U, 2, can sound alike

Some jerk broke into my girlfriend’s garage and swiped her MP3 player and cassette adapter from her car, which means we’ve been forced to listen to the radio when driving around lately. It’s been a learning experience for me. The big revelation: everyone sounds like U2 now. At first I was confused by the presence of all these U2 songs I’d never heard before, but slowly I began to realize that the band isn’t nearly as prolific as I had originally suspected. Instead, they’re simply being… sincerely flattered. Coldplay, Keane and Rock Kills Kid have all apparently kidnapped Flood and forced him to engineer their albums at gunpoint. It would be one thing if it were just lead singers trying (badly) to sound like Bono, but it’s also guitarists reverbing (badly) like The Edge and rhythm sections playing exactly like Clayton and Mullen (albeit, uh, badly).

Somewhere, the ghost of Michael Hutchence is smiling.

OH WELL. So anyway, I finished up Mega Man ZX and wrote a, uh, review? I guess? Maybe not a review so much as the titular verbal spew. They make me write all concisely and professionally at work so if I want to retain my ability to be self-indulgent and boring I have to work hard to stay in practice. I’d say “enjoy,” but that’s not really the point. So… come share my suffering. Yeah.

43 thoughts on “U, 2, can sound alike

  1. Of the blue characters on the edges, the right one is obviously the girl, and I’m reasonably certain the one in the middle is also a girl. The size of the waist is apparently no help, but (s)he’s got the slightly lighter skin tone of the girl to the right, and I think I can make out what’re meant to be boobs under the red vest.

    I heard the character designer of this game used to be a porn artist. You’d think he’d make the sexes a little more distinguishable.

  2. Alternatively, on the music front, there’s always “Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now”, by Mitch Benn & the Distractions.

  3. That’d be my guess as well. The two on the right are girls. Girls generally, (I say this cautiously, since guys typically don’t have such small waists) don’t get the spikey haired look. Plus the person on the left has pants. The person on the right’s posture, haircut, stance, and face fairly scream “girl” to me. The person in the middle, as was stated earlier, seems to have boobs under her red vest. Plus the stance, and hands on her hips suggest she’s a girl as well.

  4. You only think everyone sounds like U2 because you haven’t heard Radiohead.

  5. I don’t think everyone sounds like Radiohead? Regardless, I also decided the right 2 were girls. In more constructive conversation (for me, anyways), I keep hearing that ZX brings everything in the series together. I know it has a bunch of aspects from the Zero and X series in it (hence the ZX), but I heard the hardhats from the original series mentioned… Anyways, what I really wanted to know was whether this game just has little references, but is mainly Zero-based (I know it is gameplay-wise), or if it actually seems to have tons of things from all the other games, ala New Super Mario Bros. (which actually didn’t do it as much as I’d hoped…)

  6. I haven’t listened to “the radio” in years. I don’t even know what is popular these days at all. Whenever I forget my MP3player or CDs I usually just listen to NPR. Sorry about the robbery too man, that’s never fun.

    Also, I finally picked up Megaman Battle Network DS… yea, I know, but I have never played one before. I bought it used and cheap enough that if I stop playing after an hour or so I won’t feel bad.

  7. I dunno, early Radiohead (minus Creep) reminds me quite a lot of U2 with more guitarists.

    I started to write about how annoying it is that people assume that Radiohead is the only band that other bands copy in England, but I started to gain massive amounts of butter-weight and decided against living my life as an english rock fatty. So how about that U2? I just now got a copy of Zooropa!

    That sucks about the MP3 player, though :( I hope it’s easy enough to replace!

  8. “So, how does Mega Man ZX use the dual-screen/touch functionality, if at all?”
    The dual screen is used for a few of the suits — Lx gives you an item radar that shows where pick-ups are, Hx shows boss weak points and hit points, and Px gives you a zoomed-in radar that reveals secret passages. Also, if you pause while using Fx you can use the touch screen to edit your bullets’ patterns.
    I was actually kidding about not being able to tell the genders apart, but thanks for chiming in…?

  9. I knew you were kidding about the Vent, Aile, and model ZX chick pictures, but I can’t really tell which gender is using the FX suit in that one picture. Those hips are huge, and are those boobs, or what?

  10. The above empty post was mine. Sorry ’bout that.

    From the review:

    “Mega Man ZX is practically a 2D version of Legends, a game that arrived around the time of Symphony of the Night and was rejected outright by fans and detractors of the series alike.”

    Since when? I mean, sure, it wasn’t as widely accepted sure, but rejected outright? I’m hardcore old school MM and I thought it was great. I was also a regular as the Mega Man Network BB for a few years, and I never really saw anyone give it a thrashing…

    If nothing, the game did things that were ahead of it’s time. It sported a cartoony-anime visual style on a system that couldn’t necessarily handle it too well, and years before cel-shading was in vouge. On top of it, it boasted some pretty darn good voice acting, which odd for a big-budget title even today. It was totally out of left-field for a Mega Man game in ’98.

    But yeah, my point is that I’ve never really had the impression that the game was rejected by the hardcore MM fans. And if they did… well, their loss I suppose.

  11. Legends didn’t use cell-shading. But L2 was about as “hard core” as MM games get, plotwise.

  12. I’ve long outgrown Canada-America Superiority Wars, but American radio is simply a turd. Is there hope? There is always hope, but in the meantime, the last minute and a half of “The Adventure” by Angels and Airwaves makes the Edge cry.

    “ZX is a case of better late than never, but if it had come along, say, around the same time as Symphony of the Night the Mega Man franchise might actually command something like respect these days.”

    X4 was released around-abouts SOTN’s debut, possibly a bit before, I’m too lazy to look it up. It *was* a pretty respected title at the time, and magazines were excited about it; it was Megaman X’s 32-bit debut, and reviewers had already gotten sloppy over Megaman 8 for whatever reason. Even X5 generated a decent amount of excitement. It was the post-X6 landslide that turned the series into a quagmire.

    A lot of it, as you said, has to do with that Boy Who Cried Wolf business. People are usually happy enough with the first game in any MM spin-off series because even if the game doesn’t play as decently as it could (Battle Network), it’s usually different enough from its cousins that its novelty sees it through. Then Capcom pumps out the sequels, and at first the concept doesn’t change much, but the games are still fun to play. Then comes the quality plummet. What the hell happened to Battle Network after 3?

    The most major exception I can think of is Megaman Legends compared to Megaman Legends 2. I liked Legends, but Legends 2 was a thing of beauty. Maybe the graphics were still a bit primitive, but the music and gameplay were tweaked in significant and holy ways, and the characters’ voice actors were comfortable in their roles, particularily the Bonnes. The characters themselves had some interesting interaction going on. When I played Legends 2, Megaman Trigger was blackest black because once I found out the pigs on Apo and Dah’s island would squeal and bounce when I kicked them, I COULDN’T STOP. It was like eating chips. In effect, Roll became worried about me, and this game, this magnificent game, allowed me to tell her, quote, “Oh, leave me alone, busybody!”

    That, right there, is Megaman’s finest moment.

  13. I never understood why people didn’t like Legends… Such neat games. And rather immersive too. Just bought Steambot Chronicles and it brings back so many good MML memories.

    I find X started to get boring at X4 and only now has X8 shown any improvement (though to be fair, after X7, you’d have to try real hard to make a worse game).

    As for Battle Network. I got to the end of the first, finished 2 and 3 100%, 4 sucked outright, 5 was a step in the right direction, and 6 (final) is almost as good as 2.

    All this said, I’m dying in anticipation for ZX.

  14. Then, I guess we can all agree on hating Capcom for banking so many times on our childhood.

  15. So does ZX have the same sort of dark/creepy feel that Legends had? Well, I thought it was kind of creepy, anyway. I don’t know if Legends 2 was like that, because I could never find a copy. To ease my pain, I try to pretend that there never was a sequel and I’m not missing anything.

  16. Everybody sounds like U2 only if you get stuck listening to the radio. Pick up a cheap CD player and any of Deerhoof’s albums and you’ll be just fine.

  17. I don’t want to rain on Nadia’s parade, because most of what she wrote was pretty dead on (X4 sucked, let’s all admit it…and people hated on X5–rightly so–because the localization was apparently done while intoxicated)… But I have a kneejerk reaction when people say “the actors were comfortable in their roles” for a sequel (of a game/anime), which implies they remembered what they did on the first game.

    I know a lot of voice actors, and they’re great people, but they do not “care” about any of these projects, let alone remember the direction given to them over a year ago. Hell, we all remember Mei Ling, right? Her actress did not remember working on Metal Gear anything, and I talked to her a few scant months after Twin Snakes had come out.

  18. Tomm: I’m pretty sure that one varies wildly depending on VA. Granted, all that I have to go on is just as statistically unsound as your own theory: the commentary from the NGE Platinum sets. If the crew (including a crapload of voice actors) wasn’t remembering stories from the many-years-past dubbing of the series, they were all fucking AMAZING at improv.

    But again, for all we know, one or the other of us (or both!) is just holding up the exception as the rule.

  19. Tomm: Your point definitely applies to some voice actors (I doubt Corey Sevier cares most MM fans regard him as the greatest Megaman voice of all time), but I have to make exception for Rob Smith, who did Tiesel Bonne. That guy was having a great time voicing Legends 2 … or he’s just really, really damn good at faking it.

    That’s why I loved Legends 2’s voice acting in general. Even “acclaimed” voice acting in games like the MGS series sounds wooden to me … like the actors consider games below them, or they just want to go home. It’s why I almost always prefer Japanese voice acting and subtitles.

    Voice acting in games is slowly getting better…I think some developers, Capcom included, realises the benefits of hiring the same crew to do the voices for each game in a series, like they’ve done for Megaman X Command Mission, Megaman X8, and Maverick Hunter X. There’s a marked improvement in the characters’ acting as the games ascend, especially Zero. As much as the world hates on the Dragonball Z anime, the series went on for so dang long, the voice actors really began to associate themselves with their characters (despite two or three regime changes … four, if you lived in Canada or the UK). Same with Pokemon. When you compare old James with new James, there’s a world of difference (might be a bad example…I haven’t watched the series in ages).

    Capcom also knows the benefits of hiring starving Canadian actors. That lot’ll give head for a nickel.

  20. So when you enjoy one, that enjoyment is mitigated by the dread certainty that there’s a less-inspiring sequel coming a year down the road… and a few more each year after that, until the mere thought of the serious makes you all vomity.

    I think you meant to say ‘series’.

  21. Hey guys, I am talking from experience from a wide variety of voice actors (but I hate bringing it up cause most people take statements like that on the internet as bragging, I’m just speaking from a “my world” sort of view). There are obviously exceptions, but the “quality” in a voice, whether it be the first time or the eighth time they voiced characters… comes from direction. Does the DIRECTOR remember the sounds they got the first game? Does the Director care about the characters?

    90% of a dub’s “quality” comes out of the director. Dubs don’t sound wooden to you because the actors don’t care, Nadia, it’s because the actors don’t have scripts or characters until they step into the studio. It’s just how anime/games are done, and there are no exceptions to my knowledge. (Thus why a director is important). And yes, most of the time they ARE faking it–they are ACTORS , after all).

    Most actors have nightmares about cons and stuff when eager fans run up and ask them to do “that one thing” they did in some anime. I bring this up all the time to actors in conversation (because I find it funny), and every one of them has admitted to not remembering what the fan is talking about. They just kind of say whatever line it is and hope it’s close enough. This includes famous lines they might say over and over again in a series (“Bang…” for Spike Speigal, etc). This isn’t an attack on the actors or the fans–just pointing out how life is on both sides.

    Now, some actors will remember more than others, depending on the project. I’ve worked with Wendee Lee a bunch of times, and at first she recognized me but none of the projects I would mention. However, recording Trauma Center: Second Opinion, she entirely remembered working on the first game a year ago (as well as meeting my wife at Anime Expo, and a few other things) because she had become acquainted with me personally–so she had a basis to attach the other memories to. But even in this example, she had no memory of exactly what voice she had used for the character–she needed us to replay the old clips. This is what I’m basing my opinion on (but fully acknowledge in SOME cases, it may be different–I’m speaking generally here).

  22. Capcom also knows the benefits of hiring starving Canadian actors. That lot’ll give head for a nickel.

    Woah there. Most of us have enough self-respect to demand at least a dime.

  23. “Most actors have nightmares about cons and stuff when eager fans run up and ask them to do “that one thing” they did in some anime.”

    Haha. This is the exact reason I sometimes wonder if Scott McNiel is as happy as he looks. XD

    But yeah, you bring up good points. “Don’t care” wasn’t the term to use. I never really considered direction, but I can be shallow like that.

    Incidentally, I think I remember hearing/reading somewheres about how anime and game voice actors tend to just read their lines seperately and things are threaded together later, as opposed to a high-quality cartoon like The Simpsons, where everyone kind of gathers in a room and acts. I know not how much truth is behind this, though.

  24. Whoa there, the US and Canadian dollar are almost neck in neck, so related jokes are outdated. And trust me, seeing as half my income comes from America, I wish they weren’t. :(

  25. US voice acting is done by people alone in a room, yes. This is a very difficult thing to explain to Japanese staff.

  26. I see things have been untilted. Good.
    Also: Are talking specifically about voice acting in video games and japanese animation? Because I want to believe that voice actors from Batman: The Animated Series eventually cared for ther characters (or at least they faked it *good*). Actually, half of them weren’t voice actors to begin with, but hey, I liked that show.

  27. There are people who didn’t like Mega Man Legends? Wow. I’ve honestly never talked to any. I mean, I’m probably more critical of the game than anybody else I know (mostly because of the godawful targeting system) but I still liked it and would still like to see a third one.

  28. My whole thing about Legends was it wasn’t fast paced like all of the other games in the franchise. Isn’t it a bad thing when the only thing that stands out about the first game to me is the part where you can go around kicking dogs?

    Sadly, I never picked up the second in the series because of my distaste for the first. Its a shame, though, because from what I heard it was much better.

  29. Yes, we were specifically speaking to the unJapanification process. In America, animation is recorded altogether usually, though for lower budgets, possibly still character-by-character. However, American voices will often be recorded BEFORE the animation, so you kind of need the emotion there.

    To bring this back to Megaman–yes TheSL, Legends 2 was FANTASTICALLY better than Legends. It also had the longest intro this side of Metal Gear Solid 3.

  30. Well, just impulse bought Legends 2 for $20…hopefully it’ll live up to the lofty expectations I have after all the gushing praise here.

  31. Twenty bucks? That seema a touch steep. I saw it used at a Gamestop over the holiday season for like twelve dollars. I thought about picking it up… but yeah, I didn’t. (My financies being what they were at the time, I picked up Legends 1 since it was only like five dollars or some such cheap price.)

  32. Gamestop.com had it listed at like $13.99, but it was backordered. I instead opted to spend the little bit of extra money and just snag an ebay copy.

  33. Everything about Batman: The Animated Series was win and God.

    Except for the “Tyger Tyger” episode. That was just … yeah.

  34. Still, twenty bucks isn’t too shabby if the game’s as good as I’ve heard. I’ve only played about the first half hour, and that was years ago now.

  35. Man what. ZX as a 2D version of Legends? I think you’re trying to sell a a rough connection as a definite one, and it’s kind of stretching it.

    Also, speaking of voice acting – think we should fear for the US version of ZX? Or will voices just get the axe?

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