Azn Badger's Blog

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Playstation Move + Sports Champions Review

Today I spent a good portion of my afternoon kickin’ it with my Korean buddy from up the street.

Pictured: Said Korean. He made this, not me.

Being as he’s a gadget oriented person, he saw fit to purchase the new Playstation Move on the first day of it’s release.

I was fortunate to be invited to christen the mighty motion control device along with him.

Color me surprised when I discovered that it was actually kind of fun to play.

Bear in mind, my impressions are, of course; derived solely from the Sports Champions disc packed with it.

Azn chick with a bow. Now that's not cliched imagery...

Like most gaming peripheral pack-in games I.E. Wii Sports, Super Scope 6, etc., Sports Champions could be viewed as little more than a tech-demo for the device, however in the case of the Move, it just happens to be a surprisingly deep and full-featured tech-demo.

FUCK. YES.

The game contains 6 different styles of play:

Archery, Ping Pong, Volleyball, Bocce Ball, Disc Golf, and a sword and shield Gladiator Duel.

I leave it to you to guess which game I insisted on playing most often.

"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?"

While I didn’t have the opportunity (nor desire) to try the Volleyball game, I was pretty impressed with most of the others.

The Archery was pretty straightforward, and definitely favored speed over accuracy.

Much like how I favor this Robin Hood over any other.

I have to say, requiring the player to actually have to reach over their shoulder to pull the next arrow from their quiver was a nice touch.

Other than that though, the Archery game was definitely lacking without the use of a second Move controller to properly simulate the tensile strength on the string of the bow.

The second controller tracks the distance between the 2 to determine the strength of the shot. SCIENCE.

My friend is a gadget guy, but he’s also Azn, so I don’t expect he’ll be shelling out the cash for another controller any time soon.

Moving on, Ping Pong was definitely a standout among most of the games.

Ping Pong was the first game I was privy to trying my hand at, and as such, it served as my introduction to the technical capabilities of the Move.

TECHNICAL.

My first action in the game was to turn over my wrist before the serve, just to see how well the Move could track my motions.

I have to say, it was quite satisfying to see my on-screen avatar (some douche in sunglasses named Dallas) actually match my wrist gesticulations move for move.

Here’s a video of someone (who sucks) playing the same character:

Once I started the game, I found the controls to be quite intuitive and surprisingly true to life.

I was perhaps most impressed by the controller’s ability to keep up with my movements despite my wonky style of playing Ping Pong.

I play right-handed, but in a Southpaw stance… And I also play back-handed with the racquet held at my waist.

Pictured: The Azn Badger playin' Ping Pong.

Goofy yes, but effective against lower-tier players like myself.

Despite all that goofiness, the Move managed to keep up just fine, allowing me to actually get a win in Ping Pong before my friend, the owner of the device, even got a chance to.

Bocce Ball was kind of a mixed bag.

I played it hot-seat style with my 2 other friends, and we found that:

A): Bocce Ball is a game that is probably more fun when someone in the room knows the rules/objective of the game.

And B): Bocce Ball is a game best played in the presence of old people or feebs.

Pictured: The correct people to stomp on in Bocce Ball.

While pretty fun, especially whenever someone managed to accidentally make a nice shot, the real problem with Bocce Ball was the Move’s inability to simulate the weight of a Bocce Ball in your hand.

Trust me, when you’re trying to determine just how much man-force behind your Bocce throw, more often than not you’ll find yourself overthrowing.

This same problem was present when playing Disc Golf with the same 2 friends.

Thankfully, no one I know owns one of these.

Although in this case, the problem was much more pronounced.

Disc Golf was kind of like the Wii Bowling of the Sports Champion disc.

Once you “get it,” that is, figure out how to position your wrist and how much man-force to put behind your shots, for the most part you’ve pretty much figured out the game.

Though my friends and I didn’t come close to mastering Disc Golf in the short time we played it, I can say this:

Those of us who could straighten their wrists properly (not me) were consistently the victor in every match we played.

That being said, let’s cut through the bullshit and get down to talkin’ about the only game in Sports Champions that really matters:

GLADIATOR DUEL

I’ve played Gladiator Duel for about 4-5 hours total now, and I’ve gotta’ say, at least against the computer; it’s pretty fuckin’ fun.

The basic gameplay of Duel is that of a motion controlled sword fight.

Yes, you do in fact look THIS dorky when playing.

Remember how utterly weak-sauce the controls of Wii Boxing were?

You know how he landed that shot? By flailing around for 5 minutes and getting lucky, that's how.

Well, Gladiator Duel blows that shit outta’ the water.

Remember how every swing you performed in Wii Tennis, regardless of power or direction, would always result in a canned animation?

Pictured: Steven Spielberg spite-killing Shigeru Miyamoto at Wii Tennis.

Well, Gladiator Duel spreads it’s cheeks and drops a log all over that shit’s face.

Remember how Rocky successfully ended the reign of the communist reign of the USSR using only his fists and the magnificent man-force of his man-fists?

BOW BEFORE YOUR GOD.

Well, that has nothing to do with Gladiator Duel, but it was fuckin’ awesome…

Anyway, when playing Duel, swinging the Move controller results in any number of attacks, while doing the same motions while holding the trigger on the controller results in manipulation of the player’s shield.

Parries, that is defense using one’s sword are possible and indeed recommended, as are the use of lateral movement and backsteps.

There are numerous context sensitive actions available in the game, so many in fact that I found myself wondering how fun Gladiator Duel would be to play online with human players.

Here’s a clip, I don’t feel like fishing for pics right now:

Trust me when I say this, the game is far more intense once you step up the difficulty level.

I was quite impressed by the sheer volume of content available in Sports Champions, well, at least the Gladiator Duel portion of it.

Near as I can tell, there are 10 racially diverse player avatars to choose from, with apparently an additional six unlockable after completing all of the challenges for each sports event.

Pictured: The 2 Azn characters. Both are Japanese. Go figure.

My buddy and I managed to unlock Titus, the Roman gladiator-garbed boss character of the Gladiator Duel game.

Pictured: Titus and his trident wielding friend.

In addition to this, different weapon skins and costumes are unlockable for each character, but perhaps most importantly, many characters possess their own movement animations, with only a few being reused here and there.

Thankfully there wasn't a whole lot of this in Sports Champions...

Little details like that were certainly not necessary for the developers to release Sports Champions successfully, however they are ultimately what kept me from holding all that much against it.

I can honestly say that I’ll probably never invest in a Move, (I’d need a Playstation 3 first now, wouldn’t I?) however that doesn’t stop me from having a lot of fun playing it at a friend’s house.

A few words to potential purchasers:

My buddy was telling me that he tried using the Move in conjunction with the game Tiger Woods 11, only to find that the motion controls were stunningly inaccurate.

Also, the same buddy is still trying to find a game that stands out as being a must purchase for the Move.

To top things off, as mentioned earlier, many games seem to need a second controller to work properly, so that’s an extra $40 if you seriously wanna’ get the most out of your experience.

Oh well, that doesn’t stop me from pestering my buddy to buy another controller so we can try The Fight: Lights Out

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Tribute to the “That Guy’s” of Action Cinema

I’d like to take a moment to honor Danny Trejo in recognition of his remarkable achievement of going from being little more than a “That Guy” in action movies throughout the 90’s, to landing his first legitimate starring role in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete.

In my early childhood I knew him as “that ruddy-complexioned guy that dies all the time.”

Danny Trejo on the set of Anaconda upon being handed his paycheck.

Later on I knew him as a much friendlier personality in the form of the voices of Enrique on King of the Hill,

He's so friendly!

and well; himself, in the videogame Def Jam: Fight for New York.

Well, it’s about 20 years overdue, but finally the day has come that we can all say we know Danny Trejo as the star of his own movie.

Anyway, in honor of Danny Trejo and the host of other perpetually typecast actors, I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the “That Guy’s” of action cinema.

What is a “That Guy,” you ask?

According to Google Images, THIS is a "That Guy." I vehemently disagree.

A “That Guy” is one of those actors that is consistently typecast in various bit-roles, typically along the lines of “ugly thug #1” or “dude that gets shot.”

It goes without saying, that the vast majority of “That Guy’s” end up playing villains throughout the entirety of their careers.

Think of it this way:

If you’ve seen an action movie actor enough times that you know their face, but not their name; chances are they’re a “That Guy.”

Take Noel Gugliemi for instance. You probably saw him in S.W.A.T., Training Day, or The Fast and the Furious, but you probably didn't know his name.

Over the years there have been a handful of “That Guy’s” that have ascended to legitimate celebrity, though every case is essentially a million to one shot.

For the most part though, a “That Guy’s” claim to fame generally springs from the list of big name action stars that have killed them throughout their career.

Take Sven-Ole Thorsen for example:

The funniest pic I could find.

A veteran of an ungodly number of action films, the big Dane got capped to shit by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Quick and the Dead,

he got offed by Steven Seagal in On Deadly Ground, he got the everloving-shit kicked out of him by Russell Crowe in Gladiator,

Yup, that's him on the left.

and to top it all off, he’s been torn apart by Arnold Schwarzenegger more times than I care to count.

Best of all though, not only has ‘ole Sven been killed by Ah-Nold more times than I’ve used the word “fuck” on this blog, he’s also accomplished the astounding feat of being killed by Arnold twice in the same movie franchise.

Said franchise would of course be the Conan series.

Sven was in both films, playing 2 different characters, though in Conan the Destroyer he was fitted with a dorky looking helmet, most likely to hide his appearance.

Not this dorky, but close enough.

No article about “That Guy’s” can be made without mention of the uber-prolific Thomas Rosales Jr.

You may of course remember him as the deaf as fuck Hispanic mercenary, Carter, from The Lost World.

You're gonna' get Spielberg Spite Killed so bad...

Well, beyond that, chances are you also remember him from Raw Deal, The Running Man, Last Action Hero, (Arnold killed him a few times) and the sci-fi sequels, Robocop 2 and Predator 2.

Any man that takes a bullet from Robocop, and gets skinned by the Predator, definitely deserves special mention.

Robocop likes to be thorough. Shooting people 3 times is standard practice.

Another example of the quintissential “That Guy” I’d like to point out is the classic “Azn That Guy,” Al Leong.

As seen in Die Hard.

If ever there was a need for an Asian “That Guy,” in any action movie ever, chances are Al Leong was considered for the part.

With his distinctive beard and outrageous bald spot, Mr. Leong made in appearances in such classics as Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure (as Genghis Khan no less) and Big Trouble in Little China, as well as achieved the honor of being killed off by industry greats like Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon),

Tee hee, that was silly.

and Bruce Willis (Die Hard).

Mr. Leong about a half second before Mr. Willis put half a clip through him.

Though in my eyes he’s nowhere near as accomplished as either of the other 2 men above, Patrick Kilpatrick is a “That Guy” that deserves mention, if not for his awesomely-badass  name, then for the sheer strength of his performances.

Whenever I look at him, words like "rapist" and "pedophile" spring to mind.

Few “That Guy’s” can match Kilpatrick’s ability to stand out from the crowd with his creepy mannerisms and borderline down-syndrome kid facial structure.

That being said, Mr. Kilpatrick’s been killed by Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing, Arnold Schwarzenneger in Eraser, and he even got to be the primary antagonist in the Jean-Claude Van Damme prison actioner, Death Warrant.

Not only that, he got to fight Treat Williams in The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not An Option.

What?

I happen to like Treat Williams…

How could you not like him!?

Anyway, I don’t want to overstay my welcome with this tribute post, so I’ll just finish by rattling off a few more “That Guy’s” that deserve to be known somewhere on the internet.

Nick Chinlund AKA Billy Bedlam from Con Air, thanks for having the raunchiest, slimiest voice of any “That Guy” EVER.

Should've put the Bunny back in the box...

Robert Z’Dar, thanks for having the biggest fucking chin on the face of the planet.  Oh yeah, thanks for making Tango and Cash suck just a little bit less too.

Just so you know, he's not wearing any makeup or prosthetics. Seriously.

Tommy Lister, thanks for being the president of THE WORLD in The Fifth Element, and giving us Deebo in Friday, and Zeus in No Holds Barred.  Foh’ real man, I don’t think anyone else could’ve done so much with so little.

THAT, my friends, is a unibrow.

Michael Berryman, sorry about the Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, but think of it this way, you saved many a filmmaker a shit ton of money on makeup effects.

That's him on the left, stupid.

and Brian Thompson, thanks for reminding me of Michael Berryman when you’re head’s shaved, and for the Buffalo Bob sequence in Joe Dirt.

Brian Thompson in drag = Funny.  Spade without Farley = Sad.

Anyway, there’s a shit ton of other “That Guy’s” deserving of recognition, and perhaps we’ll get to them another day, but for now, here’s to hoping they all know they’re appreciated.

Remember, just ’cause I don’t know your name doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what you do.

Filed under: Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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