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The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #9


Alrighty folks, we’re back with more of the Top 10 Videogame Songs.

Yesterday we started off things off with a track from Devil May Cry as our #10.

That alone should give you some indication that this is very much a list of my personal favorites, and probably isn’t going to make everybody happy… Particularly RPG fans.

That being said, today’s entry on the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Videgame Songs is:

#9. God Hand – God Hand

To those who may be unware, God Hand is a tremendously awesome game.

Don’t believe me?  Check out the article I wrote on it awhile back.

The last game produced by the now defunct Clover Studio, (the same guys that made Okami and Viewtiful Joe) God Hand was a late addition to the PS2 game library, and one that didn’t nearly as much press as it likely should have.

I bought myself an import copy of God Hand when it was first released, and I absolutely played it to death.

While I don’t always buy into the over-the-top nonsensical zaniness of Japanese games, God Hand serves as an example of one that just “did it” for me.

The character designs, music, and frenetic gameplay of God Hand all came together for a very complete and brutally difficult gaming experience.

Gorilla Luchador FTW.

Speaking of “brutally difficult,” the ending theme of God Hand, also titled “God Hand,” served as a fitting reward for the innumerable hours I put into the game.

Now, there are at least 2 versions of the song, Japanese and English; but I don’t think I have to tell you that the Japanese original is the superior version.

Don’t get me wrong, the lyrics are equally nonsensical regardless of which language they’re sung in; but the Japanese ones flow much smoother, and the feigned enthusiasm is 20 times as infectious.

That’s the beauty of “God Hand.”

It’s a stupid-ass song, for a stupid-ass game, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make itself out to sound like the most awesomely over-the-top theme song in the history of awesomely over-the-top theme songs.

That being said, it needs to be said that a big reason why this one made the list, is not just because I love the game it came from; but also because I genuinely like the style of the music.

It has a tokusatu/superhero-y quality to it that reminds me of Kamen Rider or Tiger Mask, or even some of the sentai stuff.

I grew up watching that stuff, and in fact, still do watch it from time to time; so it goes without saying that this style of music is very much my cup of tea.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that, as a non-fluent Japanese speaker, the lyrics of “God Hand” are kind of fun for me in that they’re simple enough for me to actually understand for the most part.

It’s a minor point, but one worth mentioning all the same.

Anyway, this was #9 on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, check back tomorrow for #8!

Filed under: Games, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Videogame Songs, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Devil May Cry and the Azn Badger

Capcom’s Devil May Cry series is one that the Azn Badger desperately wants to love.

Honestly, I don’t really care much for the Gothic aesthetic of the series, nor do I have any sort of appreciation for the death metal soundtracks and overall overblown nature of the storylines and cutscenes.

So, what exactly is it that I do like about Devil May Cry?

That my friend, would of course be the bombastic, action-heavy gameplay of the series:

My introduction to the Devil May Cry came in the form of the 3rd, and best, entry in the series, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening.

Yes, I am in fact aware that he is wearing a nipple-strap. The game STILL kicks ass...

Featuring the highest difficulty level in the series to date, as well as perhaps the best, or at least, most relatable storyline, Dante’s Awakening effectively ruined me from enjoying any of the other games in the franchise.

Let it be known, beginning a game series from it’s highest peak in terms of overall quality, and then working your way down is not the way to enjoy a videogame franchise.

That'd be like going from THIS to THIS.

You see, I really enjoyed my time with Devil May Cry 3 on my PS2.

I played it to death, nearly beating it on the hardest difficulty in the process.

After I finally grew tired of 3 though, I made the mistake of thinking it would be fun to work my way backwards and play through the first game in the series.

I skipped that sack of fail Devil May Cry 2 though, as I’ve heard nothing but bad about that one…

ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

From the moment I picked up the controller to play the original Devil May Cry, it immediately became clear to me that I was playing a vastly different, and far inferior game.

The gameplay was slower and less responsive.

The animations were less dynamic and felt very detached.

The attacks lacked the sense of “oomph” that was the highlight of the experience in the 3rd game.

Not only that, but due to the games’ age, the graphics and textures were somewhat lacking.

Yeah, I'd say there's a difference...

Needless to say, I found little enjoyment in playing the original Devil May Cry post-Dante’s Awakening, so much so that I saw fit to return it to Gamestop after only a few days.

Devil May Cry was a wonderful game for it’s time, serving as the progenitor of a new breed of fast-paced action games shortly after it’s release.

You see what you did Capcom!? You gave that piece of fuck Gackt an excuse to star in his own game!

Despite it’s laundry list of credentials though, being the first of something doesn’t necessarily make it the best, or in this case, anywhere near that level of quality.

Recently, I had the opportunity to play through Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360.

Pretty fuckin' spankin' if you ask me...

After the beating the ever-loving piss and shit out of Devil May Cry 3 in decidedly epic-fashion several years back, I found Devil May Cry 4 to be somewhat tame in terms of difficulty.

In general enemies were easier to stun, and more importantly, easier to corral and manipulate, resulting in the gameplay being much more forgiving, and ultimately flashier than ever before.

Since the release of Devil May Cry 3, Capcom went on to reinvent the Resident Evil series, and indeed; much game design in general, with it’s 4th entry.

In the post-Resident Evil 4 world of gaming, context sensitive button functions were very much en vogue, predictably resulting in Capcom’s own Devil May Cry 4 including several instances of said gameplay elements.

In fact, awesomeness can be visited upon most enemies with a simple touch of the “B” button:

Cheap thrills yes, but thrills nonetheless.

Personally, I couldn’t give 2 shits about the new main character of Devil May Cry 4, a frustratingly emo little butt-pirate named Nero, (voiced by Adam the Black Ranger AKA Johnny Yong Bosch)

Pictured: Nero.

I will say this about him however:

His move-list is fun, inventive, and made all the better by the inclusion of the Devil Bringer in his arsenal.

The Devil Bringer is the chief innovation brought to the table in Devil May Cry 4, and for the most part, it’s worth the price of admission.

Trust me, yanking enemies over to your position for quick and efficient beat downs is a pleasure that far surpasses repeatedly Stinger-ing my way across an arena just to get to an out of reach opponent by leaps and bounds.

But then again, being able to do shit like this is pretty fun too:

While the game is a little bit on the easy side when compared to Devil May Cry 3, I’m willing to concede that that may in fact be a good thing.

Devil May Cry 3 was a beast.

It got off on taking eager young player’s confidence and shitting all over it like a fuckin’ pigeon perched above a Porsche.

... Yup, pretty much the visual I was going for.

4 however, is a prettier and more accessible game that even goes so far as to have a storyline (for those that give a shit) that requires virtually no knowledge of the prior games to understand.

Simply put, Devil May Cry 4 serves as a fine example of how to begin a series anew on a new platform.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it fared better than Resident Evil 5 in the console transition.

While not as good as 3, 4 was an enjoyable entry in a young series that was desperately in need of a #2 best game in it’s lineup, as up until it’s release, none of the other games could be at all regarded as anywhere near the level of quality of Dante’s Awakening.

I understand that I’m being critical of the series, but as I mentioned earlier, Devil May Cry is a series that I want to like.

So far we’ve got 4 games in the series, and I’ve only liked 2 of them.

I don’t like the art.

I don’t like the music.

I hate the storytelling.

All I play them for is the raw experience of playing the game.

In that sense, 1:2 ain’t a bad ratio at all.

KITTY.

Which brings us to the newest Devil May Cry game, one that, to my knowledge; is intended to be a massive diversion from the core series.

Uh, okay. I see what you did there, very nice... I don't get it.

Going by the name DmC, (Ugh…) this new game features a protagonist of a drastically different design aesthetic, as well as a game world that seems a little more urban, and less castle-like than previous entries in the series.

This would all be fine in my book, as I was never that attached to Dante or Nero as series’ protagonists, except for the fact that this new character’s design is just plain HIDEOUS.

Pictured: An ugly-ass, skinny piece of emo punk-fuckery that I honestly have ZERO desire to play as in a game.

At this point, all we have is a trailer to work from in terms of first impressions, however I for one feel my desire to give this game a shot slipping away purely based off of the character design:

That may sound petty of me, but unless DMC gets some truly fuckin’ incredible reviews chances are I’ll probably sit it out in favor of taking a step back and visiting some of other hardcore action game franchises out there, like the Ninja Gaiden series and Bayonetta.

Every now and again I have to ask myself: Why HAVEN'T I played this game yet?

Anyway, this has been a lengthy and intensely muddled post.

For this I apologize, but thanks for reading.

Filed under: Games, Tokusatsu, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Long time no see Ultraman

I miss Ultraman.

Ultraman has been absent from the airwaves since 2007, replaced by the Pokémon-esque, Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle… and the follow-up series, Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey.

While Galaxy is a decent enough show, with a fun concept and plenty of kaiju battles, the acting and production values feel decidedly below average for an Ultra series. This, coupled with a distinct lack of Ultraman blowing the shit out of monsters has led me to give up on Galaxy for the most part.

Let me put things into perspective for you:

I grew up watching Ultraman.

Not only that, the first show I ever watched was the outsourced, Australian iteration, Ultraman Towards the Future, which is universally regarded as one of the worst Ultra series of all time, second only to the American Ultraman Powered.

Despite this, as a child I loved it! I remember waking up at obscene hours of the morning to to catch one of the 13 episodes every weekend, (kind of like how we all used to watch the same 2 or 3 Ren & Stimpy episodes every weekend) and loving every minute of it. To this day, I still have some of the action figures, the playset, and even the terrible Super NES game.

Whatever, this stuff was the shit when I was 5.

As a child Ultraman died to me the day he started airing at 5 AM on TNT.

I remember getting psyched after seeing a commercial for Ultraseven, where a giant ape man shot blue lasers out of his eyes, and Ultraseven struck a pose and yelled: “YAH! YAH! YAH! YAHHH!!!!”

With Ultraman Towards the Future still fresh in my mind, I tried to wake up to see Ultraseven at 5 in the fucking morning.

No simple task for a 6 year old with no alarm clock.

Naturally, I never got to see Ultraseven.

For about a month straight, I remember getting out of bed, running out into the living room and flipping on the TV, only to find that Ultraseven was not on.

A few times I remember seeing some scary shit on in that time slot, I remember some movie about creepy old Native American ladies with bleeding eyes scared me back to sleep one time.

Knowing me, I probably just mixed up the time slot for the show, but unfortunately I never got to see that awesome commercial again, so I never found out.

Haha! Yeah, that's the one!

Following this, I abandoned my love for Ultraman for a very long time.

I remember Ultraman Tiga aired on Fox Kids when I was in middle school. Unfortunately, I was 12, and was thusly too “cool” for Ultraman. Guess I was too busy failing at swearing (“Shit balls! Damn, fuck-sauce!”) and being fat to care about Ultraman.

Then a funny thing happened.

Flash forward to 2005: I’m in college. I’m bored. I’m finally getting old enough to the point where looking back on life holds meaning. I’m finally old enough to admit that I miss Ultraman.

So what do I do?

I learn about this new fangled invention called “torrenting” and type in “Ultraman” as my first query.

Much like my experiences in the 90’s with the Heisei Godzilla series, I was very much surprised to find that Ultraman had carried on just fine without me.

Ultraman Max served as my ambassador back into the world of Ultraman. Max was good fun. Every episode was colorfully executed with obvious enthusiasm. The cast was smaller than most Ultra shows, but in many ways I feel that was its strength. Every character was well defined and seemed to serve some purpose, even that haole guy, Sean.

One of these things is different...

I loved how schizophrenic the show could be at times.

Directors and storylines rarely lasted more than 1 or 2 episodes, resulting in a show that changed identities and mood from week to week, and quite successfully at that.

I remember being genuinely impressed by both of Takashi Miike’s episodes: “Miracle of the Third Planet” and “Who am I?”, the former being one of the most dramatic episodes in the series, and the latter being the funniest.

Most impressive to me is the fact that I don’t even like Takashi Miike, I’ve always thought of him as being seriously overrated.

I never finished Max, but it remains one of the my favorite series.

Unlike this 'merch hawking whore...

After I was done with Max, I took a step back and decided to watch the much heralded Ultraman Nexus from the previous year.

Nexus was a revelation. It did all the things Ultra series don’t do.

It worked from a single continuous storyline.

It was consistently serious in tone.

It had monsters that took entire story arcs to defeat.

It had a budget and was spectacular from beginning to end.

Nexus represented a great experiment in trying to tweak the format of the Ultraman series. From what I’ve heard, it’s deviation from the status quo caused it to lose a lot of fans, but for an older, wiser Azn Badger, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Good God, someone get that child away from there!

Around this time I started following the Ultra movie series with the release of Ultraman: The Next.

It was pretty good, with exceptional effects work, great suit designs, and a killer soundtrack by the lead guitarist of B’Z, Tak Matsumoto.

There was some hokiness to it in the form of lame homages to the Top Gun anthem on the soundtrack, and an oddly placed freeze frame moment, (“MAKI!!!!!!) but for the most part it was a good time.

Oh yeah, and it tied into Nexus, so yeah, brownie points there.

Skip to 5:08 for “MAKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Ultraman Moebius (yes I know the Japanese phonetics have it as “Mebius“, but fuck that noise) represented another falling out between Ultraman and I.

I don’t know if it’s because I got too old, or was fatigued from all of the Sentai and Kamen Rider I was watching at the time, (Den-Ou! WOOT!) but something just didn’t click for me.

I remember liking the feel of the show, and how it paid homage to the Ultra shows of old through its use of sound effects and intentional use of outdated special effects (even more low tech than usual), but as a whole, the show just kind of felt, well, lame.

The characters were varied and well-defined, but for the most part it just felt like a bunch of airhead pop-stars with an absurd amount of inane high school drama and baggage that somehow tied into finding the methodology necessary to defeat the monster of the week.

Yes, I am aware that I just summarized pretty much every Sentai or Ultraman show ever, but what I mean to say, is that this felt particularly pronounced in the 14 or 15 episodes of Moebius I managed to watch.

You see what you missed out on? Moebius punching Birdon in his chin balls, that's what!

I think part of why I didn’t really care much for Moebius, is that the action felt kind of tame in comparison to Max, Nexus, or even Gaia.

The camera work was typical of an Ultra series, with lots of on-rails camera movement, and lots of zooms to highlight the action, but for the most part the choreography felt less complex and somewhat slow.

Nexus contained some really visceral and intense fight sequences throughout, largely highlighted by the Ultra on Ultra fights with Dark Mephisto and to a lesser extent, Dark Faust.

Max on the other hand, featured choreography with a lot of character to it.  The fighting was conducted at essentially the same pace as in Nexus, but given the quirkiness of the storylines, and the overall light tone of the series, much of the choreography allowed the suit actors to do a lot of pantomime that really added to the fun.

Whoever the suit actor for Max was, I’d like to shake their hand.

Although I would be even more honored to shake this man's hand. No, the guy on the right, dumbass.

Despite my general dissatisfaction with the series, Moebius proved popular enough with the kiddies to have a few movie tie-ins, the first of which being Ultraman Moebius & The Ultra Brothers.

I felt it was actually very good, good enough for me to own without feeling shame.

The second one however, Superior Ultra 8 Brothers, was not so hot. Aside from some splashy effects work, I felt like the story was a little bit too fantastical and far fetched, even for little kids.

Oh yeah, and as good as the effects could be at times, the fight between Moebius and King Gesura was embarrassingly hideous to look at. *Shudder* Gives me the willies just thinking about it…

In short, Ultraman Moebius was alright, probably worth watching for most fans, but not really my favorite. Which leads us to a series that I did finish, but really wish I hadn’t…

Ultraseven X was the last “proper” Ultra series, and in my opinion, it’s spectacularly epic shittiness was most likely the reason we haven’t seen an Ultra series since 2007.

It was a miniseries, it tried to be “edgy” and “different”, and for the most part it sucked a big, fat, Blackanese cock.

When I first saw the production stills for the show, I was mightily impressed by the suit design for the title character… and little else. The characters were bland and needlessly quirky, (tough girl with chocolate addiction, huh?) and the theme song was truly terrible ENGLISH J-Rock song that was as forgettable as it was skippable.

From the first trailer it was clear that the show was attempting to create a mood of sorts, unfortunately the costumes, props, and sets were a far cry from the standard set by GARO (FUCK YEAH!) the year before, and thusly, it came across as a pale imitation.

In case you couldn’t tell, Ultraseven X was a fucking disaster.

For an example of pretty much everything shitty about Ultraseven X, click below:

The action was sparse and uninspired and story was convoluted and full of holes despite the condensed length of the series.

Oh yeah, and the soundtrack, often times a highlight of any tokusatsu or Ultraman experience, was composed of minimalist, electronic turd-fuckery.

To be fair, Ultraseven X could’ve been alright had it been shot as an Ultra Q series and omitted any traces of Ultraseven or kaiju battles in general, but as it so happened I was left with a seriously sour taste in my mouth after watching it and desperately needed something to cleanse my palette.

Unfortunately, it’s been 3 years and my palette has yet to be cleansed.

Until now.

Now THAT'S a poster!

Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend THE MOVIE or….. MMBUGLTHM… for short.

Galaxy Legend THE MOVIE came out on DVD today and I am ready to be wowed. Reviews are positive, tickets sales were exceptional, Ultraman Belial looks like Carnage from Spider-Man, and the trailer looks FUCKING SWEET.


Yeah, don’t forget to change your undies cowboy.

I’m sure it’s not the best movie ever.

I’m sure it’s going to drag at points and have a shitty script.

Despite all this, I am excited for to see this movie because deep down, I want to like it.

I don’t want to be a cynical adult that shamefully picks apart the things he loves, I want an excuse to get back into Ultraman and be that kid waking up at 5 AM all over again.

It’s a wonderful feeling, having something to look forward to.

Outside of a brand new Ultra show featuring one of the original Ultras, (an idea I think would be a lot of fun) I can’t think anything that would make me happier than a rip-roaring, epic Ultra movie.

Here’s to fandom. I’ll let you know how the movie was in a few weeks.

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

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