Tag Archives: Fighting Games

Game Spotlight: Guilty Gear X2

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When I was in high school, I had a subscription to PlayStation Magazine (aka PSM). So in between waiting for the yearly swimsuit issues, I would often find a few diamonds in the rough on the PS2 large in part to this magazine.

The biggest one of all was Guilty Gear X2, a 2D fighting game that features some of the wackiest characters and arguably the best fighting game soundtrack ever.

When I saw the 8.5/10 review of the game, I was certainly intrigued by the game. While not a mega-fighting game fan, I dabbled here and there and enjoyed most of my experiences playing them, Super Street Fighter 2 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 were the two big ones for me at the time. So when I saw the badass art design of the game in the magazine, I had to see what it was all about. PSM also rarely gave out scores that high to games that weren’t AAA mega-titles so something was up.

And oh wow was something up!

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I knew right away that this was going to be a memorable game. I popped in the disc and that first five seconds of acoustic guitar in the intro song “Feedback” set me up for what would be an epic heavy metal journey into this fighting game. Followed by the “D.O.A.” menu music, it only confirmed that this was going to be an awesome experience. So I loaded up the versus mode and fawned over the diverse cast of characters. A white-haired guy fighting with a pool cue? A big-breasted witch with a guitar? A TINY PIRATE GIRL WITH AN ANCHOR?! And May it was for my first battle.

This game was so different from any fighting game I had played up until that point. The anime-like art style just stuck with me almost immediately and the animations were just so fluent. Given the absurdity that was going on during any fight, it had no business being that fluent, you would anticipate some lag or slowdown during such a crazy set of animations littering the screen, but no she ran like a dream the whole time.

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The cast of characters were so visually unique, as well as their weapons and fighting styles. The only two characters that feel similar are Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske, who pretty much serve as the Ryu/Ken equivalents of the series. You have your slow power hitters, you have your quick combo fighters, you have your ranged bullshit characters and then you have Faust and Zappa if you want to play such a confusing character that even you don’t know what’s going on and you’re the one controlling it!

Of course, like I mentioned earlier, the game shines with its heavy metal soundtrack, doing away with the usual fighting game fodder and going in a much more badass direction. No more salsa music, electronica, none of that stereotypical garbage with characters in attempt to match it up to them, all the music was just built to be badass and even then a lot of the heavy metal music written for the game matches the characters they’re attached to, songs like “Simple Life” for Bridget, “Blue Water, Blue Sky” for May and “Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)” for Ky Kiske, they all fit them superbly. It’s so good they actually put out a couple albums of either live performances or re-recordings from A.S.H., the name of the group that plays this music.

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The one weak point of the game, which isn’t that much of a weak point is its Story Mode, which is part visual novel and only in Japanese voicing, which is disappointing given how good Guilty Gear Xrd’s version was in English and it had zero fighting in it! But regardless, the multiple branching paths and endings made each character’s separate story interesting enough to replay and try to get every ending, though some of the clearing conditions were a little ridiculous.

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Guilty Gear X2 is definitely still to this day my favourite fighting game of all-time. The closest anyone’s come is Persona 4 Arena, which coincidentally is an Arc System Works game, the same company who does the Guilty Gear games. But if you’re looking for an absurd heavy metal fighting game with an anime art style and fantastic animations and mechanics, Guilty Gear is definitely right up your alley and this PS2 addition to the franchise is their best effort in the entire series.

Game Spotlight: Mortal Kombat IX

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My experiences with Mortal Kombat have always been a rocky road. While I did play the original at a friend’s house, the first game I owned and consistently played was Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for the SNES and it was fantastic.

And then all the 3D ones came out…

Mortal Kombat 4 was okay, however Deadly Alliance, Deception, Armageddon, they were all bad games overall, a few good things about each, but the overall fighting wasn’t as good as the originals were. So after everyone was left disappointed from the following release of Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, it was time for a change.

And boy did we ever get one!

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We were back to the 2D style of fighting gameplay, while retaining the upgraded graphics of that current generation. We had gone back to basics, but at the same time evolved. Gone was the tedious 3D fighting system and in return we got the original fighting mechanics that made the series legendary, y’know…aside from all the blood and gore. The game also added in a new addition, X-Ray attacks. These were absolutely brutal additions to the fighting series, essentially a fatality without killing the opponent and it could be easily pulled off, unlike fatalities which require you to remember a combination of inputs, which I constantly fuck up. So the series was back at full strength and had even more added into it.

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My favourite part of this game though was the new story mode the game contained, wrapping the “plots” of the first three games of the series into one cohesive plot. For someone who was so interested in the series, but didn’t really understand the story because it required me to beat the game many times with various characters (and I suck at fighting games), this was huge for me, it allowed me the chance to properly understand the narrative of the story of this illustrious franchise by participating, rather than reading a long-ass Wikipedia plot summary.

The story mode also makes several changes to the Mortal Kombat timeline which are very interesting. The idea of Kung Lao being killed far earlier, Sub-Zero being the new Cyber recruit rather than Smoke and many others really let the fanbase know that this series is going through a changing period and a good one at that. Of course, the end of this story really opens your eyes to the reality that this series is not going to be going through the motions again, everything from here on out would be different, as Mortal Kombat X would later prove to us.

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Of course, the most notable part about the redo of Mortal Kombat was that the traditional fatality system was back after Armageddon’s absolutely stupid “Create-A-Fatality” concept they had. And with the new graphics, the fatalities only got cooler and grosser, just take a look at how Mortal Kombat X made them even better after only a couple years! Notable ones like Kung Lao’s pull through his spinning hat, Noob Saibot’s “wishbone” body pull apart, and Sheeva literally pulling the skin off her opponent were proof that if you didn’t get it yet, you knew the original and good parts of the series were back in full force, without anyone holding back.

Mortal Kombat’s reboot was one of the most necessary and needed reboots at the time it came out and thank god it was released in the state it was. To have a game that bridged new fans into the old and brought the old fans back into the newest games of the series is a tough task to take on and the team at Netherrealm Studios were up to the task and completely it successfully with flying colours. And after the also solid release of Mortal Kombat X, which brought for the first time children of past characters into the game, it’s so refreshing to see the game moving forward instead of taking two steps back as they did with the PS2-era games.

I’m curious though if any of those characters will return as well. I’d love to see characters like Kira, Motaro, Nitara and Onaga somehow brought back in, but under the much better written narrative of this new Mortal Kombat storyline.

Character Spotlight: Tira

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Never before has crazy looked so good.

For a brief period of time (before I discovered Guilty Gear basically), Soul Calibur was my favourite fighting game series. I only really spent a lot of time with two of their games however, both were PS2 copies, Soul Calibur II and III. When I first played SC2, I really liked the setting, the characters, the whole thing. And I thought there was no way anyone could take Talim off the pedestal for that game. But then the sequel came out and I was introduced to Tira.

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Everything was so perfect (she’s never gotten prettier than the original SC3 form), the greenish/bluish hair, those violet eyes, the makeup, particularly the violet streak across her left cheek and nose. And of course, her torn up outfit just capped off a beautiful woman and gave her one hell of a sexy body. They could’ve made her a mute and she’d still be at the top of my list in terms of Soul Calibur girls. But then she spoke:

“Awww, you broke already? Oh well, I’m guess I’m done with you!”

That line has stood out with me forever since. That maniacal voice of hers, that cold yet crazy demeanor she has, I couldn’t forget it even if I wanted to. She’s the kind of girl that you know is nothing but trouble, but you convince yourself that you’re the one that’ll get to her. With a straight face, I can tell you the one time I actually dreamed about sleeping in a tent at night when she suddenly bursts in, looking like she’s about to cut me to pieces. But she stops and in the end, I have this gorgeous woman lying next to me. And because all my dreams are giant teases, of course I woke up before anything “fun” happened.

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It’s not to say that in the later games she hasn’t been attractive at all, she’s certainly been kept beautiful over the course of the games, I mean come on, look at that body in the SC4 version of her above. You know a perfect ass when you see one. I just find though that in the later games they went in more of a Harley Quinn kind of direction with her, which don’t get me wrong I’m totally down for, but my favourite form of Tira will always been her SC3 form. She’s deadly, crazy, but yet she’s absolutely stunning. In the later versions, she’s a little more sexy than pretty and there’s something more charming to me about crazy and pretty than crazy and sexy.

In terms of her fighting style, by the time I stopped playing SC3, I’d gotten pretty good with Tira. I like her style in the sense that it’s a little more unpredictable, generally speaking my favourite characters in fighting games in terms of playability are the ones that are a little harder to telegraph. Some people like the hard-hitters like Nightmare, some like the quickdraw fighters like Raphael, but I go for the middle ground usually and focus on characters that are a little more unique. Except for Voldo, I can’t figure out his shit.

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I think in terms of fighting game characters, Tira may just be my favourite female fighter of all-time and think about the games and girls she has to go through. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Dead or Alive, Guilty Gear, there’s a ton out there and yet for me she stands out amongst the rest of them. She’s very unique looking, her ring blade weapon is awesome, as a fighting character she’s fun to use and slightly unpredictable which is up my alley. But most of all, she’s a beautiful girl in a game genre that is known to house some of the sexiest girls in all of video gaming. She’s over the top beautiful like the rest of them, but she doesn’t show it off the same way most of them do. Her chest isn’t over-exaggerated whether by size or physics, she doesn’t flirt with characters constantly and most importantly she’s not held back by any cliché female character tropes. She’s her own beast.

A sexy beast at that too.

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This Week in Sexy Games: Rainbow Mika

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If there was ever a picture to be the cover image of a story…

I’m not the biggest Street Fighter fan, I played a lot of the SNES games and a little of Street Fighter IV. But when a story like Rainbow Mika’s butt slap is being “censored” for Street Fighter V, you know I had to talk about it.

Except you’ll be surprised as to what my answer is, given the other articles I’ve posted: I think censoring it was the right call.

Now before you start the hypocrite train, here’s the reason why this time it’s all right, compared to the no release of DOA Xtreme 3 in the West and other censorship of sexual content. This butt slap was front and center in the marketing material for Street Fighter V, which is a massive game to be going on sale. The last thing Capcom wants is the SJW parade to stomp all over this game before it even goes on sale. This isn’t like Xtreme 3, SFV needs to sell a bunch of copies and any negative publicity will not help that.

What a lot of people aren’t taking into consideration is that just because it’s been removed from trailers, it doesn’t mean that in the final product that the camera angle won’t revert back to locking directly on Mika’s ass again, which by the way as a huge professional wrestling fan, that outfit is so impractical to be wrestling in. But yeah, I mean the likelihood of the animation being brought back to what it was originally is low, but there’s always a chance, perhaps that was the intention of the developers, the sudden change was just to satisfy people up until the game’s release where it no longer matters if they already have you buying their game.

In the end though, is the butt slap (especially the camera angle) a bit much? I say because of her outfit, perhaps a little bit. If this was someone like Chun-Li or Sakura doing this, it probably wouldn’t be so bad. But because it’s Rainbow Mika, who in her outfit has her ass pretty much completely bare (you can’t even see fabric until you reach past her ass) so it’s almost like she’s wearing no underwear with a top and weird long socks or something.

Should it be censored? No, you have to tread a lot further to get to the line that can be crossed. But because this is promotional material that everyone can see, I understand why Capcom would make this call to change the camera angle, compared to Koei Tecmo just refusing to release DOA Xtreme 3 in the West.

So perhaps it’s gone for good, or maybe we’ll see the angle change back to its original state upon the game’s release.

Seriously though, dat ass…damn!