Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Let’s Play Contra III: The Alien Wars, Part II

Welcome folks, to day 2/stage 2 of the Azn Badger’s Let’s Play of Contra III: The Alien Wars on the Super NES!

This time around we’re tackling an overhead level, powered by that wonderfully gaudy, and undeniably “90’s” breakthrough in gaming technology: Mode 7!

Remember when this was considered "mind-blowing?"

In case you haven’t noticed as of yet, I have a mild case of writer’s block at the moment, so until I get my shit together, you’re all gonna’ have to settle for Let’s Play videos.

Don’t worry though, Contra III is a pretty short game, so I promise this won’t drag on like that Godzilla Let’s Play I did awhile back…

Anyway, enjoy!:

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Hidden Treasures, Part II

Haha, Azn Badger bein' all artsy n'shit...

You wouldn’t know it from that pic, but I was actually looking out the window on account of some lady shrieking at her kids.

Was fuckin’ hilarious.

That ugliness aside, welcome back to my basement dwelling odyssey!

Upon venturing deeper into my basement crawlspace, I was elated to discover my old Captain Bucky O’Hare action figures!

Near as I can tell, I had almost the whole collection, minus Jenny the Alderbaran Cat, The Toad Air Marshall, and some piece of shit named Commander Dogstar that I honestly have ZERO memory of.

Now what kind of Happy Meal bullshit is THIS!? No wonder I don't remember him...

Don’t ask me what Alderbaran means, ’cause I sure as hell don’t know.

It’s kind of like that one monster “D’Compose” from Inhumanoids.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT! How did my parents let me watch this shit!?

I didn’t know what “decompose” meant, all I knew was that that was his name, and that’s what he said when he turned that one bitch into a giant-ass zombie.

I'm not crazy, I swear, BUT HOW THE FUCK DID I REMEMBER THIS SHIT!?

Now that I think of it, Inhumanoids was fuckin’ badass.

Scared the shit outta’ me too.

Why the fuck am I talking about Inhumanoids?

I only saw like 2 episodes of that when I was like 3 years old.

HOW THE FUCK DO I REMEMBER ALL THIS STUPID SHIT!?

*Cough!* Anyway, this is the second time in the past few days that I’ve mentioned Bucky O’Hare, so I figure it’s time I give a little background on the subject for those who may not remember him.

Here’s the intro sequence:

Basically, Bucky O’Hare was a cartoon, based on a comic from before my time, that dealt with a universe parallel to our own called the Aniverse.

The Aniverse, wherein planets are named not for Gods, but rather by their color.

Essentially, the world was like Star Wars, only a cast made up entirely of anthropomorphic animal people.

Couldn't find a better photo. Jesus and pancakes that is disturbing...

Hey! Get back here!

Just ’cause I said “anthropomorphic” doesn’t mean this post is gonna’ de-evolve into furry bullshit!

*Ahem!* ANYWAY, the story involves a nerdy young boy from our universe named Willy, being somehow transported into the Aniverse and being forced to take up arms in a galactic war of sorts.

Is nobody worried that the kid is holding a gun?

As a rule of thumb in the series, reptiles and amphibians are “The Empire,” and all the mammals are “The Rebels.”

My God, what have I done!?

I did mention that Bucky O’Hare was like Star Wars, right?

Captain Bucky O’Hare and his ragtag crew of rebel misfits serve as Willy’s defenders and support crew.

Is that his "rape" face or some shit? Seriously...

The other crew members were, if I can remember correctly:

AFC Blinky, a cute little cyclopic android that serves as the C-3P0 and R2-D2 of the crew at the same time.

Don't fuck with him. Seriously, he's got one of the biggest guns in the videogame.

Deadeye Duck, the ship’s trigger happy, four-armed, one-eyed gunner, and my personal favorite character on the show.

Deadeye Duck ridin' in the Toad Croaker.

He was voiced by Duo Maxwell after all.

Jenny the Alderbaran Cat was basically the Jean Grey of the crew, serving as a psychic force to reckoned with, as well as a sort of mother figure to Willy.

She was a pain in the ass to fight in the NES game...

I’m sure if you type her name into Google you’ll find plenty of furry “yiff” fodder.

Hey man, blame the intersnatch, not me…

Last but not least, Bruiser the Berserker Baboon served as equal parts Chewbacca and The Incredible Hulk.

FUCK YEAH.

The numerous instances when he’d go apeshit and beat on the toads were always fuckin’ classic.

“THE BERSERKER BABOON!!!!” They’d all yell, just before getting squashed.

Pictured: Just the parts they didn't like...

To be perfectly honest, I really don’t remember Bucky O’Hare all that well, much less Inhumanoids.

Bucky O’Hare was only a part of my life for about a year, but clearly I really liked it, ’cause I remember the characters just fine, and I played the shit out of the NES game.

RAWK!!!!! Guarantee you'll be seein' me play this sometime soon...

I don’t really remember the plot outside of the very basic “mammals fight against reptiles and amphibians” outline.

Even so, memories, no matter how trivial and fragmented, are always something to be treasured.

Even if they sit in a box underneath the stairs for 20 years.

Oh well, all this talk of Bucky O’Hare has got me wanting to the play the NES game again, so if I ever get around to making another Let’s Play video, that’ll probably be the first one I do.

Thanks for reading, sorry I’ve been so lazy!

SHORYUKEN!!!!!

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

A Salute To Time Crisis: Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pictured: The "Crisis Flash"

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

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

Cheating motherfuckers...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Providing ever more chances that shit like this would happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"No One Can Beat Them"

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

Just ask Time Crisis 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least that’s my guess.

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

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

FUCK YEAH.

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

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

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

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

Whatever man, you’d have done it too…

That's right, YOU.

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

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

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

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

Unlike this quarter munching pile of ass.

Done with the single player game?

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

Done with “mirror” mode?

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

Tired? Sleepy?

Try 5-Hour Energy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...And a lot of dead cats.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skip to 2:10 or risk losing your sanity:

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

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

Oh yeah, and a machine pistol.

No Comment.

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

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

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

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

And yes, “No One Can Beat Them.”

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

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

Seriously, BUFF Bryant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the fuck Namco, did I miss something?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I came.

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

Pictured: Steve Jobs during Corporate War III.

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

“Obstacle” being the operative word in that sentence.

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

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

Again.

BAD. ASS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, BAAAAADDDDD ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

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

Oh yeah, and “No One Can Beat Them.”

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

Explosions ensue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skip to 9:05 for the source material:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

Enter: Big Mac

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter, “Big Mac.”

HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

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

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

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

THE CHOP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Behold: The Man-Mobile.

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

He was cheap.

He was scary.

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

“Oh no, it’s Big Mac!”

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

The Best Track in the Game #3: Return of Double Dragon

Return of Double Dragon is the Japanese version of Super Double Dragon for the SNES.

The Japanese version was actually released after the American one, and surprisingly includes a number of changes and differences, leading to my suspicion that the American release was rushed.

Return includes a few extra character animations and music tracks not featured in the American release. In the case of the music, several tracks are also assigned to different stages.

I had never played Return until I was in college, but thankfully I found that I wasn’t really missing much in terms of extra content.

Although it is fun being able to grab everyone by the hair.

... and then do this to them.

I grew up playing Super Double Dragon across the street at my neighbor’s house.

Early on I was one of those kids who used to invite himself over, that is until their parents told me to start calling ahead.

Consequently, I regard calling my neighbor’s to see if they could “come out and play” as the first phone call I ever made on my own.

Pictured: The Future.

I’d often spend my afternoons over there, playing Super Soccer (Argentina all the way!) and Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball, but mostly Super Double Dragon.

The game was crazy awesome, taking full advantage of the increased button count on the SNES controller.

I could jump with one button.

I could block (who the fuck does that?), with just one button.

Hell, I could do the fucking spin kick with just one fucking button!

I won’t get big headed and say I was “good” at Super Double Dragon, but I will say this: I felt like I was good at Super Double Dragon.

The game was undoubtedly an improvement on every game in the series that had come before it, (that’s right, FUCK Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones) with gameplay, sound and graphics that were top notch for the time, and yet something was missing from the experience…

Okay maybe not that, but still...

I never owned Super Double Dragon, or Return of Double Dragon until much later in life, although I did borrow it once.

My brother and I made it to the final boss, (a rare feat in gaming for me back then) and just as soon as the battle got really heated, just as soon as the guy started busting out all sorts of spinning wheel kicks an other such bullshit, the game froze.

Had to wait 12 fucking years just to see this screen...

To this day, it’s the only instance I can recall of such a thing happening on the SNES.

When I bought Return of Double Dragon, I’m pretty sure I bought it not out of being nostalgic for the days and weeks I spent over at my neighbor’s house playing it, but for the half hour or so I spent playing it with my brother.

That being said,

The Best Track in the Game is…

Golden Gate Bridge Stage

Why?:

Doesn’t this music just make you wanna’ go out and grab somebody by the hair and knee ’em in the face?

Okay, maybe that’s just me, but I always found this track to be a standout in the Return of Double Dragon soundtrack.

Just to clear things up a bit, though I refer to this as the Golden Gate Bridge theme, in Super Double Dragon, this track was actually used as the background music of the opening stage, Las Vegas.

In truth, I believe that this track is much better suited for the Las Vegas stage, as the pace more closely mirrors that of walking the streets, rather than careening down the Golden Gate Bridge atop a semi-truck.

Outside of the Title theme, (which also doubles as the Final Stage theme) this track was the first one I heard in the game.

The music is pulse-pounding and has a weightiness, a harshness to it that comes across as being very aggressive, perfectly appropriate given the main objective of the gameplay.

Though not head and shoulders above the competition in terms of overall quality, it’s this serious tone that makes the Golden Gate Bridge theme a standout amongst many of the more upbeat, and less memorable tracks in the Double Dragon series.

Runner-Ups:

Slum theme, China Town theme

You know those upbeat tracks I just mentioned?

Well, the Slum theme is one of them, however it is by no means forgettable.

In fact the Slum theme was used way back in the original Double Dragon as the Opening Stage theme, though unlike some NES era tunes, it seriously benefited from the increase in audio fidelity that the SNES brought to the table.

Double Dragon has an official theme music.

It’s a truly great theme that’s been used in pretty much every game in the series.

The fact that I hold this remix of the Slum theme in higher regard than the Return version of the Double Dragon theme is a testament to it’s longevity.

If the Slum theme is a prime example of a classic tune made even better, then the China Town theme should serve as a wonderful example of a completely original track taking charge and standing out amongst its more seasoned peers.

Similar in many ways to the Slum theme, in that it is strangely colorful and fast-paced despite the rather grungy subject matter of the game, the China Town theme pushes all the buttons that the former does, albeit in, arguably, more effective fashion.

The China Town theme has an element of carefree fun to it that makes it downright irresistible.

If was to name any one track in the Double Dragon series “The Best Head-Bobbing Track in the Game,” then it would probably have to be this one.

Yup, just another day riding in Azn Badger's car...

In case you’re wondering why you haven’t heard this track before, that would be because it is exclusive to Return of Double Dragon.

That’s right, bizarre as it may seem, one of the best pieces of music featured in the game wasn’t even featured in the American release.

Oh well, I got my copy, screw the rest ‘ah ya’ll.

Filed under: Games, The Best Track in the Game, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Two-Player Simultaneous Gameplay”

Chicks, whips and helicopters, oh my!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See diagram below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty much every match between my brother and I.

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

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

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

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

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

EVERY. FUCKING. DAY.

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

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

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

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

Guess which one I was, I dare you.

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

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

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

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

Even these twin ninja fucks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just like this. Except without the red bullshit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, you get pretty excited.

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

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

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

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

However, I used to look forward to playing games.

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

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

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

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

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

Or a brother.

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

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The Best Track in the Game #1: Mega Man X

You don't wanna' see what I'm doing with my other hand...

Megaman X.  Few games have had as huge an impact on my life than Megaman X.

Growing up, I was a Megaman/Capcom nut.  I remember way back in the day, my barber (yeah, I don’t know why either) gave me and my brother an issue of Nintendo Power with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the cover:

Back when men were men... and turtles were not yet made of rubber

Yeah, that’s the one.

Anyway, somewhere in there was a sneak peak at Megaman 2 with a fold out poster featuring all 8 of the robot masters, plus Guts Dozer, The Mecha Dragon, and the schmuck Dr. Wily.

From the first time I saw this poster, I was hooked.

I remember running over to my mom and showing her all the characters, and telling her in impossibly adorable child-speak:

“This guy, his name’s Bubble Man!  He has bubble powers!  He shoots, um… He shoots bubbles!”

Eventually, I got my mom to make me a Bubble Man helmet out of cardboard…  and a Crash Man helmet for one of the neighbor kids… and a Quick Man helmet that I told her was for one of my friends that I ended up keeping for myself.

Yeah, back then Bubble Man was my favorite boss from Megaman 2.  My brother used to give me shit about it.  He would say:

“Bubble Man’s fat.  No wonder you like him, fatty.”

So fat...

Well, can’t say my brother was ever wrong about him being fat.  At least he’s not a pussy like Metal Man AKA THE FIRST FUCKING GUY EVERYONE KILLS.

FIRST. FUCKING. GUY.

Anyway, back to Megaman X!

Wall climbing.  Dashing.  Wall Dashing.  Throwing a Hadouken.  These were just a few of the amazing innovations that Megaman X brought to the Megaman franchise.Most critical among these was the Dash, which, coupled with the ability to hug walls to slow your descent, made for precision gameplay far faster and more forgiving than the classic Megaman series has ever been.

In gaining a beam saber, he lost his cock. Tragic...

True the franchise has never been very hard, (except for the utterly craptacular Megaman X6) and I see how that could be a problem for all the Contra kids out there, but the level length, number of secrets, and plethora of colorfully animated boss characters throughout most of the games has always struck me as being among the best in gaming.

Okay, maybe X3 had too many secrets, (most of the time you found at least half of the stuff by accident) and X2’s difficulty was sinfully weak, but few people can argue that the original Megaman X was pretty much on the mark in every area.

But that says nothing for the quality of the music.

Picking a best track from Megaman X is no easy task.  When you first boot up the game, you are treated to a provocative and well-executed diagnostic sequence, followed by one of the most awesome title screen tracks EVER.


Right from the get go, best title track EVER.

And it just keeps getting better from there.

The intro stage (an innovation to the Megaman franchise first seen here) tune is exhilarating and skillfully layered.  In fact one of the most remarkable things about this soundtrack, to me at least, is the fact that it succeeded in making me feel like there was some level of importance to my actions.

The track that plays when Zero and X hold their conversations establishes a sense of brotherhood between the two characters that does a lot to add to the gravity of the conflict at hand (especially when you consider the events that precede the two instances when this track is heard in the game.)

In picking a favorite track from this game though, my objective is to select the one that is not only the most enjoyable to listen to, but the one that “means” the most to me as a whole.

Being one that plays Megaman games more often than he beats them, I tend to spend most of my time playing through the pre-castle, robot master stages.  That being said it’s natural for me to pick one of the robot master stage tracks as The Best Track in the Game for Megaman X.

Without further ado,

The Best Track in the Game is…

Armored Armadillo Stage

Why?:

The music is fast, energetic, and has a significantly longer running time than many of the other robot master themes. (I’m looking at you Storm Eagle and Sting Chameleon…) Not only that, but Armored Armadillo’s stage is potentially the most fun to play through, featuring a number of unique enemies (the “jet birds” at the end, and the tunnel digging bug-machines) and gameplay mechanics (the spiked mine cart rides).  In general, Armored Armadillo’s stage seems to have more “love” put into it than the others, and is therefore, simply more fun to play.

In addition to this, Armored Armadillo’s stage is undoubtedly the one that most people have played through the most.

No, not because it’s so damn fun, (even though it is) but because it’s the only way to get the Hadouken capsule!

Assuming you don’t suck, and don’t have to continue through any of the robot master stages, one will end up playing Armored Armadillo’s stage 5 times as much as any of the other levels in the game!  I can’t prove it, but something tells me Capcom made the conscious decision to step up their game in designing Armored Armadillo’s stage in order to prevent people from getting pissy over having to play through the stage an extra 4 times (potentially more, again, if you suck) to get a cheesy fireball upgrade.

In this is case, it worked, ’cause I have never once balked at the idea of playing through the game without getting the Hadouken.

Runner-Ups:

Storm Eagle Stage, Title Theme

Why?:


Storm Eagle’s theme has a solid reputation for being the favorite among most gamers.

It’s short, it’s sweet, it has a sort of Top Gun-ish heavy guitar feel to it, in short, it’s fucking awesome and it goes with the airport setting very well.

Storm Eagle’s theme was my favorite as a kid, and remained so until fairly recently.

As I mentioned previously, I think Armored Armadillo’s theme is great partially because it was shoved down my throat so many times over the years.  In that sense I think it’s fair to say that I enjoy both tracks pretty much equally, however one has recently begun to occupy a larger place in my memory than the other.

In regards to the Title Theme, listen to it!

It’s fucking awesome!

Even without the awesome metallic *SHING* noise when the “X” flashes into place, it’s still fucking awesome!

How could you not get crazy hyped up after hearing this for the first time!?

I know I did at least until one of the little purple flying dudes with the red nose bumped me in mid-air and knocked me into a pit not 2 minutes into my first life.  Little fucker, has the nerve to blink his eyes and bob his nose in celebration every time he hits you too…

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Reminiscing About Gaming/A Taste of Things to Come

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

Yeah, good times…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case in point, from X-Men:

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

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

Thanks for reading. Happy Thursday!

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