Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Playstation Move + Sports Champions Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FUCK. YES.

The game contains 6 different styles of play:

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

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

"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TECHNICAL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pictured: The Azn Badger playin' Ping Pong.

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

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

Bocce Ball was kind of a mixed bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfully, no one I know owns one of these.

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

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

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

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

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

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

GLADIATOR DUEL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOW BEFORE YOUR GOD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pictured: Titus and his trident wielding friend.

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

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

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

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

A few words to potential purchasers:

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

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

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

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

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

The Best Track in the Game #7: Battleclash

Yup, that's my "rig." Would probably burst into flames if I tried to run a Super NES game on it.

Did you ever buy a game just because you liked it’s sequel?

I have, a lot of times actually.

Buying the original Devil May Cry after beating Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening was a dumb move on my part, I can admit that now.

Every element of the game was a step down in quality and intensity from where I had jumped onto the franchise, and I was a fool to think it would turn out any other way.

Thankfully, I wasn’t dumb enough to so much as look at that piece of shit Devil May Cry 2.

Devil May Cry 2: Full of Suck.

Allow me to go on a tangent for a moment.

These days, comparisons between the film industry and the modern video game industry are a dime a dozen.

I’ve even heard it said that most game developers these days are just film school rejects that couldn’t cut it in the industry.

Injecting “cinematic” elements into games these days seems to the be the new status quo, regardless of the genre or subject matter.

Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up being served a Contra game with voice acting and half hour long cut-scenes some time in the near future.

Now imagine the cerebral conversations these two could have... for an hour at a time.

Game/Movie bullshit aside, one major difference between the two mediums, is the fact that in one of them sequels are considered contrived and needlessly commercial, while in the other, they are praised and lauded for their contributions to advancing the industry.

Game sequels are rarely made without reason, whether it be due to loose ends in the plot, or a lack of advancement in gaming technology that allows the developers to crank out cookie-cutter sequels without rightful objection from the players.

I'm lookin' at you, you jolly blue fuck.

The same cannot be said for unwished for movie sequels like Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Wallstreet 2: Money Never Sleeps.

I know it wasn't a sequel, but don't tell me anyone actually asked for this pile to be made.

Though it is not a genuine fact, for the most part, game sequels generally improve on what came before them, even if it’s only by inches at a time.

End tangent.

Battleclash was one of the first Super NES games made for it’s bazooka-shaped peripheral, the almighty Super Scope.

Yes, I do in fact store my cock on a bookshelf. It needs space, otherwise it gets ancy.

The Super Scope was meant to be a successor to Nintendo’s previous “gun” peripheral, the Zapper.

Duck Hunt, and Bayou Billy. Only fuckin' games I ever used this thing for.

On a technical level, it was a major success.

Though it required an absurd amount of batteries, (6 AA’s) and the use of a controller port to plug in an infared receiver, the end result was a unique and surprisingly accurate “gun” that, like the Zapper before it, was sunk by the lack of games supporting it’s functionality.

As a child, I played but one game on with the Super Scope: Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge.

No, the game didn't consist solely of shooting blue balls at robot's crotches. Well, for the most part anyway.

We’ll talk about Metal Combat some other time, for now, let’s just say it was a great game, and I love it to this day.

I loved Metal Combat to the point in which I ended up purchasing it’s predecessor, Battleclash, solely based on the principle that, “if the second one was great, the first one was probably pretty good too.”

Battleclash proved to be just that, pretty good.

Basically, if you took every aspect of Metal Combat’s presentation and gameplay, and turned it down a few notches, Battleclash would be the result.

The music and sound was more tinny, the gameplay was less complex and involving, the graphics were smaller and less detailed, and overall the whole experience just felt lacking.

At it’s core though, the concept of Battleclash is one that could probably still hold water to this day.

Unlike invading Russia. In the dead of winter.

Basically, the sole gameplay element of both games consisted of shooting robots from a simulated robot-on-robot first-person perspective.

Holding down the fire button would shoot weak, almost completely non-lethal rapid fire shots, while holding your fire would cause a “power shot” meter to charge, allowing you to shoot single, powerful shots every few seconds.

Essentially, the rapid fire stuff was meant to knock down SLOW MOVING enemy fire, and the charged shots were basically the mainstay of your offensive arsenal.

Along with setting fire to peoples' crotches.

Enemies were often fast-moving, with numerous armored portions.

This, coupled with the fact that charged shots could only be fired every few seconds or so, led to Battleclash’s combat being based on timing and accuracy rather than overwhelming your opponent’s with a hail of bullets.

Protip: Shoot fat people in the belly. It is both messy and effective. Hey, it works on the Pillsbury Doughboy, so it must work on all of 'em.

Once per battle, the player was also granted the use of a devastating bomb attack.

To be fair, the bomb was a truly unfair addition to the player’s arsenal.

And to the arsenal of the good 'ole U.S. of A

In Metal Combat, bombs were not so much damaging to the opponent, as they were debilitating.

They were a means to clear the screen of enemy fire, knock out whatever bits or drones the opponent had, and in some cases, they also provided a means of exposing the enemies’ weak spots.

In Battleclash however, bombs did all these things, while also inflicting massive damage.

Yeah, that's right. I posted the crab.

To call the gameplay of Battleclash “deep,” would be an insult to the word.

Despite this, unlike most shooting gallery games, Battleclash and Metal Combat went the extra mile and actually had storylines.

Essentially, the plot of Battleclash is like a cross between a rip-off of Robot Jocks, and a rip-off of Bloodsport.

BEST. MOVIE. EVER.

An asshole named Anubis (original, I know) has taken control of the world using his giant robot, or “ST” (Standing Tank) as they are referred to in game, named Thanatos.

The boss himself.

You, the gunner for a pilot named Mike, in his ST, Falcon, decide to enter a worldwide ST battle tournament for the right to challenge Anubis on Mars and avenge Mike’s father’s death.

Don't ask.

Each battle in the game was preceded by and concluded with a exchange of dialogue between Mike and the opposing pilot.

Little details, such as giving the enemy ST’s a pilot, a face and a voice to go with them, were what made Metal Combat so special to me.

Battleclash did an alright job in this area, however due to ugly in-game art, and a mostly uninspired soundtrack, most of the characterization ended up seeming cheesy and extraneous.

THAT'S inspired dialogue!

As you can probably tell by now, I felt sort of let down by Battleclash.

I bought it in honor of my love and respect for it’s sequel, thinking it would ultimately prove to be an equally good, if not better experience.

Sadly, the only truly great thing Battleclash did, was lay the groundwork for the creation of Metal Combat.

Because of this, I have always maintained that Metal Combat could use a sequel, not because the story needs one, but because even if they did nothing to improve the gameplay, and simply through on a new coat of paint, the end result would still be a game worth playing.

Hell, with the Wii’s motion controls, rail-shooters seem to be making a comeback anyway, so we may yet see another Battleclash game.

That being said, while it’s hardly one of the better soundtracks in the Super NES library, The Best Track in the Game is…

Player Statistics (Ending Part 1)

Why?:

This track plays immediately after you beat the game, and rightfully so.

It’s upbeat, it’s fun, and it serves to remind you of the fact that that you didn’t just save the world, you just beat the fucking game!

Despite having a decently thought out storyline, the world of Battleclash is a colorful and cartoony place where men can escape from giant robot explosions with nothing but band-aids and fat lips.

In that sense, I feel it goes perfectly with the tone of the game.

More importantly, this music goes perfectly with what it’s used for, namely a brief sequence that revisits all of the ST’s you’ve defeated while displaying the various times it took for you to beat them.

Though the game has a proper ending credits theme that is more serious and melodic, I personally prefer to think of the Player Statistics music as the actual ending theme.

Runner-Up:

Friend’s Help (Skip to 6:26)

Why?:

Isn’t strange that both of my favorite tracks in Battleclash are ones played outside of the actual gameplay experience?

Even though the composition is actually only like 10 seconds long, I’ve always liked Friend’s Help.

It’s a bold and powerful track played during the cheesy and consummately Japanese sequence where most of the enemy pilots you previously defeated show up to lend their support in the form of refilling your shield gauge before the final battle.

Despite being only 10 seconds long, Friend’s Help is easily my second favorite track in Battleclash.

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

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