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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:

Filed under: Games, Movies, Worst Comics I Own, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, Runner-Ups


Well folks, it finally happened.

Yesterday we finally finished working our way up through the ranks of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, and named Mike Tyson as the rightful owner of the #1 spot.

As per the norm whenever I put together a top 10 list, today we’ll be taking a look at some of the runner-ups to the list.

Some of the omissions surprise even myself, so expect a few exceptionally tough cookies to pop up in the proceedings.

That being said, let’s get to take a look at the top 5 runner-ups, presented, for my convenience; in no particular order:

#5. SS01-Schwarzgeist – Einhander

Pictured: The Astraea FGA Mk.I does battle with the heavily armed orbital satellite, the SS01-Schwarzgeist.

In case you’re wondering “Schwarzgeist” is German for “Black Ghost.”

With a name like that, the developers of Einhander were pretty much obligated to make this guy totally badass.

To be fair, they also went ahead and made pretty much the entire game absolutely fucking badass.

I’ve mentioned Einhander elsewhere on this blog, but for those who might not know, the game is a supremely difficult Playstation 1 scrolling shooter developed by Square.

While the game is populated by a host of tough bosses, each sporting a number of variable attack patterns depending on the approach you take in fighting them; “The Black Ghost” is likely the most difficult overall.

He also happens to have one of the better tracks in the game as his battle theme.

Boasting an absurdly complex attack pattern that is nearly impossible to grasp without burning a continue or 2, “The Black Ghost” is a brutal challenge that is nevertheless, much easier to defeat through brute force than pure skill.

That is to say, coming into the fight with the right weapons *Cough!* Grenade Launcher! *Cough!* is key to victory.

The fact that “The Black Ghost” has a definable and not all that well hidden weakness, is likely the reason he didn’t make the Top 10.

Despite this, his despicable variety of attack patterns, combined with Einhander’s unforgiving gameplay system of only allowing you 1 life before each continue; make a strong case for his presence among the runner-ups.


 

#4. Isaac Frost – Fight Night Champion

Pictured: Andre Bishop goes toe-to-toe with heavyweight champion Isaac Frost AKA The White Guy.

Another game that I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Fight Night Champion’s inclusion of a nearly invincible final boss came of somewhat of a surprise to me.

Then again, these days it’s almost a tradition to include at least 1 overpowered athlete in sports games.

That’s right, I’m lookin’ at you Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson and NBA Jam Scottie Pippen

Designed to be fought in a round-to-round, objective based system; the actual procedure involved in fighting Isaac Frost contributes almost as much to his difficulty as his actual fighting ability.

Possessed of unbalanced punching power, speed, and stamina, Frost holds all the cards from the opening bell, and yet his beastly-ness is further bolstered by the fact that the game forces you to fight him a certain way.

Essentially, throughout each round of the fight you are required to follow a pre-determined gameplan, be it using your legs and hanging back, or landing haymakers to the body.

It’s an entirely inorganic procedure that doesn’t exist outside of the “story mode” of the game, resulting in whatever skills you learned playing the game competitively getting tossed to the curb in terms of usefulness.

To date I have yet to beat Isaac Frost, largely due to his insane attribute bonuses, but the fact that the game forces me to fight him the way it wants me to really grinds my gears to an exceptional degree.

With that, I leave you with this video of Frost obliterating Super Middleweight, Anthony Mundine:


 

#3. General Akboob/Hitler – Total Carnage

Pictured: Captain Carnage and Major Mayhem do battle with the giant heads of General Akboob and Adolf Hitler.

In terms of pure quarter munching arcade shooter goodness, few games can measure up to Smash T.V. and Total Carnage.

Virtually identical in terms of gameplay, both are exceedingly difficult top-down shooters that absolutely revel in chewing up players and spitting them out.

While every second of these games is a challenge of the most epic variety, the bosses featured in them are quite likely the most difficult aspect of them.

On that note, I don’t think many people would argue with me in crowning General Akboob, the final boss of Total Carnage, as the toughest among them.

His pattern involves filling the screen with projectiles at all times.

Most of his attacks have an accurate homing capability.

And worst of all, he has no less than a half dozen forms, one of which is a giant Hitler head!

I have no idea what that has to do with anything, especially since the very Russian looking/sounding Akboob is supposed to be Middle Eastern, but whatever it was the 90’s.

Anyway, all of this results in a horribly drawn out battle of endurance.

… A battle of endurance in a game where your character dies in one hit.

You do the math.


 

#2. Emerald and Ruby Weapon – Final Fantasy VII

Pictured: 2 brave parties face down the infamous Emerald and Ruby Weapons.

I just realized this, but there weren’t any RPG bosses on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

I’m guessing it has something to do with my own (heavily biased) opinions, but the simple fact of the matter is that I really haven’t played an RPG since Final Fantasy VIII way back in ’99.

I did however, play quite a few before that point, mostly of JRPG variety.

That being said, while I’ve heard that some of the Shin Megami Tensei bosses are absolutely balls out insane in terms of their capacity to rob you of hours of your life, I haven’t actually played any of those games, so I don’t really have an educated opinion in that matter.

The point is, from my experiences with pre-1999 RPGs, Emerald and Ruby Weapon were the only 2 bosses that I recall having an inordinate amount of trouble with.

From what I hear, the debate rages on which of the 2 is more difficult, though I got my ass served by both of them equally, hence their dual ownership of the their spot among the runner-ups.

I remember Emerald had, no joke, about a million hit points, and Ruby was able to eject your characters from the fight, making doing battle with either of the pair an absolute pain in the ass.

From what I’ve been told, much of the strategy involved in defeating either of the 2 involves an incredible amount of dedication and prep work, as well as a healthy dose of luck.

When Final Fantasy VII came out, I was barely a pre-teen, so I had neither the patience nor the intelligence to figure out which angle to attack them from.

This resulted in me getting literally whipped to death by Ruby, and sat on by Emerald more times than I’d care to admit.

That being said, here’s a clip of some Narutard beating them both into the ground.

Don’t ask me why he dubbed the Final Fantasy themed J-ballad over it….


 

#1. Geese Howard – Fatal Fury

Pictured: Terry Bogard blocks a Reppuken from his nemesis, Geese Howard.

Geese Howard was, and always shall remain, one of the toughest bosses in all of fighting games.

Oh yeah, and he’s quite possibly one of the pimp-est videogames of all time to boot.

That’s saying a lot considering how far fighting games have come since 1991.

Possessed of a limited, but utterly devastating repertoire of moves, Geese was tough to beat for all the reasons you’d expect an SNK boss to be.

He was better than you in every way, especially in his capacity to dole out chip damage on par with some of your clean hits.

Despite this, I’d hesitate to call Geese cheap, merely inordinately difficult and just a little bit frustrating.

Much like Sagat from the original Street Fighter, Geese was a fighting game boss who’s bread and butter consisted of brutal and relentless fireball traps.

Perhaps worst of all though, ‘ole Geese also had a counter-throw capable of cancelling most of your melee attacks.

I don’t think I have to tell you that he often employed this technique with pinpoint timing, often using it to ruin your offensive rallies at the most inopportune of moments.


 

Thus concludes The Azn Badger’s Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights!

Thanks for reading!

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I Found This Amusing

In case you couldn’t tell, the above clip is the result of what happens when you reverse the infamous “Tunnel Sequence” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

It might just be me, but Gene Wilder’s dialogue sounds extremely German when played back in reverse.

Not only that, the cadence and tone of his speech occasionally sounds almost Hitler-esque.

Yeah…. It’s like if you took a Hitler speech, mixed it together with the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show, and then threw a bunch of screaming kids in the background.

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

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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