Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Another Excuse To Play Resident Evil 4

Chances are everyone that gives a damn already knows about it, but today I found out that Resident Evil 4 is going to be re-released yet again on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.

To my knowledge, this marks something like the 30th time the game has been re-released.

From what I read over at IGN, it sounds like this version of the game will include all of the extra items and bonus content first introduced in the Playstation 2 port of the Gamecube original, while also updating the visuals to accommodate high definition technology ala the God of War HD Collection on the PS3.

While I do indeed already own a copy of the PS2 version of Resident Evil 4, ludicrous as it may seem; I’m very much tempted to pick up this new version of the game once it comes out.

I don’t feel I’m exaggerating when I say Resident Evil 4 was and is a terrific game of near unmatched quality; and one that I’m always looking for another excuse to pick up and play again.

Despite being a sequel in a hugely successful franchise, Resident Evil 4’s gameplay mechanics represented a brilliant departure from the norm; spawning a host of imitators and raising the bar sky high for gamer’s expectations of breadth of content, quality of visuals; and precision of controls.

To date, I’m still amazed by the sheer volume of content contained within Resident Evil 4, as well as the attention to detail and overall cohesiveness of the overall package.

In a series known for consistent excellence, Resident Evil 4 was the most boldly different and groundbreaking entry; ranking just behind Resident Evil 2 in terms of overall quality by my reckoning.

Meeting Will Smith: An epic moment in an epicly awesome game.

It’s funny though, despite all my praise for Resident Evil 4; I still kind of bear a grudge towards it for being as fucking amazing as it was.

You see, 4 was so fuckin’ successful that it seems to have had the effect of causing Capcom to subscribe to the belief that the Resident Evil series should continue working from the formula it established.

Take for instance Resident Evil 5, which was essentially a sub-par carbon copy 4 despite being several years removed from it’s predecessor.

Leave it to Capcom to throw their hands up and say “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”…

Megaman: 20+ Years of Same Shit Different Day

Personally, I’m still longing for the day when we’ll see Resident Evil return to it’s clunky, fixed camera, survival-horror roots.

Anyway, this was me simultaneously reminiscing about and announcing the re-release of Resident Evil 4.

Now, all they need to do is remake Resident Evil 2 with current-gen graphics and the same tender loving care that they gave to the Gamecube remake of the first game

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The Mega Man Monomyth

Mega Man (and a little bit of X) Heroic Formula:

• A crisis of some sort is initiated, often times involving a heist, jailbreak, or decimation of a city.

• The Hero, initially a normal young person, is born through his commitment to or association with a wise and kindly Old Man. This Old Man possesses the capability to lend The Hero great power, however he is hesitant to do so as he has vowed to dole out this power only for the sake of all things good and decent. Impressed with the young Hero’s purity of heart, he imbues The Hero with great power to combat evil. One of these powers includes the ability to call upon the aid of enchanted animal companions, some of which have the ability to change their shape or form to assist The Hero.

• The Hero arrives on the scene and puts a stop to the ensuing mayhem, only to find that this was merely the beginning of a much bigger ordeal.
• The Hero again enlists the aid of the Old Man, this time to inform him of the nature of, and location of the forces of evil.
• It is revealed that the Old Man is somehow affiliated with the leader of the evil organization, typically in the form of a former colleague. As a result, both the Old Man and the Villain possess similar powers to imbue and/or create beings of great power, though their intent in the use of this power is where they differ most.
• With his forces spread across the land, it is revealed that the Villain has divided up his conquered lands into 6-8 geographically unique territories, each headed by a powerful guardian or chief possessing a singular magical, mechanical or elemental power. Each region is also crawling with clone armies of enemy soldiers, manifested or enlisted with the intent of hindering or overwhelming The Hero, with none possessing the strength to best The Hero alone.


• For whatever reason, the Villain’s fortress proves to be unreachable and/or located in an unknown region, forcing The Hero makes the difficult decision in choosing which chief to tackle first on his long crusade to rid the land of enemy forces.
• The Hero then embarks on his first mission, eventually reaching and slaying his first chief, whereupon it is revealed that, among the powers given to him by the Old Man, he was also given the power to absorb the powers of each of the guardians upon their defeat at his hands.


• On his next sortie into enemy territory, The Hero utilizes his newly acquired power on the next region’s chief. Going by the region chief’s name, which serves as a clear label of his elemental, mechanical or magical ability, The Hero selects his next opponent by matching his new power with the chief who’s power would fare weakest against, I.E. fire vs. ice. This formula proves largely effective, though there may be occasions when The Hero is simply stumped or confused by the logic of his opponent’s weaknesses. On occasion, The Hero may also discover items that have the power to replenish his energy in time of need. These items possess capabilities including but not limited to: instant use life-restoration, instant use power/weapon energy restoration, as well as extremely potent energy reserves of both varieties that can either be replenished indefinetly via the acquisition of surplus energy restoration items, or used as single use reserves. These extra potent items are seemingly hidden, intended to be accessible, but not without employing special efforts to acquire. In general, one can assume that all of the instant use restoration items are composed of the life force of fallen enemies, as they often emerge from fallen foes.


• After having dispatched exactly half of the Villain’s guardians, The Hero is alerted by the Old Man to the emergence of a previously minor or unknown evil force. This evil is typically a retainer or general of the Villain’s, either that or a neutral and possibly misunderstood third party. Nevertheless, The Hero rushes to the scene, combating the evil as he would any other. As fate would have it however, the battle comes to a premature halt, in most cases with the opposition revealing that they were merely testing The Hero, inevitably leading to their declaration that the two of them will meet again. In the case of a neutral third party being the source of the disturbance, The Hero and this new character will come to an understanding of sorts, agreeing to either come to terms with, or fight alongside one another.


• Following this episode, The Hero gets back to slaying chiefs.


• Finally, with all of the chiefs defeated, The Hero is given the location of the Villain’s headquarters by the Old Man. The Hero then proceeds to raid the Villain’s fortress in stages, starting with the front gate then working his way to the interior in 2-3 successive raids.

There is a possibility that The Hero will return back home in between each raid, presumably to receive a debriefing of sorts from the Old Man. Regardless, at the conclusion of each raid, The Hero is faced with a bizarre and distinctly inhuman monstrosity that possesses great strength and no visible weaknesses. Through trial and error though, The Hero manages to discover that the creature does in fact possess a weakness in the form of one of his previously acquired powers.


• Once The Hero has reached the section of the fortress just prior to the heart, he is once again confronted by the character whom opposed him at the halfway point of his chief slaying adventure (if such a character is incorporated into the story). At the outset of, or shortly after combat, it is revealed that the fiend has either acquired new powers since their previous encounter or has chosen to reveal their true strength. In either case, the battle is hard fought, but eventually The Hero is victorious, though in some cases a comrade may intervene, sometimes resulting in their death.


• Upon reaching the heart of the fortress, The Hero is confronted with a hall lined with 7 or 9 transporters, with all but one, usually the one in the center of the room, activated. In entering any one of these transporters, The Hero finds himself transported to a room inhabited by one of the previously defeated chiefs! Using his intimate knowledge of his former foes abilities, The Hero dispatches these resurrected fiends with relative ease.

Upon re-dispatching each successive chief, The Hero is transported back to the transporter hall, with the small “reward” of his fallen foes life energy in between battles as a means of keeping himself replenished. Eventually, The Hero succeeds in clearing every transporter, leaving only the final, previously inactive transporter…
• Proceeding through the transporter, The Hero is whisked away to a great hall in which he is confronted by a gigantic war machine housing the Villain. Being frail and slight of build, as well as elderly, the Villain has used his great power to create/summon this awesome tool of destruction as a personal final option for use in combating The Hero. As the two duke it out, The Hero once again employs the logic of trial and error in regards to his arsenal against the great behemoth. Eventually, The Hero discovers the weakness of the great monstrosity, often times finding that the most esoteric and seemingly useless of weapons proved to be the only effective means of damaging his opponent. With the outer shell destroyed, the Villain deploys his final weapon, a tiny vehicle housed within his once awe-inspiring, now smoldering, ultimate weapon.

This vehicle proves to be exceedingly agile, yet severely lacking in firepower. Unfazed, The Hero grounds the flying machine before the Villain can escape. Realizing his situation, the Villain cowtows before The Hero, begging for mercy. Being the pure-hearted soul that he is, The Hero scolds the Villain for his actions, then promptly carts him off to prison.


• With that, the world is given the gift of a new champion and enjoys a period of peace and harmony. Inevitably though, the Villain will escape from prison to cause more mayhem, (occasionally under the guise of new, assumed identities) though The Hero will always be there to stop him.

Optional:
• The Old Man may exist merely as a spirit guide to The Hero, awakening powers within them progressively as a means of cultivating greatness through various trials.


• Within the various exotic regions the chiefs occupy, The Hero may discover or be given various tools or armors that serve to improve his capabilities. In some cases, some of these tools or armors may be required to bolster The Hero’s abilities as a means to defeat the Villain’s ultimate weapon.


• The Hero may have sibling(s) that lend support and/or shadow him throughout his adventure. Typically, if they have a sibling seemingly operating in opposition to them, The Hero will discover that they are merely testing them, not genuinely possessing evil qualities or motivations.


• At some point in the journey, The Hero may be inclined to revisit regions which he had presumably cleared some time earlier. His reasons for doing this vary to some extent, ranging from: collecting recovery items to hold in reserve for future battles, or searching for hidden items or tools that he may have missed.

Some of you may have read this awhile back, but oh well, hope you enjoyed it the second time around!

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The Best Track in the Game #1: Mega Man X

You don't wanna' see what I'm doing with my other hand...

Megaman X.  Few games have had as huge an impact on my life than Megaman X.

Growing up, I was a Megaman/Capcom nut.  I remember way back in the day, my barber (yeah, I don’t know why either) gave me and my brother an issue of Nintendo Power with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the cover:

Back when men were men... and turtles were not yet made of rubber

Yeah, that’s the one.

Anyway, somewhere in there was a sneak peak at Megaman 2 with a fold out poster featuring all 8 of the robot masters, plus Guts Dozer, The Mecha Dragon, and the schmuck Dr. Wily.

From the first time I saw this poster, I was hooked.

I remember running over to my mom and showing her all the characters, and telling her in impossibly adorable child-speak:

“This guy, his name’s Bubble Man!  He has bubble powers!  He shoots, um… He shoots bubbles!”

Eventually, I got my mom to make me a Bubble Man helmet out of cardboard…  and a Crash Man helmet for one of the neighbor kids… and a Quick Man helmet that I told her was for one of my friends that I ended up keeping for myself.

Yeah, back then Bubble Man was my favorite boss from Megaman 2.  My brother used to give me shit about it.  He would say:

“Bubble Man’s fat.  No wonder you like him, fatty.”

So fat...

Well, can’t say my brother was ever wrong about him being fat.  At least he’s not a pussy like Metal Man AKA THE FIRST FUCKING GUY EVERYONE KILLS.

FIRST. FUCKING. GUY.

Anyway, back to Megaman X!

Wall climbing.  Dashing.  Wall Dashing.  Throwing a Hadouken.  These were just a few of the amazing innovations that Megaman X brought to the Megaman franchise.Most critical among these was the Dash, which, coupled with the ability to hug walls to slow your descent, made for precision gameplay far faster and more forgiving than the classic Megaman series has ever been.

In gaining a beam saber, he lost his cock. Tragic...

True the franchise has never been very hard, (except for the utterly craptacular Megaman X6) and I see how that could be a problem for all the Contra kids out there, but the level length, number of secrets, and plethora of colorfully animated boss characters throughout most of the games has always struck me as being among the best in gaming.

Okay, maybe X3 had too many secrets, (most of the time you found at least half of the stuff by accident) and X2’s difficulty was sinfully weak, but few people can argue that the original Megaman X was pretty much on the mark in every area.

But that says nothing for the quality of the music.

Picking a best track from Megaman X is no easy task.  When you first boot up the game, you are treated to a provocative and well-executed diagnostic sequence, followed by one of the most awesome title screen tracks EVER.


Right from the get go, best title track EVER.

And it just keeps getting better from there.

The intro stage (an innovation to the Megaman franchise first seen here) tune is exhilarating and skillfully layered.  In fact one of the most remarkable things about this soundtrack, to me at least, is the fact that it succeeded in making me feel like there was some level of importance to my actions.

The track that plays when Zero and X hold their conversations establishes a sense of brotherhood between the two characters that does a lot to add to the gravity of the conflict at hand (especially when you consider the events that precede the two instances when this track is heard in the game.)

In picking a favorite track from this game though, my objective is to select the one that is not only the most enjoyable to listen to, but the one that “means” the most to me as a whole.

Being one that plays Megaman games more often than he beats them, I tend to spend most of my time playing through the pre-castle, robot master stages.  That being said it’s natural for me to pick one of the robot master stage tracks as The Best Track in the Game for Megaman X.

Without further ado,

The Best Track in the Game is…

Armored Armadillo Stage

Why?:

The music is fast, energetic, and has a significantly longer running time than many of the other robot master themes. (I’m looking at you Storm Eagle and Sting Chameleon…) Not only that, but Armored Armadillo’s stage is potentially the most fun to play through, featuring a number of unique enemies (the “jet birds” at the end, and the tunnel digging bug-machines) and gameplay mechanics (the spiked mine cart rides).  In general, Armored Armadillo’s stage seems to have more “love” put into it than the others, and is therefore, simply more fun to play.

In addition to this, Armored Armadillo’s stage is undoubtedly the one that most people have played through the most.

No, not because it’s so damn fun, (even though it is) but because it’s the only way to get the Hadouken capsule!

Assuming you don’t suck, and don’t have to continue through any of the robot master stages, one will end up playing Armored Armadillo’s stage 5 times as much as any of the other levels in the game!  I can’t prove it, but something tells me Capcom made the conscious decision to step up their game in designing Armored Armadillo’s stage in order to prevent people from getting pissy over having to play through the stage an extra 4 times (potentially more, again, if you suck) to get a cheesy fireball upgrade.

In this is case, it worked, ’cause I have never once balked at the idea of playing through the game without getting the Hadouken.

Runner-Ups:

Storm Eagle Stage, Title Theme

Why?:


Storm Eagle’s theme has a solid reputation for being the favorite among most gamers.

It’s short, it’s sweet, it has a sort of Top Gun-ish heavy guitar feel to it, in short, it’s fucking awesome and it goes with the airport setting very well.

Storm Eagle’s theme was my favorite as a kid, and remained so until fairly recently.

As I mentioned previously, I think Armored Armadillo’s theme is great partially because it was shoved down my throat so many times over the years.  In that sense I think it’s fair to say that I enjoy both tracks pretty much equally, however one has recently begun to occupy a larger place in my memory than the other.

In regards to the Title Theme, listen to it!

It’s fucking awesome!

Even without the awesome metallic *SHING* noise when the “X” flashes into place, it’s still fucking awesome!

How could you not get crazy hyped up after hearing this for the first time!?

I know I did at least until one of the little purple flying dudes with the red nose bumped me in mid-air and knocked me into a pit not 2 minutes into my first life.  Little fucker, has the nerve to blink his eyes and bob his nose in celebration every time he hits you too…

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