Swerve of Trios

August 18th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

I’m still working on my needlessly gigantic CHIKARA King of Trios article series, which should be going up later in the week. In the meantime, here’s something cute that I thought I’d share.

The presentation for this year’s King of Trios is based on WWF Wrestlefest, one of the greatest arcade games in arcade game history, which has recently been updated and ported to smartphones. I haven’t played the new version, but I hear that it’s ass.

Over the past few months, the official CHIKARA site has been announcing the 16 teams for September’s tournament. We have a team of old ECW guys, some nostalgic 80’s and 90’s WWF teams, some female wrestlers from Japan, the usual CHIKARA suspects, visitors from other feds, mishmashed teams of CHIKARA regulars who are forced together against their will and a group of guys who performed so terribly in 2009 and got jeered so hard that they’ve all banded together out of revenge against the fans.

On the site, each announced team would get a filename of “KOT12_#.jpg”. So the 13th team announced is “KOT12_13.jpg”. Obviously, there’s going to be somebody wanting to look forward by typing “KOT12_14.jpg” with hopes of seeing the next team to be revealed. Kind of like how people figured out the roster of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 long before they were meant to. Each time, the CHIKARA website has been messing with the fans trying to do this by putting in a fake team.

Unfortunately, I didn’t save all of them, but here’s a bunch.

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Mystery Science Theater Beatdown: The Greatest Video Game to Never Exist

April 13th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

I love fighting games. I also love Mystery Science Theater 3000. Never have I really considered the idea of mixing the two.

A guy by the name of FutureDami decided that not only should such a thing exist, but he went the extra mile with it by making a gallery of “official” profile art for such a hypothetical video game. Rather than go with the obvious of Mike, Joel, the Bots and the Mads, FutureDami instead goes with the many, many bizarre characters our heroes have been forced to watch over the show’s ten seasons. Behold the world of Mystery Science Theater Beatdown!

Yes, who needs playable Mike and Joel when you have Trumpy, Torgo, the Phantom of Krankor, the Hobgoblins, the Beast of Yucca Flats and Mr. B Natural?

Each character piece also features a profile, including how they would fight had this game existed. Check it out. It’s a great who’s who/love letter.

PUMAMAN (Episode 903)

Professor Tony Farms could have gone his entire life without knowing he was THE PUMAMAN. Yes, he could sense danger. Sure, he could see in the dark. And he was vaguely aware that his hands were steel claws, after a series of broken nail-clippers and inexplicably ruined sofas.

But it was only when Tony was hurled out a window by Aztec priest Vidinio that he truly embraced his inner puma, making him technically some sort of 70s proto furry.

Pumaman is an aerial attacker, using the natural flying abilities of the puma(?) and feline grace to flail around and fall at a 45 degree angle. Most of his attacks involve him losing control of his pitch/yaw, crying and giving up, and simply slamming into his opponent with the force of a discarded dishrag.

PITCH (Episode 521)

Pitch is a part time devil working for Lucifer. After a brief stint lowering the productivity of bread delivery drivers, Pitch settled in to a decent routine of minor harassment. Working odd jobs for eternity in hell has given pitch a wide array or marginally useful skills.

In combat, Pitch is quite versatile, able to switch the position of his asbestos-tipped trident for various styles of fighting. He has three stances:

“Infernal” a fire based magical stance where Pitch uses his sulphurous combustion breath.

“Impenetrable” a guarded stance in which Pitch torments his opponents witch cheap ranged stabs and stuns.

“Ineffable” a forbidden hubris-based style that is inherently too overpowered, complex, and abstract to be adequately communicated.

DROPPO (Episode 321)

Droppo is lazy. I mean seriously lazy. The guy is such a bum, he can waste other people’s time simply from being in the same room. He is probably the laziest man on Mars. If there was a Martian DMV, he would work there. Part time.

He is equipped with pulse-phase anti-gravity boots, and a deadly q-ray pistol, but Droppo can hardly be assed to use them.

What, do you ask, is his advantage in combat? This: You can’t beat a guy who doesn’t give a crap. There is at this date, no known way to defeat Droppo.

NASTINKA (Episode 813)

Knowing his time was nearly at an end, the jovial Jack Frost adbicated his frozen throne and dominion over ice to pert young Nastinka.

She was, after all, the only person ever to recover from the bone chilling effect of his magic scepter. This weapon was susequently reclassified: “Will freeze to death anything it touches save for a few rare exceptions when true love and plot convenience is involved. Use as directed.”

Nastinka does not have a large health pool, and will shatter with a few punches. Good luck ever getting close enough to her, though. She will call down ferocious aoe snowstorms slowing opponents, and will slick the ground wherever she walks for several seconds causing enemies to slip and fall in a comedic manner.

She will smile in a pleasant innocent manner while you are entombed in a bitter cold casket, and wait patiently while all the blood in your veins turns to ice. Do not mess with Nastinka.

ZAP ROWSDOWER (Episode 910)

No description needed. Its ROWSDOWER.

(Drinking arm status: healed)

Awesome. Absolutely awesome.

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The Top 15 Best Fighting Game Storylines: Part 3 (5-1)

March 21st, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Part 1!
Part 2!

Before I finish off the list, I want to point out an honorary mention of sorts. When they came out with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, they changed a lot of the endings. For some, the art was altered to feature different characters. For many, the dialogue was changed and made half as long as in the previous game. Still don’t understand that one. A couple guys from the first game got new endings because the previous ones were pointless. For instance, Ryu’s ending in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 features him facing off against Iron Fist in a Madripoor fighting tournament. Considering Iron Fist is in the upgraded game, there’s nothing special about his surprise reveal. So instead, Ryu’s ending has him discover a new role in the world.

Huge smile on my face when I saw that. Coincidentally, Iron Fist’s ending involves him starting up a new Heroes for Hire with Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Ryu, Chun-Li and Rival Schools’ Batsu. I’d easily pay the $3.99 every month for that comic.

5) Jinpache’s Emotional Deaths

Jinpachi Mishima was a good man who opposed his evil son Heihachi, but due to some convoluted storytelling, he became imprisoned underground for decades, infected by a gene that’s driving him to destroy everything. He becomes released during the conclusion of Tekken 4 and sets up the tournament for Tekken 5. Part of Jinpachi wants to get all the great fighters out of the way so he can lay waste to the planet. Part of him wants someone to stop him before he goes too far.

The elderly Wang Jinrei has been in the Tekken cast since the beginning, but he’s also been boring as hell while adding nothing of interest. One thing established is that he and Jinpachi were good friends back in the day and that’s one of the reasons Wang is out to stop Heihachi. Throughout the fifth tournament, he gets this strong feeling that something unbearably terrible will happen at the end. When he faces Jinpachi, seeing him in his demonic form, he outright refuses to fight his best friend. Jinpachi begs him, saying that his human consciousness is weakening by the moment and he needs to die soon or else. Wishing there was another way, Wang reluctantly goes to town.

What follows is one of the saddest video game moments, thanks to some fine voice acting (even though one guy is speaking Chinese and the other Japanese) and captivatingly realistic CGI work. Jinpachi lay on the ground, back in his human form. Wang tries to comfort him, saying he shouldn’t have to apologize for what he’s done. Weakly, Jinpachi wishes that they could have one last drink, but then he dies and instantly melts into sand.

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The Top 15 Best Fighting Game Storylines: Part 2 (10-6)

March 17th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Click here for Part 1!

To answer a question from yesterday’s comments section, I never did get around to playing Blazblue. I really need to rectify that. So if there’s anything on the list you completely disagree with, pretend that if I were to get around to playing through Blazblue, I’d put it in that spot instead. Everybody’s happy.

Now back to the list.

10) Lee Chaolan: The Good Son

Tekken’s core storyline is about the world’s most dysfunctional family. Four generations of the Mishima clan beating the shit out of each other. It mainly started with Heihachi Mishima throwing his son Kazuya off a cliff as a training exercise. Kazuya survived by allowing his body to become host to a demonic entity and returned years later to exact his revenge. While the CGI endings for the first Tekken are hilariously dated in appearance, I always enjoyed the big twist in Kazuya’s. By all means, he should be the hero in this situation. He’s a pretty generic design and his father is evil and wronged him, so he should in response be a good guy. So he picks up his father, carries him in his arms while walking forward… then drops him off a cliff before giving an evil smile to the camera. Love it.

At the same time, if Kazuya was to come off as a hero on paper, Lee Chaolan should have been a villain (and he was in the anime, but that’s neither here nor there). Lee was adopted by Heihachi for the intent purpose of making Kazuya jealous and driving him to be better. After the first game, Kazuya takes over Heihachi’s criminal organization, the Tekken Zaibatsu, and makes Lee his underling. Lee hates what his life had become, forced to work for his despised brother and realizes that all his life, he’s been used as nothing but a pawn. After Heihachi comes back to retake the throne, Lee slips away and lays low for several decades. During this time, it’s speculated that the Tekken 3 boss Ogre found and killed him. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.

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The Top 15 Best Fighting Game Storylines: Part 1 (15-11)

March 16th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

I’ve always been a big fan of the fighting game genre in video games. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters, Soul Calibur, what have you. I can get into nearly any fighter. These days, the games are held under a microscope due to the high-profile competitive nature of tournaments and online gaming. I don’t do tournaments, I don’t play online and I can’t do an infinite combo to save my life. A lot of the time, I mainly care about sitting back and playing it one-player.

I guess it’s the way I grew up. I had Street Fighter 2 for SNES and while it was fun to play against my friends every week or so for an hour or so, there were more hours on lazy afternoons where I had to fly solo. It was about having to play through the game and defeat M. Bison with every single character and see their endings, then try at a harder level. When I rented a new fighter, I had to see every ending. It was the ritual. It was fun.

Behind the gameplay, it’s the characters and the backstory that make it for me. They add the flavor to it all. That’s why I could never bring myself to care about any Virtua Fighter. I know the whole game is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, it’s so bland that I can’t bring myself to invest in it. I want one-player campaign modes like in Soul Calibur or the Challenge Tower from the new Mortal Kombat. I want new shit to unlock and I want it to last. I want special introduction animations before matches that happen because both fighters are siblings. And when one of those guys wins, I want them to say something specific about the loser.

As cheesy as they are, I love the characters and storylines in fighting games. Sure, there are only so many ways you can set up “bunch of dudes fight each other one-on-one”, but there’s some creativity and personality in there. It makes me want to play and learn characters who come off as cool, funny and/or dynamic. I don’t care if they aren’t top tier, I never let go of my Venom/Juggernaut/Morrigan team in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or my Chang/Iori/Rock team in Capcom vs. SNK 2.

Recently, I picked up Street Fighter x Tekken and Soul Calibur 5. SFxT is a crossover that features counterparts from different companies playing off each other while they all reenact It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, only with more punching. Soul Calibur 5 has a weak story mode and an arcade mode that has you play several matches before congratulating you and asking if you want to try again. Guess which one I’ve been playing more.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve played a lot of these babies. Some good, some bad, some ugly. While many fighting game storylines don’t really hold up as anything exceptional on their own, there are some aspects that I still think are awesome. Here are fifteen of them.

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The Eternal Champions Comic: Sooner Than Later God Will Cut You Down

April 18th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

(Special thanks to Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett for his assistance)

With the new Mortal Kombat game coming out tomorrow, it feels right to cover another comic based on a game that tried to ape the series’ success with lesser results. Already, I’ve covered Killer Instinct and Primal Rage. Now it’s time for Eternal Champions, a short-lived backup featured in the UK publication Sonic the Comic. Sonic the Comic was a bi-weekly anthology featuring stories about Sega’s rodent mascot with the occasional backups of other Sega properties. It’s mostly remembered in the comic world for a series of Streets of Rage stories written by one Mark Millar. Eternal Champions got two story arcs and a special one-shot issue out of the deal.

So what is Eternal Champions? The game was released on the Genesis in the early 90’s, followed soon after by an updated version with an expanded roster on the Sega CD. The game had a really cool and inventive storyline… until it remembers the part that it’s a fighting game and it falls apart. The idea is that there’s this being called the Eternal Champion and he’s a big force for good. In the distant future, he comes to realize that the balance between good and evil is way out of whack. Evil’s held its grip over history a bit too much and this will cause a major cataclysm. He notices a handful of beings who were killed before their prime from different time periods. People who would have made the world a better place had their lives not been cut so short.

The Eternal Champion decides to use his powers to bring in these nine souls (more in the Sega CD game) in an attempt to help set things right. It’s like Exiles with time travel. Despite having the power to pull them all from the time stream, he only has the strength to send one of these guys back a moment before their scheduled death. That’s a weird drawback, but okay. I was thinking you could blame the butterfly effect on that, but even if the caveman changes history for the better, the Sega CD endings feel the need to remind you that EVERYONE ELSE IS DESTINED TO DIE HORRIBLY via early-90’s CGI animation.

So how does the Eternal Champion decide who will get his or her second chance? FIGHTING TOURNAMENT, THAT’S HOW! Man, it’s a good thing all of these potential heroes are physically fit martial artists. So not only do they have to murder the fuck out of each other (and honestly, the “Overkills” are more violent than most Mortal Kombat Fatalities), despite the fact that they’re all pretty good people, they have to fight the super-cheap Eternal Champion to prove themselves. Why? Like, if he kicks your ass – and believe me, he probably will – he cancels the entire project and decides to allow reality to crumble to evil. All because you can’t defeat a nearly omnipotent deity with your knowledge of karate. What a dickhole!

Luckily, even the comic is aware that the Eternal Champion is full of snot. Let’s look at our nine time travelers:

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