Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Used Game Store Grand Opening Today!

Pictured: My buddy posing with a Halo dude. No, I don't ACTUALLY know Wes Studi. One can dream though...

Today I was fortunate to have attended the grand opening of a new used game store in my neighborhood.

Technically it was actually re-opening of a currently existing store, but in all fairness the changes made to the building were extensive to the point of being a brand new facility.

The store was called Game Gurus, and to my surprise; they went out of their way to throw a little party for their grand opening.

There were free hot dogs and popcorn, 50 cent games for sale in the parking lot, (mostly crap, but even so, 50 cents for a 360 game is pretty good regardless) and a raffle giveaway every 10 minutes.

For what essentially amounts to a mom and pop videogame store, I was amazed by the great lengths that the owners went to in making a good first impression.

While I was mulling about in front of the store, rooting through the cheap games my friend and I, who shall henceforth be referred to as Wes Studi; happened to notice an enthusiastic fellow customer perusing the wares while wearing what appeared to be a ODST getup.

Wes Studi insisted I take a photo of the 2 of them together, and as you can see at the top of this post; I did just that.

For a guy that’s not really up on cosplay, I have to say; they guy had some pretty snazzy digs.

Seriously man, the guy had some sort of microphone system built into the helmet that made him sound all loud and bell diver-ish.

Anyway, as impressive as the outdoor festivities were, the actual store itself was something to behold.

Though the shelves and inventory were arranged much like a typical Gamestop, there were a lot of little bells and whistles in Game Gurus that will no doubt lead to the risk of theft; but were nevertheless enticing to potential customers like myself.

For instance, throughout the store there were several monitors hung from the ceilings, each with a playable game console and single controller hanging from the ceiling like a mobile.

I saw lots of people messing around with these demo rigs, and it put a smile on my face to see little kids stand on their tippy-toes to try and get a grip on the dangling controllers.

In addition to this, there was also free to play, 2 player MAME arcade rig with Street Fighter Alpha 2 loaded on it.

I played Wes Studi a few times, and though my joysticks’ kick buttons weren’t functioning, I had a lot of fun.

By the way, I won every round.

*ANYWAY* On our way out, Wes Studi and I also took a minute to check out the “back room” of the store, where they store not porn; but rather a cache of about 6 Xbox 360’s running Black Ops, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and a few other shooters.

From what I understood, all of these rigs are free to play on the weekends, which in my opinion; is a great gesture to make the store out to be a neighborhood hang out for the kids.

Despite all the fun toys scattered about, the one thing that made me think to myself, “I might have to come back here sometime;” was the fact that the inventory was pretty solid.

While obscure consoles like the Turbografx 16 and Wonderswan weren’t on display, pretty much every major American console from the 8-bit era up was for sale, along with countless games to go with them.

Best of all, they had seemed to have a fairly robust selection of Super NES titles, with many of the rarer titles coming with their original packaging.

While I saw some extraordinarily rare stuff there, Wes Studi and I both ended up walking away with pretty basic stuff.

Having no job will do that to yah’…

Wes picked himself up a copy of Eternal Darkness, Mega Man X: Command Mission, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, while I got Pitfall: The_Mayan_Adventure, Gradius III, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse at a special 2-for-1 price.

Nothing special, but I saved a few bucks and walked away happy regardless.

All in all, I was wholeheartedly impressed with all the love and hard work that obviously went into the new Game Gurus store.

I sincerely thank the owners for their efforts, not just to make a good neighborhood store; but to reach out to the kids in the area and provide a fun place for them to hang out.

Back in my day, if I wanted to go to an arcade my only option was a laundromat with Primal Rage and Area 51.

Given that it’s within walking distance of my house, and the fact that Pink Gorilla’s inventory has been kind of iffy in the Super NES area as of late; I could see myself doing a lot of my retro game shopping at Game Gurus from now on.

That’s not a knock on Pink Gorilla, ’cause don’t get me wrong, I love them; but I’m jus’ sayin’ is all…

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

Another Excuse To Play Resident Evil 4

Chances are everyone that gives a damn already knows about it, but today I found out that Resident Evil 4 is going to be re-released yet again on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.

To my knowledge, this marks something like the 30th time the game has been re-released.

From what I read over at IGN, it sounds like this version of the game will include all of the extra items and bonus content first introduced in the Playstation 2 port of the Gamecube original, while also updating the visuals to accommodate high definition technology ala the God of War HD Collection on the PS3.

While I do indeed already own a copy of the PS2 version of Resident Evil 4, ludicrous as it may seem; I’m very much tempted to pick up this new version of the game once it comes out.

I don’t feel I’m exaggerating when I say Resident Evil 4 was and is a terrific game of near unmatched quality; and one that I’m always looking for another excuse to pick up and play again.

Despite being a sequel in a hugely successful franchise, Resident Evil 4’s gameplay mechanics represented a brilliant departure from the norm; spawning a host of imitators and raising the bar sky high for gamer’s expectations of breadth of content, quality of visuals; and precision of controls.

To date, I’m still amazed by the sheer volume of content contained within Resident Evil 4, as well as the attention to detail and overall cohesiveness of the overall package.

In a series known for consistent excellence, Resident Evil 4 was the most boldly different and groundbreaking entry; ranking just behind Resident Evil 2 in terms of overall quality by my reckoning.

Meeting Will Smith: An epic moment in an epicly awesome game.

It’s funny though, despite all my praise for Resident Evil 4; I still kind of bear a grudge towards it for being as fucking amazing as it was.

You see, 4 was so fuckin’ successful that it seems to have had the effect of causing Capcom to subscribe to the belief that the Resident Evil series should continue working from the formula it established.

Take for instance Resident Evil 5, which was essentially a sub-par carbon copy 4 despite being several years removed from it’s predecessor.

Leave it to Capcom to throw their hands up and say “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”…

Megaman: 20+ Years of Same Shit Different Day

Personally, I’m still longing for the day when we’ll see Resident Evil return to it’s clunky, fixed camera, survival-horror roots.

Anyway, this was me simultaneously reminiscing about and announcing the re-release of Resident Evil 4.

Now, all they need to do is remake Resident Evil 2 with current-gen graphics and the same tender loving care that they gave to the Gamecube remake of the first game

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

The Virtual Boy Sucked…

The Virtual Boy was a piece of shit.

I’ve known exactly 2 people that have owned one, and both were anything but proud of that fact.

Boasting a bulky, not-quite portable design, a crappy 3-D gimmick, and a truly hideous red-and-black only graphical display, the Virtual Boy represented one of, or possibly; the biggest failures in Nintendo’s long history.

Piss-poor sales figures were attributed to a fairly high price tag, miniscule (and crappy) game library with very few third-party products, and of course; poor quality of product.

It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that a not-quite portable videogame console that requires the player to strap it to their fucking head in order to play it, probably isn’t going to appeal to all that many people, especially to those that, y’know; have friends.

Pictured: No-Friends McGee enjoying a good skull-fucking via his Virtual Boy.

Despite all this, Nintendo went all-in with the Virtual Boy, going to great lengths to advertise the everloving shit out of it in classic mid-90’s, ” in your face” fashion:

To be fair that was pretty fuckin’ epic, however that doesn’t make the Virtual Boy itself any less crappy than it actually was.

Of the 14 North American games for the Virtual Boy, Teleroboxer and Wario Land stuck out from the crowd with their lush graphics, tight controls, and solid gameplay mechanics.

Curiously enough, that Real Steel movie has basically the same concept as Teleroboxer. Jus' Sayin is all...

Trust me, it’s never a good sign when your consoles best games consist of an inferior Super Punch-Out!! clone, and a port of year old Gameboy game.

Pretty much everything else was total crap though.

Especially Waterworld.

Waterworld was absolute shit.


In the interest of having at least one element of positivity in this post, I figure it would be good of me to point out a few aspects of the Virtual Boy that I actually liked.

The first thing that comes to mind, is the design of the Virtual Boy’s controller.

While it’s button configuration is a little awkward, with it’s dual d-pads and left-adjusted “start” and “select” buttons; I personally found the Virtual Boy controller to feel quite comfortable in my tiny Azn Badger hands.

Curiously enough, the Virtual Boy controller bears a vague resemblance to current gen controllers like the Xbox 360 one, largely due to the inclusion of “trigger” buttons located on virtually the same part of the controller.

Pictured: An Xbox 360 controller AKA The "American" controller.

The second aspect of the Virtual that seemed kind of cool to me… doesn’t exist, because the Virtual Boy was that damn shitty.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got to say about the Virtual boy for tonight.

See yah’ tomorrow!

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

Thoughts On The Fight Night Champion Roster

Last night I visited the wikipedia entry for EA’s upcoming Fight Night Champion boxing videogame.

As an avid follower (and critic) of the series since it’s inception, I found myself looking through the page taking in all the little tidbits of anticipated gameplay features.

While the “darker” (translations from gamerspeak: bloodier, more profane, and possible T&A) tone of the game does little to peak my interest, in fact if they push it too far I might view it as a detriment to the sport and my enjoyment of the game; my greatest hope is that EA takes the time to improve their character creation system, as it was truly ass in Fight Night 4.

Unfortunately, most of the gameplay and features of Champion are still very hush hush at the moment; so there’s not a whole lot to be said about it.

One thing that I noticed though, was that most of, if not the entire roster of real life fighters included in the game has already been released.

Boxing enthusiast/fan/walking encyclopedia that I am, I feel it is my duty to go through this list, fighter by fighter; and scrutinize the fuck out of it.

Below are my thoughts on some of the fighters that stuck out to me as being weak additions:

Tommy Morrison:

"YOU AND ME TOMMY, WE WAS LIKE THIS! AND YOU BLEW IT TOMMY! YOU BLEW IT!!!"

Though he was featured in the previous Fight Night, I’m still puzzled as to why he was selected to be in the game.

Honestly, as far as accomplishments go, the coolest thing Tommy Morrison ever did in my book was almost get decapitated by Ray Mercer in one of the nastiest knockouts I can recall.

Other than that, he was white heavyweight with a good punch and poor stamina, he came a few rounds away from getting steamrolled by George Foreman, he was in Rocky V, and oh yeah, he was a white heavyweight.

If we’re gonna’ play the race card, personally I’d have rather seen Baby Joe Mesi get thrown in there…

At least that would’ve made me laugh.

Seriously, Tommy Gunn or not, Morrison just doesn’t cut it for me.

Cristobal Arreola and Eddie Chambers:

Man, heavyweights are fat these days...

I list both of these guys together, because they’re on my naughty list for the same reason.

That reason being the Klitschko brothers.

Not long ago, both of these guys were quickly climbing the ranks and looking good doing it.

Then they each met a Klitschko, and each had a big fat Ukranian dump squatted out on their reputation.

Of the 2, I feel that Chambers has fared better since then, largely because he hasn’t lost since then, (truth be told he hasn’t fought, but it’s better than going on to mangled by Tomasz Adamek like Arreola was) and because he conditioning has actually showed improvement over the years, unlike Arreola who just seems to keep getting fatter.

 

Aw... I made the fattie cry.

While both guys are decent fighters, this is just a case of bad timing for EA.

Butterbean:

On the strength of this photo alone, Butterbean is now officially "awesome."

Outside of the novelty, name recognition, and an opportunity to show off realistic fat jiggle physics, why the fuck does Butterbean deserve to be in this game?

Oh well, chances are I’ll end up beating his ass to relieve stress, kind of like I used to do with Ricky Hatton in the previous Fight Nights…

Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson:

Let’s get one thing straight, both of these guys deserve to be in this game.

As much as I hate Calzaghe as a person, and as a home-turf fighter; the man has a laundry list of accomplishments in the sport, and I tip my hat to him.

The only problem is, all of those accomplishments were achieved in the Super Middleweight class, not Light Heavyweight.

It may not be that big a deal to the people over at EA, but I feel that including the intermediary weight classes (the supers and juniors) is necessary both to pay the proper respect to the various real-life fighters in the game, as well as to balance out the roster.

That being said, having just 2 guys that never even came close to fighting each other listed for a weight class is just plain stupid.

Not only that, as with the case of Arreola and Chambers, Dawson recently went from being regarded as the guy at 175 lbs., to becoming somewhat of enigma overnight.

Truth be told, I’d rather see a legend like Matthew Saad Muhammad, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, or hell, Michael fucking Spinks featured at Light Heavy, but if EA wanted to “please” us with a contemporary fighter (nobody gives a shit about Light Heavy since the glory days of Roy Jones) then I guess they got their wish.

Carlos Monzon:


Another fighter featured in the previous game, Carlos Monzon is somewhat of an oddity in the cast.

Most likely unknown to most casual boxing fans, especially younger ones, Carlos Monzon was one of the greatest, and longest reigning Middleweight champs of all time, however there’s a catch to that accomplishment.

Monzon was a champion that really didn’t fight that many truly great fighters.

Sure, he bested Nino Benvenuti, Emile Griffith, and Jose Napoles; but who the fuck other than myself and the old guys down at the barbershop knows 2 out of 3 of those guys?

Other than the opportunity to put Monzon head to head with his successor, Marvelous Marvin Hagler; I don’t really see why Monzon is in the game.

I’d have put Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano in instead, but that’s just me…

Jermain Taylor and Danny Jacobs:


Let’s just call this bad timing and call it a day, shall we?

Seriously, Jermain = Damaged Goods.  Danny Jacobs = Overrated.  ‘Nuff said.

Anthony Mundine:

"And next week I'm gonna' fight a paraplegic cancer patient! That'll put the naysayers to rest!"

Anthony Mundine was in the previous Fight Night, and my reaction to his presence hasn’t changed since.

Mundine is a decent fighter, but he’s been fighting tomato cans for too long now, and he’s barely relevant outside of his native Australia anymore.

“Wow, Fight Night must sell well in Australia, ’cause other than that, I absolutely cannot justify why anyone would ever want to put Anthony Mundine in a videogame.”

That’s what I feel on the matter, and I’m sticking to my guns.

The problem with that, is the fact there are so many great Australian fighters out there to choose from.

While I’m aware of the inherent licensing difficulties that come with dealing with real-life sports figures, I would’ve loved to have seen Jeff Fenech, or Lionel Rose, or hell, if they wanted another fairly contemporary fighter, I would’ve been happy to have seen Paul Briggs or Kostya Tszyu in there.

But no, instead we get Anthony fucking Mundine…

Peter Manfredo Jr. and Sergio Mora:


Okay, I am officially getting tired of seeing Contender alum in the sport of boxing.

Jesse Brinkley had a decent run, until being dismantled by Lucian Bute recently that is, Cornelius Bundrage recently snagged himself a world title strap from an aging Cory Spinks , and, uh, Alfonso Gomez bleeds a lot… And, fuck it, y’know what?

I’m done trying to talk up the Contender guys!

Bottom line:

Sergio Mora was a poor addition to the previous game, and Peter Manfredo is an even worse one to this one.

Put ’em together, and you get 2 piles of ass occupying 2 slots in historically one of the most prestigious weight classes in the sport.

Good job EA, way to take the money and run…

Diego Corrales:


Let me just start off by saying, Diego; rest in peace.

Corrales was always amazing to watch, but his ever-present status in the Fight Night roster has always felt odd to me.

While the man was indeed talented, it was the fights in his career, not his skills; that carved his place in history.

The man will forever be remembered as the man that made Floyd Mayweather’s reputation, the man that gave Joel Casamayor fits, and the man that ultimately gave everything he had to defeat Juan Luis Castillo in one of history’s greatest bouts.

That being said, while I would never say that including Corrales is a bad thing, I feel it’s foolish if none of the aforementioned fighters are included in the roster as well.

Seriously man, it should be a rule of thumb to include at least 1 real-life former opponent for every fighter in the roster.

Maybe it’s just me, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing out real-life matchups in my boxing games.

Vinnie Pazienza:


First things first, I refuse to call him “Vinnie Paz.”

His name is Vinnie Pazienza in my book, and that it shall remain.

Moving on, I know he’s got one hell of a devoted fan club, but what the fuck man?

Sure, he beat a bloated and washed up Roberto Duran, and he got flattened by Roy Jones, but other than the appeal of getting a chance to reverse/replay those matchups, who the fuck gives a shit about Vinnie Paz anymore.

EA could’ve at least included Greg Haugen or Ray Mancini, y’know; good fighters that fought Vinnie Pazienza at a point in his career when it mattered, but oh well, he was in the previous one, and now he’s back again.

Whoop-dee-fuckin’-doo…

Closing Thoughts:

I’ve got other complaints with the roster, but I’m tired so I’m gonna’ call it quits here.

The only other thing I feel I need to say, is that I object to the inclusion of the Junior Welterweight and Flyweight classes.

The former because it’s a random weight class to include, being as there’s so much real-life talent in it at the moment, but only 2 fighters in the game for it, and the latter because there’s only 1 fighter to represent the weight.

Why is Junior Welter the only intermediary weight class included besides Light Heavy?

It just doesn’t make sense to include those 2, but none of the others.

Not only that, but of all the fighters to include at that weight, why Emmanuel Augustus and Victor Ortiz?

Sure, both guys are fairly popular, but they’re not at all connected to one another, nor are they all that good compared to some of the other talents floating around out there.

On the same note, Timothy Bradley should be moved down to Junior Welter, as that’s definitely his proper weight.

As I mentioned earlier, no fighter should ever be listed without at least 1 other fighter that has fought/will fight them, and to have only 1 guy for a weight is just plain ludicrous, especially when Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire are so close to having their superfight… At Bantamweight.

Good job placing Nonito in the right weight class EA, really shows you’re paying attention.

Oh yeah, it’s dumb, but I feel it needs to be said that now that Fernando Vargas is in the roster, we really need to get Felix Trinidad in there.

Jus’ sayin’ is all…


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

What’s Up With Lego’s These Days?

I pride myself on maintaining this blog as a source of entertainment.

This blog is not a journalistic venue, nor is it an online diary where I share my poetry and sad song lyrics.

Seriously, I can’t stand that self-important bullshit

 

 

Though sadly, that's all this man/woman/Crying Game canditate knows...

 

Anyway, despite my mission statement for this blog, tonight I feel the need to bring up something that’s been irking me for some time now:

What the fuck is up with Lego’s these days?

Everywhere I look, there’s fuckin’ “theme” Lego boxsets based on all sorts of mainstream pop-culture properties.

We’ve got Batman Legos.

 

 

Sweet Jesus...

 

We’ve got Harry Potter Legos.

 

 

*Gasp!* He's not yellow!

 

And you better believe we’ve got every George “Control Freak” Lucas franchise imaginable in Lego form.

 

...Including George Lucas himself!

 

Not only that, we’ve also got videogames based, not just on the original source material; but specifically the Lego version of said intellectual properties.

 

 

... I don't get it.

 

Just what the fuck happened that made Legos so fuckin’ bankable?

In my day, Legos came in theme boxes, like “space Legos,” or “pirate Legos,” or in the later stages of my youth, crazy shit like “deep sea mining Legos vs. deep sea pirate legos.”

Despite a handful of specialized pieces, like the parts to make the sharks or crocodiles, or the various transparent parts for the space guys, none of these theme boxes ever came with unique parts.

Honestly, I think that’s the aspect of the whole “Legos of all of your favorite mainstream pop-culture icons!” deal.

It’s not the fact that the dirty Danes sitting on the Lego franchise are obviously making bank off of kids and fanboys buying up all of their Harry Potter and Star Wars memorabilia.

It’s the simple fact that, in recreating all of these pre-established characters and settings, they’ve gone ahead and made unique parts too accomodate said specific intellectual properties.

You know what my favorite part about Legos was as a kid?

Opening up my box of random pieces and taking shit like Play-Doe, and Magic Markers to them so I could make my own shit, my way.

Say I wanted to make a fuckin’ Darth Vader Lego man back in the day.

I would have to find the standard pieces that matched the character best, and then use my imagination to find a way to make my own Darth.

Nowadays, kids get handed a box of Legos, and they’re no longer handed a box of possibilities, they’re handed a box with Darth Vader, Harry Potter, and fuckin’ Batman, already pre-painted and pre-sculpted.

Shit, you as well be selling action figures, or model kits when you look at it that way.

Really fuckin’ blocky, and jaundice infected action figures, but action figures nonetheless…

Legos were always about giving kids a blank slate to let kids explore their imaginations in a constructive fashion.

Like giving a kid a slab of butcher paper and some crayons.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just overreacting and not having enough faith in the youths of today.

I guess if I look on the bright side of things, Lego box sets, not matter how “Lucas-ified” or “Potter-ized” they may be, still come with a hefty supply of standard Lego pieces.

Hopefully there’s kids out there that take time to put aside the shiny plastic-y goodness of their Harry Potter Lego men and take a moment to appreciate the fun that can be had when taking 2 random blocks and putting them together…Without the aid of an instruction manual.

*Apologies, malware is still tearing my computer a new asshole, so I had to use dad’s for the last half of the post, hence the lack of pictures and hyperlinks.*

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

Batman’s New Threads

I was clickin’ around on IGN earlier today, when I noticed an article in their comics section entitled, “Batman Has A New Costume.”

Being a Batman enthusiast, I naturally clicked it, half-expecting some sort of shocking redesign along the lines of Batman 500 AKA the Jean-Paul Valley Batman from the Knightfall story arc.

Pictured: The EXACT image that got me into comics in the early 90's.

You see, though I admittedly haven’t followed Grant Morrison’s recent work on the Batman series, least of all the death and return of Bruce Wayne portion of it, with all of the outlandish Batman costume designs being thrown around as of late, I figured we were due for even more craziness.

Goddamnit! I hella' wanna' hate on this image for being dumb, but it's so damn awesome!

Color me surprised when I discovered that not only was the costume redesign a helluva’ lot more tasteful than I was expecting, it was also done by Moon Knight and, *sigh…* Messiah Complex artist David Finch was responsible for it.

As beautiful as his art can be, GODDAMN YOU DAVID FINCH FOR TRICKING ME INTO READING MESSIAH COMPLEX!

That being said, let’s take a look at Mr. Finch’s work:

ART.

I have to say, not just as a David Finch whore, but as a Batman fan in general, I really don’t mind the new costume.

Most of the changes are quite subtle, with some elements, such as the classic; almost Tim Burton Batman-esque yellow chest emblem, actually being recycled elements from previous designs of the Bat-Suit.

Keaton Batman: The Finest Batman the Silver Screen Has Yet to Produce.

In some images I’ve run across, it seems apparent that DC was trying to cash in on the recent mega-success of the Arkham Asylum videogame, as both the beefier arm guards/gauntlets, the bulkier and more heavily ornamented utility belt, and the molded seam-lines of the suit seem very similar to the art style of the game.

No, the Joker is not about to suck Batman's cock. Buncha' dirty sickos...

Which reminds me, I simply have to play Arkham Asylum at some point…

The seam-lines I mentioned above are probably the one aspect of the design that I’m on the fence about.

How appropriate that that just happens to be the single most noticeable change from the current status quo.

To me, the best Bat-Suit designs have always been the ones that take advantage of the 2D, pen and paper medium.

Blue Batman = THE SHIT.

In comics, the artist has the ability to manufacture images of characters without having to take into consideration the physical properties of whatever materials their costumes are made of.

Depending on the artist’s sensibilities, or the mood of the story, Batman’s cape and cowl can be rendered as smooth and voluminous as silk, or as heavy and lustrous as leather.

Kind of like Spawn! You're not allowed to ask "why," you just kind of accept it...

In comics, Batman’s costume usually looks best to me when it’s portrayed as a skin-tight presence surrounding the character.

To me, Batman usually looks best when he isn’t so much wearing a Bat-Suit, as he is embodying it.

Jim Lee’s Batman always struck me as a fantastic, if not ludicrously beefy design.

Jim Lee's Batman is so fucking beastly, it should be spelt "Bat-MAAAANNN."

Aside from the utility belt and heavily detailed boots, every element of Lee’s Bat-Suit strike me as essentially being a part of Bruce Wayne’s anatomy.

At the same time though, I have to say I was very impressed with Lee Bermejo’s rendering of the Bat-Suit in Brian Azzarello’s excellent Joker graphic novel.

Not from Joker, but close enough. Did I mention this art is badass?

Essentially at the other end of the spectrum in terms of costume/character design, Bermejo’s extremely realistic renderings resulted in a Bat-Suit of tangible weight and bulk, so much so that it truly seemed like a suit of armor.

Not only that, but Bermejo’s design of Batman’s cape was truly striking, as it appeared leathery and almost obscenely heavy, such that it assisted in portraying the character as being almost inhumanly powerful and omniscent.

I’m rambling.

To sum up, Finch’s design of the Bat-Suit is honestly only a mild departure from the status quo, but it’s amazing how much an impact a few seam-lines can make.

Personally, I find the new design to be, how shall we say; “acceptable,” I wouldn’t be surprised if those seam-lines get the axe somewhere down the road, as honestly I find them to be somewhat distracting.

Much like pie... If anything can stop me in my tracks, it's the sight and/or smell of a delicious pie...

To me, it’s almost as if Finch is trying to straddle the line behind the Christopher Nolan movie’s Bat-Armor design, and the comic’s traditional Bat-Suit, with the end result being a costume that appears almost flight suit-ish.

So what if Batman has brown-guy hands. I'm lazy, so sue me.

While I find the design to be acceptable, I’ll end by saying this:

I’d take Jim Aparo or Jim Lee’s streamlined Bat-Suit over David Finch’s Bat-Flight-Suit any day.

That being said, here’s one more look at it for the road:

Cool enough, but nowhere Bat-MAAAANN levels of MAN-liness.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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…

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Devil May Cry and the Azn Badger

Capcom’s Devil May Cry series is one that the Azn Badger desperately wants to love.

Honestly, I don’t really care much for the Gothic aesthetic of the series, nor do I have any sort of appreciation for the death metal soundtracks and overall overblown nature of the storylines and cutscenes.

So, what exactly is it that I do like about Devil May Cry?

That my friend, would of course be the bombastic, action-heavy gameplay of the series:

My introduction to the Devil May Cry came in the form of the 3rd, and best, entry in the series, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening.

Yes, I am in fact aware that he is wearing a nipple-strap. The game STILL kicks ass...

Featuring the highest difficulty level in the series to date, as well as perhaps the best, or at least, most relatable storyline, Dante’s Awakening effectively ruined me from enjoying any of the other games in the franchise.

Let it be known, beginning a game series from it’s highest peak in terms of overall quality, and then working your way down is not the way to enjoy a videogame franchise.

That'd be like going from THIS to THIS.

You see, I really enjoyed my time with Devil May Cry 3 on my PS2.

I played it to death, nearly beating it on the hardest difficulty in the process.

After I finally grew tired of 3 though, I made the mistake of thinking it would be fun to work my way backwards and play through the first game in the series.

I skipped that sack of fail Devil May Cry 2 though, as I’ve heard nothing but bad about that one…

ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

From the moment I picked up the controller to play the original Devil May Cry, it immediately became clear to me that I was playing a vastly different, and far inferior game.

The gameplay was slower and less responsive.

The animations were less dynamic and felt very detached.

The attacks lacked the sense of “oomph” that was the highlight of the experience in the 3rd game.

Not only that, but due to the games’ age, the graphics and textures were somewhat lacking.

Yeah, I'd say there's a difference...

Needless to say, I found little enjoyment in playing the original Devil May Cry post-Dante’s Awakening, so much so that I saw fit to return it to Gamestop after only a few days.

Devil May Cry was a wonderful game for it’s time, serving as the progenitor of a new breed of fast-paced action games shortly after it’s release.

You see what you did Capcom!? You gave that piece of fuck Gackt an excuse to star in his own game!

Despite it’s laundry list of credentials though, being the first of something doesn’t necessarily make it the best, or in this case, anywhere near that level of quality.

Recently, I had the opportunity to play through Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360.

Pretty fuckin' spankin' if you ask me...

After the beating the ever-loving piss and shit out of Devil May Cry 3 in decidedly epic-fashion several years back, I found Devil May Cry 4 to be somewhat tame in terms of difficulty.

In general enemies were easier to stun, and more importantly, easier to corral and manipulate, resulting in the gameplay being much more forgiving, and ultimately flashier than ever before.

Since the release of Devil May Cry 3, Capcom went on to reinvent the Resident Evil series, and indeed; much game design in general, with it’s 4th entry.

In the post-Resident Evil 4 world of gaming, context sensitive button functions were very much en vogue, predictably resulting in Capcom’s own Devil May Cry 4 including several instances of said gameplay elements.

In fact, awesomeness can be visited upon most enemies with a simple touch of the “B” button:

Cheap thrills yes, but thrills nonetheless.

Personally, I couldn’t give 2 shits about the new main character of Devil May Cry 4, a frustratingly emo little butt-pirate named Nero, (voiced by Adam the Black Ranger AKA Johnny Yong Bosch)

Pictured: Nero.

I will say this about him however:

His move-list is fun, inventive, and made all the better by the inclusion of the Devil Bringer in his arsenal.

The Devil Bringer is the chief innovation brought to the table in Devil May Cry 4, and for the most part, it’s worth the price of admission.

Trust me, yanking enemies over to your position for quick and efficient beat downs is a pleasure that far surpasses repeatedly Stinger-ing my way across an arena just to get to an out of reach opponent by leaps and bounds.

But then again, being able to do shit like this is pretty fun too:

While the game is a little bit on the easy side when compared to Devil May Cry 3, I’m willing to concede that that may in fact be a good thing.

Devil May Cry 3 was a beast.

It got off on taking eager young player’s confidence and shitting all over it like a fuckin’ pigeon perched above a Porsche.

... Yup, pretty much the visual I was going for.

4 however, is a prettier and more accessible game that even goes so far as to have a storyline (for those that give a shit) that requires virtually no knowledge of the prior games to understand.

Simply put, Devil May Cry 4 serves as a fine example of how to begin a series anew on a new platform.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it fared better than Resident Evil 5 in the console transition.

While not as good as 3, 4 was an enjoyable entry in a young series that was desperately in need of a #2 best game in it’s lineup, as up until it’s release, none of the other games could be at all regarded as anywhere near the level of quality of Dante’s Awakening.

I understand that I’m being critical of the series, but as I mentioned earlier, Devil May Cry is a series that I want to like.

So far we’ve got 4 games in the series, and I’ve only liked 2 of them.

I don’t like the art.

I don’t like the music.

I hate the storytelling.

All I play them for is the raw experience of playing the game.

In that sense, 1:2 ain’t a bad ratio at all.

KITTY.

Which brings us to the newest Devil May Cry game, one that, to my knowledge; is intended to be a massive diversion from the core series.

Uh, okay. I see what you did there, very nice... I don't get it.

Going by the name DmC, (Ugh…) this new game features a protagonist of a drastically different design aesthetic, as well as a game world that seems a little more urban, and less castle-like than previous entries in the series.

This would all be fine in my book, as I was never that attached to Dante or Nero as series’ protagonists, except for the fact that this new character’s design is just plain HIDEOUS.

Pictured: An ugly-ass, skinny piece of emo punk-fuckery that I honestly have ZERO desire to play as in a game.

At this point, all we have is a trailer to work from in terms of first impressions, however I for one feel my desire to give this game a shot slipping away purely based off of the character design:

That may sound petty of me, but unless DMC gets some truly fuckin’ incredible reviews chances are I’ll probably sit it out in favor of taking a step back and visiting some of other hardcore action game franchises out there, like the Ninja Gaiden series and Bayonetta.

Every now and again I have to ask myself: Why HAVEN'T I played this game yet?

Anyway, this has been a lengthy and intensely muddled post.

For this I apologize, but thanks for reading.

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Thinking About Conan

It’s funny, until about 2 minutes ago, I was seriously considering skipping today’s post.

You see, I’ve had a distinct lack of motivation.

It’s not that I don’t have any ideas for posts, on the contrary, I’ve got ’em by the bucket load, rather it’s the fact that I simply don’t have the time needed to complete them after I get home from work.

Anyway, as fate would have it, my Ipod decided to assault my ears with the powerful and wonderous sounds of Basil Poledouris’ Conan the Barbarian soundtrack.

Man, why did he have to die...

Let it be known, the Azn Badger loves him some Basil Poledouris, but perhaps more importantly, he fuckin’ loves him some Conan.

In short, Conan is the shit, especially the Arnold Schwarzenegger version:

FUCK.  YEAH.

I was a late arrival to the Conan party, only actually seeing the 2 movies when in I was already in my late teens, (thanks J. Dong) but that doesn’t make me any less of a fan.

Actually, if you want to get technical about it, my first experience with Conan dates back to the early 90’s when I used to watch the cartoon series, Conan the Adventurer:

Yes, Conan was indeed THE SHIT.

Seriously, that cartoon was crazy violent for the time, making it especially memorable to my impressionable young mind.

Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make, is simply that Conan is FUCKING AWESOME:

Which leads me to my next point:

Did you know that they’re making another Conan movie?

I know what you’re thinking:

“How can they make a Conan movie without Arnold!?”

Well, truth be told, they probably cant.

Arnold on any given Tuesday.

Arnold brought to that role a level of charisma and gravitas that few actors could ever hope to match, and as such, he pretty much embodies the character in my mind.

Not only that, but despite the Conan films being made very early in Schwarzenegger’s career, they have a look and feel to them that is unmistakeably “Arnold.”

My point is, what I know of Conan is based around Arnold, thusly making any other interpretations of the character “wrong” in my eyes.

I’m not trying to be close-minded or head strong, but that’s just how it is.

The new Conan is going to be directed by Marcus Nispel, who just happened to direct Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Pathfinder, and Friday the 13th, suggesting a penchant for/familiarity with bladed weapon-based combat.

Note that none of the films mentioned above are worth a baggy of monkey piss, nor were any of them filmed with any semblance of redeemable style or tact.

Pictured: A Urine Bag worth several cents more than any film on Marcus Nispel's resume.

It goes without saying, though Nispel might be better than say Brett Ratner, (the previous director signed to the project) he’s no prize pony.

ARE YOU FUCKING HAPPY RATNER!? YOU FUCKING KILLED JACKIE CHAN YOU HAIRY SACK OF FLAMINGO FUCK!

Conan will be played by Jason Momoa of Stargate Atlantis fame.

Hmm, a little Prince of Persia-esque, but somewhat promising nonetheless...

I’ve never seen Momoa’s acting, so I can’t say how he’ll fare in that area, but being as he’s a tall and muscular dude he seems at least physically prepared for the role.

He’s no Arnold, but if the movie sucks, (which it most likely will) then my guess it’ll be the director’s fault moreso than Mr. Momoa.

Do the Hawaiians proud Momoa.

Ron Perlman is also featured in the cast, which is very much a good thing.

Ron Perlman sans makeup.

Mr. Perlman turns out consistently entertaining and engaging performances, plus it’s an interesting novelty to have Conan’s voice actor from the 2007 videogame present in a live-action Conan film.

On the production side of things, the music is going to be done by one Steve Jablonsky.

I liked Jablonsky for about 5 minutes.

I enjoyed his soundtrack for Transformers, however pretty much as soon as the curtains went up after that film ended, and he became the composer for the nerd population of the world, I came to realize that he’s pretty much a one trick pony.

This is just about the best he’s capable of:

While very good, that’s about all he’s got.

Pretty every score he does is same shit different day.

Insert heavy percussion here.
Insert brooding male choir there.
Top it off with some heavy electronic effects, and you’ve got your basic Jablonsky score.
Now I ask you, compare that to the epicry that is this:

That’s right, Basil Poledouris is THE SHIT.

RIDDLE OF STEEL FOREVER BITCHES!

In case you can’t tell by now, my personal expectations for the film are extremely low.

I truly and honestly believe that this film will suck balls.

Pictured: The promotional image that first made me think this movie was going to suck.

It kind of sucks to think that way about a franchise I love and respect so much, but when you look at the cast and director, and the fact that the film has been in development hell for so fucking long, one can’t help but feel like this movie was doomed from the moment the writer’s pen first hit the paper.

Anyway, just felt like talkin’ about Conan for a bit.

See you in the theater when this one comes out next year.

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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:

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