Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

I Hate The Blue Whale.

HATE.

I hate The Blue Whale.

I hate his smugness.

I hate his  perpetual goofy-ass grin.

SOOOOO MUCH HATE...

But most of all, I hate that he’s a fat-gluttonous-fuck and everyone loves him anyway.

I refer to Blue Whales as “him” because I find it anthropomorphizes and individualizes them, thusly making “him” easier for me to hate.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE.

When I was little, Zoobooks were my life.

Every month we would get a new issue in the mail, and every month I would devour every page of them.

Mind you, these were the cool Zoobooks, the stoic and dignified Zoobooks, not the stupid rebranded ones.

Now tell me, which one is easier to take seriously? Yes, I am aware that one is in Spanish.

One of these issues was titled “Animal Champions II,” within which were a host of factoids about world-record holding species of animals.

This issue taught me that The Blue Whale was essentially the Mr. Perfect of the animal kingdom.

The Blue Whale, personified.

“Animal Champions II” taught me that The Blue Whale was the world’s largest, most massive, strongest, and most gluttonous animal.

You see!? He even holds the record for being "Most Harpoon Resistant." WTF, man, WTF...

Basically, this issue, as well as the “Whales” issue, seemingly existed solely to suck The Blue Whale’s cock.

Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure The Blue Whale’s cock also holds at least 3 world record’s too.

In example of Zoobook’s cock-sucking, here’s a two-page spread from the “Whales” issue praising the majesty of The Blue Whale:

Not good enough for you?

Well guess what, here’s another, this time from “Animal Champions II”:

Type “Blue Whale” into Google Images and the first page of your results will be littered with cock-sucking diagrams like the ones above.

My problem with The Blue Whale stems from the fact that he stands atop the world in terms of achievement, and yet he has done nothing to earn it.

Well, other than being a fat fuck that eats too much.

What happened to you Ice Man? You used to be cool... Well, not really. But, still...

Did you know that The Blue Whale subsists by eating plankton, a lifeform that it is approximately 100 million times larger than, thusly setting a world record for greatest disparity in size between hunter and prey?

GAAHH!!!  You see!?  Do you see the bullshit that fuckin’ Zoobooks fed me as a child!?

The Blue Whale’s list of achievements is simply far too long.  No creature should get as much hype as The Blue Whale does.

All my life, I’ve been told that The Blue Whale was the man, that he had the mic skills of The Rock, the technical wrestling of Bret Hart, and the high flying perfection of Hayabusa.

If this were true, I probably wouldn't hate The Blue Whale. I would love him THIIIIIIIIS much.

You know what the problem with all this is?

I don’t give a shit!

You can tell me he’s the man, you can prove to me that he’s the man, but if I don’t like him, guess what?

From my standpoint, HE’S NOT THE FUCKING MAN.

Nothing will ever change the fact that The Blue Whale probably holds a world record for holding the most world records, but the point is:  he stinks, and I don’t like him.

This has been a special report from the Azn Badger, being bitter on his birfday.

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The Best Track in the Game #5: Top Gear

VRROOOOOOOOOOOMMM!!!

TOP.  FUCKING.  GEAR.

To all those that have played Top Gear, those are the only words one needs to say to get their engines going.

I mean, come on!  Look at this brilliant fucking gameplay!:

Well, okay, that was boring as shit, but hey, back in 1992 that was high-fucking tech for a racing game.

As one of the first racing games released for the Super NES, Top Gear has the distinction of being awesome for exactly the same reasons it sucks donkey balls.

At the time of of it’s launch, games in the Super NES library made extensive use of Mode 7.

In case you’re wondering, Mode 7 is that goofy background scrolling effect used to rapidly move the scenery while the foreground sprites remain in place.

Secret of Mana Mode 7. Yes, Secret of Mana was a better game than Top Gear.

Games like F-Zero and Pilotwings relied so much on the creation of Mode 7, that in many ways, they served like retail tech-demos for it.

The only difference between those games and Top Gear however, was the fact that they were good.

Well, that and Top Gear didn’t actually use Mode 7, but give me a break, I felt like talkin’ Mode 7 for a minute.

Anyway, point is:  most Super NES games were good, whereas Top Gear was decidedly not.

Then why is it that Top Gear holds such a special place in my heart?

The first, and for the most part, only time I ever played Top Gear in my youth, was during my days spent over at my cub scout (Den 123, woot!) friend’s house.

This would be the same friend’s house that I used to play Star Fox at.

And no, we didn't look like this. We weren't old enough to have facial hair...

You see, during sleepovers, I had a habit of staying up way later than whoever I was hanging out with.

Basically, whenever my friends would fall asleep, I would set about playing the single-player games in their library.

At my cub scout buddies’ house, said games consisted of Aladdin, Pilotwings, and Star Fox.

Yup, this was me in Pilotwings, only with a lot less "Skydiving", and helluva' lot more "Falling."

When my buddy was awake however, Top Gear was the order of the day.

Part of the fun of Top Gear, at least for me, was the fact that my buddy and I played it, not as a competitive racer, but as a co-operative one.

Like Super Mario Kart, Top Gear utilized a progressive, point-driven tournament system for deciding each players ranking for each of the country/continent based circuits.

Only, without the fun of chucking red shells and bananas at people.

Ooooooh.... You know somebody's about'sta get pwned...

Essentially, coming in first in every race was not a necessity to win the game, so long as the players managed to earn enough points to qualify for the next circuit.

Because of this, my buddy and I would back each other up during every race, bumping CPU drivers off the road and dropping back to concede a first place win in order to keep our point totals in the black.

I remember there was one CPU driver in particular that pissed off my buddy and I.

His name was Richie.

Richie was the CPU driver that would consistently come in first, provided none of the players managed to out-race him.

I always pictured Richie as being some sort of stereotypical blonde Californian asshole, like Ice Man from Top Gun, that one douche in the black SUV in Twister, and, well, let’s just face facts, Richie was Billy Zabka.

Their only weaknesses are: Tornadoes, Kicks to the Face, and Tom Cruise with his shirt off...

Richie was a pain in the ass, but the real source of Top Gear’s difficulty, was definitely the fuel/pit-stop system.

That’s right folks, cars in Top Gear could run out of fuel, and boy I’ll tell yah’, they found a way to make it happen every fuckin’ time.

Eeew.... Wouldn't wanna' get caught in THAT circle jerk...

Pit stops were often times tucked away off the side of the road in such a way so as to make them next to impossible to find.

Or in the case of some people, a little too easy to find.

You see, even though the game offered an onscreen prompt to signal players to the pits, more often than not, players would end up barely missing the turn-off, or barely making it, thusly leaving one in the unsavory position of either being dead on the track, or stuck in the pits at an inopportune time.

The Red Car was lucky enough to make the pits at the RIGHT time. Yeah, I never did that.

I’m pretty sure those bloody pits were the only reason I never beat Top Gear.

From a gameplay standpoint, Top Gear was no Mario Kart.

And that’s saying a lot, seeing as the game was a straightforward racer, with no real complexity to the gameplay outside of the ability to manually shift your car and occasionally use a burst of nitrous oxide for speed boosts.

In fact, probably the deepest part of the gameplay came in the form of picking your car from an assortment of 4.

As a kid, I always played it safe and picked the White Car, ’cause it’s fuel efficiency ensured fewer trips to the dreaded pits.

Nowadays I prefer to pick the Green Car.

That's right, it's fuckin' GREEN! Fuckin' kids, tryin' tuh' tell me it's blue n'shit...

Top Gear’s interface was clunky amid a sea of 90’s clunkiness, with an option screen that required a special touch to properly maneuver, let alone discover.

You press "select" here, just so you know.

Most peculiar was the actual racing interface, as it was perpetually locked in a horizontal split-screen configuration, regardless of the number of players.

During single-player races, the other half of the screen would be occupied by a CPU driver, who, like Richie, would consistently place first unless you beat him to it.

Yup, 'cause that's how I like to play my games. With HALF OF THE FUCKIN' SCREEN devoted to shit that has nothing to do with my car.

Because of the split-screen, slow-down ran rampant throughout Top Gear.

Hell, when going over hills, or through tunnels, the game would chug along at fuckin’ Little Bear speeds.

STILL. FUCKING. SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

Despite these flaws, when I was playing it with my buddy, Top Gear was a no-frills racer that was buckets of fun.

All that business aside, you probably wanna’ know what the music was like in Top Gear, right?

Well, get ready for a shocker, ’cause The Best Track in the Game is…

EVERY. FUCKING. TRACK.

Haha!  Didn’t see that comin’ did’ja?

Top Gear has an awesome fucking soundtrack.

In fact, if you’re not particularly attached to the pants you’re wearing right now, here’s a download for the ENTIRE soundtrack.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you though, Top Gear music has been known to ’cause many a man or woman to splooge their pants.

There’s only a handful of tracks to choose from, but every one of them is awesome in that crazy electronic, sped-up Ace of Base sort of way.

From the Title Theme, to every race BGM that follows it, every track is full of fun and excitement.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that virtually every track in Top Gear is hummable in my book.

Here’s a few standouts, starting with the awesome fuckin’ Title Theme:

Isn’t that just fuckin’ awesome!?
Next up is the “Long” Race Theme:

I call it the “Long” Race Theme because technically none of these tracks have titles, as they are recycled at will throughout the game.
The first time you hear this track is on the San Francisco track, which just happens to be a long ass race, hence, “Long” Race Theme.
Finally, we have the “Night” Race Theme:

It’s technically not used exclusively for night races, but once again, the first time you hear it is in New York, during a night race
Doesn’t it sound remarkably appropriate for a Super NES night race?
Hah, not to spam the Karate Kid references or anything, but I can’t help but draw a comparison between this track and that one song they played during the scene where Johnny and the Cobra Kai show up on the beach riding their dirt bikes.

……Well, now that I’ve heard the whole song, maybe they’re not quite so similar.
But still, that one part, that they used in the movie?  Spot on.

Anyway, that’s Top Gear.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get caught up with my posting tonight so I can get back to making quality posts like this once again!

See yah’ tomorrow folks!

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Enter: Big Mac

To all the ladies out there: This is Azn Badger's "1 AM Man-Face."  If you are seeing this it means come bearing back rub or get the fuck out.

To all the ladies out there: This is Azn Badger's "1 AM Man-Face". If you are seeing this it means come bearing back rub or get the fuck out.

Seeing as most of my intended post for the day got nuked by WordPress, I think it’s about time I posted something short and sweet.

It’s been a few days since I did my little piece on Double Dragon II: The Revenge, and I’ve come to realize that I failed to mention what I regard as perhaps the most memorable part of it.

Deep within the recesses of the Forest Level, there resides a beast.

A beast so dreadful, so vile, so unbelievably Insta-Tanned the fuck out, that even the fearsome Abobo, hair-ed or otherwise, dare not challenge him.

Enter, “Big Mac.”

HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

I honestly don’t know why my brother and I named him “Big Mac,” as he’s obviously modeled after Predator/Commando Arnold Schwarzenegger, but one thing’s for sure, he was one bad mutha’.

While not the most cerebral or creative of men, his sharp crew cut and herculean, jaundice infused strength were more than enough to get me shaking in my boots.

His repertoire consisted exclusively of Rick Flair-esque knife-edge chops to the torso:

THE CHOP.

And some sort of funky-ass shoulder tackle that looked more like he was tripping over a rock or something.

*BAM!* "Man, I'm hella' sorry dude! Somebody should really pick that up, someone could get hurt..."

Attempts at getting past this hulking wall of a man-savagery usually resulted in dropping all your lives and continues to “Big Mac’s” repeated shoulder tackles.  Either that or…

No, actually that’s really about all I ever managed.

“Big Mac’s” appearances in Double Dragon II were few, but memorable.

I think my favorite was his first, where he decided to bring his truck to work with him:

Behold: The Man-Mobile.

“Big Mac” will always live on in my memory as the definitive “Big Ugly Side-Scroller Boss.”

He was cheap.

He was scary.

And he always managed to make me squeal in mock terror:

“Oh no, it’s Big Mac!”

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Let’s Look at Comics: Dark Reign – The List: Punisher #1

Hey everybody!  Once again, it’s time to look at comics!  Today we’re going to be looking at the Marvel one-shot, Dark Reign – The ListPunisher #1.


A word to the uninitiated, Dark Reign is not a character or book series in the Marvel universe, but rather a company wide story arc.

Specifically, Dark Reign is the period of time in which Norman Osborn AKA the Green Goblin and former dead guy, has control of U.S. national security, an era that is just now coming to an end with the coming Heroic Age.

How did this happen?  Well, the Skrulls (shapeshifting alien douchebags with wrinkly chins) showed up a few years back, and during an event called Secret Invasion, raped our nation’s defense network.

IT'S A FUCKING DONKEY! I MEAN, SKRULL!!!!!

Said defense systems just happened to be manufactured and regulated by Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, who also happens to be the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. following his victory during Civil War, which took place just prior to the Invasion.

Long story short, Norman Osborn lands the killing blow against the Skrull Queen, and is somehow promoted to hero status in the public eye, which he then parlays into usurping Tony Stark’s control of S.H.I.E.L.D.

*Whew!* Now that we’ve gotten all that nonsense out of the way, we can finally get to opening the damn book!

...but not before we get past the Nissan ad.

Right off the bat, our first page is… explanation detailing what happened earlier in the Punisher comics during Dark Reign.

Okay, fine your majesty, I shall summarize:

The Punisher wasn’t too happy about a total nutjob like Norman Osborn taking control of S.H.I.E.L.D., (now changed to the more AMERICAN sounding, H.A.M.M.E.R.) so he did what any concerned citizen would do, and tried to put a couple of bullets in Osborn’s head.

I think it goes without saying that the Punisher missed, no thanks to that golden-haired son-of-a-fuck, The Sentry.

Sentry = This, with a golden costume and oh yeah, RETARDED.

Naturally, Osborn wasn’t too happy about the whole attempted murder thing, and thusly decided to use our tax dollars to send a fleet of space ships and a few hundred soldiers after old man Frank.

I like how this story is a one-shot, usually requiring no prior knowledge of previous storylines to be enjoyed.

One-shot my ass…

Anyway, our story opens with a quote from James Thurber:

Pretty deep for a comic that opens with a Nissan ad.

In case you’re wondering, James Thurber was cartoonist and writer for the New Yorker back in the 20’s.

You can thank Wikipedia for that last bit.

We are then treated to a page of some kid leaving a message on the Punisher’s voicemail while zipping off walls and over peoples’ heads on his hoverboard.

Fortunately he knows better than to take it over water.  Everyone knows you can’t do that; unless you’ve got power.

So sayeth Jason Scott Lee...

Anyway, this kid, named Henry by the way, is apparently trying to get a hold of Frank because he’s been “trolling”  H.A.M.M.E.R.’s networks, and apparently he caught word that Osborn is just about to launch his big push against the Punisher.

I don’t see how posting photos of penises on H.A.M.M.E.R.’s forums would be at all helpful to the Punisher, but oh well, I’m not about to pretend that I give two shits about Henry and what he does with his intersnatch.

Meanwhile, Osborn is floating above New York in his pimp-ass helicarrier, when one of his goons walks over to him to ask for permission to implement operation “Nuke-the-shit-out-of-the Punisher.”

"Sir, may I lick your cock?" "No, you can SUCK my cock."

Our next page opens with the Punisher hanging out in his “Punisher Van,” heating up some cocoa and ignoring Henry’s phone calls like a dude.

This page also serves as our introduction to “Punisher Speak.”

Punisher Speak consists solely of a combination of sentence fragments, gallows humor, and man-isms.

If the text box isn’t black, or the text doesn’t have an ellipses in it, it’s not Punisher Speak.

Interior decorator, he is not.

Despite missing Henry’s call, the “Punisher Van’s” perimeter alarm goes off, tipping our hero off to Osborn’s approach.

Subtle man that he is, Osborn begins his assault by doing this:

The land of the free, and the home of the THWAADOOOOOOMMM!!!!

Despite the fireworks, H.A.M.M.E.R. determines that the Punisher managed to avoid the blast.

Osborns’s first reaction is to sick a shadowy figure named Daken, after the Punisher.

Oh yeah, then he sends EVERY FUCKING MAN HE’S GOT.

... and yet I'm not worried. Maybe it has something to do with their goofy get-ups.

With Osborn’s goons on the way, the Punisher reveals to us just how he managed to survive the explosion that his pimpin’ van could not.

In between a full page ad for Halo: ODST, of course.

...Okay, so his face grew into his crotch, what else is new?

Pym Particles are, in the Marvel universe, a special form of radiation created by Dr. Henry Pym AKA Ant Man/Giant Man/Yellow Jacket/Goliath/The Wasp/Scientist Supreme, that allow one to manipulate the size of objects and living things.

Evidently, the Punisher used them here to shrink himself to an atomic size so as avoid the THWAADOOOOOOMMM!!!!

*Ahem!* SCIENCE.

With this, the Punisher takes off down an alleyway, whereupon he happens upon Henry, still crusin’ around on his hoverboard.

The Punisher greets him as only he can do.

A conversationalist, he is not.

With Henry safely tucked away in a dumpster, the Punisher finds himself set upon by Osborn’s glider troops.

In response, the Punisher, principled man that he is, elects to handle them using non-lethal measures involving, I shit you not:  a bullwhip.

What kind of Indiana Jones bullshit is that!?

He’s got Pym Particles and a fucking “Punisher Van” and he resorts to using a fucking whip?

C’mon now Frank, you can do better than that…

You see, there are two kinds of Punishers in the Marvel universe, the “suit” Punisher, and the “Max” Punisher, from the main Marvel continuity and the Max universe respectively.

The “suit” Punisher is the one with the skin-tight body suit that used all sorts of hokie sci-fi guns designed to make his arsenal seem more “friendly” and more accessible to the kiddies.

The “Max” Punisher walks around in a trench coat and a wife-beater and gets the job done by gutting people and feeding them to animals n’shit.

Just remember, “Max” Punisher’s been to ‘Nam, “suit” Punisher shops at The Sharper Image.

In either case, both drive a fucking awesome van.

Personally, I prefer Max Punisher, but that's just me.

‘Ole Frank manages to evade the glider troops pretty well, walking away with only a single laser wound to his leg, oddly enough, just as he’s reaching for some sort of “Punisher Shield” thingy.

Just a scratch really, no big deal.

Eventually he manages to escape to the sewers, where he proceeds to internally monologue to himself about things… mainly the hole in his leg and how the shit seeping into the wound builds character.

Gallows humor, check. Black text boxes, check. Where's the damn ellipses?

Remember that shadowy guy I mentioned earlier?  Daken?

Well, he decides to use this opportunity to make his big entrance.

Well now, that's just plain impolite, not even saying "hello."

Now you’re probably asking yourself: “Isn’t that Wolverine?”

Well, you’d be close, but you’d also be wrong, dumbass.

Look at the guy’s claws, he’s got two where the ‘Ole Canuckle Head has three.

I know, I'm retarded.

Okay, fine.  Daken does in fact have three claws, the third is housed on the inside of his wrist.

Dork-isms aside, Daken is actually Wolverine’s son from a previous relationship involving a Japanese woman named Itsu.

Long story short, Itsu got killed, Daken had a shitty childhood, and now he hates Wolverine… ’cause I guess he has nothing better to do.

Daken has all of Wolverine’s powers, except his claws are lined with the metal of a cursed sword (don’t ask) called the Muramasa, and he can manipulate his pheromones to the point of granting him limited control over others.

Basically he’s Wolverine, but EEEVVIIIIIILLLLLLL…

Cut to bad-ass fight scene.

"Frank Castle was sadly SHWUNKK'ed today. His last words were "RHGGAA!"

As evil and as vicious as Daken can be however, remember, this is ‘Ole Frank he’s tangling with here.

Surely he’s gonna’ have some sort of crazy bazooka or wicked-ass gadget he can whip out to save the day…

"YEERGGAAHGHH!! I said "No" Frank, not on the first date!"

…but I guess biting works too.

…and shooting.

…yup, shooting still works.

Despite all that GLAZZAT-ing, Daken’s broken-ass healing factor keeps him good and healthy.

In fact the only real damage he seems to have incurred is a side-ache with a little bit of a cough.

Okay, so the whole "swimming in dookie" thing didn't bother you, but the GLAZZAT-ing did? What kind of bullshit is that?

Taking Daken’s fat-kid side-ache as a window of opportunity, Frank hops out of the sewer and up to the surface.

But not without leaving Daken a parting gift, of course.

Uh oh Daken, I think your Tamagotchi's having suicidal thoughts...

Trust me when I tell you, there is an explosion on the next panel.

We then cut back to Frank as he stares down about a hundred or so of Osborn’s glider troops.

Frank’s mind immediately jumps to poop jokes.

A comedian, he is not.

Before the glider troops can have their way with Frank however, Daken suddenly appears behind him.

Daken talks some shit, but before he can get too out of hand, Punisher shuts him up and is all like, “Come’n git’ it son.”

What follows is probably the most violent fight I have ever read in the standard Marvel continuity.

But first…

BUTT.

Yup, they interrupted the most bad-ass fight ever, with butt.

ANYWAY, where were we?

Oh yeah:

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDD

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Unfortunately, that last hit to the throat seems to slow Frank down a little bit, (that other shit though, that wasn’t nothin’) and Daken starts his shit talkin’ again.

Although unlike some shit talkers, Daken seems to be able to back up his bravado pretty well.

Case in point:

"Don't worry kids, I'm sure Uncle Frank has a way outta' this..."

"...Yup kids, all part of the plan..."

"...All part of the, aw hell, he's fuckin'dead kids."

No wait, just one more:

Just breaks your heart, doesn't it?

It’s funny, I don’t even think the Punisher and Daken had met up to this point in the comics.

You see boys and girls, this is what happens when a “new” writer (Rick Remender) takes charge of a character (The Punisher), while at the same time receiving orders from the higher-ups in the company to “push” a brand new character (Daken).

At least, that’s how they do things in pro-wrestling anyway.

Remember that one time when the WWF tried to “push” Kevin Nash AKA Diesel into replacing Shawn Michaels as the top dog in the industry?

Yeah, that didn’t go so hot.

Kevin Nash, you were fun to play as in WCW vs. NWO, but other than that, you can suck a dick.

I’ve never been a reader of “suit” Punisher stories.

I always found the idea of a PG-13 Punisher a little bit strange given the fact that he generally shoots people to shit every chance he gets.

“Max” Punisher however, is something I read religiously until Garth Ennis left the series.

I bought this comic because, well, IGN gave it a high rating.  That, and I genuinely cared to see how they went about killing off the Punisher, even if it was just the “suit” Punisher.

I can’t say I was impressed by the storytelling in this comic, but I will say this, John Romita Jr. knows how to draw violence.

I’ve always felt that Romita Jr.’s finest moments came almost 20 years ago, (his blocky characters seem a little raggedy nowadays, too much so) but the sheer violence and spectacle of this, a one-shot with a relatively small budget and production timetable, is pretty damn impressive by anyone’s standards.

Anyway, it’s been fun, hopefully it was as good for you as it was for me.

With that, I leave you with this preview image for the first cover to Rick Remender’s follow-up story for the Punisher:  FrankenCastle.

Guess it’s true:

In comics, “No one stays dead except Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben.

Oh wait, out of those three, only Uncle Ben has actually stayed dead.

Oh well, comics are convoluted bullshit, but I love ’em anyway.

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

“Two-Player Simultaneous Gameplay”

Chicks, whips and helicopters, oh my!

My first experience with the Double Dragon series came in the form of playing Double Dragon II: The Revenge with my older brother on the NES.

Our parent’s didn’t really have any objection to the idea of us playing video games, but after I was born, they insisted that a majority of the games they bought us have “two-player simultaneous gameplay.”

I remember my brother and I liked to say that ’cause it made us feel smart.

Anyways, outside of maybe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game on the NES, Double Dragon II was the first beat-em-up I can recall playing.

I can attest that my experiences with both games are largely responsible for my lifelong passion for side-scrollers.

As a child I largely preferred playing Ninja Turtles over Double Dragon, not because I thought it was a better game, but because I didn’t suck at it.

… And because you got to be one of the Ninja Turtles in it.

C'mon now, are you telling me you'd pick the guy with the pompadour over a Ninja FUCKING Turtle?

You see, even though my brother kept most of the instruction booklets for our video games, I almost never took the time to read them.

As far I could tell though, my brother did, ’cause throughout all of my childhood he seemed to know every game we owned like the back of his hand.

Well, maybe not as well as Batman knows his, but still...

The differences in the complexity of the gameplay and controls between the two games was typically what made me lean towards Ninja Turtles over Double Dragon, that and the overall difficulty.

The depth of Ninja Turtles II’s gameplay consisted of standard attacks, jumping, jump kicking, and the so-key-to-the-game-you-would-be-crazy-to-play-the-game-without-it-SPECIAL ATTACK.

See diagram below:

Double Dragon on the other hand, utilized an intuitive (or counter-intuitive, depending on how you feel about it) control scheme that permanently mapped the two NES face buttons to specific directional attacks, B for left, A for right.

On top of that, both buttons had to be pressed SIMULTANEOUSLY (love that word) to perform a jump, during which one could perform a jump kick with the additional press of either face button, or a spin kick by pressing both buttons at the height of the jump.

You know that last thing, about the spin kick? Yeah, nobody told me about that.

Whenever I’d play Double Dragon with my brother, or any other game for that matter, I would find myself whining to him:

“How do I play!? What’s this button do!? How did you DOOOOOO thaaaaat…?”

Of course, being as he was the older brother, he wouldn’t tell me… or he’d smack me upside the head and not tell me.

On the off chance we were playing a head-to-head, two-player versus game though, he’d school me with whatever move I wanted to know how to do.

Pretty much every match between my brother and I.

Needless to say, in a two-player co-op game like Double Dragon, I was more of a liability than a help to my brother’s progress, especially if we were playing “Game B” AKA “Let’s-forget-about-saving-the-world-and-beat-the-shit-out-of-each-other, ON ACCIDENT” mode.

I could only occasionally pull off the spin kick through mindless button mashing, and almost never pulled off the SUPER UPPERCUT or instant kill SUPER KNEE, (press both face buttons while recovering from a jump landing) but even so, the game was good fun, provided I had my brother there to do the fighting for me.

I remember shrieking in terror whenever we ran across any of the Abobo’s with hair.

Doesn't take a genius to know which one's more powerful.

Yeah, getting cornered and thrown into a fucking hole by a big asshole named Abobo EVERY FUCKING DAY will do that to you.

EVERY. FUCKING. DAY.

I remember late in level 4 there was a sequence where you are trapped in a one way corridor with spikes on the ceiling.

Jumping is obviously a bad idea here, which is unfortunate, seeing as nearly every useful attack in the game can only be executed after standing up or landing a jump.

In most cases this resulted in massive amounts of fail, typically generated by the long-haired Abobo that decides to show up at the last minute.

That is, unless you were a smart person and stood in the one safe spot in the entire corridor and let your enemies walk face-first into your attacks.

Guess which one I was, I dare you.

All in all, my relationship with Double Dragon II as a child was kind of love-hate, very similar to my relationship to Star Fox.

I wasn’t very good at the game, and only rarely reached the later stages, but had fun with it and kept playing it anyway.

To be honest, I believe I beat Double Dragon II only once, with the help of my brother, of course.

The last stage consisted of standard NES cheapness, including instant death spike traps and “clones” of pretty much every boss you faced in the game up to this point

Even these twin ninja fucks.

At the end of the stage you face off with a pair of purplish-black “shadow clones” of the two player characters, Billy and Jimmy Lee.

They were a pain in the ass, but no more so than your average Abobo.  Although I don’t think they could measure up to an Abobo with hair…

Defeating the “shadow clones” normally results in a premature ending to the game, but because my brother always insisted we play on SUPREME WARRIOR mode, AKA hard mode, we were treated to a showdown with the real final boss.

And let me tell you, that last battle was fucking epic.

The whole thing begins in some sort of underground tunnel, where the only person standing before you is a woman that’s supposed to be Billy’s lady friend, Marian.

Kind of a big deal seeing as she was riddled with bullets at the beginning of the game.

Machine Gun Willy used M-16 on wild Marian! It's not very effective...

As soon as you step forward to embrace/punch Marian, the screen goes black, the girl disappears, and out of nowhere some crazy, cape wearing, green-haired fuck appears on a platform in the background!

Look at 'im... Standin' up there... bein' all cool n'shit... Ass.

The background fades up from black to reveal some sort of galactic/astral landscape where the Troll Doll dude apparently has god-like powers, ’cause believe me, he fights like a cheap bitch.

His move set basically consists punches, gravity defying mule kicks, spin punches, and back flips, lots and lots of back flips…

Oh yeah, and most of the time he’s invisible.

Just like this. Except without the red bullshit.

You’d think that as a kid I’d be pretty annoyed by this pig fucker and his broken ass fighting wouldn’t you?

Well, that would be the case, if I hadn’t drained all of my continues during the fight with the “shadow-clones.”

Behold: The extent of my Double Dragon skills circa 1990.

That’s right, the only time I got to see the last boss, and I didn’t even survive to fight him.

But that’s okay, I didn’t mind, so long as I got to stick around and watch.

Knowing me, I probably annoyed the shit out of my him by talking too much and generally being a pain-in-the-ass little brother, but regardless, I was happy just to be sitting in front of the TV with my brother.

Now that's just about the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

My brother fought long and hard, and by that I mean he stood in place and constantly performed the spin kick attack, causing the boss, invisible or not, to repeatedly walk into his attacks.

Okay maybe “epic” wasn’t the best word to describe the final battle, but as a kid, when your older brother is seconds away from beating the game, a game you’ve never seen the ending to; and the music suddenly changes to this*:

Yeah, you get pretty excited.

Ultimately it was these kind of moments that kept me coming back to Double Dragon, as well as most co-op in general.

Back then, video games were not something I devoted any time to outside of playing alongside my brother or my friends.

Somewhere down the road though, I think my attitude towards gaming changed from viewing it as a privilege, a precious experience granted to me by my friends and family, to that of disposable, time killing entertainment.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy video games, just on a more superficial level.

However, I used to look forward to playing games.

Nowadays I am only able to, and only do play games when I have some sort of gap to fill in my schedule.

I’m never expecting to, or even really want to be playing games, I just kind of fall back on it when I don’t have enough time to watch a movie, or it’s too cold to go for a walk.

Every now and again though, I’ll have a friend over and we’ll sit down in front of the TV for a quick game.

We don’t play all day like we used to, but it’s still every bit as fun as it was when I was a kid.

Games are fun, but they’re always even better with a friend.

Or a brother.

*Sidenote:  This music track is called “Roar of the Double Dragons” and it is used, with good reason, as the final battle theme in most Double Dragon games.

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The Best Track in the Game #2: Starfox

Yes, the "T" stands for "Trevor." NOBODY was gonna' steal my Star Fox!

Oh Star Fox, how I loved playing you at other peoples houses.

That’s right, many a sleepover resulted in me either: A) staying up all night playing Star Fox, or B) waking up crazy early and waking the whole house at 5 AM by firing up Star Fox.

It’s interesting to note however, that in the case of the latter, it was never the sounds of the game itself that would wake people up.

It couldn’t have been, I was always careful to keep the TV volume down low when I was up too early/late, scouts honor.

No, as it turns out, it was me that would always wake people up.

As a child I was what one would call a “hummer,” and wouldn’t you know it, Star Fox’s soundtrack was one of the most hummable I can recall.

Looking back, aside from being pissed at me for waking them up as I ducked, weaved, and hummed the shit out of whatever stage theme was playing, I’m sure at least one of my friends’ parents must’ve thought I was retarded or something.

Yeah, kinda' like this kid.

Despite the combined strength of the Nintendo hype-machine and the ignorance of my youth, I never bought into the idea of Star Fox being “revolutionary” on the Super NES.

I remember Nintendo hyping the shit out of the Super FX chip, which was the component that gave the Star Fox cartridge the ability to display 3D polygons to a limited degree.

Well guess what?  I was a fucking kid!  I didn’t give a shit about “3D”, I didn’t know what the fuck 3D was!  All I remember caring about was the fact that the manual said there was a DRAGON in the game somewhere called the “Monarch Fucking Dodra.”

MOTHER. FUCKING. DRAGON.

Fuck, I remember being more impressed by the construction of the clay puppets they used for the pictures in the manual than anything I ever saw in the game.

Not the best example, but it'll do.

Graphical jibber-jabber aside, Star Fox was a solid game.

It wasn’t perfect by any means, but humming along with the soundtrack while entertaining the prospect of letting Slippy get shot down always proved enough to keep me coming back for more.

"Dib, Dib! Dib, Dib!" Fuckin' worthless piece of shit...

I didn’t own the game until much later in life, and it took many years for me to actually sit down and beat it, but Star Fox was a game that I just plain loved to play…  at the expense of other peoples’ beauty rest.

Anyway, without further ado…

The Best Track in the Game is…

Intro Stage – Corneria

Why?:

Oh really now, how could I not pick Corneria as The Best Track in the Game?

It’s easily one the most energetic and bombastic compositions in the game, not to mention it flows with the action almost note for note.

Well, provided you aren’t slowing down the pace of the game by mashing the air brake like a noob.

Part of the enjoyment of listening to the Corneria theme for the first time, is the incredible build up leading up to it.

When you first boot up the game, you are treated to an impressive homage to the opening sequence of Star Wars: A New Hope, although with much more ominous background music.

This tune is repeated in many of the various “tunnel” sequences in the game, to much greater effect, most notably preceding the final boss.

After the intro we are taken to the Title Screen.

The tune is bold and dignified, which as a kid was all I needed to get me stoked about saving the universe from a space monkey in a Rubik’s cube.

He killed your father...

From there the game takes you to the Setup Screen and Training Stage, both of which greatly contrast the Title Screen tune in the sense that they are comprised of calm and inviting melodies, the sort of stuff that makes you smile and rock back and forth while humming along… or something like that.

And then they hit you with this:

WOAH!  Shit just got real!

For a game about anthropomorphic space fighter pilots blowing up geometric shapes, Star Fox had some seriously moody and atmospheric moments to it.

Outside of the overall kick-ass, Top Gun-with-a-fox tune of the Corneria stage, I think the Emergency Call sequence preceding it was the biggest factor in making me select it as The Best Track in the Game.

Runner-Ups:

Boss Theme (Corneria Version), Venom-Planetary Base Theme (Route 2 Version)

The Corneria Boss Theme will always stick with me because of one hilariously bad judgment call.

The first time I ever got to see Star Fox in action was when my brother rented it for the weekend.

He fired it up and I quietly sat beside him, taking in the spectacle.

I remember we both laughed at the voices for the characters, imitating them whenever they’re speech windows would open up onscreen.

To us, Falco was always yelling:  “Farther wing damage!”

Anyway, as soon as the ominous build up tones of the Corneria Boss Theme kicked in, and the radio clicked on saying, “Incoming enemy,” our laughter and excitement ceased, instantly replaced with the cold tinges of fear.

“BUM, BUM, BUM!  BUM, BUM!  BUM, BUM, BUM!  BUM, BUM!”

My brother turned to me, and for probably the first time I can recall, asked me:

“What should I do Trevor?”

I was stunned.  My older brother was asking me for help?

“Uh… Go… Go, up!”

With that, my brother pulled up in his Arwing, and was immediately killed by the massive Attack Carrier that flew in from overhead.

My brother’s first life in Star Fox was cut short just before even getting to see the first boss.

Yeah, I caught a beating over that one.

The Corneria Boss Theme is not nearly The Best Track in the Game, in fact its repetitive and dull when heard independent of gameplay, but for me, those ominous opening notes are simply unforgettable.

The Venom Base Theme however, is not one that holds any sort of special place in my heart, rather, it is simply a damn fine piece of music.

The Venom Base Theme is one of the fastest-paced tracks in the game, however it belongs to a stage I rarely ever played in my youth.

Remember when I said I wasn’t very good at Star Fox?  Well, Venom Base is essentially the last level of the game, accessible only when playing from one of the harder routes.

Yeah, fuck that noise.

As it turns out, I didn’t really “discover” the Venom Base Theme until much later in life, largely because of my lack of mad Star Fox skills.

It’s an energetic, kick-ass piece of music, but definitely a little too obscure (from my standpoint) to call it The Best Track in the Game.

That being said, I will conclude this post with an image that haunted my dreams as a child, and always gave me incentive to turn off the console before getting a “Game Over.”

Did they really have to make Morgan Freeman look so damn scary!?

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Reminiscing About Gaming/A Taste of Things to Come

I am a product of the Sega/Nintendo Console War, more specifically the Nintendo side of the equation. Though I had fun tooling around on the NES, my fondest memories of gaming lay soundly within my after school sessions on the Super NES. Freaking out at the sight of Jason Voorhees slashing through a hedge maze in Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Punching my friend in the shoulder after he screen scroll killed me Battletoads In Battlemaniacs. Getting a sweet revenge kill in Super Bomberman 3 during a heated 4 player match.

Yeah, good times…

I had exactly one friend that owned a Genesis. We had fun taking turns at Vectorman and Sonic Spinball, and we probably beat Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie at least 50 times, but every now and again, I’d catch myself jabbing my buddy over owning an “inferior” console. “Inferior” in terms of consoles back then of course meant the console had fewer buttons and, well, unless you were an only child or came from a divorced household, was the console you didn’t own.

Yeah, there were a lot of spoiled kids at my elementary school.

My brother asked for a Super NES for Christmas in ’91, which he got on the grounds that it was to be considered shared property between he and myself. The fact that my brother CHOSE the Super NES over the Genesis was enough to convince me that I owned the superior product.  Hey, he was my older brother, his opinion meant the world to me.

As an older, wiser Azn Badger, I now know of course that both consoles had their merits. The Super NES may have been technically superior to the Genesis on many fronts (*Ahem!* except maybe BLAST PROCESSING), but both systems had amazing libraries of cross platform and exclusive games. Despite this, even as a child the one major difference I noticed between the two consoles, (besides the Super NES being BETTER!) was in regards to the music.

Genesis music was often composed well, as was the case with Rocket Knight Adventures and any of the Treasure games, but more often than not, the tones would end up sounding up like some sort of synth-electric guitar hybrid that dealt exclusively in fart noises and sounds like:

*Buzz* *Buzz* BUUWAAAAAOOOHHH!!!! *Dink* *Dink *Dink*.

Case in point, from X-Men:

Oh yeah, the Danger Room music was pretty ass too.

Anyway, being as this is my first time blogging, I’ve been trying to think of a way to organize my thoughts and maintain my motivation to write, and in typing this post, I think I got it sorted out. I’m going to post an article at least once a week entitled “The Best Track in the Game”, wherein I will select a game that I own, and determine which music track is somewhere between the most enjoyable and most nostalgic one in said game. I’m thinking about doing Super NES stuff for awhile, but later on I’ll do “special editions” where I switch consoles every now and again. In the meantime, I’ll probably type some more formal articles as they come to me.

Thanks for reading. Happy Thursday!

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