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BigDarsh

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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:19 am

Chapter 29: Koshiro's Air Game :

Time to dive into the core of the game. Let's start with the air game since it has a huge role in BKI's speech. From a game perspective, it was bland as hell. From a lore angle, it pushed Axel in the "you suck so much for a hero"'s boundry. Koshiro clearly understand that air game was the seed of the problem.

From here, she had two options.

  • Gave up Bare Knuckle's intended concept and embrace Final Fight's concept.
  • Embraced Bare Knuckle's intented concept and find a way to materialize it.


She picked option 2 and spent time to understand why air game was so safe in Final Fight/Bare Knuckle. She more than likely found her answer, not in studying martial arts, but in studying a game which refers to martial arts : Street Fighter II.

Yuzo (or Ayano) did this. '''''''''''''''''''''' Ayano (or Yuzo) answered with this.

And here she understood why you shouldn't jump on footsoldiers. Because they can duck and counter you. From this statement alone, she understood why there are Bikers (Cavalry) in Renegade: to define a function to the jump kick. From this chain of events, she understood how to design a consistent air moveset in a game which wants to emphasis on standing attacks and grapple game.


Good girl.

Note: We won't cover characters (mook/boss/playable) in this chapter, just refer to them.

She gave a bad start up to the jump to incite the player to use it wisely (this is not Final Fight). Then she defined jump kicks with low damage (overall) to make the player understand that jump kicking is, at best, a crowd control tool. It is backed-up by the fact this move is not avaible from a vertical jump. To downgrade the air game a bit more (is she perfectionist like Okamoto?), she will designed enemies with anti air, like the famous Donovan 2. A rare feature in the whole 2D BTU genre.


Then she understood the function of the jump-in attack in studying Final Fight (oh yeah, she did). This is the huge difference between SEGA and lots of studios who never try to understand it.

FF's Jump-in attack analysis:

The jump-in atk is a move which have two uses in Final Fight and both revolve around the same idea:
"Jump directly in the hurtbox of the opponent". That's why I named it jump-in atk.



BKII Axel's Jump-in Atk.

First use: We can do meaty with it. Meaty is timing our attack (and so our jump) in order to connect it at the very moment a character is not invincible anymore. As the jump-in atk has some recovery, we should input our attack quite soon in our jumping curve to keep the frame advantage on our side while landing. We can use it to lock Sodom for example, forbiding him the option to go in attack mode. Meaty is very useful in 2D fighting games like the SF series and even more in the KoF series (we can counter a lots of reversal dragon punch with meaty in many KoF!).

Use a small hop, and time it better than that.

Second use: We can use it against any basic mooks to intercept him while he is in walking mode. If Axl blocks it, we will land while he's still locked in the blockstun animation and we can grapple him freely (grapple negates the blockstun state).



Here is a run to illustrate the jump-in attack in Final Fight.

Now we understand why only Guy and Cody benefits from jump-in atk. It's a dynamic attack pattern, and Haggar is not Captain Commando. On the other hand, Captain Commando (the game) does not feature "chain into throw" mechanics, but benefits from jump-in atk and many differents air attacks depending on the jump performed. This game benefits from many type of jumps (vertical jump, wall jump, diagonal jump, hyper jump). It's certainly not a Final Fight Clone and Capcom thought their air games a lot. SEGA will do the same with GA TRoDA and SoR2.

Sociology vs Performance:

If you watched the video, you noticed that it required skill and knowledge to use Jump-in Atk efficiently. That's why that move scores pretty well (since it deals pityful damage). It is made for rewarding people who have skill (know how to use dynamic attack pattern), not the one who do speed run by mashing B. Being good at Final Fight is having high score according to the game designer, since the board didn't record our time, but our points. Scoring was the standard back in the 90's. Today it's speedrun and TAS Runs on youtube (which I find plain boring if you asked), or Achievement/Trophy on Xboxlive/PSN (which I find plain boring too). Sociology evolved but that's no big deal in the end.


Very few damage dealt in 35 seconds but ton of skill and so ton of points.

All in all, whatever the society will tell us, to each his own fighting philosophy.

Back to Koshiro's Air Game:

Now that Koshiro understood the function of the jump-in atk, she implemented it in the moveset with low damage and avaible from any jump (copy paste from Final Fight). This will become a good counter to Signal's Slide and will refine BKI's metagame/battle design/air game, without emphasising on it.


In Final Fight, in place jump attacks are quite useless, especially with Guy and Cody.

The skyward kick has small hitbox and damage.

She not only decided to implement them, but she also worked on that feature to improve it. In SoR2, we can deal some correct damage with IPJ Atk (timing required to use it well) and some characters benefit from reasonable range with it.


Max's IPJ atk deals 20HP and 32HP on the very last frame!!

Last but not least, now she has wholy understood Final Fight's air game, and how to tweak it to highlight what her battle system emphasises on (everything but air game), she added gimmicky enemies to highlight air game (like Bikers, Vehelits, Jets or Zamza).

Counter this with air attack!

This is another proof she studied FF a lot, but not to copy it blindly like many games did/will do (Power Rangers, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, etc) but in order to learn from it, in order to make her own polished video game using FF's battle system.

Conclusion:

That's was one hell of a chapter to speak about a cluster the game doesn't focus on. This is how thought and polished SoR2 is. Of course, the SoR2's AI are what they are, but overall and for 1992, SoR2 air game is thought with as much caring as any Capcom's FF models up to that very year, and so the metagame that emerges from it is very consistent. Final Fight used to have a safe air game for a good reason: give tools to help the trio to control huge crowd. Bare Knuckle used to have a safe air game for no reason despite downgrading the hero in a game with smaller crowd. SoR2 makes us understand that's this game is not SEGA's Final Fight, but SEGA's Bare Knuckle and that its metagame is quite different despite revolving around the same elements.


Let's dive into what is useful...
against footsoldiers!


See you in my next post!
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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:50 am

Chapter 30: Koshiro's battle system

The air game is really confined and it is even more shaded than that, but we can't broach this for now (characters specific). So, as Bruce Lee said, let's dive into what is useful to beat the crap out of a footsoldier! Koshiro divided her work into two. First, the "four pillars" to structure her metagame, then the polishing.

1st Pillar: Accentuated the target combo's pause delay. From a lore point of view, it gives a lot of badassery to each attack which connects. It is higlighted by the new beautiful sound effect impact set.

SFX note: To me, it is just the best impact set I ever heard in my whole life. Even MVS and CPS never managed to reach that level of epicness. Not only the melody formed by the impact set is beautiful (for a 16bit hardware), but the chain's impact set is composed of more sounds than most 2D btu/fighting games. Yuzo Koshiro is a musician and SoR2's impact set witnesses his vision of the medium.


Drum is as important as Piano.

Frome a game point of view, the pause delay forces the player to think before punching someone, because it takes longer time to perfom a chain entirely. It's quite close to Final Fight. Except the player neither benefits from the FF's rear jump to flee, nor from the "chain into throw" providing invincibility, crowd control and space control. Well, it's even more tricky due to the new "multi-hits" property of some chains (more on that in another chapter).

BKII is more restrictive than FF in the defense cluster.

2nd Pillar: Replaced the BK's Police support mechanics by the FF's Mega Crash (renamed Def Special). Why ripping Final Fight? Because SEGA understood the whole medium at this time, and so they understood that Mega Crash was -by far- the most advanced come back mechanics of the era. Actually, even SEGA's GA TRoDA, which benefits from the Magic support mechanics (tweaked and optimized for team play), has also added FF's Mega Crash in its metagame.


The truth is here!

Mega Crash can be use as a combo breaker if the player made a mistake (hit cancel property). It can also be use as a powerful defensive move like a Shoryuken (but fully invincible). It can be free of charge to dodge a projectile or another invincible attack. 1 attack, many functions:


Capcom.

This said, BKII's Def Special are way flashier than any Mega Crash of this era, both in visuals and sound effects.


Dragon Wing!

3rd Pillar: Added the Off Special. An attack which costs HP on whiff, and even more on hit/block. Each character benefits from a unique Off Special according to their fighting philosophies. We'll broach them later, but they are also flashy as hell.


Kikousho!!

Note: 1994 is the year where some studios tried to improve both Mega Crash and Off Special. The first one is WinkySoft with Denjin Makaï's Power Meter (early 1994) which will be refined in its sequel (Guardians, 1995). The other one is SEGA with BKIII's Special Gauge (september 1994).

4rth Pillar: The FF's blocking ablity is included in several enemies's movesets (mook/bosses) and Bosses can also have their own Mega Crash (free of charge). Final Fight used to have an exploit which leads into an infinite combo (turn cancel aka shifting), Koshiro made the infinite combo way easier to perform since now, we can't use it against the whole roster anymore.

Shiva's Blocking ability and Abadede's Mega Crash.


The Four Pillars's Assessement: The game accentuates the risk involved (Chain's Pause delay, Mega Crash, Off Special, Enemies defensive's abilities). The Audiovisual's feedback is gorgeous (sound and visual).


Giant Dragon Wing Mother Fucker!!

To make up for these difficult decisions the "four pillars" imposed on the player, Koshiro upgraded the moveset with "Command Moves" (Blitz attack), polished the grapple game, and removed the teamplay feature. As for the Off Special, the Blitz and most of the new grapple features are unique to each character so we keep them for characters's reviews but let's broach the concepts.


The most famous Blitz

The "Jumping Grapple" is ripped off of FF to give the grappler's identity to Max but Koshiro tweaked it a bit to turn Max into "something else", than a "Haggar clone".


Mad Scientist's time is definitely over!

The "Power Blow" first appeared in the grapple moveset of Double Dragon II Nes (Technos Japan, 1989). It's a standalone attack (opposed to throw) with critical property (knocks the opponent down/away). In BKII, Skate and Axel benefit from power blows in their grapple movesets.



The "Attack Throw" is a brand new feature in the medium and is only in Max's grapple moveset. It's the best of both world: invincible as a FF's throw, but deals it damages to every bystanders it reached like a regular attack. The Atomic Drop is born and almost outdated the glorious Pile Driver.


Pipe SFX incoming!

Last but not least, Koshiro totally got rid of the slam's bounce effect to polished its function in the metagame.


Stay here: don't move!

Note: Click here to be redirected to a "dictionary".

Conclusion:

Koshiro has a very sharpened vision of her beat em up. She tries to control her metagame with the same perfectionism as Kishimoto or Okamoto. This is the difference between a random masher and a beat em up's masterpiece. This is the difference between "let's put tons of features without any meanings or farsight since we have 120000 cutscenes to hide them", and "enjoy this video game people".


Dragon wing Mega Crash into Gran Upper Blitz.
Axel's Epicness, BK's mythology...
Koshiro delivers her speech with the medium in an epic battle...

See you in my next post!


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:22 am

Chapter 31: Audio vs Mythology

Let's polish a subject already broached in chapter 22 (Capcom created the beat em up?) before covering the weapons system. Every SoR Fans know the name of Axel's Def Special. It is on S-o-R-Online, GameFaqs, and even in the SoRRv5's Damage Data I compiled for the community:
The Dragon Wing.

http://www.sorrcommunity.com/t143-damage-data-for-v5-0-5-0a-updated-12-03-2014

The thing is, if you are not a SoR fan, you don't know its name, because SEGA were limited in their audio materials. Street Fighter II, which is a strong inspiration for BKII's game design, is very famous for highlighting all the characters's signature moves with SEV (sound effect voice) and it built its mythology thanks to that. This tradition was born in the Japanese's Sumotori culture. Warriors used to shout the name of their attacks before performing them.


----Indeed.

Japanese's Shonen culture reused it in the 80's and western Wrestling Federation too. Actually, it is the WWF's anchorman/broadcaster who shouts the name of the attack for the wrestler, but the purpose is the same. Permiting the audience to identify the attack, to understand that this move is important, unique, and so it permited to the WWF to build a strong mythology.


Featuring retcons like any good shonen.

In BKII, only few attacks benefit from a "shouting the name" audio file. Gran Upper, Kikosho/Kikousho (japanese word with different western spelling), Final Crash and Corkscrew Kick.  All we have for Dragon Wing is a very iconic SFX which was used to introduce the BKI's title screen, the very one BomberGames will use in SoRRv5 to introduce the main menu and to highlight Shiva's Off Special.

+  =
SoR2 Axel SFX + SoR2 Blaze visual = SoRR Shiva's Off Special.

Conclusion:

A large audience knows the name of Haggar's Pile Driver despite not having SEV, but not the one of Billy's Seoi Nage and Axel's Dragon Wing. Nonetheless, Capcom will reinforce their mythology in including Guy and Cody within the Street Fighter Zero series (which refers to martial arts) and Haggar in the Muscle Bomber series (which refers to Wrestling Federation).


Muscle Bomber series. Capcom, 1993-1994. The Loop is Looped.

Chapter 32: SoR2's weapons system

Quote :
—There’s also a number of elements that were removed from the first Streets of Rage. Which were you involved with? Let’s start with the missing pepper spray!

Koshiro: Ah! Why did we get rid of it?
Maybe because it was annoying to use? (laughs)

—Yeah, I guess it wasn’t very effective.
http://shmuplations.com/streetsofrage2/

According to the interview, Ayano Koshiro decided to get rid of the pepper shaker because it was not very functional in the first game -which is true-. She still picked the option to get rid of it instead of improving it. This is clearly an artistic decision if we look at all the modifications she made. The damage scaling* for the weapons-set is intuitive and try to depict the Katana as the ultimate weapon (game) and she traded the Bat (western street brawling) for the Katana (japanese lore, FF's Guy's speciality, FF's Sodom's weapons).


Indeed, I use Saïs also.
(Sodom, SFZero series).


Damage Scaling*: Knife, Kunaï (16) / Pipe (24) / Katana (38).

This game design decision downgraded the Pipe (game) and impacted the lore like a "smoke screen on the past". To me, SEGA chose to get rid of the "twisted side" of BKI, to go into a more "martial  philosophy" (martial => military). Katana is a Samuraï weapon, a military weapon, like M-16 and Pulse Rifle. Samuraïs are soldiers, not brawlers. BKI's heroes were cops.

+=

All in all, I feel they made a far stretched u-turn to give more meaning to the Bare Knuckle title. This hypothesis is also backed-up by many features in the weapons's cluster. Since each character has their own weapons's moves, let's focus on Axel for this chapter (the "standard character" according to Koshiro). We'll  cover the others in their reviews.

1/ They gave to Axel -the eastern part of Cody who master asian martial arts (lore)- a good Katana's slash property: fast start up, and wide hitbox (game). The same as the pipe (standard BKII's rule here). This tied him up a bit more to FF's Guy: the eastern part of Billy (both in game and lore). Great fix to highlight the new weapon.



2/ When the player grapples someone, the weapon falls to the floor, which was not the case in FF/BKI. This mechanics forces the player to take decision between fighting with weapons or with grapple moveset (the BK series's core gameplay). Very nice tweak from SEGA to deliver a consistent speech in lowering the weapon's durability and in accentuating the decision's importance.

< = VS = >
Displacement Speed vs Combo Range.

3/ When the player hold a weapon, he can't use his rear attack anymore. To make up for that, he can throw any weapons by inputing B + C, which means all weapons can be turn into a projectile for space control. Another nice move to reduce the weapon's durability and to accentuate the BKII's strategy cluster.


Are you fed up with that gif?

4/ Axel benefits from a stab with short range which turns him into a very bad "slasher". To make up for that, and as said previously, he can throw knife at will whatever the range, turning him into a knife thrower more than a knife stabber. This ties Axel a bit more to DD's Billy and diverts him a bit more from FF's Cody. Here is another nice/clever tweak from SEGA to deliver BKI's speech (Bruce Lee's tribute).


Stabbing sucks... Indeed, throw it!

5/ The last new weapon is a Kunaï which benefits from the same property as the knife (standard BKII's rule again). Once again asian martial arts are referenced with this weapon, which was not the case of the pepper shaker.

And I personify it!

Conclusion:

Once again, Koshiro has a very sharpened vision of her beat em up emphasing on strategy. She got a lot of creativity to fix the best she can something pretty much impossible to fix. They were cops and despite the plot insists on their "vigilante status" (no police support) and Bare Knuckle's title, it echoes to weapons in the mind of the audience. I remember sawing a post on the SoRR board with tons of suggestions for improving SoRRv5. 85% of his request was refering to guns.


Yeah, I use to be a cop before Capcom turnred me into a... Purple Catsuit Bitch!

http://www.sorrcommunity.com/t359-what-would-you-have-added-if-you-could-mod-the-game

Who would ask for Katana, Shuriken, Tae Kwon Do, CQC, and Krav Magah to improve Call of Duty Morden Warfare II? This is another key element here. They are more people interested in guns than in martial arts and the fate of both brawlers & fighting game is tied to that fact.


==================================================


Did I forgot to mention that Alien vs Predator was a 2D BTU encyclopedia?

See you in my next post!


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:17 am

Interlude:

We covered the BKII's battle system, and yet, we didn't broached all the refinements from each cluster (air game, standing game, grapple game, and weapons) since diving into characters is required to explain them. If I had to analyse Warriors of Fate (Capcom, October 1992) and Undercover Cops (Irem, July 1992), I could review almost all the battle mechanics without diving into the characters's movesets. It doesn't mean that those games are bad (they are good) but this shows us how polished BKII is from a pure game design angle compared to all FF models from this era.

---BKII---
(before BKII) --------- Capcom - Sega's relationship --------- (after BKII)

Linn Kurosawa made the perfect transition for covering BKII Blaze but we won't analyse her moveset right now. As we noticed since Chapter 17 (BKI Blaze's analysis), Linn Kurosawa is the successor of Sega's Companion. If we look at her audiovisual material for moveset, Linn refers a lot to BKII Blaze. Her alternate Mega Crash is a low sweep that hit in both side like Blaze 2's Rear Attack, her Rear Counter is a reverse low sweep like BKII Blaze. Regarding her charge attack (the Soukeiha), it can refers to BKII Blaze's Kikousho or late SFII series Chun Li's Kikouken. Chun Li learned the actual Kikousho (which is not the Kikouken), during the SFZero series (1995-1998).


Ah Kikousho!! Like you gals! (1995)

If we look at Linn's audiovisual material for physical aspect, aside from outfit color (Guy, Sodom, BKII Blaze) and hairs color (brown), she has pretty much nothing which ties her with BKII Blaze. Her warrior traits are even more sharpened than BKI Blaze (muscles like Tyris Flare, samuraï haircut like FF2's Maki and military trousers like any Colonial Marines), and her sexual aspect is pretty much reduced to that armor which highlights her breast.


Yeah, I have boobs since I'm a girl,
but that's pretty much it.


Is Linn a countercurrent? Let's understand the fate of women in BTU/Fighting games, because two characters defined it in 1992, and BKII Blaze is one of them.


Fanmade's sprites which highlights her panty a bit more.

Chapter 33: The Rise of the Amazon

In 1985, the first playable girls appear in the action game medium: FlashGal (SEGA) and Lady Master of Kung Fu (Taito). They revolve around the same concept, so let's focus on FlashGal (SEGA).


From a game point of view, she used the Spartan X's battle system. Every moves have the same effect: hitstun with push back. We can't grapple, we can't stun, we can't knock down. Is that important? Well, here are few questions I asked to myself years ago.

  • What is the difference between space control and crowd control?
  • If projectile is space control tool what is a crowd control tool?
  • How can you control a crowd without controlling space in the same time?  

Here is the only answer I found. If I make my opponent fall to the floor, I control a part of the crowd, without controlling space. Maybe this is why bows and guns exist (to control zone) and why martial arts exist (to control people). Maybe this is also why the Technos Japan's founders left the studios they used to work for: to create the very first beat em up ( Renegade).


Ryu's Crouch MK is Space Control (hitstun). Ryu's Crouch HK is Crowd Control (knockdown).

My Brawler's definition (wether 2D or 3D) relies on that simple concept. A Beat Em Up without critical moves (ie: knock down or launch or knock away) is a shooter without bullets. To me, Spartan X (1984) is like Shinobi and Altered Beast. An action game without critical moves. Every video games related to Irem's Spartan X's battle system only feature space control tools.

  • Can you make a shooter without critical move in 2015? Sure.
  • Can you make a shooter without projectile in 2015? No.
  • Can you make a brawler without projectile in 2015? Yes.
  • Can you make a brawler without critical move in 2015? No.


That's why both FlashGal and Lady Master of Kung fu are not BTU/Fighting game according to the martial arts very concept.


From a lore point of view, FlashGal refers to the Amazon's mythology like Wonder Woman (DC Comics). Luc Besson is a french movie maker famous for making a big amount of movies revolving around this archetype. Small selection: Nikita (early career), The fifth element (mid career), Lucie (last movie). The Amazon is nothing more than SEGA's policy up to 1991: Tyris Flare and BKI Blaze. Sexy female Warrior, both in look (skirt + leather jacket / muscle + bikini) and game.

Golden Axe II's western cover. (SEGA, 1991)


Tyris is depicted with muscles
and fighting determination.

Capcom will pick this very concept too for designing Chun Li in 1991. They will go far beyond this with SF Zero Series, sharpening her warrior traits in her "young years"* (badass fighting outfits, muscles).

And sport's shoes!

SF Canon Time line* (lore)

  • Muscle Bomber series
  • Street Fighter
  • Final Fight
  • Street Fighter Zero 2 / Final Fight 2 (that's why Guy is not here)
  • Street Fighter Zero 3
  • Street Fighter II series
  • Street Fighter IV series
  • Street Fighter III series


1992 is the year were both SNK and SEGA understood that targeting women audience was cool, but targeting a wider male audience in the same time was a great idea, especially since Fighting games benefited from the most polished audiovisual materials in this era thanks to their concepts (very few areas, very few characters compared to any other genre). SEGA and SNK also understood that players spent more time playing than watching cutscenes in this era (the opposite of nowdays). So SEGA turned the DDI's panty shot "cutscene" into a gaming visual material, and SNK turned the FF's boobies shot "cutscene" into a gaming visual material.


1987 -> 1992

1989 ->1992.

If you are looking for the BKII Blaze's vision of a significant part of the fanbase, then look for those awesome mods which extrapolate this perception: bigger boobies, more animation for boobies bouncing, and even a full bare naked Blaze! That's Ayano Koshiro's underthought move aftermath... Thanks for us, SoR died in 1994 and SEGA pretty much realized the bad path Blaze 2 took even though she was never officialy downgraded to the point of being insulting for women. SEGA putted some efforts to upgrade Blaze 3 in the mythology (fighting gloves, no panty shot), and made a very progressive move with the previously broached badass BKM Blaze -who almost retcons BKII Blaze-.


Sexy =/= Gross.

In the late 90's, SEGA's Dynamte Cops followed that scheme with Jean Ivy.


Somewhat...

An interesting case is the very first Art of Fighting (SNK,1992). It used the "gaming boobies shot" for something very surprising and not shallow at all with the King's concept. King is a girl who hides her status to find her place in the system (fighting is for boyz you know!) by disguising herself into a male warrior. The player will discover that the "guy" he just beated down was a girl by defeating her with a special move (feeling very disturbed or guilty in the process). King is really not on par with Maï or Blaze 2 at this time.


You can't figure out I'm a girl.

Art of Fighting 2 (1994) and the very first King of Fighters (1994-1995) will turn this interesting gimmick into something shallow and lurid by redrawing King's sprites to make her look like a girl which downgraded her in the process (free boobies shot). Next KoFs (1996+) will remove this boobies shot to upgrade her in the mythology.


KoF's King.


Conclusion:
The amazon's rise seems compromised a bit, but not this much. However we will figure out that...


Don't stare at them...    I joke: I'm so proud of them.

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:11 am

Chapter 34: The Fall of the Amazon
And here comes Fatal Fury 2 (SNK, 1992). Regarding Shiranui Maï, while Fatal Fury series tries to set some limits to her lurid concept, she totally falls in the "point of this chapter" as the KoF series moved on, and will be relayed by Capcom's games.


FF2-Special, Fatal Fury 3, Real Bout FF
1992-1993, 1995, december 1995-1998


KoF94-95, KoF96-2002, Capcom vs SNK (2000-2001)

We just have to add the fact that she is depicted as the girlfriend of one of the heroes (Andy Bogard) and we got the whole picture: Kunio Kun's "upgraded" princess?


Shocked ....WTF???  Shocked

That's why I renamed this phenomenon: "The Fall of the Amazon" -> "The Shiranui Maï's Syndrom". She personifies this phenomenon and pretty much every playable girls in Brawlers/Fighting games will fall into it, including...


Kikousho panty shot! (SFZ3 1998) Hyakuretsu panty shot!

and even...

Golden Axe Beast Rider (Secrets, 2006) official artworks:


Do you prefer my ass or my boobs?


Let's get rid of those useless muscles.


Let's get rid of that useless panty too.

Capcom will design Cammy the year after Shiranui Maï was born (SSFII,1993). A girl which clearly hadn't be designed to target female audience but male audience. A girl very proud of her ass, more than anything.

This suit has been designed for...
... Taking a quick glance, not to fight!

Like you Cammy!

I won't broach the other deviant fate which was born with SNK's Athena (yeah, them again...) who is the Lolicon Fighter. All in all, the Amazon is almost dead. The few survivors are Blue Mary and King (yeah, SNK..) and few others here and there.


I'm a fighter, mind you.

And your last appearance was in KoFXI (2005-2006).

Aftermath:

Namco's Tekken started to show their girls in swimsuits in Tekken 2's advertisement (1996) and went for the purple catsuit for Nina (Resident Evil Jill's fate), and sexy dress for Anna. I can broach the Eddy's case who was turned into a sexy brazilian girl called Christie in Tekken 4 (2002) for the only sake of showing extra boobies and extra ass. SoulCalibur series (1996+ if you take SoulBlade into account) will rise breast of girls and add tons of in-game panty shots as the series moves on. Arc System will break some scales with Arcana Heart series (Loli) and BlazBlue series (nude girls without any warrior traits) in the mid 2000's.


Spreading legs is my walking animation of course.

Regarding 2D BTU, they pretty much avoid that trap (Data East Nightslashers, Jaleco's The PeaceMakers, the first Denjin Makaï, Treasure's Guadian Heroes are good examples) but some fell into it (Guardians aka Denjin Makaï II, and Zero Teams are rare examples).


1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1994, 1996.

Regarding modern brawlers that's another story. Dante, Ryu Hayabusa, Splatterhouse's Rick and Kratos will have sexy bitches in their lores (Trish, Glory, Rachel and all), and Bayonetta is proud of being a "Witch" (and she's proud to make pun with that gross oneliner). The Dead or Alive fighting games series (1996+) will do the same kind of stuff the Namco games will do, but breaks the scale by not being hypocrite and assumed it (which I call "cultural honesty").


What? A pornstar? No I'm a fighter! Believe me, look at my soldier outfit, it's like Cammy!
And look at my moveset too!!!

Conclusion:
No offense nor condescension here but professional game testers didn't understand Billy's moveset philosophy so I'm pretty sure he will not care about understanding yours sexy bitch. And this is the key here: Virtua Fighter doesn't feature neither sexy bitches nor panty/boobies shots, and even when it tried in the VF5 series (by removing muscles here and there), SEGA epicly failed since they are so prudish/puritany compared to the others. So SEGA sold some of their characters (Akira, Jacky Bryant, Sarah Bryant, Paï Chan) in the early 2010's to Tecmo/Koeï (Dead or Alive series) in order to make money with their undead Virtua Fighter franchise!


Virtua Fighter relies on martial arts philospophies, amazons and fighters: Not on pornstars!

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:33 am

Chapter 35: Can you trust what you see?

The Rise and Fall of the Amazon had several functions. First-of-all, to understand that Koshiro was one of the pioneer to take this contorted/sinuous path but filled with good intention (to downgrade the sidekick to highlight the hero in order to fix a mythology). Then to spot the fact that SEGA started to correct  their move as soon as they understood the social aftermath (BK3 Blaze, BKM Blaze).  This was not the case of SNK move with Maï. Fatal Fury has a very consistent mythology since the first entry and Maï went down hill with KoF to reach the status of the most iconic slut of the genre.


Indeed, I'm the only one to use
that kind of move in battle.

Function 2: to understand that SNK and especially KoF, managed to have it both way on many different levels. Kensou, the teenager, is attracted by Athena (the lolicon) which has nothing deviant or perverted if we look from this angle. The two amazons survivors are quite important in their mythology since Blue Mary is in love with Fatal Fury's main character (Terry Bogard) and King is in love with Art of Fighting's main character (Ryo Sakazaki). Do we get the "true" picture now?


Yuri (Art of Fighting's Princess) is the "underage girl" who is in love with Robert Garcia (Art of Fighting's companion) and that feds him up a lot since he is a playboy who looks for, well, not teens lol. Yuri is a humorous character who makes fun of the Street Fighter series and it is reflected both in lore and game (and we won't analyse her moveset here). Yuri is here to downgrade Robert in the mythology. The slutty path Maï took is pretty much here to recall the audience that Andy is not the hero (he's the Fatal Fury's companion, so he got the slut, not the amazon).


And I'll be the mother of
your kid Andy! Hihihi!


SNK cares as much of handling their mythology properly than satisfying our sexual fetishes (and we are all differents regarding this).

Function 3: To understand that most 2D BTU avoided the deviant path and made the genre die in the process. Whatever our sexual fetishes (to each his own), the industry keeps breaking the scale as the time past with 3D Brawlers and 2D/3D Fighting games: Dominatrix, Loli, Sluts, Pornstar and more in the futur to be sure to sell games and to fit the fetish of the era. This is not the case of Shooters or Plateformers.


You are very prudish compared to 3D Brawlers and Fighting games!

Urban Reign (Namco 2006) tried to avoid that path with a badass chinese sidekick and fell in the "you suck so much for a BTU" boundry despite revolving around a battle system stemmed from Tekken : the most popular 3D Fighters.


Indeed, Joe.

The only fighting game which did not embrace the sexual fetish path is dying and is forced to "prostitute" their characters to a very clever studios. Team Ninja understood since 1996 that Technos Japan's stun system was not really understood, and that their only way to sell their fighting game which refers to martial arts (DoA) was to hide the game under lurid visuals, (which is the perfect opposite of the David Cage's concept). And actually, before Dead or Alive 5, when Itagaki was the game designer, every girls benefited from martial arts outfits on top of lurid one, because Itagaki has very good knowledge of sociology (which is the basis of video game).

Official wallpapers:

I'm a Kunoichi and my moveset's | I'm a tai chi studient and my moveset's
philosophy reflects it.                     | philosophy reflect it.

And actually, thanks to the huge number of costumes, Dead or Alive is the fighting game which targets the wider female audience, wether casual (play dolls) or competitively (Tijer and ElenaBathory in europe, Vanessa in U.S.A, just to quote real girl players which did tournaments for this game and have good results).

All in all, It's up to our perverted mind to see what we want to see.

  • Professional game testers know that the first competitive shooters are fast FPS from the late 90's.
  • Professional game testers know that the first competitive RTS is StarCraft (1997-1998).

But professional game testers ignore that in the era of ID Software's Doom II, and Blizzard's WarCraft I (both genre being in its infancy), Capcom has already built the first competitive fighting system still play nowdays in tournament in the world:


SSFIIX (1994)

And that's a fact. SFIV is nothing more than SSFIIX2, this was even the name of the project before the marketing division decided to change it. When you play SFIV, you just feel how dated that metagame is. But professional game testers didn't even notice how old it was. Why?


BTU/Fighting games are forced to hide their depth since Renegade, Street Fighter, and Double Dragon, because professional game testers know the difference between a M-16 (effective range 400 M, 5.56) and a Gloch 17 (effective range 50 M, 9mm), but know nothing of melee combat (martial arts).


No sexual fetish required here

The only way for Brawlers and Fighting Games to exist (aside from external licence) is to sell flash or sexual fetish (both is top notch). The proof is Mortal Kombat series (1992) which managed to live on those concepts alone up to the mid 2000's. This series has no consistent metagame at all because Boon and Tobias didn't care. Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks is their first brilliant brawler (november 2005) and Mortal Kombat vs DC (Netherrealm, 2008) is the first episode which brought interesting concepts. Mortal Kombat 9 (Netherrealm, 2011) was the first which has been played competitively in the world with reasonable life span and community. Mortal Kombat X (2015) chose to trade their sexy bitches for extra gory and amazons for the first time, but part of the audience started to cry because of that. Because you can't undo what have been done.


Give us back our boobies shots!

Even the most popular fighting game is nothing compared to FPS or RPG. They are a niche despite using the most shady and lurid social tool at their disposal. All fighting games revolved around the same game vs lore "sexual fetishes and/or extreme violence everywhere in order to survive and to hide their gameplay". That's a fact.

Here is a quote from the introduction of this analysis.

BigDarsh wrote:
And here is the whole point of this analysis. Handling gameplay and lore is something very difficult for a game designer. Some people play for the gameplay (but the graphism and visual mythology is still the most important interface for them, even if they don't notice it) and some people are more into the lore (but the gameplay is still very important for them, even if they don't notice it).

Now we understand why handling gameplay and lore is very difficult for a BTU/Fighting game designers nowdays. They have to put sexual fetishes -the one you are into and the one you found revolting- just to survive, like they always did since the 90's. That's why most hard core gamers don't care about the lore both in BTU and Fighting games. That's also why most casual gamers don't care about the game when it comes to fighting games and BTU. That's why most Open BoR and Mugen stack mechanics from a game they like under an audiovisual lore they like without caring of the aftermath on the mythology of the said video game...


...that's why the BTU is dead.

Conclusion:
The last function was to get rid of the BKII's Blaze "horny part" to focus on her gaming identity in the following chapter, in order to not get fooled by her physical appearance. Let's try to understand who is hidden under her sexy dancing outfit. Is she a shallow girl with random gaming identity like Mortal Kombat II Kitana, or is she filled with revolutionary concepts?

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:47 pm

Chapter 36: BKII Blaze's progressive move

What is great about the BKII stars system is that it only shows the profile of the character we have highlighted. It means that, when we start the game in 1-player-mode, we see Axel ranking first. We see a lot of stars in power, and if we are hot-headed (like him! Ikari no tetsuken), we can go for him right off the bat without afterthought (Koshiro knows sociology). If we are wiser, then we will look at all rankings. The best way to sum up SEGA's move is this:


There is two "standard characters" according to Koshiro's interview, but the most balanced of them all, is not the "blue one". Cody was the most balanced character in his game, Berzerker too, Captain Commando too, and TJ's Billy had a very balanced moveset. BKII Blaze breaks the scheme. She is both more technical than Axel (we will see why) and more balanced than Axel. What is funny is that Irem's UnderCover Cops, which was released in the same era (summer 1992), revolved around a quite close idea: as progressive but yet different. Rosa is as balanced as Zan, but less technical than Zan.


I'm Blue, I'm Balanced.

Do you know how many BTU will pick this concept : "Two standard characters instead of one."? Cadillacs & Dinosaurs (Jack & Hannah), Alien vs Predator (Predators), Denjin Makaï (Makaï & Kurokishi), Guardians (Zeldia & Girulian), Guardian Heroes (Han & Serena).


I'm Blue, I'm not Balanced.
Han, Guardian Heroes (Treasure, 1996)


Do you know how many BTU will pick this concept : "the boy and the girl are the standard characters (game) and the central characters (lore)"? Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, Denjin Makaï series, The PeaceMakers (Dick & Elfin), Guardian Heroes.

Do you know how many BTU will chose to turn the girl into the most balanced of them all? 2 .
--- --------
Kunoichi, Ninja Warriors Again (1994) - Serena, Guardian Heroes (1996)

Do you know how many Fighting games will chose to pick a girl to personify the most balanced character of the roster? Sophitia in SoulCalibur series is the balanced type, and maybe a girl in Mortal Kombat X (I didn't study this one in-depth, I have no idea). Regarding Dark Stalker/Vampire series (Capcom 1994-1998), Dimitri prevents Morrigan to access this status.


I don't care. I have boobs.

What Blaze says in 1992 is "Yes I'm a girl, but why should I be imbalanced?" This concept alone is very revolutionary. It means something like "I'm the wise character who are ready to face any situations, you guys are specialised and you can face nemesis". To understand a bit better my point, here is something which will offer you some farsight.


The basis to analyse a fighting game's balance is this. Look at the match up chart, if a balanced character has good ratios against many characters (6W-4L / 10 match) while never breaking scale (7W-3L against many characters), then the game designer managed to handle his metagame quite well. Each specialized character has a nemesis, and so the balanced type managed to find his way by being the jack-of-all-trades without being undefeatable. If a specialised character dominates the field, while having no nemesis, it means that the metagame is not perfectly thought.


What? I can't be top tiers in a balanced game?

Indeed Zangief, the grappler will have nemesis who will be a pain in the ass for him. Of course, it is not as simplistic as that, but it's a good start before refining your analysis. This is also why all game designers chose a male to personify their balanced type (Ryu, Kyo, Kazuya, Sol, Dimitri, Hayate, Terry, Ryo), because they try to balance their games, which means he will be flashy, easy-to-use, and efficient (if they manage to balance the game). Arc System who never cared about balancing still followed that rule for sociology purpose.


A girl can't be balanced.

So yeah, the sprites of Blaze show us a sexy girl ready to dance, but the ranking system tells us that she is a very wise girl in combat. Of course, we all know that SoR2 is not a balanced game, since specialized characters manage to find their way to the end way more easily than her, but when we launched the game for the first time, we didn't know that. And when Koshiro thought her metagame, she more or less tried to explain that this character is a jack-of-all-trades, if we are not


Hot-head-ed

Actually this ranking is quite true, to play Blaze efficiently in BKII, we need to understand her whole moveset, like DDI's Billy. She has good mobility, but is not a speedy character which means learning to attack and to dodge properly is the key (no assisted grapple, no assisted dodge, no difficulty to grapple, no difficulty to dodge). The thing is:  Ryu was bland (1987) but Cody had stab mechanics in order to not be bland (1989). So SEGA understood that balanced=/=bland (big difference with BKI and Golden Axe here). Let's dive into SEGA's balanced type concept.



Her Blitz is the hardest to use in the game. It is slow for good damage (40). SEGA tells us that this character is not "Blitz based" (opposed to all the males of the game). To make up for that, she has many tricks. Her air game is quite good. Her IPJ Attack has reasonable range and damage (24), her jump kick has low damage but good hitbox, and her jump-in attack might be the best of the game thanks to the angle, both for countering slide and for starting combo from the air. Three moves the players will be happy to have when needed, but air game is not the most important cluster. This is a brilliant idea to create a balanced moveset with lot of identity. To give the best moveset of a cluster which is not that important in the game (+/- = 0). Balanced but not bland.


BKII Blaze's efficient and easy to use air attacks set
Jump kick, In Place Jump Attack, Jump-in attack.


Her grapple moveset is still top notch, and even better. The tomoe nage is still her signature move with good damage (28), her flurry's ender is now safe (no flip kick), she still has a damaging and safe slam from back grapple (32) but she can now slam from the front too. Same damage but more unsafe. All in all, she has the most optimized grapple moveset to make tactics, the cluster the series emphasises on. BKII Blaze is not as "excited/thrilled" as BKI Blaze (run very fast and unsafe flip kick all over the place), she's now an experienced fighter who spent her energy wisely. Very nice gaming identity which makes her more mature in the lore.


BKII Blaze optimized and tactical throws set
Toss / Slam from front / Slam from behind .


This is also refined by her new throw which benefits from a brand new animation which refers to...



Her target combo is still unsafe, but not as it used to be. It is a high kick with different properties (hitstun/knockdown, multi-hits/simple hit) depending of the way it connects, and her third hit (reverse elbow) can connect up to 3 times if used properly (jump-in atk / vertical approach). Blaze II is a technical character (compared to all balanced type before her) who requires skill and knowledge to optimize her damage, and to be play safely. Pause delay is a huge factor here. The more we hit, the more time we offer to the others enemies to approach us. That's why she has a critical rear attack : double edge sweep (hit front then back). She's definitely more technical than ever.


BKII Blaze Technical standing moves collection.

Regarding Weapons, Blaze is really standard both in Katana/Pipe (balanced type), but benefits from a combo with Knife which is the most common weapon in the game thanks to the mooks who drops them (Galsia and Jack 2). It is not pure "slasher" here (sex), it is mixed with martial arts (technical chain). Very nice double standard for sharpening her identity (a bit of western mythology-Cody the slasher & balanced type, a bit of eastern mythology-Guy the asian technical fighter). In BKII, the AI was computed to not interrupt the auto-combo, even on difficulty mania, to highlight her weapon's trademark.

It's unsafe, but I can hitcheck on first hit!
It's not an auto-combo!


Let's conclude with her special moves. Her Def Special is one of the best of the game regarding damage (24) and I-frames (on par with Max actually). It makes sense, she's the balanced type. Regarding the Off Special, the Kikousho packs a wicked damage (44). It is costy but yet, very efficient and very easy-to-use compared to Skate and Axel, and quite flashy compared to Max and Skate. Once again it's makes sense, she is the balanced type.

-
Kikousho! ---------------- Embukyaku!

Conclusion:
Huge chapter so let's make it short. Blaze is more technical than before (to keep her identity) but Koshiro has a very clear vision of her BTU and delivers a very consistent speech through a very consistent moveset to reflect a very progressive idea: Girls can be Balanced.


Which is not his case...

See you in my next post!


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:08 am

Chapter 37: Axel Stone's Identity

The big problem of BKI relies on the fact that Axel's Stone has no identity, neither in game (bland gameplay) nor in lore (frankenstein's audiovisual material). He's -at best- a Bruce Lee's fighting technique tribute like DDI's Billy. So the new team chose to highlight him by polishing several elements from BKI which had no clear/in-depth meanings. Here they are:

  • His combo finisher
  • Ikari no Tetsuken (The rage of his martial art)
  • His sound effect voice (AAHH!!)

To The Ancients, Axel built his technique around efficient asian martial arts, but the rage which burns within his heart -because of the crime in the city followed by the capture of a his good friend (Adam)- has obscured his wiseness. They use their amazing twist "Adam is capture" (lore) "Adam is not playable" (game) to explain why Axel has changed (both in lore and game), to define a very consistent and legible identity. He is blue, he is hot-headed (both in lore and game). She is red, she is wise (both in lore and game). Amazing work.


SEGA, Bare Knuckle II:
The Requiem of the Deadly Battle (1992)


First, They assigned a multi-hits property to his rear attack (elbow into backfist) and revised his whole target combo to reflect his new mood. They removed Cody's stomach punch (third hit), to replace it by a straight punch. His punch-set is short range but fast and safe.

---
---
Axel's punch-set evolution.

They double his kick finisher. It is less safe (since two hits instead of one for knocking down), but it deals a lot of damage (10+14) and even more if used as a standalone (Hold B two sec and release). All in all, BKII Axel's target combo is really different visualy speaking, and it highlights Yuzo Koshiro's impact set.

=>
Axel's finisher evolution.

Indeed, it uses the 3 basic sounds for the actual chain (SFII's sound scheme?) but uses a very iconic impact se for the last kick.

BKII Axel's visuals origin.

The cherry on the top is the fact that if the player wants to see this last high kick comes out, and to listen to the badass sound effect, he has to inputs the command fast: with rage, like him. It adds strategy, like the UnderCover Cops's chain system (same era). If we mash fast, then we are in rage, we deals lots of damage but we are not safe. If we mash slower, then we knock down in one hit, we deal less damage, but we are a bit safer. This feature was considered as a glitch by a significant part of the audience.


Kyokushinkaï: The Kyokushin is a very recent Karate (1964). It is very efficient and very photogenic/telegenic. SF's Ryu and AoF's Ryo Sakazaki refer to this martial art. When Tekken 3's Jin will evolve in the lore, they will change his whole moveset in T4. Jin gave the Evil Mishima's Karate up (Heihachi and Kazuya, the previous evil heroes) to embrace the Kyokushin Karate (Ryu, Ryo...) and still uses it in laters opus (BKII scheme?). On the other hand, Devil Jin (Tekken 5+) will use T3 Jin's moveset. Is the fact that Street Fighter (the most popular 2D Fighters), Tekken (the most popular 3D Fighters), and Streets of Rage (the most popular 2D BTU) all refer to this Karate is coincidence? Sociology might be able (or not) to answer this question.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyokushin

They gave Axel the fire attribute, to reflect his rage a lot more. Koshiro learned a lot from Capcom. When Haggar performed a Pile Driver or when Ryu performed a Shoryuken, the player saw a huge chunk of life bar disappear. This is the Gran Upper's concept (game <=> lore / social). The Gran Upper is a flaming uppercut which deals a lot of damage if used in close range since the very first hit deals the half of the overall damage (24+4+20). It has high precedence (easy-to-use). It can be used both for countering as a standalone or for comboing. B B f f B = 60HP! Indeed, life gauges for mooks are a new feature in the BK series and they are not pure gaming tools: they are social tools too! If we want to figure out how important the Gran Upper is in the mythology, well.


BKII, 1992.


SSFII, 1993. What a great idea to feel less bland SEGA! KoF, 1994. Indeed. KoF, 1999

And I went straight to the point (I skip some guys here and there, like Makaï from Denjin Makaï or GG's Sol Badguy). Axel Gran Upper is this important, despite being in the continuity of both Ryu's Shoryuken and Terry Bogard's Power Wave.



His Def Special, the Dragon Wing, is still in that mood regarding the lore (Terry , Ryu) very flashy. In game, it's closer to Ryu's Shoryuken. It has fewer I-Frames and less damage (16) than Blaze's and Max's Def Special (24 for both of them), but is great for dodging and countering with Gran Upper as showed in a video (Chapter 30: Koshiro's battle system). His Off Special is very unsafe, very flashy,  and very damaging (74). If it was not very glitchy, SEGA would have made a huge move. It's on the mood of Shoryuken, and actually, The Ryoku Ranbu from Art of Fighting (same era!) illustrated below is clearly the same idea (very flashy come back mechanics), but way more polished and not glitchy at all. Ken's Shoryu-Reppa will follow the same path.


Capcom is so late compare to SEGA and SNK in 1992...

========================
SoRRv5 Note: Huge kudos for making Axel2's Off Special functional. It is very much appreciated.
========================




His air game is very interesting. His jump kick is low damage (like Blaze) good range, but his bad jumping curve and hitbox makes it quite bad. His jump-in atk is like Blaze in damage, but benefits from a lower hitbox. Combined to his jumping curve, it's still good for comboing or countering slide, but not as Blaze. His IPJ Attack has very short range, it's in the FF's skyward kick's spirit. The difference is this: it can deals lots of damage since it's a multi-hits. 30 is the damage reward for double hit, which is great to suck life of Jet2 charge attack or Vehelits. Axel's IPJ ATK is harder to use than Blaze, but deals better damage (24 vs 30).


What? SEGA improved this too?
We are so late...


Regarding his global air game, he's really not on par with Blaze. That's what I call a really clever move to downgrade his air game, without going in the unpolished and ridiculous "BKI Axel's Knee of Doom" territory. By the way, Axel is really not on par with Blaze regarding his other moves too. Let's foreshadow something...

The Treasure's Case:
Treasure is a studio held by people who used to work for Konami, and built their own studio in 1992 to get rid of the limitations of the industry. They made fun of the video game industry in their first game Gunstar Heroes (1993). The Heroes are named Red and Blue, use Capcom's FF's Toss,  and Konami's Contra's power weapons (8 way targeting), to defeat Capcom SFII's dictator, and rescue princess (no bullshit!).


For their second blockbuster, which is a Role Playing Brawler (BTU with RPG elements), they pick Han (Blue) for the hero. A hot-headed guy specialized in melee combat with fire magic support (Axel 2?  Shocked ). Serena is the wise girl, who uses both melee combat and blue ice magic equally (the balanced type). It's clearly a tribute to BKII's scheme.

Treasure, Guardian Heroes (1996)

Serena is a knight, an amazon, like Hong Hua, Rosa, Tyris Flare, Kunoichi and BKI Blaze.

All those girls who made the genre die.


... Tam-Dam-Dam!


The slutty path is the only way: Bayonetta (2009) Dragon's Crown (2013)


Dragon's Crown "Amazon" and "Sorceress".

Dr Dre wrote:
Came a long way, to makin these songs play

Xzibit wrote:
Bitch, please - you must have a mental disease
Assume the position and get back down on your knees

Back to BKII Axel:
=>
Axel's throws evolution.

Let's conclude with his grapple game, the cluster the game placed an emphasis on, the cluster BKII Blaze mastered. His toss benefits from a wrestling animation, which are slams since 1989! Very nice double standard SEGA! It ties him to BKI Axel while being very different in the same time. It is good for crowd control, but quite weak in damage (24). However, it scores as any throw (200) which is great for scoring. His flurry is knee bash (quite bland) but his headbutt is a nice change of pace: it's a power blow from now on. It has slow start up and badass sound effect. Once again, this ties him to BKI Axel while being different too. It is 22 damage for 150 pts. This move is not very good/useful (score/damage/property).


Even my useless moves are flashy.

SEGA learned a lot from BKI and Sociology. His slam avaible from a back grapple has a brand new animation, it deals weak damage for a slam (28) and not as safe as Blaze's slam. This new move perfectly reflects the grapple game of "Neo Axel", it is functional, but weak. The Hero of Bare Knukle (grapple game emphasis) is certainly not a grappler. Without being poor, it is just a weak but functional grapple game.

=>
Axel's throws evolution: safe slam => unsafe slam.

Conclusion:
Axel has a very polished identity in lore supported/reflected by his flashy moveset in game.
Axel has a great standing game with high damage, a functional grapple game at best, a functional air game at best.
Hit + | Throw -. That's the power type archetype (Chapter 18), that's...


I'm black, I'm not evil and I'm the hero. You're like me, you're my successor Axel.

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:11 am

Chapter 38: The Art of Cooking
We've seen that Haggar managed to build a strong identity by using brand new audiovisual material (wrestling) combined with a brand new moveset concept (grappler).



We've seen that SEGA did use a Technos Japan's concept (Billy's Balanced type) mixed with audiovisual material from many games to build BKI Axel (Haggar, Billy, Cody, Berzerker) resulting in a frankenstein monster covered of seams.



However, we've also seen that Axel II has been defined in using a Konami's concept (Blood's Power Type) mixed with audiovisual material from different games (Capcom's Ryu, SNK's Terry).



So what is the difference between the two Axel? Why one has a very clear identity to the point that Treasure will refer to him in 1996 with Han; and why the other hasn't any? That's the question that all OpenBoR makers and all Mugen makers in this wonderful world should ask to themself, since most of them reuse materials and concepts from other video games.



Here is the answer: All the seams of BKI Axel came from the fact that the mechanics, the battle design, and the plot doesn't support/explain anything. This is what SEGA understood, the important to build a mythology is not to add 12200 cutscenes and in-depth plot (the two games have the same number of cutscenes and a very basic plot). What is important is that mechanics and lore are eggs and oil. With egg and oil you can make a lot of tasty recipes, if you know how to mix them, how to season them.

Don Vecta's FF3 remix layers.

From a pure audiovisual angle, Don Vecta and Mr Din are great artists. Don Vecta mixes and draws to build beautiful layers for SoRRv5 mods, Mr Din draws sprites inspired by other games. Video game is the step just after that. Design mechanics which give a meaning to those visuals. That's why we can't use FF1 Haggar's sprites on top of SoR2 Max's mechanics without tweaking Max's mechanics first or using the plot to explain why he changed.


Mr Din's Sprites.

Have you ever played DBZ Ultimate Tenkaichi? They put different meshes on the same moveset and so the characters have unpolished identities. It can only make sense for someone who seens tons of cutscene (aka read the manga) like a DBZ Fan (me!). DBZ Tenkaichi is neither a fighting game nor a BTU. It's a DBZ simulator which uses the manga medium (external licence) to deliver his speech, exactly like David Cage uses the cinema medium (in-game cutscene) to deliver his speech (interactive experience =/= video game).



Since shooters are more understood than melee combat, let's use this to explain what is the video game medium. Doom II's shotgun has bad recovery, expensive ammunitions, but has the range of a sniper. This factor makes it inconsistent from a pure video game angle for nowdays but not for 1994. If you design a modern FPS with a shotgun with long range, people will get shocked. If you design a BTU with a shotgun with long range, people will get shocked. They will because the visuals don't explain the gameplay. A guy who plays Shotgun in modern FPS doesn't care about long range combat, he prefers deal high damage in close combat, with bad recovery between each shot.



The modern FPS Shotgun is called the Grappler in BTU/Fighting game, since 1989. Benelli and SPAS 12 are both shotguns:

They share lots of wrestling moves and mechanics.

However Benelli is not SPAS12. They have different mechanics since their visuals are different (or vice-versa).

Max has attack throw and back grapple
Haggar has jumping throw and walking grapple.


That's video game medium. Now we got the picture, let's get back to BTU which is a much more polished medium since a weapon has not the depth of a character's personality. And by the way, the Doom's Shotgun which benefits from a range of a sniper never happened in history of BTU because Capcom and Technos Japan knew martial arts before making video games. Maybe this is the reason why Capcom managed to build a competitive 2D fighter quite soon.



Axel 2 walking speed is not as good as it used to be. It explains that  he doesn't care about grappling that much anymore and it is backed-up by his grapple game which doesn't worth it that much too. It also explains he doesn't care about dodging that much anymore, he prefers use Def  Special or Blitz and it is backed-up by the I-frames of the first, and the high precedence/damage of the last. The mentality of Axel (hot-headed) is the mentality of the player who will use it (hot-headed). Nothing more, nothing less.



Let's compute everything:
"the balanced type" Ryu's basic move is hadouken, it has very good recovery (he's wise man).


Balanced Type Wise.

"the power type" Blood's basic gameplay is punch chain. It has good range and good recovery (he's wise man), his kickset is a bit less safe (not his speciality, he doesn't like kicking, as the player who plays him), his ground game is slow and not that safe (he's not good at beating people on the ground <=> he doesn't like beating people on the ground, as the player who plays him).


Power Type Wise.

"the power type" Axel2's basic moves are Gran Upper and a target combo which requires button mashing. Both benefit from bad recoveries (he's hot-headed as his player, he's neither like Blood nor like Blood's Player).


Power Type Hot-Headed.

On the other hand "the balanced type" Blaze  has a target combo which is not based on fast button mashing (the player who uses her doesn't like to mash buttons), but based on a precise position to connect her multi hits (Ryu, Billy, Cody don't have that kind of tricks). She has a great rear attack (better range) and a great Def Special (I frames, damage, range). She's a technical tactician (like her player).


Balanced Type Wise.

The hot-cold effect which emerges from the duo "Blaze/Axel" highlights a bit more their own identities. It's the upgraded "Guy/Cody"'s effect. The identities of the SEGA's duo are way more sharpened than the Capcom's ones and are way more polished than any BTU of this era! And they are only "standard characters", we didn't even broach the specialized characters (next chapters)! What SEGA created with Blaze and Axel duo will have aftermath.

What will do Capcom with Ken in the SF series? They will give bad properties to Ken's Hadoken and will give more damage to Ken's Shoryuken HP (flames). Mechanics explains the visual. Neo Ken's Visuals are stemmed from Ryu, and BKII Axel, but mechanics explain that Ken is not a soul less Ryu's clone anymore. In 1987, we needed to read his bio to know about Ken's personality (David Cage's concept). Now we just need to play him to understand who he is.


Balanced Type Hot-Headed.

Now we have covered in-depth how to give an identity to an already established visual or concept thanks to the mechanics, we will see that the Konami's Crime Fighters 2 movesets concepts (summer 1991) will be itemized by the industry. In example, Capcom's Warriors of Fate (late 1992) will define his power type differently (Half Breed).


Capcom's Warriors of Fate's Hero : Kan-u / Portor / Guan Yu is not a balanced type.

He is an hybrid between grappler (jumping throw) and a balanced type (regular target combo, air game and toss projectile). He benefits from a hard-to-use / unsafe wrestling move (d,u + B), but quite damaging (body press into diving elbow drop). Another famous Capcom's Power Type is Predator Hunter which benefits from unsafe command move (d,u + B) unsafe dive, slow weapon chain, but a better combo-ability and mobility than his counterpart, the Predator Warrior.


Balanced type wise / Power type hot-headed

I stop here since we got the idea. The power type is oriented toward damage sacrificing some clusters in the process. As a game designer, you have many options to build your own Power Type with his own unique identity by adjusting all those factors (sacrifice range, sacrifice grapple game, sacrifice mobility, sacrifice recovery, sacrifice I-frame, sacrifice air game, etc) and that's why the power type is maybe even a better choice than balanced type for a BTU hero (Blood, BKII Axel, Kan-U, Han), especially if you reuse audiovisual material.

BKII is an historic date. From now on, several attitudes will emerge in the industry toward the FF models's production.

Category A:
This category represents the biggest part. The studios who will rip Final Fight until the genre dies. Some examples are Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, Nekketsu Oyako, Power Rangers, Night Slashers, Pirates of Dark Water, The Peace Keepers. Some are good, some are bad, this is not the question here. What I am saying is that all these games clearly didn't try to improve Final Fight and/or didn't try to understand it wholy before producing their FF models.


Capcom's Warriors of Fate has no balanced type at all / Jaleco's Rushing Beat has a balanced type and a grappler.
Both are from 1992.

In example, if we look at Jaleco's first FF model (64th street 1991) and at their last game (The Peace Keepers 1993), we'll notice their level of understanding has never changed. Their video games improve in mechanics, movesets, level structure/scheme and plot, for sure. The Rushing Beat series has a very consistent mythology, and a very consistent speech (lore <=> game), that's no question here. They will even use the BKII's scheme (two standard characters, one boy, one girl) and will turn Norton (the hero of the two first Rushing Beat) into a heavy mob/power type (lore/game) in their last episode, and will explain this evolution (moveset/status) with their plots (it's BKII all over the place).
 

Norton, Brawl Brothers (late 1992)

Nonetheless, we will figure out Jaleco never understood a lots of core elements of FF's Battle Design and Battle System, which make their metagames feel like "watered down FF models", without being bad at all.

Category B:
The studios who will base their FF models on Final Fight, like Konami and Irem will in 1993 (Batman Returns, Metamorphic Force, Ninja Baseball Batman). What I mean is that these games assimilated Final Fight wholy (both game and lore) before using this battle system to make their own video games with. Actually, Irem's Hook and UCCops are both from 1992, and if we took the time to analyse them, we will notice they already understood Final Fight at this time. There are other interesting games from obscur studios who fall in that category. Konami's Violent Storm is a peculiar case which can be placed in both this category and the next one.


Rosa the Balanced Type, Zan the Technician, and Matt the Power Type

Category C:
The last category are those who took the time to understand BKII and will rely on it to make the FF Model evolved: Capcom and WinkySoft. Only two studios, and one of them is the creator of the model. The only words to describe my feeling is "Sadness of Doom". Nonetheless, the fact that Capcom itself will take into account SEGA's work shows us how amazing BKII is as a video game, what BKII brought to the FF model, what BKII brought to the medium.


Denjin Makaï's polished roster.

Conclusion:
This chapter could have been the very first of the "SoR lore vs game analysis" since it compiled pretty much everything we've seen to give a great farsight for what will happen. If the BTU genre was as understood as the Shooter genre or plateformer genre, do you really think the industry would have ignored BKII this much? Just try to figure out how many shooters overlooked Space Invaders (78), Contra (87), Doom (93), Quake (96), Metal Slug (96), Half Life (98?), Halo (2001?) and Gears of Wars (2006).


Masterpiece with great thematics like this exists because the most important shooters of the history were not overlooked.

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:50 am

Chapter 39: Max's Genesis Part One: Haggar vs Zangief

The grappler is the most common archetype of the FF models for obvious reason. This battle system has been designed to introduce this moveset. Regarding Fighting game series, almost all of them are SFII's successors and so 90% of them, wether 2D or 3D, benefits from grapplers (KoF, SF, Fatal Fury, GG, BlazBlue, DoA, Tekken, VF, SoulCalibur). One of the famous exception is Melty Blood, a fan made game revolving around loli sexual fetish. There is no randomness or coincidence in that fact to me. Wink


It has been published on PS2
and was played in tournament.

Ayano Koshiro wrote:
[...]I’m sure you’ve played Street Fighter II—my brother and I did too.
[...]As for Max…. he’s the power-style. My brother Yuzo loves throw-based characters.
You know, the characters who are hard to use, but when you connect, it’s over with just one hit.
http://shmuplations.com/streetsofrage2/

There is a very good video  on youtube (in french so just google it, it's a small part of very long Stunfest convention) where TMDJC* explains how Okamoto designed his SFII characters by giving points in different clusters (air, range, throw, speed etc) to try to balance his game (he failed, some clusters outmatch others). In my opinion, Okamoto didn't explicit this ranking ingame to not alter his mythology like BKI did.

TMDJC*: is a guy who used to work for basgrospoing.fr, a french website dedicated to fighting game held by Neithan. Neithan is now reporter on gamekult (famous french website). He does fighting game tests for them, and we worked together on beginer's tutorial. I asked Neithan if TMDJC was reliable. He told me that he was the most interesting guy he ever met since he has huge knowledge of 2D Fighting games and very sharpened vision of it. That's the genesis of my source regarding this peculiar information.

Koshiro didn't thought Max exactly like Zangief to me, and let's understand why.
Hypothesis I: because she had the "noob vision" of Zangief. According to the way she described him, she seems to depict the fighting game's grappler has the most powerful archetype in the hand of good player. Actually, it's the opposite. The Fighting game's grappler is designed for "mid level player" to beat down "noob to mid level player". Why? Because Fighting game (2D or 3D) is all about space control. A noob ignore that and so he doesn't know how important space control is.


I'm the hero!

Aftermath: The grappler's cons (mobility) disappears against a noob-mid level player, and the grappler can close his opponent easily. If a grappler comes close to his opponent, he did the hardest part of his gameplay since he has high priority and unblockable move with insane damage: the throw.


You lost the match before that happens.

At high level, not only the grappler player (noob or very experienced) will have big trouble to close his opponent (since his opponent will sacrifice damage for space control, whatever his character specialisation) and even if he managed to, grappler's gameplay relies on luck/psychology more than any other archetypes.


this kind of move beat throw.

If the opponent guessed the throw, it's easy to counter it, to knock the grappler down and to create space again. Interestingly, Zangief used to have one cheap trick due to an overlook of Okamoto. He can connect his throw after a crouch HP's blockstun. That was corrected later (every single fighting game learned from this exploit) but I really doubt she was aware of that glitch (you will understand why I think that later in the chapter). In fighting game communities, there are always grappler players, however, the ones who are specialized in them and manage to have very good results in tournament are very rare, whatever the game (serious imbalance excluded). High level players know how to deal with grappler since the 90's (just keep him away, he has no projectile, no mobility, no speed).


That's fucking cheap and unfair!!

And also because almost all fighting games have counter pick.


If you thought Ryu was cheap...

This is the big difference with Haggar, the BTU's grappler. Despite revolving around the same concept (game) his opponents are stupid (AI =/= human) and so Okamoto designed it to be the very efficient and very flashy character for experienced players. That's Koshiro's exact definition, and my hypothesis 2.


Ayano Koshiro wrote:
My brother and I liked the way they fought in SFII, and between the two of us, a shared vision of the fighting of Streets of Rage 2 arose: two jabs, followed by a straight punch, then some heavy hit, and the enemy goes flying! That kind of flow had to be in there.

Is she trying to tell us that SFII has a chain system quite close to Final Fight/SoR2? In this case, that's wrong. In old SFII series you can link some moves together (ie: jump HK => crouch LK), you can cancel some moves together (ie: crouch MK => hadoken) but the only thing you can chain is light moves (ie: crouch LP, crouch LP).



Actually, there is a trick to bypass the chain system (but I'm not even sure it was there in the very first SFII, maybe it was). If we press LP+HP, the game takes into account the stronger move, so we can use it to chain a light into a fierce move. I really doubt Koshiro knew that kind of tricks when we read about the way she spoke of SFII in the quote above. Nonetheless, This kind of tricks discovered by the players explains why SFZero I, Marvel series and Vampire series will designed proper chain system. Because Fighting game's players inherited of the BTU culture. Same players, same culture, same game.


Hypothesis 3: She just picked audiovisual from SFII:
Ayano Koshiro wrote:
My brother and I liked the way they fought in SFII, and between the two of us, a shared vision of the fighting of Streets of Rage 2 arose: two jabs, followed by a straight punch, then some heavy hit, and the enemy goes flying!That kind of flow had to be in there.



And made all her game around Final Fight and just "forgot" to mention the game she plagiarized. To me, she understood SFII: anti air, damage scaling with sound effect ties to it, archetype polished concept including lore <=> game supporting moveset/status in the mythology. She nonetheless based her chain system on Final Fight, her jump-in attack on Final Fight, her Mega Crash on Final Fight and her Grappler on Final Fight. Now pay attention, if she understood what is bolded in this paragraph, here is a big point we have to clear out: Haggar is the hero but Max is not.



If we look at Douglas Bild, the companion/heavy mob/grappler of Rushing Beat, he's way more unsafe than Haggar (bad air game, bad recovery on his throw), because Jaleco might not want him to overshadow the Rushing Beat's hero (Norton is quite bland in the first episode). After studying Rushing Beat series wholy, I noticed Jaleco knows how to handle a mythology with the video game medium. Both Bild and Norton will evolve in the lore, and their movesets support it each time.


Early 1992

If we look at Hawk, the Crime Fighters II heavy mob/grappler, he's way more unsafe than Haggar too (he has the most unsafe ground game of the game) and his very damaging move is very hard to perform compared to Haggar because it required back grapple without any vault mechanics (...  Shocked ).


Summer 1991

Koshiro knows that Axel is quite efficient and easy to use in her metagame (Gran Upper) with a very sharpened identity and a very flashy moveset, so she decided to create an heavy mob quite different from Douglas Bild and Hawk (unsafe) but quite different from Haggar too (required back grapple without any vault mechanics ). Max is the guy the heroes called when things really went wrong, such as, I don't know, let's say.

A former badass team member that we all love had been captured.

Max is way stronger than any main characters but manage to handle his side character's status in this mythology thanks to

  • the overall flashy/sexy, hot/cold, wise/wild sharpened concept of the main group (lore)
  • the previous grappler archetypes before him (game).

There is an early Shonen, quite famous, which use this concept. It's neither Hokuto no Ken nor DBZ.


Ikki, Saint Seya. This is Max concept.

Conclusion:
Take note that Koshiro never mentioned Final Fight and Vendetta in the interview. In the whole history of Fighting game, there are a lot of iconic grapplers with sharpened concept/identity. KoF's Clark, SF's Alex, GG's Potemkin, VF's Wolf, Tekken's King, SoulCalibur's Astaroth, DoA's Bass and more. The grappler is the FF model's most common archetype. In the whole history of BTU's mythology, there are only two grapplers. The first one is Haggar, the Mayor, the other one is Max, the Phoenix. And the others? They didn't impacted neither the audience nor the industry because, wether in lore or in game, they all are their eugenics mutations.


A new shotgun is born.

See you in my next post.
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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:48 pm

Appendix II: Facts & Theories
Let's divert the facts and theories broached in Max's Genesis part one in order to avoid deception.


Konami, CF2 1991.

The fact that Ikki and Max share the same colors's scheme and the same status in their own mythology might be pure coincidence. The fact that Konami's Blue Grappler and Sega's Blue Grappler share the same requirement for unleashing their signature moves might be pure coincidence. The fact that BKII Axel and Konami's Blood share the same moveset concept (Hit + | Throw -) and the same status in their own mythology (main character) might be pure coincidence. The fact that SEGA has a progressive policy regarding black people and girl with the Streets of Rage series and the fact that Konami has a satiric policy regarding the BTU medium with their Crime Fighters series might be pure coincidence.


SEGA BKII, 1992.

Or maybe (implies theory here) Konami and Sega just understood each others. Maybe they figured out how conservative Technos Japan and Capcom were. How they turned the medium into the stuff we all know today (God of War, Ninja Gaiden, God Hand, DMC, Bayonetta, Splatterhouse)  full of misogyny, western mythology (Holy Bible and Greek mythology), without any black people.  


We are white people, very pretentious, and very conservative.

Maybe SEGA and Konami tried to bring the BTU in another direction by delivering their speech through the video game medium. This can be a far stretched theory and maybe the shameless Final Fight parody that Crime Fighters 3 is (fact), is another coincidence.


I'm Black like Blood, I'm a Grappler like Haggar, I do Atomic Drop like you Max!
Konami, Violent Storm aka Crime Fighters 3, 1993

Chapter 40: Max's Genesis Part Two: The Flying Phoenix

There is a lot to say about Max, it's one of the 5 most important characters of the 2D BTU History along with Billy and Haggar (I didn't count Ryu in, but you have seen this guy enough to understand why he could be taken into account). So we'll make smaller chapters to take the time to understand why Max is so important. On a first look, he's nothing more than a Haggar's successor.

Let's make a small visual breakdown of some "Haggar's successors" (in order of appearence) for easy check.

Mike Haggar, Hawk, Hoover - Baby Head, Douglas Bild, Max

Hoover's case:
Hoover is quite different from Haggar concept but he didn't impacted the audience. He's a sidekick with a ridiculous design. On top of that, his moveset doesn't really assumed the "role" of the Grappler (aside from a Pile Driver and a Drop kick). I do not want to explain why for now but let's just remind that Captain Commando (the video game) is definitely not Final Fight, neither in lore nor in game, as established previously. So we will not refer to Hoover for Max's Analysis.  


Stick that in your head!
I'm not Final Fight!


Air Game:
Hawk is a grappler for sure, but not from the FF model, resulting in him having no jump and a terrible air attack (flying Body Press). He's really not good in crowd control. Bild benefits from quite high jumping curve like Haggar but his air attack is quite bad compared to Norton, and even compared to Haggar. Bild is really oriented.



  • Max's jumping curve is lower than Axel. He's really not on par with Haggar/Bild (high curve).
  • Max's jump kick is much closer to Haggar than Bild/Hawk (both having quite bad air attack).




Max has indeed a good drop kick with better damage than Blaze and Axel, but once again his jumping curve is different from Haggar and it defines a very interesting new feeling. There is no randomness in this recipe to me, that's Koshiro's trademark (sharpening to the edge). The only grappler who will follow that path is Schaefer in extrapolating this feeling by providing small hops to him instead of jump.


I can barely jump.

Note: Small hop is a central mechanics of Double Dragon the fighting game and KoF series since KoF96.

Capcom 1994, Technos Japan 1995, SNK 1996.

Max's jumping curve is also highlighted/backed-up by the fact he has a jump-in atk (Haggar didn't have any). His elbow is not very good overall but can still be handy for meaty and cross up. Something which can be valuable since he has no vault. Bild/Hawk have back grapple but no vault and no jump-in atk. Let's understand how awesome is the Koshiro's move here.



Haggar has no jump-in attack to divert him from Guy/Cody (lore/game), but Jump-in attack is one of the Final Fight's trademark! Vaulting feature is BK series's trademark, and no other games featured vault in this era. This fact alone (no vault) provides astonishing identity to Max in this context. It absolutely supports his "guest star" status. It's like if he was not from the same "school" (game?) than the former heroes (Adam included).


You are not like us!

His IPJ-Atk has already been broached so just to refresh. It's big hitbox, slow start up, and big damage (32) if timed correctly. It seems that Haggar's double hammer punch (his combo finisher) has been upgraded to a brand new level by SEGA.


Air-Haggar!

Note: Zangief's air headbutt is his only way to have a chance to close Dhalsim in SFII series by timing it properly to counter one of Dhalsim's space control move (but not that much in the SFIV series).



Assessement: It's air game. It's not the speciality of a BTU's grappler, and it's the least important cluster of BKII's metagame, but Max has yet a quite technical air game. If we look at Schaefer (1994), he has one air attack (drop kick with different properties depending on the hop used). If we look at Denjin Makaï's Tulks 1 (1994) he has more air moves than Haggar, and better jumping curves also. Tulks is nothing more than an updated Haggar's air game.


Haggar's air game v1.01a

Overall, Schaefer's air game (3 hops and one drop kick with different properties) offers him much more individuality than Tulks's air game.


Who's the Best?

And Schaefer's air game is still way more basic than Max.


How Possible?!!!!

Let's ask some theorical questions.

  • What's the point for a grappler of being able to Cross up in a FF model without back grapple feature and a signature move ties to it?
  • What's the point of being able to Cross up if our grappler has a vault? That's why FF3's Haggar (1995) has no jump-in attack but a Vault.
  • What's the point of having a timing based IPJ Attack in a game without mooks like Jet 2, Zamza and Vehelits?


1993,1994,1995

Is he trolling us?

Conclusion:
Max has -by far- the most polished and interesting air game a BTU's grappler ever benefited but without placing an emphasis on it, since it's not his main cluster (SEGA's brilliance). Max is different from both Axel and Blaze, but different from other Grapplers too (before/after him). Moreover, one of his air attack is designed to make up for the lack of vault, and highlights his own gameplay (cross up, back grapple, atomic drop). Each move has their own function in the metagame sharpening his own identity...


Have you any identity behind your ton of movesets or are you soul-less walking weapons?

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:14 pm

Chapter 41: Max's Genesis Part Three: The Standing Phoenix
This chapter will be a bit mathematical (not too much) but Koshiro is guilty (not me), she thinks too much (like me). Max's Mega Crash is Haggar's rip off, there is no need to argue on that. However, it seems important to note that he has, overall, the most efficient one of the BKII's metagame (range, I-frames, damage, recovery) which completely fits his concept and his status in the mythology.


The two best BKII Mega Crash to avoid debates.

Max has two standalone basic moves, the first one is the Double Hammer punch which deals extra damage (22 instead of 16). The other one is an "elbow into mule kick" (rear attack) which benefits from multi-hits property (8+16) in the mood of Axel's "elbow into backfist".


Like you my good friend Axel!

This said, Max's rear attack benefits from a bit more reach and damage than Axel's (8+16 vs 8+12) and it has aftermath!

Ayano Koshiro wrote:
I created an index for their moves/attacks, and filled it in one-by-one. Nearly all of their moves were created by me. I had to think of ways to bring variety to their movesets, and I drew a lot of inspiration and nuance from the popular vs. fighting games of the time.
http://shmuplations.com/streetsofrage2/

Max can use his mule kick instead of his regular combo finisher for extra damage (16 vs 24) requiring technical input ( b, then B+C in a tight window). This is not the case of Axel who favours his "button mashing finisher" which deals more damage than his rear attack (24 vs 20). And let's not speak about his "unsafe and easy-to-use Blitz" with astonishing power....


For-Ty-Eight!
No Skill required.


Max's target combo is composed of 2 short range chops (like Zangief diverting him from Haggar), into a strong hook with complex multi-hits property (like Blaze), and finishes with a critical double hammer punch (like Haggar).



The chop benefits from double damage with knockdown property (16 instead of 8 ) when it connects very soon (as illustrated). The hook can hit up to 4 times (14+10+14+10). The first hit being in the back, it involves a very precise position to connect it, like Blaze's reverse elbow.


My Hook is very hard to connect entirely, like your reverse elbow Blaze.

The thing is, Max has neither the Blaze's mobility/jumping curve, nor her great jump-in atk.

Lol. Not exactly Max.

Max optimizes his target combo's damage the same way as Blaze (precise positioning) but with way more affordeances (ugly walk/jump). To make up for that, the damage of the actual chain is way way way stronger turning him into a combo master. To sharpen his mobility cluster a bit more, they provide a peculiar Blitz to Max, diverting him from Blaze in the process.


The Power Slide

What is quite interesting about the slide, is the fact that it's RB1 Norton's Signature move. RB1 Bild benefited from a Clothline with short range and ugly start up. Indeed, Max's Power Slide diverted him from previous Grapplers too! Let's understand how it has been tweaked and optimized by SEGA to fit his grappler's gameplay.


What am I doing here?

It deals low damage (16) but benefits from a low hurtbox (good for evasive counter) and a descent range providing him better mobility. More than that, the attack benefits from 2 different effects: Critical or Regular depending on the way its hitbox connects (more technical than Norton here). Power Slide is here to give Max a brand new way to start combo and is a huge part of its actual gameplay. Wether for countering, dodging, crossing down, or just moving. This move redefines the Grappler concept and will have aftermath.


What am I doing here?

Not as big as it should since the BTU industry forgot to study BKII, but two games will learn from that. The first one is CF3 with Boris who benefits from a rolling attack. It has better range and connects on opponents lying on the floor (OTG's ancestor, no physics involved). The rolling attack is quite different from the power slide in terms of usage. It has less depth, but is still unique. It's a nice drift to provide individuality to Boris.

 
May I see your ticket? Gnahahaha!

As you might have understood Boris is an unpolished fusion of many FF models grappler (Haggar, Kassar, Max and even Hoover) but Violent Storm is a parody (lore <=> game). Wink


Pizza Time! ----- Blanka Capturing a Princess!

The other one who will learn from Max's slide is AvP's Schaefer. He benefits from sliding punch and a sliding tackle to start combo from a distance and can cancel it into a critical punch if needed. One of them permits him to hit people on the ground too. Neither Boris nor Schaefer has inherited of the Power Slide's depth, but at least, they didn't overlooked BKII.


Thank you for teaching Max!

Let's conclude with his Off Special. It's a dynamic attack diverting him from the main duo who both have Static Off Specials. It has good damage and quite good recovery (on par with Blaze here).



Max is definitely not as hot-headed as Axel. Axel's Off Special is 74 damage (way more than Blaze/Max) but for a very long static attack chain with very bad recovery. It is this bad without mentioning the actual glitchy status of this move.

I heard you were designed as a Gorilla Beta Max.
But your dynamic attack is much safer than me!


Conclusion:
As his air game foreshadowed in the previous chapter, what diverts Max from all grapplers before him is the fact that his standing game is very safe but also very technical. While being Haggar's successor, there are way more stuffs in his standing game that tied him to BKII Blaze (multi hits, def special, off special) and even to RB1 Norton (slide), than stuff that tied him to BKII Axel or Bild.

-
I'm wise. ------ GWAAAAAGH!

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:01 am

Chapter 42: Max's Genesis Part Four: The Technical Phoenix?

Let's start with the weapon cluster. He doesn't stab, he slashes with Knife. It is not as bad as Axel, but still not his speciality. Max is stuck between Blaze (stab n slash) and Axel (stab). How brilliant! On the other hand, he can do some nasty tricks with the pipe. He benefits from a fast hit with medium range in the back and a slow hit with long range in the front. Both deal the same damage (24) and both have knockdown properties so it's up to the player to use what fits the best the situation. Max follows his sharpened path of Technical Grappler (Haggar Pipe's skill).



However, he can do exactly the same with the Katana, with more damage (38), turning him into a Katana master which was (I suppose) BKII Axel intended concept. To me, it's a decision which might be explained by technical limitations. BKII benefits from tons of sprites for a Mega Drive BTU and maybe they fell short here. Or maybe that was fully intended. In anycase, this decision breaks a bit Max's concept (grappler/pipe) but doesn't break Max's mythology/speech (the best fighter if technically play, according to Koshiro's interview). In anycase, it's not polished regarding the lore.



Two games will learn from SEGA's (intended?) move. The first one is AvP (yeah) who will provide a bashing feature to Schaefer permiting him to use Pipe and Predator's spear/naginata quite efficiently, but also a chain combo with Linn's Katana. Schaefer is a Katana master more than a Pipe Master (Max's tribute?).


Come on Pal! Give me that Katana! Haven't you play BKII?

The other BTU which followed this path, -in a more consistent way- is Final Fight 3, in providing a Pipe chain to Haggar.



Max's (front) grapple game seems similar to Haggar on the first view. He has a flurry of knee into a powerful headbutt, a jumping grapple, a damaging slam from the front (34) and a jumping throw (40). However he has no Walking Grapple (less assisted than Haggar here), and his jumping throw is quite different from the Pile Driver. It's a toss but with bad projectile property (Blood?). Nice tweak from SEGA here to sharpen their Grappler's concept without turning him into a "toss master" (which is Blaze's identity since her birth).

=/= =/=
Walking grapple + Jumping Grapple Slam =/= Jumping Grapple Toss =/= Toss

Here again, this move will have aftermath since The Punisher (and his almost 2P Clone, Nick Fury) inherited from that jumping toss. To be honest, this BTU is quite experimental regarding the moveset, and the jumping toss is not really well inserted. This character has walking grapple feature and tons of throws from a front grapple, including a regular throw, two Izuna Drops and a giant swing which completely overshadow the jumping toss. It's hard to know the genesis of this feature in The Punisher (more on that in the next appendix) but once again, Capcom did not ignore the work of the industry, and this is better than the rest of the industry.



Max benefits from a brand new move: a submission. It is very unsafe, since it is very slow to execute and not invincible at all! It is nonetheless rewarded by the highest damage in the game (16 x5) and by a poor scoring (50 per hit). Another amazing move to polish Max's identity and to divert him from the main duo, and from every BTU's grapplers before him (Haggar included).



It's more than likely their main inspiration was SFII (submission is an iconic SFII's feature).

Me Monkey Got this too.| I do not remember when Zangief learned this precisely.

Capcom will have exactly the same idea with Warriors of Fate (released few monthes after BKII) and will provide a submission to Kassar (Companion/Heavy Mob/Grappler).



Here again, AvP (yeah) will derive this concept in a more generic way. Each flurry can be turned into a submission by mashing B fast. Linn has no grapple, but the three others characters benefit from that. It is a very high damaging move for all of them. Capcom, less polished, but still there, yadi-yadi-yada.

/
Safe Flurry slow mashing / Unsafe Submission fast mashing.

Assessement:
The weapon cluster makes sense overall (technical & efficient), but is really not as clear (game <=> lore) as everything we've seen from Max up to now. Aside from that, Koshiro made a very unique and new grapple moveset. It is quite efficient and more damaging than the two heroes's ones (Flurry, slam and jumping toss included) but nothing impressive for a grappler: Is it really worth it? The submission has insane damage for sure, but is way too unsafe for most setups encountered in a BTU. SFII is 1vs1 but Mania SoR2 can gang up quite high. Even Bild's unsafe signature move (Power Bomb) is still invincible.


What are you doing Pal?

Conclusion:
Max's submission is in the mood of Axel's Off Special (high damage + long + static + unsafe) and really doesn't fit what Max showed us from him with his standing game (Blaze everywhere). This submission really shades this wise and technical concept his gameplay's clusters were announcing previously. I'm pretty sure it is the reason why AvP will provide submissions to Predators too. They are no grapplers, they are the last generations of Half-Breed. They are refined/structured versions of The Punisher's experimental moveset concept following this lineage:

...
WoF's Portor => The Punisher's Experience => The AvP's Heroes.

So what is the meaning of this decision regarding Max grapple game? Maybe SEGA wanted us to not use the front grapple this much... Maybe Max's concept is not Haggar concept at all...


Maybe Max is Haggar's negative edge... Maybe he's Hawk's successor.

See you in my next post.


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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:28 am

Appendix III: The Punisher's Case
The Punisher's moveset concept is a sensitive/complex case. The Punisher is my second fav Capcom's FF model but the hero has the same frankenstein's syndrom as BKI Axel and these kind of characters are very hard to analyse/understand.



The Punisher is an Half-Breed, like Portor. The difference is that Portor is very well structured and easy to read as depicted in chapter 38 (Balanced type with Grappler's traits). The Punisher's moveset is hidden behind a comics licence which does really well its job regarding the mythology (big smoke screen, like Batman Arkham Series) and the game designer doesn't permit the first player to use Nick Fury to not alter his mythology (it's 2P mode or 2P slot).


The Punisher benefits from pretty much every features from all Capcom FF models. Chain into throw, walking grapple, jumping grapple, free special move (d,u + B), 8 ways diagonal run, running attack and other tricks such as, Giant Swing, Lift opponent from the ground, time based jumping throw, chain combo with knife, time based dive kick, grenade supports mechanics, and I stop here to not drag long. This result in a huge mess (used on purpose). This character has no identity (aside from the Licence) but has no sidekick to overshadow him .


The Punisher is the lazy/easy modern formula's ancestor

This was not the case of Portor (licence based), and will not be the case of The Predators (licence based too) who will filter (used on purpose) The Punisher's moveset to structure their own movesets/identities (Balanced Type / Power Type).

 

Irem released two FF models in 1992 and both of them feature polished characters. Hook is licence based, UCCops is not. They both define a jumping grapple toss (as BKII) to fit non grappler archetypes (here is my point: it's all about cooking properly). UCCops Zan is a great example (no licence), he's the balanced technical character (game). He benefits from a jumping grapple slam (Izuna Drop) and a jumping grapple toss with a curve designed for pitting. He also has another tactical move : the Tomoe Nage for crowd control. To highlight his philosophy, Zan has the worst support mechanics of the game (trading lots of life for a Super Desperation Move). He's wise (lore).

   
You are very readable Zan,
compared to The Punisher.


Irem's 1992 FF models might be the main inspiration for The Punisher's grapple features and not SEGA's BKII. Now we have the ins-and-out, let's conclude with Max!

Chapter 43: Max's Genesis - The Gran Final!

Max has no Vault but many ways to perform back grapple compared to previous grapplers who only benefited from vertical approach. Max has also Cross up (jump-in atk) and Cross down (Power Slide). His back grapple game does worth all those efforts since his suplex deals insane damage for such a safe move (62). This permits, in the same time, to legitimate BKI/II Blaze's wrestling slam in the mythology. Lots of things tie them together as previously seen (technical traits and wise philosophy).


Like you Haggar! Why?


Think a minute Blaze... Koshiro fixed the mythology!


Like you Max! Lol, not exactly!
(32 vs 62 damage).


And just in case, let's use a cutscene for the sake of it.
But Max's back grapple moveset is all about something else... SEGA wants to be sure the audience understand that he is not "an underthought character". His signature move (lore) is also a brand new mechanics in the BTU medium (game) : the Attack Throw. Max's Atomic Drop deals 70 to the victim and to all bystanders it reached. It shares roughly the cons of a regular jumping throw (vulnerable start up, and a recovery) but the reward is way more profitable. The cherry on the top of an amazing moveset.


Yuzo's Pipe SFX...

This is where The Punisher made a wise move. He has an iconic new game mechanics: a time based jumping slam. When performed properly, the Izuna Drop increases its damage and it is followed by dramatical scenery (screen shake and badass sound effects). He learned from Max and Yuzo Koshiro, no doubt here!


I learned from BKII's Max.

And we both inherited from that
outstanding time based jumping slam.


The only FF model with back grapple game which worth mentioning here is FF3. Haggar has a vault (like any character), and a more damaging jumping slam from the back (Neck Breaker). Capcom's 1995 grappler is an upgraded Haggar, very polished (Gorilla Press, Final Atomic Crash, Dash Attack, Pipe chain) but strangely also has a very slight aftertaste of a watered down Max.


We learned from BKII's Max.

Regarding RB2 Bild (Grappler), RB3 Jimmy (Grappler) and RB3 Kythring (Half-Breed), they are just nowhere near Capcom's grapplers, since Jaleco never really got Final Fight in the first place (1989). Rolling Eyes

--
We're still learning Final Fight.

Max's gameplay is so unique, each of his moves has a peculiar property giving him tons of consistency as a new video game character, and handles very well his role in the mythology, thanks to the main duo. As technical as a technician character, as sluggish and powerful as a grappler. SEGA's grappler was the most polished of all FF models in 1992 (both in game and lore), and will roughly keep this ranking up to the last FF model.



This character outdated FF1 Haggar's concept while following his path, but without overshadowing him. That fact alone is a performance and this is what will do the Fighting game's industry for their own Grapplers.


We do not overshardow Zangief...


...but we make him feel a bit outdated.


This is our only way to exist since...


What is Classic...


...Will never lose its shining.

Haggar was more technical than his partner (Max even more with multi-hits moves and cross-ups). Haggar had a bit more grappling moves but also brand new mechanics orienting and defining his gameplay (walking grapple, slam and jumping throw). Max does the same (power slide, attack throw and submission). Haggar did benefit from a high jump, but not from trademark jump-in atk. Max does benefits from jump-in atk and low curve, but not from trademark vault. That's why there is only two Grapplers in the whole BTU mythology, because only two of them have a top notch and unique concept, while the others are eugenics mutations.



It's as sad as ironic since FF model has been created to introduce Grappler Archetypes which is not the case of Fighting Games. Actually, Guardians's P.Belva could pretend to be the third, thanks to its quite unique concept, but no one knows Guardians and it seals the debates.

Double Grapple Anyone?
Double Jump Anyone?
Giant Swing Anyone?

Conclusion:
Here is -roughly- how the industry worked on their FF models. Pretty much all the studios (WinkySoft is a nice exception) thought that Final Fight's bonebreaking effect relied on this equation "(Guy+Cody+Haggar)". SEGA understood that the correct equation was this:
"[Haggar / (Cody+Guy)]".
SEGA had the idea to sharpen his duo to the edge (as WinkySoft will do). By applying the correct Final Fight equation:
"[Max /(Axel+Blaze)]".
SEGA managed to create the second and last Grappler of the BTU's mythology (WinkySoft will build the third in their obscur masterpiece).


And why not try a new equation, like... "[(Axel+Blaze) / Skate]"

See you in my next post.
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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:47 pm

Chapter 44: Little Big Man!

The brawler medium was born in 1986 and the basic archetypes from the 80's (Billy, Guy, Cody, Haggar) are overused by the industry.

80's Basic Archetypes
=>
=> =>
=> => => =>
=> =>

However some studios have a bit more ambition than that and made them mutated in an elegant way. BKI Axel was roughly based on Technos Japan's balanced type concept (Billy), BKII Axel has mutated into a power type in the mood of the Konami's Blood. BKI Blaze was roughly based on Capcom's fast/technical concept (Guy), BKII Blaze has mutated into a balanced/technical concept in the mood of Irem's Zan (same era).

90's Advanced Archetypes
+ => / =>
=>

We've seen how SEGA went back to the roots of both Final Fight [grappler / (duo)] and  Haggar (walking grapple, jumping grapple, slam) to define their own unique Grappler (power slide, submission, attack throw). We'll see that SEGA went beyond this with Skate. They went back to the roots of Guy to define a brand new archetype: the trickster [(duo) / trickster].


SEGA, Bare Knuckle II:
The Requiem of the Deadly Battle (1992)


If we took the time to study all 2D BTU, we'll notice the Trickster archetype exists in quite few games because the industry "forgot"to study BKII. The best way to figure this out is to breakdown Capcom's work. While Warriors of Fate's Subutai (aka Zhao Yun) followed FF's Guy and CC's Sho path (since released just after BKII),  C&D's Mustapha was Capcom's first try to build a trickster (early 1993). It's not a fail, but he is not as polished as Skate.
=> =>
December 1989, September 1991, October 1992
=>
Summer 1992 => Early 1993

What is important to note is that Capcom didn't manage to build an amazing trickster with Mustapha because they were too much focused on catching Skate's concept for adapting it to their game. Actually, C&D is too much in this mentality for its whole roster and that's why this game has no exceptional movesets for a Capcom's BTU (they are good, consistent and functional but that's all). C&D is a great BTU regarding every clusters (battle design, battle system, weapon, music, enemy roster, stages layers) except this one (moveset), and this is the reason why I don't like it this much actually.


This is Capcom's Bare Knuckle II?

On the other hand, AvP's Linn Kurosawa is their very first outstanding trickster (spring 1994). Linn is drifted from their own work: FF's Guy (Wall jump, katana), CC's Sho (shuriken throw ability turns into high caliber pistol) WoF's Subutai (air throw, shoryuken) and this fact might have an important role in the success of this trial, because "built upon our own work > built upon the work of other people we might not have fully understood" (Sega's Bare Knuckle I witnessed this fact).

=>
80's old archetype (fast/technical) => 90's advanced archetype (trickster)


What am I doing here?

"Built upon their own work" is what SEGA did in 1992. They built their new roster upon their own work and so they managed to build their own polished grappler, and the very first polished trickster of the genre. Indeed, Skate is also one of the 5 most important characters of the 2D BTU history, and here is the ranking:

  • Billy (1987) : the basis of  BTU movesets (game) and BTU mythology (lore).
  • Ryu (1987) : the basis of 2D Fighter (game/lore) and brought flash in the brawler/fighting game medium (social).
  • Haggar (1989) : the first grappler moveset.
  • Skate (1992) : the first trickster moveset.
  • Predator Hunter (1994) : the basis of DMC's Dante's concept who is the basis of modern brawlers.
  • Max (1992) : the grappler who breaks with Haggar/Zangief opening the path for futur fighting games.


< = VS = >
Are you more into Alastor or Efreet?
(The two movesets of DMC 2001)


If we took the time to analyse WinkySoft's Denjin Makaï series, we'll notice they have take into account all these bullet points to build their rosters upon their own work. It makes sense, it's one of the last FF model and it is made by a respectful studio who cares about making the medium evolved. Actually, it's even one of the rare 2D BTU to understand that the sexual fetish path was important (required?).


Maybe a trickster is hidden behind one of the Denjin Makaï's sexy girls,
on the other hand Guardians Heroes's Ginjurou is easier to read.


Aside from FF's model, in 1996 Treasure's Guardian Heroes built an amazing trickster (Ginjurou) and Capcom's D&D Shadow over Mystara too (Thief).

Capcom's Tricksters!


Let's start with Sega's Trickster's air game because it is just the perfect overview of Skate. His jumping curve is amazing but anti air are more difficult to deal with this kind of jump. His jump kick has better damage than the other characters (rage! 16 vs 8-12) but is not as efficient as Blaze (the wise girl) because of the hitbox combined to the jumping curve. His IPJ Atk has damage similar to Blaze (24) but its hitbox and hit detect are not on par with her. His jump-in atk has great damage compared to any character (rage! 24 vs 12-16) but benefits from a peculiar hitbox (vertical angle) providing very short reach on X axis and making it not very easy/safe to use (hurtbox is not well protected).


Quite difficult to sum up uh? This is the trickster!

A character quite difficult to sum up. This is why we spent to time to read this chapter which focused on the genesis and the futur of this archetype. This is why he is very interesting to play and quite interesting to analyse. This might also be the reason why most brawlers "forgot" to include trickster in their rosters. My opinion is they just didn't understand it since they didn't really understand the moveset concepts of Double Dragon and Final Fight in the first place (opinion) which are just way easier to analyse/understand (fact).


If you want to know how hope sounds when it dies.

Conclusion:
The Beat em up is doomed. In 2005 Kamyia included the power type, the trickster and few other advanced archetypes from the 90's in Devil May Cry 3. He updated them with other modern features such as the evasive displacement (Knights of the round, AvP, Guardians, Bare Knuckle III), the Gun mode (AvP/Guardians) and few other tricks and renamed them "fighting styles" (fighting philosophies). He hides them under a conservative guy called Dante (The Punisher?), added tons of cutscenes to hide everything, and an audiovisual lore filled with western mythology (The Punisher?). He did pretty much the same thing in 2009 with a conservative girl called Bayonetta. DMC4 is designed by another "Capcom's genius" and provided to Dante the ability to swap "fighting styles" on the fly in order to rise the connectivity of the metagame. "Rise the connectivity" is Capcom purpose since 1989. This is what they did with Final Fight: they rise the connectivity of Double Dragon with vertical approach, chain into throw and jump-in attack. Capcom makes BTU like they always did. They just found a laughable solution to sell their games by hiding everything under some holy bible flicks, guns, and weird plateform sequences.


Indeed, it's like AvP and Guardians, just more advanced since 2008.

See you in my next post (for Skate's in-depth analysis).
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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:13 am

Chapter 45: Here comes a new archetype!

Combo Cluster:

His target combo is an extrapolation of FF's Guy. No range and pitiful damage for the first 3 attacks. An easy comparison is Axel [6,6,8] and Blaze [4,4 (6/12/18)]. Skate damage is ridiculous (4,4,4). His combo finisher is a flip kick. It is not as unsafe as BKI Blaze's flip kick, but not as safe as FF's Guy's Roundhouse. It is stuck in the middle. This is Koshiro's trademark, try to fix and to polish what the previous team started. This is the formula Capcom will took for Final Fight 2's Maki's finisher.


Sega 1991, Sega 1992, Capcom 1993.

The last interesting feature of his combo is the multi-hits property of the finisher (8+16). It is in the mood of Blaze's reverse elbow and Max's hook (hitbox behind). Is Skate a technician fighter like them?


More polished than Guy's successor.

If we look at his rear attack, it has amazing damage (16+24), and can be use in place of his combo finisher because of the short range of his jab (which requires to be close to connect) combined to the hitbox of the rear attack's first hit (same requirement to connect fully). He seems to optimize his damage by technical input and precise positioning. This said, it's an air attack (use as a standalone with cautious). This move diverts him from the three others characters (safe standing static rear attack). 


Skate's rear attack is the extreme opposite of his target combo. high damaging long range air kick.

Indeed, Skate's technical traits (multi-hits, jump-in atk combo, and rear attack) are useful but we will figure out they are not the core of his gameplay. His Blitz is fast and deals 40 damage (like his rear attack) when connected soon (headbutt). B,B,B,ff,B = 52! This is flashy, easy to perform, and damaging (Axel?). However, Skate has an amazing range with his dynamic blitz (he crosses the screen) which means it can be countered by other enemies on its trajectory with anti air. It seems this blitz has cons too, it is not that safe. It clearly ties him to Axel's combo mentality, but in his own way.


40 damage for the headbutt, 24 for the somersault

We just need to look at his def special (short reach, few I-frames and 16 damage) to see that Axel and Skate shared a lot both in game and lore. They are not wise technical fighter. Skate's brother has been captured (he's very involved in the plot despite being a supporting actor) and the rage within is heart might outmached the one of Axel in this opus. It breaks the classic BTU scheme (AvP will use that kind of trick to highlight colonial marines who are not the main heroes).

And let's use a cutscene for the sake of it.
Mobility Cluster:
Guy used to have a very good walking speed (Skate too), and a wall bounce ability, but walls were rares in Final Fight. Sho used to have this two traits too but wall jump is a generic mechanics in Captain Commando. Sho also has diagonal run ability but diagonal run is generic in Captain Commando too. What definitely diverts Skate from Max, Blaze and Axel is his linear run ability. This diverts him from regular Guy's successor too (mobility skill only usable by him and at any time). What is better than that to build a proper, unique trickster and highlight Bare Knuckle's identity in the process? (air game = minor cluster). Give a brand new unique grapple game to Skate. Yes, Koshiro is like Okamoto, a perfectionist genius who understands the BTU medium and what she's doing.



Grapple Cluster:
Skate has the best mobility so he can grapple easily. That's FF Guy basic concept. The thing is, Guy and his tons of successor have a quite standard grapple game (BKI Blaze and CC Sho included). Even the leg throw type toss from Blaze and Sho will become a part of futur balanced character's grapple game (UCCops Zan, BKII Blaze, Violent Storm's Wade).



This is not the case of Skate. SEGA chose to highlight his grapple game since he can grapple easily and since he has poor reach on his target combo. First, he has a vault and a toss (like the duo) but he has to vault for using his toss. This provides outstanding identity to skate diverting him from Max and the duo in the process!


You are like us! You think so? Lol, not exactly!

His toss deals great damage (30 vs 24-28) but is not as safe as Axel and Blaze due to its I-frames combined to the recovery (Rage!), and the projectile curve combined to the start-up makes it harder for him to use people as fighting tools (Blood?). The trickster is definitely full of nuances... The vaulting throw is born and will have aftermath.


WinkySoft, 1994: Denjin Makaï

WinkySoft will provides vaulting slam to Makaï - on top of "jet upper" (flaming shoryuken) and "tornado buster" (tatsumaki)-, a vaulting toss to Kurokishi - on top of Chun Li's Air stomp -, and a new kind of vaulting throw to Iyo in the first Denjin Makaï. It is not as polished as BKII but it is consistent and permits to divert their duo (game/lore) from the rest of their roster (they understood Final Fight and BKII, no doubt). And the rest of the industry?...


On top of vaulting throw?
I also have a triple jump. (Jaleco, late 1992)
Aside from that, it's Guy standard.



If you think there is a trickster hidden under those sexy schoolgirls...
There is not even a grappler and a fast/technical archetype in this BTU (1995).
We've plagiarazed Final Fight free of charge for the sake of it!

Skate's flurry is composed of two headbutt (Haggar/Jessica - Skate/Adam rage!) with standard damage (on par with Blaze) and finish with a critical Elbow (Adam's tribute). This elbow can be used as a standalone (power blow) and is quite safe for low  damage (16). Skate has nonetheless a second power blow and this one is worth checking. It's his roller uppercut which benefits from tremendous power (40!) and deals its damage to every bystanders it reaches. However this move is fully vulnerable, has some start-up (reasonable) and some recovery (reasonable too). These reccuring power blows ties him with Adam (elbow) BKII Axel (headbutt) while being different in the same time (Roller uppercut is more than useful!).


------

His back grapple attack is not a slam which not only diverts him from the three others characters but completely breaks Bare Knuckle series's gimmick!!! However, it's a long unsafe static submission called Migraine in the mood of Max. The thing is, its damage is lower (48 vs 80), it's not as unsafe (shorter), can be used to stun lock pack of mook easier (faster start up) turning this move into something way more handy (rage!!!). It nonetheless can be countered by bosses's mega crash and it's fully vulnerable. Is the fact that Axel's signature move (gran upper) deals the exact same damage (48) as skate's migraine signature move is a coincidence? I really doubt about that.

Ayano Koshiro wrote:
I created an index for their moves/attacks, and filled it in one-by-one. Nearly all of their moves were created by me. I had to think of ways to bring variety to their movesets, and I drew a lot of inspiration and nuance from the popular vs. fighting games of the time.
http://shmuplations.com/streetsofrage2/

Migraine is the perfect reflection of what a trickster is...

Have you count the number of "but", "nonetheless",
and "howerver" in this chapter? It's a first clue.


Let's conclude with his "corkscrew kick" which reflect this too. It's not really static, not really dynamic. It's the hardest off special to connect properly (slow start up, vulnerable to anti air and peculiar angle), but it deals tremendous damage (64! If timed correctly) for a move not this unsafe. It is very flashy (street hip hop culture), like his whole moveset.


I'm the trickster!

Trickster's definition:
Game: Unique mobility feature (ie: run ability), full of extreme (ie: very high mobility, very short range, very high damage here, very low damage there ) but full of nuances (ie: outstanding range on his Blitz and rear attack, not that safe, not that unsafe). All of that in the same time without any clear limit (ie: skate's air game), filled with tricks (ie: power blow, submission, vaulting throw) which can be exploited juicily for dealing nasty damage when setups emerge. As hot-headed as technical (extreme!), he is rarely wise (lore/plot) but always flashy (social).

Linn Kurosawa mini review:
Unique mobility feature (bounce off the opponent head), very high mobility (walking speed, front/back flip, hyper front/back flip, wall bounce) but very short range (blitz, target combo). Good air game but no dive attack diverting her from the main duo (predators). Unsafe flashy shoryuken (koeikyaku) but directable flashy mega crash (senpuzan). No grapple game (breaks FF model gimmick) but very efficient and flashy air slam when combined to her launchers (the best, by far) requiring timing and precise positionning. Full dynamic target combo vs static target combo for the three others. Best gun (damage, range, fire rating) but worst reload (by far). And few others tricks (flashy charge attack, blitz). Technical Flashy Trickster she is.


Thank you for teaching Sega!

Conclusion:
Team Ninja -- Namco

What are we doing here?
Short reach, unique mobility skill, fast walk, damaging throw game, nasty otg and/or wake up game, not that easy to use...
See you in my next post.
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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:23 pm

Chapter 46: The Core of Action Game

We covered pretty much everything from BKII. What is left? Enemies and stages. Is it required to cover them? Mooks benefit from watered down movesets controlled by stupid AI, stages are nothing more than boring sidescroll without neither pits, nor plateforms. Why wasting time in covering this lazy overlooked work? We all know that video game revolved around level design.


Indeed, that's why I'm the best brawler in the world.

Brawlers 2D/3D do not revolve around level design. Is basketball more entertaining than soccer because the Y axis has an emphasis on (jump, basket, dunk, 3 pointers)? Indeed, this is plain irrelevant and let's understand why. These sports are real time action strategy games (even if they are not video games). Brawlers, RTS, shooters and fighting games are real time action strategy games (even if they are played through a technological hardware).

Plateformers have complex level design because all the gameplay revolves around moving without falling (flat collision map kills the game). Modern Shooters have complex level design because all the gameplay revolves around targeting without being targeted (flat collision map kills the game). Brawlers/Fighting games can have the level design they want (complex or flat) because all the gameplay revolves around defeating the opponent (like soccer or basket ball).


FF Grapple mechanics, Target combo, flurry, slam/toss projectile, air throw.
Battle Zeque Den:  BTU/FF model on 2 Axis with Plateforms.

You can make versus game with plateforms like Smash Bros Melee. You can make versus game without plateform like Street Fighter III. Is it relevant to say Smash Bros is more interesting than street fighter III because its level design is more complex? Is it relevant to say Dead or Alive 2 is more interesting than Tekken 3 because its level design is more complex? Is it relevant to say God of War is more interesting than God Hand because its level design is more complex?


No critical moves, every moves have the same property.
Sengoku: Action game/Spartan X model on 3 Axis without Plateform.

When I say there are misunderstandings with the Brawlers medium, this is how huge it is. We can't jump in Clover's God Hand, for the same reason we can't jump in Konami's Crime Fighters, CF2 and TJ's The Combatribes (Indeed, Mikami knows that BTU =/= FF Model). God Hand focuses on standing game, like soccer (no plateform), like Gears of War (no plateform), like Tekken (no plateform), like Virtua Fighter, like Dead or Alive. You sure can jump, air dash and teleport in DMC4 but this is because it is more than needed to fight/attack/dodge (like in Marvel vs Capcom 3), not to explore, to avoid pits or to look for covers. I'm pretty sure the epic battle we saw in chapter 44 would be unplayable in a collision map filled with rocks, pits, gaps, plateforms, covers, walls and all that Mario's flick, Rolling Thunder/Shinobi's flick, Contra's flick, and Quake III's flick. We will just hide behind walls and kill these 3 guys one by one. The complex level design would kill the complex battle system, the enemy placement, the AI. DMC4 is very well thought, and the fact I hate this game will not alter my judgement.


DMC4 without jump and with complex level design.

Level design is nothing more than a playground and we can't judge an action game (video or not) on its playground. All we can judge is its relevancy regarding the game. This is what I called the battle design. Here is the battle design formula for a Brawler/Fighting game: the more complex the battle system/movesets (enemy/playable)/AI are, the more simple the level design should be to permit the player to focus on what is important (human brain =/= CPU with RAM and Quad Core processor). This is the reason why Smash Bros Melee has more simplistic battle system/moveset than Marvel vs Capcom 3. This is the reason why the first God of War has more simplistic battle system/movesets than God Hand. This is the reason why Ninja Gaiden II (2008) has more complex battle system/movesets, and more enemies on screen than Ninja Gaiden Black (2005). Following this logic, if a professional game tester can't make the difference between a Spartan X battle system (no critical move), a Technos Japan battle system (stun mechanics), and a FF model, he can't judge the relevancy of the level design regarding the battle design, and we see the doom coming...


Itagaki (Team Ninja) was forced by his production to put plateforms and exploration sequences in his first 3D Brawler (Ninja Gaiden, 2004) and so he designed a more simplistic battle system. Low number of mooks on screen with deadly AI because of narrow space created by the complex collision map. He nonetheless placed an emphasis on the collision map in its fighting system (the purpose is beat em up, not explore the world). The three basic features of Ryu Hayabusa (whatever his weapons) are wall jump (Final Fight's Guy / CC's Sho / AvP's Linn) bounce off the head of the opponent (AvP's Linn) and charge attack (AvP's Linn) called ultimate techniques in this franchise.

=> =>
Indeed, Itagaki follows the Capcom's path...


...which was not the case of God Hand.



Gene does not jump on footsoldiers, does not use throw against girls...

Since Ninja Gaiden 3D and Black were huge success, the production allowed him to make the game he wanted in the sequel : linear level design vs complex battle system emphasing on dismemberment and higher number of mooks on screen with different AI. Tecmo knew the fame of the franchise alone (mythology) would guarantee a good number of sells.


In this game, fighting philosophies are tied to a moveset (Katana = balanced type, etc).
This is the difference with DMC3/4 where fighting philosophies (styles) and weapons (movesets) are diverted.

If you saw the number of stupid articles by professional "game testers" I read about "What a huge step down in the level design cluster between Ninja Gaiden II and Black". These guys are paid to review video games but they never tried to understand Itagaki's speech, the affordance of the business industry he went through (the first opus) to build the masterpiece he wanted to make (I don't love this game, I prefer the first one). I know I sound harsh but this is important to understand the importance of Battle Design, a concept we will never read about neither on hardcoregaming101 nor on IGN. Battle design is the core of tons of action games and the problem/fate of Brawlers and Fighting games relies on this.


Modern shooters can hide their battle design with amazingly complex level design (and can have good critics in the professional press). Plateformers can hide their battle design with amazingly complex level design (and can have good critics in the professional press). Every action games which relies on complex battle system can't. So fighting games sells characters to the point of ruining their balance by making boss playable (bosses are designed to be played by stupid AI, not by clever humans: Haggar vs Zangief), to the point of making their metagames pretty much impossible to enjoy/understand by a regular player who have a work and a family (more than 30 characters with tons of moves? Chess, League of Legends, Counter Strike, and StarCraft are easier than that), to the point of altering their battle design by bringing back "outdated" characters (Adam? Max?) in hoping to have good review (58 characters, how awesome this fighting game is!).


This roster killed the life span of TTT2 (impossible to balance for Harada).

For the same reason, Brawlers fused their archetypes, their fighting philosophies and movesets in one character in order to tell a story with a better artistic direction (than a roster of 6-8 characters would permit) making them unreadable by a huge part of the audience (especially DMC4). They sell clunky plateform sequences (compared to plateformers) and underthought puzzles (compared to adventure games) in order to seduce a secondary target who doesn't care about fighting, in order to hope to have good reviews.



Back to Basics.

Conclusion:
Capcom Cadillacs&Dinosaurs has very poor movesets and very poor archetypes (for its release date) to the point it can just handle its mythology and supports the fighting philosophies. But C&D has very good battle system and battle design. Konami's TMNT series has very simplistic movesets and very poor archetypes (for their release dates) to the point it can be sum up in three words (throw, dive, chain). But TMNT games have a functional battle system and good battle designs.

All Jaleco's games have very good movesets and good battle systems (for their release dates) to the point Capcom, Sega, and WinkySoft will use their works (on these peculiar clusters) to make the FF models evolved (more on that in the next chapters). On top of that All Jaleco's games have very consistent mythologies as broached in Chapter 38. But all Jaleco's games have a very poor battle design (for their released dates).

If Battle Design was not the core of action game, then their best brawlers would be way more popular than Konami's Turtles in Time and Capcom's C&D. I'm affraid it is not and we understand why now. This is the reason why reviewing enemies and stages are required to finish SoR2 Analysis: it is the only way to judge its battle design, its quality as an action game (=/= quality as a video game).


Hachoo! Jaleco, 1989 is filled with impressive mechanics.


Jaleco, 1991.

See you in my next post. Wink


Last edited by BigDarsh on Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Streets of Rage : Lore vs Game Analysis   Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:19 pm

Chapter 47: Battle design

Let's precise and shade a statement I made in the previous chapter. Shooters with hitscan (opposed to balls) require complex level design (modern FPS and TPS). The very first shooters are SHMUP (birthdate: late 70's) and have simplistic level design since our avatar moves faster than balls (opposed to hitscan) and so we can target without being targeted. The run n gun shooters are stemmed from Shmup (birthdate: mid 80's). They reduce the number of enemies and balls on screen, change the mobility of the avatar (the sidescroll is not forced, our avatar can sometimes jump), they upgrade the level design, and almost always have 4 ways or 8 ways targeting. The maniacs shooters are also stemmed from Shmup (birthdate: mid 90's?) and did the opposite. These games have high numbers of projectile on screen, a more basic mobility cluster, targeting system and level design.


Maniac shooters Gunwange vs Run n Gun shooters Metal Slug

Nonetheless, we never read article like this: "what a huge let down in the level design cluster between Gunwange and Metal Slug". Why?


Because battle design is all we care about?


I do think so! (Shinobi, Sega, 1987)


Indeed! (Altered Beast, Sega, 1988)



Have you ever noticed you can't jump over my projectile? (game)

Have you ever noticed I was designed as SFI's boss and SFII's right hand man? (lore)

Have you ever noticed I'm very High tiers in many games?
(among them: SSFIIX, CvS2, SFIV, SSFIV).


According to this news paper...


I was the AoF's father who was forced to capture my daughter Yuri (the princess) by...


...Mr. Big (the big bad) who was way more evil than Willy, Belger, and Mr.X
Since sex is evil, and double sexmates is way more evil (BTU's logic).


I was designed to create an epic boss battle for the player to enjoy.
I was designed to permit Ryo (hero) and Robert (companion) to shine!


Indeed, I used the BTU mythology to help the player
to understand that game and lore are mayonese!
I'm only usable by stupid AI, like Sagat.


Just pay 4.99$ to use me in KoFXIII.
Trust me, you won't regret it!

When I see SNK's fanboys saying that Capcom's policy sucks, I just feel like... you know.


http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/bonnet-blanc-et-blanc-bonnet.htm

You may noticed that people who cry about abusive DLC and upgrade (Capcom's games are good example) are exactly the same who ask for bosses and outdated characters to be playable. These characters who have nothing to do in a PvP metagame (neither in lore nor in game). These characters who damage the core of any action game which is: the battle design. Following this logic, if the compagny wants to fix the mess they created, they have to find solutions to handle their communities. Capcom has some money (thanks to the crappy DLC) to patch the game and to try to balance which permits SFIV to be the most played fighters in the world, while SNK just can't. They just sell their broken characters and moves on, they let the kof series in the shadow avoiding the community to expand in the process.

Conclusion:


be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it ....


I will be playable in FFVII Remake!
I joke, the RPG medium is understood. Wink



Chapter 48: Jaleco, The Brawler's Shadow Broker


As a player, I'm not too fond of Jaleco's games, but as a musician, I love their music, as a comics reader, I love their visuals, and as a game tester/analyst, I'm really amazed by this studio. This is why I want to dedicate this chapter and the next one to them before finishing SoR2's analysis, in order to cover what they brought to the medium. Here is a quote from Chapter 38
Quote :
This category represents the biggest part. The studios who will rip Final Fight until the genre dies. Some examples are Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, Nekketsu Oyako, Power Rangers, Night Slashers, Pirates of Dark Water, The Peace Keepers. Some are good, some are bad, this is not the question here. What I am saying is that all these games clearly didn't try to improve Final Fight and/or didn't try to understand it wholy before producing their FF models.

Jaleco didn't try to understand Final Fight wholy before producing FF models for a very interesting reason. They have designed exactly the same grapple mechanics (walk into the opponent) in their obscure BTU called Hachoo! which was released in 1989 (more than likely before Final Fight). They are very creative and lots of their concepts will be highlighted by others studios. If Jaleco had a better understanding of battle design (or maybe just better programmers) they could have built masterpieces. Most of their games falls short in physics cluster (hitstun, hit detection), enemies's movesets and enemies's AI. They tried to balanced this in their Rushing Beat series (1991-1993) with gimmicky come back mechanics (the famous Ikari Mode). A come back mechanics which has been censored by western division in some of their games (a marketing decision which didn't understand the medium at all...). An Ikari mode which will plague many fighting games from SNK and Namco (several Art of Fighting, several Fatal Fury, several KoFs, several Samurai Spirits, and even Tekken Tag Tournament, T6 and TTT2). They will all give it up for something more "consistent" from another obscure studio.

------- vs -------

Hachoo! (Jaleco, 1989)

The heroes are an asian kung fu master and his 2P clone (pre Final Fight). The game has no target combo (pre Final Fight), but a very high jump without any attack (a displacement designed to flee or to get pick ups which float across the screen at different speed and height). The game places an emphasis on grappling and throwing in three directions. Behind the character (for pitting), in the background (for pitting too) and in the foreground. This move is very unsafe but very flashy (they understood Capcom's social revolution before Final Fight!). It can be used against many different mooks and especially...


Oh yeah, you want to throw girls!
DDI's Billy's time is over!

Lots of mooks have throws in their movesets to counter the player and the recovery rolls (up+J, like in the futur BKI) is a nice mechanics. However, the roster of mooks are not programmed in an elegant way which can provide some frustration (like making "them" playable by humans in great 2D fighters...), the chain system has terrible hit detection and severly damage the pace. It just ruins the battle system which is just plain brilliant, especially for early 1989.


I'm gonna teach you how to ruin KoF!

TMNT Turtles in Time (Konami, 1991)
"Toss at the foreground" will become the very flashy, efficient and high scoring move of TMNT Turtles in Time games. The arcade version has a simplistic battle system designed to be enjoyable with 2-4 players simultanously (battle design vs battle system). The SNES version has a more complex level design and a more complex battle system, designed to be enjoyable even with one player. The bosses and AI are rethought to fit this new setup. TMNT Turtles in Time SNES is arguably the best TMNT game according to many polls all around the world (from professional press to blogs) and its iconic feature was the central gimmick of Jaleco's first brawler.


I prefer "TMNT hyperstone heist" which removed
this feature to place an emphasises on pure fighting.

64th Street (Jaleco, 1991):
It uses a western mythology (post Final Fight) but a more classy one (detective story). This game still places an emphasis on grapple game (throw at the background for pitting and to unlock hidden pick ups). For this reason, it features very poor air game: the characters have terrible air attacks. Cody's skyward kick for Rick and BKI Axel's knee of doom for Allen! However, the FF's target combo chain system is included (functional) and a flurry is now avaible from the grapple moveset (it makes sense). As you might have understood, this game tried (and managed!) to upgrade/fix/improve Hachoo! with Final Fight features. But, in 1991, the audience is set to see it as a watered down Final Fight more than anything for an obvious reason...


This said, this installement benefits from a brand new and impressive "command moves" mechanics (f+A with tight timing) and the "special moves" (A+J, FF's Mega Crash) are very cool. We will noticed Rick and Allen completely foreshadow the futur. Rick (the hero) refers slightly to Haggar in lore (bulky, mustach) and in game (has a slow walk, an impressive flurry, and a slow but powerfull chain). He has a powerful command move (f+A) which is a static fire punch and his special move is a very flashy rolling into fire uppercut (Gran Upper, Flaming Shoryuken etc). He's not a grappler but not a balanced type (power type). He's not wise and open the path for Axel II.


Rick, Jaleco, 1991. Sega, Axel, 1992. SNK, Kyo '94.

Rick, Jaleco, 1991. Fei Long, Capcom, 1993. few years passed... and at last SNK, Kyo '97.

Allen is slippery and safe. His target combo and flurry are very balanced, his command move (f+A) is a dynamic shoulder blow (Max?) and his special move (A+J) is in the mood of BKII Blaze's Embukyaku! On top of that, his weapon speciality is the wrench and benefits from a chain with it (The Punisher's Knife chain, Hannah's knife chain, Schaefer's katana chain, and the list goes on).




The game has a very refreshing soundtrack (jazzy) and interesting level design with traps and breakable layers. However the enemies AI and movesets and the order of appearance of enemies are underthought (compared to Final Fight and Bare Knuckle I) and don't really manage to refresh the pace, turning this awesome work into something enjoyable at best. Some boss battles are just tediously repetitive to the point of spending 5 minutes in jump kick resets...

Batman Returns (Konami, 1992-1993)
Tim Burton's movie was a great success and has several video games adaptations. While most of them went for action games, Konami embraced a double standard. This installment alternates BTU (FF model) and Action game (Castlevania). If we look at both gameplays, they are not very polished, but if we look at the whole video game (cutscene, city layers, moveset consitency, enemies, battle design, etc) it's arguably the best tribute to this movie. Batman Returns hero is not a balanced type. It's an "half breed" (balanced type with grappler traits) which is great to highlight the "black/white" concept of Batman.



He has regular target combo and jump kick but an under average walking speed (64th Street's Rick, BKII Axel).


Among his air attacks, a body press (Haggar, Bild, Hawk) and a skyward kick (Guy, Cody).

Optimized with Bikers.

His throw is a slam (not a shoulder throw) with a brand new visual.

Chokeslam?

He has walking grapple (Haggar), double grapple (unique), providing individuality to him.

and refers to The "evil" Combatribes

He can throw people at the background (Jaleco's Hachoo! and Jaleco's 64th street).

Konami highlights Jaleco's work once again.

Conclusion:
This is really depressing, they could really have being the king of the BTU with all these concepts. Jaleco will even try to dive in the fighting game (following the first Fatal Fury's and Art of Fighting's path) with Dead Dance (Tuff E Nuff, 1993) but they will (once again) show how much they lack of knowledge in battle design.


A bit of Mad Max, a bit of Golden Axe...
Badass amazon here...

See you in my next post (for Rushing Beat series awesomeness!).
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