Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Bo Jackson CANNOT BE STOPPED.

BEAST.

Anybody who’s anybody remembers Tecmo Bowl on the NES.

Still played competitively among videogame dorks and football fans alike, Tecmo Bowl serves as perhaps the most enduring sports game of all time.

While the gameplay was rock solid, in a cartoony NFL Blitz sort of way; the one thing I remember best about Tecmo Bowl (besides the awesome music) has always been the highly detailed “cinema sequences” that would play out every time something big happened in the game.

Unfortunately, during any sort of 2 player competitive play, this was just about the only one of those “cinemas” that would ever play:

BEEEAAAASSSSTTT!!!!

Sadly, the absolute coolest feature of Tecmo Bowl, that of being able to take control of legendary L.A. Raiders running back Bo Jackson; was exactly what made the game utterly impossible to play with a friend.

Believe me when I tell you, much blood was spilled, and many friendships shattered over deciding who would get to pick the Raiders, and thusly win the game.

I know what you’re thinking:

“How could one guy ruin the competitive nature of an entire game?”

Well, apparently you haven’t seen “Tecmo Bo” in action before, as had you any prior experience in seeing the man-BEAST do his thing; you wouldn’t have asked such a mind-bogglingly stupid question.

Simply put, Bo Jackson is the Uber Beast of all Uber Beasts in Tecmo Bowl.

I don’t know if “Tecmo Bo” was supposed to be some sort of Terminator clone of Bo Jackson, but regardless; the man moves faster than Satan driving a turbo Lotus, and on the off chance he does get tackled, the man simply CANNOT. BE. STOPPED.

I’m convinced Tecmo Bowl should’ve shipped with a subtitle.

Namely that of:


Hell, even that seems to subtle if you ask me…

Anyway, given that there are a lot of us out there who are fearful of how to derive meaning from their daily lives without pro-football to provide escapism/reasons to drink and be rowdy this September, I figured I’d take a moment to remind everyone of the fine art of video-football in the 8-bit era.

That being, behold the majesty that is “Tecmo Bo”:

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Rest In Peace Macho Man Randy Savage

Awhile back I posted on this blog about a nickname I received at work.

That nickname was of course, Bonesaw; Macho Man Randy Savage’s character from the 2002 Spider-Man movie:

Said nickname was given to me on account of my tendency to randomly spout off various Savage-isms with alarming regularity.

Yes, I have practiced my Randy Savage in the mirror, and yes; I am quite adept at mimicking the awesomeness of his majesty.

That being said, being as the Macho Man was taken from us earlier today; I feel it’s my duty to use this blog post to pay homage to his memory.

While I would consider myself a fan of wrestling, the majority of Randy Savage’s more famous moments actually came before my time.

Growing up, I caught the tail end of the classic era, and kept up with the WWF and WCW stuff all the way through the Monday Night Wars/Attitude era; essentially giving up on the “sport” around the time The Rock transformed from The Rock to his lesser equivalent, the appropriately named, Dwayne.

Through all of this, Randy Savage didn’t really have much of a presence for me in wrestling.

Where he did have my attention though, was on Saturday mornings where he would frequently interrupt my cartoons by blowing through walls n’shit to preach the word of the Slim Jim:

To date, I have yet to consume a Slim Jim, though I’d be lying if the Savage didn’t make me feel like I was missing out on something awesome.

While I don’t remember seeing the Macho Man actually wrestle all that often, I feel fortunate to have grown up watching his mic performances; as they were, and still are; some of the best of all time.

When I was a kid, the WWF was largely in transition; foolishly trying to outmode characters like the Macho Man, and replace them with unworthy “badasses” like Diesel, or the Ultimate Warrior.

This resulted in Randy Savage being cast off to the side, acting more like a manager than an actual wrestler.

This would carry on well into his tenure in the WCW, though not without good reason.

Simply put, the Macho Man was a wizard when it came to pageantry and mic skills.

Not long ago I posted a promo video of the Macho Man doing a promo for the new WWF All-Stars (no force on this Earth can make me say the “E”) videogame, and while he may have aged a great deal since we last saw him; holy fuck did he still have it:

Seriously man, if wrestlers these days could do half of what Randy Savage did on the mic, at any stage in his career; I’d still be watching today’s so-called wrestling.

That being said, while I wasn’t really around to see any of it; there was a time when Randy Savage was one of the best wrestlers in the business.

A long time ago I remember looking up the “best wrestling matches of all time,” and one match that kept popping up was of course Randy Savage’s energetic match with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III:

For it’s time, and by any standards really; this match was a testament to the power of in-ring storytelling.

Randy Savage was an exceptional wrestler, and an icon of my youth.

It saddens me to know that he’s gone, though I’m happy he decided to appear in the WWF All-Stars game.

The game might not be that great, but at least it’ll give the youth of today a little window into what wrestling was like with the Macho Man Randy Savage:

Colorful, exciting, and just plain BETTER.

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #1


A funny thing happened when I was putting together this list of my Top 10 Videogame Songs.

I changed my mind.

You see, I made the banner for this list around the time I came up with the idea for it, long before I even assembled it’s contents.

I selected the opera sequence from Final Fantasy VI for the background of the banner because I knew the song contained in that sequence was going to have a place on the list.

I had no idea what that place was going to be, just that it was going to be in there somewhere.

Color me surprised when that place just happened to be the #1 spot.

I mean, I figured the opera scene would be in my Top 5, or even the Top 3; but truth be told I honestly didn’t know it was going to be #1 until, well, yesterday.

On that note, I apologize for the banner image, as I know it likely ruined some of the surprise by consisting of an image from the #1 game on the list.

It’s not all my fault though, as a few days after I started posting on this topic, I found I kept rearranging the Top 10 as I was went along.

One thing lead to another, and by yesterday, I found I couldn’t without good reason, make this list without putting the opera scene in the top slot.

With that, I give you the #1 of our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs:

#1. Final Fantasy VI – Aria de Mezzo Carrattere

Before you ask, no; I didn’t pick this one because it has a fancy Italian name.

I’m not a Square/JRPG whore either, so don’t try to call me on that bullshit.

The last Final Fantasy game I played, was VIII, way back in 1999.

Before that though, Final Fantasy VI was, and likely always will be; my favorite in the series.

Hell, if it weren’t for Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI would probably be my favorite console RPG of all time.

Pictured: One of many moments that make Chrono Trigger the SHIT.

Something about the characters, the design aesthetic, and unusual severity of the storyline in VI; just made it special to me.

My love for the game aside, “Aria de Mezzo Carratrere” is a brilliant song, and a gorgeous example of a story-within-a-story.

While the Super NES’ technical limitations made the lyrics of the opera laughably incomprehensible akin to the voice of the teacher from the old Peanuts cartoons, the first time I heard it in-game, it was hard not to be touched.

Sorry, couldn’t help myself…

Simply put, console games didn’t do what the opera scene did at that point in time.

In spite of the technical limitations inherent to the 16-bit era, one could very clearly see and feel the story and emotions that the creators of the game were trying to get across.

It’s like watching a Godzilla movie.

Everybody knows it’s just a guy in a rubber suit, but if you use your imagination, and play along, the artistry and craftsmanship of the miniatures and crappy effects add up to something far grander.

Pictured: ART.

Despite how far games have come, watching little 26 pixel tall sprites bounce around and pantomime their drama for us is something that, when done well; will always “do it” for me.

Anyway, for better or for worse, the opera from Final Fantasy VI is the best of my Top 10 Videogame Songs.

The strength of the lyrics and music, combined with it’s stunning contribution to the fantastic game it played a part in, not only secured it’s place on this list, but managed to (eventually) win me over and propel it all the way to the top spot.

Hopefully you all had fun reading this list.

I certainly had fun writing it, though I only hope that my pick for the #1 spot wasn’t as controversial/surprising to the rest of you as it was for me!

THANKS FOR READING!!!

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

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #2


Yesterday we took a good long look at one of the most sophisticated and beautiful songs in videogame history.

While one would expect that we would continue with this trend as we ascend the the prestigious Top 3 of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, I’m sorry to say that’s not the case.

Perhaps more now than ever, I feel I need to reiterate that:

This is my list, and you will respect EVERY DAMN THING I HAVE TO SAY.

*Ahem!* On that note, I’d like to introduce you to #2 on our list from the Playstation classic, Soul Edge/Blade:

#2. Soul Edge – The Edge of Soul

I realize now, more than ever; that I’m very much a product of my time.

The 90’s was the decade of the fighting game, and as such; games of that genre play host to some of my most beloved gaming memories.

Like many young boys of the day, I hopped on the Street Fighter 2 bus and rode that thing all the way to around 2005… when my fighting game reflexes mysteriously went down the crapper.

That’s a story for another day though.

Soul Blade was Namco’s sister series to their wildly popular and innovative 3D fighting series, Tekken.

Tekken = JAPAN.

Featuring some of the most impressive graphics and animations of day, as well as an in-depth “quest” mode for the home version, Soul Blade was a wildly addictive fighting game that was easy to pick up, but difficult to master.

In short, Soul Blade was kind of a big deal back in the day.

In an era when everyone wanted to play fighting games, but often lacked the technical competence to be competitive with their friends; Soul Blade was basically the go-to weekend rental of it’s time.

... A time that appears to have abruptly come to an end as of 5 minutes ago.

Soul Blade is one of maybe 2 games on this list I never owned, but in all seriousness; I probably put more hours into than most games I’ve owned.

From the gameplay, to the design, to the breathtaking soundtrack; Soul Blade was a top tier PS1 game, such that I honestly find myself tempted to pick it up again from time to time.

Which brings me to why “The Edge of Soul” ranks so high on my list.

I know it’s really fuckin’ stupid, but the opening cinematic of Soul Blade was, to the 10 year old me; one of the most mind-blowing and graphically spectacular sequences, ever.

Take a look for yourself:

FMV was still relatively new to me in 1997, (I had a shitty computer) but even so, the opening of Soul Blade was leaps and bounds beyond anything I’d seen in a game up to that point, possessing a degree of polish that even the FMV heavy Final Fantasy VII couldn’t begin to rival.

Everything element of the opening of Soul Blade, from the music cues, to the thoughtful selection of relevant clips that do much to flesh out the principle cast of the game; is top notch, such that I wouldn’t think it too far-fetched to name it as one of the best openings in gaming history.

Despite the inherent corniness of the song, “The Edge of Soul” had a fair amount to do with making both the opening of Soul Blade, and the game itself; as incredible and memorable as it was.

The lyrics and vocals are admittedly kind of weak, certainly nowhere near the grandeur of yesterday’s “The Best Is Yet To Come,” however the quality of the sampling and instrumentation of the music, combined with the pulse-pounding nature of the song; make for a terrific, if not consumately 90’s “pump up” song.

“The Best Is Yet To Come” may ooze substance and sophistication, and is indeed beautiful; but the simple fact of the matter is that it’s not a song I would ever really listen to outside of it’s usage in Metal Gear Solid.

“The Edge of Soul” is an undeniably fun song that I’ve kept in my library nearly as long as “Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru,” and as such, I think I’d be lying to myself if I claimed “The Best Is Yet To Come” meant more to me.

Sorry kids, style beats substance this time.

Let this be an isolated incident…

Check back tomorrow as we crown our #1 on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs!

Filed under: Games, Movies, Top 10 Videogame Songs, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #5


Remember how I said I’ve only owned 2 rhythm games in my life?

The host of the #8 song on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, Bust A Groove; was 1 of them, but today we’ll be taking a look at the other.

Said game is another PS1 classic, the infectious and hilarious musical rhythm game, Parappa The Rapper:

#5. Parappa The Rapper – All Masters Rap


Parappa The Rapper was one of those games that came out in the States at just about the perfect time.

Interest in Japanese culture (read: anime) among young *cough!* WHITE *cough!* people was rapidly increasing, enough to the point in which a ridiculously stupid and consumately Japanese videogame like Parappa would seem awesome to the average American kid as opposed to, well, ridiculously stupid.

You see!? THIS is why they're WINNING!

Culture trends and history lessons aside, Parappa The Rapper was a delightful niche game for the PS1 that, while disappointingly sort and lacking in content; was an incredibly sweet experience while it lasted.

Making use of a unique, “flat” graphical style; Parappa hit U.S. shores with a surprisingly decent amount of fanfare, mostly as a result of glowing pre-release reviews of the Japanese version, which interestingly enough; was also voiced and sung in English.

Consequently, it was the overwhelming good press for Parappa that ultimately led to me asking for it as a Christmas gift.

As mentioned previously, Parappa was a painfully short game, but even so, the colorfulness of it’s characters and the catchy nature of it’s songs made it a worthy addition to my PS1 collection.

It’s actually quite remarkable to think that even though it’s been over 10 years since I last played it, my friends and I can still remember the lyrics to most of the Parappa songs.

And remember, this is coming from someone who still has trouble remembering the lyrics to shit like “Highway to the Danger Zone.”

Top Gun: Kind of a Big Deal.

While it’s not quite the the most memorable song from Parappa, “All Masters Rap” will always remain stuck in my mind purely as a result of the context it is sung in.

In case you couldn’t tell from the video above, “All Masters Rap” is essentially a mass rap battle to decide who earns the right to drop a deuce in the last remaining toilet stall.

It’s an unbelievably clever and hilarious predicament that is made all the more surreal by the utterly priceless expressions of agony that are plastered across the various character’s faces.

Despite all the praise I’ve been heaping on “All Masters Rap,” it’s hard to deny that “Chop Chop Master Onion’s Rap” is probably just a tad bit more memorable to most:

I mean it’s the first song in the game and has lyrics of Barney-level sophistication, so obviously it’s going to be one of the more memorable parts of the game.

“Chop Chop Master Onion’s Rap” might be the most memorable track in the game, but even so; I think “All Masters Rap” is still the best song in Parappa The Rapper.

Anyway, this was the 5th entry on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, check back tomorrow for #4!

Filed under: Games, Movies, Top 10 Videogame Songs, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #6

To be great, a song needn’t be a work of compositional genius.

Perhaps more so than any other medium, the best songs often consist of simple but memorable tunes that succeed in triggering an emotional response in their listeners.

In my book, empty or soulless pop music doesn’t have be garbage, so long as it’s “fun.”

Hell, it worked for The Monkees...

That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll pay money to listen to it though, as that’s what FM radio’s for.

Our #6 entry on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs is hardly a “great” song, but in terms of pure unadulterated “fun,” it’s a classic in my book:

#6. Mystical Ninja 64 – Ore Wa Impact!

I mentioned in my article for the #9 entry on this list, “God Hand,” that I have a weakness for tokusatsu hero music and songs, and by golly, I fuckin’ meant it.

“Ore wa Impact” AKA “I am Impact” is sung, with great verve and zeal I might add; by Ichirou Mizuki, a veteran anime and tokusatsu vocal performer.

Uh... I'd hide my kids if I were you.

The music is proud, boisterous, and ludicrously funky, such that I’d be 12 steps beyond happy if it were to play every time I walked into a room.

If that weren’t enough to put this song in my “good” pile, the nonsensical lyrics celebrate the retarded-ly fun nature of the song in a manner only the Japanese could manage.

Strangely enough, the English subtitles serve as a poor translation for the majesty of “Ore wa Impact,” largely due to their attempts to inject the song with an unusual and largely unwarranted sense of dignity.

The Japanese lyrics have the singer (presumably the giant robot Impact himself) declaring himself gorgeous, sexy, and even funky; while the English subtitles lamely translate these bold declarations in this manner:

Best? BEST!? In no what fucking world does SEXY, GORGEOUS, and FUNKY translate to "Best"!?

That’s just fuckin’ sad.

Anyway, despite this somewhat disappointing subtitle issue, Mystical Ninja 64, along with virtually every other Ganbare Goemon game; was epic-ly fuckin’ awesome.

I grew up playing Legend of the Mystical Ninja on the Super NES with my brother, and as such; I went on to spend many hours and days playing it’s N64 successor.

Of all the neat features included in Mystical Ninja 64, Impact was something special.

While he had been featured in prior games in the series on the Super Famicom, the N64 game marked the first occasion in which he was given an actual theme song.

While “Ore wa Impact” was and is a really fun song, in truth I found some of the original instrumental themes for the character to be somewhat superior, particularly the version used in Ganbare Goemon 2:

What I wouldn’t give to hear a remixed version of that tune with Ichirou Mizuki’s vocals backing it up.

History lesson aside, this has been our 6th best song on our Top 10 Videogame Songs list.

Check back tomorrow as we crack the Top 5!

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

Character Designs Via HeroMachine!

I’d just like to kick things off by saying “thank you.”

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of The Azn Badger’s Blog, so “thanks” for reading and/or commenting, I assure you it’s very much appreciated on my end.

Anyway, sappy bullshit aside, let’s get to the actual post, shall we?

Have you ever been to a site called HeroMachine.com?

I forget what I was searching for, but I ended up stumbling across this site while I was Google-ing last night; and boy am I glad I did.

As it so happens, HeroMachine is a Flash based web-tool that essentially serves as a superhero character generator.

Using a very straightforward and intuitive “paper doll” mechanic similar to the one’s found in the Smackdown! vs. RAW videogames, you’re able to create and accessorize your own characters.

Pictured: The interface.

While normally I’d write this kind of thing off as a waste of time akin to a Facebook game, after tooling around with it for awhile; I became enamored with it’s breadth of content.

The artwork for all of the items/parts in it’s library is extremely well-drawn, plus there’s so much shit to choose from that I rarely found myself frustrated in terms getting what I wanted out of it.

Anyone who’s read this blog before probably knows that I’m a pretty big Marvel/DC comic fan; so HeroMachine ended up being a lot of fun for me.

That being said, here are some of the designs I ended up coming up for a comic book inspired story idea I had awhile back:

Pictured: Zero, the morally questionable protagonist.

This one is of the main character.

Inspirations for this design include some Deadpool/Deathstroke references in the mask and body pattern, as well as a bit of Cable in the boots.

I don’t know what it is, maybe I was just in a Rob Liefield sort of mood yesterday…

Pictured: 2nd draft of Zero.

This one is a 2nd draft of the main character.

Changes include some tweaks to his belt to seem more practical/realistic, removal of the Cable boots to make his body lines seem more sleek, the addition of some Beetle or Batman-like “ears” to the mask, and the addition of a katana to see what he’d look like with something for an accessory.

At this point I’m leaning towards the 2nd design, though I might have to color it to see how well the body patterns work out.

Pictured: Fanto, an interdimensional being and fairly major antagonist.

This one is of a pretty big villain in the story, who also happens to serve as comic relief from time to time.

I know that doesn’t really make sense, but bear with me…

Anyway, inspirations include Dormammu for the armor and stature, with just a hint of Baron Zemo in the form of the fuzzy bits on his neck and cape.

The main idea I was working from while putting this one together was that I wanted him to seem imposing and “war-like,” while at the same time just a little bit over-the-top so as to make him kind of hard to take seriously.

I think the goofy helmet and gaudy cape do enough to make this clear, however I might have to tweak it some more to make him seem less powerful.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now.

Check back tomorrow for the beginning of an awesome new Top 10 list!

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Battletoads Ripped-Off Duran Duran!?

A funny thing happened a few months ago.

I was at work, and a song came on the radio.

Based on the sound of the lead singer’s voice, I could tell it was a Duran Duran song; but me being me, I couldn’t really make out any of the lyrics.

You see, I have this weird, uh, “thing”, where I have a lot of trouble understanding and learning the lyrics to songs.

I’m really good with recognizing music, but when it comes to lyrics; I’m pretty epicly slow.

THIS FUCKING SLOOOOOWWWW.

Anyway, the moment I heard the opening chords of the song, long before I knew any lyrics were sung; my mind immediately screamed:

“Holy shit, Battletoads and Double Dragon is on the radio?!”

Now I feel I should mention that I’m not a “radio” guy.

Most of the shit in my music library consists of videogame and movie soundtrack stuff, with a decent amount of 80’s and 90’s rock to round things out.

The point is, the vast majority of my music isn’t aired on the radio; however whenever it is, you can bet I start jumping for joy.

For a few glorious seconds, roaming the pick aisles at the Amazon.com warehouse; I sincerely thought Jack FM was playing a track from Battletoads and Double Dragon on the radio.

Then the vocals kicked in, and I realized I was just listening to Duran Duran, more specifically a song of their’s I hadn’t heard before called “Girls on Film.”

Anyway, I just happened to learn the title of this song a few days; allowing me to present the following comparison to you.

Now remember, only pay attention to the 10 seconds or so of both songs:
BATTLETOADS AND DOUBLE DRAGON (SNES VERSION)

DURAN DURAN

Fuckin’ trippy, right?

They’re nowhere near identical, but even so, it’s hard to deny their similarities.

Anyway, I thought this was kind of fun so I figured I’d share it.

See you tomorrow!

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

5 Words That Sound Cooler Than Their Meaning

Ever notice how every once in awhile you run across a word that sounds really fuckin’ badass, only to discover later on that it’s actual meaning is equal parts pathetic and absurd?

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this happened to me a whole helluva’ lot when I was little.

That being said, the following is a brief list of some words fitting the above description, most of which I first encountered as a young badger.

#1. Reticulated

This is what I think of when I think "reticulated." A big fuckin' snake killing the shit out of Owen Wilson.

Definition: Constructed, arranged, or marked like a net or network.

You know what the longest snake in the world is?

While it might be wrong, given that I read it almost 20 years ago; my Snakes issue of Zoobooks taught me that the world’s longest breed of snake, was the Reticulated Python.

Animal kingdom factoids like this was really important to me as a kid, but apparently learning the meaning of words like reticulated wasn’t; ’cause it took more than a few years for me to discover it’s definition.

I remember thinking the word reticulated meant something along the lines of “really fuckin’ big,” or “seriously fuckin’ savage.”

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Reticulated Python’s name simply referred to the characteristics of the pattern drawn across it’s scales.

#2. Hyperbole

That's a hyperbole if I've ever seen one...

Definition: An extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

Do you know what what the term “hyper” means to child raised in the era of super saiyans and hyper combos?

It refers to something crazy fuckin’ awesome (and destructive) that most likely requires a super combo meter to perform, that’s what!

When I first heard the word hyperbole, my young mind immediately thought it was some sort of secret Street Fighter move, or failing that; some sort of secret X-Men vs. Street Fighter move.

At some point in my struggle to define the word hyperbole; I came to the conclusion that:

“Hey, Magneto has his Hyper-Grab; maybe there’s some sort of super combo version of it I haven’t seen called Hyper-Bow-Lee!”

Pictured: Magneto, warming up his "hyper-bow-lee."

Yeah, I played a lot of fighting games back in the day…

Actually, I’m pretty sure the first time I ran across the word was in written form; whereupon I most likely pronounced it as “hyper-bowl.”

I consider myself a pretty good speller nowadays; but back in the day I was a shithead just like everyone else.

#3. Isosceles

"Man, that guy's so isosceles; it's just plain unfair!"

Definition: Having two sides equal.

“Isosceles Kramer…”

That’s all I needed to hear to start thinking isosceles was the coolest fuckin’ word ever.

Sure, I learned it’s meaning at some point in math class; but that doesn’t mean I ever made any attempt to retain that knowledge.

You see, numbers and I have feuding like an Irishman and, well… Another Irishman, for as long as I can remember.

That is to say, despite my Azn-ness; math has always been one of my weaknesses.

Despite this, thanks to Seinfeld; I’ve maintained a healthy relationship with the word isosceles.

Unlike most of the other words on this list, I never came up with my own interpretation of it’s meaning.

In all honesty, from the time I first heard it up until the present, there really hasn’t been a time when I was unfamiliar with it’s meaning; but even so, for such a slick-ass sounding word, isosceles has a pretty pathetic meaning.

#4. Abdicate

Above: “Abdication” at it’s finest….

Definition: To relinquish formally a high office or responsibility.

Did you ever see that episode of Hey Arnold! where Eugene was obsessed with the Arnold Schwarzenegger-inspired movie character, “The Abdicator”?

Well, I did; more than a few times at that, and it was this episode of the show that first introduced me to the word abdicate.

Just like I’d imagine the character Eugene felt, for whatever reason; the name abdicator sounded like a believable superhero to me.

Then again, I’m pretty sure any word that ends with an “-or” has the appropriate amount of manly “oomph” to it to work as a a superhero name.

Anyway, I remember that the actor that plays the abdicator actually learns the meaning of the word abdicate at some point during the episode; leading to me first hearing the word and learning it’s definition in the space of 20 minutes or so.

While I know the definition well now, thanks to Hey Arnold!; to this day I still get a kick out of thinking back to the brief time in my life when the word abdicate referred to “beasting on someone mightily in a Schwarzennegger-ian fashion.”

#5. Dodecahedron

Let's see, it's one part Destoroyah, two parts Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, and a billion parts retarded...

Definition: A polyhedron with 12 faces.

The above image represents what I thought dodecahedron meant before my math teacher had to go ahead an’ spoil it for me.

Yeah, I was a pretty fucked up/retarded kid.

... And apparently I was a very imaginative speller as well.

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Tokusatsu, 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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