Tag Archives: Even Worse Streams

FGC #645 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Go go shredder manThe best beat ‘em ups are dumb as hell.

While Gogglebob.com is still officially claiming that any and all articles appearing within the Fustian Gaming Challenge are randomly chosen (“random” can mean a lot!), today’s article is obviously inspired by the glut of excellent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle gaming that has been released within the last year. A whole new turtle experience (but primarily based on the 80’s cartoon), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, was released in June of 2022. Then, a whole two (or so) months later, we were graced with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, which collected seemingly every turtle game from the early days of the Nintendo versus Sega console wars (though the lack of Tiger Handheld titles was obviously a glaring omission). While this collection does include a few titles that are outside the beat ‘em up genre, the focus here are the arcade and console games that showcase ninja walking left to right and incessantly detonating foot soldiers. Many of these titles have been played and covered on this site before, but now having all the arcade, NES, SNES, and Genesis turtle beat ‘em ups immediately available and just a swipe away from each other? Amazing! I’m going to spend the next week finding all the stupid ways you can fight Krang!

And, having devoured all these titles in rapid succession, one simple truth emerges: all of these games are really good! Some are better than others, some are more memorable than others, and every single one includes a fight against Shredder that borders on unfair; but they are all a good time from beginning to end. It would be easy to simply reward infinite bonus points to these titles for practically defining the genre for a generation, but even the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade) is still fun throughout, and does not need a corollary “oh we owe this so much” like some progenitors of genres. Pick a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle beat ‘em up, any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle beat ‘em up released or rereleased in 2022, and you are guaranteed to enjoy yourself.

I don't get itAnd that’s… kind of weird, right? Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking? No, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge was a whole new experience. Maybe it’s a love of classic turtles? No, if I’m being honest, I would like to see nearly any other incarnation of these hero turtles included in a beat ‘em up. Is it because the beat ‘em up genre has languished for so long? No, that may have been true a decade or so back, but with everything from new Streets of Rage to Ninja Warriors, we are living in a neo golden age of beat ‘em ups. The humble beat ‘em up is soaring to the heavens! On an elevator where you have to beat everybody up! So why is a game from before we even hit the 90’s still so good?

Simple answer, stupid: it’s because it’s stupid.

There is not much to a beat ‘em up game. You walk down pathways that are so straightforward, it is literally impossible to get lost. There is no such thing as needing a map for a beat ‘em up. And speaking of strategy, 90% of your opponents in a beat ‘em up require just as much thinking as jabbing your index finger down. Oh no! Seventeen foot soldiers! I wonder if jump kicking over and over will stop them? And, while the generals are generally more complicated than their foot soldiers (oh… I just got that), they are still little more than the same mooks with extra steps. Double the health, and maybe there’s a laser gun, but no extra brains are available. In fact, “no extra brains” seems to be the name of the game here, as a brainless five-year-old could conquer any of these games. And I should know! I used to be that brainless five-year-old! I had a whole lot of quarters, but no sense!

Love that rhinoAnd that is the point. Are any of the TMNT titles truly “brainless”? Absolutely not. These are carefully crafted games designed to seem brainless. Anyone that ever tried a one-credit run of these titles will tell you that Rocksteady has tremendously more nuance to his charges, foot soldiers of all different colors have dramatically distinct attack patterns, and there is a way to make Shredder keel without ever eating a mutagen beam. There is a rhythm here, a carefully calculated method to the madness that, like the best movies or music, makes it all look easy. And that’s the point! The games are not brainless, but you are supposed to be brainless, because if you’re not thinking, you’re not thinking about how many tokens you’re dropping in there. Baxter Stockman just knocked you flat? Dang! You almost had ‘em! Better drop another quarter, dollar, or however much money it takes to lay that scientist-fly flat. 90% of 90’s beat ‘em ups are perfectly calibrated to drain 90% of your wallet without you even noticing 90% of the time.

And, brother, if you got friends around the arcade cabinet with you sharing the experience? Encouraging you to keep going, and support the team with more of your hard-earned (or grandpa provided) dough? Oh, you’re going to be there until the end. Welcome to the cult of the beat ‘em up, please follow the Konami scripture.

Buy all our playsets and toysAnd if you’re wondering why it took so long for beat ‘em ups to find their footing in the modern era, simply consider how much this business model gameplay does not work with an at-home experience. The comradery of crowding around a cabinet is completely absent from online play, and paying once for a DLC title is not nearly the same as paying for a game a quarter at a time. Once you drop the essential trappings of the genre (and arguably their entire point for existence), you’ve got dumb gameplay that serves… nothing. Videogames are supposed to make you feel smart! Every puzzle you unravel in a game (whether it be in Candy Crush or Phoenix Wright) is designed to be resolved and tickle your brain in the right ways so you believe you are better for having solved the mystery. Every JRPG that challenges you to master its “system” is another exercise in making you feel sharper than a +1 vorpal blade. And those “skill trees” and bosses with weaknesses in action games are there to commend you for making the brilliant deduction that the fire move will hurt the ice monster. Achievement unlocked: you are a super player. Playing a game that is naturally “stupid” is the antithesis of that, and why would you bother playing such a thing when other games that properly massage your endorphins are immediately available?

Well, because you recognize Tokka, Rahzar, and Tempestra.

These games are good and stupid. And when you’re feeling stupid, a decent shot of nostalgia will keep things going.

And I’d love to list more reasons to play these games, but I just played a lot of turtle beat ‘em ups, and everything is kind of… fuzzy for some reason…

Me am like beat ‘em ups. Play more. Cowabunga.

FGC #645 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

  • System: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC/Steam. Make sure you choose the system that all your friends own!
  • Number of players: Six! And it is super fun when you get everyone together and working against Shredder’s forces. In fact…
  • Watch it, Buddy: All sorts of turtle stuff happened on Even Worse Streams. We all played Shredder’s Revenge, and we… kinda played the Arcade collection. There were some technical issues! You may watch ‘em below.


    Original Stream Date: June 21, 2022


    Original Stream Date: August 30, 2022


    Original Stream Date: September 6, 2022

    The collection episode doesn’t really have any beat ‘em ups in there, but there wasn’t a place for it elsewhere on the site…

  • Favorite Turtle: You may notice that I played as Donatello in every one of those streams. This is by design.
  • Also goodFavorite Boss: Dirtbag and Groundchuck are the price cut, bargain bin version of Bebop and Rocksteady, and I am a man that likes his discounts. I always appreciate the duo bosses in beat ‘em ups, because it makes for a fine counter to playing with a buddy, and an excellent excuse to strategize with your partner(s). Oh, and Groundchuck is some manner of cyborg bull. That gets bonus points, too.
  • Favorite Boss (Tournament Edition): Anytime Wingnut appears, you are going to have a good time. I have adored that action figure for years (it’s so weirdly gross!), so I am glad to see this Batman get a spot as an aerial opponent.
  • Goggle Bob Fact: Speaking of toys, I noted on the Shredder’s Revenge stream that I had the Knuckle Head vehicle as a kid. And here’s proof!

    So adorable

    A new toy and a new dinosaur friend! Best Christmas ever!

  • Let’s talk about another game: For possibly the first time since I was twelve, I played through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist as part of the collection. While it is the official Konami beat ‘em up for Sega Genesis, it is weird how much it feels like a fan romhack of Turtles in Time. Areas are repurposed haphazardly (I guess there’s just a pirate ship in the sewers now?), the one original boss is from the movie and has extremely limited animations, and an entire level is a boss rush (in a game with, like, five bosses). It’s still a fun game from start to finish, though! It is a good romhack.
  • Did you know? The Punk Frogs appear in Shredder’s Revenge as helper characters. Attila, Genghis, Napoleon Bonafrog, and Rasputin apparently made a lasting impression on the fandom… despite only appearing in six episodes of the original series. Irma, another helper character, appeared in, like, a million episodes. Regardless, what is important is that they are known as the “Punk” frogs, but they are clearly surfer dudes. Know your genres!
  • Would I play again: Anytime I need some good, stupid fun, I know the heroes on a half shell to call.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Killer Instinct for the Xbox One! Is Fulgore still full of gore? Let’s find out! Please look forward to it!

Repel
Okay, that was impressive

Xenogears 08: The Ballad of Billy

Here we go!Let us consider the unwavering faith of Billy Lee Black.

Like many of the people we have featured in these sermons, Billy had a difficult childhood. When Billy was barely ten, his father went out for a pack of smokes, and didn’t come back for a decade. Billy was left alone with his mother and little sister, but zombie-like Wels attacked his home soon thereafter. While Billy and his sister were able to survive thanks to the quick thinking of Bishop Stone, Billy’s mother was lost to the Wels. When Jesse Black came back, Billy and his sister, Primera, were already forever traumatized. Primera would not speak, and Billy had turned to God for help with his broken family. Billy joined the Ethos, and took up the guns his father gave him to exterminate the Wels creatures that had killed his mother.

So when Billy encounters a group of strangers that are trying to help their sick friend, Billy does everything he can to help. He escorts the injured Fei to a church of Ethos, hoping that the advanced medical technology of the order will help the wounded boy. Billy then leaves these new comrades, because he must go back to the orphanage he runs (with the support of Ethos, naturally), so there are less children alone in the world. And then, when a ship full of Wels floats near his home, Billy works together with his new companions to eliminate the threat. Why, it is almost like these strangers were a gift brought to Billy by God!

But it seems that God was not home when the Ethos Headquarters was attacked. Billy initially suspected his truant father of being a genocidal murderer, but soon discovered that Ethos was not all that it seemed. The technology and religion of Ethos was all a front to control people, and every Etoner in the place was a puppet of the Solaris government. And when Billy’s friend Verlaine reveals himself to be an assassin, it is unambiguously demonstrated that Billy’s entire religion is a lie. Oh, and then Bishop Stone revealed he was responsible for the death of Billy’s mother. Billy proves to be the only pious survivor of the Ethos massacre…

Lil knife guysBut does Billy lose his faith? Does Billy give in to his father who has always renounced religion? Does Billy give up on being a better man? No! Billy joins Fei’s friends, and continues to fight for the good of people everywhere. He still eliminates the perverse Wels. He defends the Thames from encroaching monsters. He infiltrates an Ethos dig site, and rebuffs the nefarious Bishop Stone. He still serves his faith, but rejects the philosophy of “only the chosen will be saved”. He will save everyone! And, through it all, he still prays after every battle. Even when faced with the seemingly invincible Id, Billy’s true faith never waivers.

No matter what happens, Billy Lee Black has faith.

… And we will see if he is still praying after he punches God.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 8

Original Stream Night: March 9, 2021
Night of the Silver Star Story

Random Notes on the Stream

  • We’re back after taking a week off. I cannot for the life in me remember what we were doing that week. Oh, and I accidentally activated a stupid card game.
  • Maybe we could just stop playing and listen to Xenogears Creid album?
  • “Billy’s obviously a fucking nerd.”
  • “I do appreciate that your characters are now two grown men lost in a church.”
  • cut cut cutAs we hit Billy’s orphanage, we discuss NFTs. My position on this matter is clear.
  • Jessie doesn’t know how chairs work. This is canon.
  • “I wrote an entire article about how that game is the worst.”
  • “The Robin Hood movie is why we have furries.” Sure, but I blame Chip ‘n Dale.
  • Enjoy hanging out with Bill Gunhaver.
  • While raiding the boat, it is important to know how exploitative Dead or Alive 6 can be. 462 items on Steam, all at $2… so it only costs nearly a thousand dollars to completely own that game.
  • What is your worst bathtub in all of gaming? I’m voting for Eternal Darkness.
  • And then I die to the giant Wels. Whoops!
  • Trynant stops by for the night while we make attempt number two on the boss.
  • And then Kishi! Maybe they can help!
  • The Giant Wels has been defeated… forever.
  • “Oh, my dad committed genocide? Yeah, that makes sense.”
  • World Heroes: it had a Goku in it.
  • Billy: currently having a crisis of faith and looking smug doing it.
  • Love you galsThere are apparently mass-produced Jesuses in Neon Genesis Evangelion. This should surprise no one.
  • Over at the Thames we are asked to, “Just try to imagine an action sequence.”
  • Deathscythe is not so much a thing as something that is fun to say.
  • There are so many of the same monsters in this undersea dungeon that it gets kind of ridiculous. But the snail mutants are awesome!
  • “It’s not Porygon’s fault.”
  • The Elements have freckles? They sure don’t have enough fanart…
  • I pronounce Id wrong. Also: here’s Id.
  • And we close on one of our longest streams by talking about making Kishi sad through eggs.

Next time on Xenogears: It’s about the climb.

Mole Mania!
“The moll’s got a mole!”

Xenogears 07: The Good News

Today we shall consider the story of…

Going Mad

Er… Um… Hm. You know what?

They are!

No sermon for today. We will keep the message short.

She's a mol!  Wait...

Xenogears is good. Xeno-games are always good.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 7

Original Stream Night: February 23, 2021
Night of the Korcha

Random Notes on the Stream

  • “Welcome to the Goliath Factory, we mostly make action figures from the Disney series from 1992.”
  • “I love that the girl robot has long hair and boobs.”
    “That is a long tradition.”
  • A detailed discussion of NieR and daddy Nier versus brother Nier. Gee, this may have inspired an article.
  • My deep confession for the stream is that I don’t care for the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Sorry!
  • Nobody likes this giant robotNinja Golf! Aqua Teen Hunger Force! A boring dungeon!
  • I may have deliberately stalled so Caliscrub could see his favorite part…
  • Mad Skillz happen! See above! Then our brand new airship explodes. At least we got a Grahf fight out of the deal.
  • We demand Justice League Task Force with rollback netcode.
  • So now we’re on a garbage barge while talking about Superman games.
  • “Goofy has been two different kinds of turtles.” We all love Kingdom Hearts mythology.
  • They were your guides, and now they are your enablers. The true family of Sora.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean in Kingdom Hearts 3 is likened to Bowser’s Fury and other “mini” games.
  • We talk about the intricacies of language, communication, and Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game while Fei is hanging out on the Thames.
  • “The harshest cusses available by law.”
  • Look at 'em goSpend your Fridays getting drunk with a walrus, and you too will be cool.
  • Kishi arrives just in time to be accidentally threatened by BEAT. Also: Elly gets slapped.
  • Let’s explore the Yggdrasil and talk about Ghosts ‘n Goblins games of various styles.
  • Kishi also arrived for their favorite line. This is a night of miracles.
  • BEAT officially watches paint dry while avoiding this illustrious stream.
  • BEAT also imagines fish with giant arms. Like this robot we’re fighting.
  • Jessiah Black appears! He’s cool, right?
  • And Billy is here, too, as we discuss cool scars and who may literally just be Trigun’s Wolfwood.
  • Kishi explains how “Armor Ground” is just supposed to be “Deck” as we close out for the night.

Next time on Xenogears: There are going to be more than a few more Trigun references.

I maintain this is true

Xenogears 06: Ricardo Banderas

Let's fightLet us consider the story of Ricardo Banderas.

At the age of 30, a man named Sigmund had become the Kaiser of Kislev. Sigmund had had a hard life, being one of the last survivors of the nation of Elru. As a result of his heritage, Sigmund was a demi-human, complete with elven ears. However, he could pass as a “normal” human, as pointy ears are easily hidden by a bright orange hat, and you barely even notice that hat when a guy owns a pipe organ the size of a giant robot. Kaiser Sigmund was very successful as a soldier and politician, and much of that can be attributed to his apparent normalcy.

Sigmund’s son… not so much.

When Sigmund’s wife Anne was pregnant, malevolent doctors in the employ of Solaris administered some nasty drugs. This caused the beastly traits of Sigmund’s genetics to present themselves harder, and, when Rico was born, he had a skin color only a Blanka could love. Anne and Rico were banished (Sigmund was unaware, of course). Anne was left to raise Rico alone in the slums, and, a mere decade after losing her position as empress, Anne had wasted away into death. Rico was now all alone in the world.

Even when Anne was alive, Rico did not have a good childhood. Racism against demi-humans was always on the rise, and being an orange haired freak did not help Rico’s reputation. After his mother passed, Rico was forced to steal to survive as a poor orphan, and the local law enforcement did not turn a blind eye to this undesirable’s undesirable actions. Rico, son of a kaiser, had a mere ten years as a free child, and was then sent to prison for the next twenty.

But despite being a detainee of a discriminatory system, Rico was able to succeed. Rico grew into his beastly strength, and was able to learn how to fight with all the intensity of a man that is 90% muscle. By the time Rico was 20, he had been accepted into the Battler tournament, and was granted his own Gear. A year later, he was the victor, and reigned as the undefeated champion of all prisoners in Kislev D-Block. His Stier Gear was S-tier, without peer.

CHOMPRico may have reigned forever had it not been for the arrival of Fei Fong Wong. No one can say if it was the power of the Slayer of God, his inclination toward not fighting brute strength with brute strength, or the fact that Rico had been injured previously while skulking through the sewers that caused Rico to lose. But Rico did lose, and, after so long as the undisputed champion, Rico was robbed of his identity. Shortly thereafter, a despondent Rico attempted to assassinate the Kaiser by crashing his Gear into Sigmund’s skybox during a fight. When that attempt failed, Rico attempted to raid the Kaiser’s home, but was unsuccessful and imprisoned once again. This time, Rico was to be executed via being dropped into a terrarium with a dinosaur. That is enough for most people…

But Rico survived! Rico was rescued by his rival, Fei. But Fei was only there because of the other prisoners that Rico had led in his time in D Block. Rico may have been a downtrodden prisoner, but he was still a good man who inspired others, and ultimately his soul was saved because those others decided to repay the favor. And, from there, Rico realized how his hometown was important to him, and decided to pilot Stier in an effort to save everyone. Rico was instrumental in protecting the nation that had treated him poorly for nearly his entire life.

Rico, despite everything, triumphed over his own adversity, and became a leader and liberator on par with his father.

And then he is never mentioned in the scripture ever again. Let’s assume he had a good time.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 6

Original Stream Night: February 16, 2021
Night of the Breath of Fire (4)

Random Notes on the Stream:

  • Starting by talking about potential Nintendo Direct announcements (the one that would premiere 2/17/21). Rumors of Zelda games are forever!
  • My Link is always Chaotic Lazy.
  • We have it on official recording that none of us ever believed Sora would be in Smash Bros. Ever. I predicted Xenoblade 2 characters. Pyra and Mythra were announced the next day. I am a genius.
  • “His name is S-Tier?”
  • Fei wins the tournament, Dominia is introduced, and we talk about the Smash Bros that canonically f$&@.
  • Looks niceAs Rico has a flashback to his childhood, let us talk about Namco Webcomics involving Chis Hastings.
  • Time to hate on Donkey Kong 64. Platforming can never be fun (according to Rare).
  • Big Joe is skulking around the alleys while we discuss Conker’s Bad Fur Day and the impossibility of it having a sequel. Oh, and Caliscrub arrives.
  • We have to rescue Rico while Caliscrub begs to know when Hammer will announce his mad skillz. Gonna be a while!
  • “Please, videogame. I just want to play videogame.”
  • Finally! Gameplay! With trains! And discussing Street Fighter launches!
  • Sodom should appear in more Street Fighter games. And, hey, we have a dungeon here.
  • The “just had an article about this” mentioned refers to Rockin’ Kats.
  • We almost have the Weltall back! And Balrog and Ed are dicks.
  • We rescued Rico! And we haven’t talked about Xenogears actually on the stream at all. All fighting games! All the time!
  • Here come Elly and her boys.
  • “Clowns are not a race.” Kinda!
  • “Wait. They’re star-crossed lovers and they both have a robot?”
  • Guards!  Guards!Yes, Fei and Elly take a moment to hop out of their Gears to survey their own destruction.
  • Please do not get me started on the Xeno-timeline. We are trying to fight a giant robot boss here!
  • Fanboymaster claims he would be inordinately surprised if Fatal Frame 5 ever left the WiiU. Guess what was released across all consoles the following October!
  • Elly is saved by Grahf while we discuss Punch-Out and Ashita no Joe yet again.
  • “Hit ‘em with the Blanka ball!”
  • “There’s a lot I like about this game, but I’m glad I’m not playing it” is the final significant thought before we call it a night.

Next time on Xenogears: Back to committing war crimes.

HA HA
Chrono Trigger always made this less ominous