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Best Boss Music #12: Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage

Maximum Carnage was a decent beat ’em up in an age when beat ’em ups were a dime a dozen.

Produced by LJN for the Super NES and Genesis, the game followed the storyline of the massive Spider-Man crossover of the same name, with the player taking on the role Spider-Man (duh), or in some cases; his nastier (and cooler) counterpart, Venom.

Aside from a rather harsh difficulty level, the only really glaring deficiency of the game, was it’s lack of 2-player simultaneous support.

Honestly, LJN product or not; nobody in their right mind should ever think it’s okay to release a beat ’em up without a 2 player function.

Behold, the rainbow of ass.

Despite this (huge) flaw, the game did offer some interesting innovations to the genre in the form of special items that bestow the player with aid from other superheroes, and Spider-Man and Venom’s decidedly spidery movesets.

The “superhero summon” system was a decent idea on paper, however the item pickups that activated the function were extremely rare, and often were only useful to the player in very specific circumstances.

I remember hating to use the “summons” sometimes, ’cause every time you did, it would trigger an annoying second or 2 long clip of the summoned character’s “theme music.”

That might not sound too bad to you, but try summoning Black Cat 5 times in a row, see what happens.

Yeah, pretty fuckin’ annoying, right?

*Ahem!* Moving on, the movesets for the 2 protagonists were pretty well thought out for their time.

In addition to the classic one button punch combos, throws, and 2 button screen clearing attacks; both Spider-Man and Venom had the ability to run, jump, backflip, (useful for finding items, hidden areas, and nothing else) climb walls in the background, block attacks with their webbing, swing from web lines, grab enemies with their webbing/symbiote, and even slam 2 enemies’ heads together ala Batman in the Batman Returns game on the Super NES.

While most of these features were elementary for the most part, the addition of the web based moves added a lot to the experience.

In addition to giving the player added flexibility to their approach to various fights, an important factor given how absurdly overpowered some of the bosses could be; the web attacks also served to make good use of the Spider-Man license.

On a side note, while some of the character art… and animations… and backgrounds; are kind of shitty, I’ve always felt that LJN did a pretty decent job with the Spider-Man, and in particular; the Venom sprites.

I said "decent," not "great"....

Not that they managed to do anything else right in the entirety of their game developing existence, but that’s besides the point…

Both are animated fluidly, though Spider-Man looks kind of weird given his oddly dick-shaped head and lack of web pattern on his suit.

I always thought it was cool how both had their own unique animations, with Spider-Man’s being more graceful and Venom’s being more brutish.

One thing that kind of sucked, was the fact that Venom was definitely the more difficult character to use than Spider-Man.

As a kid, I always picked him every chance I got, though his slightly slower attack speed and harder levels made for an experience I rarely made it to the end of.

Pictured: THE reason I rarely beat Maximum Carnage.

While Maximum Carnage was indeed only an average (at best) game, my memories of it run very deep.

I remember reading the comic arc around the same time I played the game, and to this day I feel the harsh atmosphere and violent content of the game do well to live up to the original story.

Nevermind that the comic itself was actually kind of shitty, but bear in mind; I was a young and mostly stupid Azn Badger when I read it, so Venom and a healthy dose of violence were pretty much all I needed to be impressed.

Besides my personal attachment to the source material, another silly little bit of nostalgia worth noting, was the fact that the game cartridge WAS FUCKING RED.

FUCKING. RED.

Remember the stupid fuckin’ gimmick of the golden Legend of Zelda carts?

Remember how many fuckin’ copies that game sold?

Well, my guess is LJN was hoping to cash in on the “colored cart” gimmick; and for all intents and purposes, it worked.

Just ask Killer Instinct

Biter...

I’m not saying the game sold all that well, (my guess is: it didn’t) but for me and my friends, the promise of a BLOOD/CARNAGE RED cart to shove into our Super NES’ was one that was awful tempting.

Anyway, another little gimmick, and one that I never really found any reason to get excited about, even as a kid; was the fact that LJN recruited the rock band Green Jelly to do some of the music for the game.

Now, I don’t know about you; but the only thing I really remember about Green Jelly, was the fact that they did that retardedly awesome rock version of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” they used in Dumb and Dumber:

While that was indeed really fuckin’ awesome, please bear in mind that I hadn’t even seen Dumb and Dumber by the time I was playing Maximum Carnage.

Oh yeah, and I was a fuckin’ 7 year old kid that was still listening to a GREEN audio cassette of the Ninja fuckin’ Turtles in place of music.

Anyway, Green Marmalade did the soundtrack for the game, and I’ve gotta’ say; while I don’t really know what their songs are/were like, they did a pretty good job with the score for Maximum Carnage.

The score has an appropriately hard rock sound to it, in that the comic arc itself had a mosh pit sort of vibe to it, with Carnage’s mistress, Shriek; acting as the psychic ringmaster to an ongoing street riot in New York for much of the story.

As such, the soundtrack for Maximum Carnage has a very aggressive and sometimes dark sound to it that lends a sense of legitimacy to some of the more serious moments in the narrative.

Just listen the track they use during the cutscenes, it’s simple, but pretty fuckin’ sinister if you ask me:

Standing out as a highlight in the soundtrack though, is the boss music from Maximum Carnage.

Bearing a highly energetic tempo, the boss theme sounds very much the product of a hard rock band:

Truth be told, I really only like the first half of the track, when the primary (digitized) guitar riffs are front and center; however that isn’t to say the track isn’t great from a technical perspective.

My issue with the second half of the track, is that it comes across as being “too fun” for my tastes.

The first half sounds like the background to a fuckin’ supervillain beat down, while the second half sounds a little bit too colorful for it’s own good.

That’s just me though.

Anyway, this has been another (long overdue) installment of the Best Boss Music, tune in tomorrow!

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

Azn Badger’s (Hopefully) Makin’ a Movie!

You can thank my good buddy JD for making this image for me. It basically encapsulates everything that is "me." Thanks again buddy.

I love movies.

Not only that, but for most of my life, I’ve wanted to be involved in making movies, as an actor, director, stunt man, pretty much as whatever, so long as I was involved.

The first distinct memory I have of myself wanting to be involved in filmmaking, was when I was very young, probably 8 or 9 years old.

I had a friend over, and we were playing war with Micromasters and my Mega Man X3 gashapons.

We built a fortress out of cardboard blocks for one of the 2 factions, and basically spent the afternoon yelling at each other through the action figures splayed out across the basement floor, occasionally throwing a figure at the fort to simulate a death on the battlefield or an attempted siege.

Oh yeah, for whatever reason, we had Killer Cuts; the soundtrack CD that came packaged with Killer Instinct on the Super NES, blaring from a boombox.

I remember setting Jago’s theme, “Do It Now,” on a loop for the majority of the day:

Whatever man, it was the mid-90’s, America was culturally fucked; and therefore my friend and I were as well.

Still, I’d like to think we turned out okay.

Well, my friend did anyway...

Anyway, at some point during our “play date,” my mom overheard us, and decided to bring down our beefy-ass VHS camcorder to record some of our goofy bullshit.

While my friend and I kept playing as normal, barely even acknowledging my mother’s presence; I distinctly recall several instances where I asked her to film specific aspects of the action, from very specific angles.

While it was basically the equivalent to calling out, “Hey mom, watch me jump!” in many ways, this served as my first experience in playing director.

Over the years I’ve been involved with a number of film projects, mostly in front of the camera; but outside of a handful of stop-motion movies that I made entirely on my own, I feel like I’ve never really directed a movie.

Hell, I made every frame of this movie myself, and somehow I managed to not direct it:

Sure, I’ve been in-charge plenty of times, usually because I was the only person enthusiastic enough about the project to step up and do it,  but I can’t recall an instance where I really took the time to take a step back and focus on getting exactly what I wanted for each shot.

Hell, when it comes to filmmaking, I don’t think I’ve ever taken my time with anything.

At this point in my life, pretty much every movie I’ve made has been an single afternoon/evening affair with my friends, usually amounting to little more than a single scene as opposed to an actual complete thought.

Pretty much every movie I’ve ever made with my local neighborhood buddies has involved guns, fighting, and very little, if any; dialogue.

Needless to say, we never worked from a script.

If that wasn’t ghetto enough, we always reserved all instances of bloodshed for scenes taking place in the bathroom so as to ease the clean-up process.

As silly as it seems, I treasure those memories.

The reason I’m making this post, is because last week I met with my buddies and proposed to them that we get together to make a movie again.

It’s been several years since any of us have made a movie together, and being as I am finally back living in Seattle; I figured now was as good a time as any for a reunion of sorts.

Anyway, we spit-balled a bit, and came to the conclusion that we’d like to remake a past work of ours called “Get Stingray.”

Pictured: The Man That Would Be Stingray...

Basically, it’s a melodramatic and violent revenge movie, with the “Stingray” of the title being the beastly man on whom revenge is sought.

As with any movie I have a hand in from a conceptual standpoint, the plot and characters are pretty much paper-thin, serving as lame excuses to include gunplay and hand-to-hand combat scenes whenever possible.

You remember how exacting and critical I was with my evaluations of the fight choreography in all of my movie reviews?

Well, I’m hoping I can finally bring those perfectionist qualities to the fight work in “Get Stingray.”

What can I say, I know what I like; and this time I really look forward to being happy with the end results.

I hope to spend the next several weeks fleshing out “Get Stingray,” with filming starting ASAP.

Filming will hopefully be an “every weekend” sort of thing, with as many weeks as necessary/possible being utilized in the process.

I’m in no hurry, so long as it gets done.

I’ll keep you guys posted with plot summaries, storyboards (if I make them), production stills, and probably a trailer or 2 if I’m feeling up to it.

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #6: Bonnie and Clyde

#6 on our Best Overkills in Movies list, is what we call a “gimme.”

That is, something that is a given; something that is so obvious that it’s pretty much obligatory to the subject matter.

Bonnie and Clyde is well documented as a game changer in Hollywood cinema, setting a precedent with it’s graphic, flamboyant, and borderline pornographic portrayal of violence, as well as it’s rapid-fire editing style.

You see, in 1967, bullet hits and violence were generally staged in a very theatrical fashion I.E. man mimes getting shot, clutches side in agony and falls down after doing a silly dance.

Kind of like this, but with guns:

Unlike most other films of the time, Bonnie and Clyde employed extensive use of squibs for it’s bullet hits, greatly enhancing their visual and dramatic impact in the process.

Take for example this squib hit from Total Recall:

While I haven’t personally seen Bonnie and Clyde, I’ve been shown it’s historical overkill sequence numerous times, usually in school of all places.

Anyway, that’s enough film school bullshit, let’s make with the overkill:

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP

The setup couldn’t be more classic.

Basically, we have the pair of bank robbers taking a leisurely drive down a country road, celebrating Clyde’s impotence, you know; the usual.

Behold, Warren Beatty being a hipster-doofus with his one-eyed sunglasses.

Anyway, eventually they run across an old man changing the tires of his truck on the side of the road.

I’d just like to take this moment to point out that this particular old man has a habit of nervously twitching and looking off into the nearby foliage every couple of seconds.

Never trust the elderly...

Hmm, I wonder; why on Earth would a seemingly inconspicuous old man act like this?

Surely not because the cops paid him off to help them lure Bonnie and Clyde into a overkill death trap…

Of course that’s why, dumbass.

Anyway, upstanding crazy-as-fuck citizens that they are, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker decide to pull over and lend the old man a hand.

"Oh it's no trouble sir, I'm just eatin' my apple, wearin' my one-eyed shades, fuckin' my girlfriend, and fleeing from the police, all at once. It's not like I'm not busy or anything."

Pretty much as soon as Clyde hops out of the truck, leaving Bonnie to sit alone; some crazy shit starts goin’ down.

The old man’s eye twitches!

Goddamnit, I told you not to trust him!

A flock of birds fly out from the bushes!

Hmm, now why would they do that?...

Bonnie smiles!

"DURR!! BIRDIES!!!?"

Clyde laughs!

"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, I.E. make Dick Tracy and a shit ton of money..."

Bonnie gives Clyde a last second “fuck me” glance!

"Do me Clyde. Do me HARD..."

"NOW? Really?...

And then shit goes from choppily edited craziness, to insanely brutal OVERKILL craziness…

Virtually unseen from their sniping positions in the bushes, the police open up on Bonnie and Clyde with one helluva’ Ultra Combo of gunfire.

Yes, those would in fact be entry wounds in his face. A LOT of them.

Unfortunately, neither Bonnie nor Clyde remember the command inputs required to execute a C-C-C-Combo Breaker, thusly resulting in their grisly demises at the hands of a few hundred bullets.

Good girl. Keep that wheel steady...

Seriously, when it comes to, literally; “painting” a target with gunfire, these cops get an “A.”

Needless to say, Bonnie, Clyde, and their sweet-ass truck are torn to ribbons, with Clyde getting sprayed so bad he ends up being spun around on the ground like a dog trying to cure a nasty itch.

"Just a little bit to the right guys. Yeah! That's the spot..."

In all, we are treated to just over 20 SECONDS STRAIGHT of Great Depression era overkill savagery.

Do the math son, 20 seconds is a motherfuckin’ eternity when it comes to simply showing 2 people get shot.

...Or when showing a lady get a wood splinter shoved into her eyeball.

While hardly creative, or even all that graphic by today’s standards, Bonnie and Clyde’s climactic overkill sequence is well remembered as a revolutionary moment in film history.

Why then, with all this overkill savagery; and all these pimpin’ credential is Bonnie and Clyde ranked so low on the Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies?

Because this is my fuckin’ list, that’s why.

Like I said, while I respect the legacy attached to the film, I haven’t even seen it, so honestly you should be happy this one even made the list.

Besides, this is supposed to be a list of the BEST Overkills in Movies, not the bloodiest, or the most famous; the BEST.

Ah c'mon, you knew I had to stick this in somewhere...

That being said, Bonnie and Clyde sits atop the bottom 5 on our list, and trust me; once you’ve seen the top 5, you’ll think twice about questioning my judgment…

Seriously, good shit’s to come.

Stay tuned.

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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