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Bloody Roar | 3 | review | game | Lollipop

Bloody Roar 3

(Activision for the PS2)
by Eric Johnson

Video game pugilists are a pretty stupid-looking crowd. Most fighting titles feature as their central character a skinny, effeminate man with feathered hair, decked out in an 18th-century waistcoat whose fists move so fast that they leave streaks of multi-colored chi trailing behind them as he dispenses spinning tornado uppercuts. A whole laundry list of absurd stereotypical characters has developed over time, including feeble-looking old man and the disturbingly attractive voluptuous young woman with "hello kitty" accessorized Japanese jailbait voice. Not only are these individuals relatively similar in appearance from one game to the other, but their skills and fighting styles are predictable enough for me to have written off the entire genre several years ago.

Bloody Roar 3 presents a brand of fisticuffs that is unique only by virtue of the fact that its rather typical-looking cast can call upon anthropomorphic spirits to transform their bodies, augment their strength, and mix things up should defeat or boredom loom on the horizon. Yes, each fighter in this game suffers from his or her own unique strain of lycanthropy. The aforementioned effeminate protagonist can transform into a wolfman, the old man a mole, the big tough guy a gray lion, and the hot girl becomes a bat, cheetah, or rabbit depending on which one you pick. This transformation is equal parts cheap gimmick and good idea. On one hand, it denies you the ability to fight with exclusively anthropomorphic characters, something I would like to see, especially if it took place in ancient Rome. On the other, it makes it so that any standoff involves the interaction of four skill sets, as the animal halves of each character possess a slightly expanded set of moves from their human counterpart. Despite the fact that it looks pretty and is a lot of fun to play, the bestial aspects of Bloody Roar 3 are all that really make this fun, but ultimately generic, fighting game stand out from its competition.

Straight out of the box, Bloody Roar 3 is an instantly accessible and immediately enjoyable chaotic flurry of flailing bodies, punches, kicks, throws, and counter attacks without any detectable learning curve. The hypnotic, epileptic seizure-inducing pyrotechnics that accompany each strike and transformation sequence are flashy enough to fool you into thinking that you've picked up something really special. For the first couple of hours, it's an amazing game. But the fun burns out quickly after a few sessions of frenzied button-mashing. If you're victorious and manage to finish with any given individual, your reward will be a text-based story. That's it.

Bloody Roar 3 is a quarter-eating stand-up arcade game shrunk to fit on your console system with nothing of note added. My moment of clarity occurred when I realized that my only motivation for continuing was the jiggling breasts of the female characters during their little victory dances. Computer graphics have made some astonishing leaps forward in the past few years, but apparently none of it is more hypnotic and surprising than the celebratory titty jiggle.

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