MK Kilmarnock
Mr. Danya
Joined: April 14th, 2009, 10:12 pm

December 26th, 2013, 4:05 am #16


Top 10 Disney Film Villains



Ah, loyal readers and subjects and future victims, welcome back to another exciting countdown done by yours truly, the God of Hatred and Granite (and apparently inane lists where I categorize things into sets of 10 in descending order). Today, we’ll be visiting, and potentially butchering, something that served as a facet of many a childhood. That’s right, today’s countdown will involve Disney, the professed inventor of numerous animation techniques, creator of not one but two lands of childhood dreams, possible anti-semite and more-than-possible thief. Did I hit a little close to home, there? GOOD. Your tears fill me with joy in more ways than one.

Disregarding the man himself, I’ll admit to partaking in many a Disney film as a wee bearn. … Okay, I still watch them as a grown man. On occasion. I’m really not much for movies as I am other methods of entertainment, such as browsing the internet or playing computer games or occasionally suplexing a guy that looks like masochistic Bob Backlund.

So I might not always watch Disney films but, when I do, I’m pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. Those movies give us tons of memorable moments. Some of these moments are humor or heroic deeds, but let’s face it; perhaps the most thrilling aspect of a Disney film is its villain. Disney villains can be charming and funny as they are conniving and unfair. Sometimes they are simply brutal and cruel, showing us evil in a simply elegant fashion.

So, which if these villains made the largest impression on me? Which of them are most strongly tied to my childhood? Which of them scared me, thrilled me, angered me or simply happen to be my favorite? Take a ride through that salty-sweet flavor we call nostalgia, and discover the top 10 Disney villains!



10. The Coachman

Aaaaaand we get our list started right away with the most child-predatory-ish dude possible. There are an assortment of unpleasant figures in Pinocchio: Honest John and Gideon, Monstro, Stromboli the puppeteer, but they’re all pretty much put to shame by this chubby-cheeked whackjob.

So, the coachman’s deal (for the poor souls who haven’t actually watched this movie) is that he ferries wayward boys who feel like misbehaving to a fun, lawless land called ‘Pleasure Island’. There, the boys smoke, play pool, gamble and generally make asses of themselves. Until they literally make asses out of themselves. They turn into donkeys. GEDDIT?

Then the Coachman goes from simply needing Chris Hansen called on him to being worthy of a villainous role in Taken when he takes the transformed boys and locks them in crates, shipping them off to places like the circus and the freaking SALT MINES. Oh, and what terrible fate befalls this guy?

Nothing. He gets away with it. So he could still be out there, waiting to abduct you and turn you into a slave who’ll perform backbreaking work underground until you die a horrible dust-in-lungs death.

Sweet dreams.


 

9. Lady Tremaine

If you’re wondering, Lady Tremaine is the wicked stepmother from Cinderella. The mother of two beastly looking daughters (odd, considering her own decent attractiveness even into her advanced age), she helps butt-ugly progeny Drusilla and Anastasia shit all over Cinderella’s day-to-day life like seagulls on a freshly washed car. Then, of course, Cinderella gets her happy ending anyway and Lady Tremaine is left to do god knows what. I mean, we never find out because Cinderella never had a proper sequel.

It never had a sequel. Shut your fucking mouth.

Still, before Cinderella gets her fairy tale ending, this wicked stepmother manages to be fairly terrifying in her calm, calculating manner. Oh, and those green eyes. Those piercing, practically glowing green eyes. We’ve all met at least one woman like her in our daily lives: polite and refined, but talking out of turn will be met with a harsh “HOLD YOUR TONGUE”. Being locked into a room is optional.


 

8. Hades

Boom! Hey, Hades, lord of the dead, how ya doin’ and boy do I have a deal for you!

For being the embodiment of death and an all-powerful GOD who can pretty much do whatever he wants, Hades manages to be a pretty easy-going, silly, even downright likable villain to our lug-head hero Hercules. It’s been outright stated that his personality was based on that of a fast-talking car salesman, thanks in no small part to James Wood’s unbelievable performance influencing the character.

As schmoozing as Hades is, we are never allowed to forget that he is in fact quite the evil dude. His conniption fits of screaming come off as pretty comical, a feat to perform when you’re basically omnipotent and wreathed in massive amounts of fire when your temper flares up. It’s when Hades calms down and gets serious that we see he can actually be quite dark and intimidating.

But Hades isn’t on this list because he’s scary. He’s not on it for the horrible deeds he performed (oh no, people later on down the line have done much, MUCH worse than he did). He’s on it for being one of the most personable and hilarious Disney villains while still managing to pose a threat every step of the way.


 

7. Ursula

Ursula has quite the… unique design for a Disney villain. It’s hard to find a sharp angle anywhere on her body, a trait meant to signify her as a more mysterious character and as a foil for her rival and Ariel’s father, King Triton. Of course, as unconventional a character as she is, everything we see about her from her very first appearance just screams VILLAIN. Skeletal-looking lair? Check. Dark color scheme? Check. Voice and general vibe that are the stuff of nightmares? Double check.

Ursula does a fairly good job of sitting in this uncomfortable zone of ‘we know she’s bad news, but HOW bad is she’ that is set with her musical number ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’. We get she helps people, but at a terrible cost: If you can’t pay the price of her sick little game, she transforms you into a muppet-looking piece of seaweed.

She’s basically what would happen if Oprah wasn’t on her meds.

Of course, the plan that Ursula sets into motion goes horrifyingly well and it’s up to our heroine and some random schmuck with a boat to rough her up some, because King Triton’s a bitch and handed over his artifact of extreme power to a fat octopus with shady medical practices. Ursula uses said artifact to transform herself into the most horrifying form she can think of: Herself, just twenty stories tall.

I’m going to take a guess and say she was based off of some animator’s mother-in-law.


 

6. Madam Mim

She’s the MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD… Madam Mim! Yep, Madam Mim is totally off her rocker and she gives nary a shit who knows it. This sadly little-known antagonist from the Sword in the Stone crazies circles around useless protagonist Wart and neurotic owl Archimedes until they get tired of her bullshit and sic their pal Merlin on her.

As powerful as Merlin is in his ways of magic, it’s implied Madam Mim is every bit as powerful (or perhaps even more so) in the arcane arts as Merlin. She just happens to be bat-shit loopy in her applications of magic, transforming herself from a beautiful version of herself to a tiny one and everything between. When goaded with the assertion that Merlin is more powerful than her, she challenges the wizard to a magical duel where they take turns transforming into various creatures and attacking each other. It’s kind of like an internet e-peen showing contest, but with fewer pimples and more purple dragons.

In the end, Merlin outsmarts Mim in an admittedly brilliant fashion and sadly rids this film of her presence, but we’re left with the impression she made on us and the horrible taste in our mouths given to us when subject to multiple viewings of her granny panties.


5. The Horned King

Some villains love to make opulent speeches, or charm their greatest foe as well as the audience. Some villains love to sing and dance their way to victory and into our hearts. The Horned King will have none of this nonsense; he wants to shove those songs down our throats and stick those stupid grandiose speeches up our asses. He’d much rather brood and croak commands in a foreboding baritone, commanding an invincible army of undead to ravage the countryside.

The Horned King is fucking hardcore is what I’m trying to say.

This skeletal baddie from The Black Cauldron is quite possibly the least humorous and most threatening of all the Disney villains, and he’s very well one of the most powerful ones as well. For all the wicked and vicious tales we hear about this guy, nothing could prepare us for when we actually SEE him: a cloaked figure with a largely obscured face, bony taloned hands that beckon with sinister purpose, a gaunt face with leathery skin pulled over a barely concealed skull, and red glowing pupils in otherwise empty eye sockets. This dude is so horrifying that he manages to make those seemingly ridiculous antlers on his head work into the rest of his persona.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Horned King and his army can be defeated by chucking yourself into some used kitchenware, and so the weaksauce circumstances of his defeat are the only tarnish on his stainless façade of pants-shitting terror. Come on, Disney! The Black Cauldon and Horned King for the next Kingdom Hearts!


 

4. Scar

Scar happens to be a nice instance in where it’s fairly difficult to say something about a subject that hasn’t already been said again and again. He was representative of Claudius in the grand Hamlet knockoff that was the Lion King, he was a giant excuse for Jeremy Irons to chew the shit out of the scenery, and his shitty repugnant behavior being blamed for somehow magically bringing droughts and decay to the pride lands are eerily similar to a president being blamed for everything from hurricanes to shitty sport teams (thanks, Obama!).

Okay, sure, Scar was an awful king in all seriousness. Towards that end, it so happens that one could argue he was most like an actual lion, killing his brother to take over the pride and just lie around being a lazy ass while making all the lionesses work. I mean, that’s what male lions do. In fact, pretty much the least realistic thing Scar ever did was not slaughter Nala as soon as he took over for not being his daughter.

…

Or maybe there’s something we aren’t being told, here.

Oh, right, countdown. Uh… Jeremy Irons, cruel and dickish behavior, chewing the scenery and being one of the hammiest motherfuckers this side of BRIAN BLESSED… yeah, I think we covered everything. Ohandhe’seatenbyhyenaswhichisasawesomeasitisgruesome. Kay, next entry!


 

3. Frollo

Frollo, the troubled judge and priest of Hunchback of Notre Dame, is perhaps the most acclaimed villain in recent Disney history… and he’s up there when it comes to the greatest villains of all time. What he’s best known for is having an absolutely fantastic musical number in the form of ‘Hellfire’, but it’s really the issues within the man, including those revealed within the song, that place Frollo this high on the list.

To put it short, Frollo is a really, really complicated dude. He’s on a religion-fueled crusade to wipe the gypsies and other ‘undesirable’ sorts out of Paris and anywhere else under his power, so we can add ‘Genocide’ to his portfolio. We then get that currently monochrome morality mixed in with some internal conflict surrounding his lust for Esmeralda and the self-loathing for that sin. On top of it all, Frollo does not think he is a villain. He does not revel in his wickedness because he doesn’t recognize himself as wicked, and it’s this insisted piousness (again, alluded to in the beginning of Hellfire) that sets him apart from others who truly get a kick about being evil.

Layering this inner conflict down on his large list of atrocities (torture, murder, genocide, sexual assault) results in a character with certain sympathetic qualities who, overall, is NOT sympathetic in any meaning of the word. He is a cold, vile man who very well could have (and probably DID in some form or another) exist in our world.

‘I’m so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd” indeed.


 

2. Jafar

I know the decision to put ANYTHING above Frollo, let alone two things, is one some will likely disagree with. Letting you live is something I frequently disagree with as well, but we don’t always get what we want. Short of murdering those whose opinions differ from mine, I’ll attempt to explain why Jafar, of Aladdin fame, is worthy of one of these spots.

I’ll get the ugliest part out of the way so we don’t have to talk about it anymore: Jafar is fairly racist in design. Pretty much any character we’re meant to sympathize with is given features to make them seem less foreign, and Jafar… isn’t. Call it bigoted, call it a sign of the times, but for the purposes of this review I’m calling it pretty damn good design because we know this guy is, much like Ursula, evil the moment we see him.

Jafar’s tall, bony and angular physique holds an interesting aesthetic that AGAIN, just like Ursula, is meant to run counterpoint to the features of the rest of the cast. That said, he manages to look both unattractive and unimaginably cool all at the same time. The dude’s apparently ancient (so possibly in his 50’s or 60’s, which by standards of the time and area mean he should be pushing up daisies) and his age shows, but his bitchin’ robes, hat and staff make you unable to suppress the acknowledgement that, yes, Jafar’s got style.

Jafar’s personality is where things really take off, however. He’s pretty smarmy and antagonistic to just about anybody he’s with, but in the first half of the film he’s limited to mostly snarky responses and deadpan wit. In a sense, he wouldn’t be out of place with other wisecracking servants such as Geoffery from Fresh Prince or Alice from Brady Bunch. Geoffery and Alice probably didn’t go absolutely cuckoo when exposed to a little power and usurping their bosses though, so there’s a point against Jafar. When Jafar gets going, he really gets going - his psychotic, gleeful cackles resonated with me as a kid and remain some of my favorite examples of evil laughter to this day.

 

So right now, you’ve seen nine of my picks for the Top 10 Disney villains. Before we move on to number one, I have a bit of a public service announcement, as well as our pick for honorable mention.

So, some of you may be wondering if, having not appeared in spots 10 through 2, Maleficent is number one on this list.

Spoilers: She’s not.

While she was in consideration for the list at first, her being snubbed from both the main 10 spots and the honorable mention spot were eventually decided upon. Despite her immense magical power (likely bordering on that of the Horned King and likely surpassing that of Madam Mim), Maleficent never really did a whole lot with it. She made grand appearances, looked for (and failed to find) a child for years, couldn’t outwit three post-menopausal powerpuff girls and eventually kicked the bucket via thrown sword after conveniently transforming into a larger target. Impressive in appearance she may be, but petty and easily killed she… uh… may also be.

Maleficent wasn’t the only villain that failed to find a spot on this list, she just happened to be the most famous one. Other villains that received the boot were Captain Hook (Peter Pan), Mr. Peterson (Brave Little Toaster), Cruella DeVil (101 Dalmatians), Chernabog (Fantasia), Doc Falicier (Princess and the Frog), and the wicked queen (Snow White). If you were bummed out about the lack of Pixar villains, fret not; I intend for that to be its own list sooner or later. Before we press on to number 1, then, let us visit the villain that ALMOST made it, and why.


Honorable Mention: ‘Man‘, from Bambi

You know what’s scarier than a villain who bursts through the door, knife in hand? Scarier than a villain who has a deep, booming voice and powerfully declares his intent to kill the hero? Scarier than a villain who gloats and parades and flamboyantly poses?

A villain you never even see.

The unseen, voiceless and formless yet absolutely omnipotent and deadly force known only as ‘Man’ was something that, watching Bambi for the first time, I never really cared about. It’s only as I grew up and learned to draw conclusions from implications, to understand the unseen and metaphorical, that I learned Man was actually pretty fucking scary. Those cute lil’ woodland creatures are under threat of wanton murder from a bunch of hunters who apparently didn’t heed Smokey the Bear’s warning, and set the whole forest ablaze… and they don’t even stop shooting at shit while it’s burning!

While at first it seems that Man isn’t really a force of evil or villainy and is just what we appear to animals, there’s a bit of shady shit going on. Couple facts I never really thought about until doing some research: When does Bambi’s mother die? Late winter to early spring, right? Around March or April, which in Maine (where the story is supposed to take place) still has snow?

That is not deer season. Bambi’s mom was poached. Oh, and shooting a doe who has a fawn with her is seven different shades of illegal, you ignorant bastards. Then, of course, there’s the campfire being unattended to in a strong wind which causes everything to go up like a damn tinderbox.

Perhaps the freakiest moment? When a random hunter shoots a quail, resulting in what may be the first case of a villain irreversibly killing a character and then having the corpse appear ON-SCREEN. Yikes.

 

Um… moving on to number 1! Insert fanfare!


 

1. Ratigan

I fucking love The Great Mouse Detective. It was the first Disney film I actually owned, as it was given to me on my fifth or sixth birthday. I credit this film and the Brave Little Toaster for giving me my strong love for all things Disney, and I also credit it with introducing me to my favorite Disney villain of all time.

Professor Ratigan, quite clearly serving as the Moriarty to Basil’s Sherlock Holmes in this film, is a wonderful piece of work. He has two distinct sides that he rapidly flip-flops between: a classy, intelligent personification of villainous grandeur and schemery, and a cold, ruthless abductor and murderer. However, even when showing this side of himself, Ratigan (aided by a fantastic vocal performance from Mr. Vincent Price) just positively exudes sophistication… most of the time.

The charm and wit he shows even when discussing such matters as regicide or pettier yet equally heinous acts, like drowning mothers and children in the Thames, paint a picture not unlike the most over-the-top Bond villains you can think of. His almost loving banter with his rival, the taciturn Basil of Baker Street, depicts a one-sided love for their ‘game’ of criminal and detective, of cops and robbers, and it’s a game that he eventually planned (regretfully so, even!) to end.

But when Ratigan’s plans started coming unraveled…

When things weren’t going his way…

When it seemed like, perhaps against all odds, Basil might actually beat him…

All forms of class, civility and sanity leave Ratigan, his appearance becomes incredibly disheveled, and all of a sudden the grand mastermind has transformed into a psychotic bloodthirsty killer who proceeds to pound the everloving PISS out of Basil. It is a vicious beatdown unparalleled by any other in Disney history, and definitely one of the most shocking transformations of a Disney character, let alone just a villain. There was no magic or metamorphosis involved, but in just a few short moments, it was like Ratigan became an entirely different character.

His overwhelming physical presence and insanity, as well as his sophistication and hamminess, combine in a multi-faceted and superb villain that I will always remember, and you should too.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this list, and remember: Everybody loves a villain more! So go out there and kill somebody!


Editor’s note: Please don’t kill anybody.
[+] Spoiler
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19:58LaurelsHow does your dick smell like Fritos?
14:36 MimiI THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE FRIENDS > 14:36MimiI THOUGHT YOU REALLY LICKED HER
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MK Kilmarnock
Mr. Danya
Joined: April 14th, 2009, 10:12 pm

March 20th, 2014, 11:09 pm #17

More bulbous and tapered than your favorite all-pro Cardboard League of Legends team, it's the newest countdown borne from a semi-drunken stupor! It's

TOP 10 MOST NIGHTMARISH STAGES IN GAMING

Surely you can picture this: a sunny weekend afternoon, you sit down to play a game you enjoy and burn the hours away. This was one of my favorite ways to spend my childhood. Actually, fuck that whole 'one of' deal. This was my premiere way to spend the day at an age where most parents would expect me to ask for the car or go out and bang random people while spraying graffiti. That's stuff normal kids do, right? I dunno, I don't get outside much. The point is, I liked to sink my brain into video games.

Until that level. You know the one. Yeah, THAT one. Everything's going smoothly until the change of music, the backdrop and scenery pop up and your blood runs cold. Time to say goodbye to those lives and continues you've been stockpiling because those fuckers are being ripped away from you like an alcoholic parent losing custody of their kids. I'm going to share with you some of the top offenders I've suffered through. These are the levels that end speedruns. These are the levels that make you sigh and go 'oh, right, this part.' These are my 10 most nightmarish stages in gaming. (Slight spoilers ahead)

Number 10: Snow Barrel Blast
Game: Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

We start this list off with a good ol' number from the first system that I ever actually owned, the Super Nintendo or SNES. Since t was the first console that I could say was actually mine and not, say, one belonging to a sibling or parent, I got to spend a lot of quality time with the SNES and its extensive game library. So, of course, that meant playing Donkey Kong Country.

And dying, can't forget that.

This game had a pretty dang good difficulty curve, admittedly. The stages in the first 'world', the Kong Jungle, weren't too backbreaking but weren't exactly a walk in the park, either. Monkey Mines introduced one of the first real painful levels of the game (Minecart Carnage) and Vine Valley introduced another real stinker (Orangutang Gang or Clam City, depending on your preferences).

But this entry isn't about those stages. This entry is about Gorilla Glacier's magnum opus, Snow Barrel Blast.

Snow Barrel Blast thrust you into 'shit just got real territory' straight away with its remarkably foreboding music, a feature that you wouldn't expect from Donkey Kong Country... yet, it's one that the game happens to deliver time and time again. The skies start clear and an icy blue to compliment the slippery white ground (that's right, it's a low-traction ice stage, folks). That's not the real nightmare yet, though. See, the amount of time you spend actually being on the ground in this stage is small.

After passing the halfway marker of the level, the storm fully kicks up and now the screen is partially obscured by a snowsquall. With this hampered visibility, you're expected to pilot your two hapless primates through a complex series of barrel cannon puzzles requiring split-second timing. Even a little bit off, and you've just sent two monkeys careening to their deaths in a bottomless pit through a storm that causes them to wish for death. Cue a life-up balloon popping, and you restarting at the halfway barrel that quickly becomes your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how you look at it.

The only reason this entry is at number 10 is, despite its ball-busting difficulty if you choose to play it all the way through, it actually has a shortcut that eliminates most of the long timing section that comprises the latter half of the stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP1jvzCBaCU

So, with this being quite possibly the hardest stage of the game, it's located deep into Gorilla Glacier to serve as a capstone of the world just before the boss, right?

It's the first fucking level of the area, actually.

Number 9: Sandopolis Zone, Act 2
Game: Sonic and Knuckles (Sega Genesis)

The Sonic the Hedgehog games on the Genesis have a long, storied history of nasty levels chock-full of obstacles that require painstaking care to navigate unless you want to see the titular hedgehog end up as a blue slushie against the walls. For every Emerald Hill and Starlight zone, there's a Labyrinth and Metropolis zone. That's just the way it's been and that's the way it should have stayed for the Sonic series: hard-as-fuck levels peppering the run-a-million-miles-an-hour levels.

Then there's Sandopolis Zone. Sandopolis Zone is the third act in Sonic and Knuckles, the fourth installment in the 2D Sonic series for the Genesis (or maybe it's the third-and-a-half. Don't get all stuffy on me, guys). The third acts of each Sonic games tend to be the ones that players enjoy the least: Spring Yard Zone, Aquatic Ruin Zone, Marble Garden Zone... never mind that I actually liked the first two of those and that none of them are particularly hard (except FUCK YOU, boss of Marble Garden. Yeah, that's right, I'm talking about you), but they're not well-liked nonetheless. Sandopolis, though, Sandopolis deserves all the hate it gets.

See, the first act is a trifle. You can pretty much run through most of the damn thing with a little luck on the sand... spout... things, and beyond having a hard time on the mini-boss of that stage and figuring out how to kill the fucking thing, you shouldn't have too many problems. No, see, it's act 2 of this stage where everything goes straight to hell in a handbasket. Sandopolis Zone act 2 is long. Really, really, REALLY fucking long. Long enough that I found myself burning through the normally generous 10 minute timer on the stage and running out of time. Short of fueling my gambling addiction on Casino Night Zone in Sonic 2, that has NEVER happened to me before.

It would seem the remedy to the clock countdown conundrum is to just pound through the stage as quickly as possible in pure Sonic style, but that's just not feasible given the ghosts that randomly assault you through the stage, the sand and stone puzzles that force you to go a certain speed (generally slow), and the one looping section near the end of the stage that can burn through nearly a minute of time just by itself unless you figure it out on accident within 10 seconds.

At least the boss is easy, though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is1eVuInvCY


Number 8: Ghost Bayou
Game: Pac Man World 2 (PS2)

Ghost Bayou is the final level of Pacman World 2 (not including the final boss, of course) and boy did the designers decide to create a doozy to finish off this project. Pac Man World 2 is full of irritating gimmick levels that force you in one direction such as Blade Mountain and Yellow Pacmarin and, while these levels are irritating as hell to score 100% completion on, they aren't exactly the hardest pieces of work to beat.

Ghost Bayou, meanwhile, is a completely different story thanks to a couple factors. The first factor in trying to explain why Ghost Bayou is a nightmarish level is the length. The sheer fucking LENGTH of this level alone makes it tedious and un-fun. Every PMW2 stage has a speedrun option after you complete the stage once. Most of these times come in at around 1:30, maybe 2 minutes.

Ghost Bayou takes nearly seven.

Since this is the final level in the game, that absurd length isn't exactly full of cakewalk passages, either. No, this game features jumps at nearly max-length, secrets hidden in places so odd and intuitive it looks like poor Pac Man is trying desperately to shuffle off this mortal coil only to be caught by some strange and previously unseen platform and, my personal favorite, a 'test of brawn' section that requires you to defeat a certain number of enemies by bouncing on them with your ass before time runs out and you die for no conceivable reason. Finally, the damn thing's an absolute maze with a highly confusing layout and no real clear indicator of where you're supposed to go next, something this game normally did very well up until this point. Man, fuck this stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xddfszf2AGs

Number 7: Riovanes Castle
Game: Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1)

This 'stage' takes place in the form of several nightmarish battles one after the other. There's the battle at the gates of the castle which admittedly isn't too horrible, but then there's a duel/dual (both versions of the word apply here, folks) battle against fallen hero Wiegraf in the castle interior. After you manage to beat down Wiegraf, everything goes nutbars and Wiegraf transforms into a Zodiac beast, forcing you to take him out again. But we're not done. Oooooh no, we're not fucking done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_b4XCc5zCs

The Wiegraf battle in of itself is a nightmarish fight to behold, but in the minds of many players, it's nothing compared to the battle that takes place atop the roof of the castle. See, up there, you get into a battle against three extremely powerful opponents, two of which have a move called 'Stop Breath' which does... exactly that. 100% of the time. That fucking move seriously always hits, no matter what you do. It gets 'better'; you, see, during this battle, you have a sidekick of sorts. Somebody who is controlled by the AI. If she dies, at all, the battle is lost.

Her first move is to generally run at all three enemies in a move so bold that even Leeroy Jenkins would blush.

Have fun.

[color=red]Number 6: Welcome to the Machine
Game: Ecco the Dolphin (Sega Genesis)
[color=hotpink]
Let us not mince words: Ecco the Dolphin was a hard fucking game, and it made no secrets about letting you know this very early on. This is a game that approaches some pretty batshit difficulty around level 6, also known as the point where everybody who actually looked at the game and went 'yeah, I want to play this' would be giving up through their salty tears of blood, leaving their merry seaworthy mammal behind to fend for himself.

It would seem that they were right to escape, because the game only gets harder from that point on. Should they continue to struggle through the brutal assault the game gives them, which was probably made illegal by the goddamn Geneva convention, then we're greeted by the penultimate level of the game: Welcome to the Machine.

This horrifying number is supposed to represent Ecco's journey through what is basically a dolphin meatgrinder, being a moving-screen level to end all moving screen levels. Where in the case of, say, Mario, you have to worry about the screen forcing you in one direction and then pinching you against a wall or something, maybe even forcing you into a pit. In 'Welcome to the Machine', the screen moves in eight different directions, all in an effort to make Ecco wish he was no longer a vertebrate when his spine is being ground into paste along the walls of the maze.

If you manage to beat this level, you are confronted with the suitably nightmarish final boss, the Vortex Queen. If you screw up and get chomped by the Vortex Queen in a certain attack where she tries to inhale you, not only does she kill you, but she grants to you a fate worse than a thousand deaths.

She sends you back to the Machine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7uqcCbFQck

[color=red]Number 5: Major Circuit, Title Defense
Game: Punch Out! (Wii)
[color=hotpink]
This pick is rather weird,but you need to hear me out on this one.

Punch-Out is one of those games that you'd probably expect to see more on a 'hardest bosses' list as opposed to a nightmarish stage list, given that each and every 'level' could be considered a boss in its own right. That said, I've decided to take a particularly soul crushing part of the latest installment in the series, the Wii version of Punch Out!, and call it its own level. So, the question I'm asking to myself (and thrusting upon you as if it were transferable jury duty) is why the Major Circuit of title defense mode sticks out?

Well, the main progression is this: Go through minor circuit giving everybody Parkinson's (how Glass Joe isn't a drooling vegetable by now is beyond me, despite my best efforts). Go through the major circuit with some minor trouble but still smashing people up after a couple tries or so. Go through the world circuit, bleeding and crying all the way until you score a lucky knockdown on the champion of the world, Mr. Sandman (I guess he beat Super Macho Man recently).

Then start all over. Defend your title against the souped-up fighters from the minor circuit, suffer a surprising defeat to Glass Joe, go outside and re-think your life choices, come back in and put that damn baguette eating mental patient to pasture for the last time, proceed to win minor circuit (again). Then go to major circuit and kiss your title goodbye, because each and every boxer is going to have their special quality time with the belt at your expense. Each. And every. One.

I don't know what it is, honestly, but while the minor circuit fighters upgraded themselves quite a bit to pose a challenge to players who could beat the world circuit, the world circuit boxers themselves hardly stepped it up (only Soda Popinski is truly magnitudes harder than he was before; Bald Bull learned a trick or two but it's easily stoppable). The major circuit fellows fall into this disturbing middle ground where they had a lot of room to improve and TOOK FULL ADVANTAGE OF IT. Piston Honda (I refuse to call him Hondo, you censoring bastards!) moves approximately a quintillion miles an hour and hits like a truck, Bear Hugger's timing is nearly impossible (and you have to counter his punches to stand any chance of beating him), and Great Tiger decided to take a grand piss on the rulebook in order to continue using his magical powers in the ring.

Ironically enough, the champion Don Flamenco is probably the most reasonable boxer to defeat, since he has a pretty fun trick that lets you chain hits on the bastard until he's sniffing rose-scented smelling salts. If you foolishly decide NOT to use this trick however, or if you're unfortunate enough not to know or be able to figure it out... he's probably the hardest fighter in the game, hitting like a truck, dodging punches with impunity, and being the only other fighter in the game besides Little Mac who can actually combo his blows.

Ole, motherfucker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2-Q4SfrmKs

[color=red]Number 4: Water Temple
Game: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
[color=hotpink]
For some, this dungeon serves what could be seen as an obligatory role on this list. It's the water temple from Legend of Zelda. Damn near everybody and their grandmother knows about this stage. Okay, so it gets a bad rap because it involved some pretty complicated puzzles that ten-year old gamers might break their controllers over without consulting a strategy guide first. It's been nearly two decades since the game's release; the water temple can't actually be that bad still, right?

You silly tempter of fate, you.

It stands as a hilarious, yet sad testament to this temple's difficulty when a 'master' version of Ocarina of Time was released, bumping up the difficulty of all the dungeons and such. Oh, except the water temple. That was 'inexplicably' made easier. This was to bring it in line with the other dungeons which, mind you, all had their difficulties raised. That's how infuriating the water temple was. Perhaps the worst bit, though, wasn't exactly tied to the difficulty of the enemies, or the puzzles, or the layout that would leave you feeling like you were trying to navigate the death star with a paper bag over your head. A paper bag full of bees.

No, perhaps the worst part of this temple was that if you innocently used a key in the wrong place, it's more than possible that you just made the dungeon unwinnable without even realizing it. If you happen to save your game after this happens, that's too bad. You have to start the whole game over.

THE WHOLE. FUCKING. GAME.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DYjPvti7TU


[color=red]Number 3: Veni Vidi Vici (aka "Doing things the hard way")
Game: VVVVVV (PC)
[color=hotpink]
Aah yes, VVVVVV. I've already spent part of a list talking about why I love this game (it was my 'top 10 games for under 10 bucks, for the philistines who haven't read it yet). Honestly, what isn't there to love? The game featured a catchy soundtrack, minimalist but brilliant design, and levels that would both leave you begging for mercy but also begging for more. Okay, it was masochism, but god damn it, it was FUN masochism.

The game is pretty difficult as it is, but not exactly impossible. If you decide you want to go for each and every 'trinket' in the game (optional shiny discs that the characters themselves pretty much point out aren't necessary for completing the mission, but are enrapturing nonetheless), it's kind of a different story. The first few trinkets are tucked in out-of-the-way places and are really more a matter of locating them as opposed to actually reaching them. Then, some of the later ones do require some tricky navigation and, in one instance, some exploitation of the game's rules. For instance, 'Prize for the reckless' required you to touch the save point in that room, then navigate through four other rooms without touching another save point (easier said than done), getting back to the same room but in another section, touching a moving platform to activate it and then dying. This sends you to the other half of the room where you can then collect the trinket, thanks to the moving platform you activated. In case my drunken ramblings rendered that incomprehensible, here's video footage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smbZXZDkkfY

As tricky as obtaining that trinket was, it is nothing compared to the 'Veni, Vidi, Vici' trinket. Obtaining this one is beyond words, so just... here's another video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CtiY5D6HCs
Proof that game designers are evil.

[color=red]Number 2: Tubular
Game: Super Mario World (SNES)
[color=hotpink]
Well, those bastards did it.

They finally went and did it. They designed a Mario level with no fucking floor.

Basically, Tubular is what happens when you take a concept mostly seen in bad Mario romhacks and then you actually apply it to a real level. The second level in the Special World (a world dedicated to eight levels that each rely on a specific gimmick of the engine, such as moving platforms, ice, or climbing vines), Tubular was built around the p-balloon power up. The basic jist of it was that you navigated a tricky-but-not-impossible intro section made entirely out of pipes, luring charging chuck enemies to their idiocy-spawned deaths and then jumping past them. Then you touch the first p-balloon, and everything goes to shit.

If you've ever played Super Mario World in your lifetime, this should be a familiar story. When you touch that goddamn gas-inducer, Mario blows up like... well, a balloon, and moves veeeeery slowly. At this blazing speed of 0.005 miles per hour, you are expected to dodge koopas, volcano plants, and charging chucks throwing footballs at you. If you are hit by anything, and I mean ANYTHING, you lose the power-up and inevitably plummet to your G-rated death in the bottomless pit below (the ESRB won't stand for children witnessing Mario's body splattered on the ground).

Of course, because the people who made this game were motherfucking sadists, the level is far too long for one p-balloon. So, not only do you have to dodge instant death flying at you at ludicrous speed around every corner, but you have to locate another p-balloon with which to inflate yourself once more, staving off death for another gassy minute. Did I mention this was only the second level in the special world? There were six more monstrosities right after this and, while none of them were quite as monstrous as this one (Funky and Outrageous come close, though), its devastation remains locked in your head forever.

Mario's seen some serious shit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSXSWqUirGA


I was going to do something clever here. Maybe a false number 1, maybe an honorable mention. I decided against both, as this list is running very, VERY long. So, I guess with no further ado, I simply pass us on to the nightmare that is number one on this list. THE MOST NIGHTMARISH STAGE... at least, in my gaming memory.



[color=red]Number 1: That Damn Dam
Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
[color=hotpink]

This.

Fucking.

Level.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqfRus5ePmI

If you were a little kid growing up with an NES, this made you fucking weep. Hell, I was born in '89 and that means the NES was actually slightly before my time, but I still mostly grew up with one of these thanks to it being the only console people were willing to leave me in a room alone with. Long story. Anyway, where was- right. THIS LEVEL.

Let's ignore how this game in general just wanted you dead. Let's ignore how it was completely unfair in almost every meaning of the word, and how futile it was to play as anybody other than Donatello. If Donnie died, you may as well just fucking restart, because Leo's only a little bit better than the nigh-upon-useless pair that was Raphael and Michelangelo. Then again, when it came to this stage, it didn't really matter who you played as. Everybody died equally.

So, the whole point is you gotta swim through the world's funkiest dam, avoiding electricity beams (in a dam? The fuck?), electrified seaweed (THE FUCK!?) and disarming bombs (THE F- oh, no, that actually kind of makes sense). The swimming worked mario-style, where you sink over time and pressing the jump button made you swim up a little. There were sections of seaweed so narrow you'd pretty much have to slide directly through from left to right, something that as you may have noted is completely and utterly impossible given the control scheme I just noted.

Oh, and this level is timed. Because fuck you. Really, that's all this level is doing. It's just giving you a giant middle finger, daring you to press on. 'Come on, kid. You're so close. Just one more bomb and you can pass on to the next level. Just kidding, you're out of time... better luck next game, eh?'

This is where those with weaker will than I smash the system to pieces and go outside to fucking play catch or something.





Well, I hope you guys enjoyed my list! It took a damn long while to write, but hopefully it was just as much fun to read as it was for me to compose it. Feel free to tell me what I should write next, or simply comment on the list. Whatever suits your fancy, really.
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MK Kilmarnock
Mr. Danya
Joined: April 14th, 2009, 10:12 pm

July 18th, 2014, 6:11 am #18

Shit, it sure has been a while. Well, let's get started!

Granite Empire Productions Proudly Presents
Top 10 "Oh Come On!" Moments in Gaming


Welcome back one and all, folks, to another edition of my Top 10 lists! As I'm sure you gleaned from the title, this list is all about moments in gaming where, after something happened to me, I just wanted to throw down the controller, raise my hands high above my head and scream something to the effect of 'Oh come on!' at my TV as though it were the one who slighted me. For starters, if you could NOT glean this from the title, I worry about you. Lay down for a spell.

Of course, if this list were titled what I more commonly scream at the TV, it'd probably be called the Top 10 "YOU ASS-NUGGETED SLOPBUCKET WHORE" Moments in Gaming, but that doesn't seem to have exactly the same sort of ring to it. Seriously though, to give more meaning to the title, this is something of a vague list that is really meant to highlight my frustrations at certain games, or just certain moments within them. That means not every game on this list is going to be bad. In fact, just about all of them are fine games in their own right and I don't necessarily DISLIKE any of the games on this list. They just... pissed me off from time to time.

Okay, since we've got the boring disclaimer out of the way, we can mosey on over to the more fun parts! Oh, wait, I fucking lied, just one more side note: I know I'm doing a lot of lists about video games and such. It's kind of a big deal to me, vidja games. However, I promise my next list will not be exclusively about them. There may or may not be SOMETHING to do with gaming on a couple entries, but the next list should be broad enough to talk about stuff other than 'dem der computah james. Oh, yes, and one mooooooooooooore thing (I am just the worst): Spoilers. Lots of them. No More Heroes, Legend of Dragoon, Resident Evil, you name them, it's got them. So... beware.

Alright, without further ado! Let's get this fucking list on the road!




Number 10: The true champion is...
Pokemon Red/Blue Yellow


The year is 1997. Maybe it's 1998. Maybe it's fucking 2001, I seriously cannot remember. At any rate, this story begins in a Walmart - the electronics section, to be exact. Pokemon Red and Blue have been out for a couple years, but that whole pokecraze hadn't really fully taken off. At least, for me. I guess there was something of a big deal with kids playing their Gameboys on the playground, those clunky boxy handhelds connected to one another by a teensy weensy cable that could come undone if one of two inattentive children so much as sneezed... that, or if one of them ragequit and pulled the plug, which I witnessed happening more than once. Still, I was so jealous of those kids with their shiny little monochrome systems (and those lucky bastards with the Gameboy color, assuming that fucker was out yet) that I begged my parents to get me a pokemon game.

She didn't because my mom didn't fucking spoil me. I worked for my stupid enslaved virtual monsters, god damn it.

After wrenching my spine doing enough farm work to save up for Pokemon Yellow (IT HAD A FUCKING PIKACHU ON THE BOX) and stealing borrowing my sister's old white game boy, I flicked on the game. Oh, right, no batteries. Time to rob the batteries from all my other Tiger Electronics handheld games. Those things sucked anyway (just kidding, they fucking ruled at the time). So I finally turn on Pokemon Yellow and I'm in a whole other world. Goddamn, this game is fucking FANTASTIC, you know? I was spending so much time wondering what this was all about and now I'm in a whole new world!


Yeeees, my minion. Fight for me, and consume thine enemies!

Eighty some-odd hours later, I'm at the end. I've caught all the legendary birds, ditched Moltres because it sucked ass, and I've got my team ready to smash the Elite four. Lorelei's punk-ass gets dropped by Zapdos. Bruno, meet Alakazam. Agatha, meet... uh... Alakazam (seriously, that fucker was OP as fuck). Finally, I get to Lance, and that dude stomps me over and over until I check the manual that came with the game and remember 'right, for some silly reason, dragons are weak to ice!' I happen to have an Articuno, so I give it a shot. After a tense and well-nuanced, strategic battle (and totally not just spamming ice beam over and over again), I defeat Lance.

Fuck yeah. I'm a poke-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFZAcOcE2No
Oh son of a bitch.

That's right. It's the original, the goddamn fucking ORIGINAL "who should get in your way, but Gary motherfuckin' Oak" moment. Sure, my rival had shown up a few times here and there, but I was enough of a bright-eyed, hopeful child that when I first played the game, I thought that maybe Lance would be my final conquest. That I was finally at the top. My team was broken, bruised and battered from having defeated the four most powerful trainers in the world back-to-back with no rest, but now we could take a deep breath and enjoy the view from the top. Oooooor my rival could pimp-smack me down to earth like a goddamn meteorite. Thanks a lot, Gary.

Totally worth killing your fucking Raticate.




Number 9: It's a Dead Ringer
Team Fortress 2




If you haven't actually played Team Fortress 2, I'd like to start by congratulating you on somehow escaping the clutches of our new overlord and master Gaben. While you still can, gather up resistance forces and the planet may still have a chance.

If you HAVE played Team Fortress 2 (and welcome to being a cog in the machine, you enslaved soul), then you should know that it's a fantastic and bloody hilarious class-based shooter that sits somewhere between a Norman Rockwell painting and the most violent Pixar film you will ever see. See, the foes you're shooting at wantonly (or batting them to death with a fish, it's honestly up to you) take the form of nine extremely colorful characters with diverse appearance and playstyles. You've got your twitchy scout, your defensive engineer, the pyro who excels at ambushes, the heavy who excels at parking his ass at a chokepoint and shooting everything into red fleshy packing peanuts, so on and so forth.

The game was locked in development hell for the longest time, around 9 years. Assuming you passed basic arithmetic, you can take this to mean that they essentially spent one year per class making sure the game was absolutely perfect and balanced. Then they decided to throw that out the window with unlockable bonus weaponry.

Okay, if you're a TF2 fan like I am, let me clarify: I am not against unlockable weapons. I use them. I love them. However, post-Demoman nerfs and pyro buffs, it's hard to disagree with the fact that, taking just the vanilla equipment into account, TF2 is pretty much a perfectly balanced game. With the unlockable weapons, well, not so much.

Case in point: The tittyfuckin' Dead Ringer.


[NOT PICTURED: FAIRNESS]

For our free folk unaware of how this works; the spy class in TF2 works a little differently than the others, preferring trickery and finesse to sheer firepower and brute force. His whole game is to disguise himself as a member of the enemy team and/or turn invisible with his cloaking watch, sneak up on enemies, then stab them in the back for an instant kill. Failing that, he can just shoot them with his revolver which still does a disgusting amount of damage. He's a powerful class to be sure, but he still takes a great degree of skill and has his obvious counters.

Enter the Dead Ringer.

This item. THIS FUCKING ITEM. Okay, so the Dead Ringer. This is an unlockable 'weapon' for the spy that replaces his invisibility watch. In lieu of going invisible (the item's supposed downside is that he can't flat-out turn invisible at will), the spy opens the watch, gaining absolutely ridiculous damage reduction (90%) while the watch it's active. Additionally, the first attack you receive will make you drop a corpse and immediately turn invisible at the same time. After a brief period, you'll uncloak again and somewhat loudly at that (the weapon's only REAL downside). However, this death is fucking involved. Not only do you leave a corpse, but the game displays a fake kill message, a fake bump on the enemy's kill counter, it'll even display fake ACHIEVEMENTS in order to fool the player into thinking he's killed the real deal.



Only, of course you haven't. Even a moderately intelligent spy will know to simply back up a little bit, uncloak alive and well, then shoot or stab the former aggressor in the back while they're still celebrating your completely phony demise.

Needless to say, the first couple of time this happened to me, I immediately switched to Pyro as to set some cheap suit-wearing, balaclava-donning bastards alight.


Number 8: Sigma ain't done yet
Mega Man X


I have a bit of explaining to do with this one, because it's not just a single example of like, a specific moment that made me freak out. It is, but it isn't. I should also mention I suck at this whole explaining thing.

Okay, let's try it like this: you play through the game, you get to the final boss, you die a few times to the final boss, you finally suck in your gut and manage to defeat the fucker. In the midst of your celebration, however, something... something happens. Ominous music begins to play, the boss (or part of the boss) gets back up, oh shit that's a life bar refilling, we're doing this again! But I have no health left and- blaaaaaaaaaaugh!

Yeah. Fake finishes, boss resurgences, this sort of thing happens a lot in gaming. One of the earliest encounters I can actually remember this with however, and the specific example I'm using, is of the final boss of Mega Man X, Sigma. That was a lot of commas. Sorry. Can't help it.

I'll try to take you back to the actual situation. There I am, sittin' pretty with my Super Nintendo that I got as a hand-me-down on my 8th birthday. All my friends were talking about the Playstation and the N64, both of which had been out for a bit and neither of them are terribly receptive to me running my mouth about Super Mario World but I DON'T GIVE A DAMN! The Super Nintendo was just so fucking majestic, man.


Gaze upon its majesty and despair

Back on track, I'm playing Mega Man X, which as I'm sure I've mentioned before definitely ranks up in my top three favorite games of all time. It follows some conventions, but they don't get boring and make the game run smooth. You enter the stage, you complete the stage, reach the boss, kill it, take its powers/upgrades/dvr, whatever. It doesn't need it, it's not around anymore. You empty that lifebar and the boss is fucking DEAD. It's something Mega Man X doesn't fuck around with.

Oh wait, yes it does, because Sigma totally fucking fakes you out.

Before the battle with that lightsaber-wielding bastard can even start, he chucks his dog at you. After you're done brutally murdering his robotic pet, he pulls out his sword and is finally ready to do battle with you. There's a HUGE rush of adrenaline here; the manual of the game was saying all this terrible shit about Sigma, about what a bad dude he is. The few characters who talk in the game mention him and are talking him up. Even without a shitload of dialog though, there's LOTS of lead up to Sigma because this game is capable of doing that sort of thing. The battle itself doesn't disappoint. It's frantic, with hectic fast-paced music serving as the background for you having to wall-jump for your life lest you be cut into ribbons by Sigma's best sith lord impression.


"X, you are a cheap knockoff!" "That can't be true! That's impossible!"

When I beat this guy for the very first time (a feat that has since become very easy for me but I was a little kid, give me a break here), I was so excited that I actually called in my sisters to witness my victory. It was at this point in time that Sigma's head floated up, attached itself to some massive machine in the background, and promptly whipped my ass.

Sigma embarrassed me in front of my family.

It's like games KNOW, man.



Number 7: Eyedol kills my hopes and dreams
Killer Instinct


I've faced a lot of bullshit fighting game bosses in my day. I really have. Yet, to this day, I think Eyedol honestly takes the cake.

Killer Instinct was not, by any means, an easy game. Quite possibly the first fighting game I ever got seriously into, I was captivated by how speedy fights could go. The built-in combo system was somewhat rudimentary when you think about it, and yet it was still this flashy new thing full of hyper speed and effect and flash and boom this and crash that, holy shit it was awesome. You start wailing away at your opponent and going completely bananas, and you FELT those hits connecting.

As long as you weren't playing on the easiest difficulty, you'd work your way all the way up the ladder of combatants to fight the horrific final boss, Eyedol (if you WERE on the easiest difficulty, you'd stop after Fulgore, the second-to-last combatant, and be met with a screen mocking you for your cowardice. I'm not even making this up).


It's like this, but somehow even MORE condescending

The game was tricky, but it wasn't THAT bad. So how bad could Eyedol possibly fucking be? ... Let me flesh out thy ways.

Eyedol takes the established rules of the game and throws them completely out the window. Most characters have to block high or low, with each stance being vulnerable to low attacks and overheads respectively. Eyedol cannot crouch, so his blocking guards against EVERYTHING. Seriously, everything. There are no throws in this game, meaning his defense is basically impenetrable. This is the tip of the iceberg. The guy can charge or jump to clear the screen in a fraction of a second, will respond to any errant button press with an automated combo of at least 8 hits, and a single aforementioned combo will probably wipe out 80% of your lifebar.

But it gets better.

What really took the cake, what really made me scream at Eyedol, was almost depleting one of his lifebars (you have two in KI), getting knocked clear across the screen as though he were video game's greatest golfer... and then watching in disbelief as he started stomping on the ground, RAPIDLY regaining health in the process.


CUT. THE. SHIT.


Number 6: Buckets of chicken will never be the same
Guitar Hero 2


I... debated putting this one on the list, given the nature of the game. After a decent amount of caffeine and some listens to the song, though, I think I was able to recall the initial shock of playing one of the bonus songs in Guitar Hero 2, Jordan, for the first time.

For a tiny bit of background information, Jordan is a song by the experimental/avant garde guitarist Buckethead.


There is a bucket. On his head. His checks clear.

Buckethead is, as that picture might give some indication towards, a very strange man. He is also a phenomenal guitarist. Some people were excited (and a little frightened) to learn that Buckethead was going to have one of his songs included in Guitar Hero 2, due to the... complex style of his playing, at times. Almost as insane as the rest of him.


Totally sane, I promise you.

Many more people, however, were fairly ignorant as to who this guy was. Guitar Hero 2 was my first musical exposure to Buckethead and since then, I've listened to a lot more of his stuff. Good choice, as Jordan is not one of his best songs. It is STILL a good song by all rights, but as I hunkered down and began playing on Expert, fancying myself a decent enough Guitar Hero player, this... THIS got thrown at me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGDw2t9bI6U
You're looking for 1:48. You're welcome.

Yeah. That monstrosity of a song was, of course, the last GH2 song I completed. Wasn't the last song I got a five-star score on (that'd be Six by All That Remains) but it IS the hardest song in the game to clear, and arguably harder than anything they threw at you in subsequent games. Yes, including Dragonforce. Fuck those guys.



Number 5: And you thought zombies were bad?
Resident Evil 1/REmake


Is it a terrible thing that the original Resident Evil game gave me nightmares for two years? Yeah, for two years, I constantly got jittery at night, fearing that a zombie was going to burst through the door and bite me. Sometimes my dreams would have me walking down the stairs, rounding a corner and meeting with one of those rotting assholes feasting on a corpse already.


"Excuse me kind sir, could I trouble you for a cup of sugar?"

Following the release of Resident Evil 4, I was beginning to wonder if Capcom had forgotten how to make a scary game entirely. My worries were put to rest when, against my better judgement, I sat down to give REmake a try and crapped myself all over again. Hoooooly shit was that an unpleasant experience, and quite the cleaning bill.

See, the first Resident Evil game manages to be scary for a few reasons, even in spite of its dated appearance and campy as FUCK voice acting. It takes what should be a familiar and domestic setting, a mansion, and turns it into something horrible. Something about the game loses its magic for me once you leave that house and visit any of the other locales. It's just not... AS scary anymore. In addition, the game isn't exactly packed to the brim with monsters when you compare it to Resident Evil 2, 3, and certainly not 4. You're not fighting baddies in literally every room, so when they DO show up, it's a bit of an additional shock.

Also, it's a good thing the game doesn't have any more monsters, because you're given just barely enough ammo to handle the ones that are there as it is. If you blasted your way through the mansion taking out every last zombie, you'll find yourself scraping for ammo when you fight the occasional boss the game likes to throw at you, and you might end up as snake chow. Or worse. Yeah, there's worse fates.


"ELLO, GUVNA"

So you leave the mansion, the game gets a little less scary, you visit some other locales that are still pretty fucking creepy by themselves, you come back to the mansion, and THIS happens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYvBSf2ucd0

That door at the end of the video? That's the door you JUST CAME THROUGH. Right after that cutscene plays, you're assaulted by a monster called the hunter. It's an agile and powerful creature that hits for way harder than any non-boss enemy in the game prior to this, and can take loads more punishment too. After you kill it and try to explore the mansion again, you are confronted with a very unfortunate fact.

Any room that you cleared out of zombies now has hunters.

The time to whimper is now.





Quick warning: MASSIVE Legend of Dragoon spoilers are coming up in this next entry, so read ahead at your own discretion.


















...







Alright then.


Number 4: The death of Lavitz
Legend of Dragoon


Man... this one pisses me off all over again as I'm writing about it. Deaths in a video game, particularly of a close ally or even a character you controlled, can be really impacting. I'm not talking about you fucking up and losing a life. No, I'm talking about the CANON deaths. Aerith croaking, Tellah kicking the bucket, particularly people who you could have saved but fail to. If only you were just a little better, perhaps all your squadmates would be there after the mission is complete, ready to go on that post-war bar crawl with you. But no. You let them down. YOU FUCKED UP.

The reason I didn't pick something like Aerith's death, though, is because most of the time I've got these deaths spoiled for me. One of the only times... perhaps even the ONLY time I can remember where something truly comes out of left field to hit me with the death of a character was my main man Lavitz in Legend of Dragoon.

Yeah. Lavitz was my favorite party member, having a good mix of power (he was somewhat stronger than the main character), speed, and with a certain degree of honor, humor and machismo that made me want to hug him to death. Ha. Death. Ha. Ha ha. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Ha. Main character Dart got a wonderful chance to do just that, cradling the body of his comrade after being stabbed with a weapon designed specifically to kill dragons and dragoons, or those utilizing special dragon spirits like the player's party. Lavitz's zeal in trying to protect his prince gets him on the wrong side of this sword, and he dies from his wounds.


Fuck you, Lloyd. Fuck you.

Lavitz's death, while scripted by the story and thus COMPLETELY unavoidable, seems ridiculously preventable and the pain of witnessing it only gets worse when you realize that his death served basically no purpose. He didn't sacrifice himself for the greater good, he merely got caught out of position and paid for it with his life. Had things gone any differently, Lavitz very easily could have survived the encounter. As extra salt in the wound, Lavitz is replaced by a man with identical weaponry, stats but NOT fighting style (the timing on his combos is different). Sure, Prince Albert proved to be just as useful as the knight who swore loyalty to him, but it... it just wasn't the same.

At least Lavtiz is in peace now.

Oh, wait, he isn't. Turns out his soul is tormented and possessed by this demonic... tick... thing, and you need to kill it in order to allow his soul to pass on. This happens at the end of the game while Lavitz's death takes place in the first half, meaning he's suffering through half of the game after dying for you, and for absolutely no reason. Ouch.


Hang in there buddy. We're coming for you.



Number 3: "It's time for you to sleep"
No More Heroes


What do you get when you combine an antagonist with moves very similar to yours, epic amounts of staging, a kick-ass battle theme and next to no reason at all to be fighting? You get Henry, the amazing (semi) hidden final boss of the first No More Heroes. Now, don't get it twisted, the fight itself has absolutely nothing wrong with it. Henry, twin brother of the douchebag protagonist Travis Touchdown, moves with lightning speed and cat-like grace. His moves leave very little in the way of an opening, and you have to pick your spots to counterattack very carefully while whittling down his health. Okay, so the fight can get a little long and repetitive if you're of the impatient sort, but it's hard to care about prolonging the length of the fight when THIS is playing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK329NBj55M

This is, of course, assuming you're fighting Henry on one of the two lower difficulties: Sweet (easy) and Mild (Medium). Fighting Henry on the hardest difficulty, Bitter, is a different story entirely.

No More Heroes is, one could say, a game that loves to take the piss out of other games by looking at them in an artistic standpoint. Perhaps it is for this reason that the jump between Mild and Bitter difficulty is a positively batshit one. Bosses have nigh-impenetrable attack patterns, the measliest attacks chunk Travis's health, and their health... dear god, their health.

See, Henry is known for his durability. On Mild difficulty, Henry can soak 300 hits worth of damage before ending the battle. The next toughest boss can take somewhere in the ball park of 100. On Bitter difficulty, the next toughest boss can soak around 300 hits worth of damage while Mister Sir Henry Motherfucker can eat somewhere around ONE THOUSAND of your swings and still keep on ticking. Somebody actually crunched the numbers on this. Accounting for the health-up powerup in the battle arena where you fight Henry, if you hit him every opportunity you have and only let him hit you once every four minutes he will STILL win the battle by attrition. That's how insanely thick-skinned Henry is.

I looked up a video of the fight to see, on average, how long fighting Henry on bitter would take. Got an answer of around 15 minutes (though certain speed demons can defeat him in 'only' 8 or 9 minutes). To put this into scale, even the final few assassins can be done in in around 5 minutes if you know what you're doing.

But that's not what makes me scream in a rage near levels of "It's a hot summer day and I just missed the only ice cream truck in town on his last pass for the day." No. See, near the end of the fight (and only near the end), Henry will break out a sudden, unblockable dash move that, if it hits, kills you. In one hit. No questions asked. Those 600-700 hits that you scored in quick succession for the better part of a quarter of an hour? All gone. Time to start again.

Would be worse if it didn't look so fucking cool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNsyofCN-a4


Number 2: Defeat the streak!
WWE 2K14


I love wrestling. I love wrestling so much that I've even donned the tights myself to pretend to be a professional wrestler and it's been a lot of fun. Given that I love wrestling and I love video games, it makes a lot of sense that I'd get a good deal of enjoyment out of playing a wrestling video game. WWE 2K14, for the most part, doesn't disappoint. Its roster is pretty damn good, wrestler creation is good as always (though attire limits attempt to hinder creativity), and the Wrestlemania mode is to die for. If anything, I'd say the game's biggest weakness is that it lacks a more traditional season mode where you play through a year of shows. It also introduces Break the Streak mode.

So, the streak... was... this amazing run of matches the Undertaker had at Wrestlemania. He went 21-0 at Wrestlemania over the course of 23 or so years before finally losing his match at Wrestlemania 30. I have not watched WWE since. I'm not necessarily proud of the fact, but eh. It is what it is. It left its legacy and, in the last year of it being intact, we got the chance to break the streak.

It proved about as likely as it had been over the past 20-someodd fucking years, because the Undertaker does not obey the laws of this world.

No, I'm serious. Break the Streak mode lets you pick anybody against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Go ahead, pick anybody. Hell, make a Create-A-Wrestler with max stats. It'll barely help you. Undertaker's stats apparently shoot through the goddamn roof when his magical undead body senses that Mr. McMahon has spent more than his usual budget on the arena decor. Mr. McMahon also might be spending a bit of money on health-injectors in Taker's boots, because the fucker regains health. This is the only instance in any WWE game since... I don't know, Here Comes the Pain of a wrestler being able to regenerate health over the course of a match.

Taker's got more tricks up his sleeve, though. His finisher meter builds up insanely quickly with the crowd, allowing him the ability to deliver his signature and finisher maneuvers rapid-fire while countering yours on a whim. Also, sometimes, when you hit your finisher... he teleports. You probably don't believe me, so here you go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko2z_ptVNLI
Just... it's 3:20.

Y'know. For that added 'fuck you'.


Number 1: HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES!?
Source


How many fucking times. How many fucking times. HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES HAS THIS HAPPENED!?

Don't you get it? Don't you know what I'm talking about? Let me... let me SHOW you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPK1RTcN5ec

I'm amazed. Positively amazed I couldn't find more example videos of this. Easily the thing that can drive me nuts more than any other event in gaming is working my ass off, depleting a boss's health, and just as that fucker goes down for the count, some wayward attack... I don't know if it's a punch, a stray bullet, some random cat being tossed at my head or what, but something comes zoomin' in and taking my silly ass out. The boss dies, but I also die, so it's still game over.

Hate it. Sooooo much. All the evidence you need is right here... I mean, I can't even joke about it. There's nothing funny to say about this sort of thing. "Gee willickers, I died! But lookee there, the boss also died! So if I do all of that all over again exactly the same way, except I take ONE measly hit less, then I should win!" Yeah, no, that conversation with myself has never happened.

I think, racking my brain, this problem was likely most evident with the first Mega Man game. Not X, the game I talked about previously, but the original Mega Man. See, this game had an interesting... effect. If you killed a boss, the boss would explode and be all 'doo doo doo' like normal. Okay, nothing wrong there. However, in order to handle the boss's death and the whole 'end of level' schtick, the game made it so Mega Man wouldn't move any more.

You know what would move, though? Bullets, rays, and other random bullshit spouted by the enemies.

You know what could still hit you after a boss's death?

Bullets. Rays. Other random bullshit spouted by the enemies.

Once again, I couldn't find any further videos on this phenomenon (likely because everybody is just about as ENTHUSED about it as I am), so I'll conclude with a picture just checking in on Megaman's current state of affairs!



Oh. Right. Well, good luck with Nintendo instead of Capcom, Mega Man!






Well, there you have it. My Top 10 most 'Oh come on!' moments in gaming. This sucker took me a long time to write and get all the shit together for, and I'm sure you noticed I rushed it just a tiny bit near the end, but this was a project a few days in the making. Also I'm not being paid for this like a Cracked editor or something so sue me. In any case, let me know what you guys think! What moments in gaming made you want to strangle a raccoon with the controller's cord? What would you like to see me do a countdown on? Probably don't be next, but I'll keep it in mind!
[+] Spoiler
Jerry Fury - The man, the myth, the legend
Coleen Reagan - The girl who half-loved the world
[+] Spoiler
V5 Roster:
Cody Patton : That bitch.
Sean Mulcahy : The world was kind to reprieve him of his fear...
Jessica Sanders: She hoped it would be quick...
[+] Spoiler
20:17Sideliner:Toben and Ricky are like a sibling version of the Joker and Batman, only Batman is just as much of a mass murderer. He just hides it better.
19:58LaurelsHow does your dick smell like Fritos?
14:36 MimiI THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE FRIENDS > 14:36MimiI THOUGHT YOU REALLY LICKED HER
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MK Kilmarnock
Mr. Danya
Joined: April 14th, 2009, 10:12 pm

September 10th, 2014, 9:12 pm #19

Granite Empire Productions Proudly Presents
The Top 10 Reasons to Play Final Fantasy 6


Oh lord, this has been... this has been a long time coming. I've had this one queued up for a while because I just didn't know what to say... and really, with a game like this one, where do you start? Well, let me try and find a place for you as I describe to you, on this magical journey through a very special episode of 'Ricky Does Countdowns', the top 10 reasons to play what I believe to be Square's magnum opus: Final Fantasy 6.

Note: There are some spoilers out of necessity here, most of which I'm sorta counting under 'it was his sled' principles. This game has been out since 1994, and some elements are simply known. That said, I'm attempting to cloak as much of the game as I possibly can so you can enjoy the game should I actually convince you to play it. So, all said, SPOILER ALERT.


Number 10: The prestige

I imagine by now, you've either heard of the Final Fantasy series or you've only just recently arrived on this planet. For all you Morks and E.T.s out there, I'll give you the skinny of it. Final Fantasy is a JRPG (Japanese role playing game) series produced originally by Squaresoft, which later became Square-Enix. The series spanned six main titles on the SNES, three titles on the Playstation, and one on the Playstation 2 with countless spin-offs here and there (and I honestly stopped paying attention after Final Fantasy X).

The series can be noted among fans for a few things, not the least of which is a set of non-connecting plots and worlds only loosely tied by a small collection of conventions or elements and references. For that reason, each game (again, barring spin-offs) really stands by itself as its own experience. You don't have to play Final Fantasies 1-5 in order to enjoy the sixth installment (and most Americans weren't able to enjoy 2, 3 and 5 for a long while). However, the title alone is often enough to inspire and motivate those who would be otherwise hesitant to play.

If a few words on the box isn't enough to catch your attention though, read on! This game has plenty more to offer.



Number 9: The story

When you're playing a Final Fantasy, this is generally why you're playing it. You're getting set to pour in about 40+ hours into a game to help act out a story being told, to explore and manipulate and to better or destroy. You kinda get to do all of that in Final Fantasy 6, and you better believe me when I say that I'm trying as hard as I fucking can not to spoil a drop more than I have to in order to make this list.

The plot to this game is... sublime. Easily in the top 5 stories of any game I've ever played. It can pull you from the bleakest of places and show you something wonderful and amazing, all for it to go to shit. It doesn't feel like emotional whiplash, either. Things have this fast-paced but sensible progression that leaves you chomping at the bit to find out what's next. Then it lets you go there. Then you die, probably, because this game can be pretty tricky if you're not careful but hey, you live and you learn.

As far as the characters that drive this plot, well...



Number 8: The cast of characters

Final Fantasy 6 has a lot of characters as far as Final Fantasy standards go. While many other games can see you with a playable roster of around 7-8 characters, FF6 lets you have one of 14. Gameplay-wise, each character feels distinct in how they play. This, of course, means that some are overwhelmingly powerful (Relm, Celes), some are as useless as tits on a bull (Cyan), and some start out great but fall off later and some only SEEM useless at first (Edgar and Gau, respectively).

Forget about the gameplay for a second, though. Seriously, fuck it. It's not the point. With the exception of the three optional characters (Mog, Umaro, Gogo), each and every character in your party has a massive story arc that gets visited and then revisited at least once more. With so much going on for everybody, you really get a feel for what each of them has to face in their life, whether it be the obstacles thrown at them by life or the consequences of choices they've made.

I can't believe I've made it this far without even mentioning the kind of characters that compose the party. A charming, tool-using king. The king's runaway martial-artist brother. A depressed samurai. A wild boy who likes to copy the attacks of monsters he lives with. A spaghetti-western ninja. They all seem so bizarre at first, but are so filled out and well written that they seem all too natural... and there's much, much more where that came from.

It's hard to peg a 'main' character of the game given how the focus switches around to let everybody have a turn in the spotlight (more or less), but most would go with Terra Branford as the main protagonist of the game and boy, is she a wonderful one. The story constantly revisits her in her quest to discover just who she is (and she's the first female main protagonist in Final Fantasy history, by the way!) while getting support from her friends, not to mention helping them through their woes in turn.

The game helps you to feel their emotions, because it falls back on one of the oldest and most effective tools of the trade...


Number 7: The music

Nobuo Uematsu, longtime musical composer for the Final Fantasy series, really let loose on this project. He packed all sorts of different styles into the game and then fit all the music together in wonderful fashion, making sure different pieces could lock together thematically. One way in which he did this was by though the usage of leitmotifs, defining each character with a theme and then sneaking bits of pieces of those themes all over the game.

The music serves the story and works together with the rest of the game to evoke the proper emotional response. Everywhere from the melancholy of Terra's theme to the wild beats of the Veldt theme, to the sadness, hope and pride hiding all over Cyan's theme, you can listen to any piece of music for five seconds and just about instantly get the handle on the character or scene it represents.

Then there's Dancing Mad, the theme of the final boss of the game and... that could practically take up an article by itself, so let's not cover that any more for now.

I could be here all day linking the best of the best of all the songs in the game, but I think it'd be much simpler just to leave you with a few samples.

Terra's theme, and the main theme of the game:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6t_uyg_pF8

Cyan's theme:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi_Zex0qILc

Last but not least, the theme of Shadow:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZl-PL_goyk


Number 6: The World of Balance


This is the world that we're introduced to so very early in the game, right from the beginning once we get Terra out of the starting town. Even though the average gamer saw it through the distortion of the SNES/Super Famicom's MODE 7 chip, it holds a striking charm to it. The world is in the grips of something terrible, but a lot of it still manages to be calm, peaceful, even wild in a natural and soothing way. There's not a whole lot to say about it, other than you spend the entire first half of the game wandering and exploring this place, unlocking every bit of wonder that you could possibly spot. Then you introduced... to somewhere else.



Number 5: The World of Ruin




This is what happens to the world. It's destroyed, ruined, just like the name. The worst part is, this happens halfway through the game, leaving you feeling like you failed horribly to protect this world and that there was nothing you could do to stop it. Or, even worse, maybe all of this catastrophe was horribly preventable. Whatever the case may be, the world is in tattered ruins.

That first half of the game is immaculate setup for the second; you're shown the world in order. There's a wicked emperor trying to take control of all of it, but it's still in order. It's still SANE. Then you're introduced to the desolate wasteland the world becomes once it falls into the hands of a true madman.

Yet, in spite of all this, Final Fantasy 6 holds an odd quality...



Number 4: It will make you laugh


Before AND after the entire world goes to shit, this game is packed with just plain daffy moments.


Most of which involve this shithead.

Half of the cast serves as a goldmine for comedy. Locke the 'treasure hunter' would just as soon shank you sideways if you so much as insinuate he is a common thief. Edgar is a semi-perverted goofball and quite possibly the most laid-back king you will ever see. Sabin suplexes a friggin' train.

Then there's this fellow, but more on him later.




Number 3: It will break your heart

Oh goodness, FF6 is full of moments that will absolutely make you cry. The worst part about trying to describe any of this is that half of the most onion-ish moments in the game are all massive spoilers that make it less worth playing.

Since that's the exact opposite of my goal here, I will leave you with the statement that once you reach the second half of the game (remember, the one where the world is basically already destroyed?), everything. EVERYTHING is sad. It's sad, with everybody left alive scrambling to find a few gems of happiness in the pile of sad that Kefka has brought the world down to. Speaking of Kefka, he himself is a rather tragic, if absolutely repugnant figure.

Let's talk about that some more, actually.


Number 2: Kefka Palazzo

You all knew this was coming.



Because of course it was. If you know anything about me, if you've EVER spoken to me, you'll know I love Kefka and have a massive hard-on for the guy. Except I don't.

Yeah, you heard me. I honestly hate Kefka. He's a despicable man responsible for many atrocities that, to this day, manage to make me shiver a little at just how depraved they were. When you play through the game and watch this guy get stronger and stronger at every turn, laughing at your despair and killing or destroying anything he sees, you want to murder him. I know I did. The mere sound of his laugh breaking up a peaceful or emotional moment was enough to curdle my blood.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyZoe-r9qb0
MAKE IT STOP MOMMY

But... that begs the question - why, then, is Kefka a strong reason for playing this game? Why's he sitting at number 2? Why's he on the list at all? The reason for that is simple: he's a villain. He is designed to make us hate him, and he does his job very well.

He's just not a 1-dimensional hate machine either. Remember when I pointed Kefka out in the 'funny' and 'sad' reasons for playing this game? Kefka manages to be both. Some of the most hilarious lines, whether they be 'Ahem, there's SAND on my boots!' or 'Wait!? Do I look like a waiter to you!?', or the infamous 'Son of a submariner!', come from this guy. His tantrums and his ineptitude, at least early on, put a smile on most faces.

When Kefka shows a darker side and his destructive tendencies come out, he's pretty much never funny (with a few notable exceptions here and there... self-help booklets, anybody?). Underneath his mask of hatred and destruction, though, there belies a great pain and sadness. See, Kefka's backstory isn't quite fully-fleshed out in-game. It's barely alluded to at all in the main story, and only by talking to a few random NPCs at a certain point in the game can we get anything more than 'he's a magical jerk working for the empire who's also a complete dingbat. Please kill him'.

So the game doesn't rub in that he's a poor tortured soul or anything like that, and we should feel bad or give him a hug. NO. Fuck this guy, murder him with a rake. While we do that, though, Kefka spouts some... weird stuff that, to make a long story short, hints at a very nihilistic viewpoint that truly believes life isn't worth living, and the only way for him to carve out an existence for himself is killing and destroying to fill a void that just keeps growing instead.

It's this complexity and sadness, his inability to understand true joy, mixed with the laughter he CAN cause under the right circumstances that makes Kefka a good villain. Oh, and the fact that he will make you hate your guts. But if that wasn't enough to make you want to play this game...


Number 1: Just play the damned game!

Seriously. Just play it.

Just... just do it.

Here I am, giving you this massive endorsement for this game that I've sat here for actual days trying to think of how to put my feelings out in this massive post. There's no stronger way for me to put my love out for this game. If you have an SNES, buy a cartridge of this game (shouldn't be too expensive if you know where to look) and pop it in. If you have a PS1 or PS2 (or backwards-compatible PS3), think about buying the Final Fantasy Anthology, which should have both Final Fantasy V and VI on it. There's an iOS remake of the game that I wouldn't swear by, but I guess you could get that on iphone all the same. There's just so many ways to get this game and it's so oft-referenced and... so damn GOOD there's no excuse not to get it.

It's just me gushing here, really it is, because the best reason I can think of for people to buy it is simply because it's a good goddamn game. It's one thing to have one or a few of those elements listed above, but to have all of them and more, mixed so well... Look, I'll be honest. The game is not without its faults. The original version in particular has its fair share of glitches that range from hilarious and harmless to quite malicious but difficult to trigger. It's also not a very easy game; you'll have to grind or otherwise know what you're doing, or expect to see the game over screen quite a bit.

It's all worth it, though. I promise. Please, PLEASE at least give this game a shot. For me.

Do it or I'll fucking kill you.



Well folks, thanks for playing along! That was the countdown, and it really did take me quite a few days to put all that down. Intermittently writing, of course. I hope you enjoyed, and you can suggest lists if you want but be forewarned: I've already got the next couple of lists loosely put together in my head.

Until next time!
[+] Spoiler
Jerry Fury - The man, the myth, the legend
Coleen Reagan - The girl who half-loved the world
[+] Spoiler
V5 Roster:
Cody Patton : That bitch.
Sean Mulcahy : The world was kind to reprieve him of his fear...
Jessica Sanders: She hoped it would be quick...
[+] Spoiler
20:17Sideliner:Toben and Ricky are like a sibling version of the Joker and Batman, only Batman is just as much of a mass murderer. He just hides it better.
19:58LaurelsHow does your dick smell like Fritos?
14:36 MimiI THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE FRIENDS > 14:36MimiI THOUGHT YOU REALLY LICKED HER
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