Saturday, November 17, 2012

Awesome Manga Get!

The things you find in used item stores.  I recently got this baby at one:

Full color pages, let alone manga, are a real rarity, so getting this for 7.50 was a real bargain, and the colors are even better than a lot of American comics.  Even the covering is smooth without being prone to fingerprints!  And someone sold this!

I love how it says "For Mature Readers" in the top left corner in small text, as if anyone is going to see that.  It'd be more effective to have big red bold text at the bottom that says
"Warning: Heads F&#$ing explode!"
And then....

Epic Gaming Moments: Final Fantasy 6

It’s Final Fantasy 6.  You’ve got your memory back, joined up with a prince and his knight, and are now hiking through a mountain to reach a contact on the other side.  But you’re not alone.  A mysterious figure has been spying on you throughout the trip, and cuts you off near the end of the road.
The man accuses the party of working for his fellow combat student, and prince Edward’s brother, Sabin.  Naturally, reasoning and working things out through talking is for weenies!

And the guy has the uncanny ability to grow 3 times bigger than you in battle.  Great.

Cue the music!

This is Vargas, a martial artist who was apparently training in the mountains to get stronger.  How well has that training paid off?  You need only look at his partners.

Vargas has apparently trained a couple of bears (actually called Ipooh, but we might as well call them bears).  He is so badass, he trained these bears with his bare hands to fight for him!  Just imagine how much bear wrestling it took to prove his superiority and keep them in line just to make them obey him.  Someone call Zangief!  We found a new playmate!

What I love about this setup is not only the bears that show off his badassitude, but his stance.  There are different interpretations you can come up with for Vargas's stance, and all of them make him look powerful.  He’s either in a karate bracing stance, tightening his sash, charging his ki like a Dragon Ball Z character, or all 3.  In every case, that stance is like Vargas’ way of saying “Bring it on!”

The fight itself is also invigorating, as it’s a wake-up call to most players, and the first boss I died at.  Vargas and his bears have a decent amount of health, so you need to utilize healing items to outlast them, because even though it’s 3 on 3, Vargas has the edge in strength.  He can use both his bare fists and a wind attack.  Keep in mind that magic is nigh nonexistent to humans in FF6’s world with very few exceptions, so that means he is so strong, he can punch the wind hard enough to cut your entire party with it.  That is badass!  That's the kind of stuff you expect from Might Guy!
Furthermore, you can’t target Vargus until the bears are gone, so you’ll be hit with the big man’s strong offensive the entire time, which means some strategizing is in order.

That is until you whittle down Vargas’ health a fair bit.  At that point, Sabin makes his appearance and attempts to speak to Vargas.
Apparently Vargas attacked his father (also their master) and fled to the mountains because Vargas thought his father was going to choose Sabin to be the new successor.  Sabin tells him the master was going to choose Vargas anyway, but, Vargas doesn’t believe him.

Vargas then makes it personal, and blows everyone else away with his “blizzard fist” technique, which definitely would have been useful to him earlier.  That leaves only the two manly macho men to settle their differences.  Vargas, however, has apparently learned Hokuto Shin Ken, and makes it so that Sabin dies in a little over a minute if Sabin can’t win first.
It shouldn’t take that long though.  The player is supposed to input a specific command for one of Sabin’s techniques.  Sabin outright tells you how to do it if you wait long enough, but, in what I see as a flaw in the game design, he won't tell you if you keep trying to use his blitz technique and constantly fail.  You're supposed to just wait there.... Wait there while an instant death clock is ticking.
Conveniently, apparently Sabin has also been practicing Hokuto Shin Ken, and uses 北斗百裂拳 (North Star hundred crack fist)!  After a couple hits of that, Vargas seems to be disintegrated by Sabin’s attack, judging by his distinct death animation.  I think with Sabin on our side, this is going to be one easy game.

And that wouldn’t be the last time Sabin stupefied everyone with his godlike might.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Epic Gaming Moments: King of Fighters 99

I try not to do more than one entry on the same subject.  I already described the awesome finale of The King of Fighters 97, but I'll be danged if the series doesn't have its standout endgames.  I promise this will be the last one for a long time.  For those of you who haven't played KOF99.... Spoilers.

The finale starts after you fight K's team (that is unless you're playing as K's team, in which case it's just a random team) in a sewer arena that eventually turns into an elevator going down into some sort of industrial complex.

After your victory, the team is cut off from the observers, and the lift keeps doing down until the team reaches a door.

Since there's no other way out, they have to open it, and when the team does, they're confronted by some white-haired goth in a dark turtlenecked trenchcoat.  This being King of Fighters, he naturally just up and attacks you without a word.

That's the player team talking.  Not him.

The fight with the mysterious figure takes place in a very strangely designed arena.  You fight on a platform in what appears to be the inside of a computer, and in the background on another platform there's a holographic projector and two pillars with all manner of gadgetry and wires attached to it.  It's detailed, but not excessively so, and the distance from the main platform gives the stage depth.

The man himself (named Krizalid, as you can tell by the health bar) is actually one of the easier fights in the series if you're not reckless.  All he does is throw fireballs and use basic attacks.  That's really it.  The fireballs do a lot of damage if you aren't guarding, but they go slow enough to make blocking a breeze.
It's not that this boss fight is disappointing.  The game is just taking it a little easy for once.  It's a warm-up, and the music of the fight reflects that, as at first it doesn't sound like music.  It's almost entirely computer noises, fitting the stage.  Once it gets going, however, it has a simple beat for the slower pace.

After savagely beating his strappy arse, the computers say that a download is complete.  The man identifies himself as Krizalid, and demonstrates his evil plan to take over the world with an army of clones of Kyo Kusanagi, the winner of the first 4 KOF tournaments.

That is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard!  From what you can tell from the cutscenes, these clones are unarmed!  True, Kyo is extremely skilled and strong in a hand-to-hand fight, but against a real army with real bullets, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be able to take a single country let alone the entire world!  Especially with only a few dozen, or a hundred of them at best.  Hell, Ralph Jones tears down more armed forces than that in the Metal Slug series!

But it gets better.  Krizalid tells the team that his suit sent battle data to his organization and to the clones.  Now, all the clones need is the killer instinct to activate them, and apparently another fight with Krizalid will give it to them through his suit.
But that raises the question of why they sent the clones out when they weren't done!

I could go on about the logical fallacies in this positively ludicrous plan, but the player gets far bigger things to worry about.

His suit spontaneously combusts and, for lack of a better term, shite gets real!

Krizalid gains an entirely new moveset utilizing all manner of techniques.  Jumping slashes, counterattacks, grab moves, and streaks of fire are all in his repertoire now.  But worst of them all is the dreaded typhoon kick.  He spams the typhoon kick (though he calls it out as "tornadis!") with absolute priority.  Jumping over it is almost impossible, so you have to just sit there and take it.
The music is perfect for this situation, invoking pressure and difficulty with its fast pace, with its computer-sounding ensemble to back it up.

To make matters worse, his AI is incredible.  He will counteract your every move.  You can't jump because the typhoon kick is too high.  You can't approach him because the typhoon is too fast.  You can't attack him because he'll counter your attack and punch you across the screen.  You can't even go near him because he'll just grab you and slam you against the floor with the kind of quickness only a cheating AI could pull off!
To make matters even worse, you can't take your continue bonus with you to the second fight.  Ordinarily, you have the option to give yourself a handicap, like giving the boss only a third of his health.  That works on his jacketed form, but you have to fight both versions of him in a row.
But it gets worse!  Not only do you not get any bonuses for the second fight, but if you lost any teammates in the first one, you aren't getting them back!

And so, the game ends with the player getting every one of his teammates punched around the room.  Time and time again they try, but they never win, and Krizalid pounds them into jelly. Eventually, the player rage quits, Krizalid wins.

I assume the army gunned down the unarmed Kyo clones with a fraction of its military and saved the day.