Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

And Now, Probably The Most Pathetic Boss Fight In All Of Videogames.

It’s interesting to note that, despite the pathetic (and hilarious) nature of the Bob the Goldfish fights in both Earthworm Jim 1 and 2, I actually consider both of those games to be quite difficult overall.

It’s like they decided to give you a reprieve from the oppressive difficulty, and make a joke all at the same time.

Also worth noting is the fact that this clip was captured from the Genesis version of the game, as is clearly evident from the ratty sound quality.

Maybe it’s just because I grew up with an NES and Super NES in the house, but for whatever reason I seem to have a stigma against most Sega products…

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

The Best Track In The Game #14: Knights of the Round

Yes, I did in fact buy this just the other day...

Knights of the Round was, and forever will be; one of my favorite beat ’em ups of all time.

Truth be told, I didn’t actually play it in it’s original arcade form all that much, I played through the Super NES version an ungodly number of times.

While the graphics and animations of Knights of the Round may not be up to standard with many of it’s contemporaries, both in the arcade and on home consoles; it’s relatively unique gameplay, setting, and terrific soundtrack continue to sustain it even to this day.

Well, in my eyes anyway.

You see, Knights of the Round was one of those rare games that really made me feel “heroic” when I was playing it.

Sure, all you ever do in the game is walk from left to right and bash people’s brains in with swords and axes, but because of the character designs and music; it felt like so much more to me as a kid.

Seriously man, you try taking down a giant fuck named BALBARS and tell me you didn’t feel awesome for doin’ it.

THAT'S a BIG hammer...

Anyway, the original 1991 arcade release of Knights of the Round was a 3-player arcade game that was, of course; based on Arthurian lore.

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t really play the arcade version all that much; so for the purposes of this article, I’ll largely be referencing the Super NES version from this point onward.

Like many beat ’em ups of the time, there were multiple characters to choose from in Knights of the Round; each with their own individual strengths and weaknesses in the areas of attack power and speed.

"Choose Your Destiny..."

Arthur, whose sprite is curiously puny; is the Leonardo of the group, boasting the most balanced stats of the group.

Lancelot, who looks absolutely nothing like Richard Gere with his shimmering golden hair; is the fastest in both movement and attack speed, however his power is somewhat lacking; making battles risky by forcing one to engage their opponents more frequently to finish them off.

 

Somebodies lying to me...

Finally, Percival is the green pants-ed Incredible Hulk of the group who wields an axe, and can indeed mess people up most mightily; at the cost of being slow as molasses, as well as having the most pathetic of all jumping attacks in beat ’em up history.

The character roster of Knights of the Round was always a huge selling point for me as a kid.

Thanks to movies like Jason and the Argonauts, as well as TV shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and King Arthur and the Knights of Justice; I got really into mythology at a young age.

Here’s why:

Greek and Japanese stuff was always my favorite, but thanks to that AMAZINGLY FUCKIN’ AWESOME cartoon; Arthurian stuff always had a place in my periphery.

In that sense, even though Knights of the Round has absolutely nothing to do with the mythology of King Arthur; just having a trio of recognizable characters from the myths present in the game did a lot to draw me into the experience.

Anyway, I think it goes without saying that, whenever I played this game with my friends; there was always a scuffle over who’d get to play as Arthur.

Seriously man, the word “King” is part of his name, he’s arguably the best character in the game, and by the end of the game he gets to wield Ex-FUCKING-Calibur, how could any kid not want to play as Arthur.

In all, I think that’s only bad memory of Knights of the Round.

That, and playing as Percival.

 

Really? You're wearing THAT into battle?

It didn’t happen that often, by I can recall being tricked into playing as Percival once or twice by some of my weaslier friends.

As indicated by the relatively balanced characteristics of all the playable characters, Percival isn’t intended to be a shitty character; but the sad truth of the matter, is that he is.

Too fuckin’ slow, zero fuckin’ jumping attack, and the proud owner of a He-Man esque bowl-cut; Percival is the fuckin’ Aquaman of Knights of the Round.

Nobody likes him, and if anyone should ever make a claim to the contrary; it’s ’cause they’re trying to be ironic, and thusly must be killed with hipster flames of violence.

 

This guy likes Percival... I just know it.

Anyway, I should probably get on track, right?

The gameplay of Knights of the Round was much like most Capcom beat ’em ups of the day.

That is to say, there’s 2 buttons, 1 for killing with auto combos, and 1 for jumping like a damn foo’.

If both are pressed at once, the player can sacrifice a bit of health to blow everyone around them ass over teakettle and to the floor.

Like I said, standard stuff.

In addition to this however, were the addition of horse riding, a few special attacks that could be executed with simple directional inputs, (no Hadoukens here) and an incredibly awesome experience and leveling system.

Virtually identical to the Bizarrians of Golden Axe, mounted combat in Knights of the Round was a bit of let down.

Lacking the flash of the elemental powers of the mounts from Golden Axe, horse riding felt slow and somewhat counter-intuitive.

While riding a horse, one’s attack power was boosted, and one could perform a leaping stomp attack by double-tapping forward on the d-pad; however the downside in all this was the fact the horse was actually kind of slow, and required pressing of the jump button in order to turn around.

Really, there was no reason not to hop on a horse whenever the opportunity presented itself, particularly when enemies that could ride horses were around; however I always felt a little more vulnerable on a horse, and would usually defer the luxury to whoever was playing alongside me.

 

"Yay, I'm on a horse! Now what...?"

The special attacks in Knights of the Round consisted of a damaging stun attack that, while somewhat slow in execution; would knock enemies on their ass, and cause them to stand up in a defenseless “dizzy” state.

Curiously enough, the execution of this attack was done in exactly the same fashion as a horizontal Smash Attack in Super Smash Bros.

 

If you can do this, you can knock a foo' silly in Knights of the Round.

Another special attack, was a strange launching attack that I never really found a practical use for.

Basically, you do an “Up Smash” motion; and the character will perform an upward stroke, followed by a leaping chop attack.

I think the intent is supposed to that of a “knock ’em up, smack ’em down” kind of thing, however the follow-up attack always ended up causing me to advance to far and get smacked upside my head.

Oh well, it looks cool; but I never use it.

While not an attack, it needs to be mentioned that Knights of the Round actually had a blocking system.

 

No, not that kind of "block."

Blocking is not exactly a common feature in most beat ’em ups.

Despite it’s unique medieval setting, being able to block was a feature that served to set Knights of the Round apart from many of it’s contemporaries.

There were 2 ways to block in the game.

The most common method of blocking, was by pressing and holding the attack button, while holding the directional button away from the incoming attack.

While this was the most common method by most standards, the other method; and indeed the one that I used most often as a reckless youth, was one that was triggered automatically by pressing back on the directional pad the moment an attack was landed on your character.

In other words, if one’s timing was good enough; (mine never was) the game would give you the benefit of the doubt and allow you to block attacks simply by attempting to run away from them.

Thankfully, the timing required was quite precise; making this a gameplay mechanic that not at all feasible to exploit.

Unlike this shit:

Anyway, despite all the coolness of the swords and medieval skull-bashing; the real reason Knights of the Round was awesome, was the leveling system.

At the time, I can think of no other beat ’em up that, while linear as fuck; had any sort of cumulative upgrade system for it’s characters.

Throughout the game, one’s character gains experience by defeating enemies, collecting gold and jewels, eating food (health power-ups) on a full stomach, and of course; breaking shit.

Upon reaching a predetermined level of experience, one’s character levels up, bringing forth some pretty awesome cosmetic upgrades.

 

... I want that cape.

Sadly, as far as I can tell; the benefits of a level up are purely cosmetic, with no changes to the gameplay occurring whatsoever.

Despite this, when I was a kid, seeing Arthur go from leather armored pussy to red-caped, golden armored KNIGHT OF JUSTICE, was one of those accomplishments that made me feel really awesome.

Sure, the game was structured to have you max out your levels no matter what.

Sure, the game made no attempt to make you feel like you were getting any stronger.

Even so, none of that bothers me; ’cause the game is awesome regardless.

More importantly though, it’s an awesome game that I have some truly awesome memories of.

I remember playing with my one friend that we’d always call the “Bad King.”

 

Pictured: The "Bad King."

Basically, this friend of mine would always manage to be quickest on the draw in selecting Arthur.

That alone made him kind of a punk in the eyes of my friends and I.

In addition to that though, said friend would go out of his way to hang back and stay out of harms way, effectively forcing his partner to do all the fighting; yet at the same time he would horde all the gold and food, essentially stealing all of the experience and health.

We always called him the “Bad King,” and indeed; he never made any attempt to play the game more altruistically, but goddamnit; he owned the game so we’d always end up playing with him anyway.

 

Ping Pong tables and videogames make us a lot of dumb friends when we're kids...

Another thing that I don’t think any article on Knights of the Round can gloss over, is the fact that there’s a fuckin’ GHOST SAMURAI in Knights of the Round.

Similar to Capcom’s own Bishamon from Darkstalkers/Vampire Savior, there was a boss character in Knights of the Round named Muramasa that was essentially an animated suit of samurai armor.

 

Uh... I wouldn't turn my back on that guy.

In medieval England.

To this day, I don’t take offense to this; however I wish they hadn’t made the fucker so goddamn cheap.

I can’t tell you how many times I got a game over during the fight with Muramasa.

Goddamn fire magic bullshit…

Oh well, payback’s a bitch:

Speaking of goofy bosses, another one worth mentioning from Knights of the Round, was a skinny fuck in black pajamas named Phantom.

Early in the game, you fight Phantom; and he’s really no big deal.

Sure, he can run real fast, throw cleavers at you and fire magic at you, and even make duplicates of himself; but for the most part he’s too weak to be a legitimate threat.

Now, while he really isn’t any harder the second time around, it’s worth noting that this time around he sees fit to bust out his pulley and chain operated GIANT FUCKING ROBOT.

I did mention this game needed to be a movie, right?

Seriously man, no joke; a giant fuckin’ robot!

In medieval England.

As I mentioned earlier, the fight isn’t really all that hard, or even thrilling; but the novelty of fighting a pre-steam age robot was always something that tickled me just right.

Anyway, this post was, as indicated by it’s title; supposed to be about music, so let’s get down to that, shall we?

The Best Track in the Game for Knights of the Round is…

Village on Fire

Why?:

You know how I said Knights of the Round made me feel “heroic” when I was a kid?

Well, this track was largely responsible for that.

I love how it has that medieval minstrel sound to it, while at once being upbeat and action-oriented in nature.

When you think about it, that’s kind of a difficult combo to pull off.

Anyway, I don’t know what else to say; other than that this is brilliant track to begin a game with.

It gets your blood pumping, makes you feel badass, and more importantly; makes you feel like you’re fighting for something.

Runner-Up:

The Knight’s Tournament

Why?:

Well, you did listen to it, right?

Seriously, this is just a really good piece of music.

It sounds like medieval dance club music!

I remember this track only playing for about a minute or so in-game, but even so; it always struck me as, at the very least; the second best piece of music in the game.

‘Nuff said.

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Best Boss Music #12: Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage

Maximum Carnage was a decent beat ’em up in an age when beat ’em ups were a dime a dozen.

Produced by LJN for the Super NES and Genesis, the game followed the storyline of the massive Spider-Man crossover of the same name, with the player taking on the role Spider-Man (duh), or in some cases; his nastier (and cooler) counterpart, Venom.

Aside from a rather harsh difficulty level, the only really glaring deficiency of the game, was it’s lack of 2-player simultaneous support.

Honestly, LJN product or not; nobody in their right mind should ever think it’s okay to release a beat ’em up without a 2 player function.

Behold, the rainbow of ass.

Despite this (huge) flaw, the game did offer some interesting innovations to the genre in the form of special items that bestow the player with aid from other superheroes, and Spider-Man and Venom’s decidedly spidery movesets.

The “superhero summon” system was a decent idea on paper, however the item pickups that activated the function were extremely rare, and often were only useful to the player in very specific circumstances.

I remember hating to use the “summons” sometimes, ’cause every time you did, it would trigger an annoying second or 2 long clip of the summoned character’s “theme music.”

That might not sound too bad to you, but try summoning Black Cat 5 times in a row, see what happens.

Yeah, pretty fuckin’ annoying, right?

*Ahem!* Moving on, the movesets for the 2 protagonists were pretty well thought out for their time.

In addition to the classic one button punch combos, throws, and 2 button screen clearing attacks; both Spider-Man and Venom had the ability to run, jump, backflip, (useful for finding items, hidden areas, and nothing else) climb walls in the background, block attacks with their webbing, swing from web lines, grab enemies with their webbing/symbiote, and even slam 2 enemies’ heads together ala Batman in the Batman Returns game on the Super NES.

While most of these features were elementary for the most part, the addition of the web based moves added a lot to the experience.

In addition to giving the player added flexibility to their approach to various fights, an important factor given how absurdly overpowered some of the bosses could be; the web attacks also served to make good use of the Spider-Man license.

On a side note, while some of the character art… and animations… and backgrounds; are kind of shitty, I’ve always felt that LJN did a pretty decent job with the Spider-Man, and in particular; the Venom sprites.

I said "decent," not "great"....

Not that they managed to do anything else right in the entirety of their game developing existence, but that’s besides the point…

Both are animated fluidly, though Spider-Man looks kind of weird given his oddly dick-shaped head and lack of web pattern on his suit.

I always thought it was cool how both had their own unique animations, with Spider-Man’s being more graceful and Venom’s being more brutish.

One thing that kind of sucked, was the fact that Venom was definitely the more difficult character to use than Spider-Man.

As a kid, I always picked him every chance I got, though his slightly slower attack speed and harder levels made for an experience I rarely made it to the end of.

Pictured: THE reason I rarely beat Maximum Carnage.

While Maximum Carnage was indeed only an average (at best) game, my memories of it run very deep.

I remember reading the comic arc around the same time I played the game, and to this day I feel the harsh atmosphere and violent content of the game do well to live up to the original story.

Nevermind that the comic itself was actually kind of shitty, but bear in mind; I was a young and mostly stupid Azn Badger when I read it, so Venom and a healthy dose of violence were pretty much all I needed to be impressed.

Besides my personal attachment to the source material, another silly little bit of nostalgia worth noting, was the fact that the game cartridge WAS FUCKING RED.

FUCKING. RED.

Remember the stupid fuckin’ gimmick of the golden Legend of Zelda carts?

Remember how many fuckin’ copies that game sold?

Well, my guess is LJN was hoping to cash in on the “colored cart” gimmick; and for all intents and purposes, it worked.

Just ask Killer Instinct

Biter...

I’m not saying the game sold all that well, (my guess is: it didn’t) but for me and my friends, the promise of a BLOOD/CARNAGE RED cart to shove into our Super NES’ was one that was awful tempting.

Anyway, another little gimmick, and one that I never really found any reason to get excited about, even as a kid; was the fact that LJN recruited the rock band Green Jelly to do some of the music for the game.

Now, I don’t know about you; but the only thing I really remember about Green Jelly, was the fact that they did that retardedly awesome rock version of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” they used in Dumb and Dumber:

While that was indeed really fuckin’ awesome, please bear in mind that I hadn’t even seen Dumb and Dumber by the time I was playing Maximum Carnage.

Oh yeah, and I was a fuckin’ 7 year old kid that was still listening to a GREEN audio cassette of the Ninja fuckin’ Turtles in place of music.

Anyway, Green Marmalade did the soundtrack for the game, and I’ve gotta’ say; while I don’t really know what their songs are/were like, they did a pretty good job with the score for Maximum Carnage.

The score has an appropriately hard rock sound to it, in that the comic arc itself had a mosh pit sort of vibe to it, with Carnage’s mistress, Shriek; acting as the psychic ringmaster to an ongoing street riot in New York for much of the story.

As such, the soundtrack for Maximum Carnage has a very aggressive and sometimes dark sound to it that lends a sense of legitimacy to some of the more serious moments in the narrative.

Just listen the track they use during the cutscenes, it’s simple, but pretty fuckin’ sinister if you ask me:

Standing out as a highlight in the soundtrack though, is the boss music from Maximum Carnage.

Bearing a highly energetic tempo, the boss theme sounds very much the product of a hard rock band:

Truth be told, I really only like the first half of the track, when the primary (digitized) guitar riffs are front and center; however that isn’t to say the track isn’t great from a technical perspective.

My issue with the second half of the track, is that it comes across as being “too fun” for my tastes.

The first half sounds like the background to a fuckin’ supervillain beat down, while the second half sounds a little bit too colorful for it’s own good.

That’s just me though.

Anyway, this has been another (long overdue) installment of the Best Boss Music, tune in tomorrow!

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How The Azn Badger Stays Sane At Work…

The Azn Badger works in a warehouse.

Specifically the Amazon.com warehouse in Bellevue, Washington.

Over the course of 10 hours each day, tedium is the name of the game, and as such; it’s really easy to go a little nuts from time to time.

Trust me, I’ve seen some people lose their shit, as well as their jobs due to lack of motivation and occasional violent bouts of insanity.

That being said, myself and some of the other workers have, over the course of the past several months, come up with a few interesting games and activities to keep our minds sharp and occupied while our bodies toil in the boring and repetitive world of warehouse work.

Here are just a few examples of said activities:

1. Practice a funny voice or accent.

Okay, admittedly this one isn’t really practiced by anyone other than myself, but even so; it’s helped me get through some of the tougher morning scenarios.

I say “morning,” because I’m generally more “loopy” in the early hours, and thusly more apt to talk to myself.

“More” being the operative word in that sentence, being as I tend to talk to myself a lot regardless…

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve been playing around with Scottish and Australian accents.

I honestly can’t really do either of them very well, but after many days of thinking on and dissecting the diction and quirks behind the 2 accents, I can honestly say I feel I “know” them a lot better than I ever thought I would.

For the record, the only 2 phrases I can say with a legit Scottish accent are:

“Made in Scotland by real Scots.”

and

“You should try it!  It’s delicious!”

The reasoning behind those choice of phrases came from the tag line on some Scottish cereal I found in the warehouse.

Don’t ask…

2.  Exchange movie quotes/Arnold Schwarzenneger quotes.

This one takes a buddy, and an intimate knowledge of movies, but trust me; it’s a blast if you find a partner that can keep up.

So far the most quoted films are Jurassic Park, and any Arnold Schwarzenneger movie EVER.

Seeing as most men know at least some of Arnold’s movies, and can at least partially imitate his voice to humorous effect; I’d say the average person is most likely to enjoy that version of the game moreso than the other.

Even so, don’t underestimate the entertainment value that can be extracted from exchanging Robert Muldoon quotes.

“They should all be destroyed!”

Your turn!

3. “The Pop-Culture Icon” Game.

“The Pop-Culture Icon” game is probably the cream of the crop of boredom relieving games at Amazon.

Well, at least for me anyway.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me go over the rules for the most basic version of the game:

You begin with 2 players.

At the outset of the game, the player that suggested the playing of the game cites the name of a popular fictional character.

From that point on, the object of the game is for both players to cite the names of any popular fictional characters and the name of the source material they originate from in a back and forth manner, with the last letter in each character’s name being the letter that must begin the next consecutive character’s name.

In example:

Player 1 begins the game by stating: “Optimus Prime, Transformers.”

Player 2 would then respond by stating: “The Eradicator, Superman comics,” or any other character whose name begins with “E.”

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Should either player have the desire to stump their “opponent” and “win” the game in doing so, strategy can arise in the form of choosing character names with difficult or rare last letters.

Fox, from Starfox, has proven to be quite popular in the warehouse, as “X” is definitely on of the harder letters to work from, and let’s face it; Fox is pretty fuckin’ easy to remember to use.

While those are the rules of the most basic version of the game, several variations of it have popped up in the warehouse; including movie-centric, comic book-centric, and videogame-centric versions.

Also, bear in mind that the rules can be modified in-game at any point in time.

For instance, today myself and the person I was playing “against” (it’s not a game you play to win, only to have fun and keep busy) were forced to consider ruling out the inclusion of Pokemon and Mega Man characters, as we came to realize that, between the 2 of us we probably could’ve gotten stuck just naming characters from those 2 franchises.

A few other rules that I felt should’ve been instigated are as follows:

Character names should always begin with the first name, and should always include the last name (and it’s last letter) if the player knows it.

Characters should only be used once, regardless of how many aliases they have.

Names of races or species, regardless of whether they are fictional or not; should not count.

Duplicate character names can be reused if the player is able to cite the name of alternate source material.

In case you didn’t notice, I really like this game.

Hell, I played the game for close to 7 hours today.

3 hours consecutively, and sporadically over the next 4.

My “opponent” and I were separated for most of the day, but every time we would pass each other in the warehouse, we’d pause a second to keep the game going.

While I don’t usually feel the need to toot my own horn, I feel it should be said that the Azn Badger is pretty fuckin’ savage at this game.

Seriously man, today I was playing “against” the originator of the game, and I had his ass on the ropes so bad, you don’t even know man…

He was so desperate towards the end that he was dropping bullshit like “T-Rex” just to stay afloat.

Not only that, he went so far as to use “Xavier,” as in “Professor Charles Xavier,” for an “X.”

I don’t care how bad you’re hurtin’, don’t you ever forget Professor X’s first name…

Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this game today, here’s hoping somebody reading this goes out and gives it a try!

 

 

 

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The Azn Badger Bought A PS3

"RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!!"

Let me tell you a sad story.

Well okay, not a real sad story, but as sad and as, uh, story-ish as a true tale from the life of a middle-class blog writer can be.

There once was a boy, half-Japanese, and vaguely badger-esque, who bought an HD TV without having any HD devices.

The boy spent the next 4-5 months with all the visual splendor that is 1080p just beyond his grasp.

For 4-5 months, the boy played Gamecube and Super NES on his brand new HD TV.

Mostly Super NES though, 'cause as we all know; Gamecube is ass.

Finally, after years of being a very cheap, and decidedly “pussy-ass” badger the Azn Badger has gone and bought himself a PS3.

That being said, with my new “toy” finally bringing the true wonders of HD to my home, it’s been a little bit hard to find the time and inspiration to write a post for tonight.

Hell, you guys should be happy I even remembered to write anything.

Anyway, expect to hear my impressions of my new console, and the various softwares I inevitably purchase for it, in the very near future.

Oh yeah, I typed this post half-blind on account of my laptop getting another malware, and my dad’s monitor resolution being so freaking messed up that my WordPress interface is covering half of the text field.

Also, I can’t post images from dad’s computer on account of “IO Error.”

Hopefully there are no typos, ’cause I can’t see them if there are…

See you tomorrow for more PS3 goodness!

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The Best Track in the Game #12: Battletoads and Double Dragon

Ah, woodpaneling... So very 70's. So very, Atari...

Battletoads and Double Dragon represented a novel and innovative concept for it’s time.

Bear in mind, this was long before the days of the Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and the general cross-overy nature of the Super Smash Bros. series.

Basically it's like this. I assure that's not 2 different kinds of poop.

By taking 2 action game franchises, and marrying their character rosters and gameplay styles, the folks over at Tradewest and Rare succeeded in accomplishing 2 things:

They made the easiest, and therefore most accessible Battletoads game, and they also made the simplest, and therefore worst traditional Double Dragon game.

Bear in mind, even the very worst of the Double Dragon series (which would be Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls) is still pretty good.

Okay, I take that back. Double Dragon V was ass... The cartoon was kinda' fun though.

Put together, those 2 facts result in a game that is straightforward, fun, but ultimately kind of mediocre in comparison to the other games in it’s respective series’.

That being said, I spent a good portion of my youth playing Battletoads and Double Dragon, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

You see, when I said Battletoads and Double Dragon was the “most accessible” Battletoads game, what I really meant to say, was that it was the only game in the series that was playable to non-Super Saiyans or non-mutants.

Or Non-Super Saiyan Mutants!

The Battletoads series is well known throughout gaming circles as being SOME OF THE MOST DIFFICULT FUCKING SHIT KNOWN TO MAN, and as such, the majority of us mere mortals simply can’t play them without tearing out our hair and/or breaking the fucking controller.

Pictured: The Result of Attempting to "BEAST" Battletoads.

Personally, I was only able to get about halfway through both Battletoads and it’s Super NES sequel, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t have a problem with that.

In fact I’m proud to say that I got as far as I did.

Pictured: The Day I Beat Battletoads.

Fortunately, Battletoads and Double Dragon is quite a bit easier than your traditional Battletoads game, resulting in my having beat it about a half dozen times or so.

I also beat the Battletoads arcade game way back in the day, but that was when my parents were feedin’ me quarters at a birthday party, so that doesn’t really count.

To be fair though, most of the time I was just playing Aliens vs. Predator AKA THE BEST BEAT 'EM UP EVER.

The one thing I always found be downright mean about Battletoads games, was the fact that they always bait you into thinking that the games’ gonna’ be fun and easy by giving you a cast of a colorful and cartoony characters to play as,

Zitz, Pimple and Rash: Corporate Whores.

and a laughably easy beat ’em up intro stage:


Every fuckin’ game in the series does this, and as a kid you think that’s gonna’ be the whole extent of the gameplay experience, but no, they had to go and change up the gameplay for EVERY FUCKING STAGE.

True, for the time this was a fucking revelation in gameplay variety on a single cartridge, but for those of us who were too dumb to read the back of the box, or failing that, the instruction manual, this really fuckin’ FUCKED you over somethin’ fierce.

Needless to say, I had problems learning the goddamn Turbo Tunnel,

I had problems learning fuckin’ Karnath’s Lair,

and you can sure as hell bet I never had a chance in goddamn fuckin’ Volkmire’s Inferno:

That’s right, I remember the names of the levels.

Hard to forget when they STEAL YOUR SOUL.

Anyway, the fun part about about Battletoads and Double Dragon, was that it kept the varied gameplay of the Battletoads series, but placed more of an emphasis on the sidescrolling beat ’em up action due to the inclusion of the Double Dragons.

Billy and Jimmy Lee: Proud Owners of Pimp-Ass Pompadours.

It should be noted however, that the general gameplay mechanics of the fighting are based purely off of the Battletoads games, meaning the movement controls are “slippery,” running attacks are king, and enemies can only be defeated via flashy, and sometimes dangerously slow, smash attacks.

Make no mistake, this is Battletoads and Double Dragon, not the other way around.

Some of the alternative gameplay functions that were carried over from the Battletoads series were:

A pathetically easy Turbo Tunnel segment,

Also known as, "A Complete Waste of Time."

and a brief rappelling segment akin to the Wookie Tunnel from the original Battletoads:

Complete with Toad 'Morphin Action!

In addition to this, there was also an absurdly difficult Asteroids inspired spaceship shooting sequence in one of the later stages in the game:

Believe it or not, this was the easy part of the stage!

I fuckin’ hated that stage…

Anyway, my fondest memories of Battletoads and Double Dragon, will always be playing it with my Korean buddy from up the street.

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

For whatever reasons, he insisted on playing the game, in particular the 3rd stage, while blasting 50 Cent’s “In Da’ Club.”

Fortunately, through the wonders of technology, I can replicate the experience for you!

CLICK HERE

Anyway, the basic plot of the game involved the Battletoad’s eternal nemesis, the delicious Dark Queen, hopping in her new Rat-Ship, The Colossus, and headin’ on down to Earth to wreak some havok.

Mmmm, sexual...

Along the way though, she recruits the aid of the Double Dragon’s regular punching bags, The Shadow Warriors and their leader, the Shadow Boss (they mean “Master”).

Oh Brock, we keep finding ways to slip you in...

This of course results in the Battletoads responding by giving Billy and Jimmy Lee a jingle.

Really!? THIS, was the best you could find?

With the “Ultimate Team” assembled, our heroes set off into the cosmos to whup the Shadow Boss/Master, and kick the Dark Queen right in her sweet, luscious ass.

Mmmm, pixelated...

*Ahem!* Pardon me…

That being said, let’s get down to the real business at hand.

The Best Track in Battletoads and Double Dragon is

The Title Screen

Why?

If ever there was a track that better represented the Battletoad’s style, (aside from their theme music of course) it’d have to be the Title Screen music of Battletoads and Double Dragon.

Despite the game being the product of dual franchises, the music, graphical style, and gameplay of Battletoads and Double Dragon are almost uniformly based around the Battletoads aesthetic.

Indeed, every track in the game includes the heavy metal-ish simulated electric guitar work we’ve all come to expect from the Battletoads games, and I for one love that about it.

Seriously man, this track has wonderful sense of “let’s go kick some ass” to it that really gets you psyched to play the game.

At the same time however, it’s not an overly aggressive piece of music.

Much like the heavy metal-ish sound I just mentioned, the Title Screen track has an appropriate sense of “fun” to it that serves to remind you of the inherently cartoonish nature of the game you’re about to play.

My only complaint about the soundtrack of the game, is the fact that it doesn’t include any of either of the two franchises signature tracks.

Both the Double Dragon and Battletoad’s themes are absent from the game, as are any pieces of existing music from either franchise.

While it may seem fanboy-ish of me to say it, I’m actually surprised that Rare went ahead and made an entirely original soundtrack for the game despite the treasure trove of existing tracks they could have recycled.

Oh well, brownie points to them for putting in the extra hours.

Anyway, it’s been a long time coming, but that’s it for The Best Track in the Game #12.

To make up for the lack of Double Dragon factoids, (I felt I pretty much covered them in some of my earlier posts) here’s the intro of the old Saturday morning cartoon I used to watch way back when!:

Man that shit sucked balls…

I love how they actually went so far as to rhyme “dragon” with “braggin’.”

Also, the repetition of “You (blank) are dragon master, NOW” is just fucking awful…

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

Azn Badger’s (Hopefully) Makin’ a Movie!

You can thank my good buddy JD for making this image for me. It basically encapsulates everything that is "me." Thanks again buddy.

I love movies.

Not only that, but for most of my life, I’ve wanted to be involved in making movies, as an actor, director, stunt man, pretty much as whatever, so long as I was involved.

The first distinct memory I have of myself wanting to be involved in filmmaking, was when I was very young, probably 8 or 9 years old.

I had a friend over, and we were playing war with Micromasters and my Mega Man X3 gashapons.

We built a fortress out of cardboard blocks for one of the 2 factions, and basically spent the afternoon yelling at each other through the action figures splayed out across the basement floor, occasionally throwing a figure at the fort to simulate a death on the battlefield or an attempted siege.

Oh yeah, for whatever reason, we had Killer Cuts; the soundtrack CD that came packaged with Killer Instinct on the Super NES, blaring from a boombox.

I remember setting Jago’s theme, “Do It Now,” on a loop for the majority of the day:

Whatever man, it was the mid-90’s, America was culturally fucked; and therefore my friend and I were as well.

Still, I’d like to think we turned out okay.

Well, my friend did anyway...

Anyway, at some point during our “play date,” my mom overheard us, and decided to bring down our beefy-ass VHS camcorder to record some of our goofy bullshit.

While my friend and I kept playing as normal, barely even acknowledging my mother’s presence; I distinctly recall several instances where I asked her to film specific aspects of the action, from very specific angles.

While it was basically the equivalent to calling out, “Hey mom, watch me jump!” in many ways, this served as my first experience in playing director.

Over the years I’ve been involved with a number of film projects, mostly in front of the camera; but outside of a handful of stop-motion movies that I made entirely on my own, I feel like I’ve never really directed a movie.

Hell, I made every frame of this movie myself, and somehow I managed to not direct it:

Sure, I’ve been in-charge plenty of times, usually because I was the only person enthusiastic enough about the project to step up and do it,  but I can’t recall an instance where I really took the time to take a step back and focus on getting exactly what I wanted for each shot.

Hell, when it comes to filmmaking, I don’t think I’ve ever taken my time with anything.

At this point in my life, pretty much every movie I’ve made has been an single afternoon/evening affair with my friends, usually amounting to little more than a single scene as opposed to an actual complete thought.

Pretty much every movie I’ve ever made with my local neighborhood buddies has involved guns, fighting, and very little, if any; dialogue.

Needless to say, we never worked from a script.

If that wasn’t ghetto enough, we always reserved all instances of bloodshed for scenes taking place in the bathroom so as to ease the clean-up process.

As silly as it seems, I treasure those memories.

The reason I’m making this post, is because last week I met with my buddies and proposed to them that we get together to make a movie again.

It’s been several years since any of us have made a movie together, and being as I am finally back living in Seattle; I figured now was as good a time as any for a reunion of sorts.

Anyway, we spit-balled a bit, and came to the conclusion that we’d like to remake a past work of ours called “Get Stingray.”

Pictured: The Man That Would Be Stingray...

Basically, it’s a melodramatic and violent revenge movie, with the “Stingray” of the title being the beastly man on whom revenge is sought.

As with any movie I have a hand in from a conceptual standpoint, the plot and characters are pretty much paper-thin, serving as lame excuses to include gunplay and hand-to-hand combat scenes whenever possible.

You remember how exacting and critical I was with my evaluations of the fight choreography in all of my movie reviews?

Well, I’m hoping I can finally bring those perfectionist qualities to the fight work in “Get Stingray.”

What can I say, I know what I like; and this time I really look forward to being happy with the end results.

I hope to spend the next several weeks fleshing out “Get Stingray,” with filming starting ASAP.

Filming will hopefully be an “every weekend” sort of thing, with as many weeks as necessary/possible being utilized in the process.

I’m in no hurry, so long as it gets done.

I’ll keep you guys posted with plot summaries, storyboards (if I make them), production stills, and probably a trailer or 2 if I’m feeling up to it.

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

The Best Track in the Game #11: Tetris Attack

That's right, fresh from the wrapper, baby...

I know what you’re thinking:

“Wait, didn’t the Azn Badger say he was only gonna’ do The Best Track in the Game posts about games he owned?”

Well, as of yesterday, I am the proud owner of Tetris Attack, so fuck you.

Whoops! Think I pooped myself taking this one.

Tetris Attack is one of the better combat-puzzle games out there.

In fact, short of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, I’d say it was the best.

Yo Ken, best be packin' it up son, 'cause you bout'sta' take a Shinkuu Hadouken straight up in dah' face, man. Out dah' box, foh' real, yo.

Tetris Attack’s appeal lies in it’s overall simplicity, both from a gameplay, and an aesthetic standpoint.

Unlike a traditional Tetris game, where the objective is to line up horizontal rows of blocks across the playing field to destroy them and get points, the main objective in Tetris Attack is to match 3 or more blocks of the same color and shape in order to destroy them.

I feel it is worth pointing out that, the reason why Tetris Attack’s gameplay is so unlike any other Tetris game, is because it really isn’t a Tetris game at all.

Nor is this, but idiots around the world seem to like it, so oh well...

The original Japanese version of the game is an entry in the Puzzle League series of games called Panel De Pon.

Meh, could be worse.

For the American release, the generic anime inspired sprite designs and backgrounds were replaced with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island elements, and the soundtrack was completely redone.

Other than that, the fundamental gameplay remains the same.

23 years Mega Man... You haven't changed your stripes in 23 fucking years. Lazy bum...

Seeing as Tetris Attack is a combat-puzzle game, a major part of the appeal of the gameplay is that, the player isn’t just required to solve puzzles, they’re also expected to do it faster and more efficiently than their opponent.

Destroying 4 or more blocks at a time causes extra blocks to fall on your opponent’s playing field, thusly piling their stack closer to defeat, while at the same time giving them more block with which to retaliate against you with.

... Or they can just get totally fucked.

It’s a wonderfully simple game that rarely allows for any one player to dominate the match.

More often than not, Tetris Attack matches between two human players take on a sort of tug o’ war dynamic wherein both players come close to losing several times, only to miraculously battle back and put their opponent on the ropes.

It’s these “come from behind” moments, and the giddy excitement that they elicit; that make Tetris Attack so great.

Can't talk about comebacks without talkin' bout Gatti!

Graphically speaking, Tetris Attack is minimalist, as most puzzle games are, but still impressive for the most part.

The game uses characters and settings from Yoshi’s Island, taking full advantage of that game’s vibrant color palette and irresistably cute design scheme.

IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD TIME FOR KITTENS.

While character animations are sparse, and most of the sprites drawn very small, nearly every animation is crisp and clean, resulting in a presentation that is limited, while managing to make the most of what little it has to offer.

While none of the selectable characters in the game offer any variations to the gameplay of Tetris Attack, some of my favorite characters in the game are Bumpty the Penguin (’cause he’s cute), Kemek (’cause he’s badass), and Blarg on account of the awesome “AAAAAARRRRRRGH!!!” noise he makes when you send blocks over to your opponent’s side.

Pictured: Half the Reason Tetris Attack Kicks Ass.

Yoshi can eat a Blackanese cock though.

Tetris Attack is one of those games that I could, and probably will; play forever.

It’s not a game I’m terribly nostalgic about, as I didn’t really play it until I was in high school, but it’s one of those rare games that is almost guaranteed to put a smile on my face whenever I think about playing it.

Anyway, enough of me sucking Tetris Attack’s cock, The Best Track in the Game is…

Yoshi’s Theme:


And…

Boss Stage Theme:

Why?:

I chose to name two Best Tracks in the Game out of respect for the aesthetic that Tetris Attack presents.

You see, Yoshi’s Theme, in my eyes, is the perfect musical representation of the feel that Tetris Attack has.

While the Boss Stage Theme is definitely my favorite track in the game, that by no means makes it The Best Track in the Game.

Yoshi’s Theme is serene and whimsical, akin to something you’d picture playing while skipping through a park or some shit, fitting perfectly with the mood and sound of the game.

I can’t say the track is my favorite in the game, however I also feel that I can’t regard it as a runner-up, as it really does deserve note as the “core” piece of music for the whole game.

The Boss Stage Theme also fits the game exceedingly, however it has a harshness and pounding tempo to it that make it suitable as boss music.

When listening to it, one is reminded that this is music meant to be played over a fast-paced puzzle game.

The Boss Stage Theme really does an amazing job of maintaining the pre-established “feel” to the music, while placing a premium on pressuring the player into feeling the tension as they race to out maneuver their opponent.

It’s by no means an outstanding piece of music in terms of all time time great tracks, however being as it is attached to one of the most outright “fun” games I’ve ever played, it will always stick with me regardless of it’s fidelity or quality of composition.


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

Snow Bros: The Best Game Ever

Snow Bros. was my favorite videogame as a kid.

Every week or so, my mom would take my brother out to rent an NES game from a little mom and pop rental store near our local grocery, Art’s Grocery.

Rentals at this store were one day only, so you had to be sure you would enjoy whatever it was you rented.

Well, you can bet I was satisfied by my selection every time, ’cause I must’ve rented Snow Bros. like 50 times.

Snow Bros. was a simple yet enjoyable game that shared more than a few simalarities with Bubble Bobble.

I know Bubble Bobble is way older, but c'mon, Snow Bros. kicks it's ass.

The story goes like this:

Nick and Tom are two dudes that are trying to put the moves on these twin princesses, then some evil sorceror shows up and jacks their bitches, but not before turning good ‘ole Nick and Tom into snowmen.

Apparently turning dudes into snowmen is supposed to diminish their ability to rescue princesses.

Fortunately, that logic is bullshit, and our evil sorceror ends up seriously dropping the ball, ’cause snowmen or not; Nick and Tom are BAD DUDES, and they have what it takes to save the president.

If you never got to see this screen, then you aren't truly a BAD DUDE.

The basic gameplay of Snow Bros. has the two players, cast as Nick and Tom; being dropped into a series of single-screen arenas populated with monsters that they have to defeat in order to advance.

Sounds like pretty standard arcade game fare, doesn’t it?

That’s because it is, smart ass.

The fun part of Snow Bros., was in specifically “how” the player went about defeating monsters.

Although nobody kills monsters like Rick from Splatterhouse. NOBODY.

The Snow Bros. of the games’ title each possess the ability to throw snowballs, manufactured from their own bodies no less; that they can use to pile up on their enemies, thusly encasing them in giant, roll-able snowballs.

Good God this movie was terrifying...

Being as most of the stages are set up as a series of cascading platforms, it only makes sense that the Snow Bros. method of killing monsters consists of taking said roll-able snowballs, and sending them careening into other monsters.

Upon steamrolling monsters with a snowball, the resulting pile of monster corpses transform into food products (snowmen are gluttons) or colored medicine bottles, each of which provide the players with a number of different power-ups.

One caused the snowmen’s feet to develop restless leg syndrome.

I believe the medical term is "The Jimmy legs."

One made the snowmen’s balls bigger.

Right Guy: "I WIN."

One made the snowmen’s balls shoot farther.

Yikes, better get that thing checked out, man. Oh wait, you found a little boy to take care of that for you.

And my personal favorite, the ultra-rare teal medicine, made the snowmen’s head inflate like a balloon, causing anything they touch to die instantly.

"ALL SHALL BOW BEFORE THE GREAT AND MIGHTY PENIS OF INSTANT DEATH!"

Snow Bros. was a wonderful game, that while a little too easy, and definitely repetitive, was easily my favorite videogame as a child.

My brother used to make fun of the title screen, calling Nick and Tom “fatties,” and of course pointing out that I was the fat and dumb snowman.

Mental giants they are not.

Which one he was referring to, I will never know, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that it was the red one, seeing as my brother was ALWAYS player one.

The whole game could be beaten inside of a half hour, and though I beat the game numerous times with and without my brother, for some reason I spent most of my life thinking I never really beat the game.

Omega Tom Hanks: UN-FUCKING-BEATABLE.

You see, the final boss of Snow Bros. isn’t the evil sorceror whose portrait is featured in so many of the between level cut scenes, but rather a pair of statues that have zero personality, and are not so much as mentioned in the game’s (limited) narrative.

How the fuck do you go from this, to THIS!?

As a kid, I was so underwhelmed by the final battle in Snow Bros. that I outright denied it’s status as such.

It wasn’t until I replayed the game years later that I finally admitted myself that I had thoroughly beat Snow Bros.’ ass.

“Holy shit, that’s really the end?” I said to myself.

I found myself saying the same thing about 3-4 times during this movie. Was none too happy about it.

Other than the bullshit final battle, Snow Bros. was great.

I loved the little things, like how the snowmen would “Superman” their way out of each stage, and how an evil pumpkin headed ghost would drop down from the heavens and kill you if you played too slow.

This punk scared the piss outta' me.

I loved the enemy designs, especially the fuzzy purple dudes that did pirouettes until they turned into heat-seeking tornadoes of rape-age.

No comment.

Some of the bosses were pretty memorable too, with one of my favorites being the twin naked chickens that you fight in the freezer.

Thought I was kiddin', didn'cha?

The music was also spot-on, with a stage 1 theme that I catch myself humming to this day.

It’s kind of funny actually, my mom still remembers the stage 1 theme of Snow Bros., in fact she still teases me about it whenever she overhears me talking about videogames.

She always reminds me of the days when I would wake her and my dad up at obscene hours of the morning, humming along with my Snow Bros.

Pretty sure we had one of these posted in front of my house.

I am well aware that Snow Bros. is a Capcom port derived from a Toaplan series of arcade games.

You can thank Toaplan for giving you this, you fucking dork.

I’ve pumped quarters into both arcade machines because of my fondness of the NES version, however I found both to be graphically superior, but otherwise quarter-munching games that lack the charm and nostalgia factor of the console version.

Also, the music quality was tinny and crappy.

While the second game gets points for it’s expanded cast, and overt Japanese-ness, for my money the NES version is the best of the bunch.

Snow Bros 2 with New Elves: The Creepiest Fucking Player Select Screen EVER.

Anyway, I’ve always felt that Snow Bros. was lacking in terms of fan support, so I figured I would take the time to write a little something showing my appreciation for it.

God bless you Snow Bros., I still can’t believe I never owned you.

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

The Best Track in the Game #10: Axelay

That's right, I hard-modded my Super NES like a true dork.

Associative memory is a funny thing.

We all have random, seemingly insignificant little “things” in our lives that, for whatever reason; remind us of what’s most important to us.

I have a teddy bear that, while not important to me in any way, will always make me think of my Grandpa.

Every time someone mentions the words “scavenger hunt,” I’m reminded of the first time I ever got lost.

Okay, maybe I didn't get "lost" per se, maybe I was just dumb...

Playing old videogames from my youth has always been my way of revisiting old memories.

Whenever I play Turtles in Time, I think of the one time I went to the Fun Factory and got scared of the Dragon’s Lair 2 attract demo with my cousin in Hawaii.

Skip to :45 for the scary part:

Whenever I play Pocky and Rocky, I’m reminded of the time my brother and I beat the game early in the morning and our mom took a picture of us doing a “thumbs-up” in front of the end credits.

And whenever I play Axelay, I’m reminded of my friend Ben.

No, not THAT Ben...

Ben was my friend for only a few years, between 5th and 8th grade, but his influence on me to this is day has been profound.

He introduced me to the concept of self-reliance, and walking to where I wanted to go instead of always getting rides from my parents.

He taught me everything I know about Warhammer 40K and table-top games in general.

...Although maybe I should be CURSING him for this rather than praising him.

He convinced me that PC games could be fun, particularly when trying to play Mechwarrior 2 with the controls split between 2 people.

He introduced me to the wonders of Nutella sandwiches, and Munster cheese.

He showed me that one could play the cello, and do kendo at the same time.

Well, maybe not at the same time, but he was pretty good at both.

Ben also shared my passion for console videogames, though I will confess that his taste in games was somewhat different and, dare I say; “better” than mine.

Ben’s library of Super NES and Playstation games were a mix of the truly great, and what could only be described as “eclectic.”

Neither "great," nor "eclectic," this tattoo is just plain "dumb." Oh yeah, and a little bit "sad."

Rock ‘N Roll Racing and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse I would consider “great,” however Uniracers and Diablo for the Playstation were just plain odd.

You see this? In order to play Diablo you need THIS WHOLE FUCKING CARD just to save one goddamn file!

Oh yeah, and he had some weird, esoteric game I’ve never seen or heard of anywhere else called Kendo Rage.

Apparently it was a gift from someone, so I couldn’t blame him for owning it, but either way; that game was fucking horrible.

I would say the American cover art is horrible, but the Japanese one isn't all that much better...

By far my favorite game in his collection though, was an early Konami space shooter on the Super NES called Axelay.

Axelay was, and still remains to this day, one of my favorite shoot ’em ups.

Though I tend to place little stock in games’ accomplishments based on their graphical fidelity, I feel it is necessary to point out that Axelay was a very handsome game for it’s time.

With a vast array of lavishly detailed and vibrantly animated sprites populating the games intensely varied backgrounds from stage to stage, Axelay was a stunner from start to finish.

FUCK YEAH.

The gameplay in Axelay was surprisingly varied and polished for a space shooter, to a point in which it was hard to believe the game was an early Super NES title.

The key innovations of Axelay’s gameplay were it’s inclusion of both vertical and horizontal scrolling gameplay styles, as well as a unique weapon select system that had the player outfit their ship prior to each stage as opposed to scrambling for power-ups throughout.

As you can plainly see, Axelay was a game for pacifists.

I’d like to take this moment to preach my love and appreciation for the Round Vulcan, as it was easily one of the slickest and most inventive weapons I’ve ever had the pleasure of wielding in a shoot ’em up.

Good luck with that Straight Laser buddy, you're gonna' die in about 3 seconds.

A neat feature of the weapon load-out system was the fact that, when struck by a “weak” enemy bullet, the player’s ship would lose whatever weapon they had equipped at the time (of the available 3) instead of dieing instantly.

What really happens upon impact of a "weak enemy bullet."

It was little innovations like this that kept me coming back to Axelay.

Even though Ben always had neat PC games like Magic Carpet and Descent II he liked to tool around on, when it was my turn to choose what to do, I almost always wanted to play Axelay.

I wanna' know what the fuck these reviewers were on when they tried this. Magic Carpet sucked balls...

We had an arrangement, where each of  us would play specific stages in accordance with our skill in beating them.

To this day, I still find myself reeling at the prospect of playing certain stages without having Ben there to hand the controller off to.

I still remember some of the goofy shit me and Ben used point out to each other when playing Axelay.

Ben always thought the 2nd stage boss looked eerily like ED-209 from Robocop.

In turn, I would always tell Ben that the 3rd stage bosses’ second form was clearly Leonardo Da Vinci riding in his famous pyramid tank:

Yeah, I was dumb/weird kid.

In addition to being a crazy-fun and graphically impressive game, Axelay also had the distinction of possessing, in my opinion; one of the single greatest soundtracks in all of videogame history.

That’s right, not an RPG, not a franchise game, but a lowly space shooter with no sequels.

That's right, suck a Blackanese cock fan-boys...

To think, an entry in one of the most famously quick to produce and homogenized game genres, get’s my nod for one of the best soundtracks in all of gaming…

I think it goes without saying, that THE BEST TRACK IN AXELAY IS….

EVERY FUCKING TRACK.

Why?:

Axelay’s soundtrack succeeds on so many levels, that it’s tough just remember all of them.

First off, the music is extremely well-produced, with some very powerful and dignified samples being used throughout.

In addition to this, most of the samples used in the game are from the familiar, and stellar, Konami library of the time, giving everything a comfortable air of familiarity to it.

*Sigh* It's like one big happy family.

There’s very little “tinniness” to be heard in Axelay, and sometimes that makes all the difference.

Second, the score is thematic, with a number of familiar cues being used throughout that bring a wonderful sense of crescendo and weight to many of the games’ more intense moments.

On the same note, it should be mentioned that, since Axelay is indeed a scrolling shooter, all of the soundtracks’ major climaxes mesh with the timing of the gameplay dead on.

Axelay's "Oh Shit" Moment #47

And third, the music is varied and appropriate throughout.

Axelay is a game that goes through drastic scenery changes from stage to stage, and at no point does the music ever fail to make the transition with the same gusto and grace as the games’ beautiful graphics.

No better example of this, is during the transition from stage 4, to stage 5, wherein the player jumps from a subterranean, underwater cave filled with all sorts of monstrous creatures, to a violently erupting lava planet filled with magma spewing drones and dragons:

See what I mean?

The two stages are like night and day, and yet the composer, Sotaro Tojima, hits just the right notes on both occasions.

If I was forced to pick a favorite track in Axelay, it would probably be the ending credits theme.

The track is a wonderfully exhilarating and uplifting track that brings to mind images of exactly what a “you just saved the world” track should.

Hope, triumph, and a long journey home are concepts that come to mind when I listen to this track:


The ending track of Axelay is essentially the ultimate version of what one could consider the “theme” of the game.

The melody used throughout it, is a remixed version of the opening stage track, something that I feel adds weight to the player’s accomplishments after beating the game.

It’s like the game is reminding you of how you began the experience, and how far you’ve come since.

Axelay’s soundtrack is so good, that I think I’ll be a nice guy and give everyone a download link for the entire OST:

Axelay OST

You’re welcome.

Axelay was an excellent space shooter of unparalleled balance, as well as a rare feeling of “fairness” to it.

When you got shot, the game gave you the benefit of the doubt and didn’t kill you outright, instead choosing to cripple you progressively until you wanted to die.

And when the time finally came, and you did die, it didn’t bother you, ’cause it was your fault.

YOUR FAULT.

In later years, space shooters would pop up from time to time trying to emulate the success of Axelay’s gameplay.

Philosoma tried, and failed; to mimic Axelay’s multi-directional scrolling gameplay, while modern legends like Einhänder, would borrow the weapon load-out system and take it to new heights.

Never doubt dah' powah' of 'ze Germans.

Axelay is a wonderful game with a long legacy.

A legacy that I feel very fortunate to have been a part from the very beginning.

Thanks Benedict, for all the things you taught me, and all the things you help me to remember.

You are remembered.

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

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