SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$49.99

DEVELOPER
SCEA

PUBLISHER
Sony

RELEASE
05/99

Bloody Roar 2 Review

By: John Doe


Another great fighter for the PlayStation? You bet! The ability to transform each fighter into a ferocious animal/human hybrid is a blast and catapults this game past the countless other "me too" fighting games without breaking a sweat.


Highs:
Lows:

I did not play the first Blood Roar. It reminded me too much of Primal Rage for some reason. Now that I've spent an ample amount of time with BRII, I'm sorry I didn't give the first one a try. Low and behold, this is a mighty fun game. Mix in 2 parts Tekken, 1 part Transformers and 1 stupid rabbit and you get some funky fighting gameplay.

Let me get this out of the way first. Bloody Roar II is not as deep a fighter as Tekken 3. It is also not free roaming like Ergheiz or the upcoming Power Stone. What it does though is lean heavily on the coolness factor of the transforming ability and gives you some neat moves in high res for your money. So who can argue with that? It's a good deal. From the moment you hit the circle button to transform into your alter-ego you'll be hooked. What kid out there hasn't imagined transforming into a tiger or a lion or some giant insect and taking out the trash? I would however like to meet the kid who daydreams about turning into a giant pink bunny rabbit, complete with puffy tail. Obviously that kid has some masculinity issues to deal with. And so you ask, "Are you gonna rag on the rabbit all throughout the review?" You betcha! Beatrix Potter would turn over in her grave if she saw that bucktoothed abomination kicking some chick in the throat.

The game has 11 playable characters, two of which are hidden. You can choose from: Long/Tiger, Bakaryu/Mole, Yugo/Wolf, Stun/Insect, Shina/Leopard, Alice/Rabbit, Uriko/Half Beast, Busizima/Chameleon, Jenny/Bat and the two hidden characters, Shenlong/Tiger and Gado/Lion. Personally I was a tad disappointed in the animal selections. In addition to the rabbit, I was hoping for a lamb, baby chick, a veal and maybe a sea monkey. But I guess I'll have to wait for Bloody Roar III for those...

Graphically speaking BRII is no slouch. The demo movies of the characters in action at the start of the game don't do the real game justice at all. We are talking high resolution and speedy framerate (a sweet 60 fps no less) once the real fighting begins. It looks just as good as Tekken 3 to me. The backgrounds are a little bland, but perhaps that was the sacrifice for the smoothness at which BRII runs at. All the moves flow evenly and seamlessly into one another. In fact, some of the animation is so good that you'll want to just sit and watch it, and you can in Watch Mode. Sure, it may seem like a useless extra, but you can check out all those moves that you can't seem to pull off.

The Fighting control is where Bloody Roar really takes a back seat to Tekken. You are only given 1 punch button (Square), 1 kick (X), 1 Throw (Triangle) and the Beast transform button (Circle), and by using a combination of the Square and R1 button you get an Upper Throw Attack, and a combo of the Pressing Down, Square and R1 will give you a Lower Throw Attack. By administering various d-pad sweeps and button presses you'll find all of those devastating moves like the Rabbit Step and Spinning Hopper. Wouldn't it have been cool if the rabbit had a finishing move that would have had her pouring chocolate over her opponent and then biting his head off? (Of course, she'd eat the candy eye first.) My only problem with this games controls is that too often good old button mashing will win out. Of course, I'm trying to be all collegiate about it and attempting all of the cool moves while my Player 2 looks like he's playing frikkin' Parappa over there and kicking my butt in the process. I gotta get me some more intelligent Player 2's, I tell ya! Playing against the cpu is a different story. The higher difficulty is pretty challenging and button mashing won't get you very far. Things are quite manageable up to about level 6 and then the cpu pulls out all of it's tricks. But at least you'll get a challenge out of this game as a one player, for those of you without any friends. The other nice thing about playing against the cpu is that it never eats all your chips and it knows when to go home, unlike a certain Player 2 that I know.

Once you master the main fighting controls as the human then it's time to change things around once you turn ugly. The beast has different moves and combos, but follows the same buttons as the human, except that the circle button can now be used as an attack, rather than the transform button. If you are really want to unleash something nasty on your opponent, use the Rage Move. This move is done by performing a certain d-pad sweep and button press (each characters is different). The attack not only drains you of your beast power and transforms you back to human, but it leaves you wide open for a good beating if you miss. If you do connect it, your opponent will be none too pleased.

Bloody Roar II jumps on the extras bandwagon and dishes up some entertaining modes of play. Along with the regular Arcade mode (1 Player) there is a dedicated Versus Mode for two players that is done right (take notice Virtua Fighter 3 for DC), Story Mode which reveals the intimate details of your character as you progress, Custom Mode which allows you to change certain aspects of the game once they have been unlocked by meeting various criteria, and the aforementioned Watch Mode, which is like Bloody Roar II for Dummies. Both the Custom Mode and Story Mode are great additions that make the overall package just that much more appealing.

The sound and music department were pretty happening although I thought some of the punch and kick sound effects lacked a certain something. They were a tad weak and not the bone crunching, pain inflicting, ambulance calling thwacks I was expecting. The Dual Shock vibration feature helped out by giving the obligatory wiggle every time a smack was handed out.

Complaint Dept. Not too much to report that hasn't already been addressed. My biggest complaint would have to be the small amount of characters to choose from. In this day and age you better have at least 20 characters or else people like me will say, "In this day and age you better have at least 20 characters or else people like me will say,..." Whoa, that was freaky. You get my point right? 11 characters are not enough, and two of those have to be unlocked.

Whoever is waiting for the next Tekken may find a lot to like in Bloody Roar II. It's fast, looks sweet, plays well and features cool animal/human morphing right out of Saturday morning cartoons. I personally thought this game was a blast. It's a specialty sort of game though, even if it is a fighting game so try before you buy. However, if you have ever thought about morphing into Babs Bunny and knocking someone's teeth out, I'd recommend a purchase right now.

OVERALL
9.0

GRAPHICS
9.5

CONTROL
8.5

MUSIC/FX
7.0

FRUSTRATION
2.0

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