Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Michael Bay Recycle Old Material? Surely You Jest…

Pictured: Michael Bay getting set to impale some poor soldier with his massive, military hardware induced boner.

Just so we’re clear, I haven’t actually seen Transformers 3 yet.

I will see it eventually though, mostly out of obligation.

Sure, seeing the first 2 in theaters is a pretty good reason to do the same for the third, but in all honesty; it’s my lifelong passion for the Gen 1 cartoon that keeps me coming back to the Michael Bay movies, regardless of their overall level of quality.

Reviews and opinions mean close to nothing to me at this point, so don’t bother trying to dissuade me from wasting my money or what have you.

If it’s got Optimus Prime in it, doing anything vaguely Prime-like, it’s my civic duty to go see it.

I know it sounds silly, but when it comes to Transformers, Godzilla, and Arturo Gatti; every show is worth seeing on some level.

Even when he lost (or should I say, ESPECIALLY) he was always a joy to watch.

Fan boy-i-ness aside, I’d like to change the subject of this wildly unfocused post, and draw attention to something I stumbled across on Topless Robot.

Cue video:

What the fuck is up with the stock footage Michael Bay!?

In this day and age, where blockbuster movies routinely cost upwards of $100 million to produce, are we to believe that Paramount and Michael Bay were forced to cut corners to the point of cannibalizing their own films from only 6 years ago I.E. The Island?

The use of stock footage, in films of all budgets is pretty much standard practice, but even so; this just seems kind of lame from an artistic standpoint.

I mean, if you’re going to strut around town calling yourself the “Cars, Asses, Explosions, Racial Stereotypes and Sunsets Guy” wouldn’t it be in your best interest to go balls out and stage your own shit for every movie, rather than, I don’t know; STEAL FROM YOURSELF?

Oh well, from a technical standpoint it makes sense for Mr. Bay to borrow footage from his own films.

As many personal touches as the man is known to add to his films, color correction is probably the most noticeable, meaning it would probably be easier to match stock footage from pre-existing movies in his filmography as opposed to grabbing someone else’s and having to color correct the shit out of it.

Pictured: The World Through The Eyes Of Michael Bay

Anyway, as much as this sounds like a pissy rant, it’s really not.

From what I understand, these 2 shots are the only instances of cannibalized stock footage; (not counting the truck load of military footage) and really that’s not too bad.

Truth be told, I’m used to far worse.

I grew up watching movies like Godzilla vs. Gigan, which made extensive use of stock footage from previous Godzilla movies.

Hell, virtually every Godzilla movie of the 70’s was produced on the strength of special effects footage ripped from Toho’s film libraries.

And that’s not to say this practice was only restricted to the Japanese film market, rather it was; and largely still is, common practice in virtually all film markets, big and small alike.

Take for instance, Hollywood in the 1950’s:


That, ladies and gentleman, was Bela Lugosi… Uh, saying stuff, while pretending to look upon stock footage of a busy street.

The only reason the use of stock footage in Transformers 3 stands out at all, is because the footage is borrowed from the director’s own filmography, and is still relatively “fresh” as opposed to the more typically employed public domain type stuff.

Borrowing from nature documentaries and military archives is one thing, but outright stealing tailored and personalized shots from your own filmography, and then compositing special effects over them is indeed quite low.

Oh well, it’s not like this is something that’s going to offend anyone on a personal level or anything.

At most, it just reflects poorly on Michael Bay and Paramount, making them look lazy and/or inept.

In any case, I’m hoping to see the movie sometime soon; and no, I won’t be going into it looking for reasons to hate it.

Here’s hoping Optimus Prime does something cool over the course of 2 and a half hours, as that’s all I’m really asking for!

*Sigh* THIS, is cooler than the entirety of Transformers 2...

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

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #1: The Last Stand Of The Wild Bunch

There’s something particularly heroic in the act of sacrifice.

While the term “hero” largely refers to individuals of admirable or extraordinary traits, courage and bravery; the ability to rise up and act in the face or adversity, are characteristics that define the word just as well.

Of the past 9 MANLY moments we’ve explored up to this point, most, if not all of them have involved instances wherein heroic individuals had to put their lives at stake for a cause greater than themselves.

In fact, in the case of our 6th and 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments, (Jim Brown’s suicide run in The Dirty Dozen and Optimus Prime’s battle with Megatron in Transformers: The Movie respectively) the MANLY MEN involved in said moments ended up losing their lives despite their accomplishments.

Martyrdom is indeed a powerful form of heroism and MANLINESS, and unsurprisingly; it just happens to the kind of MANLINESS that makes the finale of Sam Peckinpah’s turn of the century Western classic, The Wild Bunch; THE MANLIEST MAN MOMENT IN ALL OF FILM:

Unlike the vast majority of the movies on this list, The Wild Bunch is a legitimately great film.

That’s not to say Transformers: The Movie and Commando aren’t quality films in their own right, I for one fucking love them; however it’s hard to deny that they aren’t of the same caliber as a classic like The Wild Bunch.

That being said, when it comes to films with themes like brotherhood, redemption, and MANLINESS; there are few better examples I can think of than The Wild Bunch.

The finale of The Wild Bunch involves the main characters, a band of somewhat amoral hired guns; recognizing a need for justice in a wartorn Mexican community.

Not lawful justice mind you, just plain old fashioned MAN-JUSTICE.

Initially working for the local warlord and his German arms provider, the Bunch complete the task assigned to them and collect their reward; but at the cost of having their comrade Angel, a Mexican revolutionary; taken from their ranks and brutally tortured.

The Bunch react to this atrocity with disgust and anger, however they ultimately end up gritting their teeth and walking away.

Some time passes however, and their collective consciences rouse their spirits to take action.

In an awe-inspiring act of MANLINESS, the remaining members of the bunch, consisting of Willam Holden’s Pike, Ernest Borgnine’s Dutch, Warren Oates’ Lyle, and Ben Johnson’s Tector; march through the town and towards the warlord’s compound with fire in their hearts.

Pictured: The Pimpest Pimp-Walk in all of Pimp-Dom.

Arriving at the compound, the Bunch confront the warlord amid an entire mess hall worth of troops.

The warlord, at this point severely inebriated and thusly unaware of the seriousness of the situation, casually asks them what it is they want.

To this, Pike responds with a single demand:

"We want Angel."

Retrieving the battered and beaten Angel, the warlord seems to be willing to comply with their request.

Unfortunately, the warlord draws a concealed knife and ruthlessly slits Angel’s throat, prompting the Bunch to gun him down on the spot.

There is an awkward moment as the warlord falls, a calm before the storm.

Both the soldiers, and the Bunch themselves; stand in silent awe of the utter insanity of what has just transpired.

The Bunch have ample time to run, and yet for whatever reason; they stand their ground.

Slipping a deviously knowing glance between one another, the Bunch recklessly assault the army of Mexican troops; resigning themselves to the lethal eventuality of the overwhelming odds before them.

I don't know guys, that's A LOT of Mexicans...

Scores of Mexican troops are slaughtered as the Bunch wildly spray fire into the crowd, laughing maniacally at the sheer ridiculousness of the predicament they’ve willingly thrown themselves into.

As the initial surprise of their attack begins to fade away however, the soldier’s sheer numbers begin to wear on the Bunch; resulting in nearly all of our “heroes” receiving serious bullet wounds at some point.

Direct quote.

A major turning point in the conflict occurs when one of the Bunch manages to get ahold of a mounted machine within the base, increasing the Bunch’s attack power 10 fold.

Unfortunately, even a machine gun isn’t enough to turn the tide completely, as one by one the Bunch begins to fall apart.

Pictured: The Gorch brothers die.

At the end of it all, only Pike and Dutch remain, with Pike dieing a heroes’ death manning the machine gun as Dutch is gunned down trying to come to his aid.

Pictured: Pike and Dutch die.

In the end, The Wild Bunch isn’t really a story about good guys and bad guys.

As mentioned earlier, the Bunch is made up of brigands and outlaws; making them questionable as traditional heroes.

Despite their somewhat underhanded nature though, in the final act of the movie; the Bunch manage to redeem themselves by demonstrating a clear belief in the concept of moral decency and justice.

Everything they do throughout the movie, especially in the finale sequence, could very easily be viewed as “wrong” or unjust; however in going back for Angel, and thereby adhering to their personal form of MAN-CODE; they gain a very small, but meaningful degree of redemption.

In essence, the Bunch gave their lives not for glory, or even necessity; but simply for the purpose of being MEN both in life, and in death.

In that sense, I can think of no MANLIER act of MAN-NESS in the pantheon of MANLY cinema.

Well folks, thus concludes the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Hopefully you all enjoyed yourselves.

I for one seriously need a break from all of this MANLINESS business, as all of this writing has pretty much pushed me to the brink of MAN-SANITY.

Maybe I should watch some Ugly Betty or something, cleanse the palette…

Filed under: Movies, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #2: “Megatron Must Be Stopped. No Matter The Cost…”


When I was a kid, I had a small handful of movies I’d watch almost every day.

Among those movies, were Son of Godzilla, Secret of NIMH, and Transformers: The Movie.

As much as I adore everything that is Godzilla, and as much as I enjoy watching intelligent rats stage crazy-ass sword fights; Transformers: The Movie was far and away my favorite of these movies.

While some (read: Orson Welles) would criticize Transformers: The Movie as being an hour and a half long toy commercial, for kids who grew up watching it; there’s no denying that it had a charm to it that made it truly special.

More than that, Transformers had a severity to it, a real sense of life and death stakes that made you, especially as a child; truly give a damn.

Say what you will about it being a feature length marketing device, in my book any movie that goes out of it’s way to kill off nearly every major character in the franchise within it’s first 20 minutes has at least some semblance of legitimate dramatic merit.

Hell, of all the retarded-ass kid’s movies that I used to watch, Transformers: The Movie was one of the only ones my mom was willing to sit down and watch with me.

Unlike Scooby Doo. My mom fuckin' HATES Scooby Doo...

Combine the film’s rather morbid tendency to be cruel to it’s main characters, with decent animation and a kick-ass glam rock soundtrack; and you’ve got a recipe for success.

It’s interesting to note that, for me at least; Transformers: The Movie represents most of what I know and love about the original Transformers cartoon.

I was born a few years after Transformers began to fade from the mainstream, and as such; I really didn’t see much of the TV series outside of a re-runs on the “Power Cube” every once in awhile.

If it weren’t for me having an older brother that was around to experience the Transformers phenomenon first-hand, I don’t think I would’ve had nearly as strong an association with the Generation 1 stuff.

Thank God for my brother, otherwise I would’ve been denied the pleasure of growing up watching the 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies EVERY FUCKING DAY!

While one could (and indeed should) argue that the live-action Transformer movies are overlong and meandering piles of tripe Elmer’s glued together with eye-fucking CG and rejected elements from the National Treasure movie’s scripts; the 1 thing I think we can all agree they did right, was Optimus Prime.

PIMP.

Optimus Prime is one of the most admirable and heroic characters in all of fiction.

Steadfast and noble, he is the picture of stoicism and bravery that we all wish we could live up to when the chips are down.

Peter Cullen’s voice breathed life into the character of Optimus Prime much in the way Kevin Conroy did for Batman in the Animated Series.

In short, Cullen is Optimus Prime.

While the live-action movies flipped the charming minimalist aesthetic of the Generation 1 cartoon on it’s head, and often failed to allow him the opportunity to speak with the same regality by feeding him hokey lines; just hearing Peter Cullen’s voice come out of the CGI Optimus Prime was all I needed to see that even Michael Bay couldn’t completely fuck up his character.

... However he proved himself all too capable of ruining Devastator.

As shitty as the live-action Transformer movies are, at least 5 minutes of them contain scenes of Optimus Prime being just as I remembered him.

That doesn’t forgive the 2 and a half hours+ worth of crap contained in the rest of the film’s running times, but even so; it counts for something.

That being said, our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment is perhaps Optimus Prime’s finest moment, that of his heroic, and tragic; last stand against Megatron and the invading Decepticon forces:

Words can’t describe the EPIC MANLINESS of this moment.

At this point in the movie, the Autobots are really taking a pounding and don’t know how much longer they can hold out.

The vast majority of the Autobots from the first season of the TV series are killed off during the conflict, leaving Ultra Magnus and a ragtag group of Autobots, both young and old; to defend Autobot City.

Just as the cities’ defenses begin to crumble at the hands of Devastator, a lone shuttle swoops in from above; dropping Grimlock and the Dinobots in to pacify the rampaging Constructicon.

Pictured: The face of a winner.

As the Dinobots struggle in battle, Optimus Prime steps from the shuttle; grimly surveying the destruction of his people’s Earthbound sanctuary.

With any eerie sense of finality lingering the air, Optimus Prime transforms and rolls out; for perhaps the last time.

Pictured: JUSTICE on Wheels.

CUE AWESOME FUCKING INSPIRATIONAL ROCK SONG.

Pimp that he is, Optimus’ first move in battle is to RUN THE FUCK OVER Thrust.

From that point forward, the difference in power and capability between Optimus and the rest of the Transformers becomes readily apparent.

Still in truck form, Optimus is fired upon by several Decepticons; with all of the incoming laser blasts having no effect other than maybe singeing his paint job.

Leaping into the air and simultaneously detaching his trailer, Optimus does a MANLY gravity defying flip through the air, all the while CAPPING THE FUCK out of every Decepticon in sight:

Way to put a hole in Soundwave's face there Prime.

Make no mistake, this is Optimus Prime at his PIMPEST and most BADASS.

With the majority of Megatron’s heavy hitters out of the picture, Optimus corners the evil robot and issues perhaps the MANLIEST of MANLY ultimatums:

Despite that EPIC-NESS, the 2 continue to exchange AWESOMELY MANLY remarks until, inevitably; Megatron claims he will kill Optimus with his bare hands, then proceeds to spear Prime’s ass to the ground.

As the 2 legends of Cybertron exchange blows, the young Autobot, Hot Rod; surveys the battle, itching for an opportunity to step in and prove his worth.

Cutting back to the fight, Prime manages to toss Megatron into a wall, whereupon the devious Decepticon takes an opportunity to go back on his previous declaration and toss a sharp rod into Prime’s hip.

Immediately capitalizing on his opponent’s moment of weakness, Megatron lifts his arm blaster and fires several volleys at Prime.

Deftly slipping the incoming blaster fire, Optimus rushes Megatron and cracks him with a wicked right cross, knocking the Decepticon leader to the ground and severing the blaster from his forearm in one fell swoop.

Take his heart Prime! Take his heart!

Ever the sneaky bastard, Megatron once again makes use of a foreign object, picking a beam saber off the ground and swiping it across Prime’s stomach.

Pictured: Megatron and Prime re-enacting the infamous "Taun Taun Scene."

Sparking from the gut, Prime clutches his wound and staggers backwards, prompting Megatron to leap into the sky and initiate one of the single coolest shots in cinema history:

With an AUTOBOT SHORYUKEN, Optimus manages to counter Megatron’s overhead assault, only to end up being mule kicked in the chest by Megatron’s immediate retaliation.

With both fighters off-balance, the 2 robots slam into each other and tie up in a grapple.

As Megatron threatens to tear out Optimus’ eyes, our hero nevertheless manages to overpower the evil robot, grab him BY THE EARS; and toss his ass a CITY FUCKING BLOCK.

With Megatron severly injured and face down on the ground, Prime retrieves his blaster rifle and points it at Megatron.

Acting very much out of character, the ruthless and dastardly Megatron pleads for mercy.

Rightfully suspicious of his nemesis’ uncharacteristic behavior, Optimus is ultimately robbed of an opportunity to gauge a proper course of action as Hot Rod jumps in from out of nowhere and tries to subdue Megatron, only to end up being held as his hostage.

Pictured: Why Hot Rod isn't exactly my favorite Transformer...

Grabbing a blaster pistol he found hidden amid the rubble nearby, and with Hot Rod now being used as his human shield; Megatron fires a volley directly into Optimus exposed stomach plate.

Too strong and too brave to take a knee, Optimus withstands the first shot, only to be felled by the 3 that follow.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Optimus Prime's life...

Ditching his hostage, Megatron stands over Prime and taunts him at gun point, with the words:

“It’s over Prime…”

With those words, Prime; summoning the last of his strength, rears back and uncorks the MOTHER OF ALL DOUBLE AXE HANDLES directly into the Decepticon emblem of Megatron’s chest.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Megatron's life...

His chest plate shattered to pieces, Megatron falls off the nearby ledge, bounces off the balcony below, and crumbles onto the ground below.

With their leader utterly defeated, the battered and beaten forces of the Decepticons flee from Earth; leaving the Autobots to tend to their own.

Shortly thereafter, Optimus Prime would die, and Megatron would begin life anew under the guise of Galvatron.

Anyway, this has been our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments in all of movies.

Check back tomorrow for the reveal of moment #1!

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

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #3: The Whitmore Speech

Independence Day is an awesome fucking movie.

I remember being carted off to the theater to see it on opening day, despite not even knowing it’s title.

You see, acronyms were kind of big back in the mid-90’s, and as such; Independence Day was marketed as “ID4,” so as to be enigmatic and therefore “cool.”

To this day I really don’t get how the whole “ID4” thing worked out, but by golly; IT FUCKING WORKED.

Sure, the plot’s kind of corny and there’s definitely 1 too many coincidences in how all ensemble cast all relate to one another; but even so, it’s hard to dispute the fact that Independence Day is an exceptional popcorn movie.

The CG effects are kind of lacking by today’s standards, but for my money the explosions and miniature effects still hold water; as does the decent script that utterly blows the ever-loving fuck out of anything Michael Bay’s done in the past… Well, ever.

Pictured: The closest Michael Bay's ever gotten to doing it right. A little Sean goes a long way...

A product of the monument smashing duo of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, Independence Day is hardly the MANLIEST of MAN movies, however it certainly has it’s fair share of outstanding MANLY moments.

First off, there was about 2 hours of Jeff Goldblum being neurotic and vaguely Ian Malcolm-like:

They could make a movie about Ian Malcolm taking out the garbage for 2 hours and I'd still fucking watch it.

Then there was that one time Will Smith deployed the “universal greeting” to an alien’s face:

And I guess there was also that one time when THE ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET WORKED TOGETHER TO WAGE THE LARGEST AERIAL BATTLE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND:

*Spoiler*: We won.

Oh yeah, and I suppose Randy Quaid killing himself to save the planet was pretty MANLY too, though not nearly as much as THE LARGEST AERIAL BATTLE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.

Anyway, despite all the flash and special effects of Independence Day, in truth the MANLIEST; and easily most inspired moment in the entire movie, came in the form of a simple speech.

A speech delivered by the pimp-ass fighter pilot/PRESIDENT OF THE FUCKING WORLD, Thomas J. Whitmore:

LONESTAR!!!!!!

Bill Pullman’s Tom Whitmore is in many way the Hot Rod of the AMERIKUHN presidency.

Like Hot Rod, he’s young, driven, and more than a little arrogant, resulting in his reception with the general public being somewhat divided.

Despite this, when it all comes down to the wire and shit gets real, his MANLY worth shines through and everyone rallies behind him.

Hot Rod had his moment in the sun as he assumed the title of Rodimus Prime, opened the Matrix of Leadership and took out Unicron… and then later became a total douche by catching a case of the “hate plague” and forcing Optimus Prime to pwn his ass.

What?

You mean you don’t remember that?

*ANYWAY* Whitmore’s moment ultimately came as he rallied THE ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET to face the aliens head on, securing his place in the annals of MAN-HISTORY by selflessly riding into battle alongside the troops.

On a side note, President Whitmore’s finest moment during the final battle in Independence Day, came when he used his MANLY PRESIDENTIAL POWERS to magically summon an extra missile during the final battle.

I can’t find any pics to back it up, but next time you watch the movie; pay attention to how many missiles President Whitmore fires during the dog fighting.

Truly, it was a feat only a MANLY FUCKING PRESIDENT could achieve.

Which brings us to Tom Whitmore’s greatest achievement of all, and our 3rd MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies.

Today, we celebrate, The Whitmore Speech:

Special thanks need to be given to David Arnold for a composing the background music of this speech.

Seriously, if ever there was an example of music being used to enhance the power of a scene, this would have to be it.

I think the turning point in the speech, where it goes from being calming and uplifting in spirit, to a fuckin’ MANLY-ASS call to arms; is where it really grabs you by the balls and makes you realize just how awesome it is.

There’s just something about the way Bill Pullman growls that one line, “We will not go quietly into the night!” that makes this speech so fuckin’ awesome to me.

Anyway, thanks for reading, check back tomorrow for MANLY moment #2!

Filed under: Movies, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fallout 3 Didn’t Do It For Me…

Fallout 2 is one of my favorite games of all time.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped into the boots of the savior of Vault 13, but I’d figure the number would have to be close to triple digits.

For the most part I skipped Fallout 1, largely due to the absurd degree of enjoyment I experienced from my time with the sequel.

That being said, Fallout 2 had a charm to it that few other games, in my eyes; have managed to live up to.

See? CHARMING.

There’s just something about the inherent minimalism of the first 2 Fallout games, and indeed most text heavy adventure games; that lends so much to the experience.

Reading a graphic description of how I just blew some poor shmuck’s eyeball out his ear, while watching the same shit different day stock death animation play out; was a primitive gameplay element that really worked for me.

Which brings me to my feelings on Fallout 3.

In short, I really didn’t care much for Fallout 3.

Being as it’s a Bethesda product, I came into the game fully expecting the game to play like “Oblivion With Guns,” (and equally shitty animations) and to be honest; I don’t think anyone could dispute the fact that it does.

You got your Oblivion in my Fallout! No wait... THIS SUCKS!!!

There was a time in my life when I played a lot of Oblivion.

I missed out on Morrowind, but regardless; Oblivion was a neat game with a colorful world and an impressive breadth of content to uncover.

Sure, there were a shit ton of problems and issues that cropped up while you played it, but for the most part; my time with Oblivion was a positive experience.

Fallout 3 however, despite borrowing several ideas and gameplay systems from Oblivion; just didn’t do it for me.

Kind of like Puke Face Zellwegger.

The first major problem that I’d like to address in Fallout 3, was the fact that the dialogue system feels weak compared to Oblivion, or even previous Fallout games.

That’s right, I said “first.”

As stupid/pointless as the speechcraft system in Oblivion was, I kind of liked the idea of playing a brief mini-game to stand-in for the very real process of developing a rapport with someone.

In short, Oblivion gave one the option to improve their standing with a person through idle chit-chat, thusly expanding the number of subjects they could converse with them about; and the depths of which they could probe into said topics.

Fallout 3 ties it’s dialogue options directly to your character’s skill ratings, with speech skill centric options being listed with a percentage of success statistic.

In other words, if you have a high enough rating in appropriate areas; then a special speech option becomes available.

What I discovered, early on; was the fact that all of these special speech options, were the “right” thing to say.

"Success!" Get used to seeing this a lot...

In Fallout 2, the “right” thing to say wasn’t necessarily the appropriate thing to say.

I can recall an instance or 2, particularly in New Reno; wherein I said something that seemed lucid, that seemed like what needed to be said; only to have the character I was speaking to take offense to my logic and blow me off.

This wasn’t because I didn’t have a high enough speech rating, but rather because I failed to read the character of their personality properly, and simply said the “wrong” thing.

By my reckoning, there wasn’t a single person I wasn’t able to talk down in Fallout 3.

With all of the “right” dialogue choices clearly outlined for me, all of the guess work and intricacies of conversations faded away the moment my skill ratings got high enough.

Honestly, the “right” comments were so boldly outlined; that  I’m pretty sure I managed to get through more than a few conversations without even reading what people were saying.

That’s enough about that, let’s move on; shall we?

I think a huge part of the problem for me, was the scrounger/pack rat mentality the game instills in you through scattering usable/pick-up-able items fuckin’ EVERYWHERE.

I understand that about 80% of what you find in the game is in fact junk, and not really all that useful; but the fact of the matter is, there’s simply too much shit to pick up/look at/jam up your ass.

Do I really need to be able to pick up a garden gnome? Or worse yet, do I really need the option to turn on a useless ham radio?

Seriously, I don’t even want to think about how many minutes or hours of my life I spent dumping shit out of my inventory, picking up a busted-ass rifle, using said rifle to repair my slightly less busted-to-shit rifle, and re-picking up my previously dumped shit.

I hardly got anywhere in the main story of Fallout 3, quitting around the time I first got power armor; but rest assured, I did every fuckin’ fetch quest and sidequest up to that point.

I’m a completist, I do shit like that.

That’s why sandbox/open world games never work out for me, ’cause in trying to do everything, I end up accomplishing nothing.

Pictured: Agent 47 demonstrating the Azn Badger's typical reaction to sandbox gameplay.

*Ahem!* Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

Another gripe I had with Fallout 3 that was somewhat similar to the hoarding bid’ness of the gameplay, was the fact that items and equipment felt somewhat “cheaper.”

I use the word “cheaper” in the sense that, with so many items strewn about the environments; the frequency of quality items, or failing that; shitty items that can be pawned for profit, made most every item I ran across seem far less important or special.

In Fallout 2, good armor and guns were really fucking hard to get your hands on unless you were a really skilled thief, had a shit ton of money, or managed to kill someone equipped with said items.

All of the above methods required either high skill ratings, a little energon, or a lot of luck to enact.

"More than you imagine, Optimus Prime..."

Not only that, even if one were to have all of the above going for them; the number of items in any given environment was significantly lower than in Fallout 3, resulting in items being scarcer, and thusly more vital.

In Fallout 3, I can’t think of a single moment wherein I couldn’t afford to buy whatever the fuck I wanted, nor can I think of a time in which my inventory wasn’t full of decent shit that I was never going to use due to the extraordinary wealth of better shit I’d run across on a regular basis.

I think the worst example of this that I can think of, was at the very beginning of the game.

I just came out of the Vault, and the game told me to go to Megaton.

Given that I’m me, and I’m not one to go anywhere without looking for hidden goodies first; the first thing I did, was run up onto a collapsed highway.

To my surprise, I happened across a hoard of bandits that wanted my nuts.

Despite my being armed with little more than a baseball bat, using the power of circle strafing and bunny hopping; I beat the ever-loving shit out of about 20 bandits and took all of their shit.

Yeah, I was basically doing this to people with a bat...

That’s right, I fought 20 bandits, with a bat; and took all their good shit, thusly putting me ahead of the curve in terms of equipment and weaponry for, I don’t know; THE WHOLE FUCKING GAME.

Speaking of killing 20 bandits with a bat, that brings me to another gripe I had about Fallout 3: the “cheapness” of life within the game.

Killing someone, anyone; especially in the early portions of Fallout 2, was a fuckin’ EVENT.

Given the turn-based, purely statistic based structure of Fallout 2’s gameplay, it was very much appropriate that difficult battles; wherein your character or his party were severely outclassed or outnumbered, were really fuckin’ hard to win.

That's right, get used to listening to Ron Perlman tell you that you just died like a little bitch.

I’d never say Fallout 2’s combat was realistic, but it’s inherent difficulty made it seem appropriate given the nature of the game’s environment.

Fallout 2 was a mean game that often took it upon itself to dick-slap you across the face and remind you that, as cool as your character was; he was still just a man.

As opposed to a Batman, who is of course a symbol; and thusly cannot be killed or corrupted.

Fallout 3 seems to have tossed this concept out the motherfuckin’ window and into a 4-lane highway.

As mentioned above, I took out 20 bandits, with a bat; all within the first 5 minutes of the game.

Admittedly, that was kind of cool at the time, as I can recall humming the Conan theme at some point during all the mayhem and carnage; however after it started happening every 5 minutes, it started to bother me.

During my time with Fallout 3, I killed hundreds upon hundreds of raiders, robots and crab monsters.

I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU!!!!!

I did that in Fallout 2 as well, (with the exception of the crab monsters, of course) but the only difference is; it took me the whole fucking game to achieve said kill stats, not the first half of the game.

You what’s really fucked up though?

Of all the things I killed, I’m pretty sure I ended up taking out Super Mutants more than anything else.

SUPER MUTANTS.

The LOU FUCKING FERRIGNO’S of the Fallout universe.

Holy shit, way to rock the Ultimate Warrior hair Hulk.

In Fallout 2, Super Mutants would utterly wreck your shit.

You could be decked out in power armor, and rockin’ a motherfuckin’ Bozar; but Super Mutants could still tear your ass up unless you came in with a plan.

In Fallout 3, I found myself killing Super Mutants with alarming regularity.

Not only that, I did so with leather armor and a fuckin’ hunting rifle.

To be fair, I could do that in Fallout 2 as well, but only because that game afforded you the option of scoring pinpoint shots to people’s eyes and radioactive packages; making it easier to disable or severely cripple your enemies.

*Sigh* Believe it or not, I’ve got more; so I’m just gonna’ dump these last few gripes in bullet point fashion.

Money is far too easy to acquire, given that anyone will buy anything from you for a decent price, even if you never put a single skill point into barter like I did.

Dungeon textures and layouts are cookie cutter at best.  There wasn’t a Vault or cave I walked into that felt at all different or unique.

Karma is too easy to acquire, (through giving water to the unfortunate) nor is it seemingly all that important.

Perks are too frequent, and too powerful.  Seriously, since when does Bloody Mess give you a damage bonus?

Weapons and enemies aren’t varied enough.  Like the dungeon textures, everything kind of felt same shit different day.

Anyway, there’s probably other shit I can say about Fallout 3; but in all honesty, I think I’m running out of steam.

I bought Fallout 3 for $10 retail, knowing full well that I probably wasn’t going to like it.

From what I read and saw before picking it up, it seemed to me like a pretty good game; but in my heart, I knew from the get go that in my eyes; it just wasn’t Fallout.

In all, it’s still a neat game world; with some neat characters and places, but for me it all just seems like too much.

I think the first-person perspective and 3D engine hurt the game in the sense that it forced the game world to contain all the things that a real world would.

In the real world, cans probably would be fuckin’ everywhere following a nuclear holocaust.

SHIT. EVERYWHERE.

In the world of Fallout 2, said cans indeed were apparent; however they served as static scenery and couldn’t be interacted with.

In Fallout 3, pointless interactive shit like this is fuckin’ EVERYWHERE, simply because; in order to maintain the illusion of a livable 3D world, it must.

Anyway, I ended up selling my copy of Fallout 3 to my brother; so for me, the nightmare is over.

Hopefully this marks the end of my days raging on Fallout 3.

Come to think of it, here’s hoping my brother doesn’t suffer the same fate…

 

 

 

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Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies

Today we’re gonna’ be talkin’ about SAD SHIT.

SAD SHIT as in The Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies kinda’ SAD.

Please take note that everything contained in this list is a product of the Azn Badger’s childhood; so don’t expect any movies on here to be made anytime past the mid-90’s.

Anyway, let’s get thing’s rollin’, shall we?:

#5. The NeverEnding Story – Artax Eats Some Mud. Check That, A Lot of Mud…

The NeverEnding Story was a tough movie for me to watch as a kid.

It was long, I didn’t really get it, there was a lot of unintentionally scary imagery, and oh yeah, it was long.

Pictured: One of the INTENTIONALLY scary parts of The Neverending Story.

So long in fact, that I never really finished it as a kid, resulting in me thinking the whole thing ended with the end of the world at the hands of The Nothing.

Pretty fuckin’ sad, am I right?

Thankfully, I went ahead and saw the rest of the movie a few years ago, thusly patching up a few childhood scars in the process.

That being said, while this death doesn’t really count as a death; ’cause if memory serves, Artax is still alive and well at the end of the movie, to the young Azn Badger the fuckin’ horse died in the mud hole.

Anyway, this death marks probably the first and only time the Azn Badger ever felt any sort of emotion in reference to a horse.

It was the fuckin’ kid that got to me, that girlie-boy Atreyu.

Hah! Father Time kicked his ASS!

They’re both standing in them mud, and the fuckin’ kid is blowin’ his lungs out screaming at his fuckin’ horse to “not give in to the sadness of the swamps” n’shit.

Meanwhile, the music is swelling and gettin’ all sad and crestfallen n’shit.

The whole thing was just too much for me as a kid, and for the life of me; I bought into it.

"Artax, you're sinking!" Oh God, make it stop!!!!

While I didn’t really “get” the Neverending Story back then, little episodes like Artax bitin’ the big one stuck with me on a visceral level; in this case, making me very sad.

Fun Fact – The only reason I remember that damn horse’s name is because of his death scene when Atreyu yells it about 50 times.

Repetition:  It works.

#4. The Lion King – Mufasa Gets 50,000 Wildebeasts Rammed Up His Ass

Who's featured most prominently on the poster? That's right, MUFASA.

Mufasa was a pimp.

You take the raw power of James Earl Jones’ voice, and transplant it into the body of the biggest, baddest, most pimp-as-fuck lion in all of existence; and you’ve got Mufasa.

"This, is CNN..."

Needless to say, in my youth; Mufasa’s death hit me pretty hard.

As I hope we all know, Mufasa met his fate at the hands of the combined force of a stampeding herd of wildebeast, and the nasty claws of Jeremy Irons.

Wow. Believe it or not, I think Irons just topped himself...

Any less, and I’m sure his pimp-ass self would’ve survived somehow.

Anyway, Mufasa; pimp that he is, rushes headlong into the stampede to save his pussy-ass son, Simba.

'The fuck was up with kid in the 90's anyway? He was EVERYWHERE.

While he is successful in rescuing the boy, Mufasa takes some serious shots from the fuckin’ wildebeasts, the kinda’ hits that would fold a lesser lion in half.

All the while, Hans Zimmer’s music was goin’ crazy, and all the kids in the audience were either pickin’ their boogers, or hoping against hope that ‘ole Mufasa was gonna’ pull through and not fall prey to “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

That’s right Disney, don’t pretend that us kids don’t know about “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

Disney: Teaching kids that their parents are gonna' die.

Just as Mufasa’s managed to escape the stampede for just a few seconds, out strolls his brother; Jeremy Irons.

Slimey prick that he is, Jeremy Irons busts out his freshly manicured nails; and digs them puppies into Mufasa’s paws; but not before saying something creepy and vaguely savage like:

How ironic that the pimpest of all lions would be felled by a bunch of wildebeast AKA the butt of every Discovery Channel predator/prey joke…

To make matters worse, Mufasa’s death has the added impact of having a 40 minute guilt trip attached to it.

Jeremy Irons tells Simba, straight to his face; that the whole thing was his fault.

This of course results in Simba running off into the wild for the next 10 years to eat bugs and talk to clouds.

Talking to clouds: Useful for convincing one's self to go out and kill their uncle.

Oh well, guess we all have to cope somehow…

#3. The Land Before Time – Littlefoot’s Mom Gets Sharptooth-ed

I betcha' this movie wouldn't have done half as well without the T. Rex on the cover.

The Land Before Time was a special movie for me back in the day.

Come to think of it, while I’m sure how it all worked out, Don Bluth movies were all some of my favorites as a kid.

Not this one though... This one was just plain awful...

While the Secret of NIMH was definitely the cream of the crop, even back in the day, (sword fight!) The Land Before Time had dinosaurs and Spielberg-ian funding, making it a close second.

Although it wasn’t a Disney production, rest assured Mr. Bluth saw fit to work some “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome” into the mix in the form of Littlefoot’s Mom.

Much like the Lion King after it, Littlefoot’s Mother meets her fate partially due to the actions of her son.

Stop smiling, you killed your mother!

In short, Littlefoot and Cera are dickin’ around in the wild, they piss off Sharptooth, Littlefoot’s Mom shows up to save the kids, does so, but is mortally wounded in the process.

Easy to see why, look at that beast! He's a fuckin' Pimp-A-Saurus Rex I tells yah'!

Cue lengthy and heartbreaking death scene wherein parent reminds child that “they’ll always be with them.”

While the actual battle with Sharptooth was awesome to the young Azn Badger, instead of horrifying as it may have been intended to be perceived, the death sequence afterwards was just plain tough to sit through.

Oh no, it's happening again!!!

Even now, I bet I’d have a tough time getting through it without biting my lip or taking a deep breath or 2.

#2. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Captain Nemo Succumbs To His ACTING TALENT

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, along with The Adventures of Robin Hood, was one of those terrific “old movies” that as a kid; I never knew was “old.”

I watched the both of them about a million times, and I don’t think I ever got close to getting tired of them.

While Robin Hood had swashbuckling and and ungodly amount of merry laughter, Leagues had Kirk Douglas and a GIANT FUCKING SQUID.

You have no idea how many times I sat through this entire movie just to get to this part.

The epic-ness of these 2 factors made for one of the single most spectacular and enchanting films of my childhood.

That being said, despite Kirk Douglas’ Ned Land being my favorite character, James Mason’s Captain Nemo was a pretty close second.

SO fucking pimp...

Even as a kid, I loved his pimp-ass beard, and the curious way in which he spoke.

His voice was awesome and all, but I loved the pace of his speech, how it was just a half beat slower than everyone else.

Appropriately, it made him seem enigmatic, like you’d never be able to figure out what he was thinking in a million years if you tried.

Anyway, while 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was yet another movie that I didn’t quite “get” when I watched it as a kid, Captain Nemo’s death was something that I understood all too well.

As with seemingly all deaths on this list, the music made all the difference.

Captain Nemo is running atop the Nautilus, dodging incoming gunfire from the dudes that want his technological secrets.

He jukes left, he jukes right, and all the while the strings in the orchestra are goin’ fuckin’ nuts.

Suddenly, just as he’s within feet of the entrance to the lower deck of the submarine, his body spasms and the music crashes to a halt with a horrifying *DOOOOMMM!*

No squib, no blood spurt, just James Mason’s ACTING TALENT and the power of a music cue.

From there, the rest of the movie has Nemo, resigned to the fate of his eventual death; lurch and stumble his way through the submarine to a couch next to an undersea viewing window.

Nemo’s last moments are spent gazing into the deep blue that he loved so much.

While the death was pretty epic, it was the initial gunshot that hit me as a kid.

As soon as that music cue hit, my tiny heart sunk down to my toes.

*Sniff!* I honestly thought he was going to make it…

#1. Transformers: The Movie – Optimus Prime Becomes One With The Matrix

FUCK YES.

This may seem like a cop-out to some.

A predictable, bandwagon-y ploy to get the nerds to read the blog; however if any of you genuinely think that, then you obviously don’t know the Azn Badger.

As mentioned several times on this blog, I watched Transformers: The Movie, quite literally nearly every day of my early childhood.

My older brother did the same.

Transformers: The Movie was one of those magical films that just did it for me as a kid.

I loved Godzilla movies as kid, but that was because I loved Godzilla as a character.

Man, what I would give to have been one of those kids...

Transformers: The Movie was a case of me simply loving an individual movie more than any human child should.

While I was a little bit too young to have enjoyed the Transformers TV show while it was first airing, The Movie served as my ambassador to the series; giving me a crash-course on the Gen-1 stuff before I even started watching the re-runs.

That being said, the opening battle on Cybertron, that takes the vast majority of the original cast of the show and kills them off in favor of new toys, I mean characters; was truly a thing of beauty.

The battle on Cybertron worked because it had actual stakes.

Lives were lost on both sides of the conflict, such that you truly got the sense that everyone was fair game.

Hell, Ironhide was one of my favorites from the TV show, and he got his head blown off in the first 10 minutes.

"Such heroic nonsense..."

Not only that, Prowl died a few seconds earlier via some hot chili; and Wheeljack, fuckin’ Wheeljack wouldn’t even get the respect of having an on-screen death.

Should probably cut back on those habaneros Prowl...

These were big name guys, characters that were at the forefront of the action in every episode of the TV show, and here they were gettin’ their clocks cleaned in the first 20 minutes of The Movie!

Then they went and killed Optimus Prime.

If the battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron at the beginning of Transformers: The Movie is one of the best fights in cinema history, then the death of Optimus Prime is surely one of the most dramatic deaths.

I love the subtlety of the death sequence.

Everyone is gathered around Prime, their facial expressions communicating far more than words could hope to.

Aw, Kup's sad face is sad!

Perceptor, the closest thing the group has to a doctor, presents his diagnosis with a simple:

“I’m afraid the wounds are, fatal…”

With the silence broken, Daniel; the child of the group, is the first to speak his mind:

"Prime, you can't die!"

From there, the whole thing just gets more and more epic.

We have the passing of the Matrix to Ultra Magnus, the not-so subtle symbolism of Hot Rod catching the Matrix, and Optimus Prime just plain being awesome, even as he’s moments from death.

"LIGHT. OUR DARKEST. HOUR."

At the end of it all, the hammer of childhood trauma drops as Optimus Prime’s entire form turns black, a decidedly fatalistic percussive music cue hits; and Prime commits his final act as his head limply turns to the side.

Shit just got real.

That, my friends; is how you kill an icon.

... And thank you Michael Bay for showing us how NOT to do it.

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How The Azn Badger Stays Sane At Work…

The Azn Badger works in a warehouse.

Specifically the Amazon.com warehouse in Bellevue, Washington.

Over the course of 10 hours each day, tedium is the name of the game, and as such; it’s really easy to go a little nuts from time to time.

Trust me, I’ve seen some people lose their shit, as well as their jobs due to lack of motivation and occasional violent bouts of insanity.

That being said, myself and some of the other workers have, over the course of the past several months, come up with a few interesting games and activities to keep our minds sharp and occupied while our bodies toil in the boring and repetitive world of warehouse work.

Here are just a few examples of said activities:

1. Practice a funny voice or accent.

Okay, admittedly this one isn’t really practiced by anyone other than myself, but even so; it’s helped me get through some of the tougher morning scenarios.

I say “morning,” because I’m generally more “loopy” in the early hours, and thusly more apt to talk to myself.

“More” being the operative word in that sentence, being as I tend to talk to myself a lot regardless…

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve been playing around with Scottish and Australian accents.

I honestly can’t really do either of them very well, but after many days of thinking on and dissecting the diction and quirks behind the 2 accents, I can honestly say I feel I “know” them a lot better than I ever thought I would.

For the record, the only 2 phrases I can say with a legit Scottish accent are:

“Made in Scotland by real Scots.”

and

“You should try it!  It’s delicious!”

The reasoning behind those choice of phrases came from the tag line on some Scottish cereal I found in the warehouse.

Don’t ask…

2.  Exchange movie quotes/Arnold Schwarzenneger quotes.

This one takes a buddy, and an intimate knowledge of movies, but trust me; it’s a blast if you find a partner that can keep up.

So far the most quoted films are Jurassic Park, and any Arnold Schwarzenneger movie EVER.

Seeing as most men know at least some of Arnold’s movies, and can at least partially imitate his voice to humorous effect; I’d say the average person is most likely to enjoy that version of the game moreso than the other.

Even so, don’t underestimate the entertainment value that can be extracted from exchanging Robert Muldoon quotes.

“They should all be destroyed!”

Your turn!

3. “The Pop-Culture Icon” Game.

“The Pop-Culture Icon” game is probably the cream of the crop of boredom relieving games at Amazon.

Well, at least for me anyway.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me go over the rules for the most basic version of the game:

You begin with 2 players.

At the outset of the game, the player that suggested the playing of the game cites the name of a popular fictional character.

From that point on, the object of the game is for both players to cite the names of any popular fictional characters and the name of the source material they originate from in a back and forth manner, with the last letter in each character’s name being the letter that must begin the next consecutive character’s name.

In example:

Player 1 begins the game by stating: “Optimus Prime, Transformers.”

Player 2 would then respond by stating: “The Eradicator, Superman comics,” or any other character whose name begins with “E.”

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Should either player have the desire to stump their “opponent” and “win” the game in doing so, strategy can arise in the form of choosing character names with difficult or rare last letters.

Fox, from Starfox, has proven to be quite popular in the warehouse, as “X” is definitely on of the harder letters to work from, and let’s face it; Fox is pretty fuckin’ easy to remember to use.

While those are the rules of the most basic version of the game, several variations of it have popped up in the warehouse; including movie-centric, comic book-centric, and videogame-centric versions.

Also, bear in mind that the rules can be modified in-game at any point in time.

For instance, today myself and the person I was playing “against” (it’s not a game you play to win, only to have fun and keep busy) were forced to consider ruling out the inclusion of Pokemon and Mega Man characters, as we came to realize that, between the 2 of us we probably could’ve gotten stuck just naming characters from those 2 franchises.

A few other rules that I felt should’ve been instigated are as follows:

Character names should always begin with the first name, and should always include the last name (and it’s last letter) if the player knows it.

Characters should only be used once, regardless of how many aliases they have.

Names of races or species, regardless of whether they are fictional or not; should not count.

Duplicate character names can be reused if the player is able to cite the name of alternate source material.

In case you didn’t notice, I really like this game.

Hell, I played the game for close to 7 hours today.

3 hours consecutively, and sporadically over the next 4.

My “opponent” and I were separated for most of the day, but every time we would pass each other in the warehouse, we’d pause a second to keep the game going.

While I don’t usually feel the need to toot my own horn, I feel it should be said that the Azn Badger is pretty fuckin’ savage at this game.

Seriously man, today I was playing “against” the originator of the game, and I had his ass on the ropes so bad, you don’t even know man…

He was so desperate towards the end that he was dropping bullshit like “T-Rex” just to stay afloat.

Not only that, he went so far as to use “Xavier,” as in “Professor Charles Xavier,” for an “X.”

I don’t care how bad you’re hurtin’, don’t you ever forget Professor X’s first name…

Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this game today, here’s hoping somebody reading this goes out and gives it a try!

 

 

 

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Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #5-1

It’s been a helluva’ a wait, but we’ve finally reached the Top 5 of the Best NES Tracks!

Despite the awesomeness of all that has come before, you may as well consider the past 20 entries on this list a prelude to the sheer epic-ness of the music about to grace your ears.

Seriously man, every track from this point on is guaranteed, 100% 8-bit gold.

So, without further ado, I present to you the cream of the crop, the pimpest of the pimp, the God-tier of the Top 25 NES Tracks:

#5. Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

“Roar of the Double Dragons”


That’s right kids, no the “Double Dragon Theme” didn’t make the list.

The truth is, while the Double Dragon Theme music is downright amazing, (in all of it’s iterations) in my opinion the Double Dragon 2 version of “Roar of the Double Dragons” trumps it by inches.

Remember that fatty ass post I made about how I used to play Double Dragon 2 with my brother all the time?

Well, that post, and all of the nostalgic goodness found within it pretty much sum up both why a Double Dragon game is ranked so high on this list, as well as why “Roar of the Double Dragons” in particular is my favorite track from the franchise.

I shit you not, watching my brother start to get the upper hand on the final boss of the game, only to have this adrenaline pumping theme of awesomeness suddenly pop up and put a big fat crescendo on the drama of the situation, was a gaming memory I will treasure forever.

 

 

It was pretty much the gaming equivalent to this.

 

In my opinion, “Roar of the Double Dragons” is easily one the best boss tracks ever.

Not only that, it’s just about the perfect final boss theme for a Double Dragon game, so much so that one could consider it a sort of sub-theme music of the series.

Whether the Double Dragons are fighting Machine Gun Willie, the Shadow Master, or even the fuckin’ Dark Queen alongside the Battletoads; the music I will always hear playing in my head is “Roar of the Double Dragons.”

Wow, I just realized Technos has a lot of games on this list…

#4. Ducktales

“The Moon”


For veterans of gaming music, this one was a no-brainer.

Seriously man, look up any compilation of the “best NES music,” and you’re bound to find “The Moon” from Capcom’s Ducktales game among the top of the list.

Well, call me conformist if you will, but godddamnit; “The Moon” really is that fucking good.

 

We're talkin' Moon Pie good!

 

I love the pace of it, how it starts from a slow build, and then explodes into a beautifully electric and catchy tune that never lets up.

Let it be known, this is one piece of music that actually benefits from the tinniness and technical limitations of 8-bit sound quality, as it lends the track a sort of retro space age-y charm.

 

 

Pictured: Retro Space Age-y Charm.

 

A huge success of “The Moon,” and indeed most Capcom games of the time, (Ducktales included) was how well the music went with the setting of the stage.

Sure the mine stage had suitably subterranean sounding music, sure the jungle level’s background music was, uh, “jungle-y,” but “The Moon” really fucking sounded like what the 5 year old me thought music on the Moon would sound like.

Yes, I am aware that sound waves don’t propogate in a vacuum.

Fuck you, I WAS 5.

#3. Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu

“Title Theme”


Okay, I’ll admit it; I’m cheating a little with this one.

Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu, (Hot-Blooded Fighting Legend) while technically an 8-bit game compatible with NES hardware, is actually a Japanese exclusive Famicom game.

Personally, I consider them basically the same system, but I see how this one could piss some people off, especially since it’s so high on the list.

Either way, it’s my list, so:

*Ahem!* Kakutou Densetsu is yet another Technos game that stars the companies flagship character, Kunio-kun.

 

 

Yes, he will in fact straight up wreck your shit.

 

For those that are unaware, Kunio is a high school tough guy that starred in many of Technos’ games, among which were a few entries on this list, namely the Japanese versions of River City Ransom and Super Dodge Ball.

Anyway, Kakutou Densetsu was a game I stumbled across through “untraditional means” sometime in high school.

As soon as the “Title Theme” hit my ears, I was In Like mother-fuckin’ Flint.

 

Yes, I heard the title theme and was suddenly turned into James Coburn and surrounded by beautiful women.

 

Being produced in 1992, fairly late in the NES’ lifespan, the fidelity of the music for Kakutou Densetsu was a step above what I was accustomed to hearing from the system.

In short, every piece of music in Kakutou Densetsu was amazingly good, with the “Title Theme” easily being the best of the bunch.

Not only that, the game itself was unbelievably complex, graphically impressive, and good fun all rolled into 1.

 

Let it be known, fan-translations are not always 100% accurate...

While many of my friends took to playing arcade games through “untraditional means” in their high school years, I just couldn’t get enough of Kakutou Densetsu.

I loved the birthday and blood-type based character creation.

I loved the complexity of the fighting system.

And I fuckin’ loved Toraji and Toraichi.

 

Pictured: The inspiration for Toraji and Toraichi.

 

If you haven’t played Kakutou Densetsu, I suggest you give it a try, if not for the amazing music, then for the kick-ass Technos style fighting action!

#2. Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos

“A Long Way to Go”


Ah, Ninja Gaiden, yet another game series that shit on me in my youth.

It’s no mystery that Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden series is well known for it’s extreme difficulty level, and while Ninja Gaiden 2 on the NES is far from the toughest of the series, I’ll always be proud of myself for beating it back in the day.

Make no mistake, I lost many hours and days of my youth to Ninja Gaiden 2.

While living with the knowledge that I had beat the game was more than reward enough, imagine my surprise when “A Long Way to Go” hit my ears.

“A Long Way to Go” is, in my opinion; one of the finest ending themes for a game ever.

 

Unlike this pile of ass...

 

While it doesn’t go the RPG route and revisit all of the major musical motifs of the game over a span of, oh, 10-15 minutes; “A Long Way to Go” is an awe-inspiring piece of music with a title that perfectly captures the emotions it evokes.

Whenever I hear it, images come to mind of a battle worn hero reaching the end of an epic journey, only to set out on another immediately afterwards; the tiniest glimmer of giddy excitement and enthusiasm drawing across his face as he does.

Okay, maybe the real ending just consisted of a slide-show of sorts, but give me a break, I have a wild imagination…

“A Long Way to Go” was a satisfying reward for my time served with Ninja Gaiden 2, and I’ll always treasure it as one of my favorite pieces of music in gaming.

Now that we’ve got the first 24 down, it’s time to move onto the ‘ole numero uno…

The big kahuna…

The big cheese…

The dancing destroyer…

The Count of Monte Fisto…

The BEST Track in NES history…

#1. Mega Man 3

“Title Theme”


In the realm of 8-bit music, Mega Man is king.

 

 

KING.

 

Few could argue that the Mega Man series has yielded some of the finest and most memorable 8-bit tunes in history, if not in terms of sheer quality of product; then at least in terms of sheer volume.

While the debate will forever rage as to which game in the series is best, 2 or 3; (I think 2, but obviously 3 has an edge in terms of music…) for my money the “Title Theme” of Mega Man 3 is the best musical arrangement produced by any entry in the series.

Being as it is also #1 on this list, I suppose that also means I think it’s the best piece of music from any game on the NES.

The “Title Theme” of Mega Man 3 is a musical revelation.

Like Capcom’s own “The Moon” from Ducktales, it begins with a slow build.

I love how it starts out oh so mellow, stringing you along with it’s jazzy and borderline melancholy tune.

From there, the tune rapidly increases in pitch, reaches a crescendo and then…

And then you jizz in your pants because your ears just got raped by the golden cocks of pack of musical Japanese angels.

 

Like this, but with Japanese angel rape.

 

To attempt to illustrate the majesty of this track any further, is to struggle with the futility of the fact that there simply aren’t any words in the English language awesome enough to describe it.

The “Title Theme” and “Dr. Wily’s Castle #1” tracks from Mega Man 2, while definitely listed among the runner-ups of the top-tier, don’t come anywhere near the majesty of the Mega Man 3 “Title Theme” in my eyes.

I’ve said it before on this blog, but the careful arrangement of this list only serves to reiterate that the Mega Man 3 “Title Theme” is my favorite piece of NES music, and is therefore the Best NES Track of all time.

Tune in tomorrow, when we’ll peruse a handful of the runner-ups!

If you had a favorite that wasn’t on the Top 25, hopefully they’ll make an appearance tomorrow.

Please feel free to post your opinions!

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

Jimminy Christmas! 10,000 Hits!?

Holy fucking shit.

10, THOUSAND hits?

Wasn’t it less than a month and a half ago that we were celebrating the 5,000 hit milestone?

I don’t know what’s changed, but in the past week or so has been nothing but peak day after peak day.

For whatever reason, the hits have come flooding in as of late, and for that, I am truly thankful.

To all who have stopped by from time to time, thanks a bunch.

With 10,000 hits (and change) now firmly under my belt, I feel I’ve reached an important turning point in the progression of this blog/writing project of mine.

By that I mean, it may be time to expand and do more than just write articles everyday.

Some of my coworkers suggested, and in fact offered to participate in the production of a podcast.

I know what you’re thinking:

“A multimedia Azn Badger’s blog?  Surely you must be crazy…”

Gary Busey: A Man All About "Crazy."

I’ve never done a podcast before, but I am sincerely intrigued by the prospect of making one, so expect streaming audio goodness in the near future.

In addition to this, my brother, upon hearing that I’d reached 10,000 hits, was quite adamant about me investing in my own website.

His feeling is that, now that I have a proven audience, and some degree of presence on the internet, I should take advantage and create a formal hub for all of my work.

Doing so would allow me greater flexibility, and domain hostings aren’t all that expensive, so I think I’m actually gonna’ do it.

It’ll take some time to get it looking/working right, and it’ll probably be a pain in the ass for a month or 2, but in the end I think it will be a good investment.

Anyway, no apologies this time, ’cause frankly I think I’ve done pretty well for myself the past 5,000 hits.

Thanks again for reading!

See yah’ tomorrow.

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

Villains of the Azn Badger’s Youth

I’m not going to lie, tonight’s post is not entirely my idea.

In fact, I’ve gone and ripped off the entire concept from someone else’s article that I read last night!

Said article was written by Todd Brown over at Twitchfilm.net.

The article was, of course; titled “Villains of My Youth,” within which Mr. Brown cites his 5 favorite/most influential childhood film villains.

In all, the article was devoid of flash, and totally straightforward, however I found it very interesting to read someone else’s thoughts on the subject.

Anyway, it got me thinking, and by the time I sat down to start writing tonight, I realized I wanted to borrow Mr. Brown’s idea, and type up my own version of it!

That being said, I apologize in advance to Twitchfilm.net, and Mr. Todd Brown, but afraid that I’ve gotta’ do what I’ve gotta’ do.

My 5 most influential villains, in no particular order; are:

Jenner the Rat, from The Secret of NIMH (1982)


When I was a kid, sword fighting was just about my favorite thing in the world besides Godzilla and dinosaurs.

While The Secret of NIMH was a wonderful film, that I watched all the time as a kid, but, in truth; half the reason I fucking watched it so much was to see Justin and Jenner’s sword fight at the very end of the movie.

While this sequence was the highlight of the movie for my 3-5 year old self, even back then Jenner stood out to me as not only a terrific villain, but a very poweful presence.

The scintillating timber of Paul Shenar’s (the Columbian dude that says “Don’t fuck me Tony” in Scarface) voice, coupled with Don Bluth’s superb attention to detail in the facial animation of the character, served to create an intense and visceral character, that, while lacking in screen time; certainly left an impression on me.

Remember when I said sword fights were my thing back in the day?

Well, my next favorite villain is:

Sir Guy of GisbourneThe Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)


The Adventures of Robin Hood was a movie I used to watch at a friend of my dad’s house.

My dad would drop me over there as a sort of daycare from time to time, and every single time I ended up watching 1 of the same 2 movies:

Rodan, and The Adventures of Robin Hood (colorized edition).

Now I gotta’ tell yah’, some of you might not know this about me, but as a kid, if I ever even considered watching something besides a Godzilla movie, that meant that movie was really fucking special to me.

Robin Hood, was really fucking special to me as a kid.

Though I loved the movie, and it’s treatment of the Merry Men as being, well, truly fucking Merry, Sir Guy always stood out to me as a tool among tools.

Back then I mistakenly referred to him as The Sheriff of Nottingham, but mistaken identity or not, half the reason I watched the fucking movie was to see his ass get stabbed.

The climactic sword battle at the end of the movie will always stick with me as one of my fondest childhood memories.

Seriously man, Basil Rathbone and the king of swashbuckling himself, Errol Flynn, go balls-out on each other in it.

Look it up, the choreography and execution hold up even to this day.

Next on my list of villains, is:

The BlobThe Blob (1988)


Holy fucking shit.

Let me remind you, that this list is comprised both of villains that I liked, and villains that influenced me as a child.

Well, in terms of villainous influences of my youth, The Blob pretty much takes the cake.

In short, The Blob scared the piss outta’ me.

As a kid, I had nightmares for years about amorphous blobs, and other such faceless monsters that wanted to eat me.

Now, you know what the really crazy part is?

I didn’t see the remake of The Blob until a few years ago!

No, I’m not a total pussy that wets the bed over monster movies to this day, (*Ahem!* Not that I ever did…) what I mean to say, is that I didn’t even have to see the movie for it’s title character to have a huge impression on me.

All I ever saw of the movie as a child, was the cover of the VHS.

Yup, that same cover that’s just a few lines above.

Excuse me, I’m going to go check my closet for monsters…

Next up is:

Marcus Penn – Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

Fuck you, Steven Seagal’s movies are fucking AWESOME in just about the most AWESOME way.

By that I mean, they’re about as awesome as they are awesomely shitty.

Anyway, Under Siege 2 was the first R-rated film I ever got to see, and as such, I watched it an unhealthy amount of times in my youth.

Like the first Under Siege, 2 has the distinction of having a pair of villains that are simply too good for the movie itself.

That being said, Everett McGill’s portrayal of Marcus Penn AKA the silver-haired knife fighting dude, is a classic of film villainy, even going so far as to trump Eric Bogosian’s egotistical Travis Dane.

At least in my book.

McGill, holds a presence throughout the film, both figurative and physical, that is truly admirable.

Oh yeah, and the big knife fight at the end was bad-ass.

Last but not least, we have:

Megatron/GalvatronThe Transformers: The Movie (1986)

If anyone were to be at the top of this list, I’d say it would be these 2.

Transformers: The Movie, was a movie I watch literally every day of my early childhood.

My mother can attest to that, as she had to sit through it with me every day.

While I didn’t really get to see all that much of the Transformers cartoon as a kid, I was just a little bit too young; The Movie was just about my favorite thing in world as a kid.

As such, my understanding of the Transformers universe was largely derived from the first 2 seasons of the cartoon, and The Movie; that’s all.

Megatron was just about the most bad-ass villain I can remember.

For fuck’s sake, the man had his own laser gun sound effect and he turned into A FUCKING GUN.

He was tough, arguably more powerful than Optimus Prime, but more importantly, he demonstrated just how evil he was, time and time again.

Hell, during his one-on-one battle with Prime in The Movie, he goes so far as to feign a fair fight, only to cheat and break his own terms left and right.

Not only that, as Galvatron he kills a fuck-ton of high-profile characters, some of which are fellow Decepticons!

Megatron/Galvatron was one of the first villains ever presented to me in my lifetime, and to this day, he remains one of the strongest examples of the archetype that I have yet to encounter.

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

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