Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Summon Russell Casse!

I guess this marks the second instance that a legendary fighter pilot has been granted the honor of being given their very own Magic card on this blog.

Well, that is if you consider Jek Porkins to be “legendary.”

I suppose he’s legendarily obese and full of FAIL, but other than that…

Okay fine, today marks the first occasion that a legendary fighter pilot has been granted the honor of being given their very own Magic card on this blog; said pilot of course being Russell Casse.

To the sad individuals that are totally in the dark as to who Russell Casse is, I present to you the following clip:

That’s right, Russell was the drunk and loserly Vietnam vet who courageously saved the fate of the planet (well, Area 51 anyway) at the conclusion of Independence Day.

Claiming to have been previously abducted by the alien invaders, Russell launched his selfless kamikaze attack with the intent of paying them back, not just for blowing up every major city in the world; but for the horrible experiments they performed on him during the time he was in their custody.

Curiously enough, while Russell abduction claims were never confirmed to be true during the running time of the film, I think I remember reading a promotional comic book for Independence Day that actually elaborated on his past dealings with the aliens, revealing that he had in fact been telling the truth despite his perpetually oafish and drunken demeanor.

This could be crazy talk on my part, or worse yet; the result of bad rumors passed around the schoolyard while the movie was still playing in theaters, but I’m about 80% sure I’m not bullshitting you.

Anyway, consider the above card a tribute to Randy Quaid’s awesome and wholly memorable performance in Independence Day.

For what it’s worth, know that I belong to that “special” group of people that actually like Independence Day, not just as a novelty; but as a genuinely fun movie.

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

“I’ve Got A Problem Here…”

Ah, Jek Porkins; how we hardly knew thee.

To the scant few out there on the intersnatch that don’t know the story of Jek Porkins, I offer this brief history lesson:

From what I can recall from my Star Wars obsessed childhood, Jek Porkins was from the planet Bestine IV.

Where that is, or what significance that planet holds in the greater Star Wars universe, I have no fucking clue.

Pretty much everything you’ll be reading in this little bio section here came from a trading card and a handful of comics, so don’t be surprised if there’s a few holes here and there.

 

Pictured: Said trading card. I've got like a dozen of these...

Disclaimer aside, let’s continue with the epic saga of Jek Porkins, shall we?

A trader and a pilot before The Empire made him and his people refugees, Porkins joined up with the Rebel Alliance and became a pilot in their starfleet.

Due to his obese, vaguely Stay Puft Marshmallow Man-like physique, Porkins was awarded politically incorrect (and hilarious) nicknames such as “Belly Runner” and “Piggy” during his tenure in the Rebel starfleet.

 

"Sucks to your ass-mar!"

The highlight of Porkin’s career came tragically (and hilariously) at the end of his life during the Battle of Yavin, when while piloting X-Wing fighter Red Six along the surface of the Death Star, his ship malfunctioned, causing him to fall prey to the space station’s Turbolasers.

It was this moment, Porkin’s death; that immortalized the character of Jek Porkins in the minds and imaginations of sci-fi dorks throughout the world.

However morbid it may sound, there’s just something satisfying about watching a fat man die in a movie; particularly when he does so in such a pathetic manner.

 

Case in point...

To my recollection, Porkins accomplished exactly nothing at the Battle of Yavin.

Seriously, it’s a fuckin’ miracle that tank-ass Porkins even managed to get his S-Foils open without self-pwning.

Regardless of what the expanded fiction and lore of Star Wars may indicate these days, what I remember seeing of Porkins during the running time of A New Hope; consisted of him flying in formation, helping Biggs take out a tower, and then exploding in a fiery (and flabby) blaze of sad.

Hell, I’ve read that he took a Turbolaser up his ass, but based on what I remember of the movie; I always kind of thought his ship exploded on it’s own due to malfunction.

Now that I think of it, that actually kind of works out in some ways.

He was just so damn fat, and so damn sad, that his ship just up and FAILED itself into oblivion, thereby ensuring that if would never have to bear the humiliation of hauling his chunky ass across the galaxy ever again.

Anyway, consider this a tribute of sorts to the marvelous death of the fat sack of fail known to the world of dorkdom as Jek Porkins.

Salute to Porkins, salute to the equally humorously named actor, William Hootkins; that portrayed him (as well as many other memorable fat guys of the 80’s) in A New Hope.

More than anything though, salute to George Lucas, that evil greedy bastard; for having the balls to insert a blatant fat joke into an action-packed sequence of galactic warfare.

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Best Boss Music #10: Ikaruga

I loves me some space shooters.

Foh’ real man, if a game is vertical scrolling, and involves a great deal of shooting, chances are I’ve either played it, or would very much like to play it.

Ikaruga stands as a game that is at or near the apex of quality and ingenuity for the vertical scrolling shoot ’em up subgenre.

Right next to this beast...

Developed by legendary team over at Treasure, Ikaruga is an intensely complex and difficult game, that while actually quite short, even by shoot ’em up standards, is very difficult to complete, even for the most seasoned of veterans.

I myself have never managed to beat Ikaruga, only getting far enough to get to the first step of the final boss’ stoop.

"Haha! Stoop Kid's afraid to leave his stoop!"

Set somewhere amid the same mythology as the one conceived in Treasure’s earlier Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga is one of the rare shoot ’em ups that actually has a legitimate backstory, albeit one that is completely omitted from the actual gameplay.

Similar to many of the older generation games, Ikaruga’s storyline was told, in detail; within the game’s instruction manual, as well as in cryptic messages that would flash on-screen briefly between each of the games 5 stages.

Yeah, 'cause I can read that...

While not nearly as deep as say, Konami’s Gradius series’, Ikaruga’s story is actually fairly intriguing.

The basic setup is that of a powerful empire discovering the power of God, only to wield it against it’s own people in an attempt to create absolute peace.

So, the evil empire discovers The Force...

This of course leads to a rebel faction taking up arms, only to be nearly completely annihilated in the process.

... And obviously the Rebels are fucking incompetent.

One pilot though, whom the player assumes control of, crash lands in village called Ikaruga (Mottled Finch).

... Said pilot crashes on a planet to acquire The Force...

The old people there, living in exile from the empire grant this pilot a ship imbued with a power similar to the power of God discovered earlier, though broken down into 2 separate polarities, black and white, or Yin and Yang.

Humor me and pretend you're interested.

With this power at your command, you the player dash headlong into the maw of the enemy forces on a suicide mission to turn the tide of the war.

The Yin and Yang concept mentioned above serves as the very core of Ikaruga’s unique gameplay.

Basically, every enemy and bullet in Ikaruga belongs to one of the 2 polarities of black or white.

With the touch of a button, the player is able to change their ship’s polarity back and forth between black or white alignment.

Pictured: The White and Black forms of the ship as rendered in pixel-format by Metaru.

When in either color state, the player’s ship becomes immune to all enemy bullets sharing it’s color.

Not only that, but purposely absorbing bullets of the same polarity slowly charges one’s special attack meter, which can be unleashed in the form of a massive homing laser attack that serves as Ikaruga’s equivalent to the classic shoot ’em up bomb attack.

Yup, that's a bomb.

At the same time, the player also has to take into consideration the fact that enemies take twice as much damage when struck by a laser of the opposite polarity.

This leads to occasional mental overload on the part of the player due to the constant possibility to trade the security of fighting an enemy of the same polarity, in favor of potentially destroying them faster by switching to the opposite polarity.

Now imagine this when you're EXPECTED to purposely run into half of this.

As mentioned earlier, Ikaruga is a very short game, at only 5 stages in length, however it’s difficulty stems from the intense level of strategic thinking necessary to maneuver each stage.

A huge element of the difficulty in Ikaruga springs from the fact that, in order to played correctly, one must effectively reprogram their most basic shoot ’em up instincts.

The one basic rule that is a constant in the vast majority of scrolling shooters, (well, except maybe Giga Wing) is that bullets are bad, and should never be touched due to the distinct potentiality that they might, I don’t know, KILL YOU.

Sadly, Takeshi Kitano forgot to un-learn the lessons taught to him by Ikaruga.

Ikaruga takes this most basic of concepts and throws it out the 3rd story window.

I think it goes without saying, I’m not very good at Ikaruga.

The game makes no attempt to cover-up the fact that it’s a shoot ’em up made exclusively for seasoned players of the genre with big hairy stones.

... Or failing that, one that can make fire from box-office success.

Hell, the game goes so far as to include a tiny animation for when you skim bullets with your ship, serving as a visual indicator as to exactly where the ship’s hit box is located.

Not only that, the game also grants the player special point bonuses for defeating enemies of the same polarity consecutively, as well as a particularly difficult to obtain bonus called “Dot Eater” that can only be obtained by beating a stage without shooting down a single enemy.

How is this possible?

Well, the stage bosses of Ikaruga all come with time limits attached, resulting in epic battles that can end in stalemate due to the retreat of the enemy unit.

Speaking of bosses, Ikaruga’s got some pretty neat ones.

Hey look it's a... Uh... Yeah, I got nothin'.

They lack personality for sure, but from a gameplay standpoint they are expertly crafted masterpieces of the genre.

The real star of the show during the boss fights though, is of course; the music!

That being said, let’s get down to our best boss track in Ikaruga:
Stage 1 Boss Theme: Butsutekkai

Though Butsutekkai gets the gold in terms of overall energy, I honestly feel that this next track is on par with it in terms of musical quality while adopting more of a sweeping dramatic sound.
Stage 2 Boss Theme: Recapture

Anyway, those are my 2 picks for the Best Boss Music in Ikaruga.

Tune in next time!

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

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