Away You Will Stray and Never Come Back to Those Who Love and Made You

For Those Who Love to Live icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 02 from the Fighting LP by Thin Lizzy icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 )

Thin Lizzy's "Fighting" album cover. [Formatted]

Suicide icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 03 from the Fighting LP)
Wild One icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 04 from the Fighting LP)

Album Haul, November 2018 Edition

A smörgåsbord of bands and artists this time around.

Finally picked up a Butthole Surfers icon-external-link-12x12 album—I’ve been meaning to do that since I saw them on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head icon-external-link-12x12 some time back.

Protest the Hero icon-external-link-12x12 seems to be a pretty solid heavy metal band. On first listen, I was actually reminded of the sonic characteristics of Avenged Sevenfold icon-external-link-12x12, with the major difference being that the music is actually enjoyable to listen to. Too bad the Hot Topic icon-external-link-12x12 era of heavy metal doesn’t have clue what constitutes quality music—just give them lots of skull-imagery, and songs with contrived Halloween-style lyrics and redundant chugging guitar riffs.

Also, major props to Haken icon-external-link-12x12 for working plenty of Gentle Giant icon-external-link-12x12 worship into their songs. The latter is such a criminally overlooked and underappreciated band; the former probably is too.


Haken
→ Restoration
→ The Mountain

Haken's "The Mountain" album art. [Formatted]

Animals as Leaders
→ The Joy of Motion

Animals as Leaders' "The Joy of Motion" album art. [Formatted]

Butthole Surfers
→ Independent Worm Saloon

Constantines
→ Kensington Heights

Protest the Hero
→ Fortress

Protest the Hero's "Fortress" album art. [Formatted]

Melvins
→ Bullhead

Skinny Puppy
→ VIVIsectIV

Skinny Puppy's "VIVIsectVI" album art. [Formatted]

Michael Manring
→ Thonk

Angel Witch
→ Angel Witch

Steven Wilson
→ To the Bone

Steven Wilson's "To the Bone" album art. [Formatted]

Street Fighter II Software Versioning

There were some missteps back in the day when Capcom was enhancing and refining the original Street Fighter II. For those who are not in the know, this game instantly established itself as the greatest thing, like… ever. After the original—let’s call it SFIIv1.0—the first revision, Champion Edition, offered some minor graphical and gameplay improvements, plus four more playable characters; let’s call this SFIIv1.1. Turbo/Hyper Fighting came after that, with new character moves, programming tweaks and sped-up gameplay; let’s call this SFIIv1.2. Super Street Fighter II followed, and four awesome new characters were introduced, but there were some astonishing changes that were made along the way, like a host of swapped graphics and sounds. This was a much more substantial update, so let’s call it SFIIv2.0. Most of these changes were equal to or better than what was replaced, but a few—like the radical modification of certain characters’ voices—were absolutely, completely and unquestionably totally fucked… but I digress. Super Street Fighter II Turbo arrived last and maintained the same general format as its immediate predecessor, but made many important gameplay enhancements, and introduced a new secret playable character; let’s call it SFIIv2.1.

There were a lot gamers out there that were rightfully expecting a new version of Street Fighter II to land in 1995; let’s call it SFIIv2.2. Alas, it never came to be, but this version would have had additional gameplay balances, more new standard moves for characters, differentiation between throws and impact-grabs, secondary walking animations for the boss characters, and (more subtly) music change/speed-up only occurring when the loser of a previous round is approaching a loss in the current round.

The bad updates in the v2.x releases were taken with the good, but not without a readily identifiable pang. As such, there could easily have been a SFIIv3.0 in 1996 with further gameplay balances, one or two more characters, improved opponent AI for the single-player experience, an operator toggle switch for bonus stages in the setup menu, unique interactions in home stages for each character (à la Vega’s climbing of the fence in Spain), and MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY OTHER CHANGE THAT COULD EVER BE MADE TO THE GAME: removal of the estrogenized voices for Guile and the announcer. Ideally, the excellent voices that were used for these characters in the v1.x releases would be restored, or convincingly mimicked.

And for what it’s worth, any Street Fighter II aficionado who knows his ass from a hole in the ground will agree with every point made above, without hesitation.

Interestingly, instead of SFIIv2.2 and a string of SFIIv3.x releases, we got Street Fighter Alpha, which sounds sort of like some preliminary version of a new type of Street Fighter software. Then we got Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter III: Double Impact, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike, but never any further revisions of Street Fighter II. WTF Capcom?

I guess Ultra Street Fighter II on the Nintendo Switch—which was released well more than 20 years after Super Street Fighter II Turbo—is a vindication of sorts. At first, it seems like the long lost SFIIv2.2 that should have existed in 1995. Sadly, the game is more an oddity than anything else: two so-called “new” characters have been added, but both are actually clones of existing characters and have only superficial changes to their movesets. This unearthed relic is really just an ultra-low-effort release, and not the unthawing of hibernated super-potential. Let’s call it SFIIv2.11, or maybe SFIIv2.105.

The most significant improvement in Ultra Street Fighter II is that the original Japanese art is finally being used in the U.S. instead of the long-standing American art-style (see the Super Street Fighter II arcade marquee above for an example of the latter). The American art was special in its own way, but so much less at the same time. Some people say it’s terrible—I can’t really agree or disagree with that sentiment.

One of these days I’m going to talk to Capcom about making SFIIv2.2 a reality. With the right finesse, this would be a very profitable endeavor. Hopefully it will produce a healthy foundation for future revisions, and eventually a SFIIv3.0 release.

Instrumental Djent

Physical Education icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 05 from The Joy of Motion LP by Animals as Leaders icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 )

Animals as Leaders' "The Joy of Motion" album cover. [Formatted]

Another Year icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 04 from The Joy of Motion LP)
The Woven Web icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 10 from The Joy of Motion LP)