Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Kinect Better Be Freakin’ Brilliant…

Today at the Amazon.com warehouse, we started shipping the Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360.

By that I mean, the entire warehouse was thrown into chaos trying to handle the massive number of orders for the Kinect while simultaneously dealing with the daily volume of shit to ship out.

About 90% of the packages I handled today were Kinects, slim Xbox 360s, or Kinects packaged with slim Xbox 360s.

It was a fuckin’ circus if I ever saw one.

Apparently, I haven't seen one.

Things got so crazy in the morning that I was demoted from the cherished and admired position of “shipper” to that of the lowly (and mostly made up) job of “Xbox Thrower.”

While I may have made up the name myself; I assure you, it’s very much self-explanatory.

That being said, if you ordered an Xbox, Kinect, or Xbox with a Kinect; there’s a good chance it may arrive on your doorstep smashed, pissed on, or set on fire; ’cause I tell yah’, I was in one helluva’ hurry, and no force on Earth, managerial or otherwise was gonna’ stop me.

Whoops! Sorry about that!

Anyway, sometime during the “festivities” of “Kinect Day” at Amazon; it occurred to me that despite the hoopla and hype; I personally didn’t feel much excitement about the Kinect.

Sure, I’m a casual gamer at best; and I did just jump ship to the Playstation 3, but as someone fairly in-touch with the gaming world, I felt like I should be feeling at least something about the Kinect.

Truth be told, I really don’t know much about the Kinect.

I know it’s a hands-free motion-control device that can’t track motion from people wearing skirts.

I approve.

 

That’s about it though.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have exactly 1 friend that owns a Playstation Move.

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

Before the release of the Move, I took the time to read an article or 2 here and there, and from what I read, it seemed like a decent idea.

“Decent,” but not great.

Having handled the Move awhile back, I can honestly say that the motion tracking is quite accurate, and left me feeling that the peripheral could indeed be used for some interesting gameplay mechanics.

That still doesn’t make it any more than a “decent” idea for the time being.

Though I really don’t know much about the Kinect, it sounds like more of a lifestyle accessory as opposed to a gaming peripheral.

What I mean to say is, based on the rebranding that Microsoft that been slapping on all of their products in anticipation of Kinect’s release, (18-24 year olds, and green and purple “swooshes,” anyone?) it genuinely seems that their aim is to get people goofing off in front of their TV as part of their daily life, as opposed to getting people to goof around in front of their TV for the purposes of playing videogames.

Now, you too can stand alone in your living room and wave at your TV to update your Facebook! Microsoft, bringing you only most crucial of lifestyle innovations!

It’s a sound idea, and indeed one that appeals to the same broad audience entranced by the mystifyingly simplistic motion-control scheme of the Wii; but personally I just don’t see it working.

Yet…

I can’t speak to the quality of the Kinect’s motion-controls, as my only exposure to it came in the form of watching a bunch of kids in a mall test it out; (the rafting game didn’t work so hot…) but the general feeling I get, is that the technology needs a little more time to grow.

Maybe I’m just being curmudgeony and cynical, but lifestyle altering, gesture-activated living room technology just doesn’t seem to me like something that Microsoft could get “right” on their first swing.

Hell, now that you mention it, this doesn’t sound like the kind of product Microsoft could manufacture without it having a failure rate of, oh; 99%.

Anyway, after chucking around the Kinect all day, I figured I’d post my thoughts, well; actually lack of thoughts, on the Kinect.

Seriously, this thing was so off my radar until today, you don’t even know…

For the record, while I have exactly 1 friend with a Move, I know exactly none that have shown interest in the Kinect.

Must be all the “swooshes”…

SWOOSHES!!!!!!!!

 

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

Bayonetta: First Impressions

BUTT.

In light of yesterday’s Devil May Cry post, I figure it’s appropriate that I take the time to share some of my thoughts on the similar, but also very different game:

Bayonetta on the Xbox 360.

Please bear in mind that, as of this post, I’ve only got about 2 and a half hours of gameplay under my belt.

Developed by Sega, and directed by the prolific and uber-talented Hideki Kamiya of the now defunct Clover Studio, as well as the original Devil May Cry fame, Bayonetta is, in a word:

JAPANESE.

Every pixel, frame, word and beat of Bayonetta is absolutely gushing with Japanese zaniness and anime-esque melodrama, such that my first few minutes with the game were almost too much to bear.

The aesthetic is way over-the-top, and the story and characters decidedly tongue-in-cheek, and for the most part, not all that appealing to me from a personal standpoint.

Nope, still not appealing. Goddamn she got a tiny head...

Despite this, I will say this:

The artistic design of the game, while not necessarily up my alley; is actually quite impressive.

The costuming and ornamentation of the character designs, while perhaps a little bit too flashy and intricate for it’s own good, are quite unique and certainly praise worthy.

Huh, this I like. Go figure...

In fact, I could honestly see myself owning a coffee table book of the production materials for Bayonetta at some point.

Anyway, the flashy cut scenes of Bayonetta, (choreographed by the always excellent Yuji Shimomura of Versus and Death Trance fame) annoy me much in the same way that Devil May Cry’s do.

They’re overlong, they often show the characters behaving contrary to how they do in-game, (Anybody at all tired of seeing Dante be invincible in cut scenes, only to be a total pussy in-game? Anybody?) and they feel artificial, like flash for the sake of flash.

Kind of like any movie by:

Pictured: "Flash" incarnate.

I guess the cut scenes just frustrate me because they are actually quite intrusive to the gameplay experience.

Like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta is a game all about action, and when the action is frequently interrupted by cut scenes, showing my character busting out awesome moves that I’d like to see myself do in-game, I get just a little bit frustrated.

Bottom line, 2 hours into Bayonetta, I can’t help but feel that the pacing is not quite up to snuff, as the gameplay seems to come in all too infrequent spurts.

Which brings me to my 2nd, and ultimately far more critical gripe:

Bayonetta’s learning curve is just plain mean.

We're talkin' Kobe Mean Face-Mean!

While the game, like any current gen game, comes with the obligatory introductory tutorial sequence that seems to be essential to the illiterate, non-instruction manual reading gamers of today, outside of teaching you the basic button inputs of the game, Bayonetta doesn’t really teach you how to play the game.

Sure, you can put up a good fight, and sure you know what you’re doing for the most part, but at the end of the day, if you’re playing the game straight through as I am, you’re just not given enough time to get a grip on the gameplay before the game starts tossing you some serious shit to deal with.

"Oh don't mind me, I'm just the first boss. Excuse me while I TOTALLY WRECK YOUR SHIT while eating bagels and lox."

This is coming from someone that utterly beasted half of the Devil May Cry series.

My problem is this:

Bayonetta didn’t give me enough time to warm-up to it.

In the Devil May Cry series, the basic enemies are reactive to your blows, staggering and generally being reduced to punching bags the moment you first lay into them.

This is not the case in Bayonetta.

There is no fodder in Bayonetta.

Nope, none of these.

All of the enemies in Bayonetta are able to put up a decent fight, thusly leaving you with nobody hone your skills on.

Every fight is a desperate struggle.

From what I can tell, my complaint may in fact be a result of me having failed to grasp the concept of the dodge system and the Witch Time AKA Bullet Time mechanic.

I don't care what you tell me man. There IS a spoon, and I'm eating my fuckin' Cheerios with it as we speak. Fuckin' new-age bullshit...

Anyway, at this point, I’m tempted to say I like Devil May Cry 4 better, but I’m only a few hours in, so we’ll see.

I’m still having fun with Bayonetta.

I love the gorgeous presentation and liberal use of the context sensitive button mashing segments.

I’m diggin’ the core gameplay, but at this point I truly do suck at it.

Time will tell…

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

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 Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #8: Freddy vs. Jason

In case you haven’t noticed as of yet, the bottom tier of our Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies list is largely made up of odd and/or controversial kills.

In keeping with this trend, #8 is from Freddy vs. Jason, a slasher movie.

Though one would think that overkill would be commonplace among slasher films, in my experience; this is simply not the case.

Slasher movie kills tend to be gory and over the top, but rarely enacted in the prolonged manner that would suggest overkill.

That being said, while I have a decent background with slasher and horror flicks, I am no expert; so I would like to take this opportunity to apologize if my choice of overkill is not best example the genre has to offer.

All formalities and introductions aside, let’s get to overkill #8: Jason Voorhees killing the ever-living fuck out of a young man named Trey.

Now, what we have here, is the classic: “dude chilling in bed with a beer while his woman’s in the shower, only for Jason to show up and wreck his shit like no other.”

Okay, maybe it’s not a “classic” per se, but seriously man; Jason goes to town on this guy like he stole from him or some shit.

Let’s run a play-by-play:

Trey’s layin’ in bed, watchin’ the game; havin’ a Bud’, nothin’ special,

Man, you better hope that's one TASTY fuckin' beer, 'cause you don't know it, but that's just about the last thing you're gonna' enjoy in life...

then outta’ fuckin’ nowhere, an exceptionally zombie-like and rotted to shit Jason FUCKIN’ Voorhees appears right in middle of his bedroom, lit by a conveniently timed thunderclap!

Man, is it just me; or does he look bored out of his mind?

Gaping in horror at the modern spectre of walking -fucking-death looming over him, trademark machete at the ready; Trey does what any self-respecting man in his position would do:

First he screams like a little bitch,

LIKE A LITTLE BITCH.

and then rolls over onto his stomach.

In the Animal Kingdom, this is what's known as presenting rearward. Either that or being dead. Seriously man, that ain't right...

Hang on, what?

Now, I don’t know what sort of kinky shit Trey and his girlfriend were into, but where I come from; turning your back to a machete, or any danger for that matter; is never a good idea.

It only serves to give those who may be wielding said machetes ideas as to where they could “insert” such instruments.

Thankfully Mr. Voorhees is not as creative as the Azn Badger, otherwise this overkill would probably have to be ranked #1.

No, instead, Jason decides to the go the more traditional route, and simply ram his machete up and down, repeatedly; into poor Trey’s back and spine like he’s playin’ “Jerk-Off the Elephant” on the mother fuckin’ Wii.

Yes, I went there.

By my count, Mr. Voorhees rams that sucker into that that, uh, fucker, no less than 12 times.

To say that Jason gets a little carried away with the machete ass-rape is, of course, not doing this particular episode justice.

In and out... In and out... In and out.....

Cut to Trey’s girlfriend in the shower looking off in the distance, quizzically.

"What's that? I sense... machete rape."

Somehow I doubt this particular lady even knows what the word “quizzical” means.

Anyway, after being impaled about a dozen times or so, Trey’s very likely recently expired form lies on the bed doing that which he undoubtedly valued most in life:

Holding a cold beer.

Seriously, for whatever reason; we’re given a random shot of Trey clutching a beer like it’s the fuckin’ Holy Grail or some shit.

"He did not choose wisely..."

Trey twitches for a bit, and it would seem the deed has been done.

No, as fate would have it, on this particular night; the typically straight-laced and almost German-ly efficiency minded Jason Vorhees, was struck with a sense of artistic inspiration.

With that, Mr. Voorhees plants his machete into the floor, and prepares to put the finishing touches on his masterpiece of overkill-ery…

DUDE!!!!

Seriously man, HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME!

Who the fuck knows why Jason had to do that to poor Trent, but count me among the people that are glad he did!

Honestly folks, that is the definition of overkill.

Doing the deed, but going the extra mile to make it something special.

Kind of like an extended session of two-player Elephant Jerk-Off on the Wii…

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

The Best MAN!!! #3

First thing’s first, it needs to be said that Mega Man 3 has one of the best soundtracks in all of gaming.

Well, it's an improvement from the first 2, but still, that is some shitty cover art.

Not only that, but it’s Title Theme is MY FAVORITE track of the NES era.

That’s right, not The Moon from Ducktales,

not the Super Mario Bros. theme,

but the Title Theme for Mega Man 3.

Give it a listen:

That business aside, Mega Man 3 was a truly awesome Mega Man game.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m still on the fence as to whether I like Mega Man 2 or 3 best, however I’ve found that as I’ve grown older I tend to favor 3 just a little bit more.

The game introduced several new features that would go on to become staples of the series.

Well, that is until Capcom decided to whore themselves to the “Xbox Generation” and release the DLC oddities that are Mega Man 9 and 10 anyway…

WTF!!!!????

Protoman and Rush the dog made their first appearances in Mega Man 3.

The pair didn’t really add much in terms of gameplay, other than serving as a lame miniboss

Protoman: He jumps, he shoots, he sucks the cock.

and replacement for the numbered gadgets of the previous game respectively,

Rush: Fucking worthless when not in Jet form.

however their addition to the series canon personalized, and added character to a roster of characters that was actually pretty slim for the time.

More importantly however, Mega Man 3 gave us the slide maneuver.

While the slide has since been removed in those goddamn fuckin’ DLC games, I always found it to be a wonderful addition Mega Man’s limited repertoire of moves.

It expanded the level design by allowing you to enter narrow passages.

It sped up the pace of the gameplay due to your ability to progress faster through the stages.

It allowed the bosses patterns to be more aggressive, as you now had the ability to dodge quickly.

In all, it was a great innovation that changed Mega Man forever… Or at least until the DLC games.

That’s enough Blue Bomber cock-sucking though, let’s get down to who’s The Best MAN!

That would have to be:

Snake Man

SNAAAAAAAKKKKKKE MAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!!

This one was almost a 3-way tie.

However, by MANdate of MAN-law, there can only be one Best MAN, and that just happens to be Snake Man

As a kid, Gemini Man was my favorite, hands down.

Remember that Bubble Man helmet I had my mom make for me way back when?

Well, I also wanted her to make me a Gemini Man one.

I never got that helmet, but even so, I still loved Gemini Man.

He had great background music,

a neat fighting style, and probably the pimpest weapon in Mega Man 3: The Gemini Laser.

Gemini Laser Skin Treatment = Icky...

Next to Gemini Man, Shadow Man was a close favorite as well.

I don’t really buy into the whole “he’s awesome ’cause he’s a ninja thing,” however I find that his character, trademark shuriken weapon, and crazy stage made him standout nonetheless.

Don’t laugh at ninjas and Jesus just “because.”

YOU’RE LETTING THEM WIN.

Finally, we come to Snake Man.

Amongst the 3, Snake Man stands out as perhaps the most iconic design.

He’s got the crazy snake helmet, with the distinctive ponytail-like portion of the snake sticking out behind him.

Well, as a kid I thought it looked like a ponytail...

He’s got a gimmicky weapon that travels across the floor and just happens to be vital to beating the game.

On top of that, his stage is wonderfully designed, with good, but not great, background music.

Also, the actual fight with Snake Man is pretty intense, largely due to the tiered nature of his arena.

Mega Man battling Snake Man with the Shadow Shuriken.

In my eyes, Snake Man is the tortoise to the hares that are Shadow Man and Gemini Man.

He may not be the flashiest, he’s certainly not a ninja, but for some utterly intangible reason, he’s The Best MAN in Mega Man 3.

By the way, the best stage music in Mega Man 3 is Spark Man’s stage:

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

Movie Review: Ip Man 2

*If all you care to read about is the fighting element of the movie, please scroll down to the heading titled “Action.”*

The Story So Far…

In 2008, Donnie Yen and director Wilson Yip teamed up for the 4th time to give us Ip Man.

Ip Man was of course the heavily fictionalized biographical account of the Wing Chun grandmaster of the same name.

Goofy lookin' little guy, isn't he?

Taking place in the martial arts hotspot of 1930’s Foshan, the film follows Donnie Yen’s Ip Man as he clashes with rival martial artists, and eventually comes to odds with the Japanese occupying forces.

By "comes to odds with," I mean, "beats the piss out of."

The film had an all-star cast including the likes of Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Fan Siu Wong, and up-and-comer Xing Yu.

Xing Yu: Punching Bag For the Stars

Featuring stunning fight choreography by industry legend Sammo Hung, the film was wildly successful, winning Hong Kong’s best picture and best action director awards.

In all, it was a truly great martial arts film, with intrinsic themes like pride and nationalism figuring heavily into the crowd pleasing nature of the story.

Plot Summary:

Ip Man 2 takes place in 1950, some years after the closing events of the previous film.

The story opens with Ip Man, having recently moved to Hong Kong with his family, desperately trying to eke out a living by teaching Wing Chun on a rooftop garden.

Despite posting flyers all over the neighborhood, Master Ip’s school remains empty for some time, to the point in which he can’t even pay his apartment rent.

As fate would have it though, one day an energetic young man named Wong Shun Leung (Huang Xiao Ming) approaches Ip Man and challenges him to a fight, seemingly for no other reason than to satisfy his own machismo.

BORING.

Master Ip handily defeats Leung, eventually converting the would be challenger, to a trusted and loyal pupil.

With Leung’s help, Ip Man’s Wing Chun begins to gain ground in Hong Kong, with many new students showing up every day.

That's right, bow before he wrecks your shit.

Even so, times are tough for Master Ip and his students, as money is scarce, and many of the pupils are unable to pay their dues from week to week.

Despite this, Leung’s fiery nature gets him into trouble with the local Hung Gar school, resulting in Master Ip having to step in and settle things for him.

With his fists.

Upon meeting the Hung Gar master, Hung Jan Nam, (Sammo Hung) Ip Man is told that the local martial arts union won’t allow his school to remain open unless he agrees participate in an old fashioned martial arts challenge.

Master Ip agrees to the challenge, and manages to pass it.

With his fists.

At some point we are made aware that Hung Jan Nam serves as an ambassador of sorts between the martial arts union and the British officials based in Hong Kong.

The British ask Hung to organize a venue and event for a boxing match involving their champion, Taylor “The Twister” Miller (Darren Shahlavi).

The biggest meathead the world's ever seen...

Throughout their dealings however, the British treat Hung, and in fact, all of the Chinese, as secondary citizens, often refusing to pay them or simply not speak with them.

Despite this disrespect, Hung agrees to continue working with the English, as many people’s lives depend on him for income and job security.

The boxing event goes as planned, however at one point, Twister steps into the ring during a Chinese demonstration of martial arts forms, and starts to beat and humiliate the performers.

With his fists.

This of course leads to Master Hung and Master Ip battling Twister in the name of Chinese pride.

Merry mishaps ensue.  Roll credits.

The end.

Acting:

As with the first film, Ip Man 2 casts Donnie Yen as it’s main character among an ensemble cast.

While Yen’s acting performance doesn’t really occupy that much of the film’s running time, it really doesn’t need to, as it serves to bolster one of the film’s central themes, namely that of unity.

As in Ip Man 1, Donnie Yen’s performance is calm and reserved for the most part.

In the first film, Ip Man was characterized as being a somewhat eccentric character, an outsider in the eyes of most of his more overbearing peers.

This aspect of Donnie Yen’s performance carries over very nicely from the first film, as the calmness in his performance seems even more genuine given the more energetic atmosphere of the film.

Okay, maybe "genuine" wasn't the right word...

While by no means an amazing performance, Yen does well enough to portray the character as the pillar of strength and certainty that the script demands.

I’ve said it before, I’ll probably say it until the day I die, Donnie Yen is not a good actor.

He’s at his best when he has something to hit.

With his fists.

Pallets work pretty good too I guess...

Sammo Hung’s portrayal of Hung Jan Nam is probably the strongest performance in the film.

Even from a purely visual standpoint, the character is bold and striking, with a very distinct wardrobe, a flashy streak of gray going through his slicked back hair, and a physical presence like no other.

Hah, fat baby...

In dialogue with Donnie Yen and other actors, Hung exudes a strength and forcefulness that suit his character perfectly.

Hung Jan Nam is supposed to be an overbearing, “my way or the highway” sort of character, and Sammo Hung captures this beautifully.

From the perpetually accusatory tone of his voice, to the way his eyebrows go nuts every time he opens his mouth, Sammo Hungs performance is wholly complete and, sadly, painfully outclasses Donnie Yen’s limited acting ability.

ACTING.

Huang Xiao Ming’s portrayal of Wong Shun Leung is comparable to his fighting ability.

He does alright, given that he lacks experience, but there’s nothing really there that sets him apart from any of the other popstars turned actors.

I'm lookin' at YOU Nicholas Tse...

Despite this, given the sharpness to his features, and the cocky sense of youthfulness that he exudes, it’s hard to say he wasn’t well cast.

For the most part, he does well, however the role is very small, with only the most basic of “kung fu asshole” lines in the script associated with it.

The point is, he didn’t really leave an impression.

Kind of like this sack of fuck.

Xiong Dai Lin as Ip Man’s wife,  is sadly much less of an element of this film as in Ip Man 1.

In the first film, she was Ip Man’s rock, she was his foundation.

In the early scenes she sort of wore the pants in their relationship, an attitude she was able to portray exceedingly well with her physical stature and rigid body language.

Pants are overrated.

In the latter scenes we got to see the 2 of them suffer together under the tyranny of the Japanese, which she also was able to convincingly.

While she wasn’t at all a major element in Ip Man 1, she felt present for most of the important events in the story.

In the sequel she’s just pregnant scenery.

I wouldn't mind wallpaper that looked like this...

It should be said, that despite having very limited roles, Kent Cheng, Fan Siu Wong, and Simon Yam, all do exceedingly well with what they’re given to work with.

While Kent Cheng and Simon Yam basically play the same cool guys they’ve been playing for years, Fan Siu Wong surprised me yet again with his performance.

The only other movie I’ve seen Wong in was Riki Oh, and while that was fun, it did little to convince me that he had any sort of talent, physical or otherwise.

Then I saw him in Ip Man, as the Northerner Jin Shan Zao, and I was blown away!

Not only could the guy still fight, but his acting was animated and engaging.

In Ip Man 2, Wong is sadly only in a few scenes, none of which contain any fighting, however he leaves an impression with his bold manner of speaking and his wildly expressive face.

Now THAT'S a fuckin' MAN FACE!

One thing worth noting in Ip Man 2, is that the performances for the British characters are downright terrible.

From what I’ve gathered by watching a shit ton of Japanese and Chinese movies over the years, my guess is that actors that speak in English in these films are asked to speak slower than normal so as to allow the theater audience to better understand them or read the subtitles on screen.

Even so, most of the Brits in Ip Man 2, sound both childish and SLOW.

Like, Little Bear slow.

SOOOOOO FUCKING SLOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!

Darren Shahlavi’s acting performance as the villain of the film, Twister, is both embarassing and confusing to watch.

The man seemingly can only speak at one volume, namely shouting at the top of his lungs.

There are times when his character is supposed to be adopting a condescending tone wherein he sounds more like he’s about to cry or throw a tantrum.

Oh yeah, and his resemblance to Hugo Weaving is downright cosmic.

It makes me laugh because the examples pics are horrible, and both guys have the opposite expressions.

In all, pretty much all of the Brits in Ip Man 2 don’t so much as give performances, as they do fulfill every conceivable ugly stereotype of the “foreign white devil.”

Action:

*WARNING, SPOILERS MAY EXIST AHEAD!*

As with the previous film, Ip Man 2 is packed to the hilt with fight scenes of the highest quality.

Unlike the first film however, which took on a darker and more violent tone in it’s second half, thereby causing the choreography to follow suit by making the violence seem more severe, Ip Man 2 remains consistently more vibrant and energetic throughout.

Color Correction: It makes a difference.

In fact, I would feel comfortable in saying that the fight sequences in Ip Man 2 are, in general; better than in the first film.

Much like in the first film, the fights gradually ascend in quality and dramatic relevance as the film progresses.

The first fight in the film, a friendly sparring session between Donnie Yen and Huang Xiao Ming, closely mirrors that of the the opening spar between Ip Man and Chen Zhi Hui’s Master Liao from the first movie.

So when I say "Master Liao" you have no idea who I'm talking about, but when I say "That one guy that got slapped in the throat a shit ton of times" you instantly know? WTF...

Except that the sparring in Ip Man 2 is much faster paced and aggressive in nature.

From the very first fight in Ip Man 2, one can tell that, cinematographically; the choreography is going to be very different from in the first film.

The first Ip Man had a very traditional, “golden age of Hong Kong cinema” kind of style to it.

An example of the differences in cinematography.

Most every fight in the film made liberal use of full body establishing shots and sweeping pans to give a sense of reality and depth to the performances and intensify the drama respectively.

It was straightforward, clean, and every movement was distinct and easy to identify.

Ip Man 2 changes things up quite a bit by stepping up the energy level a few notches and introducing some elements of gimmickry into the mix.

GIMMICKRY.

By “gimmickry” I’m not referring to wires, as those were used to great effect in both films, but rather the use of tighter, and more selective camera angles that typically emphasize specific focal points in the action as opposed to the entire bodies of the combatants.

As a result, many of the fights consist close-up shots of limbs, or chest-up shots that feel a little claustrophobic at times.

The trade-off though, is that most of the fights consist of less posturing, and more balls-out, arms length exchanges.

DREAM COME-FUCKING TRUE.

This is not a bad thing, however it does make for fights where quick cuts are evident, and educated eyes are sometimes required to follow the choreography from punch to punch.

Speaking of punching, the blindingly fast handwork that was used to such stupendous effect in the first film is back and better than ever.

Honestly, to count the number of times Donnie Yen busts out protracted flurries of buzzsaw punches on people in this movie would be like trying to count grains of sand on the beach.

Better pack your sleeping bag kiddo...

Despite this, because of the faster and more elaborate choreography, these flurries seem much more organic, legitimately seeming like part of a larger combination of motions as opposed to a show-stopping finishing move.

In general, the choreography seems to favor motion and activity over individual, flashier strikes.

Example.

It is impressive to note that Huang Xiao Ming, despite being a popstar with virtually no martial arts background, manages to hold his own under the demands of the choreography.

That’s not to say he’s an action star in the making, but among the likes of other fighting popstars like Nicholas Tse, Jay Chou, and Shawn Yue, he did alright.

Despite my praise, Huang exhibits a stiffness that is somewhat unsettling.

Honestly, the man holds his hands up like he’s never done it before, in a mirror or otherwise.

Sammo... How could you let the kid look like such a feeb?

On top of that, his trunk displays little movement, leaving his arms to do all the work for him, causing most of his strikes to seem “hollow” and lacking in power and intent.

He also tends to plant his feet in such a way that it reeks of him being afraid to move and mess up the framing for the cinematographer.

He also seems as times to be trying so hard to remember the steps to the choreography, that he forgets to use his facial expressions to heighten the drama.

He also smells bad.

Nah, I’m just kidding about that last part, I’m sure he smells fine.

Point is, for an untrained screen-fighter, he does just about as well as can be expected, even going so far as to be somewhat impressive during his one-on-one with the Hung Gar student called Kei.

FEEB FIGHT!!!!

Donnie Yen’s fighting performance in Ip Man 2 is nothing short of spectacular.

In the first film, Donnie Yen seemed, in my opinion, to be somewhat uncomfortable with Wing Chun.

I said before, in my EPIC Tribute to Donnie Yen, that Wing Chun uses motions and principles that are contrary to nearly all of Donnie Yen’s previous performances, and in Ip Man 1, this fact was somewhat apparent.

In Ip Man 1, Mr. Yen seemed stiff at times, with some of his blocks and parries coming across as too rigid, and somewhat robotic.

Not only that, but after watching Ip Man 2, his fast hands just plain didn’t seem as fast.

Aw man, that is SO fuckin' slow...

In Ip Man 2, Donnie Yen’s performance is much more fluid and organic, with his repertoire being somewhat bolstered, as necessitated by the faster-paced choreography, and his fast punches coming out in a much more visually impressive circular loop as opposed to the straight punches from the first film.

You can't really see it, but trust me, it's awesome.

Much like in the earlier fights in Ip Man 1, Yen’s movements seem somewhat lax during the first few fights in the film, only to gradually build in momentum until he reaches peak form at the end.

Despite the inherent spectacle involved in watching Donnie Yen fighting 20 men at once in the first half hour of the film, I found his fighting to be in much better form in some of the latter scenes.

The centerpiece of the film is a series of one on one bouts between Donnie Yen, and 3 masters of various martial disciplines, with the last being Sammo Hung.

In addition to this, the fights take place atop a convincingly rickety dinner table surrounded by upturned chairs.

The first of these masters, we’ll call him “Blinks,” utilizes what looks to be some sort of Mantis Style kung fu variant.

His strikes are wild and employ the full force of his body via fancy kicks and aerial maneuvers.

The choreography here is a bit choppy, as Blinks’ movements are a little uncoordinated and not all that convincing when he’s on the wires.

YOU FOOL! How could you let Uncle Cheng back on the wire rig so shortly after his surgery!?

Even so, the fight is bolstered by the use of the table as a prop, as well as a pretty solid piece of music by composer Kenji Kawai backing it.

It should be noted that the soundtrack for Ip Man 2 is spectacular, and really served to dignify the movie despite it’s somewhat silly last half.

Pictured: The silly last half.

The second fight in the table scene is between Donnie Yen and a master that employs what appeared to be some form of Baguazhang.

"Walking the circle"

This particular master’s movements were slicker and more tactile than Blinks’, resulting in a fight conducted at a somewhat slower pace, but with better defined movements.

A highlight of this fight is watching the Bagua fighter show off his limberness and float in and out of stances with an almost otherworldly grace.

"And then, without warning, Uncle decided to up and take a shit, right there on the dinner table..."

Again, the music is great during this scene.

Despite their limited fighting presence in the film, both Blinks and the Bagua fighter come across as extremely animated and well-defined characters that were fun to watch.

“Haha, Sammo Hung gets the big drum.”

That’s what I said the first time Mr. Hung’s music cue sounded and he appeared on screen.

Rest assured, his fighting performance in Ip Man 2 is certainly worthy of the big drum.

Sammo Hung’s first fight is a brief but masterfully choreographed battle with Donnie Yen at the end of the table sequence.

The fight is meant to portray the 2 as being evenly matched, and as such there is no real contact throughout.

Well, aside from maybe this.

The sequence is a prime example of one of my favorite elements of Hong Kong style choreography, namely the complex and fast-paced sparring and handwork.

Nearly every strike launched in this sequence is parried in some way, resulting in intense exchanges within arms reach for nearly entire duration of the fight.

During this sequence, the difference in style between Hung Gar and Wing Chun is evident pretty much from the first punch.

Pictured: The first punch.

Sammo’s strikes are wider, more circular, and ultimately more form based than the relatively straightforward nature of Donnie’s Wing Chun.

In addition to this, Sammo also assumes a number of stances throughout the fight, most notably a horse stance towards the end.

The whole sequence is a delight to watch, with an intense music score, and a balls-out, almost Dragonball Z-esque finale that had me giggling like a 5 year old.

Pictured: The Finale.

The fights in the last half of the movie deal exclusively with Darren Shahlavi’s boxer character fighting against Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen, in that order.

Shahlavi’s performance, as a boxer, is not the best I’ve ever seen.

The man has a pretty good resume for fighting roles in movies, especially in the 90’s, however the only one I know of that cast him as a boxer, was I Spy, which had him facing off against Eddie Murphy.

What, you thought I was fuckin' with you?

The fights in I Spy were a joke.

Sadly, the film was not.

As a boxer in Ip Man 2, Darren Shahlavi’s movements are a little bit off.

His footwork is atrocious, in the sense that he doesn’t really have any.

More importantly though, I think the real problem isn’t any fault of Shahlavi’s, but rather that of Sammo Hung, the choreographer.

Hong Kong style choreography has a look to it, a method to it, that just doesn’t represent boxing very well at all.

It emphasizes wide and showy motions for the sake of making the movements more visible and theatrical, while boxing does exactly the opposite.

Unless of course you're Sakio Bika.

Fast and compact strikes, devoid of wasted motion are the objective in boxing, and as such, it doesn’t translate to choreography very well, Chinese or otherwise.

Not only that, but the parrying and blocking that I love so much in Chinese choreography, is something you just plain don’t see in boxing.

*Sigh* Unless of course you're Winky Wright...

Slipping and ducking are the more common methods of defense in boxing, as opposed to letting your opponent manipulate and displace your hands AKA your only weapons.

Despite his fighting not really having any boxing science to it, Shahlavi’s brawling and overall presence is actually quite impressive.

I felt Shahlavi’s first fight in the film, against Sammo Hung, was actually the better exposition of his skills as a performer.

C-C-C-COUNTER!!!!

The fight is shot in such a way as to spotlight Sammo, however Shahlavi makes a decent impression.

His fighting has a wild intensity to it that’s mostly foreign to Hong Kong movies.

His movements are aggressive and pressuring, with a shit ton of scowling, flexing and grunting thrown in for good measure.

Oh no, he's totally not flexing. Not at all...

His fight with Sammo works, not only because the fighting is good, but mostly because of the drama of the situation.

The idea is that, Sammo does well in the beginning due to his skills, however the inherent physicality of his opponent eventually begins to weigh down on him.

The fight is melodramatic as fuck, but manages to work on a purely visceral level.

Ah wrestling, I can make references to it from just about anything.

The final battle in the film is, of course, a grudge match between Donnie Yen and Darren Shahlavi.

The whole thing is a bloody and melodramatic rollercoaster that leaves you hating the British and loving the fuck out of the Chinese.

Pictured: Why I hate the British.

It’s great fun.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it to see Donnie Yen get his face punched in for a change.

Some screen fighters have a tendency to not take hits with as much zeal as they probably should.

This is typically evident amongst “baby face” screen fighters that rarely, if ever, play villainous roles.

This would include the likes of Jet Li, Steven Seagal, and in rare cases, Donnie Yen.

You see that little cut on his forehead? That's the only fuckin' hit he took in this entire epic fuckin' fight!

Ip Man 1 and 2 represented some of the rare instances in which Mr. Yen didn’t really take hits all that well.

Actually, the real problem was the fact that he never really got hit in both movies.

Do you know how many times Hiroyuki Ikeuchi hit Donnie Yen during the end fight in Ip Man 1?

3 times.

*Gasp!* He's got a bloody lip!

Well, thank God for the end of Ip Man 2, ’cause I tell yah’, Mr. Yen takes a whuppin’.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t take his licks half as good as Sammo Hung.

Then again, nobody does, except for maybe Mick Foley.

Mick Foley on the average Tuesday.

The end fight in Ip Man 2 has a very comfortable sense of ebb and flow to it.

Unlike in Undisputed 3, (see review here) where the final fight felt like it adopted the pace it did because it was convenient to do so, Ip Man 2’s fight seems to have been carried out the way it was because it made sense to.

The whole idea behind the fight, I think, is that the physicality of Shahlavi is a constant advantage, while the technical and innovative skills of Donnie Yen’s Ip Man are supposed to be a brief counter to it.

Um, pretty sure he meant to do that. Yeah....

In other words, Ip Man is technically losing the fight throughout, however, whenever he is able to stymie Twister with new angles and techniques, he can briefly turn the tide until Twister figures him out again.

Yeah, pretty sure that's a new angle.

It’s an interesting and artful way to compose a fight that, thankfully, results in something much more than a Rocky IV-esque slugfest.

The final “comeback” sequence of the fight is beautifully edited, and yes, set to a wonderful piece of music.

I won’t spoil the details of it here, but I will say this, it may go on just a second or 2 too long, but it makes a fair amount of sense and is fucking awesome to watch, so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Seriously, if I had been in the theater for the big climax of Ip Man 2, I’d probably be yelling, “FUCK YEAH!”

Oh well, why not....

Ip Man 2 is not as good as it’s predecessor.

What begins as a traditional martial arts film, quickly devolves into a shameless rip-off of Rocky IV.

That’s not to say it’s not an enjoyable film.

I found most of the performances to be very good, and the fights were downright amazing at times.

The difference between the 2 films, is that Ip Man 1 had a great deal of heart, while it’s sequel attempts to artificially manufacture it by toying with our basest of emotions.

Even so, Chinese melodrama and nationalism has a way of pushing just the right buttons for me, and in the case of Ip Man 2, it worked.

It made me giggle in disbelief at how silly some of it’s dialogue and plot points were, but I bought into it nonetheless.

Even if it’s “heart” is fake, I appreciate that Ip Man 2 at least attempts to have some.

Thanks Ip Man 2, for not being Transformers 2.

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

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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