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SummaryFun beastly fighting
The GoodWhile I'm only an amateur what comes to fighting games, I found the game rather enjoyable - not frustratingly challenging (or maybe I have only got better over time?) and not too easy either. The game uses the three-button kick/punch/block (A, B, Y) system, addition to which there's X button for beast transformation/special moves and Z for hyper-beast transformation. Like I said, I'm not a fighting game guru, and any game that uses Virtua Fighter-like buttons *has* to be good. Pure and simple. (Now if only I'd make myself stop doing instinctively the PPPK combo from Virtua Fighter! I find myself trying to do that in *most* unusual situations, like when I got Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes...)
Graphics are really top notch. Both the characters and the backgrounds are really beautiful, and the special move effects are rather glittery. I was also amazed by the intro and finale movies, which are actually drawn as traditional cel animation; the PS2 and XBox variants of Bloody Roar apparently have engine-rendered intros, but this choice of using traditional animation seems more stylish. Music is good, just a bit boring though. Somewhat forgettable fighting game heavy metal.
I also like the training mode, since it shows directly what moves I've made - this makes practicing moves easier. This has probably been done before in various other console fighters, but being a random ignoramus who's more familiar with the arcade world where training modes are nonexistent, I have no idea where.
And, well, the idea of having animal characters just rules.
The BadThe only big big big annoyance in the game is the data saving. Let's see how Super Smash Bros saves its data: The game asks if it's okay to create a save file, after which all saving is invisible, quiet, and non-intrusive. The only thing you notice is the small on-screen indicator that data is being saved. Bloody Roar's option? Just the opposite. There are explicit commands for saving and loading stuff from the memory card, option to turn the automatic saving on, and if you turn that on, every time you're done fighting it asks if it's okay to overwrite the stuff on memory card! If I want auto-save, I actually want auto-save, duh!
But this is overall a small problem, and there isn't any larger problems with the game as such.
The Bottom LineBloody Roar series has one gimmick that sets it apart from other fighting games: The characters can turn into anthropomorphic animals. And that's a good thing. On theoretical basis, the idea sounded good back in the Beforetime, so much that I even thought of buying a Playstation to play the game, but luckily I haven't done that yet. Too bad Fox from Bloody Roar 1 doesn't appear to be in this game, but I don't care - I already have one GameCube fighting game with a fox.
The weak Fighting Game Plot - which no one gives damn about - of the Month: There's this nation of Zoanthropes, who are people who can turn into gigantic big scary animals. The nation's leaders decide to set up a fighting championship with huge cash prices and stuff. Huh? what? Yes, that's it. That was the excuse for carnage. Now pick a character and beat the heck out of eight opponents!
The characters are an assortment of cool and stylish people, who turn into cool and not-so-cool animals, things, and animal-things. There are serious characters (like my favorite Yugo, who turns into a wolf), semi-serious (Busuzima, a crazy guy who turns into a lizard), and just plain uncommentable (Alice, whose alternative form is a giant white red-eyed bunny... of DOOM.)
Characters have different styles too, and all characters have easy and tricky combos and special moves. And good news for newbies: The most effective moves, called the Beast Drives, are same for all characters - but these moves still take time to master!
I have no idea what the more "serious" fighting game fans say about this game, but *I* think it rules and is just complex enough to me to say that it looks "serious" enough. At most times it's serious, at times it's lighthearted. It's violent, yet it's non-gory (with 11+ rating here, it isn't exactly as "bloody" as the title suggests).
In short, a nice enough thing to have. Some of the best spent 30 Euros ever =)