Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Best Boss Music #8: Blue Dragon

Today we’re gonna’ do something a little bit different.

Today we’re going to be talking about a game I’ve never played and know close to nothing about!

Yup, still retarded.

That’s right, we’re gonna’ be talking about Blue Dragon on the Xbox 360!

That being said, instead of looking over the wikipedia page, and copy-pasting the whole thing to make it look like I know what I’m talking about, I’d rather just be honest and leave this game as the mystery that it is.

As far as I am aware, Blue Dragon is a straightforward Japanese RPG with character designs by the master of musclebound, capillary popping disaster, Akira Toriyama.

Yes, the Dragonball guy.

Wow, he's hella' dorky lookin'.... Never knew that.

Anyway, the game received decent reviews, but for the most part is best remembered as one of the first JRPG’s onĀ  the Xbox 360.

Aside from those little factoids, I know nothing about Blue Dragon.

I’ve never played it, watched it be played, or even listened to the soundtrack.

I have however listened to one piece of music from the game, a boss theme by industry legend Nobuo Uematsu entitled “The Seal is Broken.”

Yes, the Final Fantasy guy.

Haha, he looks like one of my uncles or some shit.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, then you know that Final Fantasy isn’t really my favorite game franchise of all time, particularly in the post-VI era.

My opinion of Mr. Uematsu’s music is largely mirrors my feelings towards the Final Fantasy games.

He gets a lot of press, and there’s no doubt that he’s a wonderful composer, but he’s just not really my favorite.

It’s kind of like how I feel about Hans Zimmer in regards to movie soundtracks.

Hans Zimmer: The Definition of Overexposed.

Sure he’s great and all, but I’d definitely put John Powell or Basil Poledouris higher on my list than him any day.

Anyway, my bullshit aside, “The Seal is Broken” is one damn fine piece rock opera-esque awesomeness.

Give it a listen:

The Seal is Broken

I love the energy of this music.

It has a great pace to it, steadily building, with a palpable sense of foreboding.

Based on the character designs and music alone, my guess is that Blue Dragon is not what you’d call a “dark” game, and as such, I feel that this track captures the inherently cartoony nature of Toriyama’s illustrations all too well.

Well okay, maybe the music's a little too "hard" for these designs, but hey, it's still awesome fuckin' music nonetheless.

One thing about this track, that I feel needs to be mentioned, publicly; is the fact that parts of it are eerily similar to a very well known piece of music.

It’s only a brief portion of it, but still, my goofy ears won’t let me deny the similarities.

Tune to 3:32 of “The Seal is Broken” and listen until 3:40.

Now, listen to the chords of the Top Gun Anthem, and tell me there aren’t similarities between the two.
The Top Gun Anthem

Say what you will, I made this connection the first time I heard “The Seal is Broken,” and God help me, I’ll probably believe in it until the day I die.

Anyway, that’s all I gotta’ say about the mystery game that is Blue Dragon.

Happy Sunday everyone!

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A Salute To Time Crisis: Part IV

It's time to end it...

We’ve reached the end of my long reminiscence on the rail shooter series that is Time Crisis.

To wrap things up, I figured I would take a moment to talk a little bit about the Time Crisis games that I haven’t played.

Released in arcades in 1999, Crisis Zone was the first spin-off of the Time Crisis series, and the first that I would never play.

The game borrowed the duck and shoot mechanic of Time Crisis in the form of a riot shield that the player character wields throughout the game.

Not quite as fun as landing a riot shield kill in Modern Warfare, but oh well...

In addition to this, instead of the standard issue handgun of most rail shooters, the player was, at all times, armed with a submachine gun.

Remember when I said machine guns make for dumb rail shooters?

Well, that’s pretty much the reason I had so little interest in Crisis Zone despite the “Crisis” name.

My feelings on the subject would carry on years down the road, well past the 2004 console release of Crisis Zone on the PS2.

Nearly 5 years after the console release of Time Crisis 1, Namco saw fit to make a Playstation exclusive entry in the series called Time Crisis: Project Titan.

As an owner of both Point Blank and Time Crisis, as well as 2 Guncons, I remember being curious about Project Titan, however I never actually played the game.

Point Blank: Best Character Designs EVER.

I remember reading a review of Project Titan in my Playstation Magazine, (PSM) wherein the editor saw fit to give the game a solid, but otherwise unremarkable score.

This was back when the writing staff was still cool by the way.

The release of Project Titan was marred by horribly outdated graphics for it’s time, a lack of new features, and the impending release of the infinitely superior Time Crisis 2 on the PS2 within the same year.

For the last fucking time, "NO ONE CAN BEAT THEM."

A minor plus to the game came in the form of several major characters from Time Crisis 1 making an appearance; namely Richard Miller as the player character, and Kantaris and Wild Dog as the game’s antagonists.

Sorry Dog, can't come out to play this weekend...

That’s right, not even an appearance by Wild Dog could get me to play Project Titan.

In essence, from what I’ve seen and read, Project Titan tried hard with what it had, but came up short in just about every area possible.

I like how I stumbled across this pic by searching for "small penis." That made my day.

Released in arcades in 2006, Time Crisis 4 is the most recent “proper” entry in the Time Crisis series.

I have seen the game available for play at Seattle Gameworks, and while I was somewhat impressed by the game’s graphical fidelity, I was also miffed by a few minor details.

Minor in most people’s eyes anyway.

In short, I was both flabbergasted and appalled by two aspects of Time Crisis 4’s design:

The character designs, and the addition of swarms of creatures called “Terror Bites.”

Honestly, I don’t what kind of Final Fantasy bullshit Namco was trying to pull with this game, but the character designs are utterly ridiculous.

Take a look:

Wow. Just, "wow."

These designs are what you call, “flash for the sake of flash.”

The clothing and hairstyles of the two guys on either side are outlandishly over-the-top, and the dude in the middle’s white man dreads are just plain scary.

Ever since Final Fantasy X (which I have not played, and have no desire to do so), I’ve always bashed the series’ character designs as being too “fashion magazine” like for their own good.

Of course time marches on and... Okay then, I guess nothing's changed after all.

That’s Final Fantasy though, it’s fantasy, it’s supposed to be gaudy.

We’re talkin’ about fuckin’ Time Crisis!

Look at some of the designs from the old game.

Richard Miller, bomber jacket + blue jeans = Hero.

Sometimes simple is better.

Part of what always separated the Time Crisis series from many other light gun franchises, was the fact that your enemies were always human.

Sure, there were always mechanical bosses to deal with from time to time, and the 3rd game put a huge emphasis on putting you up against all sorts of vehicles and what not, but never was there a time in which you were fighting bugs or animals.

Pictured: Time Crisis 4

To make matters worse, from what I saw in the arcade attract demo, the Terror Bites attack in swarms, which is also a big no-no in a Time Crisis game.

Time Crisis games never swarm the player with enemies, in fact most of the time the enemy count on screen at any given moment is relatively low for a light gun game.

In Time Crisis 1 and 2, the difficulty stemmed from clever enemy placement and the requirement of great accuracy and speed on the part of the player.

Enemies rarely scored hits by overwhelming you, and they never swarmed you or otherwise forced you to spray and pray.

Personally, I felt these two additions to the gameplay structure of Time Crisis 4 have served to potentially send the series down an ugly road.

Yeah, pretty sure you'd find this place on "ugly road."

It doesn’t look horrible, and I still want to play it, however I’m in no hurry and will gladly wait until the price per play at the arcade goes down a bit.

We went over this before, I’m Azn and therefore cheap.

Time Crisis is a wonderful game series, and potentially the best of it’s kind.

I tip my hat to the folks over at Namco for enriching my childhood, adolescence, and teenage years with memories of playing the first 3 Time Crisis games early in the morning on Christmas day.

Huh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, but Time Crisis was my favorite Christmas gift, 3 different times.

"3!? That's impossible, even for a computer!"

So no matter how critical I may get of the later entries in the series, when I say I’m a lifelong fan of the series, you know I’m not bullshitting you.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got to say about Time Crisis for awhile.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t played a Time Crisis game in the arcade before, maybe now you’ll consider giving it a spin next time you’re out and about!

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