Azn Badger's Blog

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Thoughts On Pacquiao-Marquez III

Pictured: Marquez lands an overhand right against Pacquiao's eye socket.

It’s funny, in the wake of Juan Manuel Marquez’ defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao this past Saturday night, the term “robbery” has been making the rounds throughout the boxing community.

I finally had a chance to see the fight myself, and to be perfectly honest, I saw no robbery.

Robbery is what happened to Paulie Malignaggi in Texas.

Robbery is what happened to Roy Jones in Seoul.

Robbery is what happened to Pernell Whitaker virtually every time he stepped in the ring with a big name opponent.

What happened to Juan Manuel Marquez this past Saturday, was, in my eyes; nothing more than a very close decision loss.

That’s all.

I was actually rooting for Marquez from the get go, and though he succeeded in making Pacquiao look pretty bad at times, he did so at a measured pace that simply couldn’t earn him the win in a 12 round fight.

Throughout the night, Marquez traded rounds with Pacquiao through careful distancing and punch placement.

Pacquiao would attempt to charge in or circle around him with punches, and Marquez would cleverly step just out of range and throw combinations in response.

Few could argue that Marquez landed the more picturesque punches throughout the fight, however as impressive as these were, at times it felt like he was fighting a third of every round.

I hate to say it, but Pacquiao won on my card by virtue of activity and volume punching.

While I tend to favor clean and effective punching when it comes to judging rounds, seeing Pacquiao work from bell to bell with constant combinations was what got him the “W” in my book.

In essence, Marquez remained competitive throughout, however he let too many rounds slip into “either/or” territory.

I had 2 rounds on my card that could’ve gone either way, the first and the sixth, however in judging from my gut; I only awarded the first to Marquez.

In the end, I had Pacquiao winning 115-113.

I don’t know if it was due to physical or psychological reasons, but to me it seemed like Marquez eased off a bit from the 10th on.

I still thought he did enough to win the 11th, though I think we can all agree that, even if he felt he was winning, he likely should’ve imposed his will on Pacquiao just a little bit more throughout the fight.

I know Nacho Beristain was telling him he was winning, so if what he did was a conscious decision, I bet he’s kicking himself over it right about now.

I’m not a big fan of punch stats, as I feel that since official judges aren’t given access to them, they really shouldn’t figure into the proceedings as much as a simple “face value” evaluation, but in the case of this fight I can’t help bring them up.

When Marquez fought Floyd Mayweather, he threw 583 punches and landed only 69.

While one can argue that the reason he threw close to 600 punches was because he needed to “shotgun” his punches in order to land the scant few he did, I find it interesting that he only threw 436 last Saturday night.

Out of those 436, he landed an impressive 138.

The point I’m trying to make, is that Marquez likely should have stepped up the pace in fighting Pacquiao.

As I said before, he seemed to do a lot of waiting in the fight, picking his punches, which proved to be a very effective tactic, but also resulted in him giving away rounds simply due to the intermittent nature of his offense.

When he was in control, he was quite commanding, landing clean punches and putting Pacquiao’s feet out of position, however in between all of this, Pacquiao filled the gap with constant punching.

Marquez threw 150 more punches in a fight in which he lost every round, which is the same effort he likely should’ve brought to this fight.

I fully acknowledge that this entire article is based on my personal opinion, and not any sort of facts.

Any case you could make for Marquez winning is likely as strong as, or stronger than any you could make for him losing.

This fight was very much a case of a snare drum versus a tympani.

One rattles off beats with constant, machine gun rhythm, while the other blasts out booming tones in time with the beat.

Both bring a sweet sound to the table, but it’s up to the ears of the listener to decide which one stands out most.

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

Manny Pacquiao Defeats Juan Manuel Marquez Via Close Decision

Pictured: Marquez chasing Pacquiao with a left hook.

Unfortunately, I was out of town helping out on a production of Hapstance Films, so I’ve yet to actually see this fight.

Seems like I’m always busy come fight night….

Rest assured, I’ll likely post my thoughts on the bout here at a later date, as I heard the result was close to the point of being controversial.

Stay tuned!

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, , , , , , , , , ,

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III Prediction


Well, it’s finally here.

After over 6 years and 2 hotly contested contests, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are finally going to step into the ring for their long awaited rubber match.

Their first match, contested at Featherweight, ended in a draw; with Marquez being floored 3 times in the first stanza, only to dominate the remainder of the fight via brilliant offense and mid-fight adjustments.

The result of the fight is debated to this day, with many believing Marquez deserved the nod, myself included.

The second fight resulted in an extraordinarily narrow split decision victory for Pacquiao, with a 3rd round knockdown of Marquez creating the 1 point advantage needed to prevent a second draw.

Much the like their first clash, the result of Pacquiao-Marquez II is heavily disputed.

In the intervening years since their last battle, back in 2008, both Pacquiao and Marquez have been among the most productive fighters of their era.

As I’m sure you’re already aware, Pacquiao has gone on to ascend in weight with unprecedented success, snagging titles in every class from Lightweight to Jr. Middleweight.

Along the way he utterly dominated a wide range of “name” fighters including the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, and most recently, Shane Mosley.

I mentioned I hate Ricky Hatton, right?

It’s worth noting however, that despite the fact that all of Pacquiao’s opponents post-2008 were of world class ability, one has to take into account that “were” is most certainly the operative word in that statement.

Without exception, all of the above fighters were either coming off of physically taxing, disastrous losses, or were altogether well past their prime.

A Shane Mosley that calls it quits and runs for 12 rounds is a Mosley that would likely get it’s ass beaten by it’s former iteration for ruining their collective “warrior” image.

That’s not a knock on Pacquiao’s esteemed legacy, as at 33 he has already achieved a number of feats that likely will never be repeated in the sport, but it is a knock on Bob Arum and the business of boxing.

In short, it’s readily apparent that as Pacquiao’s status as an international celebrity has grown, so has his management’s desire to direct his career with a safety first/money grabbing agenda.

Superman never would’ve been made without Marlon Brando.

Batman never would’ve been made without Jack Nicholson.

Similarly, Bob Arum has paired Pacquiao with known fighters that put asses in the seats rather than the hungry young bucks that as destined to play second fiddle to the current crop of elite fighters until they grow old or retire.

Such is the case with virtually every mega-champ in boxing history, however that fact alone does not absolve Arum and his boys from their blatant exploitation of the sport and it’s fan base alike.

That being said, Marquez’ post-2008 career may not have been as flashy or as groundbreaking as Pacquiao’s, but it’s been thrilling nonetheless.

Just 6 short months after his loss to Pacquiao in their second match, Marquez moved up in weight to Lightweight.

Beginning with an unprecedented knockout of Joel Casamayor, Marquez quickly installed himself as a force to be reckoned with in the division.

While back to back victories over Juan Diaz would be soon to follow, as well as over the tough but mercurial Michael Katsidis and unheralded Likar Ramos, in late 2009 Marquez would jump 2 weight classes, to Welterweight, for a horribly one-sided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather.

The fight was kind of like this, but ALL NIGHT LONG.

Many, myself included, felt that Marquez was largely outsized in the Mayweather bout, however given the prodigious nature of Floyd’s boxing skills, personally I don’t think the weight would’ve mattered.

Oddly enough, the controversy of the Mayweather weight issue has arisen once again, as tomorrow night’s rubber match is also to be contested at Welterweight.

While the issue of weight is no doubt an issue many cite as one (of many) factor(s) that will likely lead to Marquez’ defeat tomorrow night, in all honesty I think of it as very much a minor issue cast alongside a host of more important ones.

True, Marquez’ only other performance at Welterweight saw him lose every round and even get dropped once in the process, however one has to bring into consideration the fact that Marquez took that fight on only a few months notice, not to mention he was fighting a pure boxer with a penchant for making people look bad.

In other words, he took it upon himself to not only fight a stylistic mismatch, he also had to craft himself a Welterweight body within a single training camp.

This time however, Marquez was given the opportunity to take part in a tune-up match with Likar Ramos this past July, contested at Jr. Welterweight.

...Which only lasted 1 round and seemed a little fishy at that.

What I’m trying to say here, is that, while he likely isn’t nearly as comfortable at 140+ as Pacquiao is, he’s had much more time to work his way up to the weight the right way.

At least, one would assume that’s how a professional athlete would go about doing things.

That being said, as much as I love Marquez as a fighter, in all honesty I don’t think he’s going to be able to pull off a victory tomorrow night.

At 38 years of age, Marquez is noticeably slowing, and while his ability to adjust and trade punches in the pocket is legendarily formidable, I think Pacquiao’s slippery footwork is going to get the better of him.

To me, Pacquiao’s lucid footwork and ability to create angles are his greatest gifts as a fighter.

At the same time though, both Pacquiao and Marquez have a remarkable willingness to stand and trade punches just a little bit longer than most.

In their previosu fights, whenever the 2 of them decided to exchange combinations, Marquez was highly competitive due to his clever punch placement and overall ruggedness.

The Pacquiao of old was far too willing to play into Marquez’ game, resulting in the rough and tumble fights we’re all fortunate to have tucked away in the annals of boxing history.

In their second fight though, Pacquiao’s finest moments saw him clocking Marquez on his way in, and gracefully slipping behind him.

Given Pacquiao’s steady evolution into an undeniably better and more technically sound fighter in the years since he and Marquez’ second bout, it’s hard for me to see Freddie Roach allowing his fighter to make the same mistakes that even a blog writer like me noticed before.

I expect Pacquiao to work his angles and either box his way to landslide 12 round decision, or failing that, an 8th round TKO.

Though I wholly expect him to take some severe punishment, I don’t see Marquez getting a 10 count on the canvas.

Much like how you could count on Arturo Gatti’s face starting to swell up and/or bleed during his walk from the dressing room, Juan Manuel Marquez is one of those fighters that isn’t really in the fight until you knock him down.

Despite Pacquiao alone putting him to the canvas 4 times over 2 fights, the guy’s never been knocked out, and I honestly don’t think it’ll ever happen via a 10 count.

Congratulations, you've succeeding in pissing him off.

Going down for Marquez seems almost like a wake up call, like a signal to him that he’s gotta’ change his tactics or pick up the pace.

I sincerely hope Marquez wins tomorrow night, as most boxing trilogies/series arise due to a need to establish a clear victor due to both men trading victories.

Given that neither man won their first fight, it’d make for a good story if Marquez got a win in there somewhere.

Anyway, there’s my prediction.

Pacquiao by UD, or failing that, an 8th TKO stoppage.

Filed under: Boxing, Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 25th: The Day Lots Of Nerds Buy Lots Of Movies

Pictured: The Super-Deluxe-Ultimate-Jurassic Park Blu-Ray Set + Dino-Diorama Playset!

Holy fuckin’ shit, it’s October 25th!

The stars have aligned, Santa’s come to town, and Jesus has WISE-D FWOM HIS GWAVE!

I’m guessing you’re probably not aware of this, but for whatever reason a shit ton of cool movies are coming on video today!

I know DVD releases are traditionally on Tuesday’s, (no idea why) but this week is probably one of the biggest weeks, at least for me; that I can recall in recent memory.

First and foremost, we have the greatly anticipated blu-ray release of the Jurassic Park series pictured above.

I know I’m getting the first movie on it’s own, but time will tell whether I’ll be picking up a copy of The Lost World or not.

As for the unfortunate third entry in the series, Jurassic Park III can suck Tommy Tomasino’s cock for all I care.

Moving on, Captain America: The First Avenger also drops today, hopefully with the cover pictured below:

Pictured: The "good" cover for Captain America.

Seriously man, I don’t what it is, but there are a lot of shitty alternate poster and DVD covers for Captain America floating around out there, so hopefully the one above is the one they actually printed.

Fingers crossed.

Next up is the U.S. release of Attack the Block, which I’ve heard a lot of good things about, but honestly….. don’t have much interest in seeing:

Pictured: The cover of Attack the Block. *NOTE* You must be cool/hip to purchase this film.

I loves me some martial arts in my movies, but something about European extreme sports/parkour/horror-action-comedy movies just turns me off…

Probably has something to do with me not being cool/stoned enough to understand the appeal of the movie.

Next up is a documentary that struck my interest awhile back, The People vs. George Lucas:

Pictured: The cover for The People vs. George Lucas. Nice caricature, though I think it could do with a little more "turkey neck."

The subject matter of this documentary could make for a lot of fun considering how much fodder Lucas has given his fans to work with over the years, not mention how passionate said fans can get whenever he gets the urge to fuck with their nostalgic treasures.

I definitely won’t be buying this one, but I would certainly like to see it someday.

Finally, and I might be the only dork on this blog that gives a damn about this one; the WWF (that’s right, I still call it that) is launching a new series of videos today in the form of a new documentary entitled Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart:

Pictured: The cover to Shawn vs. Bret. I'm not typing the whole title again.

Again, I realize that this one is probably off most people’s radars, but hey; I typed up a little blurb about Attack the Block for you, so in exchange; you have to indulge my old-school wrestling fanboy-isms.

That being said, if the WWF’s track record on documentaries over the past few years is any indication, the interview/movie part of this one will likely be sappy and PG-ed the fuck out, but even so; the promise of a collection of these 2 masters of the ring’s best matches against one another is entirely worth the full price if you ask me.

Anyway, I listed off all of the shit I was psyched about for today, but like any other Tuesday, there’s plenty of other shit coming out that you might be interested in.

Go forth nerds!  Purchase consumable entertainment and boost the U.S. economy!

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

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #3


Yesterday on our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, we took our first steps into the rage inducing realm of fighting game bosses.

As mentioned previously, fighting game bosses tend to be some of the hardest challenges in all of gaming, though more often than than not this comes as a result of unfair or “cheap” elements in their design.

Whether it be by breaking the mechanics of the game, or possessing unbalanced attributes; fighting game bosses are rarely designed to function (fairly) within the established gameplay parameters of the games they reside in.

That being said, yesterday we took a look at Gill from Street Fighter III, a boss that I would personally consider to be one of the better designed bosses in all of fighting games, if not for the fact that he’s a cheating bastard that gobbles cock under the bleachers on Tuesday nights.

While I bear a great deal of animosity, or rather, straight-up HATE towards Gill, those feelings pale in comparison to those I feel for today’s entrant on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

I hate Gill, but as mentioned earlier, I also respect the intelligence of his design.

#3 on our list doesn’t benefit from that luxury.

#3 is the kind of ball-stomping ass-clown that wouldn’t even get a nod from me if I saw him rescue a kitten from a burning tree.

And I fuckin’ love kittens.

#3 is the kind of unbelievably loathsome fighting game boss that only one videogame company could produce.

#3 on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:

#3. Magaki – King of Fighters XI

Pictured: Kensou, standing within striking range of the mysterious Magaki.

I love their games, but goddamn does SNK know how to fuck us in the ass with bosses from the broken-as-fuck school of fighting!

Fuck that, most of SNK’s fighting game bosses didn’t just graduate from Broken-As-Fuck University, they’re fuckin’ tenured professors there!

Rage-gasm aside, Magaki is just about the motherfucking-est motherfucker I’ve ever run across in a fighting game.

I’ve beaten him before, more times than I have Gill actually; but the sheer frustration generated by every encounter was more than enough to convince me to rank him higher than the latter on this list.

While Gill is at times fair, at times borderline human; Magaki just takes the motherfuckin’ rulebook and smears pink and blue shit all over it.

Hell, that’s his M.O. for pretty much everything:

Magaki doesn’t like how his Moons Over My Hammy turned out?

Pink balls and blue floaty shit.

PINK BALLS.

Magaki gets served a tax evasion notice?

Pink balls and blue floaty shit.

BLUE FLOATY SHIT.

Should that fail, and it likely won’t, Magaki’s got his bases covered in the form of being able to neon tie-dye THE ENTIRE FUCKING screen at the drop of a hat.

Just watch this poor sap take it up the butt as he literally comes this close to besting Magaki only to have his eyes raped by the rainbow sherbet shit storm of pink and blue shit that is Magaki’s super combo:

Ouch!  No lube even….

*AHEM!* To walk into a fight with Magaki is to have your 3-on-3 fighting game instantly turned into a 3-on-1 shoot ’em up.

King of Fighters bosses often come with a write-off excuse for their extreme difficulty and cheapness due to the fact that you, the player; get to fight them with 3 characters to their 1.

Despite having 3 characters at your disposal, more often than not the balance ends up being all out of whack, with the boss being extraordinarily overpowered in every way imaginable.

King of Fighters bosses have been consistently cheap as balls since before the series was even called King of Fighters.

Fun Fact: The events of Fatal Fury actually took place during the '91 iteration of the King of Fighters tournament.

It’s a gaming tradition practically as old as Final Fantasy games having a character named “Cid.”

Fighting Magaki though, is unlike any other boss encounter in the King of Fighters series, let alone any other fighting game period.

While many King of Fighters bosses are highly mobile and make use of potent attacks designed to counter from virtually any angle, Magaki fights like fuckin’ Sagat on crack.

Nothing THIS BIG should ever be on crack.

Sagat has his high-low fireball combo, Magaki has, well, endless waves of pink balls and blue floaty shit.

Seriously man, when you fight Magaki it feels like you just stepped into a game of R-Type.

The screen is literally filled with shit to the point in which you’ll often times find yourself just throwing up your hands and saying:

“Fuck this shit! Let’s play some Street Fighter…”

Simply put, there is no “good” way to handle Magaki.

While he’s admittedly kind of Mechagodzilla like in the sense that he’s basically a slow-moving projectile platform with feeble melee skills, on every occasion you do manage to get close enough to deal damage; he’ll usually just toss you away with….. I’ll just let the picture do the talking:

EXPLODING PINK BALLS.

You can easily spend an entire battle with Magaki, that is, all 3 of your characters; without ever getting past his fruity barrage of carnage.

This would be entirely forgivable if not for the fact that SNK saw fit to grant Magaki all of the standard cheap-ass advantages they give to virtually all of their bosses.

Giving him the ability to fill the screen with projectiles would’ve been fair if not for the fact that his attributes are broken-as-fuck as well.

If he had been, say, fragile for instance; then I could’ve bit my tongue and said he was a decent boss.

But no, they gave him the ability to execute all of his moves with frame-by-frame precision and timing, and they made him absurdly powerful and durable.

Makes you just wanna' get him on the ground and do this to him!

When I finally beat Magaki for the first time, I didn’t feel any sense of pride in my achievement.

I felt like I had just lost an hour of my life to a barely decent game, and truth be told I think I actually recall saying to myself:

“Good. Now I can get on with my life and never play this shitty game ever again.”

While I actually did go back and play the game a few times here and there, rest assured, the moment King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match came out, I pretty much lost interest in every other game in the series outside of ’98.

Nowadays I don’t have much interest in any of them…

A bit too much of this was going on I'm afraid...

Magaki is admittedly not quite as hard as his #3 spot likely deserves, but in my mind no other fighting game boss has caused me as much frustration and borderline physical pain as he has.

During the course of our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, I’ve stressed the fact that the best examples of genuine difficulty in boss fights are stemmed from clever and rewarding gameplay design, and not outright cheapness.

Along with Duriel from Diablo II, Magaki’s presence on this list serves as a symbol championing the power of broken game design and cheapness.

That Magaki could make me eat my words with such resounding vigor as to place him at #3 on this list is proof enough of just how motherfuckin’ cheap that pink bastard is.

In any case, here’s a video of the Apex of Pimp himself, Geese Howard; putting the hurt on Magaki as only he can:

*Gifs courtesy of Fighter’s Generation, the finest fighting game site I’ve ever known.*

Filed under: Games, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #1


A funny thing happened when I was putting together this list of my Top 10 Videogame Songs.

I changed my mind.

You see, I made the banner for this list around the time I came up with the idea for it, long before I even assembled it’s contents.

I selected the opera sequence from Final Fantasy VI for the background of the banner because I knew the song contained in that sequence was going to have a place on the list.

I had no idea what that place was going to be, just that it was going to be in there somewhere.

Color me surprised when that place just happened to be the #1 spot.

I mean, I figured the opera scene would be in my Top 5, or even the Top 3; but truth be told I honestly didn’t know it was going to be #1 until, well, yesterday.

On that note, I apologize for the banner image, as I know it likely ruined some of the surprise by consisting of an image from the #1 game on the list.

It’s not all my fault though, as a few days after I started posting on this topic, I found I kept rearranging the Top 10 as I was went along.

One thing lead to another, and by yesterday, I found I couldn’t without good reason, make this list without putting the opera scene in the top slot.

With that, I give you the #1 of our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs:

#1. Final Fantasy VI – Aria de Mezzo Carrattere

Before you ask, no; I didn’t pick this one because it has a fancy Italian name.

I’m not a Square/JRPG whore either, so don’t try to call me on that bullshit.

The last Final Fantasy game I played, was VIII, way back in 1999.

Before that though, Final Fantasy VI was, and likely always will be; my favorite in the series.

Hell, if it weren’t for Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI would probably be my favorite console RPG of all time.

Pictured: One of many moments that make Chrono Trigger the SHIT.

Something about the characters, the design aesthetic, and unusual severity of the storyline in VI; just made it special to me.

My love for the game aside, “Aria de Mezzo Carratrere” is a brilliant song, and a gorgeous example of a story-within-a-story.

While the Super NES’ technical limitations made the lyrics of the opera laughably incomprehensible akin to the voice of the teacher from the old Peanuts cartoons, the first time I heard it in-game, it was hard not to be touched.

Sorry, couldn’t help myself…

Simply put, console games didn’t do what the opera scene did at that point in time.

In spite of the technical limitations inherent to the 16-bit era, one could very clearly see and feel the story and emotions that the creators of the game were trying to get across.

It’s like watching a Godzilla movie.

Everybody knows it’s just a guy in a rubber suit, but if you use your imagination, and play along, the artistry and craftsmanship of the miniatures and crappy effects add up to something far grander.

Pictured: ART.

Despite how far games have come, watching little 26 pixel tall sprites bounce around and pantomime their drama for us is something that, when done well; will always “do it” for me.

Anyway, for better or for worse, the opera from Final Fantasy VI is the best of my Top 10 Videogame Songs.

The strength of the lyrics and music, combined with it’s stunning contribution to the fantastic game it played a part in, not only secured it’s place on this list, but managed to (eventually) win me over and propel it all the way to the top spot.

Hopefully you all had fun reading this list.

I certainly had fun writing it, though I only hope that my pick for the #1 spot wasn’t as controversial/surprising to the rest of you as it was for me!

THANKS FOR READING!!!

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

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #7


As indicated by the Best MAN article lovingly tucked away on this blog, it should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of the Mega-est of Mega Men; Mega Man.

With the exception of some of the more obscure games in the franchise, namely that of Wily and Light’s Rock Board: That’s Paradise and the EXE and Star Force series; I’ve played and enjoyed the vast majority of Mega Man’s games.

Pictured: Monopoly, Mega Man-style.

A funny thing about Mega Man, is the fact that many of the spin-offs to the linear series are actually some of the better games in the entire franchise.

In example, the Mega Man X series is probably my favorite in the entire Mega Man continuity.

In terms of both art design and gameplay mechanics, I’ve always felt that the X series was a logical and welcome progression to the Mega Man games of old; such that I’ve actually found it somewhat difficult to go back to the basic “run and jump” style of the older games.

I like my dash, thank you...

On that note, today our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs takes us to a Mega Man series that represents a rare instance in videogames, that of the spin-off of a spin-off.

Said series is of course the uber-difficult but oh so rewarding Mega Man Zero series:

#7. Mega Man Zero 2 – Clover

Mega Man Zero 2 is probably my favorite entry in the Zero series, largely on the grounds that it’s gameplay, story, and features seemed the most cohesive and streamlined out of all of the games.

Taking place far in the future beyond the one depicted in the X series, Zero casts the player as the titular character of the same name that was introduced in the prior series.

The core gameplay between these 2 series wasn’t all that different, however Zero went the extra step of granting the player a number of new weapons and abilities, as well as a complex and customizable upgrade system.

As mentioned previously, the Zero series also went out of it’s way to significantly up the difficulty level, occasionally to obscene levels; but largely for the better.

The real star of the show of the Zero series, at least in my book; was the artistic design:

TALENT.

In terms of outstanding art design, there are few game series that can measure up to the Zero series in terms of creativity and colorfulness, as well as outright beauty.

I bought the Mega Man Zero art collection pretty much as soon as it became available, and to date it’s probably the most flipped through art book on my shelf.

While the visuals of Mega Man Zero were indeed a key selling point for me, I was surprised to find that, upon first picking up the series; the music was also quite good despite being played through a Gameboy Advance speaker.

On that note, “Clover” is kind of unique on this list, as it represents a song that actually is only featured in-game in an instrumental form, yet is included on the Mega Man Zero 2 soundtrack as an actual song.

While some would argue that this should disqualify the song for inclusion on this list, I stand by my decision on the grounds that it’s a awesome fucking song, and probably shouldn’t have been in the game given that it was featured in a Gameboy Advance game and likely would have sounded like shit being played through it’s tinny-ass speakers.

That being said, as was the case with “God Hand,” part of the overall appeal of “Clover” spawns not just from it’s quality as a song; but from the fact that it took some serious time and effort to gain access to.

The instrumental version of “Clover,” titled “Awakening Will,” serves as the ending theme of Mega Man Zero 2, and for my money; I think it was worth the effort:

As I made my way through the Mega Man Zero series, I made it a point to sit down and listen to the official soundtracks of each game in sequence, and I’ll never forget the time when I first had “Clover” play through my headphones.

Sure, there’s better pop songs out there, but much like “God Hand,” part of the appeal of “Clover” to me is the fact that I actually remember most of the lyrics.

As someone who still slips up on lyrics from “Eye of the Tiger,” despite having heard it 6 BILLION TIMES, I think it goes without saying that learning songs is not one of my strong suits.

I haven’t heard “Clover” all that many times, and yet for some reason the lyrics come quite naturally to me… Despite being sung in Japanese.

If that’s not an indication of a well written/catchy song, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, that was #7 on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, check back tomorrow for more!

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #4: Rocky Ends Communism


Yesterday we popped the cherry on the Top 5 of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments list with a scene from a Godzilla movie.

That right there should tip you off to the fact that this list is very much my list of MANLY moments, and not just some cookie-cutter list for spoon-feeding to the masses.

That being said, our next moment comes courtesy of another one of my personal heroes, Sylvester Stallone.

Yeah, I made this. Damn proud of it too...

Now, as fucking awesome as Stallone movies can be, it’s common knowledge the majority of his filmography could be described as “hit and miss.”

When it comes to Stallone though, at the end of the day it all comes down to his 2 biggest characters and franchises:

Rocky and Rambo.

*GASP!* You mean Cobra wasn't one of Stallone's biggest hits!?

While I wouldn’t discover the MANLY majesty of the Rambo series until a bit later in life, the saga of Rocky Balboa was something I just couldn’t get enough of in my childhood.

Now, the character of Rocky Balboa might not be the cigar chomping paragon of MANLINESS that some of the other MEN on this list are, but make no mistake; Mr. Balboa is all that is MAN.

He’s the epitome of the classic underdog trope in cinema:

A big lovable retard with titanium MAN-BALLS of COURAGE, obsidian fists of AMERIKUHN JUSTICE, and a bionic heart pumped full of unflappable juices of MANHOOD.

ALL THAT IS MAN.

If all of that doesn’t spell AMERIKUHN HERO, I don’t know what does.

Over the course of his colorful 30+ year boxing career, Rocky Balboa did it all.

He fought and defeated the previously undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, after losing to him by a narrow margin in their previous bout:

... Then had a "moment" with him on the beach.

He defended his title several times, only to amazingly lose and regain it in stupendously entertaining back-to-back bouts with Mr. T:

Pictured: Mr. T taking one in the nuts.

He dumped a shit ton of his winnings into buying his brother-in-law a horny robot maid:

I don't wanna' know what goes on between these 2 after hours...

He avenged the death of his best friend by beating the ever-loving fuck out of the Dolph-inator himself, Dolph Lundgren:

And he even took the time to grow a pimp-ass beard!

He trained a rough-edged prospect to world championship status, only to later end up beating the shit out of said pupil in a random and highly illegal street fight:

Man, Tommy Morrison makes for one ugly fucking action figure..

And at the end of it all he ended his career by once again losing to a world champion half his age by a narrow split-decision:

... And succeeded in effectively ending Antonio Tarver's real-life boxing career.

Somewhere towards the middle of all this though, after buying the horny robot but before beating the piss out of his pupil; Rocky found time to do something truly MAN-great…

Something worthy of being ranked our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies…

Something MANLIER than any mere boxing ring could contain…

Something…….. POLITICAL.

My greatest hope is that everyone reading this blog has seen Rocky IV, or failing that; at least knows the story of it.

Should anyone reading this blog not match any of these criteria, congratulations; you are both a pussy and a failure at life.

*ANYWAY* being as the beginning of Rocky IV deals with Rocky’s best buddy Apollo Creed getting killed in an exhibition match with the Swedish, I mean, COMMUNIST RUSSIAN death-machine Ivan Drago; naturally the final act of Rocky IV involves Mr. Balboa flying over to the USSR to pound some AMERIKUHN MAN JUSTICE into the giant Arian fuck’s face.

Unfortunately, unbeknowst to Rocky, Drago is packin’ the ‘roids; making the ensuing battle a clusterfuck of MANLY mayhem the likes of which the Eastern and Western world alike have never known:

CLICK FOR THE FIGHT

For nearly 15 rounds and nearly 10 minutes of screen time, Drago and Balboa slug it out; with Balboa falling to the mat no less than 7 times throughout.

Despite Drago out-landing Balboa about 10-to-1, someway, somehow; the Italian Stallion manages to power through the EPIC FIST-STORM of COMMUNIST RUSSIAN FACE-FUCKERY and do some damage of his own.

As evidenced by the announcer team making note of it just about every 30 seconds, the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd seriously want Balboa’s nuts in their borscht.

Aw, how could anyone hate Rocky?

Also made apparent by the announcer team making note of it every 30 seconds though, is that part way through the fight, Balboa’s MAN-COURAGE in the ring is starts to win over the hearts and minds of the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd.

Well okay then, I guess I'll have to take your word for it on that one.

At the end of the night, it all comes down to the 15th and final round, wherein Drago, is touched by the spirit of Rocky’s AMERIKUHN SPIRIT; turns his back on THE FUCKING POLITBURO, and says “Fuck it!” to fighting for the state in favor of fighting for MANLINESS.

Pictured: Russian Politics.

Despite possessing an incredible height and reach advantage, as well as being ahead on the scorecards by an absurd margin; Drago opts to fight the final round standing toe-to-toe with Balboa, thereby insuring his failure as a COMMUNIST MAN.

Sure enough, Balboa gets some good shots in downstairs, punches some WOMANLY MAN-tears out of Drago’s guts; and ends up flattening the big, Russian, Best-Friend Murderer in spectacular fashion.

The ref’s count reaches “10” and all the previously anti-AMERIKUHN RUSSIANS in the crowd rush into the ring and drape the triumphant Rocky Balboa in an AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG that, I guess they just happened to have on hand…

Such is the MANLY-POWER of Rocky.

He can travel to a HOSTILE nation, inexplicably defeat a physically superior opponent as a massive underdog, and then end up winning over the crowd to such a MANLY extent, that they KNIT AN AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG during the course of an hour long fight.

Amerikuhn hero or not, that has got to be one stinky-ass armpit...

Equally, uh, inexplicable; is the fact that, after trouncing their champion, the living symbol of their people’s achievements in physical conditioning; the COMMUNIST RUSSIANS offer the marble-mouthed Rocky Balboa the opportunity to voice his thoughts on the fight over the PA system.

Realizing the EPIC-NESS of the opportunity presented to him, Balboa digs deep within his recently brain-damaged mind, and summons an unrehearsed MAN-SPEECH of world-changing POLITICAL MAN-POWER:

In one night, Rocky Balboa won the most physically demanding fight of his life, and single-handedly ENDED COMMUNISM in the USSR.

Thus concludes our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment.

We’ve got 3 more to go folks, with all the EPIC MANLINESS being slung around here, it’s hard to say whether or not we’ll all survive the experience; but godddamnit I’m gonna’ give it my best shot to see it through to the end!

Check back tomorrow for MANLY MAN moment #3!

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Runner-Ups of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, Part II!

After an entire week’s worth of posts, today we’ve finally reached the conclusive, ultimate and last post in the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks event!

Today we’ll be unveiling the Top 5 of the Top 10 Runner-Ups, so get ready kids, ’cause we’re:

*Ahem!* Pardon me, I found myself suddenly overcome by meatheaded-ness…

Anyway, let’s get down to the Top 5 Runner-Ups!:

#5. Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

“Theme of The Double Dragons”


As mentioned in the Top 25 NES Tracks list, as well as numerous other articles posted on this blog, Double Dragon is THE SHIT.

Pictured: Watered-Down Shit...

I’ve loved Double Dragon series ever since I first played the second one with my brother in my early childhood, and it’s a game series that I continue to treasure to this day.

Chief among my reasons for loving the Double Dragon series, is of course the fact that it possessed one of the most memorable and enduring theme musics in gaming history.

It’s a tune that’s been used in nearly every game in the series, with each iteration making slight changes to the table.

 

*Sigh* And then there's Double Dragon V...

While Double Dragon 2 is definitely my favorite game in the series, I feel I should go on record and say that my selection of it’s version of theme for this list added no bias to my decision.

Believe me when I say this, I went out of my way to listen to all of the NES versions of the Double Dragon Theme back to back just to come to this conclusion.

The original version was too uppity for my tastes, feeling more appropriate as the background music for the 2 player game mode than a theme music for a pair of characters.

The version used in Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones was extremely well-composed, with the most intricate instrumentation of the 3 NES versions of the theme, but honestly I felt that this resulted in it having a somewhat cluttered and “loud” sound to it that was a little bit too overbearing.

Unlike the game, which as you can see, was kind of bare...

The version featured in Double Dragon 2: The Revenge, the slowest and most laid back version of the Double Dragon Theme on the NES, and yet it feels most right.

Unlike the original version that feels too fast, the Double Dragon 2 version of the theme has a more subtle instrumentation to it, but as a result it sounds the most like a theme music for Billy and Jimmy Lee as opposed to a single scene in the game.

 

Congratulations Billy and Jimmy Lee, you have awesome theme music!

Anyway, those are my thoughts, hopefully they make sense…

#4. Journey To Silius

“Stage 1”


Journey To Silius is yet another Sunsoft game.

More specifically, it’s a Sunsoft game I’ve never played.

In fact, the first time I ever heard of Journey To Silius was less than a year ago, when I stumbled across a video about produced by LordkaT for his Until We Win series.

Pictured: LordkaT, in all his glory!

Speaking exclusively from what I saw in that video, I thought the game looked pretty fun.

The jumping mechanic, as described by Lordkat, sounded somewhat Castlevania-ish to me though, so chances are I’d probably hate it if I played it…

Anyway, while watching that video of the game, I happened to notice some of the background music playing over Lordkat’s narration.

While he is known to sometimes use music tracks from other games in his videos, I obviously didn’t recognize the music, resulting in me Youtube-ing the Journey To Silius soundtrack to find out what it was.

Sure enough, it was the “Stage 1” theme.

While this is indeed an amazing piece of NES music, I felt it inappropriate to list among the Top 25 due to my lack of history with the game.

Even so, making the Top 5 of the Runner-Ups despite me never having played the game is still quite an accomplishment.

#3. Mega Man 2

“Dr. Wily’s Castle 1”


Among Mega Man music, this one is my #2.

#1 was my pick for the Best NES Track EVER, as well as part of one of my favorite game series ever, so I feel it goes without saying that being my #2 of the Mega Man series is not far from being #2 in all of 8-bit music.

 

Lookit 'im... Bein' all smug n'shit...

This track was, in many ways, the reason why I instigated the “1 track per franchise” for this list.

Even so, though I like both tracks just about equally; deep down I knew which is one was better, and therefore most appropriate to represent Mega Man on the Top 25.

That being said, “Dr. Wily’s Castle” is an exhilarating piece of game music that was incredibly complex it’s time, and still holds up to this day as one of the better gaming compositions throughout history.

#2. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest

“Bloody Tears”


Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest, like Journey To Silius, is another game on this list that I have never played.

That’s actually kind of interesting to note, as back in the day Simon’s Quest was regarded as one of the finest games on the NES.

I can still recall my one issue of Nintendo Power and how it sang the praises of Castlevania 2, even going so far as it award it the “Nester” award for Best Graphics and Sound of 1988.

 

Pictured: Nester. Damn I feel old for knowing this shit...

Despite actually wanting to play Castlevania 2 in my youth, like many great games back in the day; I ended up passing it over in favor of repeatedly renting Snow Bros. every weekend…

Regardless, sometime in high school I took the time to check out the soundtrack of Simon’s Quest, and lo and behold, there was gold in them there hills!

While the game might have a bit too much of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sound to it, (understandable, seeing as Konami was cranking out those games like crazy back in the day) like any Castlevania, it truly has an awesome soundtrack.

“Bloody Tears” was my favorite track I ran across in the soundtrack for Castlevania 2.

I have no idea what point of the game it’s used for, but it’s a simultaneously energetic and haunting tune that was this close to usurping the original “Vampire Killer’s” position on the Top 25.

 

Thank you hipster doofus, for providing us with a visual indication of exactly how close "this close" means. Douchebag...

Like Journey To Silius though, I simply couldn’t justify placing it on the list without ever having actually experienced the track in-game.

#1. Ninja Gaiden

“Ending Theme”


Is it just me or do the Ninja Gaiden games on the NES all have fuckin’ brilliant ending themes?

Ninja Gaiden 3 had a pretty decent ending theme, which was appropriate given that it was a “pretty decent” game.

Beautiful? Yes. Fun? Yes. Half as good as what came before it? Not a chance.

Ninja Gaiden 2’s ending has the distinction of holding the #2 spot on my Top 25 NES Tracks list.

And the original Ninja Gaiden’s “Ending Theme” gets the #1 spot among the Top 10 Runner-Ups!

The composers over at Tecmo deserve a pat on the back, ’cause damn they did a great job.

The “Ending Theme” of the original Ninja Gaiden was a fantastic piece of music that I only recently rediscovered.

I heard it when I was very young, and I remember liking it, but for whatever reason I simply didn’t remember it.

Boy am I glad I did, ’cause it is one hell of a roller coaster ride of 8-bit goodness.

As much an action piece as it is an ending track, the “The Ending Theme” of Ninja Gaiden is a terrific composition that really gets your blood pumping.

 

Uh.... Ryu Hayabusa everyone!

Honestly, if not for Ninja Gaiden 2 having a slightly better ending track, this tune would’ve made the Top 25 in a heartbeat.

Damn sequels… Bein’ all better n’shit…

Well folks, thus concludes the Azn Badger’s list(s) of the Best NES Tracks!

Tune in tomorrow for… Something other than NES music!

Seriously man, I’m done with Nintendo music for awhile

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s Play Contra III: The Alien Wars, Part VI

It’s been a long, ass-poundingly tough road, but we’ve finally reached the end.

That’s right, in the cock-fight that was Azn Badger vs. Contra III, the Azn Badger won.

After 6 stages, and an ungodly number of boss fights and curse words, it’s finally over.

That being said, I made an effort to check my ego at the door for this video, so please enjoy the video, I actually had some fun making it for a change:

Filed under: Games, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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