Azn Badger's Blog

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Devil May Cry and the Azn Badger

Capcom’s Devil May Cry series is one that the Azn Badger desperately wants to love.

Honestly, I don’t really care much for the Gothic aesthetic of the series, nor do I have any sort of appreciation for the death metal soundtracks and overall overblown nature of the storylines and cutscenes.

So, what exactly is it that I do like about Devil May Cry?

That my friend, would of course be the bombastic, action-heavy gameplay of the series:

My introduction to the Devil May Cry came in the form of the 3rd, and best, entry in the series, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening.

Yes, I am in fact aware that he is wearing a nipple-strap. The game STILL kicks ass...

Featuring the highest difficulty level in the series to date, as well as perhaps the best, or at least, most relatable storyline, Dante’s Awakening effectively ruined me from enjoying any of the other games in the franchise.

Let it be known, beginning a game series from it’s highest peak in terms of overall quality, and then working your way down is not the way to enjoy a videogame franchise.

That'd be like going from THIS to THIS.

You see, I really enjoyed my time with Devil May Cry 3 on my PS2.

I played it to death, nearly beating it on the hardest difficulty in the process.

After I finally grew tired of 3 though, I made the mistake of thinking it would be fun to work my way backwards and play through the first game in the series.

I skipped that sack of fail Devil May Cry 2 though, as I’ve heard nothing but bad about that one…

ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

From the moment I picked up the controller to play the original Devil May Cry, it immediately became clear to me that I was playing a vastly different, and far inferior game.

The gameplay was slower and less responsive.

The animations were less dynamic and felt very detached.

The attacks lacked the sense of “oomph” that was the highlight of the experience in the 3rd game.

Not only that, but due to the games’ age, the graphics and textures were somewhat lacking.

Yeah, I'd say there's a difference...

Needless to say, I found little enjoyment in playing the original Devil May Cry post-Dante’s Awakening, so much so that I saw fit to return it to Gamestop after only a few days.

Devil May Cry was a wonderful game for it’s time, serving as the progenitor of a new breed of fast-paced action games shortly after it’s release.

You see what you did Capcom!? You gave that piece of fuck Gackt an excuse to star in his own game!

Despite it’s laundry list of credentials though, being the first of something doesn’t necessarily make it the best, or in this case, anywhere near that level of quality.

Recently, I had the opportunity to play through Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360.

Pretty fuckin' spankin' if you ask me...

After the beating the ever-loving piss and shit out of Devil May Cry 3 in decidedly epic-fashion several years back, I found Devil May Cry 4 to be somewhat tame in terms of difficulty.

In general enemies were easier to stun, and more importantly, easier to corral and manipulate, resulting in the gameplay being much more forgiving, and ultimately flashier than ever before.

Since the release of Devil May Cry 3, Capcom went on to reinvent the Resident Evil series, and indeed; much game design in general, with it’s 4th entry.

In the post-Resident Evil 4 world of gaming, context sensitive button functions were very much en vogue, predictably resulting in Capcom’s own Devil May Cry 4 including several instances of said gameplay elements.

In fact, awesomeness can be visited upon most enemies with a simple touch of the “B” button:

Cheap thrills yes, but thrills nonetheless.

Personally, I couldn’t give 2 shits about the new main character of Devil May Cry 4, a frustratingly emo little butt-pirate named Nero, (voiced by Adam the Black Ranger AKA Johnny Yong Bosch)

Pictured: Nero.

I will say this about him however:

His move-list is fun, inventive, and made all the better by the inclusion of the Devil Bringer in his arsenal.

The Devil Bringer is the chief innovation brought to the table in Devil May Cry 4, and for the most part, it’s worth the price of admission.

Trust me, yanking enemies over to your position for quick and efficient beat downs is a pleasure that far surpasses repeatedly Stinger-ing my way across an arena just to get to an out of reach opponent by leaps and bounds.

But then again, being able to do shit like this is pretty fun too:

While the game is a little bit on the easy side when compared to Devil May Cry 3, I’m willing to concede that that may in fact be a good thing.

Devil May Cry 3 was a beast.

It got off on taking eager young player’s confidence and shitting all over it like a fuckin’ pigeon perched above a Porsche.

... Yup, pretty much the visual I was going for.

4 however, is a prettier and more accessible game that even goes so far as to have a storyline (for those that give a shit) that requires virtually no knowledge of the prior games to understand.

Simply put, Devil May Cry 4 serves as a fine example of how to begin a series anew on a new platform.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it fared better than Resident Evil 5 in the console transition.

While not as good as 3, 4 was an enjoyable entry in a young series that was desperately in need of a #2 best game in it’s lineup, as up until it’s release, none of the other games could be at all regarded as anywhere near the level of quality of Dante’s Awakening.

I understand that I’m being critical of the series, but as I mentioned earlier, Devil May Cry is a series that I want to like.

So far we’ve got 4 games in the series, and I’ve only liked 2 of them.

I don’t like the art.

I don’t like the music.

I hate the storytelling.

All I play them for is the raw experience of playing the game.

In that sense, 1:2 ain’t a bad ratio at all.

KITTY.

Which brings us to the newest Devil May Cry game, one that, to my knowledge; is intended to be a massive diversion from the core series.

Uh, okay. I see what you did there, very nice... I don't get it.

Going by the name DmC, (Ugh…) this new game features a protagonist of a drastically different design aesthetic, as well as a game world that seems a little more urban, and less castle-like than previous entries in the series.

This would all be fine in my book, as I was never that attached to Dante or Nero as series’ protagonists, except for the fact that this new character’s design is just plain HIDEOUS.

Pictured: An ugly-ass, skinny piece of emo punk-fuckery that I honestly have ZERO desire to play as in a game.

At this point, all we have is a trailer to work from in terms of first impressions, however I for one feel my desire to give this game a shot slipping away purely based off of the character design:

That may sound petty of me, but unless DMC gets some truly fuckin’ incredible reviews chances are I’ll probably sit it out in favor of taking a step back and visiting some of other hardcore action game franchises out there, like the Ninja Gaiden series and Bayonetta.

Every now and again I have to ask myself: Why HAVEN'T I played this game yet?

Anyway, this has been a lengthy and intensely muddled post.

For this I apologize, but thanks for reading.

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Best Boss Music #9: God Hand

*ATTENTION, THIS POST IS BROKEN-AS-FUCK ON ACCOUNT OF YOUTUBE SUCKING BALLS.  IT WILL BE FIXED ASAP.*

I treasure every moment I was able to spend with God Hand.

Even though the game was control-smashingly difficult, and cursed with a poor camera system and even worse controls; God Hand served as a magnificent throwback to the beat ’em ups of yore.

Blue jeans and thunderbolt wrestling tights: Standard garb in the early 90's.

In fact, it’s one of those games that I honestly would love to see a sequel to, however; due to the dissolution of Clover Studio shortly after it’s release, as well as it’s sub-par review scores, I doubt that will ever happen.

Oh well, one can only hope that Capcom will resurrect it someday…

BRING THEM BACK YOU MONEY GRUBBING GRABOID-FUCKERS!

Anyway, God Hand is, as I mentioned previously; a non-traditional beat ’em up for the PS2.

I say “non-traditional” because the game made use of an over-the-shoulder camera system akin to Capcom’s own Resident Evil 4 from a year or 2 before, a feature that is scarcely seen in traditional beat ’em ups.

While most attempts at 3D, polygonal beat ’em ups turned out to be utter failures, (Gekido and Dynamite Cop some of the few exceptions) God Hand manages to succeed for the most part.

Fighting Force on the other hand, was not so lucky...

The main appeal of the game lay in it’s clever use of context sensitive button functions and utterly ridiculous (and unapologetically Japanese) dialogue and character designs.

Seriously, this game is balls out INSANE from end to end, but in the best possible way.

Can you think of any other games that feature giant Mexicans named Elvis, gorillas in Lucha Libre garb, and a fighting force of formidable midget Power Rangers?

Hah, thought I was kiddin' yah', didn'cha'?

Oh yeah, and don’t forget the spanking.

Yeah, I can’t think of any other games like that either.

While I won’t attempt to explain the details of the storyline of God Hand, I will offer you this simple summary:

The player character, Gene; loses an arm to some demons one day, only to wake up in a hotel room with a hottie named Olivia, and his arm restored in the form of the legendary, and outrageously powerful God Hand.

Yeah, this isn't a product of Japan. Not at all...

From that point on, the pair set out into the world to battle the demons and their generals, the 4 Devas; in an attempt to prevent the resurrection of the demon lord, Angra.

Angra, in the flesh.

Much Japanese kitsch and comic violence ensues, and eventually the whole thing comes to a head as the hero is forced to battle Angra while making use of both of the God Hands.

My God! He's gone Super Saiyan 2!

All that nonsense aside, a major part of God Hand that really made it fun for me, was of course it’s battle system.

The game made use of all 4 of the PS2’s face buttons for various attacks, however every single button could have it’s functioned assigned by the player to their liking.

Throughout the game, the player could acquire various fighting moves, with variable damage and speed statistics, eventually resulting in the player gaining a vast arsenal of unique and drastically different maneuvers they could implement depending on the situation.

Best of all, like most beat ’em ups, mashing the square button 5 times would result in an “auto combo,” however; thanks to the games’ robust customization system, each individual strike in this combo could be arranged to the players preference.

In addition to this, the game also featured a robust dodging system using the right analog stick, which allowed the player to juke, duck and sway to avoid attacks, as well as do evasive handsprings.

I know it's dumb, but this pic from the Dustin Hoffman/Robert Redford movie All The President's Men, just happened to be the first image I got when Googling "evasive handspring."

Aside from the basic attacks, the player was also afforded the powers of the God Hand of the game’s title.

Basically, the God Hand is, quite literally, one of the hands of God, of which there are 2, the other of which is of course possessed by a boss you end up fighting later in the game.

The God Hand had 2 functions in the game:

To provide the player limited bursts of super-powered invincibility, and to activate the games’ roulette wheel mechanic.

While the invincibility is self-explanatory, the roulette wheel was a interesting, if somewhat awkward element that succeeded in the keeping the player on their toes, even while executing some of the games’ most powerful attacks.

Basically, the roulette wheel was a customized set of a handful of super attacks and mauveurs that the player would have to quickly sort through during a brief period of slow motion.

Pictured: The Roulette Wheel.

Upon making their selection, the player character, Gene; would carry out the selected maneuver, usually resulting in mass pwnage.

It’s interesting to note that 2 selections on the roulette wheel were a constant:

One that would cause Gene to kowtow before his opponent in shame, and one that would cause a pan to fall from the sky and onto his head.

The first of these would cause the player’s style meter to lower, (a feature that served to increase the player’s after level ranking, as well as adjust the game’s difficulty level in-game) while the second served as a minor health penalty, as well as a exploitable glitch that allowed the player to avoid enemy attacks for a moment.

Yeah, I played God Hand A LOT.

Anyway, enough bullshitting, let’s get down to the Best Boss music selection from God Hand:



The title of this is track is, of course; a clever play on the title of Capcom’s own Devil May Cry.

Devil May Sly plays during the player’s first battle with the owner of the other God Hand, a man named Azel.

While the energy level of the music may seem a little excessive to some, I assure you, the battle that it accompanies is most certainly worthy of such energy.

While this is a poor example of the gameplay, as the player is far too good to make the game seem fun, take a look at this clip:


The fun part of the battle with Azel, is that the programmers were able to effectively endow him with the same abilities and attacks of the player, while making the battle play out very smoothly.

Essentially, what I mean to say is that, while there are of course Resident Evil 4-like context sensitive button mashing sessions during the fight, one still feels like they are indeed playing the game as opposed to an interactive cutscene or minigame.

The first time I beat Azel (I did in fact lose once or twice) was a helluva’ a good time.

I feel it’s also worth mentioning that Azel’s second appearance in the game, also deserves some kudos.

This battle happened to be a little more frustrating, and less rewarding than the first, but I really liked the music so I figured I’d throw it up here for yah’.

In keeping with the more serious tone of the battle, the music is appropriately darker and heavier.

While I really like Duel Storm, I feel that Devil May Sly is, musically; just a little bit more enjoyable.

With that, I leave you with this delightful, and not at all strange TV spot for God Hand:

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Hidden Treasures, Part I

My old Dino Riders VHS... Know how you can tell you're cool? When you've got motherfuckin' Dino Riders sitting on your living room shelf, that's how.

Today I went on a little adventure.

Said adventure took me deep into the bowels of my parent’s basement, specifically a cozy little closet space underneath the stairs.

Within that cluttered space, I was fortunate to find a treasure trove of nostalgic goodies from years past.

Given, most of this stuff is utter crap, and probably wouldn’t be worth anything to anyone, but even so, it brings me a warm feeling to know that a lot of the neat stuff I had as a kid is still buried in the house somewhere.

First up is Power Ranger crap:

In this box I found the remains of just about every Megazord of the original “Mighty Morphin'” era I.E from the original Megazord to the the Thunder Megazord

I didn’t bite for the Shogun Megazord, thought it looked ghey.

I also went ahead and skipped the Ninja Megazord from the movie too.

That thing was bullshit.

Good God that thing's a pile...

Amid the wreckage, I was also fortunate to find most of Drago from Super Human Samurai Syber Squad AKA Gridman.

Yeah, you better believe Drago was the shit.

Did you ever see that show?

Most people I mention it too give me weird looks.

Hell, most people I talk to give me weird looks, so what’s the difference, eh?

It had that one asshole from Boy Meets World in it, and was actually pretty good too, despite the retarded name.

ASSHOLE.

Anyway, after digging around for a bit, I was pleased to find that my prized White Tiger Zord remained virtually unscathed:

RAWR.

Oh yeah, and I also found a bunch of those crappy ass Power Ranger action figures that nobody ever liked too:

Yeah, you better believe most of them were broken, no doubt on purpose.

Buried at the very bottom of my Power Ranger box I found traces of the great, Titanus the CarrierZord.

Near as I can tell, he might be missing a head, but goddamn he was the coolest fucking part of that show.

I would’ve pulled him out for a closer look, but he was buried pretty deep and I was in a hurry so… maybe some other time.

Regardless, this is what he was supposed to look like for those that may not remember him:

BRACHIOSAUR OF ULTIMATE PWNAGE!

On top of all the Power Ranger toys and what not, I also found a cache of VHS tapes, specifically the first 5 episodes of the series, plus the entire Green Ranger Saga!

Rest assured, I’ll probably be re-watching these in the near future.

I’m especially looking forward to the Green Ranger business, ’cause near as I can recall; that was some legitimately good storytelling.

Plus it introduced us to Jason David Frank, the man so nice they named him THRICE.

And this is the part where all the ladies in the room start fanning themselves.

Feel free to change your underwear after that one, he’s known to have that effect on the crotch bid’ness.

Tune in tomorrow for more basement dwelling adventures!

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

Best Boss Music #1: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie

Hello everyone, this will be the first in a new series of short-posts on my favorite tracks of boss music from video games.

Hopefully you’ll all enjoy and learn something at the same time!

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie was a multi-platform game released in tandem with the film of the same names’ release.

Despite the movie license, and the general ho-hum quality of most movie tie-ins, I found the game(s) to be a pretty solid entry in the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre.

As a youngster, I played both the Genesis and Super NES versions, though most my my time was spent with the Genesis version.

These fuckers was a pain in the ass...

In my opinion, the Genesis version, despite it’s technical limitations, (sound quality mainly) was actually the better iteration of the game.

Though both games were sidescrollers, the Genesis version maintained a more conventional design, I.E. each of the players had a one-button combo attack, utilizing both action buttons in tandem would perform a life-draining “knockdown” attack, players could move vertically and horizontally etc.

The Super NES version was an oddity among sidescrollers in that it had none of these features.

YOU HAVE TO PUNCH HIM IN THE BIG "Z" ON HIS CHEST, OTHERWISE HE'S INVINCIBLE!!!!???

Instead of allowing the player free vertical and horizontal movement, the Super NES version instead restricted the players to moving on one of two separate planes, a foreground, and a background; though sometimes the players were restricted to a singular plane.

Using a single button-press, the player could switch to either plane, an action that was sometimes necessary to avoid obstacles.

Most of the enemies in the game were also dispatched with only one or two hits, a rarity in most beat ’em ups.

LOOK OUT IT'S A PURPLE PUTTY!!! THEY TAKE TWO HITS EACH!!!! THAT'S MORE THAN ONE!!!!!???

Also worth noting was the fact that, despite the fact that the various versions of this games’ status as a movie tie-in, the enemy rosters of them largely consisted of characters featured on the TV show and not the movie.

For instance, the Super NES version makes extensive use of Lord Zedd’s Z-Putties, who were completely absent from the movie.

These guys, who were actually revealed to be even easier to kill than NORMAL Putties.

The Genesis version does a much better job maintaining continuity with the movie I.E. it includes Ivan Oozes Ooze Men and Tengu Warriors as grunt characters, however even it is guilty of a few slip-ups, particularly in including characters like Goldar as bosses.

Always thought this guys was hella' pimp. Well, at least whenever he wasn't talking...

Perhaps most strange of all however, was the fact that the Super NES version’s gameplay completely omitted any inclusion of the Power Ranger’s Zords.

The Genesis version had numerous stages where the players would take control of the Mega Zord(s) and/or Falcon Zord (the best guy in the game), with the gameplay maintaining it’s usual controls.

The Super NES version though, has the player assuming the role of an Angel Grove High School student or Power Ranger from the opening stage to the final battle with Ivan Ooze.

Speaking of Ivan Ooze, the whole reason I’m typing up this article, is the fact that the boss music in this game kicks ass.

Seriously, check it out:

I love the unrelenting energy of this track.

The rockin’ over-the-top guitar/synth riffs really give the track a dangerous and dramatic flair, while at the same time doing a wonderful job of maintaining a similar sound to the Power Ranger’s TV soundtrack we are all so familiar with.

For a game with mediocre action gameplay, it’s pretty amazing to think that a track this energetic and powerful was actually composed for this game.

It’s worth nothing that, despite my focus being solely directed at this track, the soundtrack as a whole is actually really solid.

In many ways, I think that speaks volumes as to the skill of the composers over at Natsume and Bandai.

The two companies also collaborated on a Super Famicom exclusive game, Gundam Wing: Endless Duel, which just happens to have a very similar soundtrack, with much of the same midi “instrumentation.”

In example here’s my favorite track from Endless Duel:

Did I mention Natsume kicks ass?

Well, they do, Ninja Warriors Again and Pocky and Pocky serve as living proof of that.

We’ll revisit Pocky and Rocky on this blog sometime, that’s a promise.

Anyway, the Super NES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie had a crazy-awesome boss theme, and thusly I hereby declare it ONE OF THE BEST BOSS TRACKS EVER.


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

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