Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

And Now, The Transformers Bickering… In Chinese.

Pay special attention to Megatron’s hilariously drawn out yell of “Starscream!”, and Soundwave’s voice in general.

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Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #1: The Last Stand Of The Wild Bunch

There’s something particularly heroic in the act of sacrifice.

While the term “hero” largely refers to individuals of admirable or extraordinary traits, courage and bravery; the ability to rise up and act in the face or adversity, are characteristics that define the word just as well.

Of the past 9 MANLY moments we’ve explored up to this point, most, if not all of them have involved instances wherein heroic individuals had to put their lives at stake for a cause greater than themselves.

In fact, in the case of our 6th and 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments, (Jim Brown’s suicide run in The Dirty Dozen and Optimus Prime’s battle with Megatron in Transformers: The Movie respectively) the MANLY MEN involved in said moments ended up losing their lives despite their accomplishments.

Martyrdom is indeed a powerful form of heroism and MANLINESS, and unsurprisingly; it just happens to the kind of MANLINESS that makes the finale of Sam Peckinpah’s turn of the century Western classic, The Wild Bunch; THE MANLIEST MAN MOMENT IN ALL OF FILM:

Unlike the vast majority of the movies on this list, The Wild Bunch is a legitimately great film.

That’s not to say Transformers: The Movie and Commando aren’t quality films in their own right, I for one fucking love them; however it’s hard to deny that they aren’t of the same caliber as a classic like The Wild Bunch.

That being said, when it comes to films with themes like brotherhood, redemption, and MANLINESS; there are few better examples I can think of than The Wild Bunch.

The finale of The Wild Bunch involves the main characters, a band of somewhat amoral hired guns; recognizing a need for justice in a wartorn Mexican community.

Not lawful justice mind you, just plain old fashioned MAN-JUSTICE.

Initially working for the local warlord and his German arms provider, the Bunch complete the task assigned to them and collect their reward; but at the cost of having their comrade Angel, a Mexican revolutionary; taken from their ranks and brutally tortured.

The Bunch react to this atrocity with disgust and anger, however they ultimately end up gritting their teeth and walking away.

Some time passes however, and their collective consciences rouse their spirits to take action.

In an awe-inspiring act of MANLINESS, the remaining members of the bunch, consisting of Willam Holden’s Pike, Ernest Borgnine’s Dutch, Warren Oates’ Lyle, and Ben Johnson’s Tector; march through the town and towards the warlord’s compound with fire in their hearts.

Pictured: The Pimpest Pimp-Walk in all of Pimp-Dom.

Arriving at the compound, the Bunch confront the warlord amid an entire mess hall worth of troops.

The warlord, at this point severely inebriated and thusly unaware of the seriousness of the situation, casually asks them what it is they want.

To this, Pike responds with a single demand:

"We want Angel."

Retrieving the battered and beaten Angel, the warlord seems to be willing to comply with their request.

Unfortunately, the warlord draws a concealed knife and ruthlessly slits Angel’s throat, prompting the Bunch to gun him down on the spot.

There is an awkward moment as the warlord falls, a calm before the storm.

Both the soldiers, and the Bunch themselves; stand in silent awe of the utter insanity of what has just transpired.

The Bunch have ample time to run, and yet for whatever reason; they stand their ground.

Slipping a deviously knowing glance between one another, the Bunch recklessly assault the army of Mexican troops; resigning themselves to the lethal eventuality of the overwhelming odds before them.

I don't know guys, that's A LOT of Mexicans...

Scores of Mexican troops are slaughtered as the Bunch wildly spray fire into the crowd, laughing maniacally at the sheer ridiculousness of the predicament they’ve willingly thrown themselves into.

As the initial surprise of their attack begins to fade away however, the soldier’s sheer numbers begin to wear on the Bunch; resulting in nearly all of our “heroes” receiving serious bullet wounds at some point.

Direct quote.

A major turning point in the conflict occurs when one of the Bunch manages to get ahold of a mounted machine within the base, increasing the Bunch’s attack power 10 fold.

Unfortunately, even a machine gun isn’t enough to turn the tide completely, as one by one the Bunch begins to fall apart.

Pictured: The Gorch brothers die.

At the end of it all, only Pike and Dutch remain, with Pike dieing a heroes’ death manning the machine gun as Dutch is gunned down trying to come to his aid.

Pictured: Pike and Dutch die.

In the end, The Wild Bunch isn’t really a story about good guys and bad guys.

As mentioned earlier, the Bunch is made up of brigands and outlaws; making them questionable as traditional heroes.

Despite their somewhat underhanded nature though, in the final act of the movie; the Bunch manage to redeem themselves by demonstrating a clear belief in the concept of moral decency and justice.

Everything they do throughout the movie, especially in the finale sequence, could very easily be viewed as “wrong” or unjust; however in going back for Angel, and thereby adhering to their personal form of MAN-CODE; they gain a very small, but meaningful degree of redemption.

In essence, the Bunch gave their lives not for glory, or even necessity; but simply for the purpose of being MEN both in life, and in death.

In that sense, I can think of no MANLIER act of MAN-NESS in the pantheon of MANLY cinema.

Well folks, thus concludes the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Hopefully you all enjoyed yourselves.

I for one seriously need a break from all of this MANLINESS business, as all of this writing has pretty much pushed me to the brink of MAN-SANITY.

Maybe I should watch some Ugly Betty or something, cleanse the palette…

Filed under: Movies, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #2: “Megatron Must Be Stopped. No Matter The Cost…”


When I was a kid, I had a small handful of movies I’d watch almost every day.

Among those movies, were Son of Godzilla, Secret of NIMH, and Transformers: The Movie.

As much as I adore everything that is Godzilla, and as much as I enjoy watching intelligent rats stage crazy-ass sword fights; Transformers: The Movie was far and away my favorite of these movies.

While some (read: Orson Welles) would criticize Transformers: The Movie as being an hour and a half long toy commercial, for kids who grew up watching it; there’s no denying that it had a charm to it that made it truly special.

More than that, Transformers had a severity to it, a real sense of life and death stakes that made you, especially as a child; truly give a damn.

Say what you will about it being a feature length marketing device, in my book any movie that goes out of it’s way to kill off nearly every major character in the franchise within it’s first 20 minutes has at least some semblance of legitimate dramatic merit.

Hell, of all the retarded-ass kid’s movies that I used to watch, Transformers: The Movie was one of the only ones my mom was willing to sit down and watch with me.

Unlike Scooby Doo. My mom fuckin' HATES Scooby Doo...

Combine the film’s rather morbid tendency to be cruel to it’s main characters, with decent animation and a kick-ass glam rock soundtrack; and you’ve got a recipe for success.

It’s interesting to note that, for me at least; Transformers: The Movie represents most of what I know and love about the original Transformers cartoon.

I was born a few years after Transformers began to fade from the mainstream, and as such; I really didn’t see much of the TV series outside of a re-runs on the “Power Cube” every once in awhile.

If it weren’t for me having an older brother that was around to experience the Transformers phenomenon first-hand, I don’t think I would’ve had nearly as strong an association with the Generation 1 stuff.

Thank God for my brother, otherwise I would’ve been denied the pleasure of growing up watching the 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies EVERY FUCKING DAY!

While one could (and indeed should) argue that the live-action Transformer movies are overlong and meandering piles of tripe Elmer’s glued together with eye-fucking CG and rejected elements from the National Treasure movie’s scripts; the 1 thing I think we can all agree they did right, was Optimus Prime.

PIMP.

Optimus Prime is one of the most admirable and heroic characters in all of fiction.

Steadfast and noble, he is the picture of stoicism and bravery that we all wish we could live up to when the chips are down.

Peter Cullen’s voice breathed life into the character of Optimus Prime much in the way Kevin Conroy did for Batman in the Animated Series.

In short, Cullen is Optimus Prime.

While the live-action movies flipped the charming minimalist aesthetic of the Generation 1 cartoon on it’s head, and often failed to allow him the opportunity to speak with the same regality by feeding him hokey lines; just hearing Peter Cullen’s voice come out of the CGI Optimus Prime was all I needed to see that even Michael Bay couldn’t completely fuck up his character.

... However he proved himself all too capable of ruining Devastator.

As shitty as the live-action Transformer movies are, at least 5 minutes of them contain scenes of Optimus Prime being just as I remembered him.

That doesn’t forgive the 2 and a half hours+ worth of crap contained in the rest of the film’s running times, but even so; it counts for something.

That being said, our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment is perhaps Optimus Prime’s finest moment, that of his heroic, and tragic; last stand against Megatron and the invading Decepticon forces:

Words can’t describe the EPIC MANLINESS of this moment.

At this point in the movie, the Autobots are really taking a pounding and don’t know how much longer they can hold out.

The vast majority of the Autobots from the first season of the TV series are killed off during the conflict, leaving Ultra Magnus and a ragtag group of Autobots, both young and old; to defend Autobot City.

Just as the cities’ defenses begin to crumble at the hands of Devastator, a lone shuttle swoops in from above; dropping Grimlock and the Dinobots in to pacify the rampaging Constructicon.

Pictured: The face of a winner.

As the Dinobots struggle in battle, Optimus Prime steps from the shuttle; grimly surveying the destruction of his people’s Earthbound sanctuary.

With any eerie sense of finality lingering the air, Optimus Prime transforms and rolls out; for perhaps the last time.

Pictured: JUSTICE on Wheels.

CUE AWESOME FUCKING INSPIRATIONAL ROCK SONG.

Pimp that he is, Optimus’ first move in battle is to RUN THE FUCK OVER Thrust.

From that point forward, the difference in power and capability between Optimus and the rest of the Transformers becomes readily apparent.

Still in truck form, Optimus is fired upon by several Decepticons; with all of the incoming laser blasts having no effect other than maybe singeing his paint job.

Leaping into the air and simultaneously detaching his trailer, Optimus does a MANLY gravity defying flip through the air, all the while CAPPING THE FUCK out of every Decepticon in sight:

Way to put a hole in Soundwave's face there Prime.

Make no mistake, this is Optimus Prime at his PIMPEST and most BADASS.

With the majority of Megatron’s heavy hitters out of the picture, Optimus corners the evil robot and issues perhaps the MANLIEST of MANLY ultimatums:

Despite that EPIC-NESS, the 2 continue to exchange AWESOMELY MANLY remarks until, inevitably; Megatron claims he will kill Optimus with his bare hands, then proceeds to spear Prime’s ass to the ground.

As the 2 legends of Cybertron exchange blows, the young Autobot, Hot Rod; surveys the battle, itching for an opportunity to step in and prove his worth.

Cutting back to the fight, Prime manages to toss Megatron into a wall, whereupon the devious Decepticon takes an opportunity to go back on his previous declaration and toss a sharp rod into Prime’s hip.

Immediately capitalizing on his opponent’s moment of weakness, Megatron lifts his arm blaster and fires several volleys at Prime.

Deftly slipping the incoming blaster fire, Optimus rushes Megatron and cracks him with a wicked right cross, knocking the Decepticon leader to the ground and severing the blaster from his forearm in one fell swoop.

Take his heart Prime! Take his heart!

Ever the sneaky bastard, Megatron once again makes use of a foreign object, picking a beam saber off the ground and swiping it across Prime’s stomach.

Pictured: Megatron and Prime re-enacting the infamous "Taun Taun Scene."

Sparking from the gut, Prime clutches his wound and staggers backwards, prompting Megatron to leap into the sky and initiate one of the single coolest shots in cinema history:

With an AUTOBOT SHORYUKEN, Optimus manages to counter Megatron’s overhead assault, only to end up being mule kicked in the chest by Megatron’s immediate retaliation.

With both fighters off-balance, the 2 robots slam into each other and tie up in a grapple.

As Megatron threatens to tear out Optimus’ eyes, our hero nevertheless manages to overpower the evil robot, grab him BY THE EARS; and toss his ass a CITY FUCKING BLOCK.

With Megatron severly injured and face down on the ground, Prime retrieves his blaster rifle and points it at Megatron.

Acting very much out of character, the ruthless and dastardly Megatron pleads for mercy.

Rightfully suspicious of his nemesis’ uncharacteristic behavior, Optimus is ultimately robbed of an opportunity to gauge a proper course of action as Hot Rod jumps in from out of nowhere and tries to subdue Megatron, only to end up being held as his hostage.

Pictured: Why Hot Rod isn't exactly my favorite Transformer...

Grabbing a blaster pistol he found hidden amid the rubble nearby, and with Hot Rod now being used as his human shield; Megatron fires a volley directly into Optimus exposed stomach plate.

Too strong and too brave to take a knee, Optimus withstands the first shot, only to be felled by the 3 that follow.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Optimus Prime's life...

Ditching his hostage, Megatron stands over Prime and taunts him at gun point, with the words:

“It’s over Prime…”

With those words, Prime; summoning the last of his strength, rears back and uncorks the MOTHER OF ALL DOUBLE AXE HANDLES directly into the Decepticon emblem of Megatron’s chest.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Megatron's life...

His chest plate shattered to pieces, Megatron falls off the nearby ledge, bounces off the balcony below, and crumbles onto the ground below.

With their leader utterly defeated, the battered and beaten forces of the Decepticons flee from Earth; leaving the Autobots to tend to their own.

Shortly thereafter, Optimus Prime would die, and Megatron would begin life anew under the guise of Galvatron.

Anyway, this has been our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments in all of movies.

Check back tomorrow for the reveal of moment #1!

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

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #10: Beard-Shiro

Alrighty boys ‘n girls, it’s been a long time coming, but today we’re finally kickin’ off a new Top 10 list.

This time around we’re gonna’ be venturing into the depths of MANLY cinema to dig up the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movie history.

Better buckle your ass down, ’cause for the next 10 days, testosterone levels are gonna’ shoot through the roof, energy drinks will be consumed en masse, fake boobies will be squeezed, Tapout gear’ll be worn 24/7, and no opportunity to apply the principles of infighting will be missed out on.

Okay, maybe things won’t get that meatheaded around here; at least I hope not…

Pictured: The poster boy for a generation...

In any case, expect much violence, feats of strength, and epic acts of selfless heroism to be the core subjects explored over the next 10 days.

That being said, while things may in fact get a little meat head-y in the immediate future, bear with me, ’cause believe me; this shit’s gonna’ be awesome.

Anyway, let’s get the ball rollin’ with the first entry in our list, the 10th Manliest Man Moment as seen in Hokuto No Ken: The Movie:

Hokuto No Ken AKA Fist of the North Star is perhaps the MANLIEST anime or manga in existence.

Except maybe Golgo 13…  Golgo 13’s the shit.

THAT FUCKING PIMP.

To the sad few that might not be aware of it, Hokuto No Ken takes the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max, re-casts a Japanese Bruce Lee as the main character; and features (numerous) instances of him blowing people the fuck up by TOUCHING THEM as it’s core plot point.

If that’s not fuckin’ MANLY, then I don’t know what is.

Oh wait, THIS:

Anyway, the main character of Hokuto No Ken is an insanely powerful martial artist named Kenshiro.

Kenshiro is essentially your basic Yojimbo-esque silent do-gooder, albeit one that dispenses justice with the body exploding martial art of Hokuto Shinken as opposed to say, a six-shooter or katana.

Throughout the series, Ken kills an ungodly number of people; almost always in horribly gruesome fashion.

While any one of said kills could easily be ranked as one of the Manliest Man Moments in movies, or at least the goriest; such instances of bone-crunching blood fuck-ery occur in Hokuto No Ken with such alarming regularity; that it kind of loses it’s luster after awhile.

I hate to say it, but you can only see a guy’s intestines fall out, or his head explode so many times before it starts to seem routine.

Dude, Neutrogena. Look into it.

Well okay, maybe not routine; but you know what I mean.

Anyway, as weird as it may sound, perhaps the most badass thing Kenshiro ever did in Hokuto No Ken actually involved no maiming or butchering.

Well, “very little” maiming or butchering anyway…

You see, perhaps the most awesome thing Ken ever did in all of Hokuto No Ken and it’s spin-offs, was get his ass whupped and grow a pimp-ass fuckin’ beard:

Pictured: The beard equivalent to Sam Elliot's mustache.

While that is indeed perhaps the pimpest beard in all of existence, I have to admit; simply bearing it isn’t enough to constitute a slot on this list.

Thankfully, Kenshiro manages to one-up the awesomeness of his newly bearded visage almost immediately by, you guessed it; turning some grossly outmatched thugs into salsa waterballoons.

Not only that, he does so after essentially RETURNING FROM THE FUCKING DEAD.

At the beginning of the movie, we’re treated to a sequence wherein Ken gets his ass handed to him by a blond douchebag named Shin.

And of course by "ass handed to him" I mean he got 7 holes poked into his torso by Shin's fingers.

Flash forward sometime later, and we find a couple of kids named Bat/Bart and Lin/Rin (sorry, Japanese is weird like that…) being attacked by some Road Warrior thugs.

Literally seconds away from being mudhole stomped to death by a biker dude, Lin/Rin throws on a PURPLE FUCKING AURA and summon her random fuckin’ psychic powers to call out to Kenshiro, who just happens to be nearby.

From there, Ken’s second appearance in Hokuto No Ken: The Movie sees him literally RISE FROM HIS GRAVE to save the kids looking like Swamp Thing or some shit.

Now, while that may not sound that awesome, bear in mind that Mr. Kenshiro then proceeds to absent mindedly knock a couple of skyscrapers down WITH HIS FISTS.

Not only that, one of said buildings actually falls on Mud Man Kenshiro’s head, and he justs keeps right on walking like nothing happened.

Hell, the building even waits for him to walk out from under it to finish falling over!

Immediately following this, Ken struts his way up to the thugs; shedding his Mud Man getup along the way to reveal:

An awesomely pimptastic hood and beard combo!

BAM! Stylish!

As awesome as the “Deployment of the Beard” was, the real icing on the cake is the fact that this magnificently MANLY entrance sequence is wasted on a handful of some of the lowliest and most puny thugs in the entire Hokuto No Ken universe.

Despite having just seen the man-mountain before them RISE FROM THE GRAVE and KNOCK FUCKING BUILDINGS DOWN WITH HIS BARE HANDS, in classic kung fu movie fashion; the thugs proceed to pull knives and crossbows on ‘ole Ken.

10 bucks says Ken's dick is sharper than that knife...

Not only that, during all of this the motherfucker that was stompin’ a mudhole on little Lin/Rin doesn’t even think to take his boot off of her.

The girl put up a PURPLE FUCKIN’ AURA while you were stomping her and then a muddy fuckin’ Juggernaut came back to life, started wreckin’ buildings n’shit, and then proceeded to march straight towards your ass with GLOWING RED FUCKING EYES.

Even if the dude failed to make the connection between the Mud Man and the girl, you’d think he’d at least, y’know; stop doing what he was doing, or better yet, RUN THE FUCK AWAY.

Regardless, rest assured the dude that made with the stompage is the first to get it… BAAAAAAAAAADDDD….

Yeah, pretty sure your eye's not supposed to do that...

From there, Ken proceeds make goopy cherry Jell-O out of the rest of the gang, caving in faces and the like.

This isn’t the most creative of Ken’s beatdowns in Hokuto No Ken, given that it favors speed and efficiency over brutality and rage; however for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure none of the bad guys make it out of the fight able to wear hats anymore.

Oh yeah, and none of them lived either, which is a plus.

You see they ain't got heads no more, so hats would be... Yeah, dumb joke; I know...

As mentioned above, this sequence was far from the most brutal moments in Hokuto No Ken history, however the awesomeness of the entrance; coupled with the ultra-rare appearance of Beard-Shiro put this one high on my list in terms of badass moments in movies.

Well, #10 anyway…

That being said, this was just the beginning of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Check back tomorrow for more MANLINESS as we move on to Manly Moment #9!

Filed under: Comics, Kung Fu, Movies, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fallout 3 Didn’t Do It For Me…

Fallout 2 is one of my favorite games of all time.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped into the boots of the savior of Vault 13, but I’d figure the number would have to be close to triple digits.

For the most part I skipped Fallout 1, largely due to the absurd degree of enjoyment I experienced from my time with the sequel.

That being said, Fallout 2 had a charm to it that few other games, in my eyes; have managed to live up to.

See? CHARMING.

There’s just something about the inherent minimalism of the first 2 Fallout games, and indeed most text heavy adventure games; that lends so much to the experience.

Reading a graphic description of how I just blew some poor shmuck’s eyeball out his ear, while watching the same shit different day stock death animation play out; was a primitive gameplay element that really worked for me.

Which brings me to my feelings on Fallout 3.

In short, I really didn’t care much for Fallout 3.

Being as it’s a Bethesda product, I came into the game fully expecting the game to play like “Oblivion With Guns,” (and equally shitty animations) and to be honest; I don’t think anyone could dispute the fact that it does.

You got your Oblivion in my Fallout! No wait... THIS SUCKS!!!

There was a time in my life when I played a lot of Oblivion.

I missed out on Morrowind, but regardless; Oblivion was a neat game with a colorful world and an impressive breadth of content to uncover.

Sure, there were a shit ton of problems and issues that cropped up while you played it, but for the most part; my time with Oblivion was a positive experience.

Fallout 3 however, despite borrowing several ideas and gameplay systems from Oblivion; just didn’t do it for me.

Kind of like Puke Face Zellwegger.

The first major problem that I’d like to address in Fallout 3, was the fact that the dialogue system feels weak compared to Oblivion, or even previous Fallout games.

That’s right, I said “first.”

As stupid/pointless as the speechcraft system in Oblivion was, I kind of liked the idea of playing a brief mini-game to stand-in for the very real process of developing a rapport with someone.

In short, Oblivion gave one the option to improve their standing with a person through idle chit-chat, thusly expanding the number of subjects they could converse with them about; and the depths of which they could probe into said topics.

Fallout 3 ties it’s dialogue options directly to your character’s skill ratings, with speech skill centric options being listed with a percentage of success statistic.

In other words, if you have a high enough rating in appropriate areas; then a special speech option becomes available.

What I discovered, early on; was the fact that all of these special speech options, were the “right” thing to say.

"Success!" Get used to seeing this a lot...

In Fallout 2, the “right” thing to say wasn’t necessarily the appropriate thing to say.

I can recall an instance or 2, particularly in New Reno; wherein I said something that seemed lucid, that seemed like what needed to be said; only to have the character I was speaking to take offense to my logic and blow me off.

This wasn’t because I didn’t have a high enough speech rating, but rather because I failed to read the character of their personality properly, and simply said the “wrong” thing.

By my reckoning, there wasn’t a single person I wasn’t able to talk down in Fallout 3.

With all of the “right” dialogue choices clearly outlined for me, all of the guess work and intricacies of conversations faded away the moment my skill ratings got high enough.

Honestly, the “right” comments were so boldly outlined; that  I’m pretty sure I managed to get through more than a few conversations without even reading what people were saying.

That’s enough about that, let’s move on; shall we?

I think a huge part of the problem for me, was the scrounger/pack rat mentality the game instills in you through scattering usable/pick-up-able items fuckin’ EVERYWHERE.

I understand that about 80% of what you find in the game is in fact junk, and not really all that useful; but the fact of the matter is, there’s simply too much shit to pick up/look at/jam up your ass.

Do I really need to be able to pick up a garden gnome? Or worse yet, do I really need the option to turn on a useless ham radio?

Seriously, I don’t even want to think about how many minutes or hours of my life I spent dumping shit out of my inventory, picking up a busted-ass rifle, using said rifle to repair my slightly less busted-to-shit rifle, and re-picking up my previously dumped shit.

I hardly got anywhere in the main story of Fallout 3, quitting around the time I first got power armor; but rest assured, I did every fuckin’ fetch quest and sidequest up to that point.

I’m a completist, I do shit like that.

That’s why sandbox/open world games never work out for me, ’cause in trying to do everything, I end up accomplishing nothing.

Pictured: Agent 47 demonstrating the Azn Badger's typical reaction to sandbox gameplay.

*Ahem!* Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

Another gripe I had with Fallout 3 that was somewhat similar to the hoarding bid’ness of the gameplay, was the fact that items and equipment felt somewhat “cheaper.”

I use the word “cheaper” in the sense that, with so many items strewn about the environments; the frequency of quality items, or failing that; shitty items that can be pawned for profit, made most every item I ran across seem far less important or special.

In Fallout 2, good armor and guns were really fucking hard to get your hands on unless you were a really skilled thief, had a shit ton of money, or managed to kill someone equipped with said items.

All of the above methods required either high skill ratings, a little energon, or a lot of luck to enact.

"More than you imagine, Optimus Prime..."

Not only that, even if one were to have all of the above going for them; the number of items in any given environment was significantly lower than in Fallout 3, resulting in items being scarcer, and thusly more vital.

In Fallout 3, I can’t think of a single moment wherein I couldn’t afford to buy whatever the fuck I wanted, nor can I think of a time in which my inventory wasn’t full of decent shit that I was never going to use due to the extraordinary wealth of better shit I’d run across on a regular basis.

I think the worst example of this that I can think of, was at the very beginning of the game.

I just came out of the Vault, and the game told me to go to Megaton.

Given that I’m me, and I’m not one to go anywhere without looking for hidden goodies first; the first thing I did, was run up onto a collapsed highway.

To my surprise, I happened across a hoard of bandits that wanted my nuts.

Despite my being armed with little more than a baseball bat, using the power of circle strafing and bunny hopping; I beat the ever-loving shit out of about 20 bandits and took all of their shit.

Yeah, I was basically doing this to people with a bat...

That’s right, I fought 20 bandits, with a bat; and took all their good shit, thusly putting me ahead of the curve in terms of equipment and weaponry for, I don’t know; THE WHOLE FUCKING GAME.

Speaking of killing 20 bandits with a bat, that brings me to another gripe I had about Fallout 3: the “cheapness” of life within the game.

Killing someone, anyone; especially in the early portions of Fallout 2, was a fuckin’ EVENT.

Given the turn-based, purely statistic based structure of Fallout 2’s gameplay, it was very much appropriate that difficult battles; wherein your character or his party were severely outclassed or outnumbered, were really fuckin’ hard to win.

That's right, get used to listening to Ron Perlman tell you that you just died like a little bitch.

I’d never say Fallout 2’s combat was realistic, but it’s inherent difficulty made it seem appropriate given the nature of the game’s environment.

Fallout 2 was a mean game that often took it upon itself to dick-slap you across the face and remind you that, as cool as your character was; he was still just a man.

As opposed to a Batman, who is of course a symbol; and thusly cannot be killed or corrupted.

Fallout 3 seems to have tossed this concept out the motherfuckin’ window and into a 4-lane highway.

As mentioned above, I took out 20 bandits, with a bat; all within the first 5 minutes of the game.

Admittedly, that was kind of cool at the time, as I can recall humming the Conan theme at some point during all the mayhem and carnage; however after it started happening every 5 minutes, it started to bother me.

During my time with Fallout 3, I killed hundreds upon hundreds of raiders, robots and crab monsters.

I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU!!!!!

I did that in Fallout 2 as well, (with the exception of the crab monsters, of course) but the only difference is; it took me the whole fucking game to achieve said kill stats, not the first half of the game.

You what’s really fucked up though?

Of all the things I killed, I’m pretty sure I ended up taking out Super Mutants more than anything else.

SUPER MUTANTS.

The LOU FUCKING FERRIGNO’S of the Fallout universe.

Holy shit, way to rock the Ultimate Warrior hair Hulk.

In Fallout 2, Super Mutants would utterly wreck your shit.

You could be decked out in power armor, and rockin’ a motherfuckin’ Bozar; but Super Mutants could still tear your ass up unless you came in with a plan.

In Fallout 3, I found myself killing Super Mutants with alarming regularity.

Not only that, I did so with leather armor and a fuckin’ hunting rifle.

To be fair, I could do that in Fallout 2 as well, but only because that game afforded you the option of scoring pinpoint shots to people’s eyes and radioactive packages; making it easier to disable or severely cripple your enemies.

*Sigh* Believe it or not, I’ve got more; so I’m just gonna’ dump these last few gripes in bullet point fashion.

Money is far too easy to acquire, given that anyone will buy anything from you for a decent price, even if you never put a single skill point into barter like I did.

Dungeon textures and layouts are cookie cutter at best.  There wasn’t a Vault or cave I walked into that felt at all different or unique.

Karma is too easy to acquire, (through giving water to the unfortunate) nor is it seemingly all that important.

Perks are too frequent, and too powerful.  Seriously, since when does Bloody Mess give you a damage bonus?

Weapons and enemies aren’t varied enough.  Like the dungeon textures, everything kind of felt same shit different day.

Anyway, there’s probably other shit I can say about Fallout 3; but in all honesty, I think I’m running out of steam.

I bought Fallout 3 for $10 retail, knowing full well that I probably wasn’t going to like it.

From what I read and saw before picking it up, it seemed to me like a pretty good game; but in my heart, I knew from the get go that in my eyes; it just wasn’t Fallout.

In all, it’s still a neat game world; with some neat characters and places, but for me it all just seems like too much.

I think the first-person perspective and 3D engine hurt the game in the sense that it forced the game world to contain all the things that a real world would.

In the real world, cans probably would be fuckin’ everywhere following a nuclear holocaust.

SHIT. EVERYWHERE.

In the world of Fallout 2, said cans indeed were apparent; however they served as static scenery and couldn’t be interacted with.

In Fallout 3, pointless interactive shit like this is fuckin’ EVERYWHERE, simply because; in order to maintain the illusion of a livable 3D world, it must.

Anyway, I ended up selling my copy of Fallout 3 to my brother; so for me, the nightmare is over.

Hopefully this marks the end of my days raging on Fallout 3.

Come to think of it, here’s hoping my brother doesn’t suffer the same fate…

 

 

 

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Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #5-1

It’s been a helluva’ a wait, but we’ve finally reached the Top 5 of the Best NES Tracks!

Despite the awesomeness of all that has come before, you may as well consider the past 20 entries on this list a prelude to the sheer epic-ness of the music about to grace your ears.

Seriously man, every track from this point on is guaranteed, 100% 8-bit gold.

So, without further ado, I present to you the cream of the crop, the pimpest of the pimp, the God-tier of the Top 25 NES Tracks:

#5. Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

“Roar of the Double Dragons”


That’s right kids, no the “Double Dragon Theme” didn’t make the list.

The truth is, while the Double Dragon Theme music is downright amazing, (in all of it’s iterations) in my opinion the Double Dragon 2 version of “Roar of the Double Dragons” trumps it by inches.

Remember that fatty ass post I made about how I used to play Double Dragon 2 with my brother all the time?

Well, that post, and all of the nostalgic goodness found within it pretty much sum up both why a Double Dragon game is ranked so high on this list, as well as why “Roar of the Double Dragons” in particular is my favorite track from the franchise.

I shit you not, watching my brother start to get the upper hand on the final boss of the game, only to have this adrenaline pumping theme of awesomeness suddenly pop up and put a big fat crescendo on the drama of the situation, was a gaming memory I will treasure forever.

 

 

It was pretty much the gaming equivalent to this.

 

In my opinion, “Roar of the Double Dragons” is easily one the best boss tracks ever.

Not only that, it’s just about the perfect final boss theme for a Double Dragon game, so much so that one could consider it a sort of sub-theme music of the series.

Whether the Double Dragons are fighting Machine Gun Willie, the Shadow Master, or even the fuckin’ Dark Queen alongside the Battletoads; the music I will always hear playing in my head is “Roar of the Double Dragons.”

Wow, I just realized Technos has a lot of games on this list…

#4. Ducktales

“The Moon”


For veterans of gaming music, this one was a no-brainer.

Seriously man, look up any compilation of the “best NES music,” and you’re bound to find “The Moon” from Capcom’s Ducktales game among the top of the list.

Well, call me conformist if you will, but godddamnit; “The Moon” really is that fucking good.

 

We're talkin' Moon Pie good!

 

I love the pace of it, how it starts from a slow build, and then explodes into a beautifully electric and catchy tune that never lets up.

Let it be known, this is one piece of music that actually benefits from the tinniness and technical limitations of 8-bit sound quality, as it lends the track a sort of retro space age-y charm.

 

 

Pictured: Retro Space Age-y Charm.

 

A huge success of “The Moon,” and indeed most Capcom games of the time, (Ducktales included) was how well the music went with the setting of the stage.

Sure the mine stage had suitably subterranean sounding music, sure the jungle level’s background music was, uh, “jungle-y,” but “The Moon” really fucking sounded like what the 5 year old me thought music on the Moon would sound like.

Yes, I am aware that sound waves don’t propogate in a vacuum.

Fuck you, I WAS 5.

#3. Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu

“Title Theme”


Okay, I’ll admit it; I’m cheating a little with this one.

Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu, (Hot-Blooded Fighting Legend) while technically an 8-bit game compatible with NES hardware, is actually a Japanese exclusive Famicom game.

Personally, I consider them basically the same system, but I see how this one could piss some people off, especially since it’s so high on the list.

Either way, it’s my list, so:

*Ahem!* Kakutou Densetsu is yet another Technos game that stars the companies flagship character, Kunio-kun.

 

 

Yes, he will in fact straight up wreck your shit.

 

For those that are unaware, Kunio is a high school tough guy that starred in many of Technos’ games, among which were a few entries on this list, namely the Japanese versions of River City Ransom and Super Dodge Ball.

Anyway, Kakutou Densetsu was a game I stumbled across through “untraditional means” sometime in high school.

As soon as the “Title Theme” hit my ears, I was In Like mother-fuckin’ Flint.

 

Yes, I heard the title theme and was suddenly turned into James Coburn and surrounded by beautiful women.

 

Being produced in 1992, fairly late in the NES’ lifespan, the fidelity of the music for Kakutou Densetsu was a step above what I was accustomed to hearing from the system.

In short, every piece of music in Kakutou Densetsu was amazingly good, with the “Title Theme” easily being the best of the bunch.

Not only that, the game itself was unbelievably complex, graphically impressive, and good fun all rolled into 1.

 

Let it be known, fan-translations are not always 100% accurate...

While many of my friends took to playing arcade games through “untraditional means” in their high school years, I just couldn’t get enough of Kakutou Densetsu.

I loved the birthday and blood-type based character creation.

I loved the complexity of the fighting system.

And I fuckin’ loved Toraji and Toraichi.

 

Pictured: The inspiration for Toraji and Toraichi.

 

If you haven’t played Kakutou Densetsu, I suggest you give it a try, if not for the amazing music, then for the kick-ass Technos style fighting action!

#2. Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos

“A Long Way to Go”


Ah, Ninja Gaiden, yet another game series that shit on me in my youth.

It’s no mystery that Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden series is well known for it’s extreme difficulty level, and while Ninja Gaiden 2 on the NES is far from the toughest of the series, I’ll always be proud of myself for beating it back in the day.

Make no mistake, I lost many hours and days of my youth to Ninja Gaiden 2.

While living with the knowledge that I had beat the game was more than reward enough, imagine my surprise when “A Long Way to Go” hit my ears.

“A Long Way to Go” is, in my opinion; one of the finest ending themes for a game ever.

 

Unlike this pile of ass...

 

While it doesn’t go the RPG route and revisit all of the major musical motifs of the game over a span of, oh, 10-15 minutes; “A Long Way to Go” is an awe-inspiring piece of music with a title that perfectly captures the emotions it evokes.

Whenever I hear it, images come to mind of a battle worn hero reaching the end of an epic journey, only to set out on another immediately afterwards; the tiniest glimmer of giddy excitement and enthusiasm drawing across his face as he does.

Okay, maybe the real ending just consisted of a slide-show of sorts, but give me a break, I have a wild imagination…

“A Long Way to Go” was a satisfying reward for my time served with Ninja Gaiden 2, and I’ll always treasure it as one of my favorite pieces of music in gaming.

Now that we’ve got the first 24 down, it’s time to move onto the ‘ole numero uno…

The big kahuna…

The big cheese…

The dancing destroyer…

The Count of Monte Fisto…

The BEST Track in NES history…

#1. Mega Man 3

“Title Theme”


In the realm of 8-bit music, Mega Man is king.

 

 

KING.

 

Few could argue that the Mega Man series has yielded some of the finest and most memorable 8-bit tunes in history, if not in terms of sheer quality of product; then at least in terms of sheer volume.

While the debate will forever rage as to which game in the series is best, 2 or 3; (I think 2, but obviously 3 has an edge in terms of music…) for my money the “Title Theme” of Mega Man 3 is the best musical arrangement produced by any entry in the series.

Being as it is also #1 on this list, I suppose that also means I think it’s the best piece of music from any game on the NES.

The “Title Theme” of Mega Man 3 is a musical revelation.

Like Capcom’s own “The Moon” from Ducktales, it begins with a slow build.

I love how it starts out oh so mellow, stringing you along with it’s jazzy and borderline melancholy tune.

From there, the tune rapidly increases in pitch, reaches a crescendo and then…

And then you jizz in your pants because your ears just got raped by the golden cocks of pack of musical Japanese angels.

 

Like this, but with Japanese angel rape.

 

To attempt to illustrate the majesty of this track any further, is to struggle with the futility of the fact that there simply aren’t any words in the English language awesome enough to describe it.

The “Title Theme” and “Dr. Wily’s Castle #1” tracks from Mega Man 2, while definitely listed among the runner-ups of the top-tier, don’t come anywhere near the majesty of the Mega Man 3 “Title Theme” in my eyes.

I’ve said it before on this blog, but the careful arrangement of this list only serves to reiterate that the Mega Man 3 “Title Theme” is my favorite piece of NES music, and is therefore the Best NES Track of all time.

Tune in tomorrow, when we’ll peruse a handful of the runner-ups!

If you had a favorite that wasn’t on the Top 25, hopefully they’ll make an appearance tomorrow.

Please feel free to post your opinions!

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

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

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

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

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

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

These fuckers was a pain in the ass...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously, check it out:

I love the unrelenting energy of this track.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did I mention Natsume kicks ass?

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

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

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


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