Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Mercy Side: Triple H – COO or No?

On Monday we found out who CM Punk’s opponent was going to be. All the build up so far pointed towards it being Kevin Nash, who Jackknife Powerbombed the ex champion into the mat at Summerslam. Two weeks of decent promos and altercations between the two seemed to solidify this belief amongst most fans. However in CM Punk’s ever so not discrete way, he has been making digs at Triple H week after week after week. It was inevitable that Punk and Hunter would face each other - it was never in doubt. But I don’t think many people expected them to face each other so soon, at Night of Champions, in just under three weeks.
Now feelings on this matter are mixed but edging towards unsatisfied with the change of opponent. Why? Well let’s look at the pros and cons of the situation. Being the optimist I am, I’ll start with the pros. The change of opponent is good in the respect that Triple H is a much better wrestler and worker than Kevin Nash is. Hell, Triple H has always been a better worker than Nash. Another positive is that a lot of the new generation of wrestling fans haven’t the foggiest who Kevin Nash is, where as Triple H is a huge name is wrestling, and has been for a good 12 years consistently. This on its own brings a bigger market, the PPV will sell more for having Hunter’s name on the card than Nash’s. Another? The two guys haven’t wrestled a hectic schedule for a good eighteen months, both guys that is. Nash was with TNA eighteen months ago, where as Hunter was on tour with WWE around that time. In the eighteen months that have passed, Nash left TNA and barely wrestled, where as Hunter had a few injuries and pretty much did the build up to Wrestlemania but nothing before or since. What’s my point? Well neither have wrestled a great deal, yet Triple H proved at Wrestlemania that despite not being on the road for long periods of time wrestling, he can fucking go in an instant of notice. His match against The Undertaker was a classic. It’s my personal favourite Triple H match, and he was 41, slightly passed his prime. Nash? Well he hasn’t had many great matches in his entire career, and he was 41 back in 2000, at the demise of WCW.

So in brief, the pros are Triple H is a better worker than Nash, a better wrestler than Nash, gets ‘more asses in seats’ than Nash, can work a great match despite long term absence in the ring than Nash and is 10 years younger. The cons? Well, a big con is that despite all those pros, we were lead into a storyline where Kevin Nash came back to the squared circle and laid out CM Punk at Summerslam. He made a big impact. For two weeks, there has been bickering between Punk and Nash. And yes, while Triple H has been part of the storyline, his bickering with Punk has been part of the scenery, the background. The main hook, in the fore, was Punk/Nash. Nash for two weeks managed to get his hands on Punk, while Punk has so far tried and failed to get his revenge. It was a nice little story going on. And while Hunter/Punk had their problems, they seemed to be only niggling issues at present, not issues that were blown into proportion. So from a storyline perspective, what happens to Nash now that Triple H basically knocked him off the card and took his place? It’s bad booking to build something for two weeks only for it to be completely irrelevant. You can make an argument that next week on Raw we’ll find out that Nash is actually relevant but he’s not the main man anymore. He’s now been pushed back and regardless of his input, seems pretty useless now. So that’s one con. Another? CM Punk and Triple H was bound to happen. It was never in doubt. It felt like it was going to be dragged on for months before Hunter would have enough of Punk’s pipebomb bullshit and just take his anger out on him. It was a scene I’d love to have seen done in around half a year’s time, maybe in time for Wrestlemania. All in time, Hunter would try to ignore and block CM Punk’s provocations and try to maintain his professionalism. It was being written for itself and would make fantastic television over the next few months, seeing CM Punk slowly chip through Triple H’s armour before The Game just rips him to pieces, turning heel at the same time. So now that Triple H has decided to put himself in the match only five weeks after Punk was starting to bug him. A potential feud of the year candidate has now disintegrated, as it will all come to a premature head in just over two weeks time.
But the main con with this change of direction for WWE in terms of CM Punk’s opponent at Night of Champions is actually its affect on Triple H’s role going forward. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand and in certain ways agree with the opponent change. You can see why above. But if Triple H is the on-screen successor to Vince McMahon, the CEO of old, he needs to step away from in ring action. Yes, Triple H was, ahem, is, a wrestler and Vince wasn’t. But it doesn’t matter. Triple H, the COO of the WWE, needs to act like the man in charge. The man in charge does not take part in matches, he books them. He fires people. He sets the record straight. Yes he has an ego, but he tries to control it, for ‘the good of the business’. It doesn’t matter if it’s a storyline or kayfabe, he is the boss.

One of the main reasons Vince McMahon’s character worked so well for so long was because he rarely got involved in the ring. When Vince McMahon, le grande fromage, got in the ring shit was about to go down. Stone Cold’s feuds with Vince McMahon are legendary. But that’s because of the bickering, the bitching, and the excellent mic work. It wasn’t because of five star classics. And yes, Triple H can wrestle while Vince couldn’t, but that it doesn’t matter.

Okay, let’s look at it from a different angle. Forget wrestling is worked for a second. YOU, yes you there with the half eaten pastry in your mouth looking at my site, YOU are now the COO of the WWE. As I said forget wrestling is worked, you are in control. You’re the boss. You book the matches and sort out feuding wrestling angles. You fire the people who ‘deserve’ to get fired. What would you do if you were also a wrestler? You’d put yourself in world title matches of course! You wouldn’t go after Punk, you’d go after Alberto Del Rio who has the title. You’d book the match so it would be difficult for Del Rio to win, and take the title. Hell you’d strip him from the title and give it to yourself and then never defend it. Okay maybe this idea is a little farfetched, I mean it is YOU that would be champion. If it was me it’d make a little more sense after all, I am an incredible (yet humble and discreet) wrestler.
Okay all jokes aside; if Triple H is a wrestler AND the COO, it just doesn’t work. You can’t be both. You can’t be an active wrestler and book matches. It just doesn’t make sense. It was only four weeks ago when we were looking at a promo with CM Punk and Triple H and HHH said that he took the COO job for the fans, and with that job comes certain rules and responsibilities. He never factually said he would not compete again but he most certainly insinuated that he wouldn’t. Being a guy that can still go at a more than acceptable rate it was inevitable that Hunter would wrestle again. But as I said, it needs to be impactful. It needs to have a purpose. And with the direction it was heading in, say in six months, if Triple H was to patiently wait until that amount of pressure was built and tensions with Punk would increase on a weekly basis for that long, it would have had just that. Impact. It would have meant something. “Triple H returns! For one night only to stand up for his wife against the man with the pipebomb CM Punk!” It’s a money maker. Or it was. Now that Triple H is returning to the ring, only two months after being announced as the new COO, it’s meaningless. It lacks the edge it would have had around six months from now.

So to conclude, there are pros and cons for this change of opponent for CM Punk. The pros are Hunter is a better wrestler, worker, is better business for the company, younger and more capable of wrestling at a hands notice than Nash. The cons are it potentially makes the Nash/Punk storyline completely insignificant, it was a storyline rushed forward incredibly prematurely and the main reason, it devalues Triple H as the COO of the company. Where do I stand in this situation? I’m sure you’ve figured it out, I’m against this idea. Sure Nash won’t be able to wrestle a great match with Punk, but it’s not about a five star classic. It’s about putting CM Punk over, and believe it or not, Nash does have a certain value for Punk. Nash is a six time world heavyweight champion, and is 6’11. The match would have simply been booked for long periods of a beatdown for Punk while he overcomes the odds and bullishly defeats Nash clean with the Go to Sleep. It would have boosted Punk’s credibility amongst the marks (although the smarks are more than aware that Punk is gold at the moment and has been for sometime, some of the marks are still not convinced). It makes Punk look stronger. So there would have been value in that match.

As for Triple H, I say he can’t be an active wrestler too often (rare matches are fine, as long as they are that, rare) and be the COO of the company. So it has to be one or the other. COO or no? I say COO. Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Q&A with Johnny Mercyside: Part 3

Hey everyone, usually once in a month I'll do these lazy posts where I'll talk about myself rather than about music or games or whatever. These questions are from my Formspring account, which you can find here if you want to follow me. Here are twenty questions and answers for you that I answered some time ago (although if the answer is different from when I was asked at the time, I'll amend it here).

Q: What's the secret to happiness?
A: Looking at the bigger picture. When shit hits the fan, you need to take a step back and look at what it really is. Bad things are always the worst things in the world when they happen, but then when you look at it, life isn't that bad.This of course doesn't apply to everything, but definitely life's petty events. Stress is a big killer.

Q: What's the oldest piece of clothing you still own and wear?
A: I still have T-shirts I've had for probably upto 5 years ago.

Q: Would you rather vacation at the beach or in the mountains?
A: Not sure, I'd like to do both, in different holidays. If I had to choose? Mountains, I'd love to go to the south west of France or Switzerland.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I'm myself, I don't really fit into a category. Growing up I was always considered weird by most people, and it's a tag I've found hard to shake off. The older I've become the less it's bothered me.

Q: What kind of music can you just not stand to listen to?
A: Emo music. Bands who are barely older than me think they know the ins and out of life and love and whine about who life is so unfair. Then the fans who are barely younger than me "relate" to them, who also think they're life is so unfair and important to the rest of us. It's pathetic, it's like listening to a conversation between two Eeyore's.

Q: What was your favorite TV show as a child?
A: It's hard to pinpoint one, but I'll go with SMtv live. I watched it every weekend and it was comedy gold. It really was funny.

Q: Would you rather swim in a pool or the ocean?
A: In a pool, I'd definitely be more comfortable in one. Besides I hate the taste of sea water.

Q: If you could become any fictional character, who would you be?
A: Probably Vincent Valentine, he's pretty damn cool. Personality wise I see myself similar to Zidane Tribal though, so that would be more accurate.

Q: What's your favorite city?
A: Liverpool, it's just perfect for me, and yes I'm biased having connections from there. It's not too big, not too small, it has everything you'd want. Most importantly there are scousers everywhere!

Q: What was your favorite toy to play with as a child?
A: I can't really remember being attached to one particular toy, so it's hard to say.

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: No, just because some dudes in history wrote a few books doesn't make it real. I believe in the scientific explanation more than a spiritual one.

Q: Chocolate or Vanilla?
A: Ice cream? If so, chocolate, although I prefer mint chocolate.

Q: What was your worst travel experience?
A: Around two years ago Mimi, Vivi and I had the coach trip from hell when we went from Portsmouth to Birmingham on the National Express. Vivi wouldn't stop crying, we were cramped, we couldn't undo our seatbelts (or Vivi's), we were delayed about an hour and a half, it was hot. It was just awful, and we couldn't console Vivi very well in that enviroment.

Q: What was your first paying job?
A: I got paid £1.75 an hour working in a coffee shop. Absolute rip off in todays money, but I was 14 and didn't know how bad it was at the time.

Q: If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose?
A: 2003, it was an amazing year with how awful it was until we left my dad, then the great escape, the trip to Ireland, going to a womens refuge, starting school at Friars, dying my hair curly black and wearing Manson hoodies. Good times.

Q: What was your favourite birthday gift?
A: Last year, I enjoyed the surprise XBox replacement a lot of people chipped in to get me. That was great. Going to Alton Towers was also fun. Last year was the best birthday I've ever had.

Q: What website do you spend the most time on?
A: Facebook really, followed by my website. I also go on Rajah a lot and Yahoo!.

Q: Who's the most famous person you've met?
A: Erm not very famous unfortunately, but I shook the hand of Guy McKnight of the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, outside a venue in Brighton, which was an honour as I love the band. I was going to interview the band but then I needed ID to get in the venue, which I didn't have.

Q: If you could be on one TV show which one would it be?
A: Total Wipeout, and I have an audition to go on the show next month, wish me luck!

Q: Who would win in a fight: pirates or ninjas?
A: Depends if we're at sea or not, if we were, pirates.

And there you go. A little insight to what type of person I am and my views on things. Just in case you missed it earlier you can follow me and ask me questions on my Formspring here. Until next time, take care.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Live Thoughts: Liverpool vs Bolton Wanderers (Premier League)

Liverpool team: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Lucas, Adam, Downing, Kuyt, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Carroll, Spearing, Maxi, Skrtel, Robinson, Shelvey.
Carroll on the bench twice in a row while Suarez starts twice in a row... I wonder why? Still, it's a strong lineup and I'm sure Carroll can hopefully cause problems late on, similar to Suarez last week against Arsenal.

Bolton lineup: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Eagles, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, K Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Bogdan, Wheater, Tuncay, M Davies, Blake, Pratley, Riley

It's a decent side but it's one we should beat on paper. Davies and the on-form Klasnic could pose some threat if we let them, but let's hope Agger and Carra can do their bit.

There's talk of possibly Kuyt playing on the right and Henderson in the middle... so it could be 4-5-1 or 4-4-2. The good thing about Liverpool recently is that we do multiple formations in the match due to Suarez's diversity.

1' - Slow start so far, we're just passing the ball around.

2' - Excellent movement that lets Suarez cut form the centre to the right hand side of the box. Freekick in a dangerous position.

3' - Adam takes it and it hits the wall. Shame.

5' - We go on the attack again and Charlie Adam wins us a corner.

6'  - Martin Kelly does a mistake that lets Martin Petrov in for a corner.

7' - Excellent counter attack from the corner lets Stewart Downing almost score. End to end stuff at the moment.

9' - They just showed Fabio Aurellio and Steven Gerrard in the stands in those gray suits. I really dont like the look of them much.

11' - The pace has slowed down a bit with Liverpool taking most of the possession thus far.

14' - GOAL! Jordan Henderson! Stewart Downing whips in a lovely shot that was blocked but then Henderson gets the ball on the inside of the corner of the penalty box and smacks in an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net! 1-0!

16' - The commentators are giving Bolton a lot of credit in this match, saying their defence hasn't been shaken much and saying they're not out of the match. They're not wrong but I just think we've dominated a lot so far.

17' - Petrov makes me nearly eat my words as he took a nice shot at Pepe Reina. The king of the goalies stays strong however.

19' - Suarez slices a pass through Gretar Steinsson to Stewart Downing who goes down the left flank and cuts a cross down the penalty box that Dirk Kuyt fails to control. That was a quality cross by Suarez!

20' - Suarez has the ball and is free going into the left side of the penalty box! Jaaskelainen stays low and saves well.

21' - Close! Dirk Kuyt just couldn't quite get to the end of a lovely Jordan Henderson cross. We're playing very well at the moment!

23' - Henderson chips a ball WAY over the Bolton defence and Suarez is through! He tries to chip Jaaskelainen but it's just over the bar. He should have done better.

25' - Muamba is taken off, he's walking okay but he doesn't look right. Mark Davies takes his place.

27' - There's a stoppage of as Martin Kelly needs treatment. There isn't any news on what happened to him.

29' - Martin Kelly is off as Martin Skrtel takes his place.Skrtel is playing right back which is odd. As long as he's better than he is at left back...

31' - Lucas crunches into a tackle that ignites a counter attack. What a lovely tackle, he's quite the player nowadays.

32' - Martin Kelly has a hamstring problem. Not good at his age. Muamba has no injury so it's a tactical substitution.

33' - I haven't actually said about the formation - it's 4-5-1 with Kuyt on the right and Henderson in the middle.

34' - There's a juggle for the ball in the penalty box and Kuyt takes an unclean shot that was easily saved.

36' - Foul to Bolton as Charlie Adam dived. I don't think he dived in a dirty way, he just extended his leg too far and fell. Hey ho.

37' - Sebastian Coates is in the stands which pretty much seals that he's been signed. I wonder why we haven't announced it? Apparently he has passed his medical and everything. He's a young 6'6 centre back, a great bit of potential.

38' - Mark Davies goes on a lovely run and cuts through a few Liverpool players. He connects a soft shot that is easily saved by Reina.

40' - Dirk Kuyt cuts to the left wing and hits a fine shot that just goes over the bar. Good effort.

41' - The commentators are praising Pepe Reina. I want to be on record here and say that Reina is by far the best signing Rafa Benitez ever gave us. He's a world class goalkeeper and I wouldn't choose anyone to take his place in the entire footballing world.

43' - Freekick on the edge of the penalty area - Adam whips in a lovely cross to Suarez and Steinsson handballs it. There's a big debate whether it's a penalty or a freekick, replays suggest the referee got it right.

45' - Jose Enrique makes a run to the left flank and Reo-Coker cuts the run and it goes for a goal kick. The fans think it was a foul but it was actually a good quality tackle by the Bolton player.

45+1' - There was only one minute added time and it's now half time. This is our best 45 minutes we've played so far this season and Suarez is just unstoppable at the moment. He scored and got us a penalty in the Sunderland but I think this overall 45 minutes is better than the one against Sunderland. This is an excellent Liverpool side at the moment.

46' - Suarez wobbles and goes down in the penalty box but the tackle was outside and seemed to connect. We move on.

49' - A lovely run from Suarez who passes to Henderson on the right who cuts it back in and doesn't connect properly. It was great movement then.

50' - Charlie Adam takes a shot that Steinsson blocks. Corner.

51' - GOAL! Martin Skrtel! Charlie Adam takes the corner and Skrtel just connects instantly and it's straight into the net! Excellent!

52' - Haha! Stastics say we don't win if Skrtel scores! Based on this performance I doubt it'll be the case today!

52' - GOAL! Charlie Adam scores with his weaker right foot! This is just excellent stuff today! I'm running out of exclamation marks!

54' - Kuyt heads just over the bar. We're just unstoppable at the moment.

55' - Suarez gets the ball in the penalty box and takes it around Jaaskelainen but hits the side net.

57' - Tuncay comes on for Chris Eagles. They need to do something Bolton we're flooring them at the moment.

59' - Possession is 70%/30% to Liverpool. I'm not surprised.

61' - Some great movement from Liverpool and Suarez was in loads of space, no one passes to him and he gets a bit angry. Rightfully so.

64' - Bolton have some difficult fixtures to come up and it's a shame from their perspective, they were on form before they came to Anfield.

66' - Lucas gives the ball away but then gets it back quite quickly. He has been a boss in the midfield today.

66' - Klasnic gets the ball in the Liverpool penalty area but two bodies drop to the floor to block his shot. The ball then gets cleared.

69' - Jose Enrique bombs down the left wing but passes the ball to an offside Suarez.

70' - The commentators are slamming a Liverpool title challenge and rightfully so. We're only three games in the Premier League after finishing 6th. It's silly to think we can bridge that in one year. A top 4 finish is definitely a possibility though.

72' - Liverpool are claiming a backpass but the referee ignores it. Video evidence shows it was definitely a backpass.

73' - Nine Liverpool players are around their penalty box, only Carragher was back at the halfway line. That's dominance.

74' - Suarez gets tackled in the box again but it does look like the referee was right when the ball was taken from his feet.

76' - Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez come off for Maxi Rodriguez and Andy Carroll. Suarez is definitely man of the match, and Henderson was also impressive today.

78' - Downing whips in a sweet cross that unfortunately no one got to the end of. Brilliant stuff by the natural left winger.

80' - Carroll strikes a low shot wide. He didn't quite have it under control.

83' - In the last 10 minutes the possession has extended to 73%/27%. It's just been a dominant performance in every way.

85' - Maxi Rodriguez takes the ball off the last defender but it gets taken away from him quickly afterwards. Good movement from Rodriguez.

87' - Downing runs down the left flank and then to the edge of the left of the penalty box and takes a shot that goes wide.

89' - We dominate their final third again and Jose Enrique attempts a cross that whips across the penalty box. No one was there though.

90' - Two minutes of added time.

90' - Suarez looks absolutely deflated on the bench. He really shouldn't be happy, just because he didn't score! He was absolute dynamite today.

90+1' - GOAL! A rare mistake from Carragher gets Klasnic a goal at the end. No reaction from the ground at all. It's a shame Reina couldn't keep his clean sheet.

90+2' - Full time. A wonderful performance, easily the best performance of the season so far, and it was great to see two new signings in Adam and Henderson get their debut goals. Suarez was incredible today, just unstoppable. We're really on a roll and we're top of the league for at least tonight.

Thanks for reading my live feed today. You can like me on Facebook below. Have a good night.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bitesize: #5

Hey there,

This is the first Bitesize post in two weeks. I'll do them once in a while just to get a few things off my chest in one go rather than do full articles about everything. It's just not possible to do that.

First let's start with the wrasslin'. I wrote about The Hardy Boyz this week before Raw was on so that's why I haven't talked about current storylines as of yet. Before I do, give that article a look, if you haven't already, it's about the problems both of the Hardy's are having and how their lifestyles and and attitudes piss me off. In terms of quantities of people, it's the most praise I've had for a piece of work I've done.

Onto Raw, it was a very good show all around, the promos were very good, the matches were very good. What they're doing with Nash and Punk is intriguing, although it does seem to be leading to a long term Punk/Triple H feud which is fine by me. Keep going. As for Cena going against Del Rio, that's also fine. I hope Cena puts Del Rio over, and they can have a good match as well. I doubt it will be a classic like the two Cena/Punk matches were, but it should be still hopefully go into the **** star range. As for Smackdown, I haven't read the spoilers but last week we saw Mark Henry crowned as the no. 1 contender. While he isn't the most technically gifted wrestler on the show he has been a very entertaining character on TV recently and Randy Orton having a fresh opponent is fine by me. Christian/Orton was great and they booked the right time to end the feud. It'll easily be considered the feud of the year, unless this Punk/HHH feud is igniting into a huge thing that will go all the way to Wrestlemania, which isn't out of the realms of possibility.

In football, Liverpool beat Exeter 1-3 away. While they're not the best of opponents they were still a decent test despite us fielding a strong side. We still put in a very mature performance, we defended well and scored when we had the opportunity. Just because they're not a Premier League side doesn't mean we can dominate for ninety minutes, you'll always have shakes it's just being able to stay strong and composed when you're pressed a bit. And it was a mature performance, and the goals were good as well. Good performance. I'm quietly confident about this season, not that I predict we'll even come close to the title, but a Top 4 finish is something realistic I'm hoping.

As for site news, I'm introducing a few new things to the site recently, some you've already seen. On a monthly basis I'll be covering a year in music, this month I covered 1999, and at the start of September I'll cover 1998, and keep on going backwards. Another thing is I'm starting to do live football thoughts while a match is on; you can view my biased rambles on what happens during a Liverpool match here once in a while when I can. I did my first one here, when we beat Arsenal last weekend. I will be covering Liverpool against Bolton tomorrow in the same way. Once in a while I'll start introducing the Mercyside Licks, which is 10 songs (with Youtube videos if I can find them) that I really like, and will recommend. The only rule? No music singles. They have to not have been released as a single, so in theory, if you're not a big fan of the band you probably haven't heard the track. I'll try and follow a form of music theme as well, like heavy tracks or soft indie stuff, but that might not always be possible. There are other things too, like I'm trying to do a Q&A post once a month if I can too. So yeah, I'm adding some structure to my site.

So there you go, keep supporting me! I have a Facebook page you can 'like' me below. Have a good day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mixtape: Best Collaborations in Music

Hey there, welcome to my new Mixtape. The Noughtie series aside, this is the first Mixtape I’ve done for this site. This is a Mixtape of my favourite collaborations in music. By collaboration, the definition I’ve used is a group and a singer, or two singers, who don’t work together on a regular basis, in the same song. There’s has to be at least two voices, for instance, as great as Mark Ronson’s version of “Just” is, he doesn’t sing so it’s not even in contention. Not familiar with my Mixtapes? Here are the rules of the Mixtape.

A Mixtape is a playlist of a certain genre, band or era. The list is generally 80 minutes long, the same length of a blank CD, with further recommendations if some of the songs aren't to your taste. Remember kids, downloading is wrong!
So with that out of the way, here are my favourite music collaborations!

  1. I Just Had Sex - The Lonely Island and Akon
  2. Stan – Eminem and Dido
  3. SexyBack - Justin Timberlake and Timbaland
  4. Walk This Way – Aerosmith and Run-DMC
  5. Forgot About Dre - Dr. Dre and Eminem
  6. Throw it on Me – Timbaland and The Hives
  7. Another Way to Die - Jack White and Alicia Keys
  8. Living Doll - Cliff Richard and The Young Ones
  9. Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie
  10. Meds – Placebo and Alison Mosshart
  11. This Mess We're In - PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke
  12. Nightclubbing - David Bowie and Iggy Pop
  13. Hands of Death - Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper
  14. Break You Down – Godhead and Marilyn Manson
  15. Points of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer - Linkin Park and Jay-Z
  16. Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare) - Saul Williams and Zach de la Rocha
  17. Get It Up - Mindless Self Indulgence and Chantal Claret
  18. I'm Afraid of Americans (V1) - David Bowie and Trent Reznor
  19. Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown) - Tenacious D and Dave Grohl
Want some alternatives? Here’s five more:
  1. The Omen - DMX and Marilyn Manson
  2. Gold Digger - Kanye West and Jamie Foxx
  3. Where the Wild Roses Grow - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Kylie Minogue
  4. The Ballad of Queen Bee and Baby Duck - The Eagles of Death Metal and Brody Dalle
  5. Jackson - Johnny Cash and June Carter
Well I hope you like this list. I’ve covered rap, rock and metal here, which is good. There will be songs you like, and songs you don’t. I think in a list as diverse as this, everyone’s going to have a different personal list. If you’ve heard and liked stuff by some of these artists but have not heard these particular collaborations, check them out, they’re all good songs, well I think so anyway!

Do you have any suggestions for Mixtapes? I don't like doing artist Mixtapes to often, so a certain era, genre or distinctive element (like this collaborations one) is what I prefer. Any suggestions are welcome in the comments section below. Until next time, take care.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Mercy Side: The Hardy Complex

This is going to be a slightly different edition of The Mercy Side than usual. I’m going to talk about wrestling in this article, but I also give you some life advice. It may not apply to you but you never know. Enjoy the article anyway. 

“Hardy! Hardy! Hardy!”, the little boys and girls shout at both WWE and TNA performances whenever Matt or Jeff Hardy are in the ring doing their stuff. They’re an incredibly popular tag team, and make a claim for the most popular tag team in history in terms of the general fanbase loving them (smarks tend to like Edge and Christian more, and in the past five years, Beer Money). They have really cool entrance themes, flashy clothing, cool tattoos (in Jeff’s case), and they do some excellent tag team moves (Poetry in Motion while not technically brilliant, it’s still a cool signature move). They’ve had excellent matches, both of them as a tag team and individually. Who can forget the TLC triple threat match against Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz? Brilliant stuff.

But… as the intelligent internet wrestling fanbase is aware… all is not as it seems with the Hardy Boyz. They have a side to them, an ugly side, which rears its head once in a while. Don’t get me wrong when sober and interested, both of the Hardy’s I can really like in the ring. Really like. Jeff Hardy’s last run in the WWE was the best Jeff Hardy I’ve ever seen. Matt Hardy had his form back a few years ago when he was feuding with Edge. I like them in the ring. I saw TNA live earlier this year, and saw both Hardy’s wrestle. They weren’t that bad. Jeff Hardy had a lot of abuse from some of the smarks, including myself and my good Irish friend John, and he took it all on the chin. We had some excellent chants, like “Hardy’s wasted” and “Just eat grapes” (for Matt). They were excellent professionals when I saw them live and I give them credit when they work hard at their craft. Despite a lot of heckling at both the Hardy Boyz from the smarks, there were still passionate kids chanting “Hardy! Hardy! Hardy!”. Only John Cena nowadays, in a bigger venue on a bigger chant, get such a strong mixed reaction on a constant basis.

Why is this? Well if you haven’t figured much out on the internet, but the reason why both men left the WWE for TNA are because of their problems with the company. Jeff Hardy’s contract was running out and it seemed quite obvious that he wanted to start using drugs again. He still has court cases dating back around two years now, for having loads of drugs at his property. As for Matt Hardy, he felt he was underused in the WWE, that he is better than some (or all) the other guys getting a big push. He caused scenes on tour. He got suspended, and wriggled out of his contract. Both guys then went to TNA, Jeff Hardy around two years ago, and Matt Hardy earlier this year.
Jeff Hardy - idol of many. It's such a shame he's such an idiot.
In this time, the Hardy Boyz had problems. Personal problems. They took their feuds with both the WWE and certain wrestlers (CM Punk being one of them) to the internet. They ripped wrestlers off on the net. They used Twitter to air their grievances. Jeff Hardy’s last match in TNA was an absolute mess. He had a match against Sting, and stumbled to the ring, completely wasted. Sting finished him off quickly and took the title. Now TNA shouldn’t have let Jeff Hardy get to the ring in that state, but Jeff shouldn’t be fucked up at work in the first place. Taking drugs is one thing, but to do it at work, regardless of your profession, is just plain stupid. Jeff claims he was just tired due to his hectic schedule, but that was bullshit; his schedule for WWE was much bigger than it ever has been for TNA. And what's even worse? He has a wife and child. Does he do drugs around his child? I certainly hope not. That would be Jeff's lowest possible ebb.

And then there’s Matt. Now for the most part, there hasn’t been any evidence that Matt has any drug problems, or he takes drugs at all for the contrary. But his attitude in general just stinks, much worse than Jeff’s for the most part. He just thinks so high of himself, heck, both Hardy brothers do. On the top of their game, Jeff Hardy is a great talent capable of having great matches, and is world champion material. Matt is a step below that; capable of having good matches with most people yet never really deserving a place in the elite. That’s my frank opinion of them both, when they’re sober and motivated. But Matt just thinks he’s better than everyone. Their attitude is disgusting.

And the thing that pisses me off the most? Is usually around December/January time, when Matt Hardy promises to himself and to his fans that “a new era of Matt Hardy has begun”. Every year he says that, without fail. He can’t come to terms with the fact that Matt Hardy is actually passed his prime. He can’t compete as well as he could in the past. He can still go, but his ability seems to be on the wane. He just thinks far too much of himself, and can never take a look in the mirror and see his true self. Matt Hardy’s worst moment of past may not have had anything to do with drugs like Jeff, but it was harming his girlfriend, Reby Sky, who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know via Formspring. He and Jeff tasered her, live on camera, before putting it on Youtube, to the horror of many people. How fucking sick is that? Abusing your own girlfriend on camera? As I said, I’ve spoken to Reby a few times and she seems like a really nice woman, someone that really loves being with her boyfriend. But things like this just disgust me personally.

And then we come to the news from this weekend. Matt Hardy crashing into a tree, drunk. TNA immediately fire him, it was obviously the last straw for them. His reaction? He denies it, and hints at a move back to WWE? How pathetic! The WWE won’t want to go anywhere near Matt Hardy. He really must think too high of himself if he even thinks they’ll touch him again based on the problems he caused less than a year ago, and for his reckless actions. He denies it, but there’s no evidence for or against it at present. Matt and Jeff Hardy deny any wrongdoing they ever do. They just think they can do what they want, when they want and because they have a certain element of celebrity status and star power, they get away with certain things.
Matt "I wasn't drink-driving" Hardy.
Which brings me to my point for this article – The Hardy Complex. Now this article is mainly about wrestling and the Hardy Boyz in particular, but it’s also about a life lesson in general. What is The Hardy Complex? It’s a term me and my wife came up with a good six months ago, when looking at these two brothers. The Hardy Boyz have their fans, many of them. Probably in the millions. And whenever things go wrong for them, if they crash into a tree, take drugs, tase their girlfriend, or turn up to a PPV mainevent fucked up, they blame someone else. They don’t take responsibility for their actions. And The Hardy Complex? They seek comfort and sympathy from those that love them. They go to their fans; their blind fans, who will stick by them no matter what. They go to these fans who will agree with them, that it’s ‘all the others’, and never their fault. It’s not Matt Hardy’s fault he crashed into a tree, drunk. It’s not Jeff Hardy’s fault he decided to take drugs. It’s the WWE’s fault for not accepting them for the way they are, as their talent warrants this behaviour and this lifestyle. It’s TNA’s fault as well no doubt.

That’s The Hardy Complex. It’s a lot more popular than you think. You probably know many people that have it. You know, they have a problem, they don’t accept responsibility for it, and then go to all their friends and family and seek consolation, knowing that the love they receive will make them truly believe that they are not the reason their life is fucking up. I know a few people myself. The best thing to do is to stay away from them, let them believe they are not responsible for the shit that happens in their life and concentrate on your own. The Hardy Complex. Seriously, if you are having shit happening in your life, look at yourself in the mirror and truly seek a way out of the problems that occur. Don’t blame people, or things. There may be small things that make the path you’re currently on harder, there may be small things that aren’t actually your fault. But for the most part, you are the reason you are where you are. Not other people, or things. The Hardy Complex.

“Hardy! Hardy! Hardy..." what their fans be saying really is “Hardy's. Look at yourselves. Sort your life out”. Thanks for reading.

My wife made me a Facebook page, so you can now 'like' me by clicking here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Live Thoughts: Arsenal vs Liverpool (Premier League)

Hey everyone, here's my first ever live feed of what happened in the football game between Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League. This was done live. I've not touched the feed below as it represented my feelings as I did it live.

0' - Suarez on the bench is intriguing. It's difficult as we need Kuyt on the pitch, he's imperative to the team. But I'd rather put Henderson on the bench if I had to choose one or the other. At least he'll make a decent impact later on if he comes on as a sub.

3' - Corner for Arsenal, we dealt with it well enough, no problems thus far

4' - Another Arsenal corner, Arshavin should have hit the target there. Luck was on our side.

7' - They're putting the pressure on us but it's still open. Let's hope for a spell of pressure soon

8' - Yellow card for Fimpong for a tackle on Kuyt. Unnecessary really.

9' - Free kick for us not too far from the corner flag. They dealt with well.

10' - Walcott had a decent amount of space on the right wing. Thankfully the ball ends up back in Reina's safe hands.

11' - A bad decision by the referee gets shown a great amount of disappointment by Walcott, who starts eye balling Martin Atkinson. He might need to be a bit more careful.

15' - Laurent Koscielny has gone down injured. It doesn't look good.

16' - Arsenal Sub - Miquel replaces Laurent Koscielny. He's only played two FA Cup matches. How come Arsenal don't have more cover on the bench? It doesn't look good long term for them, I do feel for Arsenal fans.

19' - Carroll! Nice save. It's a shame as he hit that header really well.

20' -  The commentators are not wrong when they say we can't face Arsenal away at a better time, they have only only top quality centre back and their squad has been stripped to the bare bone. It's a shame, I like Arsenal and want them to do well in an unbiased way.

22' - Nice little run from Jose Enrique, chips the ball to Kuyt who crosses to Henderson. He didn't head the ball that cleanly but it was a nice move nonetheless.

24' - Free kick in a decent central position about 30 yards out. Charlie Adam doesn't do much with it though unfortunately.

25' - Another Liverpool corner that dissolves, but a nice cross by Stewart Downing was headed away by the Arsenal defence. It was a lovely cross though.

26' - A nice little move from defence to attack by Liverpool leads to nothing as Carroll is offside. I love the guy but he is offside quite often.

28' - Arsenal attack and Arshavin whips a low cross that scrapes across the face of goal but thankfully for us, no one was there.

29' - Emmanuel Frimpong has a decent effort from long range, it was just off target. I don't think Reina had that covered.

31' - Yet another Liverpool corner does nothing again and Arsenal clear.

33' - Downing tries to whip a cross to Carroll but Arsenal clear for a throw in.

35' - Nasri had a great chance then, it's the first time he's really threatened us.

38' - Downing has a great shot at goal, just wide of the top right of the goal.

40' - Two small chances for us, Downing whips in another good cross that's defended well. Carroll then shoots a deflected shot that's easily saved by Wojciech Szczesny.

41' - A nice Arsenal move between Van Persie, Walcott and Nasri. Nothing comes of it thankfully.

43' - Free kick in a great position for Arsenal. A yellow card for Lucas who pulls down Frimpong. Possibly a little harsh but he shouldn't have pulled him down, it's as simple as that.

44' - Van Persie hits the wall and the ball goes out for a corner. 3 minutes of added time announced.

45+1' - Nasri has a good run in the centre of the pitch but Agger puts his shot off and it goes well wide

HALF TIME - It was an okay half, both sides have had okay chances, nothing too groundbreaking. It does have draw written all over it, but hopefully we can penetrate their edgy defence.

Who had the best first half? For me it was Stewart Downing, he kept whipping in decent crosses and had a great shot at goal. For Arsenal I'd say it was probably Thomas Vermaelen, who was dealing with those crosses and Andy Carroll's threat quite well.

46' - 56%/44% possession in our favour for the first half, that's pretty good.

49' - Sorry for not updating much, it's mainly passing and moving from both sides at present.

51' - Arshavin tries to outrun about three Liverpool players, it comes to nothing and the ball ends up in Reina's hands.

53' - Kelly almost scores! The ball ends up with Carroll at the side of the final third and cuts back to Martin Kelly, who smacks it and it clips the post! Great chance!

55' - Some nice Arsenal movement from the second to the final third of the pitch although we deal with it well. No shots were taken at goal and a there was a foul.

58' - Small spell of pressure for Liverpool that simmers away. Not much to report so far in this second half apart from Kelly's fine strike.

61' - Liverpool corner, our fourth of the game (Arsenal have had 7). Once again it comes to nothing, Adam attempts a short at goal from the far left but it was an easy save for Szczesny.

63' - Counter attacking football by both sides without any strong pressure either way. The pace has been picked up a little though and that's good.

65' - Charlie Adam is praised by the commentators for his Gerrard/Alonso-esque crosses of the ball. They are great to watch and I'm happy Adam has filled that void Alonso left two seasons ago in that respect.

67' - Van Persie! Reina makes a fine low safe to make the ball hit the outside of the right post and out. Arsenal's best chance so far.

69' - Frimpong is off! He runs into Lucas straight on and after having a yellow in the first half, he's gone. Bad news for Arsenal!

70' - Double Sub for Liverpool - Raul Meireles and Luis Suarez replace Dirk Kuyt and Andy Carroll. Arsenal Sub - Henri Lansbury replaces Samir Nasri.

73' - Suarez half chance - a quick little pass into the box from Enrique to Suarez who can't move quick enough to take a real effort on goal.

77' - OWN GOAL! GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Meireles and Suarez have some nice movement going into the box and a deflection from Aaron Ramsey knocks the ball in the net! 1-0!

78' - Even as I'm happy for Liverpool, I do feel sorry for Arsenal and their bad luck in this game, an injury, a red card and then an own goal. Gutted. 

79' - Arsenal Sub - Nicklas Bendtner comes on for Theo Walcott, who hasn't been very good today.

82' - Things have calmed down a bit for the moment, neither side are penetrating forward much. 

85' - Still not much to report. Carl Jenkinson went down injured but came back okay. The commentators suggested Liverpool to give the ball to Downing so he can take advantage. 

88' - I just love watching Suarez. He's definitely my favourite player at the moment. He just tries to go forward at all times when he has the ball. There's too much of this back peddling or square ball business nowadays.

90' - LIVERPOOL GOAL! SUAREZ! Lucas plays a ball in the middle of the pitch gets to Meireles, who is offside, who then passes square to Suarez to hit it in the net! Great stuff!

90+1' - 4 minutes added time. 

90+3' - "You'll Never Walk Alone" is being echoed through the Emirates. Lovely sound. 

90+4' - Full time whistles and there are boos around the stadium, obviously directed at Arsene Wenger.

It was a decent display by Liverpool, although the result is better than the performance. Full time 0-2 to Liverpool, our first win at Arsenal in 11 and a half years. Good times. Thanks for reading.


My wife made me a Facebook page, so you can now 'like' me by clicking here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Music Album Review: Wasting Light by the Foo Fighters

Wasting Light further solidifies the Foos as one of the best bands of the past ten years, a band that consistently produces great modern rock 'n' roll over and over again.
"Wasting Light" is the Foo Fighters seventh album, following up Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, released four years ago. The lead singer Dave Grohl, and Pat Smear, who plays lead and rhythm guitars are former members of grunge rock band Nirvana, and the bass player for Nirvana Krist Novoselic, also has a cameo in the track "I Should Have Known". Since Nirvana, the Foo Fighters have grown by leaps and bounds as one of the biggest rock bands worldwide. In 2009, the band released a "Greatest Hits" album, and this is their first effort since then. The album clocks in at 47 minutes and 11 tracks, which is about average for a Foo Fighters album.
We start with “Bridge Burning” which is an excellent opener, and starts with the lyrics “these are my famous last words”. It’s an energetic, raw opening, and sets you up nicely for the rest of the album. Just in case you're not very familiar with the band's albums, the Foo Fighters often get their albums starting this way; a great quality hard rock track that really perks you up for what’s to come, and can easily be compared to "In Your Honor" and "Stacked Actors" in that respect.

The first single to be released off the album was “Rope”, which is also the second track on the album. Personally, I think it's okay, it’s not as good as their previous debut singles off other albums, I much prefer “The Pretender”, “All My Life” and “Monkey Wrench” as debut singles in comparison. Also, I think other songs on the album are better than this. I don’t want to feel like I’m talking anything away from “Rope”, it’s a decent song, and an understandable choice for a single, I just feel personally, there’s better songs on the album.

Track three is one of my favourite songs on the album, “Dear Rosemary”, a song that's a direct message to someone named "Rosemary", although this could easily be a name to cover up someone else. I find the lyrics can relate to Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and as Grohl often writes about his feelings towards his former bandmate. I don't know the answer, it's just my interpretation of course.

My favourite song on the album however is “White Limo” which is a proper homage to heavy rock and metal, and is an effort very similar in vein to some “Queens of the Stone Age” tracks, particularly “Tension Head”, and as the bandmates of both bands are great friends (Dave Grohl has played for TQotSA before, and both Grohl and Josh Homme played together in the band Them Crooked Vultures), it could easily be a tribute. "White Limo" just sounds fantastic, and Grohl has always had a voice that easily could work in a harder genre of music. It's something I've always wanted to see him do more consistently, but that image wouldn't work often for the Foo Fighters.

Other noticible tracks are "These Days", which is a particularly lovely song, and is similar to other songs on previous albums, like "Resolve" and "Everlong"; in the respect that the song mixes both the softer sounds of rock and Grohl's vocals, and then the choruses taking a more upbeat and heavier element. The track "Back and Forth" definitely brings back a sound associated with Grohl's previous band, Nirvana. It almost feels like a good homage to the band he drummed so well for. The second single "Walk" is the final track of the album, and while it's another solid track, it doesn't feel like the type of track to end an album, and while the album doesn't end abruptly, it does feel like it may have gone on a bit longer.

This is a solid album, however it doesn't really feel like the band have really progressed forward. That's not to say it's a step back, it isn't. I don't know if that means they'll never reach another step going forward, it can be argued they don't need to. They're a veteran band now, they've been going for a good seventeen years and this is their seventh album. They have an incredible following. It's not a criticism to say "they haven't moved forward", but an observation. The Foo Fighters are one of the most consistent bands around, in terms of all their efforts being solid, and for them not really having a peak moment. I can easily list you great songs by the Foo Fighters, but albums? They're all good, they're not classics, but they're never duds either. "Wasting Light" continues this trend, it's a great effort, there's no lacking quality here. It further solidifies the Foo Fighters as one of the stand out bands of the past ten years, a band that produce great modern rock 'n' roll over and over again. I don't ever see the band taking a step backwards. I just don't know if they can get any bigger or better, that's all.

Rating: **** stars

Stand out tracks: White Limo, These Days, Dear Rosemary

"White Limo", my favourite track, wasn't a single, but this excellent video was directed by Dave Grohl himself and has Lemmy from Motorhead in it. It's well worth a look!
My wife made me a Facebook page, so you can now 'like' me by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Mercy Side: The Transformations of William Birkin (Resident Evil 2)

Warning: This article contains many spoilers with regards to Resident Evil 2 (but not other games in the series). If you haven’t played it, and don’t want to know the events of the game, I’d recommend you avoid this article.

Hey everyone, I want to do something slightly different today, and that is pay homage to visually, one of my favourite villains in video game history. Now my favourite character in all of Resident Evil is actually Albert Wesker, the mastermind behind a rough estimate of 80% of the events in the entire series. But William Birkin, not the man, but the monster, visually, is an image that has always stuck with me as a fan not only of Resident Evil, but also of video games in general. But before I talk of Birkin, I want to just talk a bit about Resident Evil 2, the game he was in.

Resident Evil 2 (from now on I’m going to refer to it as Resi 2) was initially released in 1998 on the Playstation, but has since been ported to a few different consoles. This isn’t a major review on the game, the title above tells you what I’m going to discuss in great detail, but if I were to review the game, I’d probably give it either ****1/2 stars or ****3/4 stars. The game has dated a lot since the fantastic experimental days with graphics in the mid to late nineties. At the time, everything was new and all consoles and game designers were trying to outdo each other, graphics wise in the market. At the time this was a lovely looking game, but now it’s quite badly pixilated and even the FMVs look quite naff. The game is well due a remake (although I might write that article another day). The sequel to the original, Resi 2 had improved graphics, dramatically improved voice acting  (but it’s still quite poor), better controls and a decent advancement in storyline. The best thing about the storyline was that you could either be Claire Redfield (sister of Chris Redfield, main character in the original) or Leon S. Kennedy (you can’t forget the S. in his middle name). At the start of the game, regardless of who you choose, you both end up on separate sides of a tank explosion and make your separate ways to the police station, and continue from there. If you play as Claire, and complete the game, you have the opportunity to play as Leon, and see what happened from his perspective in the backgrounds of Claire’s game. This is referred to two different games, Claire A, and Leon B. The reverse also applies, in that if you choose Leon first, you end up on the side of the fire Claire was on in her “A” game, and Claire also switches to where Leon would be. So in theory, you have four games, Claire A, Leon B, and the reversal, Leon A, and Claire B. These games are slightly different with the same outcome – you both survive, along with the horribly annoying Sherry. There are suspicious that Ada also survives, and you find that answer out in another entry into the series. But along the way, regardless of if you do Claire A/Leon B or Leon A/Claire B, you go against William Birkin many, many times, as well as Tyrant in the “B” scenario with either character.

William Birkin’s story is a sad one. He has a wife named Annette, and his daughter is the frustrating Sherry I mentioned earlier, and he is a scientist. He has spent a large portion of his life creating the G-Virus, one of the viruses responsible for the zombie outbreak, the main one responsible for the zombies in Resi 2. He liases with Umbrella, the pharmaceutical company who are responsible for the T-Virus, but there is an agreement between the company and Birkin that no matter how much they co-operate, Umbrella will never take his research and most importantly, the G-Virus, away from him.
William Birkin in his human form.
As expected, Umbrella break this promise and send an armed squad to retrieve the virus by force from Birkin. Two squadrons find Birkin first and hold him at gunpoint, but he was expecting them. Birkin, being the clever scientist he is, knew Umbrella would turn on him, and his plan was to pack up some samples of the Virus in a container, one that they would take by force if required. He kept the G-Virus on his person. At the heat of the moment, the two squadrons threaten to kill Birkin if he refuses to hand over the G-Virus; Birkin has a gun to the two armed men. Retreating backwards, William Birkin accidentally knocks over a metal instrument, which gives him a shock. The two squadrons shoot at him, taking advantage of the situation, and grab the container with samples in it, as Birkin planned.

William Birkin was mortally wounded by the gunshots to his upper torso and was lying in a pool of his own blood. In his hand however, is the G-Virus, his life’s work, the work that is precious not only to him and his family, but to Umbrella as well. He had a choice – die, and let someone else take the virus off him? Or use the G-Virus on himself, possibly curing him, but more likely, turning him into the biggest monstrosity the city of Racoon had ever seen. He took the latter option, and he slowly started to mutate. He had cheated death, but paid the price. He quickly took revenge on the two squadrons that took the samples. They saw him coming, and started unloading machine gun bullets into him. It was no use. He ran at them, slashing them up with his newly developed arm, which was developing into a mutated claw with a large eye. The squadron holding the container of samples dropped it as he got killed. Birkin, still with some human consciousness, goes crazy and starts breaking the samples into his own skin, making him mutate further and further. Rats then start to devour the remains; these rats start the infection of zombies in Racoon City.

The Transformations of William Birkin

So now that you know how Birkin became the monster that he is in Resi 2, let’s go through the different transformations. These transformations are in canon order, so that’s why it’s important to know that while, for instance, Leon A takes place ‘live’ at the same time as Claire B (and vice versa with Claire A/Leon B) only one of the two characters take him on at a time, and that in the timeline of the game, if you only play an “A” campaign, you don’t see the transformations that only appear in “B”.

Mutation #1

Scenario: Claire B or Leon B
Location: Claire B – the secret underground passage belonging to Brian Irons; Leon B – the pool leading to the sewer entrance
Difficulty: 4 out 5
First Mutation.
The earliest time you see Birkin properly in the timeline of the game is in the “B” scenario. He has a lot of his human appearance here, the main mutation being on his right arm. The confusion for me is that as I explained earlier, he took out the two squadrons with what is implied as a claw. A swipe action is seen, and blood spurts in a cross direction. However, in this mutation, Birkin’s claw has not quite developed yet. There is an argument to be made that he could have taken the two squadrons on after this fight (you go to the sewers after this fight, so it’s possible, just unlikely), who knows. Anyway, his right arm has mutated and is a pinky-red colour, and has a large eye in the shoulder area. Because William Birkin hasn’t quite developed yet, he prefers to use a steel pipe to beat you down with. I’ve given it a difficulty rating of 4, because while you should be able to load him down with a decent weapon before he gets an attempt to hit you, IF he hits you, it’s quite difficult to get away from him. One hit from the steel pipe brings you to your knees, utterly winded, in which he basically gets a free second hit on you. If you’re on decent health, this at least brings your health down to half. If you’re stuck in a corner at this point, if you beat him, he gets angry and starts flailing his steel pipe around, something that is also quite difficult to dodge. After the fight he simply walks off and jumps to the lower areas of the sewers.

Mutation #2

Scenario: Claire A or Leon A
Location: Underground Gondola
Difficulty: 3 out of 5
Second Mutation. Note his human face seeping to his pectoral.
Because you have to play through the “A” scenario to get to the “B” scenario, this is officially your first fight with Birkin. He starts off the fight by throwing his steel pipe at you (it’s a cutscene so it never hits). This, naturally, is reference to his first fight with the opposite person in the previous mutation. At this point however, he has grown in stature, probably about an inch in height and his shoulders are quite bulky. His face has started to seep downwards towards his pectoral. He starts to develop a new head, a weird grey coloured one. His right arm, earlier mutated, has now developed that claw that we spoke of earlier. The battle with Birkin in this instance is actually slightly easier than the previous one. He walks a lot quicker, yet his attacks are quite easy to dodge. If he hits you with his claw, he usually hits you a second time, and attempts a third, but you can relatively easily dodge the third attack. These attacks waste a lot less than the ones in the first mutation, and you recover much quicker. About two-thirds into the fight, he seems to squirm inwards, and starts to develop a very small second set of hands, under his torso. These have no affect on the fight however, and at this point onwards he is very easy as he is weakening, he slows down dramatically. When you finish him off he falls to the ground.

Mutation #3

Scenario: Claire B or Leon B
Location: Underground Gondola
Difficulty: 4 out of 5
Third Mutation. This is my favourite mutation.
Yes, the same place, the opposite character. When you play the “B” scenario, you have to call the tram back up (as the other character rode it down to the bottom, you have to get it back up to get to the chemical plant). When your opposite character has to take on Birkin for the second time (it’ll be the same character taking on Mutation #1) his mutation stage is an advancement on #2. Remember the two arms that were premature and served no purpose in the fight above? Well, they’ve now developed. They’re now claws that form a new set of arms and are where the previous arms used to be. And left arm of old has now developed its own claw, equal to his right one. These claws? Well that’s the thing, they’re now absolutely huge, a good 150% broader than Birkin’s shoulders. So yes, if you didn’t figure it out by now, William Birkin now has four claws.

For me personally, this is my favourite looking mutation of the ones in the game. He just looks so badass, with his two huge claws above his shoulders, and the two smaller ones on his sides. And yes, the difficulty has gone up too. He has now developed the ability to jump up on top of the tram and jump as close to you as possible. He walks a slightly slower speed to Mutation #2, but quick enough to be a threat. But the main snag here is when he gets within around three feet of you, he raises his two massive claws even higher, and the two below are also raised. This makes him look even bigger, and most certainly harder to avoid. If you’re cornered at this point, chances are you’re not going to be able to dodge his attack. That attack is a four-claw slice combo, which can easily take you to near half health. The good news is that he usually lowers his claws after this combo, giving you the chance to run around him and recuperate. After the fight, he jumps off the tram onto the side of the grid, his blood trickling downwards.

You actually see this mutation of Birkin at the chemical plant in the Claire A scenario (I’m unsure of another one), you see his wife Annette finds him and tries to talk sense. At this point any humanity in Birkin has completely gone, and kills her with one claw. He jumps into a vent afterwards.

Mutation #4

Scenario: Claire A or Leon A
Location: Train Platform Elevator
Difficulty: 4 ½ out of 5
Fourth Mutation. He's now a six legged beast.
This is the final boss in the “A” scenario with either character. William Birkin breaks through the ceiling and drops a great height to the elevator platform. You can make an argument that the fight starts of at Mutation #3.5 as he is a slightly different looking monster at this point, although it’s hard to pinpoint where he has changed. He has another eye, now on his left shoulder. His stomach has started to open up, although the beginning of that may have started in mutation #3. Either way, you start this fight early, and after unloading a certain amount of bullets into him, he then transforms officially to Mutation #4.

The fourth mutation sees Birkin fall to his knees, where his stomach rips open. It literally, develops into a new base, a very large mouth full of many, many teeth. We’re talking probably hundreds of tiny teeth. His arms now turn into a set of six legs. His head (the one that developed in Mutation #2), has now doubled in size. and William Birkin no longer resembles anything close to a human any more. His skin has turned to that blacky-grey colour I mentioned earlier and he is a four/six legged beast. He can jump onto the beams on the platform with ease, and runs faster than he ever has in the past. This is definitely the most difficult mutation to fight. The worst thing that can happen is Birkin jumping from a beam into you ‘mouth’ first, and then grabbing you with his massive mouth, chomping at you and then throw you a good eight feet away. This two move combo can easily slash your life in half if not more. He mainly runs around after you, and you have to just shoot at him and hope for the best. When he eventually goes down, he literally shrivels into a heap, seemingly sulking; his head and arms all contract inwards into his many teeth and a pool of blood.

You think this is it, as you complete the “A” scenario. And  in the “B” scenario, the majority of the bosses that fill the game other than the two mentioned above, is Tyrant. As you play the “B” scenario, and get the exact same ending as the “A” scenario (that is, the two games now combine each others ending and you now have the full story about what happened to both characters) everything looks good. Until the FMV isn’t finished after all, and train all of a sudden starts to shake.

Mutation #5: The Final Birkin Transformation

Scenario: Claire B or Leon B
Location: Train
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Final Mutation. They just went too far.
I hate to talk about this. I love William Birkin and his transformations are excellent. Up until this one. I think Capcom and the makers of Resident Evil 2 went too far with this. But here we go.

After the storyline twist FMV, the person playing the “B” scenario must investigate what on earth is going on with the train. When they go into the second carriage, they suddenly see a tentacle break a metal plate from above. The character runs in the opposite direction towards the first carriage, as what is seen is an amazing thing to describe. Amazingly stupid anyway. This is the final boss in the “B” scenario.

What you see is a four tentacled William Birkin, with an extremely large mass fall to the train carriage. I like to call him Gelatinous Birkin. It literally, uses it’s four tentacles, which are around 15 feet long each, to grab the sides of the train corners to pull it’s ridiculous body forwards towards the character. All you see is the many teeth from earlier, the mouth, and a body full of dead corpses and flesh around it. As I said, it literally takes the entire train carriage, pulling himself towards you. Just unload your weapon, unsympathetically into him, and he’ll fall quickly. He’s so big and slow that he’s hard to actually struggle with, he falls with ease. When he falls, he turns into a disgusting huge mass of purple goo, his gelatinous body starts to seep in your direction, in which your character reacts to retreat closer towards the door.

In the official scenario “B” ending FMV, Gelatinous Birkin still didn’t die when you beat him down in the final fight. Leon, Claire and Sherry manage to apply the emergency break on the train and run out of the tunnel. The train self-destructs taking Gelatinous Birkin with it, and this is finally where Birkin meets his end, much to the relief of the three survivors.

It’s a sad ending in many ways. It’s sad because the four mutations before the final are excellent and are what I remember fondly of Birkin. I don’t think I like any other set of physical transformations in any other series than I do of the first four in this game (apart from Magikarp to Gyarados of course). It’s sad in other ways as I said, as it’s sad that William Birkin was so relentless in his pursuit of the survivors that he had to take such a dramatic form. It’s also sad for William Birkin the man, the human, he was so obsessed with his research, his project, his virus, that he would rather turn himself into this extremely persistent monster that only wants to feed itself humans and other virus samples than die a proud man, having completed what he thought was his life’s task. I mean the virus is highly dangerous, illegal and he shouldn’t have been conducting this type of scientific experiment, but the passion in which he took the project, where he would put it in front of even his family, is admirable yet ultimately a sad thing. He is a sad human being for having his priorities this way.

To conclude it’s a sad ending for William Birkin as a human and as a monster. Yet myself, and some of you too I hope, will forever remember the rise and fall of William Birkin, as one of the greatest monsters in video game history, one that doesn’t seem to get the recognition I believe it deserves. The transformation sequences, the artwork, the ideas and imagination, in 1998, there was nothing like it, at least I struggle to think of anything remotely close. I was and still am to a certain extent, astounded to how great he looked. A remake would do his transformations even more justice, graphically. Pun intended, William Birkin, is a beast of a monster and I thank everyone who contributed to his greatness.

Do you agree? Disagree? Are there any other monster transformations that you like, or prefer to Birkin? Comment below and tell me your story if you want. I hope you enjoyed this slightly different article. Thanks for reading.

For the latest updates on my work, follow me on Facebook and Twitter here!