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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #2


As you’ve likely noticed, the past couple of entries on our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights have both been final boss characters from fighting games.

While I personally feel that the fighting game genre is quite likely the most prominent contributor to the realm of tough-ass boss characters, there is another genre of game that has a similar penchant for ass-raping it’s players when it comes to boss fights.

That genre, is the shoot ’em up.

Yes, this is in fact playable. And yes, it is in fact EASIER than the game featured today.

While occasionally consisting of pure twitch reflex gameplay, the challenge in conquering most modern shoot ’em ups lies mainly in knowing one’s hit box and a healthy dose of pattern memorization/anticipation.

And no, I will not be using the term “shmup,” as it is silly, and the people who came up with it smell like poo.

*ANYWAY* Many scrolling shooters, especially shorter ones; present gameplay challenges of such difficulty so as to be considered downright unfair, if not for the fact that the expectation is that the player will fail numerous times in attempting to slowly “learn” the stages and be able to anticipate them accordingly.

Indeed, the art of the shoot ’em up is a relic of times past, a genre that holds little relevance amongst the 10-20 hour technical marvels that largely represent the current age of gaming.

I don’t remember where I read it, but the best description of shoot ’em ups and old-school action games I’ve ever heard went something like:

“It’s learning how to play a small game well, as opposed to merely experiencing a large game.”

Let’s just pretend I was responsible for the quote above, ‘k?

Like many nostalgic lifelong gamers that grew up in the 8 and 16-bit era, I enjoy playing modern narrative driven games; however I often catch myself longing to go back and play some of the simpler games of the past.

That being said, today’s entrant on our list of the Top 1o Hardest Boss Fights does indeed come courtesy of a shoot ’em up, however it by no means what I’d call a “simple” game.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that today’s boss comes from perhaps the most sophisticated (and difficult) shoot ’em up of all time.

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

#2. Tageri and Ubusunagami Okinokai – Ikaruga

Pictured: A brave pilot faces down the bullet spewing final bosses of Ikaruga.

Ikaruga is one of those games that I want so badly to love, but I suck so badly at it that I just can’t….  ‘Cause it’s stomped my ass into the ground more times than I’d care to admit.

I love shoot ’em ups.

If it scrolls and it involves planes/dragons/fairies with unlimited ammo, chances are I’ve played it, or failing that; want to play it at some point in my life.

Unfortunately, I’m quite far from skillful when it comes to, well, shooting things up.

I’m usually good enough to get 2-3 stages into a shoot ’em up before dying, but as we all know; that’s usually not nearly good enough to beat the game in the arcade without dumping $5 into the machine.

Money I likely would've preferred to have pumped into Aliens vs. Predator.

To date, I have yet to beat the console version of Ikaruga.

You see, unlike an arcade game, the console version of Ikaruga restricts the player to making use of 3 lives per stage; meaning there’s no continuing from the middle of a level.

Basically, if you can’t beat the last stage with 3 lives, then you’re sunk.

While it’s an almost obnoxiously beautiful game, both in terms of art and design; I can think of no other shoot ’em up that requires as much memorization and focus as Ikaruga.

There are in fact harder shoot ’em ups out there, mostly of the bullet hell sub-genre; but in my mind there are few that are better.

That however, does not change the fact that I’ve never beaten the final boss(es) of Ikaruga.

As you may have noticed up above, I actually named 2 bosses as entry #2 on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

While some might call foul on that, in my mind both characters serve as the final boss of the game.

Tageri, a biomechanical monstrosity with a literal yin and yang core, serves as the penultimate challenge of the game, and boy is he a douche-rocket of an asshole:

Don’t let the INSANE skills the player in the clip above fool you, Tageri not one with whom to fuck.

You see, Ikaruga’s main gameplay innovation is the implementation of a black and white based polarity system for every attack and enemy in the game.

At the touch of a button, the player is able to change the color polarity of their ship back and forth from white to black, allowing them to harmlessly absorb enemy fire sharing their color profile and convert it to power a homing laser attack.

At the same time, enemies struck by fire of the opposite polarity take twice as much damage, making the bulk of the game an ongoing high-speed puzzle of matching polarities for survival, and opposing polarities for quick kills.

Like all of the bosses in the game, Tageri’s attack pattern involves both of the above tactics, however in a much more straightforward and confrontational fashion.

In essence, the fight with Tageri pushes your rhythm, memorization, and polarity matching skills to the limit; as his attacks never let up, and are almost impossible to avoid, forcing you to defend yourself almost exclusively absorb bullets as your only form of defense.

That’s the one element of Ikaruga that’s perhaps the most difficult to embrace, even as a veteran of shoot ’em ups:

In Ikaruga, you’re not only expected to run into enemy bullets; at many times it’s to your advantage.

In a genre where the one steadfast rule of the gameplay is to not touch the bad things, that’s not an easy pill to swallow.

That being said, the “dot eating” aspect of Tageri’s attack pattern is a nerve-wracking experience that as mentioned earlier, I’ve yet to conquer.

All of the bosses of Ikaruga are tough, but Tageri is one of the only ones that forces you to basically stand your ground and eat every bullet on the screen throughout the duration of the fight.

This involves keeping an eye on the half dozen or so sources of fire at all times, and accounting for which color bullets are going to hit when.

That's a direct quote by the way.

The fact that you only get 3 lives, many of which can easily be exhausted before you even enter his chamber, coupled with the information overload produced by Tageri’s maddeningly aggressive attack pattern, has resulted in me never quite getting to a point in which I’d say I were “comfortable” in fighting him.

Despite this, I have managed to beat him once or twice, though I did so with little tact, and at the cost of nearly all of my lives.

Which brings us to the “other” final boss of the game, the Ubusunagami Okinokai, or “The Power of God:”

Awr?...

Not actually an enemy to be fought, Ubusunagami is actually just a diamond shaped object that shows up after you’ve defeated Tageri, and then proceeds to fill the screen with bullets for 60 seconds.

Indeed, you read that right.

Immediately following one of the hardest bosses in gaming, with one of the most brutal and oppressive attack patterns imaginable, you then have to face down the diamond-shaped embodiment of “The Power of God” for an entire minute.

Before the dark times, before the Empire, THIS is what Ubusunagami looks like.

Remember when I said Ubusunagami wasn’t really something to be “fought?”

Well, what I meant by that wasn’t just the fact that you’ve gotta’ have Korean-level gaming skills and APM to win against him, but that you also can’t fight him period.

That’s right, after encouraging you throughout the entire game to eat like colored bullets to survive, the game basically forces you to put that newly developed gaming instinct to the test and survive, without the option to fight back; for one whole minute.

THIS. FOR AN ENTIRE MINUTE.

While that’s admittedly a very bold and, frankly, “cool” way to force players to truly excel at the game in order to be rewarded with an ending, it’s sadly a test I don’t know I’ll ever pass.

As mentioned earlier, much of Ikaruga is based around the concept of memorization.

It’s a well known fact that Ikaruga players are among the hardest of the hardcore.

The fact that the ultimate source of pride in playing the game is not simply beating it, as few mortals can ever hope to do; but to do so with a high-score should tip you off to how dedicated they can be.

Doing so that involves killing enemies of the same polarity sequentially to string combo multipliers, or in some cases, beating the game without firing a single shot.

Yes, it’s possible, though not for this poor shmuck:

I’ve beaten games like Demon’s Souls, which involved a great deal of trial and error and persistence, but the level of memorization and timing required to beat Ikaruga straight through, are such that I’d probably have to sacrifice my ability to recognize simple shapes to free up space in my brain.

Who am I kidding, if I sat down and forced myself to be an expert Ikaruga player, I’d probably end up an autistic and incontinent husk, capable of nothing but playing shoot ’em ups and counting cards.

Huh, if I could get Tom Cruise to take me to Vegas, that probably wouldn’t be too bad a deal…

*Sigh* If only...

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

Looking Forward To Sector 7

As anyone who’s read a few posts on this blog is probably aware, I have a weakness for monster movies.

Growing up, Godzilla was my biggest hero, and guys like Ray Harryhausen and Stan Winston’s name listed in the credits of a movie was enough to make me beg my parents to rent it for me.

If there was any genre of film I’d love to see return to the splendor of it’s past, it’d have to be the “Monster on the Loose” sub-genre.

The genre isn’t dead by any means, but mainstream releases are few and far between.

Thankfully, with the release of Cloverfield a few years back, and the impending release of both Super 8 (which may or may not include some sort of monster) and the new American Godzilla movie; it would seem my wish is well on it’s way to coming true.

Nice, but if it ain't got a man in a suit; it ain't Godzilla.

Running parallel to all this, is the curious emergence of South Korea as a major player in the monster movie genre.

Before the 2000’s, the only Korean monster movies I knew of were Pulgasari (which was NORTH Korean) and Yonggary, 2 movies I’m sure the land of Starcraft and Taekwondo would like to forget.

...Though they're probably still kicking themselves in the pants over the remake.

In the past several years though, movies like the uber-hit, The Host, the uber-expensive shit-fest D-War, and even the boar on the loose movie, Chaw have been produced in Korea, contributing some legitimate hits (and misses) to the ongoing renaissance of the South Korean film industry.

Which leads me to the film of the title of this post, Sector 7.

I posted an article awhile back professing my love, not just for monster movies, but more specifically for aquatic monster movies.

Given that Sector 7 takes place on an oil rig, and involves some sort of tentacled and (presumably) man-eating whats-it, it’s hard for me to deny that; even on paper, Sector 7 sounds like a must see for me.

Thankfully, the trailer seems to deliver the goods for the most part, with stellar production values, a neat location, and all without a clear shot of the monster in sight:

Call me crazy, but I’m one of those guys that really likes to be surprised by the big reveal of the monster in a movie.

Hell, I remember struggling, day and night; to avoid all the media hype surrounding Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla movie, just because I didn’t want to have the Big G’s appearance ruined for me.

Pictured: The sight that put the nail in the coffin of my childhood.

What a waste of my motherfuckin’ time that was…

Anyway, I really don’t know a whole lot about Sector 7 at this point, but the concept, neat sets, and promise of a nasty monster on the prowl have me itching in my boots.

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

Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People (Korean Edition)

Hello all, and welcome to another edition of the Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People!

Last time around we tackled the Top 5 Japanese songs, and in keeping with the “Azn” portion of the title of this blog; today we’ll be delving into the realm of Korean music!

Before we begin, let me just say this:

I don’t speak Korean.

I know how to answer a phone, say “thank you,” and rattle off a handful of ethnic slurs, but that’s just about all the Korean I know.

Huh, that’d be one hell of a phone conversation:

“Hello?  You *bleepity bleepin’ BLEEP*!  Thank you! *CLICK!*”

Anyway, my interest in Korean songs springs almost entirely from hanging out with my Korean (between the 2 of us, we refer to Koreans as “Krns” pronounced “Kerns”) buddy from up the street.

He used to have an extensive library of Krn music, much of which I acquired from him at one time or another.

As a result, much of my favorite Krn songs are slightly outdated, being that they’re from the early 2000’s.

That being said, let’s get to the music:

5. Freaky Game 108 – Soul Dive


This song was one I stumbled across about a year ago when I was perusing an Azn music forum for new tunes.

I got a lot of great music out of that forum, and Freaky Game 108 was one of my favorites.

The album as a whole was shitty, but the one song was pretty freakin’ sweet.

Regardless, I love the pumping, almost dance track-like beat of this song, coupled with the rap style lyrics.

Like every other song on this list, I don’t have a fuckin’ clue as to what the lyrics entail; however this has never been a problem for me as long as the tune is good.

Remember, I’m a hummer not a singer.

4. Get Them Hands Up – 1TYM


I fuckin’ love 1TYM.

Ever since my Krn buddy and I used to pretend we were cool by cruising around in high school blasting their music through the speakers of his Corolla, 1TYM has been one of my favorite Krn music groups.

Sure they’re “happy rappers.”

Sure they look ridiculous.

Sure they’re a shitty rap group that were popular for 5 minutes.

Despite all that, I’ve got more of their tracks in my library than any other Krn band, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Of those tracks, Get Them Hands Up is easily my favorite, right next to “Hello!”

It’s got an awesome and fairly intricate beat, a nice flow; and most important of all, one of the catchiest and most satisfying choruses I’ve ever heard.

Seriously, I can’t recite it worth shit, but you better believe I’ve caught myself trying to in the shower every now and again.

3. The Last Scene – Roller Coaster


This song is what my Krn buddy and I used to refer to as the “Abercrombie and Fitch” song.

I dare you to listen to this song without picturing, even for a moment; a fuckin’ clothing commercial or fashion exhibition.

It just fits too well.

Despite this, the toe-tapping, yet surprisingly mellow beat, coupled with the smooth, yet vaguely emotionless voice of the lead singer, make for a song that as easy to lounge to, as it is to cruise down the highway to.

It’s a wonderful song, and is actually one of the very few mellow tunes that I keep on my Ipod.

2. Jeez! – B2Y


Jeez! was another song that I acquired from that one Azn music forum awhile back.

As a 2 girl, 2 boy band, B2Y is just what you’d expect:

A generic Azn pop group.

Despite the stigma surrounding this, (one that I happen to subscribe to in most cases) I’ve gotta’ say, Jeez! is a really fun song.

Just like 175R’s Yume De Aeta Nara from the other day, Jeez! is very much a disco-pop song, although in this case the disco element is very much at the forefront of things.

In my book, that’s a very good thing.

The energy of this song is just so goddamn cotton candy sweet, that’s it hard for me to think of any legitimate reason why anyone wouldn’t like it.

Oh yeah, and did I mention is has a really fuckin’ catchy chorus?

1. Champion – PSY


FUCK YES.

Beverly Hills Cop beat + Silly Krn lyrics = KRN GOLD.

From what my Krn buddy told me, Champion was just about the biggest fuckin’ song EVER when it first came out in Korea.

Honestly, I forget how I ran across Champion, but boy am I glad I did.

It’s kind of funny though, my favorite version of this song is actually a sped-up remix, however I wasn’t able to find it to share with you guys.

Oh well, the original version is epic enough as is I suppose…

Let it be known:

Any home graced with the sounds of Champion, shall henceforth be known as a “stab-free zone.”

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

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