Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

And Now, Odd Job Laying Waste To Suburbia.

I found this on accident when searching for Harold Sakata on a whim.

I knew he was a professional wrestler from Hawaii, which is why I was curious to know more about him, but I was amazed to hear that he was also a silver medalist in Olympic weight lifting.

Anyway, I figured I’d share the video above on account of it’s hilariously silly concept and production values.

I love how Odd Job and his “wife” bow to each other after she instantaneously cures his cough.

Just goes to show you how culturally sensitive Hollywood was to Asian’s back in the 70’s…

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Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger = Hypocrite

The Azn Badger has been feeling a little hypocritical as of late.

Despite my general disdain for the UFC/MMA culture, I’ve found myself playing the demo for UFC: Undisputed 2010 pretty much every day this week.

I know, I know:

“How can a hardcore boxing fan that talks shit about the UFC all the time allow himself to support the organization by playing it’s official videogame!?”

Well, A): I’ve never had anything bad to say about the actual sport of MMA, only the culture and obnoxious fanbase that seems to have sprung up as a result of it’s ascension into the mainstream.

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but...

And B): Chill out, dick wad.  It’s just a videogame, and a fairly good one at that.

To be fair, I used to play the previous iteration of the game with my roommates for shits and giggles.

Only 1 out of the 3 of us (the one with legitimate interest in the UFC) actually took the time to learn how to play, so for the most part the matches boiled down to little more than button mashing sessions not unlike a round of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

"AND IT'S ALLLLLLLLLLLL OVERRRRR!!!!!!!"

At the time, I used to watch a fair amount of UFC, usually in support B.J. Benn, (he’s a Hawaiian pro athlete, therefore he’s worth my time) as well as for the social value it presented in me in hanging out with my roommate.

Though I no longer have roommates to play games or watch cagefighting with, for some reason I feel like I’m mentally in just about the same place that I was back then.

That is to say:

I’m not exactly the most cerebral of people these days.

I would probably shit myself with glee if I had one of those bubble thingies right now...

As with most things these days, I blame work; as it has retarded my brain functions to the point of making games like Undisputed 2010 seem like the coolest ever made, and dare I say; potentially worth buying.

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of Hell freezing over.

While I still don’t have a clue how to play the demo properly, (the command list in the options screen is like 50 pages long) the pick up and play factor has been a godsend in terms of keeping me sane this week.

I don’t know if it’s just the 60 hour work weeks or what, but I just can’t seem to find time for more involved games like Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I want to finish Batman, but for whatever reason I just feel “too busy” to play it.

Batman: Great for Azn Badger on 3 day weekends, too "smart" for him during 60 hour work weeks.

UFC gives me an experience that can be over and done with inside of 5 minutes.

While I’ve never been one to seek out instant gratification in my games, (if it’s any indication, Demon’s Souls was my 2nd PS3 game) at this point in time, I think it’s the only kind of gaming entertainment I can handle.

Though I’m legitimately excited to try games like Valkyria Chronicles, games that require a high-degree of time investment and involvement from the player; the more hours I put in at work, the less I see myself being able to fully enjoy a game like that.

In my current mental state, I'd probably just try and bumrush my way through every mission...

Anyway, I’m beat to shit, (anus still recovering…) so that’s all I’ve got for tonight.

Chances are I’ll pick up UFC at some point, though I assure I’ll do so grudgingly, and while mumbling under my breath that boxing is the superior and more gentlemanly sport.

Unfortunately the new Fight Night Champion doesn’t come out until next year, so for now I’m going with UFC.

Either that or Splatterhouse, ’cause Splatterhouse was the shit back in the day, and from what I’ve read; the new one ain’t so bad.

Plus it’s bloody as fuck and probably as cerebral as your average UFC fan.

Haha!  BURN.

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People (Japanese Edition)

In light of my ongoing blood feud with my virus infected laptop, I figured it would be a good idea for me to take the time type up an article (or 2) regarding a therapeutic topic.

In this case, said topic would be songs that keep me from stabbing people AKA songs that, for whatever reason; make me feel happy.

Being as I am indeed an Azn Badger, with relatively Azn interests; much of my song library consists of Azn tunes.

That being said, I foresee this post being part of a series, so I’ve thusly labeled this one the “Japanese Edition” of this particular Top 5 list.

Anyway, the only requirements for entry on this list, are that the track must indeed be a song; meaning it must have lyrics, and in this case, it must also be Japanese.

Expect other versions of this post for the next couple of days.

Apologies in advance to those that truly don’t give a shit about music, much less of the Azn variety…

Anyway, let’s make with the list!:

*PLEASE NOTE, I DID NOT WATCH ANY OF THE VIDEOS BELOW, SO DON’T COMPLAIN TO ME IF THEY’RE OBNOXIOUS, STUPID, ANNOYING, OR ALL OF THE ABOVE.*

5. Sanpo (A Walk) – Azumi Inoue


That’s right folks, #5 on my list of Japanese songs that keep me from stabbing people is the opening song from My Neighbor Totoro.

Honestly though, you can’t mention “happy” without including Totoro, can you?

This song brought me much joy as a child, both in English and Japanese, and it continues to put a smile on my face to this day.

Hell, being as it’s written for kids, it’s one of the few songs on this list that I can actually understand 100% of.

Azumi Inoue has a wonderfully sweet voice that’s perfectly suited for the Blue’s Clues-y, Wiggles-esque, sugar-coated pre-schooler nursery rhyme feel of the song.

The only other song I’ve heard her perform was Chiisa Na Inori (Tiny Prayer) from the Guyver Image Album, (yeah, I actually went and bought it…) and I’ve gotta’ say, the woman’s got some pipes.

Not necessarily of the “strong” or “booming” variety, but I think “sweet” describes her sound pretty well.

4. Yume De Aeta Nara (If We Met In A Dream) – 175R


DISCO POP = FUCK YES.

Yume De Aeta Nara was a song featured in the first film in the Kamen Rider Den-Ou series.

Around the time the movie came out, I was knees deep in my own personal period of “Tokusatsu Revival.”

Just a year or 2 before, I had rediscovered Ultraman and Kamen Rider; and so when the movie came out, I was really fuckin’ excited.

Like, REALLY excited.

Anyway, while Den-Ou was perhaps one of the best Tokusatsu series I can recall, the first movie of course turned out to be kind of “meh,” leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth until fairly recently when the Den-Ou franchise miraculously resurfaced.

That’s a story for another day though…

So anyway, the movie sucked, but the one awesome thing I took away from it, was this song, Yume De Aeta Nara, by 175R.

I’ve never heard any other songs by the group, but honestly I don’t feel I need to, as this one has since provided me with more than enough enjoyment.

Like I said man, disco pop is THE SHIT.

When it comes to making an Azn Badger happy, few things do it better than a disco beat and nostalgic ties to Kamen Rider.

3. Yuke! Tiger Mask! (Go! Tiger Mask!) – Hiroshi Nitta


Tiger Mask is the fuckin’ MAN.

Initially starting as a manga, and then later serving as the inspiration for countless videogame characters, an anime series (or 2), and even a legacy of real-life pro-wrestlers, Tiger Mask is brilliant to the point in which I’m actually jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea.

Really, I ask you, who the fuck wouldn’t enjoy a story about a man in a tiger mask wrestling the shit out of dudes, while protecting the children of the world from an evil Illuminati-esque organization?

Anyway, the song I chose for this list comes from the 1980’s anime series, and as such, it’s sound bears the remnants of the enka style of vocalization that was popular in the post-war period.

By the way, enka is THE SHIT.

That being said, the enka style of the lyrics, combined with the almost spaghetti western-like music, make for a wonderfully cheesy and over-the-top theme song to a cheesy and over-the-top hero.

By the way, I should’ve included this song on my list of ways I keep sane at work; ’cause I have a tendency to sing it when I’m on the shipping line…

I’m not retarded.

I swear.

2. My Lonely Town (Mai Roneri Taun) – B’z


Oh B’z, how the fuck did I live without you?

Seriously, B’z is a Japanese band that’s been around FOREVER, but me being me, I didn’t find out about them until 2004 when their lead guitarist, Tak Matsumoto; composed the soundtrack for the movie Ultraman: The Next.

Come to think of it though, news of stupid-ass movies about dudes in rubber monster suits duking it out seems to be how I get most of my news from Japan, so I guess that makes a fair amount of sense…

Anyway, I was really impressed with the soundtrack for that movie, (another one that I eventually bought) so I looked up the composer, which led me to B’z, which led me to finding a mega-awesome band that I hope will continue being awesome for years to come.

My Lonely Town is an unbelievably awesome song from B’z(‘s?) most recent album, Magic.

When I first put this song on, I was reading the Wolverine comic, Old Man Logan; and I gotta’ tell yah’, it just fit too fuckin’ well.

Seriously, My Lonely Town has a big, loud, Bon Jovi-esque rock sound to it, but at the same time it also has some amazing string work that gives it an epic, again, almost spaghetti Western-like feel.

It was a brilliant case of right song, right book, right time.

1. Let It Go – Yuna Ito


This one is special.

I can’t really put my finger on it why, but for whatever reason; Let It Go has been my favorite song for almost a year now.

I don’t have “favorite” songs.

I have songs I like, but never “favorites.”

This song is one of the few exceptions I can name off the top of my head.

Songs from Transformers: The Movie and the Rocky series don’t count, ’cause those are built in.

Seriously, I didn’t “choose” to love those songs, they chose me.

*Ahem!* Anyway, Let It Go is sung by Yuna Ito.

While it lends no credence as to why I like the song so much, it’s interesting to note that she’s a hapa girl.

That is, she’s half Korean, half Japanese, raised in Honolulu.

Way to represent the local people… By leaving the country and making music in a foreign country.

All kidding aside, while the music is definitely the biggest selling point for me in this song, with it’s beautiful, and surprisingly almost country-esque string work coupled with an unrelentingly upbeat tune, I have to say Ms. Ito’s voice is pretty fuckin’ good.

I’ve never really paid much attention to vocals in songs.

Like I’ve said in previous posts, I was a “hummer” as a kid; and thusly kept music in my head rather than songs.

That is to say, while the other kids annoyed their parents by singing “Under the Sea” at the top of their lungs everyday, I was busy pissing off my folks by incessantly humming music from Snow Bros. and Mega Man 2.

I can’t explain it, but for some reason I have a lot of trouble understanding the lyrics to songs, regardless of language.

Despite this, from what I know of Japanese pop music, Yuna Ito is a rare talent.

Near as I can tell, most Jpop stars are, like our own American ones, studio musicians I.E. pretty people that can do just enough of everything to appeal to the core demographic.

They have flat voices, and more often than not; hide behind backup dancers, high production value music and voice modulation.

Ms. Ito, while most likely guilty of all of the above, actually seems to have a genuinely strong singing voice.

While I’m probably wrong, my first thought process was that it may be a cultural difference.

She may be fluent in Japanese, and indeed have lived there most of her life for all I know, but being raised in Hawaii, as an American; would most likely lend some boldness to her style of singing.

It seemed to be the case for Utada Hikaru, who was from New York; so I don’t exactly feel dumb for making this assumption.

Anyway, if ever the Azn Badger seems primed for a stabbing session, just remember to put on Let It Go, or any of the above mentioned Japanese songs, and chances are you’ll be just fine.

Don’t quote me on that though.

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Filed under: Boxing, Comics, Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thinking About Conan

It’s funny, until about 2 minutes ago, I was seriously considering skipping today’s post.

You see, I’ve had a distinct lack of motivation.

It’s not that I don’t have any ideas for posts, on the contrary, I’ve got ’em by the bucket load, rather it’s the fact that I simply don’t have the time needed to complete them after I get home from work.

Anyway, as fate would have it, my Ipod decided to assault my ears with the powerful and wonderous sounds of Basil Poledouris’ Conan the Barbarian soundtrack.

Man, why did he have to die...

Let it be known, the Azn Badger loves him some Basil Poledouris, but perhaps more importantly, he fuckin’ loves him some Conan.

In short, Conan is the shit, especially the Arnold Schwarzenegger version:

FUCK.  YEAH.

I was a late arrival to the Conan party, only actually seeing the 2 movies when in I was already in my late teens, (thanks J. Dong) but that doesn’t make me any less of a fan.

Actually, if you want to get technical about it, my first experience with Conan dates back to the early 90’s when I used to watch the cartoon series, Conan the Adventurer:

Yes, Conan was indeed THE SHIT.

Seriously, that cartoon was crazy violent for the time, making it especially memorable to my impressionable young mind.

Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make, is simply that Conan is FUCKING AWESOME:

Which leads me to my next point:

Did you know that they’re making another Conan movie?

I know what you’re thinking:

“How can they make a Conan movie without Arnold!?”

Well, truth be told, they probably cant.

Arnold on any given Tuesday.

Arnold brought to that role a level of charisma and gravitas that few actors could ever hope to match, and as such, he pretty much embodies the character in my mind.

Not only that, but despite the Conan films being made very early in Schwarzenegger’s career, they have a look and feel to them that is unmistakeably “Arnold.”

My point is, what I know of Conan is based around Arnold, thusly making any other interpretations of the character “wrong” in my eyes.

I’m not trying to be close-minded or head strong, but that’s just how it is.

The new Conan is going to be directed by Marcus Nispel, who just happened to direct Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Pathfinder, and Friday the 13th, suggesting a penchant for/familiarity with bladed weapon-based combat.

Note that none of the films mentioned above are worth a baggy of monkey piss, nor were any of them filmed with any semblance of redeemable style or tact.

Pictured: A Urine Bag worth several cents more than any film on Marcus Nispel's resume.

It goes without saying, though Nispel might be better than say Brett Ratner, (the previous director signed to the project) he’s no prize pony.

ARE YOU FUCKING HAPPY RATNER!? YOU FUCKING KILLED JACKIE CHAN YOU HAIRY SACK OF FLAMINGO FUCK!

Conan will be played by Jason Momoa of Stargate Atlantis fame.

Hmm, a little Prince of Persia-esque, but somewhat promising nonetheless...

I’ve never seen Momoa’s acting, so I can’t say how he’ll fare in that area, but being as he’s a tall and muscular dude he seems at least physically prepared for the role.

He’s no Arnold, but if the movie sucks, (which it most likely will) then my guess it’ll be the director’s fault moreso than Mr. Momoa.

Do the Hawaiians proud Momoa.

Ron Perlman is also featured in the cast, which is very much a good thing.

Ron Perlman sans makeup.

Mr. Perlman turns out consistently entertaining and engaging performances, plus it’s an interesting novelty to have Conan’s voice actor from the 2007 videogame present in a live-action Conan film.

On the production side of things, the music is going to be done by one Steve Jablonsky.

I liked Jablonsky for about 5 minutes.

I enjoyed his soundtrack for Transformers, however pretty much as soon as the curtains went up after that film ended, and he became the composer for the nerd population of the world, I came to realize that he’s pretty much a one trick pony.

This is just about the best he’s capable of:

While very good, that’s about all he’s got.

Pretty every score he does is same shit different day.

Insert heavy percussion here.
Insert brooding male choir there.
Top it off with some heavy electronic effects, and you’ve got your basic Jablonsky score.
Now I ask you, compare that to the epicry that is this:

That’s right, Basil Poledouris is THE SHIT.

RIDDLE OF STEEL FOREVER BITCHES!

In case you can’t tell by now, my personal expectations for the film are extremely low.

I truly and honestly believe that this film will suck balls.

Pictured: The promotional image that first made me think this movie was going to suck.

It kind of sucks to think that way about a franchise I love and respect so much, but when you look at the cast and director, and the fact that the film has been in development hell for so fucking long, one can’t help but feel like this movie was doomed from the moment the writer’s pen first hit the paper.

Anyway, just felt like talkin’ about Conan for a bit.

See you in the theater when this one comes out next year.

Filed under: Games, Kung Fu, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vejita Has a Brother!!?

WADDAH' FAWK!!?

“Did you know Vejita has a brother now?”

That’s what my friend said to me ever so casually this past Friday.

Apparently Akira Toriyama himself created this character, thusly making his appearance in a brief 2008 animation, part of the Dragonball canon.

He's supposed to be 5 years younger than Vejita by the way. Fuckin' pedo-ass Japanese...

My friend and I have been buddies since way back in middle school, and one thing that has remained a constant for him ever since, is his love for Dragonball.

He was watching and subtitling the show way back then, and with the re-release in the form of Dragonball Kai, it would seem he’s never had to put it down.

And now, after we haven’t seen each other in a few years, he goes and drops this shit in my lap!

Poor Santa... So much poop...

Not only that, he told me that the (crappy) Playdia OVA, Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, is being redrawn and re-animated for re-release as well.

Personally, I think I like the old one better... Not that it was all that good to begin with.

To this, I reacted by bowing my head in shame, and cursing the insatiable consumerism of Bandai and Toei.

Pictured: The Face of Greed...

So… Now Vejita has a younger brother named Taburu, or in haole speak, “Tarble.”

Pictured: A Haole.

Personally, I think I’m going to stick with “Table” as my way of pronouncing it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Azn Badger’s loves him some Dragonball.

Like most dudes in their early 20’s, I grew up watching shitty dubbed Dragonball Z as it inched it’s way along on Cartoon Network’s Toonami lineup.

Like some dudes, I also kept watching a little bit after the series ended, and even went ahead and bought all 13 of the movies.

As much as I liked Dragonball though, at some point, I stopped to ask, “why?”

Why is this series that’s been DEAD since the mid-90’s still pretending to be alive?

My best guess is that the series managed to stay relevant long enough that it’s next generation of fans discovered it before it ever had a chance to go off the air.

Oh well, as long as it makes people happy I guess…

Even so, it’s shit like this that makes me refer to Dragonball as the Madden of Japan.

Hang on, THIS is the Madden of Japan!

We don’t always ask for it, but for better or for worse, you can sure as hell bet there’s gonna’ be a new game in the series EVERY FUCKING YEAR.

Anyway, I don’t know what I meant to say with this post, but for those of you that give a shit, have fun knowing that Vejita now has a brother, and his name is Table.

Oh yeah, and thanks to the new game Raging Blast 2, we now have Super Saiyan 3 Vejita and Broly.

WHADDAH FAWK x3!!!?

Why?

Because haole likes him some Broly, that’s why…

Broly: Popular in America, not so much in Japan...

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Predators Sucked a Honey Badger’s Ass

And sucked it good...

Nimrod Antal’s Predators sucked donkey balls.

Like, FOH’ REAL.

Hah! Betcha' didn't think I could tie in the Hawaiian stuff with donkey balls, am I right?

Nothing happened in the first half of the movie.

My favorite actor in the movie was killed off way too early, and unceremoniously at that.

Adrien Brody spends the whole movie failing at imitating Christian Bale’s Batman voice.

Topher Grace is mostly useless, essentially still stuck playing Eric Forman (don’t ask me why Eric Forman has a Wikipedia article) from That 70’s Show.

So much of the film was made in homage to the first film in the series that it may as well have been a remake.

The Predators have virtually no presence in the film, physical or otherwise.

Oh yeah, and the last third of the movie, which is also curiously overlong; takes what little promise the film might have had, and proceeds to shit all over it.

With poop.

For 45 minutes.

Boy am I glad my brother paid for my ticket this time…

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The Best Track in the Game #10: Axelay

That's right, I hard-modded my Super NES like a true dork.

Associative memory is a funny thing.

We all have random, seemingly insignificant little “things” in our lives that, for whatever reason; remind us of what’s most important to us.

I have a teddy bear that, while not important to me in any way, will always make me think of my Grandpa.

Every time someone mentions the words “scavenger hunt,” I’m reminded of the first time I ever got lost.

Okay, maybe I didn't get "lost" per se, maybe I was just dumb...

Playing old videogames from my youth has always been my way of revisiting old memories.

Whenever I play Turtles in Time, I think of the one time I went to the Fun Factory and got scared of the Dragon’s Lair 2 attract demo with my cousin in Hawaii.

Skip to :45 for the scary part:

Whenever I play Pocky and Rocky, I’m reminded of the time my brother and I beat the game early in the morning and our mom took a picture of us doing a “thumbs-up” in front of the end credits.

And whenever I play Axelay, I’m reminded of my friend Ben.

No, not THAT Ben...

Ben was my friend for only a few years, between 5th and 8th grade, but his influence on me to this is day has been profound.

He introduced me to the concept of self-reliance, and walking to where I wanted to go instead of always getting rides from my parents.

He taught me everything I know about Warhammer 40K and table-top games in general.

...Although maybe I should be CURSING him for this rather than praising him.

He convinced me that PC games could be fun, particularly when trying to play Mechwarrior 2 with the controls split between 2 people.

He introduced me to the wonders of Nutella sandwiches, and Munster cheese.

He showed me that one could play the cello, and do kendo at the same time.

Well, maybe not at the same time, but he was pretty good at both.

Ben also shared my passion for console videogames, though I will confess that his taste in games was somewhat different and, dare I say; “better” than mine.

Ben’s library of Super NES and Playstation games were a mix of the truly great, and what could only be described as “eclectic.”

Neither "great," nor "eclectic," this tattoo is just plain "dumb." Oh yeah, and a little bit "sad."

Rock ‘N Roll Racing and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse I would consider “great,” however Uniracers and Diablo for the Playstation were just plain odd.

You see this? In order to play Diablo you need THIS WHOLE FUCKING CARD just to save one goddamn file!

Oh yeah, and he had some weird, esoteric game I’ve never seen or heard of anywhere else called Kendo Rage.

Apparently it was a gift from someone, so I couldn’t blame him for owning it, but either way; that game was fucking horrible.

I would say the American cover art is horrible, but the Japanese one isn't all that much better...

By far my favorite game in his collection though, was an early Konami space shooter on the Super NES called Axelay.

Axelay was, and still remains to this day, one of my favorite shoot ’em ups.

Though I tend to place little stock in games’ accomplishments based on their graphical fidelity, I feel it is necessary to point out that Axelay was a very handsome game for it’s time.

With a vast array of lavishly detailed and vibrantly animated sprites populating the games intensely varied backgrounds from stage to stage, Axelay was a stunner from start to finish.

FUCK YEAH.

The gameplay in Axelay was surprisingly varied and polished for a space shooter, to a point in which it was hard to believe the game was an early Super NES title.

The key innovations of Axelay’s gameplay were it’s inclusion of both vertical and horizontal scrolling gameplay styles, as well as a unique weapon select system that had the player outfit their ship prior to each stage as opposed to scrambling for power-ups throughout.

As you can plainly see, Axelay was a game for pacifists.

I’d like to take this moment to preach my love and appreciation for the Round Vulcan, as it was easily one of the slickest and most inventive weapons I’ve ever had the pleasure of wielding in a shoot ’em up.

Good luck with that Straight Laser buddy, you're gonna' die in about 3 seconds.

A neat feature of the weapon load-out system was the fact that, when struck by a “weak” enemy bullet, the player’s ship would lose whatever weapon they had equipped at the time (of the available 3) instead of dieing instantly.

What really happens upon impact of a "weak enemy bullet."

It was little innovations like this that kept me coming back to Axelay.

Even though Ben always had neat PC games like Magic Carpet and Descent II he liked to tool around on, when it was my turn to choose what to do, I almost always wanted to play Axelay.

I wanna' know what the fuck these reviewers were on when they tried this. Magic Carpet sucked balls...

We had an arrangement, where each of  us would play specific stages in accordance with our skill in beating them.

To this day, I still find myself reeling at the prospect of playing certain stages without having Ben there to hand the controller off to.

I still remember some of the goofy shit me and Ben used point out to each other when playing Axelay.

Ben always thought the 2nd stage boss looked eerily like ED-209 from Robocop.

In turn, I would always tell Ben that the 3rd stage bosses’ second form was clearly Leonardo Da Vinci riding in his famous pyramid tank:

Yeah, I was dumb/weird kid.

In addition to being a crazy-fun and graphically impressive game, Axelay also had the distinction of possessing, in my opinion; one of the single greatest soundtracks in all of videogame history.

That’s right, not an RPG, not a franchise game, but a lowly space shooter with no sequels.

That's right, suck a Blackanese cock fan-boys...

To think, an entry in one of the most famously quick to produce and homogenized game genres, get’s my nod for one of the best soundtracks in all of gaming…

I think it goes without saying, that THE BEST TRACK IN AXELAY IS….

EVERY FUCKING TRACK.

Why?:

Axelay’s soundtrack succeeds on so many levels, that it’s tough just remember all of them.

First off, the music is extremely well-produced, with some very powerful and dignified samples being used throughout.

In addition to this, most of the samples used in the game are from the familiar, and stellar, Konami library of the time, giving everything a comfortable air of familiarity to it.

*Sigh* It's like one big happy family.

There’s very little “tinniness” to be heard in Axelay, and sometimes that makes all the difference.

Second, the score is thematic, with a number of familiar cues being used throughout that bring a wonderful sense of crescendo and weight to many of the games’ more intense moments.

On the same note, it should be mentioned that, since Axelay is indeed a scrolling shooter, all of the soundtracks’ major climaxes mesh with the timing of the gameplay dead on.

Axelay's "Oh Shit" Moment #47

And third, the music is varied and appropriate throughout.

Axelay is a game that goes through drastic scenery changes from stage to stage, and at no point does the music ever fail to make the transition with the same gusto and grace as the games’ beautiful graphics.

No better example of this, is during the transition from stage 4, to stage 5, wherein the player jumps from a subterranean, underwater cave filled with all sorts of monstrous creatures, to a violently erupting lava planet filled with magma spewing drones and dragons:

See what I mean?

The two stages are like night and day, and yet the composer, Sotaro Tojima, hits just the right notes on both occasions.

If I was forced to pick a favorite track in Axelay, it would probably be the ending credits theme.

The track is a wonderfully exhilarating and uplifting track that brings to mind images of exactly what a “you just saved the world” track should.

Hope, triumph, and a long journey home are concepts that come to mind when I listen to this track:


The ending track of Axelay is essentially the ultimate version of what one could consider the “theme” of the game.

The melody used throughout it, is a remixed version of the opening stage track, something that I feel adds weight to the player’s accomplishments after beating the game.

It’s like the game is reminding you of how you began the experience, and how far you’ve come since.

Axelay’s soundtrack is so good, that I think I’ll be a nice guy and give everyone a download link for the entire OST:

Axelay OST

You’re welcome.

Axelay was an excellent space shooter of unparalleled balance, as well as a rare feeling of “fairness” to it.

When you got shot, the game gave you the benefit of the doubt and didn’t kill you outright, instead choosing to cripple you progressively until you wanted to die.

And when the time finally came, and you did die, it didn’t bother you, ’cause it was your fault.

YOUR FAULT.

In later years, space shooters would pop up from time to time trying to emulate the success of Axelay’s gameplay.

Philosoma tried, and failed; to mimic Axelay’s multi-directional scrolling gameplay, while modern legends like Einhänder, would borrow the weapon load-out system and take it to new heights.

Never doubt dah' powah' of 'ze Germans.

Axelay is a wonderful game with a long legacy.

A legacy that I feel very fortunate to have been a part from the very beginning.

Thanks Benedict, for all the things you taught me, and all the things you help me to remember.

You are remembered.

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Best Boss Music #4: Adventure Island 2

Hudson’s Adventure Island 2 was one of my favorite sidescrolling platformers on the NES.

The game had the straightforward appeal of a Mario game, but with a more aggressive play style.

In most Mario games, precision platforming was the order of the day, as most of level designs, and indeed the enemies in the game, were maneuvered around and dispatched using carefully placed jumps.

Outside of the occasional power-up, Mario did most of his fighting with his ass.

In the Adventure Island series however, the player character, Master Higgins AKA Takahashi; was rarely without a stone hatchet to chuck at his enemies.

Oh yeah, he also had skateboards and dinosaurs to help him too.

Yeah, he's fat.

In fact, fighting in Adventure Island, while hardly required to make your way through most of the stages, was an element of the gameplay that was heavily emphasized.

Enemies were numerous throughout the games’, mostly consisting of pissed off animals of the tropical variety.

I think it's safe to say that the pig lost.

This, coupled with the fact that Master Higgins handled like a meatloaf on wheels, lead to the player typically relying on their weapon to clear the screen of enemies, rather than risk one-touch death as a result of trying to hurdle a snake with one very fat, baseball cap wearing Polynesian.

Artist Rendering

This, combined with the games’ strict time limit, lead to a platforming experience that felt more like a mad dash through an obstacle course as opposed to the more hazard based, methodical nature of most other platformers.

The “time limit” in Adventure Island games, was represented by a series of white tally marks across the top of the screen indicating Master Higgins’ level of hunger.

That's right, he's back. And you better believe he's still hungry...

Throughout the game, players would have to constantly grab fruits and vegetables that would appear before them, thusly keeping Master Fatty McFat-Pants Higgins from dieing of starvation.

For whatever reason, accidentally grabbing an eggplant would cause the angry vegetable (I’m serious, just look at it’s “face”) to follow Higgins around, blare ominous music, and eat away at his time limit.

One EVIL Motherfucker

Either eggplant gives Higgins the shits, or someone on the Hudson development team truly hated that vegetable, because to this day I just don’t get it.

Hell, they even made the eggplant the FINAL BOSS in Adventure Island 4.

Anyway, the main plot of virtually all of the Adventure Island games is typical “rescue the damsel in distress” fare.

You see, Master Higgins, obese island chief that he is, just happens to have a seriously hot lady named Tina living with him on his so-called “Island of Adventure.”

Hey, back in the day THIS was hot.

In fact, his woman is so hot, that wild animals, strange man-animal hybrids, and even aliens want to make off with her.

Well, as you may have guessed, at the start of every game, one of the above goes ahead and snatches Higgins’ lady, thusly forcing the player to guide ‘ole Fat Body across the island to save her.

Now, imagine running across the island when you're built like THIS guy. God rest his soul.

Adventure Island 2 was my favorite game in the series, largely because 3 was always checked out at the rental place.

The first game, in my opinion, was kind of rubbish; with lame graphics, the weakest music in the series, and a seriously limited color palette.

Adventure Island 2 kicked ass because it was Mario, but with dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs that breathed FIRE.

Godzilla = The Azn Badger's Hero.

All of the Adventure Island games had great soundtracks with a great island flair to them.

Most of the tracks were uppity and fun, fitting the colorful graphical style of game about as well as one could hope.

In example, here’s one of the most famous tracks from the series, the Map Screen Theme:

Despite the “island” sound of that particular track, Adventure Island games were by no means one-trick ponies in the audio department.

Like most platformers throughout gaming history, Adventure Island games typically saw the player traverse a wide-range of environments I.E. ice stage, fire stage, air stage, etc.

In Adventure Island 2’s case, the game just happened to have a pretty spankin’ Desert Theme:

As you have probably figured by now, the Boss Theme for Adventure Island 2 was awesome.

So awesome in fact, that they recycled it for the third game.

Check it out:

Adventure Island 2 is one of my favorite platformers of all time.

And while I know that the entire series is basically a carbon copy of the Wonder Boy games, and that the series has since deviated from it’s traditional gameplay in favor of a more Zelda-like style as of Adventure Island 4 on the Famicom, none of that will change the fact that Adventure Island 2 is a kick-ass game.

Master Higgins is still a fatty though.

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