every moment I was able to spend with God Hand.

Even though the game was control-smashingly difficult, and cursed with a poor camera system and even worse controls; God Hand served as a magnificent throwback to the beat ’em ups of yore.

Blue jeans and thunderbolt wrestling tights: Standard garb in the early 90's.

In fact, it’s one of those games that I honestly would love to see a sequel to, however; due to the dissolution of Clover Studio shortly after it’s release, as well as it’s sub-par review scores, I doubt that will ever happen.

Oh well, one can only hope that Capcom will resurrect it someday…

BRING THEM BACK YOU MONEY GRUBBING GRABOID-FUCKERS!

Anyway, God Hand is, as I mentioned previously; a non-traditional beat ’em up for the PS2.

I say “non-traditional” because the game made use of an over-the-shoulder camera system akin to Capcom’s own Resident Evil 4 from a year or 2 before, a feature that is scarcely seen in traditional beat ’em ups.

While most attempts at 3D, polygonal beat ’em ups turned out to be utter failures, (Gekido and Dynamite Cop some of the few exceptions) God Hand manages to succeed for the most part.

Fighting Force on the other hand, was not so lucky...

The main appeal of the game lay in it’s clever use of context sensitive button functions and utterly ridiculous (and unapologetically Japanese) dialogue and character designs.

Seriously, this game is balls out INSANE from end to end, but in the best possible way.

Can you think of any other games that feature giant Mexicans named Elvis, gorillas in Lucha Libre garb, and a fighting force of formidable midget Power Rangers?

Hah, thought I was kiddin' yah', didn'cha'?

Oh yeah, and don’t forget the spanking.

Yeah, I can’t think of any other games like that either.

While I won’t attempt to explain the details of the storyline of God Hand, I will offer you this simple summary:

The player character, Gene; loses an arm to some demons one day, only to wake up in a hotel room with a hottie named Olivia, and his arm restored in the form of the legendary, and outrageously powerful God Hand.

Yeah, this isn't a product of Japan. Not at all...

From that point on, the pair set out into the world to battle the demons and their generals, the 4 Devas; in an attempt to prevent the resurrection of the demon lord, Angra.

Angra, in the flesh.

Much Japanese kitsch and comic violence ensues, and eventually the whole thing comes to a head as the hero is forced to battle Angra while making use of both of the God Hands.

My God! He's gone Super Saiyan 2!

All that nonsense aside, a major part of God Hand that really made it fun for me, was of course it’s battle system.

The game made use of all 4 of the PS2’s face buttons for various attacks, however every single button could have it’s functioned assigned by the player to their liking.

Throughout the game, the player could acquire various fighting moves, with variable damage and speed statistics, eventually resulting in the player gaining a vast arsenal of unique and drastically different maneuvers they could implement depending on the situation.

Best of all, like most beat ’em ups, mashing the square button 5 times would result in an “auto combo,” however; thanks to the games’ robust customization system, each individual strike in this combo could be arranged to the players preference.

In addition to this, the game also featured a robust dodging system using the right analog stick, which allowed the player to juke, duck and sway to avoid attacks, as well as do evasive handsprings.

I know it's dumb, but this pic from the Dustin Hoffman/Robert Redford movie All The President's Men, just happened to be the first image I got when Googling "evasive handspring."

Aside from the basic attacks, the player was also afforded the powers of the God Hand of the game’s title.

Basically, the God Hand is, quite literally, one of the hands of God, of which there are 2, the other of which is of course possessed by a boss you end up fighting later in the game.

The God Hand had 2 functions in the game:

To provide the player limited bursts of super-powered invincibility, and to activate the games’ roulette wheel mechanic.

While the invincibility is self-explanatory, the roulette wheel was a interesting, if somewhat awkward element that succeeded in the keeping the player on their toes, even while executing some of the games’ most powerful attacks.

Basically, the roulette wheel was a customized set of a handful of super attacks and mauveurs that the player would have to quickly sort through during a brief period of slow motion.

Pictured: The Roulette Wheel.

Upon making their selection, the player character, Gene; would carry out the selected maneuver, usually resulting in mass pwnage.

It’s interesting to note that 2 selections on the roulette wheel were a constant:

One that would cause Gene to kowtow before his opponent in shame, and one that would cause a pan to fall from the sky and onto his head.

The first of these would cause the player’s style meter to lower, (a feature that served to increase the player’s after level ranking, as well as adjust the game’s difficulty level in-game) while the second served as a minor health penalty, as well as a exploitable glitch that allowed the player to avoid enemy attacks for a moment.

Yeah, I played God Hand A LOT.

Anyway, enough bullshitting, let’s get down to the Best Boss music selection from God Hand:



The title of this is track is, of course; a clever play on the title of Capcom’s own Devil May Cry.

Devil May Sly plays during the player’s first battle with the owner of the other God Hand, a man named Azel.

While the energy level of the music may seem a little excessive to some, I assure you, the battle that it accompanies is most certainly worthy of such energy.

While this is a poor example of the gameplay, as the player is far too good to make the game seem fun, take a look at this clip:


The fun part of the battle with Azel, is that the programmers were able to effectively endow him with the same abilities and attacks of the player, while making the battle play out very smoothly.

Essentially, what I mean to say is that, while there are of course Resident Evil 4-like context sensitive button mashing sessions during the fight, one still feels like they are indeed playing the game as opposed to an interactive cutscene or minigame.

The first time I beat Azel (I did in fact lose once or twice) was a helluva’ a good time.

I feel it’s also worth mentioning that Azel’s second appearance in the game, also deserves some kudos.

This battle happened to be a little more frustrating, and less rewarding than the first, but I really liked the music so I figured I’d throw it up here for yah’.

In keeping with the more serious tone of the battle, the music is appropriately darker and heavier.

While I really like Duel Storm, I feel that Devil May Sly is, musically; just a little bit more enjoyable.

With that, I leave you with this delightful, and not at all strange TV spot for God Hand:

Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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