I was originally planning to write a post on religious fanatics on the net today, but soon came to realize I'd be doing them a favour by doing so. While commenting on comics about the devil poisoning drinks in a bar to kill people and striking deals with The Beatles is great fun, I just can't bring myself to turn my own site into a hate crime portal. Some of the comics I found on one site survived to some degree, though: single frames just might appear on your far left. I've finally figured out a way to incorporate a random image script into the menu, so you can enjoy a pointless little treat every time you access a page. Some of the images feature bootleg toys, some Charlie Schlatter, some Engrish samples, but right now most of them are collectable NES celebrity cards. Gotta catch'em all!
So, what's the concept in Samurai Zombie Nation? You wouldn't believe me if I told you, so I've put the entire intro into a gif file:
Let me summarize: Darc Seed comes to Earth to turn the entire US into zombies using magnetic rays. Somehow he gets his hands on a magical samurai sword, pissing off the head of some samurai, which travels to the US to get the sword back.
Told you you wouldn't believe me.
Watch as it gets worse.
To save America from Darc Seed's evil zombie rays, Namakubi follows the tradition his family of floating giant monster samurai heads has practiced for generations: vomiting goo and boulders all over all buildings in sight and eating whoever falls out from the debris. Now, before you say this is a shit way to rescue people, remember that Namakubi is from another culture, and you should not pass judgement before you've talked with him for a while and learned a little about his social codes and traditions. He'll probably eat you though, so you'd be smart to just accept his ways from a distance.
What's special about Namakubi, besides being a floating monster head, is that he's able to be take damage from lightning bolts three miles away. See that lightning hitting the roof of a building five blocks into the distance? Avoid! This could of course be some mysterious samurai curse, but I find it more likely that Meldac of America (apparently a Japanese company) and Live Planning (who actually do plan live on stage) hired a bunch of anti-social mandrills raised by hyenas to do the programming. And I don't think they paid them much.
Remember the part about the Lady Libby doing Darc Seed's dirty work? We don't have to wait long to meet her. In fact, she's the first level boss. Considering the insane level of difficulty this game operates on, she's not much of a challenge. Which means Harold Ramis is way tougher that Darc Seed. Not only did he make her git down with it using only a boombox and a Run-DMC tape, he also hauled her old metal ass across town to clean a big old pile of evil off of a museum. And it's been a while since I've seen Ghostbusters II, but I'm pretty sure she also scared Rick Moranis shitless. Which isn't something I'd put on my CV, but I thought I'd mention it.
Well, so far there hasn't been any samurai or zombie action, and I might just as well tell you right now that there won't be. There will however be a nation, or at least part of it, and one out of three ain't that bad. Next up is Grand Canyon.
To aid the American people further, Namakubi crushes all their airbases and eats whoever tries to escape. Also, he destroys the Grand Canyon. Try to keep an open mind, people. What's interesting about the rampage, is that people apparently live inside the very mountain. Not in caves, in the rock itself. Now, I'd rather be eaten by a giant head than stay stuck inside a mountain until I run out of air, but you're of course entitled to your own preferences.
Hmmm... I just realized how non-Asian Namakubi looks. If I hadn't played this game and were to guess where he's from and what his profession is, I'd probably guess something along the lines of 'Amsterdam pimp' or 'German subway hobo' long before 'Japanese samurai head' would cross my mind. And on the Statue of Liberty pic, he kinda looks like an aging Steven Segal. Seriously, I really doubt anyone involved in the creation of this game even met before the day the whole shebang was put together and shipped. They couldn't have.
CEO Yoshi: Alright, nice to meet you all super-happy morning. We have here American distributor. Means excite of our combine. So we will all speak Engrish so all of understand of liking, okay?
Distributor Dave: Why, thank you, Yoshi. So, I hear you'll be putting all the pieces together today, huh?
Graphic designer Uruki: Yes. We have never met of each other before. Very very cost-efficient and point of view. I have made all of graphics of big touring head.
CEO Yoshi: What? I tell you to make head of samurai, not samurai head.
Graphic designer Uruki: Exprain difference!
CEO Yoshi: Head of samurai means leader respectful ancestry and wit of sword!
Programmer Tsutsumi: What? Is the game not of Darc Seed and destruct all stupid Americans?
Distributor Dave: What!? Let me talk to the project manager!
Project manager Osugi: I think porar bear is super mammal number one!
The next boss isn't really four old men, but one. If you wonder why I've bothered to squeeze four frames of animation into one image, I'll give you not one, but several reasons. First of all, I like the one where he rams his knee into my head, but couldn't just use a picture that doesn't show the guy from a recognizable angle. Secondly, there is no way you'd be able to fathom the terror I felt when meeting an old naked giant without sufficient documentation. Thirdly, I've got a theory. His body language, build and fighting techniques remind me an awful lot of someone else. And he's wearing a thong. Could this man in fact be the father of...
If you're scratching your head at this point, check out Cho Aniki, the gayest god damn game ever to escape from Japan.
Here you can see me fighting two blue doppelgangers. This country isn't big enough for three giant samurai heads, so Namakubi will have to vomit all over them before they fling deadly eyeballs at him. Oh yeah, did I mention none of the weapons make any sense? Among the ones I can make out are the eyes and drops of water, others include what appears to be cellulite blots, small iron crosses and... well, that's it, actually.
Of course, the screen is at any time filled with your own projectiles as well as the enemy's, and the visual difference is little to none. If you wonder how you then are supposed to tell friendly and enemy fire apart, I can inform you that you don't. Also, this game is hard as hell, and you should consider yourself a lucky man if you make it to the first boss. To squeeze the difficulty up another notch, you're not permitted to see your life meter while fighting the bosses, who by and large kill you in one hit. You have one life HOORAY!
The next levels aren't all that interesting, so I'll give a brief summary. The first one is really red, and the level boss is a piece of glass. The next level is also really read, and the boss is a bunch of snakes. And right now I lost interest myself, so I'll take a break and listen to the commentary track on the Masters of the Universe DVD I just borrowed.
Well, that was annoying. It's bad enough listening to a commentary that sounds like someone explaining why they shat in your boot, if you didn't have to hear him point out everything god damn five times, preferrably in the same sentence. Director Gary Goddard could also have cut down the twenty-minute rant about how the lighting was rigged differently during the first two weeks of production. Some parts were entertaining, though. Like when he explains how he set up the presence of a door and later paid the shot off by having Courtney Cox escape through it. Pure genius, Goddard. Now the movie can also be understood in cultures where doors don't occur naturally inside rooms. I also liked the part where he compared the movie to Citizen Kane, but I must say that what pleased me the most was rediscovering that Evil-Lyn was played by Meg Foster, allowing me point my finger at where I've seen her before Futurekick. 'Serenity' is henceforth my middle name.
After what seemed like months of floating head action, I finally met Evil himself: Darc Seed! I was lucky enough to catch him while he was taking fourty winks after a heavy dinner, and killed him in five seconds. Whew. Good thing I got him, an evil entity of such inconceivable power could in fact consider getting up at some point and maybe destroy something.
To cap this miserable tour off, I'll throw together some images from the ending. Since Namakubi ate the entire North American continent, I guess these pictures illustrate how thing could have been if he hadn't come to save the earth from a harmless sleeping alien.