Review by Chris Ong
Assuming you have read the excellent review by Toranaga Akira of Asuka 120% Special. Chances are, you already know what to expect from its sequel : Asuka 120% Excellent Burning Fest.
Basically, Asuka 120% Excellent ( and the original Asuka 120% ) is an anime-styled all-female fighting game with all the trimmings. What sets this game apart from other similar titles, is the almost non-stop fighting action ! The only game I know of that can possibly surpass the intensity found in Asuka 120% would be Mad Stalkers ( Developed by the same people : Fill-in-Cafe ). Those who have played Marvel Super Heroes will feel right at home here in Asuka 120%'s fighting ferocity ( and wait till you see the countering abilities you can perform ! ). The girls also possess some unique fighting styles that depend on their affiliation from the school. As an example, the main character Asuka is from the chemistry department so her attacks involve using volataile chemicals while another character Megumi is from the cheerleading squad so her attacks basically consists of acrobatic movements and pompoms. In short, its one fighting game that deserves a place in your game collection. And now, on with the categories :
GRAPHICS = As expected, its very colorful and its anime-styled to boot ! The ONLY thing that I find wrong with the graphics is that the sprites ( and most anything that moves ) are blocky. Downright real blocky. I would wished that the character sprites would be as sharp and detailed as the ones in Advanced Variable Geo, but this is a minor complaint and you'll never be bothered by it ( trust me, and now lets get back to the good stuff ... ). And when you look above that, the graphics are exceptional. The background is nicely done with lots of activity. The statics too, is nicely done. And for a sprite-based game, the animations are smooth with no jerky movements. Which is a big plus since the game relies on multiple chaining of combos as the formula for successful fights. With smooth movements, you can do precision chains and combos like a pro without really trying. If there is something missing here, its the FMV. So in conclusion, the graphics are very well done and will not dissapoint.
Graphics : 8 out of 10. If it weren't for the blocky graphics, it would be PERFECT ( really ).
MUSIC and FX = In music, Asuka 120% Excellent has a couple of nice tunes but not impressive as a whole. But then again, the way you fight in this game, you won't notice it. The FX on the other hand, is well done for the most part. And yes, as in the original Asuka 120%, the voices are plentiful and prevalent throuhout the game. In fact, the game is noiser than most fighting games. Even the entire dialogue between the characters in Story Mode are voiced. And with so many voices, there has to be some compromise. And that compromise is the muffled quality of the voices. It seems that a low sampling rate was used for the voices so it can fit in the Playstation's limited RAM. So other than that, Asuka !20% Excellent does a good job in the Music and FX category. But it does have some flaws ( especially in the voices ) that hurts its overall presentation.
Music and FX : 6.5 out of 10. Plenty of voices, only its low quality. And when you look above that, it sounds like any fighting game.
CONTROL = This is where it counts for fighting games. The control has to be smooth, responsive, and effective ( read : logically placed in the controller ) if a game were to be called a kick-( ahem .... ) fighting game. And I am happy to say that Asuka 120% Excellent gets a perfect score in its controls ! It has everything a fighting game could want in terms of ease of playability and to top it all off, the moves are very easy to do. Resulting in a fighting game which is a real blast to play. Only 4 buttons are used in the game ( aside from the cross pad ) 3 of which are attacks of varying strength ( whether it would be kicks or punches will be determined by your character and your character's position ) and one button which is used to counter anything ( again, more on that later ). To sum it all up, the controls in Asuka 120% Excellent were designed to be so easy to pick up that it won't get in your way in pummeling your opponent to pulp.
Control : 10 out of 10. Perfect. It it were any more responsive, it would be scary.
GAMEPLAY = Gameplay-wise, Asuka 120% Excellent is basically a fighting game with one big difference. And that is the awesome countering abilities you can perform while in combat ! With this set-up, fighting is virtually nonstop until one wins. Countering in Asuka 120% is different from countering in the Street Fighter Zero series of games. Instead of nullifying attacks ( known as the turtler's tactic ), Asuka 120% can let you retaliate instantly and easily ( just press a button ) and while at it : do some damaging combos in the process. And yes, your opponent can do the same to you. Taking this set-up even further, you can counter the combo that your opponent just did when she countered your own combo and vice-versa. This is all possible since you can counter anything, anytime and anywhere without any limitations ( except for your power meter which decreases if you countered without immedietly chaining a combo, and even if the meter is down to 0%, you can still counter anything ). Combo-wise, the setup is similar. You can combo almost any of your moves for long chains of attacks. Juggle combos are pretty common in Asuka 120% and coupled with the countering system. Well, suffice it to say that the fights are intense. Chaining combos is so smooth here that its equal to Marvel Super Heroes in sheer ferocity of attacks ( in some cases, it will even exceed Marvel Super Heroes ). The moves are nothing too special, but they are heavily integrated in the gameplay. The Story Mode has an almost RPG like feel to it, with your character stats and plenty of paths to choose from ( and a path specific to each character to obtain a special ending, or so I heard ........ ) this in itself contributes greatly to the replay value ( though that depends whether you can understand or comprehend spoken and written Japanese ). The only bad thing here is that there is no tournament mode, you have to play the Story Mode to see an ending. So, gameplay-wise, Asuka 120% Excellent is awesome ( for a fighting game ).
Gameplay : 9 out of 10. Excellent. Need I say more ?
After hours of playing and two tired thumbs. I would give Asuka 120% Excellent the score of : 8 out of 10. I highly recommend it for those who either like anime, fighting games, or both. The Story Mode is nice, but the VS mode is the only reason for repeated playings ( just like any other fighting game ). For those who hate fighting games ( and I know a few ... ), this game won't change your mind, ( action game fans will find a similar intensity of play in Mad Stalkers Full Metal Force, but with simpler graphics ) but on the other hand, fans of the genre will be treated to some of the more enjoyable fist fights ever to grace the Playstation.