Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Small Victory On Black Friday

Pictured: A big pile of crap, for half the price!

Today marked only the second occasion in which I decided to set forth into the wild and brave the insanity that is Black Friday.

Oddly enough, both times my intention in doing so was not to capitalize on the various sales events, but rather to simply take in the spectacle of watching others step over each other in hopes of acquiring a precious Tickle Me Elmo-like gift, or in the case of this year, an incredibly cheap 40″ TV.

It’s funny, whenever I think of Black Friday and other Christmas/holiday related shopping insanity, there’s one image that comes to my mind.

Said image was from one of my brother’s old Mad magazines, and to date, it serves as the definitive vision of Christmas carnage in my mind:

Pictured: "The Last Parking Space At The Mall."

It might be kind of hard to tell, as the image is kind of small, but basically “The Last Parking Space At The Mall” is a brilliantly rendered Norman Rockwell-esque painting depicting a man shooting another man in a snowy parking lot while his wife attempts to pull him back into the car.

Mad Magazine is usually good for a snicker or 2, but this painting was easily one of the most brilliant fuckin’ comedic images I can recall from my youth.

Sadly though, I didn’t see holiday mayhem of any kind this time around.

I did however get to laugh at the people standing in line surrounding the Best Buy.

Seriously man, I spent close to 3 hours in the general area, and I never once saw that line shrink an inch.

Needless to say, I never even got to set foot in Best Buy this morning.

Oh well, thanks to holiday “tent culture,” virtually all of the really good deals in there are literally impossible to acquire without spending the night outside the building.

Or at least without bringing one of these...

Which brings me to the deals that I actually did get a chance to capitalize on.

I initially set out to “do” Black Friday with a friend of mine around midnight.

Said friend ultimately ended up walking away with 2 boxes of half price golf balls, while I bought absolutely nothing.

Fortunately, there were some other sales going on in the U-district at a reasonable hour that I ended up checking out after catching a few much needed hours of sleep.

First, I went to Zanadu comics, where a 50% off everything sale was going on from 8AM to 12PM.

In case you couldn’t tell from the image above, I ended up getting a softcover copy of the absolutely massive X-Men/Dark Avengers: Utopia, as well as the first volume of Ed Brubaker’s The Immortal Iron Fist.

Truth be told, I’m not exactly salivating over the prospect of reading either of these books, however Utopia will serve to complete my Dark Avengers trade collection, and Iron Fist is a book that, given my status as a rabid kung fu movie fan, should’ve been in my collection years ago.

All together now: "WAATAAAAAHHHH!!!!"

I’m a little wary of Utopia, as X-Men books haven’t been kind to me in the past, I don’t know, 15 goddamn years; but I’m hoping the Dark Avengers stuff will help to round things out a little.

Yes. I am in fact still made about this.

As for Iron Fist, I’ve read nothing but good about it, and I’ve been putting off reading it for a really long time; so I’m pretty sure it’s gonna’ be awesome.

Anyway, 2 good to great books for 50% off = Definitely worth it in my book.

Next I went to Pink Gorilla to check out their highly variable collection of used/retro videogames.

While I haven’t found anything too special there in a few years now, I was surprised to find a perfectly good copy of Super Castlevania IV.

Outside of that though, I didn’t find anything else exciting, or failing that; worth the asking price.

Despite this, I was surprised to be given a randomized coupon at the register, with the one I drew being a buy1 get 1 free!

Upon scanning the wall, I decided to pick up Donkey Kong Country 3, a game that, while inferior to the sequel (which I already own) is somewhat rare, and often prohibitively overpriced.

Lucky me, I got it for free.

Oh yeah, and I got a free poster too.

Anyway, while I’d like to say I made it through the day without spending a decent amount of money, I’m proud to say that I at least managed to save more than I spent this Black Friday.

How did you do?

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

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #9


Yesterday we kicked off our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights with an alum from the pantheon of Dr. Wily’s robotic warriors, the original Yellow Devil.

The Devil earned his spot on the list through the frustrating nature of his borderline random attack pattern that made battling him a test of reflexes and coordination rather than memorization.

Appropriately enough, battling the #9 entry on the list requires a similar range of skills, however coming out on top is measurably more difficult given their more aggressive stance.

That being said, the next entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:

#9. Shredder – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Pictured: The Turtles take on the Shred-Head and his shadow clones.

If there’s any one, constant truth about arcade beat ’em ups, it’s that you can always expect to face a cheap-ass boss or 2 at some point within them.

Wind blows, water flows, Mr. Shadow dies by the power of Leeloo and Corbin Dallas’ love, and arcade beat ’em ups have cheap-ass bosses.

In the age of the beat ’em up, no other company stuffed their games full of quarter munching bastards quite like Konami.

Don’t get me wrong, Konami was also one of the best when it came to cranking out beat ’em ups, but whether it be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Turtles in Time, The Simpsons, X-Men, or Metamorphic Force; virtually all of Konami’s beat ’em up bosses made use of an infuriating attack pattern that was entirely beatable, but rarely without the use of a continue or 2.

As you may have guessed, Shredder makes use of said attack pattern, both in the Ninja Turtles arcade game, and the NES port of, well, basically the same name.

While I highlighted the arcade version of the Shredder in the pic above, make no mistake, he’s equally tough on either platform, though arguably more so on the NES.

Unlike the Yellow Devil from yesterday’s entry on the list, I’ve beaten Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game numerous times, mostly in my early childhood; however on every occasion I’ve had considerable difficulty in challenging not only the Shredder, but virtually all of the end level bosses.

Especially Granitor. NOBODY, fucks with Granitor...

As mentioned earlier, fighting the Ninja Turtles arcade game bosses is mostly a reflex oriented experience, much like fighting the Yellow Devil; however the difference in difficulty lies in the aggressiveness of their attack pattern.

The Yellow Devil has only one attack sequence, that if you can endure for long enough; (which in my youth, I couldn’t) will lead to your eventual victory.

Shredder, along with virtually all of the Konami arcade game bosses of the day; doesn’t have a distinguishable pattern in his attacks, but instead forces you to enter into a war of attrition with him.

The bosses in all of these games have superior reach and damage dealing ability to your player character, and attack in such a way that there really is no good way to ensure dealing damage to them without taking some yourself due to their split-second reaction times.

Did I mention virtually all of the Shredder and his buddies’ attacks have priority over your own, and have the nasty tendency to fling you across the room or knock you out of the air every time they hit you?

As with yesterday, check out this video to get a feel for what’s it’s like to tangle with the Shred-Head:

It looks dumb, but the player in the video above’s incessant use of the JUMP KICK is basically one’s only viable option in Ninja Turtles 2, especially against the Shredder.

Think of it like a nightmare scenario where you’re fighting a counter-puncher who’s not only got your number, but also has 20 lbs on you.

You’re only real option is to try and remain elusive (read: JUMP KICK) and take potshots at distance, however inevitably; no matter how fast or accurate you are with your attacks, Shred-Head is gonna’ find you and put the hurt on you.

See that spear? That's his beatin' stick, and it's about to go up your ass...

Such is the frustration of doing battle with Konami’s quarter munching stable of assholes.

While one could argue that virtually all of these bosses deserve a spot on this list, I’ve always felt that Shredder’s multiplying ability and one-hit kill anti-mutagen beam put him over the top.

That’s right, Shredder can indeed multiply in this game!

AND kill you in one hit at any given moment!

You see!? THIS is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!

So imagine every nasty detail I mentioned above, coupled with the fact that during the course of the battle you have to contend with 2 Shredder’s on the NES, and up to 5 in the arcade; any one of which can take a life away with one blast of the blue laser from their hands!

Imagine being like 5 years old and having to deal with that bullshit!

While the arcade version may put you up against 5 Shredders, I honestly think the NES version is more difficult.

When you face 5 Shredders, you do so with the help of 3 other players; not to mention the arcade Shredder has a less overbearing style of attack that rarely knocks you across the room, making it easy to simply swarm him and trade blows until he folds.

Given the lack of an option to pump more quarters into the machine for extra lives, as well as the Shredder’s slightly more annoying style of attack; I’d say the official #9 entry on this list would have to be the NES iteration.

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summon Cardboard Box!

Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve made a Magic card!

This one took a lot longer than it probably looks, mostly because I went to great lengths to actually make it as opposed to just snagging something off Google Images and slapping a filter on it.

If you want an example of how easy this card could’ve been to make, here’s an image that probably could’ve done the job just fine that I found in about 5 seconds of searching:

Pictured: The easy route.

Anyway, the card above is of course an homage to the famed cardboard box device from the Metal Gear series.

In all honesty, though I’ve played through every entry in the Metal Gear Solid series multiple times; I’ve rarely found a use for the cardboard box in any of them.

I know they’re useful for quickly jumping around the map via trucks and conveyors, but outside of punching Meryl to make the wolf pup pee on my box; I never really made use of them.

What?  You didn’t know about the wolf piss?

*ANYWAY* much like the old N64 Turok games, it’s hard to deny that Metal Gear games are big on loading you up with cool gadgets and abilities; only to end up giving you very little reason to use them.

Turok gave you awesome guns, but nothing to shoot at.

Metal Gear gave you an amazing range of abilities, but no real practical reason to employ them outside of for shits and giggles.

As fun as that looked in the trailers, for the life of me I never found a reason to do a barrel roll in Metal Gear Solid 4.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, let me know if the text on the card needs to be changed or anything.

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

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #2


Yesterday we took a good long look at one of the most sophisticated and beautiful songs in videogame history.

While one would expect that we would continue with this trend as we ascend the the prestigious Top 3 of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, I’m sorry to say that’s not the case.

Perhaps more now than ever, I feel I need to reiterate that:

This is my list, and you will respect EVERY DAMN THING I HAVE TO SAY.

*Ahem!* On that note, I’d like to introduce you to #2 on our list from the Playstation classic, Soul Edge/Blade:

#2. Soul Edge – The Edge of Soul

I realize now, more than ever; that I’m very much a product of my time.

The 90’s was the decade of the fighting game, and as such; games of that genre play host to some of my most beloved gaming memories.

Like many young boys of the day, I hopped on the Street Fighter 2 bus and rode that thing all the way to around 2005… when my fighting game reflexes mysteriously went down the crapper.

That’s a story for another day though.

Soul Blade was Namco’s sister series to their wildly popular and innovative 3D fighting series, Tekken.

Tekken = JAPAN.

Featuring some of the most impressive graphics and animations of day, as well as an in-depth “quest” mode for the home version, Soul Blade was a wildly addictive fighting game that was easy to pick up, but difficult to master.

In short, Soul Blade was kind of a big deal back in the day.

In an era when everyone wanted to play fighting games, but often lacked the technical competence to be competitive with their friends; Soul Blade was basically the go-to weekend rental of it’s time.

... A time that appears to have abruptly come to an end as of 5 minutes ago.

Soul Blade is one of maybe 2 games on this list I never owned, but in all seriousness; I probably put more hours into than most games I’ve owned.

From the gameplay, to the design, to the breathtaking soundtrack; Soul Blade was a top tier PS1 game, such that I honestly find myself tempted to pick it up again from time to time.

Which brings me to why “The Edge of Soul” ranks so high on my list.

I know it’s really fuckin’ stupid, but the opening cinematic of Soul Blade was, to the 10 year old me; one of the most mind-blowing and graphically spectacular sequences, ever.

Take a look for yourself:

FMV was still relatively new to me in 1997, (I had a shitty computer) but even so, the opening of Soul Blade was leaps and bounds beyond anything I’d seen in a game up to that point, possessing a degree of polish that even the FMV heavy Final Fantasy VII couldn’t begin to rival.

Everything element of the opening of Soul Blade, from the music cues, to the thoughtful selection of relevant clips that do much to flesh out the principle cast of the game; is top notch, such that I wouldn’t think it too far-fetched to name it as one of the best openings in gaming history.

Despite the inherent corniness of the song, “The Edge of Soul” had a fair amount to do with making both the opening of Soul Blade, and the game itself; as incredible and memorable as it was.

The lyrics and vocals are admittedly kind of weak, certainly nowhere near the grandeur of yesterday’s “The Best Is Yet To Come,” however the quality of the sampling and instrumentation of the music, combined with the pulse-pounding nature of the song; make for a terrific, if not consumately 90’s “pump up” song.

“The Best Is Yet To Come” may ooze substance and sophistication, and is indeed beautiful; but the simple fact of the matter is that it’s not a song I would ever really listen to outside of it’s usage in Metal Gear Solid.

“The Edge of Soul” is an undeniably fun song that I’ve kept in my library nearly as long as “Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru,” and as such, I think I’d be lying to myself if I claimed “The Best Is Yet To Come” meant more to me.

Sorry kids, style beats substance this time.

Let this be an isolated incident…

Check back tomorrow as we crown our #1 on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs!

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

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #3


Well folks, we’ve finally reached the Top 3 of our Top 10 Videogame Songs, and appropriately enough; today marks the first occasion of a “serious” song adorning our list.

That’s not to say trashy Jpop isn’t without it’s value, it’s just not quite as substantive as some of the stuff that’s to come.

Pretty much every song on the list so far have been included in their respective games for the purpose of being “fun” or “colorful.”

Today though shit’s about to get REAL as we delve into the musical world of Metal Gear Solid:

#3. Metal Gear Solid – The Best Is Yet To Come

Assuming you skipped the lengthy (and mostly extraneous) briefing sequence at the beginning of the game, one’s first few musical minutes with Metal Gear Solid were bound to be some of the most memorable in gaming history.

I don’t know about you, but from the moment “The Best Is Yet To Come” first starts playing during the opening infiltration sequence of the game, I could tell Metal Gear Solid was going to be something truly special.

At that point in my life, you could probably count on 2 hands the number of games I had played that had any sort of digitized voice or CD quality audio, so needless to say; I was caught entirely off guard by Metal Gear’s use of a hauntingly beautiful traditional Irish song at that time.

To put things in perspective, I still had this in the back of my mind around the time I first played Metal Gear Solid:

Okay fine, that was actually kind of awesome, but you know what I mean…

Sung by Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, (good luck pronouncing that…) “The Best Is Yet To Come” stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable and thematic songs in gaming, if not the most beautiful.

Truth be told, it’s folksy nature prevents me from listening to it as often as some of the other songs on this list, but few can deny that it’s first minute, the one used repeatedly in the game to drive home the drama at key points; is utterly unforgettable.

In that sense, “The Best Is Yet To Come” won it’s high placement on this list largely due to it’s inestimable contribution to the gameplay experience of Metal Gear Solid.

Many of the songs on this list are opening and ending themes, songs that are awarded to the player for booting up or finishing the game.

“The Best Is Yet To Come” is very different from these songs in that it serves as the overarching theme song for the ENTIRETY of Metal Gear Solid, making it a key element in the overall experience.

Hell, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t genuinely touched by it’s inclusion in the Shadow Moses segment of Metal Gear Solid 4, as “The Best Is Yet To Come’s” presence in that game really served to bring the themes of the series full circle.

Anyway, enough gushing, that was song #3.

Check back tomorrow for something even better!

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

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #6

To be great, a song needn’t be a work of compositional genius.

Perhaps more so than any other medium, the best songs often consist of simple but memorable tunes that succeed in triggering an emotional response in their listeners.

In my book, empty or soulless pop music doesn’t have be garbage, so long as it’s “fun.”

Hell, it worked for The Monkees...

That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll pay money to listen to it though, as that’s what FM radio’s for.

Our #6 entry on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs is hardly a “great” song, but in terms of pure unadulterated “fun,” it’s a classic in my book:

#6. Mystical Ninja 64 – Ore Wa Impact!

I mentioned in my article for the #9 entry on this list, “God Hand,” that I have a weakness for tokusatsu hero music and songs, and by golly, I fuckin’ meant it.

“Ore wa Impact” AKA “I am Impact” is sung, with great verve and zeal I might add; by Ichirou Mizuki, a veteran anime and tokusatsu vocal performer.

Uh... I'd hide my kids if I were you.

The music is proud, boisterous, and ludicrously funky, such that I’d be 12 steps beyond happy if it were to play every time I walked into a room.

If that weren’t enough to put this song in my “good” pile, the nonsensical lyrics celebrate the retarded-ly fun nature of the song in a manner only the Japanese could manage.

Strangely enough, the English subtitles serve as a poor translation for the majesty of “Ore wa Impact,” largely due to their attempts to inject the song with an unusual and largely unwarranted sense of dignity.

The Japanese lyrics have the singer (presumably the giant robot Impact himself) declaring himself gorgeous, sexy, and even funky; while the English subtitles lamely translate these bold declarations in this manner:

Best? BEST!? In no what fucking world does SEXY, GORGEOUS, and FUNKY translate to "Best"!?

That’s just fuckin’ sad.

Anyway, despite this somewhat disappointing subtitle issue, Mystical Ninja 64, along with virtually every other Ganbare Goemon game; was epic-ly fuckin’ awesome.

I grew up playing Legend of the Mystical Ninja on the Super NES with my brother, and as such; I went on to spend many hours and days playing it’s N64 successor.

Of all the neat features included in Mystical Ninja 64, Impact was something special.

While he had been featured in prior games in the series on the Super Famicom, the N64 game marked the first occasion in which he was given an actual theme song.

While “Ore wa Impact” was and is a really fun song, in truth I found some of the original instrumental themes for the character to be somewhat superior, particularly the version used in Ganbare Goemon 2:

What I wouldn’t give to hear a remixed version of that tune with Ichirou Mizuki’s vocals backing it up.

History lesson aside, this has been our 6th best song on our Top 10 Videogame Songs list.

Check back tomorrow as we crack the Top 5!

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

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #8

#8 of our Top 10 Videogame Songs brings us to a genre of game that very likely should have a larger presence on this list, yet due to my personal taste in games; doesn’t.

Said genre is of course that of the ever popular rhythm/dance game.

As with many genres of games that don’t involve the words “fighting” or “scrolling,” rhythm games have never really appealed to me.

Dance Dance Revolution was kind of popular among my friends way back in middle school, and indeed I must confess to having hopped around on the dance pad a few times at a birthday party or 2; but for the most part dance games have never been my thing.

No surprise, given that real dancing is not exactly something I’d consider all that fun.

While I generally loathe dance rhythm games, I’ve had my fair share of fun with musical games that make use of a standard controller.

In case you’re wondering why I’d take the time to make mention of the “standard controller,” let me just say this:

Videogame peripherals like guitars, drums, or turntables have no business in my home.

The only game peripherals I’ve ever owned were light guns, and even then I kind of regret buying those.

Well, except maybe my GunCon. GunCon was the shit...

That ugliness aside, Amplitude and the Beatmania series were rhythm games that I remember enjoying alongside my friends back in the day.

On that note, I’d like to present to you a song from 1 of 2 musical rhythm games I’ve owned over the years, and the 8th best song on our Top 10 Videogame Songs list:

#8. Bust A Groove – Bust A Groove


I’m a believer that pop for pop-ness sake isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Going by that logic, songs like “Bust A Groove,” while hardly original or anything beyond cheap knock-offs of Madonna’s old shit; can be a lot of fun if you’re in the mood for them.

That being said, I must have been in the mood for cheesy translated Jpop music back in 1998, ’cause I ate up the tracks from Bust A Groove like they were fuckin’ Willy Wonka Gobstoppers.

Pictured: CRACK COCAINE.

For those who might be unaware, Bust A Groove was of course the American version of the Japanese original, Bust A Move.

Like many Japanese imports of the 90’s, much of the content of Bust A Groove was altered, resulting in many of the songs being re-written and performed in English.

Unlike many other examples such as this however, many of the English songs of Bust A Groove ended up being just as good as, if not better than the Japanese originals.

Take for example Shorty’s song:

Japanese

English


The Japanese version sounds like it’s sung by a bored 11 year old with no talent, and truth be told; I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the case.

I realize this was likely the intent of the producers, given the relative age of the character that’s supposed to be singing it, as well as the undeniable fact that Japan is a nation of pedos; but even so, I just can’t stand the sound of a singer that doesn’t seem like they’re enjoying themselves.

The English version, while still not all that great, at least has some degree of feigned enthusiasm to it; making it at least somewhat bearable.

Shitty examples aside, I feel confident in saying that “Bust A Groove” is indeed a better song than it’s original Japanese iteration.

The original Japanese version, “Blue Knife” is pretty good, however at the end of the day it just sounds like a wimpy Jpop song among a sea of similar, but far better produced songs.

The lyrics of the English version are stronger, and the overall sound of the song is made stronger and more unique by the fact that American pop songs of it’s style are less common than in Japan.

That being said, while nearly every song in Bust A Groove is remarkably entertaining, (unlike most the shit from Bust A Groove 2…) I’ve always felt that “Bust A Groove” was the cream of the crop.

Anyway, thus concludes #8 on our list, check back tomorrow for more!

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

Top 5 Games That Should Be Movies

THE game that needs to be a movie...

Today I read an article on IGN titled “Videogames That Should Be Movies.”

In this article, the author discussed a number of game franchises that they personally would like to see adapted to film.

While many of the games cited seemed to be of the jokey variety, namely their concepts of what an Excitebike and Star Fox would be like; most seemed to be largely genuine.

While the article was kind of a fun read, I found myself disagreeing with some of the selections listed.

Metal Gear and Halo felt like poor (but inevitable…) choices for films, given that both have sprawling canon that is far too dense for feature film; and both have a feel and presentation style that is already film-like in the first place.

If Avatar: The Last Airbender is an indication of the shit storm that can crop up when one tries to cram too much into 2 hours, I don’t wanna’ know what would happen if someone tried to do the same with a Metal Gear game…

At the same time, Portal struck me as a weird; somewhat fanboy-ish choice, given that the game has no real narrative; not to mention the gameplay mechanics are very much a novelty that is more fun to experience rather than watch.

Then again, I’m among the minority of people that didn’t really get much out of Portal, so I might be biased on that one…

Nitpicking aside, as I pondered on this topic; I found myself coming up with my own ideas of game series that I think could be fun in movie form.

That being said, while I can’t call them my “top” 5, being as they’re really the only ones I came up with; here are 5 choices/concepts for games that I felt should be movies:

#5. Saturday Night Slam Masters

Saturday Night Slam Masters may not have been the best of games, however it’s core concept and brilliant character designs (courtesy of Tetsuo Hara of Hokuto No Ken fame) made it a favorite of mine in my youth.

I loved how Slam Masters took the colorful pageantry of wrestling, exaggerated it in a borderline realistic manner; and then mixed it together with the 2D fighting gameplay of Final Fight and Street Fighter 2.

While the game really had no story to speak of, I think a Slam Masters movie could be a lot of fun if the wrestling universe was treated as reality ala Kinnikuman.

Basically, you take a fairly basic storyline; like Mike Haggar vowing to win the Slam Masters championship for his daughter/the glory of Metro city/an injured Guy or Cody, and then combine it with the tournament structure of Bloodsport or Enter the Dragon.

Make Scorp/The Astro out to be a Chong Li-esque uber-bastard, and boom; you’ve got a movie.

While the story or writing wouldn’t win any awards, in all honesty; I would happily pay money to see a pro-wrestling version of Bloodsport, provided the characters and costumes remained intact, and the fight choreography was up to standard.

I know this one is definitely not for everyone, but in my eyes; it could be a lot of fun.

#4. Final Fight

Despite it’s status as a beat ’em up, Final Fight actually has a fairly decent story to it.

For those that are unaware, the basic plot of Final Fight, is that the Mad Gear gang of Metro City kidnap the mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter in order to force his cooperation in their unlawful wrongdoings.

Being as he’s a beastly former pro-wrestler, and THE MAYOR to boot; Haggar instead decides to dish out some street justice on the Mad Gears via his fists, but not without first recruiting the aid of his daughter’s boyfriend/fiance Cody, and his random ninja buddy Guy.

While it isn’t much, I really think Final Fight could be a lot of a fun as a vigilante justice movie with a high quotient of hand-to-hand fight sequences.

Think The Warriors meets Taken/Edge of Darkness/The Man from Nowhere.

Besides, who the fuck wouldn’t want to see a Mike Haggar go toe-to-toe with Hugo Andore in live-action.

That alone would be worth the price of admission if it was staged with any sort of professionalism.

Shit, now all we need is a Marvel vs. Capcom 3 movie and we’ll have a cross-franchise trilogy of Mike Haggar movies…

#3. Front Mission

The Front Mission series plays host to some of the grandest and most believable storylines I’ve encountered in all of gaming.

While I honestly haven’t played all that much of the series, (half of #1, and half of #3) what I experienced was incredibly detailed, and more importanly; polished.

Reminiscent of the politically charged story Gundam, only far more accessible due to it’s story roots being set in existing continents and nations; Front Mission is a superior war drama that benefits from likeable characters and a largely believable art style.

While many have cried out for a live-action Gundam movie, personally; I feel the money would better spent bringing the far less gaudy Front Mission to the screen instead.

Truth be told, I think Front Mission would work best in long form, as a TV series or anime; but even so, there’s many elements of the timeline that I feel would be worth telling in standalone films, particularly the Huffman Conflicts that served to shape the Front Mission universe as a whole.

#2. Sunset Riders

 

Weird, somebody shopped the guns out of their hands. Damn censors...

I’ve actually wanted to see a Sunset Riders movie since I was a little kid.

Just like in the case of Saturday Night Slam Masters, I’m pretty sure it’s the colorful cast of characters in Sunset Riders that have always been the selling point for me.

In every story I’ve ever written, or dreamed up, or wanted to write; the characters are always the one element that I put most of my efforts into.

In my eyes, if you take a fairly pedestrian storyline and stuff it with quality action sequences and cool characters; chances are you’re going to end up with a really awesome movie.

It’s a simple formula, and I think it’d work just fine for Sunset Riders.

Think about it:

4 trigger happy, bounty hunter cowboys embark on a suicide mission to free the West from the evil of a gang of ruthless killers.

Sure, it sounds like every Western ever told; but with the awesome boss designs of the game, as well as the lack of assurance that everyone was going to make it to the end to ride into the sunset; and you have a classic Western with the added bonus of an action quotient like no other.

I’d picture it being kind of like a combination of the more colorful elements Tombstone, and the fatalistic “men on a mission” feel of The Wild Bunch.

Anything that can be compared to Tombstone or The Wild Bunch, let alone both; is guaran-damn-teed to kick-fuckin’-ass.

If ever I become a Hollywood film director, I will fight tooth and nail to get the licensing from Konami to make this movie.

#1. River City Ransom

You know how I said I wanted a Sunset Riders movie since I was a kid?

Well, even though I honesty didn’t start working on it until about 5 years ago; River City Ransom was a game that I actually tried to write up a plot outline for.

Technically, I used the original Japanese version of the game, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari; as my jumping off point, but the only real difference between the 2 is the fact that one takes place in America, and the other takes place in a Japanese high school setting.

Anyway, the basic plot of River City was that a simple kidnapping of Ryan/Riki’s girlfriend, resulting in him and his rival; Alex/Kunio reluctantly joining forces to save her from a mutual enemy.

To me, the shaky alliance between the 2 is the real reason it would work.

I think if you were to establish them as hot-blooded rivals early on, a lot of drama would naturally spring up as a result of them working together as the story progressed.

I even remember putting a note in my plot outline explaining the bandages on Riki’s torso, and the band-aid on Kunio’s brow as actual bandages (as opposed to character decorations) for wounds they inflicted on one another near the beginning of the movie.

Combine the strained relationship between the 2 protagonists, with the awesome characters of the Kunio-kun series of games, including the Double Dragons; and I think you’d have a really fun high school gangster story with, of course; awesome fight scenes.

I put a lot of time into my idea for a River City Ransom movie, and I’d like very much to post it here someday; but for now, I’ll just say this:

River City Ransom needs to be a movie someday.

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I’m Gonna’ Beat A Castlevania Game Goddamnit

Castlevania has never really been one of my favorite game series.

I’ve been fascinated by the series’ music and characters for a long time now, but in all honesty; I never really sat down to play any of the games.

Truth be told, the exploits of the Belmont clan, that is; their eternal struggle against Count Dracula and the forces of darkness, managed to blow right by my radar when I was a kid.

I guess I was too busy playing Mega Man and Ninja Turtle games during the NES era to have really paid mind to Konami’s whip cracking platformer.

Nah' that's a lie... I was playing Snow Bros.

That’s not to say I wasn’t aware of Castlevania.

On the contrary, I remember reading a lot about Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest in Nintendo Power, but perhaps more importantly I remember being genuinely frightened of the cover art depicting Simon Belmont holding Dracula’s severed head.

Pictured: The cover in question.

It wasn’t so much the graphic nature of the image, blood and guts were “cool” to me even as a kid; it was Drac’s motherfuckin’ glowing red eyes that bugged me.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

Seriously, how could you put that on the magazine stands and expect parents to buy it for their kids!?

*Ahem!* Anyway, I remember Nintendo Power going out of their way to talk up Castlevania 2 like it was the coolest game ever, even giving it a Nester award for Best Audio.

Strangely enough, nowadays the game seems to have a pretty well established reputation as being a crytptic and poorly translated heap of garbage.

I guess people were willing to swallow a lot more shit from their games back in the day than they are nowadays…

I owned, played, and liked this back in the day. Don't ask me why...

Anyway, while I read plenty about the Castlevania games in various gaming magazines back in the day, I honestly don’t recall ever sitting down to play any of them until I was much older.

I remember reading about Symphony of the Night in Playstation Magazine, which gave it a perfect score and even went on to give it the top spot on their Best Playstation 1 Game of All Time list.

To this day, I have yet to try Symphony of the Night, largely because it’s Metroid style, backtracking heavy gameplay would likely drive me insane.

Like Zelda before it, Metroid games have always had a way of making me feel dumb and lost throughout the experience, and based on what I’ve seen of the map from Symphony of the Night, I think it’s in my best interest to stay away.

"For the love of God, I don't speak Japanese!"

Don’t get me wrong, the game looks absolutely gorgeous, with some of the most detailed and well animated sprites I can recall, (always a huge selling point in my book) but I know what I like, and I know what pisses me off, and it’s more than likely that Symphony of the Night would piss me off something fierce.

Completely dodging tremendously successful game series is not exactly a new thing for me, as evidenced by me having never played a Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Prince of Persia, or Duke Nukem game; but in the case of Castlevania, I was always bothered by the fact that I actually wanted to play some games in the series.

More specifically the straightforward platforming games in the series I.E. the first 4, and Rondo of Blood.

Any game that includes Shoryuken-ing Minotaurs as boss characters gets brownie points in my book.

While the gothic aesthetic didn’t really appeal to me all that much, the old-school horror references, platforming action, and downright legendary music of the more traditional games in the series have always seemed right up my alley.

Hell, I’ve been listening to Castlevania music since middle school, but I only just played my first game in the series a few years ago in the form of the NES original.

That being said, while I can’t say I enjoyed my experience playing a Castlevania game nearly as much as I hoped I would have; the challenge, combined with the delightful sights and sounds left me intrigued in an oddly masochistic sense.

While I won’t be throwing down my gauntlet and saying I’m gonna’ beat Battletoads or Ghosts ‘n Goblins anytime soon, Castlevania seemed to have a reasonably challenging difficulty level that appealed to me.

The Battletoads Turbo Tunnel: SERIOUS BUSINESS.

Hard enough to piss you off, but with gameplay that feels rewarding enough to encourage you to keep trying regardless.

What can I say, I’m one of those sickos that actually liked, and beat Demon’s Souls; and is likely to do so again before picking up the sequel once it comes out.

By comparison, sacrificing a few hours of my life to Castlevania seems like fuckin’ cake.

Anyway, the point of this post, I think; is that I think I’m gonna’ challenge myself to sit down and beat Castlevania sometime soon.

Castlevania isn’t my favorite series of games, nor do I have all that much history with it, if any; this is just me saying I’m gonna’ kill me some vampires ’cause I think I’ve got what it takes to do it.

I don’t think I’ll be doing a Let’s Play, so you’ll just have to take my word for whatever accomplishments/failures I encounter.

Anyway, wish me luck!

"Pizza delivery for Mr. Dracula... Hello?... Bueller?"

 

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I Miss The “Old” Metal Gear Theme…

I miss the Metal Gear Solid theme.

More specifically, the old Metal Gear Solid theme.

That’s not to say the new theme music is bad, (it’s not) I just feel the old theme was a whole helluva’ lot better.

The composition was more interesting, the tune catchier, and the overall “feel” of the track seemed to fit the series like a glove.

For those that are unaware, the original Metal Gear Solid theme, used in all of the games up until the PSP exclusive Portable Ops; was removed from the series due to implications that the track had been plagiarized from an existing composition.

Composed by Tappi Iwase AKA TAPPY, the theme made it’s debut as the background music of the promotional trailers for Metal Gear Solid, and was also featured as an alternate ending theme:

The original version of the Metal Gear Solid theme was entirely synthesized, and had a very electronic and, unfortunately; “cheap” sound to it despite it’s instrumentation being intentionally implemented for the purpose of simulating an orchestral feel.

Despite it’s somewhat primitive sound, (at least by today’s standards) the theme possessed a rare combination of energy and catchiness that make it synonymous with the series to this day.

While the Metal Gear Solid theme was first featured in the game of the same name, the first time I can recall hearing it was actually in Konami’s Beatmania games on the orginal Playstation.

I had a couple of friends that had “Goldfingers” for their Playstations, and I remember one of them being really into Beatmania and Dance Dance Revolution.

While I honestly wasn’t too keen on either of those games, (still aren’t) I remember playing a lot of co-op Beatmania specifically to hear the remix of the Metal Gear theme:

That, was my introduction to the Metal Gear Solid theme.

As a remix, it’s actually kind of shitty; however the core sound of the theme manages to give the track a lot of strength and memorability.

Gotta’ love that English dude yelling random shit in the background though…

I’M-GONNA’-KICK-YOUR-ASS.  PLEASE-DON’T-KILL-THEM-ALL!”

*Ahem!* Moving on, I think the last time we got to hear the Metal Gear Solid theme music, was in the sequel; Sons of Liberty.

Combining TAPPY’s previous motif with Hollywood film composer Harry “I do military themes that sound like Hans Zimmer’s early 90’s work” Gregson-William’s, this iteration of the theme represents my favorite version of it:

Essentially split into 2 halves, the first portion of the composition is essentially an orchestral and synthesized re-imagining of TAPPY’s original motif, while the second half is a decidedly more somber military march-esque tune composed primarily by Gregson-Williams.

The end result is a powerful and exhilarating theme that I had hoped would endure for years to come.

Sadly, this was not the case.

As mentioned earlier, facts surfaced regarding the composition of TAPPY’s portion of the theme that heavily implied that the tune was stolen from Russian composer Georgy Sviridov’s “The Winter Road”:

Most likely fearing a possible lawsuit, Konami pulled the tune from all subsequent Metal Gear Solid related productions, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

With the “old” theme gone, Konami ended up using Gregson-Williams’ half of the composition as the official theme of the series from that point forward.

As I said earlier, I really don’t have a problem with the “new” Metal Gear Solid theme, truth be told it’s rather good as far as themes go; it’s just that it simply doesn’t fit as well as it’s predecessor.

It’s like John William’s Superman theme:

You can make new movies, and you can reboot the series all you want, but the day you stop using Johnny’s theme music; is the day I stop believing a man can fly.

The original theme bore an energy and sense of urgency that really sucked you in.

If you closed your eyes listening to the Metal Gear Solid 2 version of it, I swear you could see Solid Snake running around chokin’ bitches in your head.

The “new” theme, which bears more than a few of Gregson-Williams’ somewhat one-dimensional compositional touches; feels a little slow and overblown if you ask me.

That being said, the Snake Eater version of Gregson-Williams’ theme was actually quite good:

Essentially a medley of most the major themes used in the game, the full length version of the Snake Eater theme was an intense and far more organic sounding track than previous compositions in the series.

Let it be known, the heavy percussive segment towards the end of this track is one of my favorite action cues in the entire series.

The instrumentation of the track did well to keep in line with the game’s dated Cold War setting and decidedly more somber tone by making use of a richer sounding orchestra, as well as a particularly effective acoustic guitar towards the end.

To date, the acoustic guitar version of the “new” theme remains my favorite version of it.

The Metal Gear Solid theme variant used in Metal Gear Solid 4, renamed “The Metal Gear Saga,” left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth:

While the core theme was retained, and the acoustic guitar element reused with the addition of a bugle for effect; the bulk of the track felt excessively busy and scattered.

The synthesized elements in particular stand out as being particularly noisy and extraneous, such that the track actually weakens the intensity of the sequence it plays over.

The Metal Gear Saga was used in a fight scene towards the end of the game, and I remember feeling genuinely disappointed upon hearing it.

Make no mistake, that scene was amazing; but the music that played over it, wasn’t the one I had been humming to myself while I was playing the game…

While I knew ahead of time about the lawsuit regarding the Metal Gear Solid theme music, I played through Metal Gear Solid 4 hoping against hope that Konami would sneak it in there in some capacity.

The “new” theme is passable, but suffers from fairly generic composition, largely brought on by Harry Gregson-Williams’ tendency to recycle his music… A LOT.

In my book, the “old” theme is the one true Metal Gear Solid theme music.

It’s what I hear in my head whenever I think of the series, and it’s what I scour the net for remixes of whenever I’m in the mood for good background music to write to.

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