PlayStation Gamer REVIEW

BLOODY ROAR: HYPER BEAST DUEL

Publisher:
Developer:
Type:
Sony C. E.
Hudson Soft
3D Fighting
Version tested:
Reviewed by:
Date posted:
NTSC - Japan
Sabin
12/10/97

READERS' REVIEW

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 - your choice).

Bloody Roar - screenshot The Background
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).

The Aesthetics
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.

Bloody Roar - screenshot The Gameplay
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.

Other Comments
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, mlemay@bellsouth.net

GRAPHICS: 9.5 Bloody Roar - screenshot
SOUND: 9.0
MUSIC: 7.0
CONTROL: 9.0
GAMEPLAY: 9.7
REPLAY VALUE: 9.0
OVERALL SCORE: 9.7

(c) Sony Computer Entertainment Inc./Hudson Soft


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