Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Isaac Frost Might Be One Of The Hardest Bosses I’ve Ever Fought

So, I’ve owned, and have been playing the shit out of Fight Night Champion for a few months now.

While my first impression of the game was rather poor, after several hours tooling around in the demo; I finally decided to break down and buy the game.

After having gotten the hang of the new control scheme, (for like the 4th time in the franchise’s history…) the game opened up, and now I’m proud to say it’s one of the better games in the series.

In either case, it’s not everyday boxing videogames aimed at hardcore boxing fans are released; so even if the game was utter crap, I still probably would’ve picked up Fight Night Champion from a bargain bin at some point.

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve obliterated a handful of people in online play, I’ve rewritten history through countless bouts against the CPU; but as of now, I’ve yet to complete the game’s much lauded Champion Mode.

For those who are unaware, Champion Mode represents a first for the series, in that it serves as a sort of pre-arranged campaign mode, complete story cutscenes between and during bouts, featuring it’s own cast of characters.

Sadly, the actual narrative is kind of lame, with most of the characters being shallow stereotypes of the genre, and much of the dialogue coming across as more than a little inorganic due to the rather forced inclusion of exposition-y game speak.

"This guy's gone down on body shots in the past! You should hit him with body shots this round! Body shots kid, remember? Body shots!"

At the end of the day, Champion Mode ends up being a slightly watered down version of Soulblade’s Edge Master Mode, or Street Fighter Alpha 3’s World Tour Mode.

Basically, one plays through various boxing matches as the character Andre Bishop, though several matches require the use of specialized tactics or the completion of certain in-match achievements in order to win.

While limited in the sense that I’ve played similar, and better modes in games from 15 years ago; Champion Mode was a welcome addition to the franchise, though with one little catch:

They made the “last boss” too fuckin’ hard!

The “last boss” of Fight Night Champion is a massive, tattoo bearing, short-haired motherfucker named Isaac Frost.

I’d make a joke about how Frost looks more than a little more like a UFC spokesmodel, or I don’t know, RANDY FUCKING ORTON; than a heavyweight boxer, but doing so would be beneath me.

... I'll just let the picture do the talking.

I’d also make a joke about the plausibility of an unbeatable white American heavyweight champion in this day and age being slim to none, but some would perceive that as racist.

I’d perceive that a statement of fact, but to each his own…

Like any “bad guy” in a boxing story, Frost is a massive prick, though seemingly for no other reason than the fact that he likes being a prick.

The man has zero backstory, so there’s no real explaining his prick-ish demeanor; but the point is:

Frost is an ass.  You’re supposed to hate him.  In spite of all this, he also happens to be a FUCKING BEAST in the ring.

Thanks Google, now I know that there actually is a game called "Beast Boxing."

That last part serves as my reason for not having beaten Frost as of yet.

I don’t know if it’s brilliant programming on the part of the folks over at EA Montreal, or really fuckin’ cheap programming; but Frost is a fuckin’ force of nature to contend with.

He’s very tall, making his long strides more than a match for your best footwork.

He’s a genius at cutting off the ring, leading to more than a few instances where he actually tricks you into stepping right into his fists.

His punching power is off-the-fucking-charts, making 2-3 consecutive punches a recipe for putting you on queer street, or flat on the mat.

And on top of that, his AI is entirely based on the Fight Night engine, meaning his actions are engineered to be unpredictable.

While most videogame bosses typically hold all of the above advantages in terms of attributes, the one thing that really makes Frost unique, at least to me; is the fact that he doesn’t have any set attack patterns.

In short, like any fight in a Fight Night game, the battle with Frost plays out like an actual boxing match.

There’s no golden mechanic for winning the fight, with every engagement serving as a moment-to-moment clash of wits.

I’ve always made it my business to win underdog fights against the computer in Fight Night games, largely because I derive a great deal of satisfaction from winning said bouts; but fighting Isaac Frost is an entirely different affair.

Like many fights in Champion Mode, you’re expected to take on Frost in several stages, employing different tactics as the rounds go by.

The first 2 rounds see you dancing around Frost and basically trying not to get hit.

Pictured: What happens when you try to hang back on tall guys.

I can usually do this without going down, but not always.

The next 3 rounds require you to land a total of 75 heavy body blows on Frost, and that’s as far as I’ve managed to get against him.

I’ve tried stepping into his chest to diminish the punching power of his long arms, but usually I get caught by an uppercut.

I’ve tried leaping in after one of his jabs to hit him while he’s pulling back his punches, but I usually get caught by an uppercut.

I’ve tried hanging back and using my head movement to counter and then step around him, but I usually get caught by an uppercut… Among other things.

Pictured: Me.

The point is, Frost’s punching power is so dominating, and his punch accuracy so sharp, that I simply can’t find a way to get inside on him without getting brained in the process.

After much frustration, I’ve come to the conclusion that Isaac Frost may be one of the most difficult boss fights I’ve ever run across.

Oh well, at least I can still enjoy the game without beating him…

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, #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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger = Hypocrite

The Azn Badger has been feeling a little hypocritical as of late.

Despite my general disdain for the UFC/MMA culture, I’ve found myself playing the demo for UFC: Undisputed 2010 pretty much every day this week.

I know, I know:

“How can a hardcore boxing fan that talks shit about the UFC all the time allow himself to support the organization by playing it’s official videogame!?”

Well, A): I’ve never had anything bad to say about the actual sport of MMA, only the culture and obnoxious fanbase that seems to have sprung up as a result of it’s ascension into the mainstream.

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but...

And B): Chill out, dick wad.  It’s just a videogame, and a fairly good one at that.

To be fair, I used to play the previous iteration of the game with my roommates for shits and giggles.

Only 1 out of the 3 of us (the one with legitimate interest in the UFC) actually took the time to learn how to play, so for the most part the matches boiled down to little more than button mashing sessions not unlike a round of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

"AND IT'S ALLLLLLLLLLLL OVERRRRR!!!!!!!"

At the time, I used to watch a fair amount of UFC, usually in support B.J. Benn, (he’s a Hawaiian pro athlete, therefore he’s worth my time) as well as for the social value it presented in me in hanging out with my roommate.

Though I no longer have roommates to play games or watch cagefighting with, for some reason I feel like I’m mentally in just about the same place that I was back then.

That is to say:

I’m not exactly the most cerebral of people these days.

I would probably shit myself with glee if I had one of those bubble thingies right now...

As with most things these days, I blame work; as it has retarded my brain functions to the point of making games like Undisputed 2010 seem like the coolest ever made, and dare I say; potentially worth buying.

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of Hell freezing over.

While I still don’t have a clue how to play the demo properly, (the command list in the options screen is like 50 pages long) the pick up and play factor has been a godsend in terms of keeping me sane this week.

I don’t know if it’s just the 60 hour work weeks or what, but I just can’t seem to find time for more involved games like Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I want to finish Batman, but for whatever reason I just feel “too busy” to play it.

Batman: Great for Azn Badger on 3 day weekends, too "smart" for him during 60 hour work weeks.

UFC gives me an experience that can be over and done with inside of 5 minutes.

While I’ve never been one to seek out instant gratification in my games, (if it’s any indication, Demon’s Souls was my 2nd PS3 game) at this point in time, I think it’s the only kind of gaming entertainment I can handle.

Though I’m legitimately excited to try games like Valkyria Chronicles, games that require a high-degree of time investment and involvement from the player; the more hours I put in at work, the less I see myself being able to fully enjoy a game like that.

In my current mental state, I'd probably just try and bumrush my way through every mission...

Anyway, I’m beat to shit, (anus still recovering…) so that’s all I’ve got for tonight.

Chances are I’ll pick up UFC at some point, though I assure I’ll do so grudgingly, and while mumbling under my breath that boxing is the superior and more gentlemanly sport.

Unfortunately the new Fight Night Champion doesn’t come out until next year, so for now I’m going with UFC.

Either that or Splatterhouse, ’cause Splatterhouse was the shit back in the day, and from what I’ve read; the new one ain’t so bad.

Plus it’s bloody as fuck and probably as cerebral as your average UFC fan.

Haha!  BURN.

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

The Top 10 Runner-Ups of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, Part I!

Before the dust settles on the epic event that was the unveiling of the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 25 NES Tracks, I feel it’s my duty to take a moment to discuss some of the tracks that almost made it on the list.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, today we’re going to be talking about the:

“Top 10 Runner-Ups of The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks.”

Epic fucking title, am I right?

Anyway, hopefully the following ruminations will help shed some light on my process for selecting the tracks for this list, as well as hopefully uncover a few hidden gems for the less game music savvy among us.

That being said, let’s get to it!:

#10. Zanac

“Stage 1”


Zanac is a vertical scrolling shoot ’em up that I received as a gift in my pre-teen years.

You see, despite the Playstation and Nintendo 64 already having risen to prominence by this time, my father; good intentioned thrift store shopper that he is, saw fit to give me NES games up until around my 13th birthday, when I’m pretty sure he gave up giving me gifts altogether.

 

 

Pictured: Birthday's at the Azn Badger's house...

 

While this was admittedly kind of strange, looking back I think it helped me to better appreciate the older generation of games, not to mention my dad’s yearly efforts to go out and get me something unique and different every birthday.

Thanks dad, for, uh, bein’ my dad, and filling my room with goofy outdated shit that only you and I can appreciate.

 

 

Dad's most recent random gift: A VHS-C camcorder!

 

Anyway, Zanac is a game I know nothing about, other than the fact that I played it a lot during middle school.

It’s reminiscent of Space Megaforce on the Super NES, with sharp graphics and a surprisingly action-packed experience despite the limitations of the NES hardware.

Anyway, the details of Zanac are a mystery to me, but it was tons of fun and “Stage 1” had awesome music that was this close to making the lower-tier of the Top 25.

#9. R.B.I. Baseball

“Game Music 1”

*TUNE TO :23 FOR THE PART OF THE MUSIC THAT MADE THE LIST*

My brother LOVED R.B.I. Baseball.

A neighbor of ours owned the Tengen “black cart” version of the game (my dad also gifted it to me at some point…) and most of my memories of the first 5 or 6 years of my life involve watching my brother play it.

In fact, despite being able to play it at our neighbor’s house basically whenever he wanted, I can actually recall several instances where my brother went out and rented it.

Let it be known boys and girls, my brother loves him some baseball.

 

 

A logical hobby for him given that he fuckin' IS baseball.

 

I never really played R.B.I. Baseball.

To be honest, I’ve never really played any baseball videogames besides the occasional game of Base Wars or Super Baseball 2020.

 

Boobies, Robots and Baseball: FUCK YEAH.

 

Something about robots playing baseball just tickles my fancy…

Anyway, up until Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball on the Super NES, I can recall no other sports game that had my brother so engrossed.

Perhaps the best memory I took away from R.B.I. Baseball, was the music, which would loop constantly throughout every game.

That and the delightfully rotund players, whose husky builds and slow-footed nature fit the music perfectly.

 

 

SOOOOO FAT!!!!

 

It may not be the most intricate or bombastic of tunes, but nostalgia goes a long way…

Even if your only experience with the game consisted solely of watching it over your older brother’s shoulder.

#8. Gauntlet

“Title Theme”


This one was suggested by a friend of mine.

Honestly, I’ve never actually played Gauntlet on the NES.

I own Gauntlet 2, (another random gift from dad) but I never liked or played it much.

I played a lot of Gauntlet Legends in the arcade, mostly because it was fuckin’ hilarious; but that’s a story for another day…

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, the heroes of Gauntlet Legends!

 

Anyway, while I was compiling this list, I took the time to look up the Gauntlet “Title Theme,” as I honestly couldn”t recall the melody.

To my surprise, my buddy made a pretty good pick.

It’s a nice little diddy, reminiscent of a medieval minstrel’s tune, making it all-too appropriate for a sword and sorcery game like Gauntlet.

I actually had this one on the Top 25 up until my final revision, where I removed it in favor Super Dodge Ball.

Listening to them side by side, I feel I made the better decision…

Sorry buddy, had to go with my gut on this one.

#7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project

“Super Shredder’s Theme”


The reason for this particular track being on the Top 10 Runner-Ups list is kind of silly.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project was a game I played exclusively at one of my spoiled friend’s houses, and just happens to be the game with the longest fucking title on this list.

While in many ways superior to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, Turtles III was the unfortunate victim of being released around the time most of us were just starting to jump platforms to the, at the time; brand spankin’ new Super NES.

 

 

"Bummer dudes! Your game came out 2 years too late!"

 

Like I said though, it’s a great game, actually better than #2, it just didn’t get enough exposure is all.

Anyway, the reasoning behind the selection of this track for the Runner-Ups being silly, is the fact that it’s only on here because it’s the original version of “Super Shredder’s Theme,” which would go on to be remixed for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time.

 

 

2nd Best Beat 'Em Up EVER.

 

“Super Shredder’s Theme” from the Super NES version of Turtles in Time is HANDS DOWN one of my favorite boss themes of all time, making the original 8-bit version, while in fact vastly inferior; still pretty fuckin’ good.

Here’s the Turtles in Time version for reference:

Anyway, it’s not deserving of a spot on the Top 25, but it laid the ground work for what would become one of my favorite pieces of game music EVER, and as such such it gets a nod in the form of a spot among the Runner-Ups.

#6. Little Nemo: The Dream Master

“Mushroom Forest”


I fuckin’ loved Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland back in the day.

I didn’t find out about the old comic series, or Winsor McKay until sometime in middle school, but regardless; that was a great fucking movie.

The world was colorful and inviting, the songs were pretty decent, and Nightmare Land and all of it’s denizens were suitably creepy and stunningly well-imagined to boot.

 

 

Jesus fuck this guy was awesome...

 

Because of my love for the movie, naturally I went out and rented the game at some point.

While the game was not nearly the work of genius that the movie was, it was a pretty solid platformer nonetheless.

The monster costume gimmick was cutesy and fun, and the scepter was very much a thinly veiled Mega Buster, but the thing I remember most; was the music!

The music was, like the movie, whimsical and grand in scale to an extent that few NES games aspired to, let alone movie tie-in platformers.

While the Nightmare world theme and the Final Boss themes were pretty fuckin’ spankin’, like most memorable game tracks, the best piece was from the first stage, the “Mushroom Forest.”

Don’t be surprised if you see a Let’s Play of Little Nemo posted here someday…

Wow!  This post ended up being a whole helluva’ lot more involved than I was expecting it to!

That being said, I’ve decided to split it in half, so tune in tomorrow for the Top 5 Runner-Ups, as well as the ultimate, absolute and final post in the Top 25 NES Tracks series!

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #7: Einhänder

Einhänder was Squaresoft’s first and only scrolling shooting game.

Released in 1998 on the Playstation, the game represented a rare foray into the action genre for Squaresoft.

Despite the companies’ reputation for producing almost exclusively RPG games, the late 90’s represented a wonderful era of experimentation and change in the types of games Square would produce.

Pictured: A game we won't be talking about.

During this time Square would branch out and produce a great number of quality games across a myriad of genres.

Tobal No. 1 and 2,

How come we didn't get this awesome cover art in the U.S.?

Bushido Blade 1 and 2,

Pictured: Why Bushido Blade was the shit.

as well the Namco collaborative project, Ehrgeiz, represented Square’s first 3D fighting games.

Pictured: The only reasons any of you fanboy fuckers remember the mediocrity that was Ehrgeiz.

Parasite Eve 1 and 2 turned the RPG genre on it’s head with it’s modern and horror infused plot, as well as it’s hybrid real-time, turn-based combat system.

Oh yeah, and boobies.

Brave Fencer Musashi was one of Square’s first (and best) attempts to create a Zelda-style dungeon crawling adventure game.

I fuckin' LOVED this game. Never beat it though...

And Einhänder, was one of the finest space shooters ever made.

The game was absolutely gorgeous, with spectacular art design, wonderful atmosphere, and an especially noteworthy soundtrack by Kenichiro Fukui.

The basic story of the game was that, in the future, mankind expands it’s civilization to the moon, which at some point sparks a war between the people of the Earth, and the people of the Moon.

The player takes control of the moon-based pilot of a special, wasp shaped plane with a giant manipulator arm for snatching and using enemy weapons, or “Gun Pods.”

Essentially, the game represents a suicide run on the part of the player, wherein they are expected to destroy as many enemy facilities as possible to force the end of the war.

By the end of the game however, the player is faced with the unfortunate task of having to fight for their lives against their fellow soldiers, the reasoning behind which being that they were in fact expected to die on their suicide run on Earth.

"Can't you even die right!?" I'll never get tired of Revolver Ocelot quotes...

Einhänder was presented in a beautifully well-executed 2.5D format.

Essentially, the entire game takes place on a horizontal scrolling, 2D plane, while the graphics and camera angles are rendered in 3D polygons, resulting in a number of dynamic angles that do little to disrupt the relatively simple nature of the gameplay.

Thankfully the camera is in fact better than Superman 64.

At the outset of the game, the player is given the choice of 1 of 3 different “Einhänder” planes, the word being German for “Single-Handed.”

The Endymion FRS Mk. II was a larger plane that could house 3 Gun Pods at any given time, but could only operate one of them at a time.

The Endymion FRS Mk. III was a plane recommended for beginners, as it fielded 2 machine guns by default, as opposed to the normal 1, and it could only hold and operate 1 Gun Pod at a time, limiting the complexity of the gameplay.

And the Astraea FGA Mk. I, was a beastly powerhouse of a machine that could operate 2 Gun Pods at any time, making it the most difficult to pilot, but by far the cream of the crop in my opinion.

Trust me there’s a reason they put the Astraea on the cover.

Throughout the game, the player is faced with the task of battling enemies, while properly managing their Gun Pod arsenal from situation to situation.

Gun Pods could be mounted on the top or bottom of the plane, (or both when using the Astraea) and came in a huge number of varieties, with each having limited ammo so as to require the player to switch them out constantly.

Weapon types ranged from machine guns like the common Vulcan, and it’s overpowered cousin, the Juno, to oddities like the Riot lightning gun, and the defensive chaff gun, the Hedgehog.

Several Gun Pods could only be unlocked by meeting certain conditions, such as killing all of the enemies in a particular scene, or defeating certain bosses in certain ways.

In fact, there were many secrets and branching paths in the game depending upon the player’s performance, resulting in a rare shooter that had the potential to play out differently every time.

Unlike this game, where you can bet on dieing pretty much every time.

Like any other scrolling shooter, bosses were plentiful and spectacular throughout.

Many bosses had weaknesses and could be taken out relatively quickly, (especially when using the ridiculously overpowered Grenade) though in most cases this was ideal, as many of the bosses had variable patterns depending upon the types of damage inflicted on them.

Of course we all know the best damage, is Collateral Damage.

All the bosses in the game had multiple damage quadrants, resulting in interesting scenarios wherein the player would have to quickly decipher which spots made for the most effective targets.

Some of my favorite bosses in the game were the games first boss, a massive elephant like whats-it,

The spider-legged mid-boss of level 3, which could be insanely difficult if not taken out quickly,

KILL IT. NOOOOOOWWWW.

the giant bipedal monkey robot from level 5 that makes Doom noises when it roars,

and the giant satellite that serves as the game’s second to last boss.

PIG FUCKER of a boss. But awesome music, so all is forgiven.

Of course, none of these boss battles would be half as great if not for the game’s amazing soundtrack.

The game doesn’t have a singular boss theme, though in this case I think I would call the first boss theme, “Shudder” the Best Boss Music in Einhänder:

Ah hell, here’s the rest of the boss themes I just listed, in order:
Warning

Madness

and closest runner-up to Shudder, Thermosphere

Much of Einhänder universe uses German and Greek mythological terms, and as such, the game has an appropriately German techno-esque soundtrack.

Pictured: The physical embodiment of German Techno.

The atmosphere is moody, energetic, and undeniably futuristic, giving the game an uncommon sense of drama and urgency for a space shooter.

The game was incredibly difficult, using the annoying-as-fuck “back to the checkpoint every death” system of Gradius, and yet it was packed to the rim with so many beautiful sights and sounds that it was hard to put down.

Einhänder is one of those games that I find myself playing again every few years, and I scarcely believe I will ever get tired of it.

I wouldn’t be lying if I said Einhänder reminded me of Axelay at times.

That’s probably the biggest complement I can give to a space shooter.

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part IV

It's time to end it...

We’ve reached the end of my long reminiscence on the rail shooter series that is Time Crisis.

To wrap things up, I figured I would take a moment to talk a little bit about the Time Crisis games that I haven’t played.

Released in arcades in 1999, Crisis Zone was the first spin-off of the Time Crisis series, and the first that I would never play.

The game borrowed the duck and shoot mechanic of Time Crisis in the form of a riot shield that the player character wields throughout the game.

Not quite as fun as landing a riot shield kill in Modern Warfare, but oh well...

In addition to this, instead of the standard issue handgun of most rail shooters, the player was, at all times, armed with a submachine gun.

Remember when I said machine guns make for dumb rail shooters?

Well, that’s pretty much the reason I had so little interest in Crisis Zone despite the “Crisis” name.

My feelings on the subject would carry on years down the road, well past the 2004 console release of Crisis Zone on the PS2.

Nearly 5 years after the console release of Time Crisis 1, Namco saw fit to make a Playstation exclusive entry in the series called Time Crisis: Project Titan.

As an owner of both Point Blank and Time Crisis, as well as 2 Guncons, I remember being curious about Project Titan, however I never actually played the game.

Point Blank: Best Character Designs EVER.

I remember reading a review of Project Titan in my Playstation Magazine, (PSM) wherein the editor saw fit to give the game a solid, but otherwise unremarkable score.

This was back when the writing staff was still cool by the way.

The release of Project Titan was marred by horribly outdated graphics for it’s time, a lack of new features, and the impending release of the infinitely superior Time Crisis 2 on the PS2 within the same year.

For the last fucking time, "NO ONE CAN BEAT THEM."

A minor plus to the game came in the form of several major characters from Time Crisis 1 making an appearance; namely Richard Miller as the player character, and Kantaris and Wild Dog as the game’s antagonists.

Sorry Dog, can't come out to play this weekend...

That’s right, not even an appearance by Wild Dog could get me to play Project Titan.

In essence, from what I’ve seen and read, Project Titan tried hard with what it had, but came up short in just about every area possible.

I like how I stumbled across this pic by searching for "small penis." That made my day.

Released in arcades in 2006, Time Crisis 4 is the most recent “proper” entry in the Time Crisis series.

I have seen the game available for play at Seattle Gameworks, and while I was somewhat impressed by the game’s graphical fidelity, I was also miffed by a few minor details.

Minor in most people’s eyes anyway.

In short, I was both flabbergasted and appalled by two aspects of Time Crisis 4’s design:

The character designs, and the addition of swarms of creatures called “Terror Bites.”

Honestly, I don’t what kind of Final Fantasy bullshit Namco was trying to pull with this game, but the character designs are utterly ridiculous.

Take a look:

Wow. Just, "wow."

These designs are what you call, “flash for the sake of flash.”

The clothing and hairstyles of the two guys on either side are outlandishly over-the-top, and the dude in the middle’s white man dreads are just plain scary.

Ever since Final Fantasy X (which I have not played, and have no desire to do so), I’ve always bashed the series’ character designs as being too “fashion magazine” like for their own good.

Of course time marches on and... Okay then, I guess nothing's changed after all.

That’s Final Fantasy though, it’s fantasy, it’s supposed to be gaudy.

We’re talkin’ about fuckin’ Time Crisis!

Look at some of the designs from the old game.

Richard Miller, bomber jacket + blue jeans = Hero.

Sometimes simple is better.

Part of what always separated the Time Crisis series from many other light gun franchises, was the fact that your enemies were always human.

Sure, there were always mechanical bosses to deal with from time to time, and the 3rd game put a huge emphasis on putting you up against all sorts of vehicles and what not, but never was there a time in which you were fighting bugs or animals.

Pictured: Time Crisis 4

To make matters worse, from what I saw in the arcade attract demo, the Terror Bites attack in swarms, which is also a big no-no in a Time Crisis game.

Time Crisis games never swarm the player with enemies, in fact most of the time the enemy count on screen at any given moment is relatively low for a light gun game.

In Time Crisis 1 and 2, the difficulty stemmed from clever enemy placement and the requirement of great accuracy and speed on the part of the player.

Enemies rarely scored hits by overwhelming you, and they never swarmed you or otherwise forced you to spray and pray.

Personally, I felt these two additions to the gameplay structure of Time Crisis 4 have served to potentially send the series down an ugly road.

Yeah, pretty sure you'd find this place on "ugly road."

It doesn’t look horrible, and I still want to play it, however I’m in no hurry and will gladly wait until the price per play at the arcade goes down a bit.

We went over this before, I’m Azn and therefore cheap.

Time Crisis is a wonderful game series, and potentially the best of it’s kind.

I tip my hat to the folks over at Namco for enriching my childhood, adolescence, and teenage years with memories of playing the first 3 Time Crisis games early in the morning on Christmas day.

Huh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, but Time Crisis was my favorite Christmas gift, 3 different times.

"3!? That's impossible, even for a computer!"

So no matter how critical I may get of the later entries in the series, when I say I’m a lifelong fan of the series, you know I’m not bullshitting you.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got to say about Time Crisis for awhile.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t played a Time Crisis game in the arcade before, maybe now you’ll consider giving it a spin next time you’re out and about!

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part III

Time Crisis 3 marked a major transition point in the Time Crisis series.

While the core gameplay of Time Crisis 1 and 2 consisted of little more than ducking and shooting, Time Crisis 3 added a new spin to the mix in the form of a number of new weapons.

Wouldn't you know it, the first Google Images for the search terms "new weapons" just happens to be shit from Halo.

For the first time in the series, a new “inventory system” was added, granting the player access to a machine gun, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher at all times throughout of the game.

The addition of these special weapons changed the dynamic of the game drastically.

Selecting weapons was done by pulling the trigger while in cover, so there was very little pressure to select weapons quickly, however, by giving the player options on how they wished to approach every gun fight, it slowed down the pace of the game somewhat.

Time Crisis 3: It Brakes For The Elderly. Do YOU!?

It should be noted that the “Time” aspect of the 3rd Time Crisis, is almost entirely a non-factor at this point in the series.

In addition to this, because the expectation was that the player would be using these powerful new weapons throughout the game, the difficulty level was padded in the form of granting several enemies a lifebar system as opposed to the “one shot, one kill” dynamic of the previous games.

Yup, they've got one of these this time around.

I use the term “padded,” because the whole lifebar system felt tacked on and inorganic.

In prior games in the series, one shot was usually enough to kill virtually any enemy in the game.

These guys'll be dead in about 2 seconds flat.

Some bosses in Time Crisis 2 would take several shots to stun, but even then, none of them had a fatty lifebar floating over their head to tell you when they were going to flinch.

Or if they're BUFF, they don't flinch at all. 'Cause only pussies flinch at gun fire.

Despite the lifebars hanging over most enemies’ heads in Time Crisis 3, for the most part they didn’t flinch when being shot, which resulted in many instances where enemies would land hits on the player while eating entire clips in the face.

Strangely enough, despite the vast assortment of enemies with lifebars in Time Crisis 3, the overall difficulty level is decidedly lower than Time Crisis 1 or 2.

Once again, I attribute this fact to the new weapons.

Remember how hard Doom 2 was when playing with a BFG 9000 with unlimited ammo? That's Time Crisis 3 for you.

In short, giving the player a machine gun that never has to be reloaded is always a bad idea in a rail shooter.

Why?

Because the core gamplay, no matter how frenetic or Paul Greengrass-ed the fuck out, consists of nothing more than spotting enemies and pointing your gun at them.

Okay, bad example. Whac-A-Mole was pretty fuckin' hard...

Do you realize how easy that is when all you have to do is wave the gun across the screen few times to kill everything at once?

Well I’ll tell you:  Pretty fuckin’ easy.

Either that, or it's Gunblade. Which isn't a bad thing...

Difficulty level aside, Time Crisis 3 was a solid entry in the series.

The color palette was once again made even more vibrant than in the previous game, giving the game a cartoonish, almost anime-like aesthetic.

In fact, many of the character designs in the game reflect this trend, with outrageous, and often; flat-out stupid hairstyles and clothing being the norm for most of the cast.

Case in point:

Apparently our heroes shop at the Gap...

Sadly, not even Wild Dog was able to escape the aesthetic shift, as his appearance in the game was marred not only by the inclusion of a fruity sidekick/son(?) named Wild Fang, as well as his least pimp, and by far worst “look” in franchise history.

Damn, he got a fat head.

Interestingly enough however, one thing Time Crisis 3 did with just the right amount of flair, was it’s story.

Unlike the majority of the cutscenes in the previous 2 games, Time Crisis 3 included a great deal of action in most of it’s story sequences.

In addition to this, the player characters, Alan and Wesley, were a helluva’ lot more defined than any of the previous ones, with a goofy sort of “buddy cop” dynamic being played up between the two.

Although at no point is it ever made clear that “No one can beat them.”

SUPERIOR.

The story involves a fictional Mediterranean nation called Lukano, which is being invaded by the Zagorias Federation.

The head of the Zagorias Federation, Giorgio Zott, intends to use the location of Lukano to serve as a launch pad for tactical nuclear missiles.

Whoever the fuck named “Giorgio Zott” deserves to get smacked upside their head, ’cause that is just about the goofiest and least threatening last name I’ve heard in a while.

Seriously, that's a NAME.

Anyway, international badasses that they are, VSSE dispatches 2 agents, Alan Dunaway and Wesley Lambert, to handle the entire conflict CONTRA style.

Well okay, maybe not THAT hardcore, but hardcore nonetheless.

After a bloodsoaked beach landing, and a romp along the coast, our heroes find themselves under fire from a giant ass gunship.

GIANT ASS GUNSHIP.

Fortunately, the pair happen upon a foxy young member of the Lukano Liberation Army, named Alicia Winston, who just happens to have the world’s fastest and most well-armored jeep in the world.

Okay, maybe I lied about the whole "foxy" thing.

While riding the jeep, our heroes battle the games’ first boss as he bears down on them with his gunship.

Despite the impressive visage of taking on a big ass plane while riding a jeep, the battle is really pretty straightforward once you’ve taken out the plane’s defenses and forced the flame-haired brute to fight you out on the loading ramp.

Couldn't find a good pic. This'll do nicely though...

Other than the occasional lateral juke every now and again, the guy really just stands there and eats whatever you throw at him.

Oh yeah, and at one point he pulls a 10 foot long Vulcan out, but even so, he’s cake.

Yup, still a tool.

Long story short, he dies, the plane goes up in flames, everybody macarena.

With that, Alicia begins to guide our heroes through Lukano and towards the tactical nukes.

Unfortunately, a fuck ton of enemies show up, forcing Alan and Wesley to split off from Alicia and fight their way through a marketplace.

Did I mention Lukano was in the Mediterranean?

This was one of my favorite parts of the game, largely because of the music and the cute little motorcycle battle towards the end.

Eventually, our heroes make it through the town and reunite with Alicia, hitching a ride on a train while they’re at it.

While riding the train, a foppish, clawed ninja-like character, similar to Moz from Time Crisis 1, attacks them, serving as the stage boss.

Not the scariest boss around, but, then again looks aren't everything.

The character has no dialogue, but unlike Moz, he actually puts up a decent fight.

Oh yeah, and he doesn’t take 3 shots to kill either.

The boss moves about quickly, often forcing the player to take their shots at times when he is just likely to hit you as the other way around.

To add to the excitement of things, the train the players are on is progressively falling into a pit during the fight, causing your perspective to be obscured for most of the fight.

That's just plain unsafe.

Despite the bosses arsenal of grenades and claw slashes, he too ends up kicking the bucket like all those that came before him.

Curiously enough though, there is no explosion following his death.

NO EXPLOSION!!!!!!???

Sometime during the 3rd and final stage, Wild Dog, and his new apprentice, Wild Fang, show up for their obligatory showdown with our heroes.

Uh, nice ponytail there, Mr. Fang...

This time around, Wild Dog is looking a little worse for wear, with his hair long and unkempt, and beginning to gray at that.

Despite this, Mr. Dog demonstrates further improvements in his arsenal, fielding a flamethrower, a rocket launcher and a sword-like blade attached to the machine gun arm he had last time around.

Wild Fang is somewhat of a mystery to me, as despite his armaments consisting of little more than a Mauser pistol or two, his main method of attack involves him kicking objects at you.

By “objects” of course, I mean things like forklifts and I-bars.

You think I'm shitting you? Play the game asshole.

You know, standard stuff.

It’s never explicitly stated, however I believe one can assume that Mr. Fang has had some sort of bodily enhancements.

Although if BUFF Bryant is any indication of what a “strong” human being is capable of in the Time Crisis universe, then I could be wrong.

Anyway, the Wild Pair attack in tandem, offering up an exhilarating and diverse challenge that is definitely a step up in difficulty from Wild Dog’s appearance in Time Crisis 2.

However Wild Dog looks like shit, so the game loses brownie points for that.

Eventually, the Wild Pair is defeated, with Wild Dog going about his normal routine of, you guessed, blowing himself up.

After heated gun battles against ninjas, machine gun toting hooligans, and even the occasional submersible or two, it isn’t long before our heroes find themselves at odds with Mr. Giorgio Zott himself.

While Ernesto Diaz from Time Crisis 2 saw fit to hang back and let his dummy satellite do most of the fighting, Zott demonstrates a passion for fighting up close and personal.

Like, with a fucking sword, up close and personal.

Zott begins the fight with a submachine in one hand and a sword in the other.

He is exceedingly accurate with both, and even sees fit to borrow Johnny Cage’s shadow kick from time to time.

Do I really need a reason?

During the fight, the arena is constantly being flooded with all manner of enemies, ramping up the difficulty level to an extent.

For the final phase of the battle, Zott switches out his weapons in favor of a pair of 4 tubed rocket launchers.

8 rockets, more than enough to kill... Oh, come on, by now I'm sure you know the rest

Despite the imposing nature of a man firing more rockets than any human probably should, Zott goes down shortly thereafter, proving be a gaudy and colorful, but otherwise harmless final boss.

Also, he doesn’t explode.

WHERE'S THE GODDAMN EXPLOSION!!!?

Even as Zott bites the big one however, the missiles he had set up earlier suddenly spring to life and begin to launch!

Fortunately, Alan and Wesley have the power of “dynamic cutscene intervention,” which the put into to play just in time stop the rockets and rob the player of any measure of participation in the games’ final crisis of time.

And HOW do they save the day? Why, by doing cartwheels and shooting things, that's how!

Remember how I said the cutscenes were flashier this time around?

Well, this is just about the only case wherein I felt this was a bad thing.

That being said, thanks to the power of cool cutscenes, Alan and Wesley get to walk away from a massive explosion, whereupon they are greeted by Alicia.

Pictured: Undoctored still from the end of Time Crisis 3.

High-fives, fist-pumping, and three-way fucking ensue.

As a supplement to the main story mode, the console port of Time Crisis 3 includes a series of single player side missions wherein the player assumes the role of Alicia as she assists the VSSE agents and attempts to find her imprisoned brother.

Alicia’s missions include a new leveling system wherein her weapons start out in a downgraded state, only to steadily increase in power with repeated use.

By the end of the game, her weapons display power and rates of fire well in excess of their capabilities in the main story mode.

In addition to this, Alicia also makes use a sniper rifle, which is cleverly implemented into the gameplay by way of a zoom-in button in place of normal “duck” button.

BOOM! HEADSHOT!!!

Perhaps the most impressive use of the sniper rifle in Alicia’s game is it’s use during a pivotal point in the main storyline wherein Alicia saves her brother from Giorgio Zott by shooting a pistol out of his hand.

It’s a nerve racking, one-shot, slow-motion sequence that is largely reminiscent of Namco’s Point Blank/Gun Bullet series.

After saving Alicia’s brother, whole experience culminates with a fast-paced battle against Jake Hernandez, a traitor to the Lukano Liberation Army.

The battle is fought under a strict time limit, and is perhaps the most difficult boss battle in the entire game.

Sorry, no pics, so you're stuck with The Fat Man.

In all, Alicia’s missions are intensely varied and excellent throughout, with many of the mission adopting Crisis Mission parameters, such as extremely limited ammo, time, and even the occasional innocent civilian from time to time.

That’s not to say that Time Crisis 3 doesn’t include Crisis Missions of it’s own, however their largely the same as the previous game, so we’ll consider that covered from last time.

COVERED.

Aside from it’s exceptionally colorful and action movie-esque plot, another highlight to Time Crisis 3 was it’s soundtrack.

In short, the soundtrack of Time Crisis 3 is excellent, regardless of it’s connection to the Time Crisis series.

Time Crisis 1’s soundtrack consisted of only a minute or two of of actual composition, with most of it’s running time being made up of variations of the same core theme.

Time Crisis 2’s soundtrack was greatly expanded from the first, however the instrumentation was weaker and not as engaging as the first.

Time Crisis 3 however, has a very robust and exhilarating soundtrack, that while bearing very little resemblance, if any, to the previous entries in the series, definitely stands out as perhaps the best of all Time Crisis games.

My favorite track, by far, was the Stage 2-1 music:

A close second was the first bosses theme:

Sadly, Wild Dog’s theme is once again a step down from it’s original debut, however, given his severely demoted standing among the other villains in the game, it’s entirely appropriate.

Despite Time Crisis 3’s relative lack of difficulty, and borderline childish aesthetic, it stands as a worthy successor to the series, if not a dramatically different one.

Check back for a possible Part IV!

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Taking A Break…

Pictured: Azn Badger after an O'Doul's....

Taking a break from Time Crisis stuff for today.

Those last two posts ended up being a little bit more involved than I was hoping, and as a result; really kicked my ass.

Needless to say, I’m a little fatigued and am devoid of inspiration at the moment.

I’m thinking about trying to do vlogs or video posts as a means of giving me a break from writing every now and again.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have the best equipment to work with, so it may end up being more trouble than it’s worth.

Either way, a friend of mine (the same friend I beat Super Mario Bros. with) and I have gotten into the habit of trying to “beast” an NES game or two whenever we hang out together.

“Beasting” apparently refers to beating or otherwise making a bitch of someone or something.

Dr. Frasier "Beast" Crane, at your service!

I know it sounds dirty, but so far we’ve “beasted” Super Mario Bros. Cabal, and Ninja Gaiden.

Off the top of my head, some games I think I’d like to “beast” for you guys would be:

Mega Man 2

Best in the series...

Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos

WHY ARE YOU SO FUCKING HARD!!!? ANSWER ME!!!!

and Captain Bucky O’Hare.

If you missed it as a kid, don't ask me to explain it to you...

Ninja Gaiden 2 in particular strikes a chord with me, as I recently played the actual cart off of my NES, and sometime during the second segment of the final stage, the game crashed.

That pissed me off.  A little.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure Ninja Gaiden 2 is gonna’ be the first to be “beasted” on camera, though Bucky O’Hare was a truly great game that few people remember, so chances are it’ll be a lot of fun to run through for you guys.

Please feel free to post your comments or suggestions for video or post material, as I’m starting to run out of steam and could definitely use a pick-me-up.

Thanks a bunch, see you tomorrow for more Time Crisis business.

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part II

I said it before, I’ll say it again; Time Crisis 2 is my favorite light gun game of all time.

While Time Crisis 1 was an excellent and innovative game for it’s time, #2 managed to improve upon it in every way.

Released in arcades in 3 years after it’s successor in 1998, Time Crisis 2 featured a new visual cue to alert the player of incoming fire, an increased bullet capacity from 6 to 9, the limited inclusion of a new weapon, (a machine gun) and the option to play the game co-operatively with a friend.

Not the best example of co-op gaming, but whatever...

The new visual cue, dubbed the “Crisis Flash” system, would go on to become a staple of the series included in every subsequent sequel.

The “Crisis Flash” was a rose colored flash that would emit from from incoming bullets just a moment before striking the player.

Pictured: The "Crisis Flash"

The system was created in response to the sometimes random instances in which the player would get hit.

While enemies’ colors denote their accuracy levels in all Time Crisis games, in the original there were some instances in which the seemingly harmless blue enemies would somehow turn into deadshots.

Cheating motherfuckers...

Time Crisis 2 corrected this by affording the player with an opportunity, however brief, to avoid any instance of potential harm.

This, along with most of the other new features in the game, served to lower the difficulty of Time Crisis 2 in comparison with it’s predecessor, while at the same time making it more accessible and fun to novice and expert players alike.

Although I think the game would probably be too easy for these kids.

The increased bullet count per load in Time Crisis 2 was, in my opinion, one of the most significant improvements from Time Crisis 1.

The original Time Crisis had the player using 6 bullets per load, a number that, while standard for the time, was somewhat difficult to work with.

But, isn't six shots, more than enough to kill anything that moves?

“Time” was a huge factor in the original Time Crisis.

The player was afforded 40 seconds to deal with any one situation, with extra time awarded for killing orange enemies or reaching checkpoints.

The timer would count down at all times, even during scene transitions when the player was unable to control the game.

Similar to how even when you are safely disarming the bomb in Counter-Strike, the mistakes of other people can, in fact, still fuck you over:

Running out of time in Time Crisis would result in a game over, while in all of it’s sequels, the player merely loses 1 hit point.

While enemies rarely swarmed you, it was often difficult to effectively dispatch any one wave of enemies with a single load of 6 rounds.

This would often force the player to duck and cover repeatedly for every wave, thusly draining your precious time limit quite rapidly.

Providing ever more chances that shit like this would happen.

While the enemy count on screen was bolstered significantly from the first game, Time Crisis 2 granted the player flexibility in dealing with them by giving them 3 extra bullets to mount a more sustained offensive, and a more forgiving time limit for times when the player needed time to collect themselves.

In case, you know, you just happen to be one of those assholes that decides to do this during a gun fight.

Time Crisis 2 marked the first time in franchise history that the player could acquire new weapons during the game.

The only other weapon available in Time Crisis 2 besides the default infinite ammo pistol, was a machine gun given to the player for very specific situations.

The “situations” in question were a few instances in which the player was faced with the challenge of taking on heavily armed APC’s.

HOW you manage to take down one of these with a machine gun, is beyond me.

When using the machine gun, the player would be treated to the advantages of automatic fire, and unlimited ammo.

Unfortunately, the game’s player characters, Keith and Robert would always see fit to discard these wonderful guns upon taking out the APC’s, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”

"No One Can Beat Them"

Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but hey, the game would probably be too easy if they let you keep the machine guns.

Just ask Time Crisis 3

Better not blink, you might miss them beat the game...

Despite all of the neat little improvements that Time Crisis 2 made over it’s predecessor, by far the most significant of these was the addition of two player co-op gameplay.

Light gun games and co-op go together like spaghetti and meatballs.

Despite this, it’s easy to understand why the original Time Crisis didn’t include the feature.

Namco already broke the mold by introducing the “Hide and Shoot” pedal mechanic, and the creative fatigue associated with this, coupled with the technical limitations of 1995, probably resulted in them being unable to incorporate the feature.

1995: When the peak of technology allowed for Jim Carrey to be unfunny, and Batman's costume to have nipples.

At least that’s my guess.

Co-op in Time Crisis 2 was executed in a unique and brilliant fashion.

While virtually every light gun game before had the player characters occupying the same field of vision, on the same screen, the Time Crisis 2 arcade cabinet was split into 2 separate screens, allowing for instances in which the two players would split up, viewing the same scene from different angles.

FUCK YEAH.

This, combined with the nifty recoiling light guns, made for an exciting and colorful experience, wherein the two players would often times be caught up in cross fires while trying to cover one another.

It also made it possible for the two players to mess around and shoot one another if they so desired.

This, boys and girls, is what you call "team killing."

Fortunately, the game only penalizes the players for doing so by removing points, not by damaging the player.

Whatever man, you’d have done it too…

That's right, YOU.

I played Time Crisis 2 like a mad man in the arcade, but it wasn’t until I bought it on the Playstation 2 that I truly began to love it.

The PS2 port of Time Crisis 2 came out in 2001, and, like it’s predecessor, it featured a lot of bonus content.

The game featured remixed music, a massive graphical face lift, optional permanent weapon enhancements, the option to play the game “mirrored” with enemies appearing in new places, and a number of scenario missions called “Crisis Missions.”

All of these features, as well as a few others, resulted in a console light gun game that was hard to get tired of.

Unlike this quarter munching pile of ass.

Done with the single player game?

Play it “mirrored” and you’ve got basically a whole new game on your hands.

Done with “mirror” mode?

Try playing through the game with a shotgun, see how it feels.

Tired? Sleepy?

Try 5-Hour Energy.

*Ahem!* Sorry about that, WAY too many Hulu ads.

*Cocks Head To Side* "My delivery isn't condescending. Not at all..." *Cocks Head To Side*

The “Crisis Missions” were essentially training missions designed to challenge your skills and help you become a better player.

Either that or they were just cruel jokes meant to make you feel dumb for being unable to complete them.

In short, the “Crisis Missions” were very hard, much harder than the story mode of the game, even on the hard settings.

Most of my memories of “Crisis Mode” are ones of contempt and frustration.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wasn’t one of those guys that break things when they get mad, otherwise I’d have a lot of broken GunCons.

...And a lot of dead cats.

The story of Time Crisis 2 is standard action movie fare, however it’s progression is a little bit muddled and detached, resulting in an experience that isn’t nearly as memorable or dear to me as the the first game’s.

Basically, there’s this company called Neodyne Industries, whose CEO just happens to be a megalomaniacal asshole named Ernesto Diaz.

With a scar like that, you KNOW he's legit.

Using his company as a front, Diaz intends to launch a nuclear satellite into space so he can… Well, it’s never really explained as to what he intends to do, but whatever, you end up killing him anyway so it’s all good.

As members of VSSE, Keith and Robert, it’s your job to take on Diaz and his thugs, destroy the satellite, and rescue Christy, an agent assigned to infiltrate Neodyne.

Hmm, I guess she's worth it... I GUESS.

It’s a good thing that “No One Can Beat Them,” otherwise that’d be a tall order.

Skip to 2:10 or risk losing your sanity:

On the way, you encounter a series of strange and colorful bosses.

The first is a man named Jakov Kinisky, a weasly and effeminite man in a pink shirt and black suit that carries a suitcase.

Oh yeah, and a machine pistol.

No Comment.

You spend the entirety of the first stage chasing Jakov through the streets of a picturesque town and port, literally knocking him on his ass everytime he makes the mistake of trying to shoot back at you.

Eventually, you chase Jakov onto a heavily armed and armored speed boat, which leads to a crazy boat chase complete with attack divers that try to shank you at every corner.

After disposing of the boats defenses, you then cap Jakov in his face, thusly causing the boat to crash, and yes, explode.

Using the intel gathered from Jakov’s precious suitcase, Keith and Robert drive off to intercept a train that is carrying the nuclear satellite.

And yes, “No One Can Beat Them.”

After a hard fought battle, our heroes are faced with the challenge of taking on a black man so tough, they saw fit to give him a Russian accent: BUFF Bryant.

You better believe that that radio in his hand is about to get smashed...

Seriously, BUFF Bryant.

The only other Buff I’ve ever heard of was Buff Bagwell, and he wasn’t nothin’ compared to Mr. Bryant.

...Although that doesn't mean he wasn't awesome in his own right.

As BUFF makes his entrance, a helicopter shows up, airlifting the nuclear satellite off the train and out carrying it far off into the distance.

None of that matters though ’cause BUFF sees fit to distract our heroes by spraying fire at them with a train mounted minigun.

A Minigun: The Only Weapon Suitable For A Man Named "Buff."

When that proves ineffectual, BUFF casually hops out of his seat, strolls over to a surface-to-air missile stowed on the train car, and proceeds to pick it up to club you over the head with.

Naw, he's not on the 'roids. No way...

What the fuck Namco, did I miss something?

I can understand if the man’s supposed to be bulletproof, ’cause he’s wearing nothin’ but a dress shirt and suspenders and somehow it takes like 50 rounds to make him flinch, but when the guy starts picking up 30 foot long missiles, then I just get confused.

It must be the pimp-ass suspenders, after all, Wild Dog’s got ’em and you saw all the crazy shit he was doing in Time Crisis 1…

I swear man, it's gotta' be the suspenders...

Anyway, BUFF drops the missile eventually, whereupon he decides to pick up his minigun and hop onto a nearby helicopter with it.

Man, I didn't need to know this mothefucker could FLY.

After doing a few passes on you, eventually BUFF takes one too many bullets to the face and he rears back in his seat, shooting out the Jesus bolt in his helicopter in the process, thusly causing, you guessed, an explosion.

Yeah, somehow I don't think this would be enough to kill 'ole BUFF...

For whatever reason, the train starts to fall off a cliff after this, thusly forcing Keith and Robert to flee the ensuing destruction and explosions.

Fortunately, “No One Can Beat Them,” and after a bunch of stupid bullshit involving Last Crusade nonsense and inept guards, our heroes manage to commandeer a nearby helicopter that just happens to have a pre-programmed flight pattern for Ernesto Diaz’s island hideout.

With that, our heroes head over to the island and start killin’ bitches.

Pictured: Keith and Robert killing bitches... Or a cat yawning. I really don't care either way.

Just as things seem to have escalated as far as they can however, our old buddy, the pimpest man in existence AKA Wild Dog decides to show up and make things complicated all over again.

I came.

Armed with a brand new robotic gatling gun arm and a fatty new facial scar to boot, Wild Dog puts the hurt on our heroes while Diaz hangs back and shoots rockets at them every now and again, you know, like you do.

Pictured: Steve Jobs during Corporate War III.

Despite looking, unbelievably; even more pimp than ever before, Wild Dog is nothing more than a minor obstacle in Time Crisis 2.

“Obstacle” being the operative word in that sentence.

In Time Crisis 1, Wild Dog was the big boss, the guy you had to kill to get to the end, while in the sequel he comes across more as an element of the level design than a concrete “presence” or character in the game.

In either case, being as “No One Can Beat” Keith and Robert, (Note: “No One Can Beat Them”) Wild Dog ends up gettin’ capped somethin’ fierce, only this time he makes the conscious decision to click his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” on himself, thusly setting off a charge in his robotic arm and causing him to explode.

Again.

BAD. ASS.

Anyway, upon seeing the pimpest man in existence extinguish his own life in a blaze of B ADASS glory, Diaz rabbits like a little bitch and takes Christy with him.

Chasing Diaz through the installation, Keith and Robert manages to cap Diaz in the face enough times to make him let go of Christy, though in an act of douchebaggery he actually has the nerve to try and toss her ass into a fuckin’ hole.

I’m amazed he even tried to put up a fight, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”

Fortunately, Christy is saved just in time by our heroes, thusly leading to the final battle.

With the shuttle carrying the nuclear satellite beginning it’s launch sequence, Diaz confronts our heroes at the top of the launch platform while straddling a dummy satellite mounted on a complex armature.

Satellite or not, shoot it in the face. That usually does the trick.

Despite being a dummy model for a nuclear satellite, the machine proves to be heavily armed with conventional weapons like laser beams and rockets.

Once again, I don’t get it, but whatever, it’s hella’ fun to shoot to shit.

Taking potshots at you while hiding behind his mechanical monstrosity, Diaz proves to be a decent, if not colorful challenge, however he doesn’t even come close to approaching the level of difficulty that Sherudo or Wild Dog achieved in Time Crisis 1.

Still, BAAAAADDDDD ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

It isn’t long before Diaz and his satellite, quite literally, fall before the power of Keith and Robert’s infinite ammo pistols.

Oh yeah, and “No One Can Beat Them.”

Diaz and the dummy satellite fall onto the launching shuttle, thusly damaging it enough to stop it’s ascent and destroy the installation in the process.

Explosions ensue.

Yup, pretty sure he's dead. Had it been BUFF in there though, I don't know...

With that, our heroes are blown out to sea, whereupon they are greeted by the sight of Christy driving over to them in an inflatable raft.

Cue BLATANT rip-off of music from The Rock, roll credits, everyone fucks, the end.

"What the fuck do you mean they STOLE the fuckin' music!?"

Time Crisis 2’s soundtrack, both in the arcade, and remixed on the console, was nothing to write home about.

The Time Crisis theme is evident throughout the game, however the intensity level of everything is significantly taken down a notch.

I mentioned that the ending theme of the game is, in my opinion, a rip-off of the theme from the movie The Rock.

In case you’re curious, here’s the evidence of my claim:

Skip to 9:05 for the source material:

Now skip to :40 of this one, and tell me they aren’t nearly identical:

In the console version of the game, this theme, ripped-off or not, is repeated throughout the game at several points, most notably during stage 2.

Rip-off or not, this theme can’t hold a candle to the original Time Crisis theme.

Wild Dog’s theme is thankfully reused for his appearance in the game, though once again, the intensity level just isn’t there.

Time Crisis 2 stands as my favorite light gun game of all time.

It may not have connected with me on as personal a level as the first in the series, but sometimes that’s not important.

I’ve seen The Shawshank Redemption only once, but I’ve seen Bloodsport about a billion times.

Why?

Because Bloodsport is a fucking fun-ass movie and Shawshank requires a bit more investment than I prefer to give in most cases.

Time Crisis 2 was just plain fun, end of story.

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