BLOODY ROAR: HYPER BEAST DUEL
|Sony C. E.
|NTSC - Japan
You stand with your bloody paws clenched around deadly sharp claws as
you stare down at your opponent: a bunny rabbit. Isn't she cute? Hardly
a worthy opponent for a street brawler/lion such as yourself. You
approach, ready to maybe show a hint of mercy to the helpless creature
when in a flash of pink she launches her porcelain-like body into the
clouds- and right back down on your head. Before you know it, you've
returned to your human form and are on the ground, dizzy and unable to
move. Once the light of day reaches your eyes you realize the giant
bunny rabbit is stradling your chests. With a confident grin, she tears
into your neck muscles before you can move an inch. If this scene
happened to you today, chances are you were playing Hudson's fun and
intense new fighter: Bloody Roar (or you were having a very sick dream -
Bloody Roar is a psuedo-3D fighter in the style of Virtua Fighter and
Tekken in that it uses 3D polygonal graphics while keeping the gameplay
strictly two dimensional. The concept is simple: each of the eight main
fighters have an alternate persona - a beast - that they can morph into at
the push of a button. During a normal fight, the player can change into
his or her beast once the "Beast Bar" fills, allowing for a whole array
of moves and fighting. For instance, the aforementioned bunny rabbit and
lion are Alice and Gado. Other interesting creatures include a fox, a
gorilla, a tiger, and a mole-like creature with huge claws (perfect for
slicing and dicing unworthy opponents).
Simply put: it's no Tobal 2, but this is what Tekken should have looked
like. Bloody Roar features beautifully modeled 3D fighters with fluid
and realistic animation, complete with extremely detailed textures and
the crown: little to no polygonal breakup. If you weren't holding
a PlayStation controller while playing BR, you could swear it was an
arcade game. Great special effects and light sourcing cap off the great
graphics. The rock/techno soundtrack adds to the intensity of BR, but is
still somewhat cookie-cutter music; nothing unique or particularly
outstanding. In the sound effects department, BR deserves five stars.
Every gut-renching slash, punch, kick, or scrape immerses you into the
gameplay in ways most other fighters just can't.
The Character Design
The hallmark of a great fighting game is unique and creative character
design- yet another area where Bloody Roar excells. No stereotypical
ninjas or karate fighters here- all the BR characters are interesting
and unique, something that is highlighted by their alternate personas.
One of the most important factors I look for in a fighting game with 2D
gameplay is: intensity. Total 3D fighers like Bushido Blade and Tobal 2
could survive on their brilliant technical fighting engines alone, but a
2D or "2.5D" fighter must be fast-paced and intense to hold my interest-
and that is exactly what Bloody Roar does. Not since Street Figher II
has there been a 2D fighter I have found as intense enjoyable as BR. In
fact, one of my most major qualms about the Virtua Figher series is the
lack of intensity in its gameplay. As for the technical engine
itself, once again, Bloody Roar shines. A combo system exists, but not
to the painful extent of games like Killer Instinct and Tekken, thus no
complicated chains of commands to memorize in order to play. And the
engine leaves no room for button-mashers or constant-blockers; you'll
always be on your toes and looking for the right moment to land a move.
And speaking of moves- another thing I love about BR is that there is no
complicated moves system. Basically, every fighter has the same move
button sequences, yet all to dramatically different effects. The special
moves are dazzling, and fun to pull off and watch (for instance,
when a beast tears out the throat of his opponent). Basically, Bloody
Roar's fighting engine, while not as fun as the total 3D Tobal 2,
carries over the same senses of fun and intensity as other past great
fighting games like Street Fighter II.
Besides being the epitome of a great fighting game, Bloody Roar features
some interesting options. For instance, you can change between "Normal",
"Big Head", and "Kid" modes. The great thing about this is not only do
your characters look radically different on screen when you change
modes, but they feel and play completely different. The
whole system- timing, jumping, running- the whole feel of the game is
different when changing to one of the alternative modes. It's like
having three great fighting games in one! Another interesting addition
is BR's Art Gallery, where you can view various artwork from the
creators, the credits, and all the C.G. character endings you have
acquired throughout your quest. Art galleries are always a great option,
and something often lacking from American games.
The Bottom Line
To tell the truth, I had very little apprehension for Bloody Roar before
I played it. The only previews I read rather unemphatically stated that
each character would have an alternate "beast" persona- and I thought,
"Great, another worthless addition to an even worse fighter that will be
a clone of a bunch of other fighters I don't even like!" To my surprise
and delight, I was on the other side of the galaxy of wrong: Bloody Roar
is a fast, intense, fun, and creative fighter that will always keep you
coming back for more.
Reviewed by Sabin, email@example.com
(c) Sony Computer Entertainment Inc./Hudson Soft
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