Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

A Salute To Time Crisis: Part I

Let it be known that the Azn Badger loves him some Time Crisis.

I’ve been hooked on the series ever since I first played the original Time Crisis at the University of Washington Hub.

Pictured: A real school. Unlike the one I went to...

Arcade light gun rail-shooters have always been one of my favorite genres of videogames.

I think the key to their appeal lied within the simplicity of the gameplay, coupled with the fact that, for most of my life, they were a genre of game that was exclusive to the arcade.

Really, it wasn’t until the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn age of gaming that arcade perfect ports of light gun games started seeing release.

Thank you gray box, thank you black box, you made childhood and adolescence worth living through.

I’ve never really been an arcade game enthusiast, largely because I was never one of “those guys.”

You know, the guy in the arcade that strolls up to the Tekken, or Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or Street Fighter III: Third Strike cabinet, and proceeds to dominate all comers and play off of the same 50 cents all day and all night.

Pictured: The Godfather of "Those Guys"

While I was a pretty competent Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament player back in the day, most of my time in the arcade was spent playing the first few stages playing the first few stages of beat ’em ups like Aliens vs. Predator or X-Men.

Perhaps the finest beat 'em up of all time. Turtles in Time (SNES version) is right up there with it though.

I say “the first few stages of” because I’d usually only be willing to play for one credit.

Yes, even as a kid I was that Azn AKA cheap.

Make that duck Irish, and this pic is spot on.

Either that, or I’d be having the time of my life playing Mr. Driller or Raiden Fighters over in the “cheap games” section of Gameworks.

BEST GAME EVER.

Some of my favorite light gun games were Gunblade NY, Laser Ghost, House of the Dead 2, and of course, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

Pictured: The part of The Lost World arcade game that everyone remembers.

Time Crisis 1 was exceptional and unique due to it’s introduction of “the pedal” system for allowing the player to reload and duck into cover at will.

Enemies in the game were purely of the human variety, and would go down with a single shot; an important factor seeing as your magazine capacity was only 6 shots per load.

"Six shots, more than enough to kill anything that moves..."

Like most rail shooters, enemies were color coded to provide a quick means of visually acquiring and prioritizing targets.

To my knowledge, the blue guys were basically worthless, the white guys were a little bit more accurate, the brown guys were about the same, the green guys had heavy weapons, and the red guys were aimbot motherfuckers that could hit you just about every time.

Haxxorz! Aimbot! TK!

Graphically speaking, Time Crisis was no House of the Dead, but it got the job done regardless.

People looked like people, helicopters looked like helicopters, and ninjas looked like ninjas.

Well, as much as ninja's could look like ninjas back in '95...

The game wasn’t flashy, with no fancy gore effects or crazy character designs, but it’s unique and exciting gameplay made it something truly special.

Did I mention that Time Crisis actually had a story?

In fact, it’s funny to think it now, but back in the day I actually thought Time Crisis had a pretty good story.

Bear in mind, this is coming from someone that thinks THIS is a modern American classic.

Sure it’s just a standard “the president’s daughter has been kidnapped, are you a bad enough dude to rescue her?” story, but my barely 10 year old imagination spun it into something more than that.

Hell, I can remember dreaming up ideas of how to adapt the game to a fucking movie, even as a kid.

That’s not to say they were good ideas, but come on, I was 10.

Pictured: What Hollywood would be spending 200 million dollars on if 10 year olds ran the show.

The main gist of the story is that a man named Sherudo Garo is trying to overthrow the rule of his homeland by claiming his ancestral birthright.

Sherudo Garo as played by Hugh Grant.

Mr. Garo enlists the aid of an army of terrorists headed by a man named Wild Dog in order to accomplish this, kidnapping the president’s daughter, Rachel in the process.

Once the introduction is over, the rest of the story is told through a series of in between mission cut scenes.

Captain Bowl-Cut's 'bout tuh' cut a bitch...

Nothing really profound or unexpected really happens in the story, but all through the game you feel like an action hero.

As Richard Miller, generic, bad ass and mute agent of VSSE, you are treated to a handful of boss fights that take the otherwise mundane experience of killing the same soldiers over and over again, and make it all worth while.

Freeze Frame Character Intros, the action hero's best friend.

The first boss is Moz, a ninja who takes three shots to kill, and is a waste of your fucking time.

Note how the game encourages you to skip this pile of fail.

Moving on.

Next up is Sherudo Garo, who in a decent twist, isn’t actually the final boss of the game.

Crazy, bowl-cut sporting son of a bitch that he is, Mr. Garo actually brings a knife to a gun fight and tries to best you using ornamental ferns as cover.

Richard Miller used Bullet Seed on Potted Plant! It's not very effective...

It’s a fun fight, made all the better by his progressively more visible signs of weakness during the fight.

The big finale comes on the roof of the castle, at sunset, just moments after Wild Dog puts a bullet in Rachel’s arm.

Such drama, and yet the game still urges me to skip it all...

Yeah, with a set-up like that, you know it’s gonna’ be a hum-dinger.

I’d just like to take this moment to say that Wild Dog deserves some sort of award for how truly badass he is.

I mean look at him:

BAAAAADDDDD ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

He’s got the trench coat, the pimp goggles, the greased back hair, and fuckin’ red suspenders underneath it all!

He’s like the pimpest thing that ever walked the Earth!

On top of that, he’s got one of the coolest, and most over-the-top voices and deliveries I’ve ever heard.

Seriously, the first time I heard this man laugh, I knew I was looking at a living legend.

Anyway, as if Wild Dog wasn’t pimpalicious enough, he fights you with a pair of Broomhandle Mausers.

That’s Han Solo guns to you and me.

What begins as a duel based around a circular fountain, quickly escalates to something more, as Wild Dog pulls out his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and starts clickin’ that fucker like no tomorrow.

Enemies start piling out of the woodwork, the castle starts blowing up ’cause Wild Dog keeps clickin’ that fuckin’ button, and all of a sudden the game gets crazy fuckin’ hard.

Wild Dog pulls out all the stops in the last minute or so of the battle.

He jacks some dudes’ machine gun.

He starts throwin’ grenades.

He starts teleporting.

Hang on, what?

Well okay, he doesn’t really teleport per se, rather the flames of the explosions serve to mask his movements, making it seem like he’s teleporting.

At least I hope that’s what they were going for.

Finally, as if Wild Dog’s dick wasn’t massive enough already, the final phase of his attack is not to pull a rocket launcher on you, nor to turn Super Saiyan and blast you into the fuckin’ sun (yes, that did in fact happen once or twice), but simply to run straight at you, and try to punch you in the face.

If that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is.

In short, if you’re man enough to put a bullet in Wild Dog as he reaches out to sock you, he falls over backwards, drops his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” and, surprise, surprise, gets blown the fuck up in the process.

Richard carries the wounded Rachel onto a nearby helicopter, they flee the exploding island, they fuck, roll credits.

The console release also had a multi-branching sidestory regarding Wild Dog’s arms supplier, a woman named Kantaris.

The story took Richard Miller on another mad dash, this time as he chased Kantaris through the hotel that was the front for her arms deals.

There were only two bosses in this mode, a random-ass dual-mohawked motherfucker named Web Spinner, and a big fuckin’ robot.

Sadly, no.

Web Spinner was encountered early in the game, and was basically like a faster, more unpredictable Moz with electrified boomerangs for projectiles.

I don’t know why you would want to electrify a boomerang, but whatever, the man has 2 mohawks, I don’t question men of such character.

Pictured: A man of such character.

The big fuckin’ robot was really hard, but lacked personality, so I don’t have much to say other than the fact that he was cheap as fuck.

There wasn’t much story to the Kantaris mission, however there were a number of cutscenes to draw my little 10 year old mind into the drama.

Part of the fun of the Kantaris mission was the fact that, though the game branched a number of way, nearly all of the ending resulted in Kantaris getting killed in some embarrassing way.

Pictured: An embarrassing death.

In one ending you shoot at her red sports car, that is, not hitting her, and she flinches like a bitch and rolls it over, thusly causing it to explode with her inside.

In another, her big fuckin’ robot goes haywire and turns on her, pushing her out the window of the hotel, and yes, exploding on top of her.

In still another, you don’t even shoot at her, and the plane she’s escaping in just sort of craps out and crashes on it’s own.

You best be screamin' bitch, YOU GOIN' DIE!!!

Aside from the gameplay and story, it should be said that Time Crisis’ soundtrack, while repetitive, was wonderfully memorable soundtrack.

I am a fan of thematic scores, and Time Crisis’ entire soundtrack is based on reworking maybe 3-4 major themes throughout the entirety of the game, with most of them being pretty good.

Soundtrack HERE.

“Stage 1-3” is my favorite, as it’s a medley of every major theme in the game.

I was very happy to find that, while the main action theme was absent from Time Crisis 3, and maybe 4, Wild Dog’s theme has made an appearance in every game, as has he.

You see, yet another sign of just how badass Wild Dog is.

The original Time Crisis was, and always will be one of my favorite light gun games.

It was fun, it was different, and it was balanced, but more importantly, I bought into the drama of the game and made it out to be something more than it was.

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

The Best Track in the Game #9: Final Fight

Looks like a gay porno cover. Not that I would know anything about that kind of stuff.

Final Fight is one of the finest beat ’em ups ever made.

It’s not the prettiest game, nor is the gameplay the most complex, but for some indefinable reason, it endures to this day as a poster child for the genre.

The plot of the game is pretty simple, but fairly involved given the strength of it’s characters.

The mayor of Metro City, former pro-wrestling champion Mike Haggar’s daughter, Jessica; is kidnapped for ransom by the local Mad Gear Gang, resulting in Haggar, Jessica’s boyfriend, Cody, and in the case of the arcade version, Cody’s gym buddy and ninja friend, Guy, taking justice into their own hands until they rescue her.

Asses are kicked, heads are busted, and wheelchair bound men are tossed out 30th story windows.

Seriously, check it out (skip to :58 for the paraplegic beat down):

Of the two characters available for play on the Super NES version of Final Fight, (Haggar and Cody) Cody was my favorite to play.

I know, I know:

“Haggar’s the coolest fucking character in gaming, he’s the motherfucking MAYOR.  How could you not pick THE FUCKING MAYOR!?”

Don Frye: The Closest the World Will Ever Get to Creating a Real-Life Mayor Mike Haggar

Well, because as much as I love Haggar, an as much fun as it was to piledrive the shit out of Mad Gear chumps and deliver swift justice via my ass in their faces, as a kid I vehemently subscribed to the theory that Cody was the more well-rounded, and thusly, better choice.

That, and he wore blue jeans and a white t-shirt.  And we all know how cool that combo was back in the day…

You don't mess with success, man.

Most importantly though, using Cody allowed me to more easily pull off my patented “Super Combo” (coined well before Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo!) much easier than with Haggar.

The “Super Combo” by the way, consists of starting a punch combo on an enemy, and then during the second-to-last hit of the combo, you press the directional pad in the opposite direction you are facing while still mashing the attack button.

When done correctly, this will result in your character throwing the enemy behind them instead of finishing their combo, thusly giving you a few invincibility frames, as well as knocking down anyone behind you.

Okay, maybe the REAL Super Combos are a lot flashier than mine was, but still...

Remember how I said there were 3 playable characters in Final Fight?

Well, you can thank U.S. censorship, lack of confidence in the Super NES hardware, and a poor conversion from the arcade version robbing you of Guy, as well as a host of other tidbits.

For instance, the (supposedly) transvestite enemies Roxy and Poison were redrawn for the U.S. version to become the male characters Sid and Billy.

Evolution: From "Wannabe Female", to "Mostly Male."

Also, many character names were changed, which I have noted later in this post, and Haggar’s daughter’s portrait was changed to show her in a dress instead of a brassiere.

The Goods.

I can understand most of these changes, trannies weren’t exactly socially acceptable for “family friendly” consoles of the time, but really all I was bothered by was the whole “no Guy” thing.

Blockbuster took 5 bucks off of me just so I could rent the bullshit Final Fight: Guy, only to find that in that version, Cody was removed and there still wasn’t two-player simultaneous support.

Fuckin’ bullshit I tells yah’.

Bitch stole mah' money.

Playing Final Fight as a child gave me a feeling that I imagine kids these days get from games like God of War III, or one of those UFC: Undisputed games.

It made me feel like a bad ass, like I was the toughest of all the tough guys and all the world’s problems could be solved via a few repetitive punch combos.

Basically, I felt like this guy (the guy on the right dumbass). God rest his soul.

At it’s core, the gameplay of Final Fight consisted of little more than walking to the right, stopping to mash the games’ one attack button until everyone onscreen was dead, and then repeat until you beat the game.

I know, it sounds boring and dumb, but that’s beat ’em ups for yah’.

Same shit, different vehicle.

There were of course, various subtleties to the gameplay that made Final Fight special.

While there were only two buttons, attack and jump, pressing both in tandem allowed the player to perform a life-draining, spin attack that was useful in interrupting and canceling overzealous enemies’ attacks.

Okay, fine, that move is in every beat ’em up, but still, it’s worth mentioning.

My favorite element of Final Fight’s gameplay was it’s general feel.

The various punches, kicks and throws, both from the player and the enemy characters; all had a satisfying “oomph” to them that made it hard to get bored of busting heads, even after you’ve been doing the same 3 moves over and over again the whole game.

Or in the case of Golden Gun matches in Goldeneye, the same ONE move over and over again.

One key rule of thumb that is prevalent in virtually every sidescrolling beat ’em up ever made, is the fact that approaching enemies from an angle, that is; from any direction other than straight-on, is always the wisest course of action.

Because the 2-D sprites were drawn flat, attacking from an angle effectively allows the player to bypass any sort of reach advantage that the enemy characters may possess, thereby severely limiting the chances of a successful counter-attack.

Essentially, you do this to them.

Final Fight took this elementary gameplay element, and made it feel just plain right.

When I swooped in at a 45° angle and slipped into an enemies’ reach to grab hold of him, it felt like I earned it.

I know it sounds trivial, but think about it in terms of say, a first-person shooter.

Most of them tend to play similarly, but it’s the one’s with the right feel, the right amount of “oomph” in the weapons, and the right amount of weight, of “drag”, when readjusting ones’ aim, that stand out from the all the hum-drum and chaff.

Well okay, 100 million dollar production budgets seem to help these days too, but you know what I mean.

*AHEM!* Not that I'm talking about anything in particular...

The expertly crafted hit boxes and trembling, painful looking damage animations for the various characters in Final Fight, were a huge contributing factor to it’s success in my opinion.

Unlike say, any of the games in the Rushing Beat AKA Rival Turf series, whenever it looked or felt like I hit someone in Final Fight, the game always agreed with me.

Don’t get me wrong, as a kid Brawl Brothers was one of my favorite rentals, (purely as a result of Hack having a bad ass bomber jacket.  Hey, I thought it was cool back then.) but compared to Final Fight, the sprites were ugly and the collision detection was atrocious.

...Although it did have the best cover art EVER.

Attack damage was probably the icing on the cake for Final Fight in terms of achieving this impossibly gratifying  feel that I keep gushing about.

Attacks in Final Fight did a fuck-ton of damage, especially when the bad guys were beating on you.

Unlike the Rival Turf, or Bare Knuckle AKA Streets of Rage series, enemies didn’t swarm you and whittle you down in Final Fight, so much as they snuck up on you an made you pay your mistakes.

Taking on the bad guys in Final Fight required you to corral them in such a way as to keep them from getting your back, or any angles on you really.

Even the wimpiest of characters, Two-P or J, had a significant amount of pop to their punches that would make you think twice before letting them slip behind you.

"Sand People always walk single file to hide their numbers."

Let me tell a little story about a nasty guy named Slash.

Slash is a mid-tier grunt in Final Fight that where’s cowboy boots, and an all red-leather biker outfit.

Lookat' 'im, pickin' his cock...

In short, he looked like Swayze if Swayze had no shame.

SHAMELESS. Oh wait, maybe that was just Farley...

Slash appears from the first stage on, and in his earliest appearances he has a miniscule, almost laughable (given his considerable size) life bar.

Slash’s one outstanding trait in the game, is the fact that he, along with his palette swap, Axle; is the only enemy in the game that can block your attacks.

This man however, has yet to grasp such a concept.

Slash only has two attacks, a wimpy kick, and a DEVASTATING double axe-handle.

Guess which one he uses ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

Slash’s double axe-handle can take you out in two hits, no foolin’.

If you see this, it's already too late.

I didn’t mind this so much in the earlier stages of the game, but there’s this one part in the LONG-AS-FUCK Bay stage, in a public bathroom, (not gay, I swear) where you are assaulted about a half-dozen Slash’s in all their red-leather clad glory (also not gay.)

Among a cast full of colorful and iconic characters, Slash stood out to me, not for his look, or his personality, but simply because I hated his guts.

Hugo Andore, the giant-fucking Andre the Giant look-alike, was tougher for sure, especially in his ‘roided out Abigail form, but aside from El Gado/Hollywood always catching me with their goddamn jumping knife attack from off-screen, I can think of no enemy in the game that consistently pissed me off as much as Slash did.

Look at him, you just know he's about to do something sketchy...

Well, except for maybe Sodom AKA Katana, he was a cheap bitch that really didn’t like it when you tried to pick up his swords.

In all, not a man I would fuck with.

Now that I think of it though, Simon could also be a bitch on account of his broken-ass, twenty layers thick life bar.

And his fuckin' memory game bullshit.

In case you couldn’t tell from my ramblings, Final Fight was a tough game, with tough enemies, and yet it was still buckets o’ fun.

More importantly though, the strength of it’s characters really shines through, given how easily I am able to recall each of them by name and appearance.

Final Fight was a great game that will always feel right to me, regardless of whatever advancements we may achieve in the future of gaming.

How the fuck do these Best Track in the Game posts always end up with me rambling about everything but the music?

Guess we’ll never know.  Anyway, The Best Track in the Game is…

Subway Alley/Sodom’s Theme:

Why?:

Final Fight’s soundtrack is a typical example of arcade game music.

You ever been to a video arcade?

They’re noisy places, aside from the chiming of the token machines and the kids cursing God for their lack of Missile Command skillz, you can’t hear shit.

In that sense, music was never the most essential aspect of the production for arcade games.

The Super NES era of gaming was one of the last ones that saw prevalent releases of arcade conversion games.

Mind you, this was back when “arcade conversion” meant “shitty, peared-down version” to console gamers, not like today where everything is “arcade perfect” or bust.

Pretty much the only example of an arcade conversion that was infinitely superior to the original.

As a result, Final Fight has a distinctive, but hardly exceptional soundtrack.

It is worth noting however, that the Super NES arrangement of the music sounds much better than the arcade original in my opinion.

The tracks are appropriately dingy and gritty given the back alley street fighting gameplay.

Sodom’s Theme is one of the more uppity tracks in the game, but, once again, appropriately so.

The battle takes place in a hidden boxing/wrestling ring setup somewhere in an abandoned subway.

As you fight Sodom, the massive samurai wannabe clad in football pads and a traditional kabuto.

Oh yeah, and he has two katanas.

(pic)

You of course have only your fists, (or in the case of Haggar, ass) making for an exceptionally difficult fight.

I think the completely off-the-wall and ridiculous nature of this situation, coupled with the dire circumstances as a result of the difficulty of the fight, are what make this scene, and this track, so enjoyable.

With it’s loud and grandiose nature, the music feels like a late 80’s version of gladiatorial arena music,.

During the fight, there is a massive (and hostile) crowd present, adding to the theatricality of the situation.

At times the music takes on an almost baseball anthem like sound.

Sodom’s Theme is hardly a work of art in the realm of videogame music, but for Final Fight, it’s pretty damn good.

Runner-Up:

The Bay:

Why?:

The Bay Theme in Final Fight is pretty much right on par with Sodom’s Theme in terms of overall quality and enjoyment, however one key factor separates them in my eyes:

I got sick of listening to The Bay Theme, while Sodom’s Theme has yet to wear out it’s welcome.

I mentioned earlier that The Bay was a LONG FUCKING STAGE, and as a result, you end up listening to it’s theme music for A LONG FUCKING TIME.

True, the music changes no less than 2-3 different times, with the latter portion being an almost irritatingly energetic standout,

but for the most part, The Bay Theme always sticks with me as the theme music of the stage.

In addition to it’s length, The Bay is also an exceptionally difficult stage, which often caused me to have to continue, resulting in my having to play through the stage more than once to beat it.

In short, as good a piece of music as it is, I was simply overexposed to The Bay Theme as a kid, to the point in which it lost it’s luster before I could even be nostalgic about it.

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Best Boss Music #1: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie

Hello everyone, this will be the first in a new series of short-posts on my favorite tracks of boss music from video games.

Hopefully you’ll all enjoy and learn something at the same time!

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie was a multi-platform game released in tandem with the film of the same names’ release.

Despite the movie license, and the general ho-hum quality of most movie tie-ins, I found the game(s) to be a pretty solid entry in the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre.

As a youngster, I played both the Genesis and Super NES versions, though most my my time was spent with the Genesis version.

These fuckers was a pain in the ass...

In my opinion, the Genesis version, despite it’s technical limitations, (sound quality mainly) was actually the better iteration of the game.

Though both games were sidescrollers, the Genesis version maintained a more conventional design, I.E. each of the players had a one-button combo attack, utilizing both action buttons in tandem would perform a life-draining “knockdown” attack, players could move vertically and horizontally etc.

The Super NES version was an oddity among sidescrollers in that it had none of these features.

YOU HAVE TO PUNCH HIM IN THE BIG "Z" ON HIS CHEST, OTHERWISE HE'S INVINCIBLE!!!!???

Instead of allowing the player free vertical and horizontal movement, the Super NES version instead restricted the players to moving on one of two separate planes, a foreground, and a background; though sometimes the players were restricted to a singular plane.

Using a single button-press, the player could switch to either plane, an action that was sometimes necessary to avoid obstacles.

Most of the enemies in the game were also dispatched with only one or two hits, a rarity in most beat ’em ups.

LOOK OUT IT'S A PURPLE PUTTY!!! THEY TAKE TWO HITS EACH!!!! THAT'S MORE THAN ONE!!!!!???

Also worth noting was the fact that, despite the fact that the various versions of this games’ status as a movie tie-in, the enemy rosters of them largely consisted of characters featured on the TV show and not the movie.

For instance, the Super NES version makes extensive use of Lord Zedd’s Z-Putties, who were completely absent from the movie.

These guys, who were actually revealed to be even easier to kill than NORMAL Putties.

The Genesis version does a much better job maintaining continuity with the movie I.E. it includes Ivan Oozes Ooze Men and Tengu Warriors as grunt characters, however even it is guilty of a few slip-ups, particularly in including characters like Goldar as bosses.

Always thought this guys was hella' pimp. Well, at least whenever he wasn't talking...

Perhaps most strange of all however, was the fact that the Super NES version’s gameplay completely omitted any inclusion of the Power Ranger’s Zords.

The Genesis version had numerous stages where the players would take control of the Mega Zord(s) and/or Falcon Zord (the best guy in the game), with the gameplay maintaining it’s usual controls.

The Super NES version though, has the player assuming the role of an Angel Grove High School student or Power Ranger from the opening stage to the final battle with Ivan Ooze.

Speaking of Ivan Ooze, the whole reason I’m typing up this article, is the fact that the boss music in this game kicks ass.

Seriously, check it out:

I love the unrelenting energy of this track.

The rockin’ over-the-top guitar/synth riffs really give the track a dangerous and dramatic flair, while at the same time doing a wonderful job of maintaining a similar sound to the Power Ranger’s TV soundtrack we are all so familiar with.

For a game with mediocre action gameplay, it’s pretty amazing to think that a track this energetic and powerful was actually composed for this game.

It’s worth nothing that, despite my focus being solely directed at this track, the soundtrack as a whole is actually really solid.

In many ways, I think that speaks volumes as to the skill of the composers over at Natsume and Bandai.

The two companies also collaborated on a Super Famicom exclusive game, Gundam Wing: Endless Duel, which just happens to have a very similar soundtrack, with much of the same midi “instrumentation.”

In example here’s my favorite track from Endless Duel:

Did I mention Natsume kicks ass?

Well, they do, Ninja Warriors Again and Pocky and Pocky serve as living proof of that.

We’ll revisit Pocky and Rocky on this blog sometime, that’s a promise.

Anyway, the Super NES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie had a crazy-awesome boss theme, and thusly I hereby declare it ONE OF THE BEST BOSS TRACKS EVER.


Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Track in the Game #2: Starfox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, kinda' like this kid.

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

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

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

MOTHER. FUCKING. DRAGON.

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

Not the best example, but it'll do.

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

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

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

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

Anyway, without further ado…

The Best Track in the Game is…

Intro Stage – Corneria

Why?:

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the intro we are taken to the Title Screen.

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

He killed your father...

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

And then they hit you with this:

WOAH!  Shit just got real!

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

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

Runner-Ups:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What should I do Trevor?”

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

“Uh… Go… Go, up!”

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

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

Yeah, I caught a beating over that one.

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

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

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

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

Yeah, fuck that noise.

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

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

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

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

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Reminiscing About Gaming/A Taste of Things to Come

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

Yeah, good times…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case in point, from X-Men:

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

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

Thanks for reading. Happy Thursday!

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