With the Fighting Game market quickly reaching a breaking point in terms of oversaturation, a new fighting game needs to bring something really innovative, creative, or something really fun in order to make it stand out and gain popularity. "Bloody Roar" from Hudson Japan is one such game that tries and fails. What Hudson has done is taken many aspects from some of the most popular fighting games (Tekken, Fighting Vipers, Star Gladiators), and added one new 'twist' to it: "Altered Beast." Yup, all you fans of the old school game might be right at home with this, as what you get is a solid, clean, 3D fighter that gives your fighter the ability to change into a 'Beast' during the fight! And unfortunately, that is where the innovation ends as well, and what's left is a standard fighter that is average at best.
The mediocrity continues in the category of Sound Effects and Music. When you hit someone (or get hit), the sounds are solid sound effects; it gets the job done. Musically, also average.
Finally it is in the area of gameplay that "Bloody Roar" both succeeds and fails. Basically you have very simple controls, "Punch," "Kick," "Beast," and "Rave." Just hold back to block. The moves are somewhat sluggish and not as responsive as say, Tobal 2, or VF. Where "Bloody Roar" succeeds is in giving you a 'Fun Fighter,' instead of a 'Serious Fighter.' By 'Fun Fighter,' I mean a fighting game that you can pop in and have a bunch of buddies and non-fighting game players come over and button-mash and still have fun for hours without any exertion from the brain (see Star Gladiators). Versus a 'Serious Fighter,' that is still fun and great, but also represents the Best in the industry (Street Fighter series, Tobal 2). In all fairness, there is a Fighting Vipers, Star Gladiators-type fighting engine of 'chaining hits' together - Punch, Punch, Punch, Kick-type strings. And of course the highlight of the fighting has to be the 'Beast' form. Basically instead of a Super Bar, they give you a 'Beast Bar,' and that slowly fills up during battle. When it lights up, you can hit the "Beast" button and voila! Your character turns into a beast of some sort. The Beast forms also have extra moves to execute and on top of that, while in Beast form, you can choose to hit the "Rave" button, which puts you in a 'hyper' state (similar to Custom Combos in Street Fighter) where your moves come out faster and quicker than normal, allowing you to create 'wonderful' air juggles. Yes, this is where "Bloody Roar" also fails the most: Similar to Fighting Vipers, and Tekken 2, 3, the 'heart' of "Bloody Roar"s fighting engine is Air Juggling. Only here you can take it to the ridiculous extreme: In a matter of few hours, I was able to do mozzarella-filled 38-hit Air Juggle combos! Sure there are 'air recoveries' but in many cases that just makes the matter worse, as it leaves you open for even more juggling (since you 'rebound' off a recovery, you stay in the air longer).
One special note has to be made about the CG Movies in the game. Contrary to other reports, "Bloody Roar" contains some of the WORST CG movies ever to have graced any platform! People try to compare this to "Tekken," that is a joke. The intro CG movie and end movies are in fact so bad, that I can't think of any adjectives to describe them.
In conclusion, "Bloody Roar" is decent first attempt at a 3D fighter from Hudson. As aforementioned, non-fighting gamers will probably love this to death - glitzy special effects, simple gameplay - while serious fighting gamers or just gamers looking for a great fighting game should stick with the godly "Tobal 2" and "Street Fighter EX+alpha." Those 2 games are the pinnacle of 3D fighters. If you haven't bought either one of those games, I would recommend you to forget about BR and go straight for either of them. Or if you have a Saturn, I'd recommend you saving your hard-earned $70-80 for Capcom Japan's POWER that is "X-Men Vs. Street Fighter" w/ 4-Meg RAM cart.
Reviewed by Kenneth Lee, email@example.com