Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

And Now, Watson Doing The Jason Voorhees Teleportation Tango

So, I found this clip from Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis awhile back.

From what I can tell, the thing has become quite well known across the vast expanse of the internet since then.

Regardless of whether you’ve seen it or not, I thought this was amusing, and I was feeling kind of nostalgic.

Enjoy!

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Really Digging Deus Ex

In light of the insane number of A-list games coming out this season, I had assumed, well in advance; that I was likely going to forgo purchasing Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the game, it’s just that when you look at the upcoming releases over the next couple of months, well, Deus Ex just doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as it likely should.

That being said, thanks to a very generous (and random) sale on Amazon.com, I found myself saying “Fuck it, it’s too cheap not to buy,” and a few clicks of the mouse later I found myself with a brand new copy of a heavily discounted Deus Ex.

Well, I’ve been playing around with it for awhile now, and I can honestly say, I’m happy I made the investment.

Mind you, it’s not a perfect game by any means, but there’s just so many little things about it that mean a lot to me personally.

I’m not really an avid fan of the Deus Ex series, in fact I only played the original for a few hours before deciding I didn’t need to finish it, but I do have a lot of love and respect for what it represents.

I’ve always been into the whole cyberpunk design aesthetic, and character customization/modification means enough to me that I’ve bought countless wrestling videogames purely for the character creator function, so on paper; the Deus Ex games are very much up my alley.

The new Deus Ex includes both of these aspects of the original, while adding a new layer of polish and presentation that make it far more accessible than it’s predecessors.

For example, the core gameplay; the stealth and shooting, really feel on par with a straight action game.

Action RPGs that feel “floaty” or involve a lot of noticeable number crunching in their combat mechanics are kind of a pet peeve of mine.

I hate shooting at someone in a game, and then “feeling it” as the game computes my character’s attributes, applies them to the statistics of his gun, and then applies said data to the attributes of the enemy I’m shooting to determine the amount of damage I deal.

It’s hard to explain, but you know it when you feel it.

I don’t know about you, but in my world guns do gun-like damage regardless of what “level” my Marksman skill is at, or how hard I pull the trigger.

I don’t get this feeling when I’m playing Deus Ex.

On that note, I feel I should probably point out that, as of writing this, I haven’t killed anyone in Deus Ex!

Early on I found the Metal Gear/Rainbow Six: Vegas-esque stealth mechanics to be robust and rewarding to the point in which I never found a need to kill anyone.

Oddly enough, I’ve found it very rewarding playing through the game relying exclusively on taser-ings and choke holds.

It’s funny though, as good as the stealth mechanics are, in many ways they are somewhat primitive.

Sure, the guards are more responsive to sound than in most games, and their sight distance is atypically high, but at the end of the day; the AI is actually kind of dumb.

For instance, in Metal Gear Solid 2, guards make use of radios, and if they don’t check in frequently enough; reinforcements are deployed to assess the situation.

This always made maneuvering around guards an ideal course of action over fighting/neutralizing them, but it also made the game somewhat frustrating at times.

While the enemy AI and stealth mechanics of Deus Ex are technically less complex than this, I feel it’s a gameplay decision that lends itself well to making the game much more streamlined and fun.

In all, sneaking around in Deus Ex is one of the more enjoyable parts of the game, especially when you’re playing the way I am with a totally non-lethal character.

I’ve heard the AI is less than stellar in direct combat, but that’s something I likely won’t be encountering until I start a new playthrough.

Moving on, another aspect of Deus Ex that surprised me, was the hacking mini-game.

I can’t stand locked doors/sealed off areas in games, so I knew I was going to be doing a lot of hacking in Deus Ex; which had me a bit worried it was going to ruin the experience for me.

To be fair, it took me awhile to warm up to it, but now I think I really like hacking in Deus Ex.

The controls are a bit sloppy on the console, but it’s not overly complicated, and more importantly; it’s quick.

Few things are more annoying in games than mini-games that eat up too much time and take you out of the core experience.

To date, I have yet to encounter a door I couldn’t open with a little finessing, something I can honestly say was not the case in games like Oblivion.

Speaking of Oblivion, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that Deus Ex is a fairly streamlined and distinctly un-sandbox-y experience.

I don’t know about you, but I find sandbox games to be massively intimidating.

I’m very much a completionist when it comes to most things in life, so the idea of being dropped into a massive world with free rein to do whatever the fuck I want, is not exactly ideal.

I need structure in my gaming, a clear purpose or direction to keep me on track.

Without it, I tend to freeze up, get lost, or worse yet, end up spending 40 hours in the first town of the game and never even start the main quest.

In this way, Deus Ex’s small-ish city setting and mission based narrative really “does it” for me.

I’ve never felt lost or daunted, and for once, I actually feel rewarded when I do most of the quests.

That being said, the conversation system of Deus Ex, while simple, is exceptional.

Most of it’s success can be attributed to good writing and line delivery, but I really enjoy conversing with characters and being forced to remain attentive in order to succeed.

On one occasion I found myself having to rely on information imparted to me from optional documents, items I could’ve easily picked up and not read.

You can tell a game’s writing is exceptional when you actually want to read the random notes and e-mails scattered throughout the environment.

The one downside to the dialogue of the game, and this is totally just me being weird, is the very obvious use of a largely Canadian voice cast.

I realize the game was developed by EA Montreal, so Canadian voice actors are to be expected, but I’m one of those jackasses that giggles whenever he hears an “uh-boot” or “bee-n” instead of “about” and “been.”

It’s a minor gripe, but it actually does make the drama a little harder to swallow for me, so I figured I’d mention it.

As of now, I’m currently in the second half of the Hengsha segment of the game, and I’m still enjoying every moment.

I’ve read that a lot of people are extremely disappointed in some of the game’s boss fights, however as of now I have no issue with them.

True, I’ve only fought 1 as of now, but to me, it didn’t seem that bad at all.

Maybe it’s just because I entered into the fight ill-equipped (non-lethal playthrough, remember?) and actually had to scramble for ammo and weapons before I could even begin to fight back, but I honestly had some fun fighting the first boss.

Hell, any occasion in which you have to take on a grenade and mini-gun toting hulk of a boss with nothing but fire extinguishers and a silenced pistol has got to have some redeemable qualities, right?

Anyway, there’s a whole lot more to be said, but for now that’s all I’ve got.

Don’t be afraid to check out Deus Ex, it’s a lot more fun than it lets on.

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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #7


Alrighty, now we’re starting to get to the part of our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights where the fights get just plain, Anne Ramsey-ugly.

Up until now, there was at least some quantifiable element of “fun” to be had in fighting the bosses on this list, but pretty much from this point on, the fun gets tossed out the window, and all we’re left with is 7 scalp ripping-ly frustrating douchebags that make up the stuff of gaming nightmares.

In case you couldn’t tell from my “colorful” language above, I’ve got beef with a lot of the bosses to come; in particular today’s entry.

That being said, #7 on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, and quite possibly one of the most unabashedly douchey motherfuckers in the whole thing is:

#7. Duriel – Diablo II

Pictured: A brave and/or stupid player faces down Duriel one-on-one.

“Looking for Baal?”

THIS…. MOTHERFUCKER.

Of all the bosses on this list, Duriel has to the one I hate the most.

It’s one thing to have your balls torn out of your scrotum and stuffed into your ears by a boss, but to have them do it over and over and OVER again without a hint of motherfuckin’ progress to show for all of your attempts, well…. That’s just plain fuckin’ mean.

Like, irrational fictional character hate-spawning, mean.

Okay, so we’ve established that I’ve got problems with Duriel.

So then, why exactly is it that I hate Duriel?

.... Pretty much sums up what to expect when facing Duriel.

That would have to be the fact that he’s a cheap, overpowered motherfucker that represents one of the steepest and most sudden difficulty spikes in gaming.

Don’t get me wrong, Diablo II is a wonderful game that I’ve happily played on and off again for many years now, (though not at the time of it’s release, my computer was too wimpy) but when it comes to Duriel, somebody at Blizzard dropped the fuckin’ ball straight through the floor and into the depths of Hell.

Let me just explain a little something about how I’ve played Diablo II, as I’m sure there’s plenty of Diablo experts out there who are laughing at me right about now:

I’ve never played Diablo online.

I’ve always trudged my way through the game solo, usually with melee-based character like a Barbarian or *sigh* Paladin

"Hi, I'm a Paladin! I suck balls like a motherfuckin' Dyson on speed!"

As far I understand, this is just about the worst way to take on Duriel, solo or otherwise.

ESPECIALLY with the fuckin’ Paladin, ’cause as I hope we all know, he sucks monkey balls.

SERIOUSLY.

Moving on, Duriel’s abilities and attributes are tailor made to chew up guys whose only option is to go toe-to-toe.

He’s beefy and can take a hit with the best of them.

He hits harder and faster than you.

He moves faster than you.

And to top it all off he strikes with a Cold Aura that slows your actions, effectively enabling him to land 2 for every 1 of your hits; as well as make escape an unreliable backup tactic.

Enough of my words, take a look at this video of a group of about players barely edging a victory over Duriel to get an idea of what I’m talking about:

The term “buzzsaw” comes to mind when watching such blood-soaked spectacles.

While all of the crazy cheap-ass shit listed above indeed sounds insurmountable, the real kicker is the fact that it didn’t have to be.

Duriel’s speed/freeze combo is a motherfucker, but the clunky nature of Diablo’s mouse driven controls and equation based combat results are in many ways equally to blame for the difficulty one faces in dealing with him.

If you were to take a boss like Duriel and drop him into a precision-based action game, there’s a good chance he’d be a little less of a prick.

Unfortunately, Diablo II isn’t a precision-based action game, leaving us with Duriel in his current state of ungodly douchey-ness.

Probably the saddest part of actually beating Duriel, at least for me; was discovering that there really was no good way to do it without exploiting the mechanics of the game.

True, I was playing solo what basically amounts to a multiplayer experience; but even so it made me sad to have to stoop to out-douche-ing the douche that is Duriel in order to finally defeat him.

The way I finally did it, with my brawny melee beast of a Barbarian, was to bring a dinky (and mostly unwanted) bow from my stash, and poke the bastard with arrows until he either beat my ass so bad I had to Town Portal my way out of his lair; or I killed him.

For all intents and purposes, my skills, my stats, and my equipment had little to nothing to do with my victory.

He had the muscle to put me down with only a few hits, no matter what.

Really, if any one thing is to be praised as the ultimate conqueror of Duriel, it’d have to be the Scroll of Town Portal.

"Winner, and STILL champion!"

I’m fuckin’ serious.

Unless you turn off the game, the bosses’ health doesn’t regenerate over time, making it an entirely viable tactic to ‘port in and out of the battle zone to re-supply as one sees fit.

This tactic can be used for any boss in the game, however Duriel was the only one I felt I had to.

If that’s not ABSOLUTELY FUCKED game design, I don’t know what is.

The only reason Duriel isn’t WAY the fuck higher on this list is because he’s just plain unfair as opposed to outright “hard.”

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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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Thoughts On Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Since it’s release, I’ve had no less than 5 people tell me to by Call of Duty: Black Ops, usually because quote:

“Trust me, you’ll like it.”

That’s 5 different people inside of what, a week?

Now it should be noted that most of these people are not exactly close friends of mine, and are thusly unaware of how cheap/Azn/stingy I am when it comes to purchasing games, particularly at full retail price.

I suppose it also helps that I have a distinct phobia of register clerks, which makes the purchasing process all the more difficult.

We’ll get into that some other time…

Anyway, while I have yet to buy into the hype and pick myself up a copy of Black Ops, today I was fortunate to have the game quite literally brought to my door by my Krn buddy from up the street.

While both of us are veterans of the Call of Duty series, spanning all the way to the original title; my friend has been playing them online on his PS3 quite consistently in the past few years, making him a far more experienced player than myself.

I sort of dropped out of the series after Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

I had it for the PC, and really enjoyed it for the most part, however I never played it online; and rarely caught myself missing it when I had to format my PC.

That being said, I would never consider any game in the Call of Duty series to be anything less than excellent.

Well, except maybe Call of Duty 3… And maybe Big Red One.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say here, is that I’ve played COD, and I like COD, so don’t get butt hurt if it sounds like I’m being mean to your precious COD.

That being said, here’s my first impression of Black Ops after about 2-3 hours of online split screen play with my friend:

Black Ops makes me feel like an old man.

An old man with poor eyesight and shitty reflexes.

In short, like any online COD experience, the game is an insanely fast-paced rollercoaster ride of half second moments of awesome, followed by equally miniscule (yet all too frequent) moments of fail and butt hurt.

You run around, you shoot at things that move/have evil red words hanging over their head, and you die.

A LOT.

And yet, this unbelievably troglodytic cycle of mayhem and Red Bull fueled chaos somehow equates to something fun.

This is coming from somehow who’s probably played 10 hours of COD over the past 5 years, and just played Black Ops for the first time today.

What I mean to say is:

From what I can tell, I sucked pretty epicly at Black Ops my first time out.

My kill-death ratio was in the neighborhood of .70-.80, while my buddy’s was 2.0 even.

As mentioned above, the online component of Black Ops has an interesting (well, at least to me it’s interesting…) flow to it.

For a FPS newb such as myself, the game felt alarmingly fast, as if everything in the game world, my character included, was moving just a half beat quicker than I was ready for.

Then again, I’ve been playing Demon’s Souls and Metal Gear Solid 4 for the past several weeks, so by comparison; just about anything would seem fast…

Being a newb really hurt me in Black Ops.

At times, I found myself getting killed quite rapidly, to the point where it felt downright embarrassing.

Despite this, to it’s credit, Black Ops, like any COD game I’d imagine, manages to counter this quite well with it’s quick pacing.

In short, you simply aren’t given enough time to feel shitty about anything in the game, ’cause in most cases you’ll be back in the fight in no time anyway.

That being said, it should be noted that I felt myself “going numb” at times.

That is to say, I would kill and die, (mostly die) and do something cool every now and again, but everything came so clustered together, that I would just stop caring after awhile.

When you don’t care whether you live or die in a game, that either means that the stakes of the game aren’t all that important, the actual gameplay experience isn’t as meaningful as one would hope, or the player is someone that truly doesn’t give a fuck.

I was somewhere between the first and the last portions of the above statement, however I’d imagine it would really ruin someone’s day to find that their feelings coincide with the second.

Make no mistake, playing COD online is a very different beast from playing something like Demon’s Souls that severely punishes failure.

It’s an instant gratification game that punishes and rewards by inches, with all the worthwhile rewards only coming as a result of logging a great deal of playtime hours.

Personally, I prefer my games to have tangible stakes tied to my performance, however this is simply a case of personal preference.

Regardless, I died all the time when I was playing Black Ops, and while that pissed me off from time to time, particularly when I was getting my ass handed to me mere seconds after respawning, I’d usually forget about it once I got my legs back under me and scored a kill or 2.

In a sense, playing COD online is a strangely bipolar experience, with pleasurable and frustrated emotions coming and going as rapidly as they can manifest.

And they say A.D.D. isn’t a problem among the current generation…

From a features standpoint, while I can’t really compare it to the previous COD games all that much, I have to say, it seems like Black Ops has a lot going for it.

The equipment and perk customization is back, largely unchanged from it’s previous iterations.

The map selection is well varied, and seems adequate in quantity, with a number of the maps being tailor made for the Ground War mode in the sense that close-quarters engagements are almost a guarantee.

The Nazi Zombie mode from World At War is back, and seems to be a little more forgiving than it’s previous iteration.

That is to say, the weapons are more effective for the most part, and the initial map is far more spacious, lending the player a great deal more survivability due to their ability to turn tail and run if need be.

Outside of that though, Nazi Zombies feels largely the same, albeit with a lighter tone, a few campy power ups, and a more frantic pace.

Anyway, I only played Black Ops for a few hours, but those are my thoughts.

It seems like a pretty good game, though my lack of skill, combined with my recently adopted positive stance towards “deeper” gameplay experiences, leads me to believe that I probably won’t be buying another COD game anytime soon.

Sorry peoples that told me to by Black Ops, while I did indeed “like it,” I think I’m gonna’ hang onto my $60 for now.

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

Holy Schnikes! 25,000 Hits!

Quite possibly the finest image I've ever produced...

Greetings true believers!

Yesterday was the first day I invited a guest contributor to post on this blog.

Yesterday was also the first day my blog ever scored more than 450 hits.

Not only that, today the Azn Badger’s blog was fortunate to score over 3,000 hits.

… So am I to understand that my blog’s best days are the one’s in which the Azn Badger let’s someone else do the writing?

Ouch.

… Nah, I’m just Joshin’ yah’, I’m happy as a clam!

Thank you Mencius, for you contribution, and more importantly; your promotional efforts.

The success of this blog would be 3,000 something hits less without you.

Anyway, hope you like my Stallone/Ultimate Warrior mural.

I assure you, it was crafted with pure love.

Oh yeah, and Photoshop…

I’m not about to make any promises for what the future holds for this blog, (I learned my lesson about 15,000 hits ago…) however I will say that a potential podcast is definitely in the works, as well as maybe a stupid homemade action movie or 2!

That being said, thank you for your readership, expect more fun and insanity in the days to come.

Until tomorrow folks!

Excelsior!

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Minecraft: Survival Multiplayer (Guest Post)

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first (well technically second…) guest post on the Azn Badger’s blog!

After months of not-so-subtly prodding at my friends to give me a hand/break in posting on this blog EVERY FUCKING DAY, one of my closest of pal’s has finally stepped up to the plate and allowed me to post a comic of his!

Anyway, the author of said comic is listed as “red13,” however because I’m a dick, and like to treat my friend’s like shit, I will henceforth be referring to the contributor of this comic as “Mencius.”

That being said, the comic in question is an homage/parody/play on the online PC game, Minecraft.

I myself have not played Minecraft, nor know anything about it, but I can definitely fake it by throwing Wikipedia quotes at you!:

“Minecraft is a sandbox building[1][2] game which allows players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. It is currently in development by Markus “Notch” Persson on the Java platform. The gameplay is inspired by Dwarf Fortress, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Dungeon Keeper, and especially Infiniminer.[3][4] Minecraft was developed for about a week before its public release on May 17, 2009 on the TIGSource forums, where it gained a considerable level of popularity. It has been continually updated since then, and while still an alpha release, it has garnered hundreds of thousands of sales and critical notice and acclaim from many reviewers.”

There, you now know just as much as I do about Minecraft!

Anyway, my buddy Mencius made this comic (for fun, not posterity) based around the basic premise tha- Oh, fuck it, I’ll just let him explain it:

“Minecraft will see updates to its multiplayer where players can take damage – leading to the inevitable creation of servers which give players a bit more of a challenge than they’re used to. This comic is about what I imagine a part of Minecraft’s future will look like.”
… I don’t get it.
Enough jibber-jabbin’ and talkin’ wise an’ otherwise though, let’s get to the comic, shall we?:
(Please open the image in another window or download it.  The comic is too large for the post width of my blog, so it has been condensed somewhat.)
Hope you all enjoyed it, please remember to thank my buddy Mencius for his contribution to the blog!
Seriously man, thanks a lot, I just snagged Demon’s Souls tonight, so I definitely don’t need the extra stress of having to pound out a blog post for tonight…

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

Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #15-11

After 2 days and 10 tracks of preliminaries, today we finally get to the real meat of the Top 25 NES Tracks!

That’s right folks, today we’ve reached: THE MIDDLE-TIER.

 

Pictured: The Middle-Tier.

 

That being said, what say we get to the crazy-awesome music, eh?:

#15. Shadowgate

“Main Theme of Shadowgate”


Shadowgate represents one of the very few point-and-click adventures that I ever really got into.

You remember that one scene in the movie Big where the young Tom Hanks character gets pwned by the wizard for attempting a seemingly logical course of action?

Hey, I would've said "melt wizard" too if I were playing...

Well, for the most part; that scene was indicative of my experience with adventure games as a child.

In fact, pretty much every graphic adventure game made prior to the revolutionary LucasArts SCUMM interface was simply too cryptic for me to grasp.

Shadowgate, while indeed released sometime after Maniac Mansion and it’s SCUMM system, was a graphic and text based adventure game that really drew me in, clunky interface and all.

I find it's always a good idea to "Hit" EVERYTHING. Y'know, just in case...

While most of my memories of the game were of dieing seemingly unfair, and unwarranted; deaths, I honestly never felt any frustration over this.

Shadowgate was a game that set out to be creepy and moody, and in the eyes of my very young self; it accomplished this in spades.

Playing a huge part in this accomplishment, was of course the haunting soundtrack of the game.

While there actually weren’t that many tracks to be heard throughout the course of the game, the overarching “Main Theme” of Shadowgate was a track that you never got tired of.

Equal parts foreboding, energetic, and mystifying; the “Main Theme” of Shadowgate is a wonderful piece of gaming music that, once heard, will never be forgotten.

Especially when you’ve died to it 40 billion times…

40. BILLION. TIMES.

#14. Super Dodge Ball

“Doppleganger Match”


Super Dodge Ball is yet another SUPREMELY BADASS effort from the folks over at Technos.

Like many games on this list, Super Dodge ball was a game that my brother used to rent quite frequently.

I remember getting my ass pwned by him in Bean Ball games over and over and over again, largely because, like any good older brother; he never taught me how to do the Super Shots.

Kind of hard to tell from the pic, but those 2 guys in the air? Yeah, they just got knocked across the ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET with a dodge ball.

Anyway, Super Dodge Ball was a crazy-fun game, that while a little bit too easy for it’s own good, played host to one of the coolest final battles in NES history.

Essentially, the final match of the game has your team USA pitted against the COMMUNIST and therefore, EVIL dodge ball team from the USSR.

After a (presumably) epic match, the sky suddenly turns a devilish shade of purple while the court is occupied by dopplegangers of your team!

EPIC.

Despite the game being based around fucking dodge ball, for whatever reason I thought this final battle was just about the coolest thing ever when I first saw my brother get to it.

Maybe it’s just ’cause I was there to see and listen to it with my brother, but this match, and this piece of music will always stick with me as one of my favorite NES boss themes.

#13. Bionic Commando

“Area 1 Theme”


Bionic Commando was a great ass game that I wish I had gotten a chance to have played more of as a kid.

I loved the main character’s design, and his bionic arm, so much so that I used to draw him on my place mat in elementary school.

No, you don’t get a pic for that one…

The problem was, I only ever got to play the game when I was at my neighbors house across the street, however most of the time I’d get kicked off the NES so they could play Sid Meier’s Pirates.

Arr!!! Shiver me timbers! Yo, ho! A Pirate's life for... I fuckin' hate pirates...

That being said, I never really got much of a chance to get very far in Bionic Commando.

Thankfully, all I had to do was play the first stage to hear the best piece of music in the whole game.

“Area 1” is a very primitive sounding, (even by 8-bit standards) but extremely well composed piece of music.

With a military-ish cadence, and a heroic melody, “Area 1” is a terrific track that is well-deserving of the #13 spot on this list, as well as the honor of being considered the theme music for the entire Bionic Commando franchise.

#12. Adventure Island 2

“Boss Theme”


C’mon now, don’t tell me you thought I’d leave out Master Higgins?

Adventure Island was one of my favorite game series as a kid, and in my opinion, 2 was easily the best in the series.

As previously mentioned, the “Boss Theme” of Adventure Island 2 is fuckin’ badass, so much so that it got my nod as being one of the Best Boss Musics in gaming.

That being said, among purely 8-bit competition, the “Boss Theme” of Adventure Island 2 is definitely deserving of a place on the list of the Top 25 Best NES Tracks.

I love the build up of this track, how it starts out slow, then explodes into a frenetic cacophony of kooky, island-y badassery.

It’s the perfect piece of music for killing giant plants and or crabs to.

Or better yet, CONQUER THE WORLD TO!

#11. The Legend of Zelda

“Overworld Theme”


*Ahem!* Fanboys… You may suck it.

That’s right kids, the “Overworld Theme” from The Legend of Zelda didn’t crack the Top 10!

While it may seem blasphemous to some, bear in mind; this is my list, and as such, it caters to my particular tastes.

Pictured: My Particular Tastes.

That being said, I didn’t place Zelda and Final Fantasy where I did for the sake of being cruel, or worse yet; “counter-culture,” I simply did so because there’s a shit ton of other music tracks out there that I genuinely hold in higher esteem.

Now that I got that out of the way, let me say this:

The “Overworld Theme” is a beautiful piece of music.

Despite it’s 8-bit nature, the “Zelda Theme” has gone on to grow well beyond the realm game music and become widely regarded as a classic tune worthy of universal praise.

While all that may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that virtually every memory I have of The Legend of Zelda is a bad one.

Getting lost, killed, and just plain frustrated was the order of the day just about every time I played Zelda, and I’m sorry to say, it’s left me negatively biased in regards to it.

The “Zelda Theme” is a great piece of music, that I listen to on my Ipod every now and again, and enjoy a great deal.

Unfortunately, it’s also an older arrangement of the 8-bit days, and as such, it leaves a little to be desired in terms of the fidelity of the music.

While skillfully composed, the “Zelda Theme” still hasn’t really lived up to it’s potential in my eyes, and has yet to have a proper rendition to capture the full glory of the music.

And that, my friends, is why the “Overworld Theme” gets dumped in the #11 spot on this list.

Oh yeah, that and there’s exactly 10 other pieces of music I think are better.

Duh.

Well folks, today we cleared the middle-tier of the list!

Tomorrow we’ll be cracking the Top 10, and with 2 classic tunes of gaming history already ranked unusually low,  there’s no telling what’s coming up next!

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

Global Operations: The Best Game Ever

What Global Operations is all about: Bruthas' with guns...

Global Operations is a Counter-Strike clone.

Plain and simple.

Despite this, the important thing to remember is that it is a damn good Counter-Strike clone.

Unlike this pile of fail...

Counter-Strike had already been out a few years before the release of Global Operations, and while the former may indeed have ended up being the better game, I personally had more fun plugging away at terrorists in Global Ops.

Looks kind of familiar, don’t it?

Familiar, but AWESOME.

Counter-Strike was, and in some ways, still is a phenomenon in the realm of online first-person shooters.

It’s legacy stretches on for miles, and yet anybody can see after only a few minutes of playing, that the game has it’s fare share of problems and issues.

The round-based respawn system is a pain in the ass.

Oh, man... Now you have to wait 10 minutes on account of all the campers...

The weapons, while nicely varied, are very distinctly grouped into a frustratingly polar system of “good” and “bad” types.

Well okay, maybe none of them are as bad as the Bio-Rifle in Unreal Tournament...

The fact that hopping around was a viable combat tactic was downright mind-boggling.

Global Operations addressed all of these issues and then some, resulting in a fun and fast-paced game that, while lacking the online community of Counter-Strike, was always a good time, both online and off.

The most important change that Global Operations brought to the table in terms of gameplay, was the addition of a Team Fortress-esque class system.

Unlike Counter-Strike, where the players were only differentiated by their equipment, Global Ops both restricted and endowed the player with abilities based upon which class they selected.

In all there were 6 classes altogether:

There was the basic Commando, who could handle virtually every weapon in the game except for complex explosive devices.

The Sniper, who could handle long range rifles.

The Medic, who carried a cache of healing hypodermics that could be used to restore the health of himself and his comrades, as well as resuscitate incapacitated soldiers.

The Heavy Gunner, who could handle heavy machine guns.

The Demo Man, who could handle complex explosive devices, both in terms of planting, and disabling them.

And finally The Scout, who came equipped with a multi-directional heartbeat sensor that when pointed at enemies, would display their location on the entire team’s radar.

Aside from The Sniper and Demo Man, who I honestly didn’t play as all too often, I found pretty much all of the classes in the game to be quite distinct, and very fun to handle.

Who the wouldn’t like to be able to go one round as the Heavy Gunner, tearing the opposition to shreds, only to change it up by switching to The Medic on your next respawn and play a more supportive role?

Well okay fine, I'm sure THIS GUY would ALWAYS play as the Heavy Gunner. Y'know, 'cause he's EXTREME.

It was this sense of variety that made Global Ops hard to get bored of.

Now, I mentioned a lot of issues I had with Counter-Strike, how’s about we take a look at how Global Ops addressed, eh?

When it came to the issues that players may had with the round-based respawns of Counter-Strike, Global Ops fixed it in just about every one could.

When a player is killed in Global Ops, they don’t necessarily die right away.

"There's a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead..."

Instead, players are incapacitated, whereupon they can call for a Medic as their health bar’s total value continually shrinks.

Once the bar is empty, the player dies.

Alternatively though, if the player is aware that there is no Medic around to save them, (often the case when they themselves are the Medic) they can simply choose to bleed out immediately and respawn.

Respawning in Global Ops places the player in a helicopter, or other such transport vehicle in the company of all their fallen comrades.

Yup, just kickin' it in the afterlife here with my buddy Steve...

You see, every spawn point in Global Ops is continually reinforced on a strict schedule, resulting in the occasional lucky death that results in a near instantaneous respawn.

It is during this down-time in the chopper that the player has access to the plethora of weapons and equipment available in Global Ops.

In short, Global Operations had a shit ton of weapons ranging from basic pistols, to savage-ass grenade launchers.

Can you guess all the guns?

Perhaps more importantly though, Global Operations went the extra mile by allowing players to customize their equipment with various attachments.

Like setting your Glock 18c on full-auto?

Buy an extended magazine for it.

Hell, it worked for Larry Fishburne.

Like blinding motherfuckers before you open up on ’em with a shotgun?

Slap a flashlight on that bad boy.

Good times man…

Anyway, in addition to the massive variety of weapons in Global Ops, each of these weapons were remarkably balanced.

You know any other games (besides the original Halo) where cruising around with nothing but a pistol is actually a good idea?

Oh wait, I forgot about The Specialists:

Finally, in regards to Counter-Strike’s hop-happy gameplay, Global Operations went ahead and made the gameplay more, how shall we say, “grounded.”

In fact, that’s really the only gripe that comes to mind whenever I think of Global Ops.

The bot AI was pretty good for the time, the sound effects were powerful and of great quality, the mission types were nicely varied, but the movement controls were a little sluggish.

Jumping in Global Ops resulted in what amounted to little more than a barely noticeable bit of screen jitter, as if your character was glued to the floor, but would mysteriously be struck with bouts of palsy whenever the player saw fit to tap the space bar.

Dude, that's not a wink. That's palsy...

I know, it’s a small gripe, but worth pointing out regardless.

Anyway, Global Operations was a big part of my high school days (and any time I spend hanging out with my Get Stingray cast mates), and as such I felt it deserved to be mentioned on this blog.

Indeed, wrecking people’s shit with the FAL, followed by mass sessions of spamming the “I need a Medic” audio command, were some of the best times I had on my PC…

"Medic. I need a medic. I'm hurt, and need assistance. Medic. I need a..."

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

A Salute To Time Crisis: Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case in point:

Apparently our heroes shop at the Gap...

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

Damn, he got a fat head.

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

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

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

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

SUPERIOR.

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

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

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

Seriously, that's a NAME.

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

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

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

GIANT ASS GUNSHIP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yup, still a tool.

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

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

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

Did I mention Lukano was in the Mediterranean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's just plain unsafe.

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

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

NO EXPLOSION!!!!!!???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know, standard stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I really need a reason?

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

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

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

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

Also, he doesn’t explode.

WHERE'S THE GODDAMN EXPLOSION!!!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOOM! HEADSHOT!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVERED.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A close second was the first bosses theme:

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

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

Check back for a possible Part IV!

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