Archive for September, 2008

It’s all about Style, Eretzvaju Part 2

Posted in Clean up needed, Fighters, Games with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2008 by link6616

I’m not going to worry about mechanics anymore….. Eretzvaju is very much, a game that tries to look cool. A great deal of effort was placed in making sure the characters looked ripped out of an anime. And it succeeds. From attacks looking impressive, stances, multi angle work, Eretzuvaju really FEELS like an anime and that is probably one of it’s major draws.

Story mode only strengthens it, by giving each character their own ‘show’ complete with coming next week segments, tells each character’s story, and a short cut scene before and after each fight. The voice acting was so terrible that it this idea was marred a bit, but the voice acting is so terrible that its actually funny to watch.

To help with the anime feel, attacks are exaggerated, you are surrounded by energy when charging, everything from copies of a character, lasers, cards, fireballs, energy disks/beams, everything you’ve seen in more then a few animes is here.

“But that’s unoriginal” you cry out, “don’t games need to be original?” Well, it helps, but they use it to their advantage, you know your characters before you even play them, and they may have a twist, but you feel ok with each character from the start, and you can have a laugh at how much they fit to their molds.

Eretzuvaju is a good example of a game that knew what it’s purpose what, to make a fighter that felt like an anime.

It does that, focusing on the second more then the first. It didn’t bother making an elaborate new plot, or fighting system. It just made stuff that looked cool, was fun and that everyone could do.

What else do you want from an anime fighter, other then to fight like anime characters?

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A fighting game with 2 buttons, Eretzvaju, Part 1

Posted in Clean up needed, Fighters, Games with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2008 by link6616

Button counts

Street fighter, 6
Tekken, 4
Virtua Fighter, 3
Super Smash Brothers, 3 or 4 if you count the jump

You may be wondering why I’m counting buttons, the more astute of you may have realized that the game I’m going to talk about uses only 2 buttons. I’m willing to admit that it isn’t the greatest fighter ever made, but it does quite a few things very well, and only uses 2 buttons.

Welcome to Eretzuvaju (otherwise known as Evil Zone). It’s a 3D fighter that appeared on the PS1 in 1999 that pits 10 anime stereotypes against each other and finally a under dressed boss with angel wings.

Each character has a surprisingly big back story and the amount of story is quite impressive given that its a fighting game. Story mode is presented like a different anime TV series for each character, complete with previews about the next episode. All of them end up at the same spot, and it’s not very good or well dubbed, but it is quite a nice change from fight fight fight. But the story isn’t my main concern, it’s the battle design that grabs me.

The controls are simple, Triangle is attack, Square is block, everything else isn’t.
Just Triangle will let you perform a 3 hit combo
Up, left, right and triangle will perform a special move, double triangle will vary it slightly (projectiles will often spread)
Down performs throws
Double forwards Triangle is a dash attack
Double up triangle or square performs a jump or block.
Double backwards triangle will let use a ‘crystal’ to fire a bullet that will unleash a supermove.
There are a few other moves, but for the moment, we’ll leave it at that.

Doesn’t really sound all that hard does it. One of the first nice things that should be quite apparent from that list is that nothing there looks hard to do, no quarter circles or anything. Since all the moves are readily there and usable then most people can just play and look impressive. This is a surprisingly important aspect, players FEEL powerful.

One thing that is not apparent from that list however is that pretty much every attack is always useful. Most attacks are long range, or move you a distance across the screen, almost as if a long range attack. So however far away you are, you can always attack and have lots of options. Eretzvaju doesn’t feel deep at first, in fact it took me a long time to realize that there was more to the game then throws, which can seem over powered. Thanks to always having lots of options, the room for mind games is quite impressive, and lots of ways to punish an opponent for making the wrong move, although often the best way is a throw.

“Super moves”

Supers aren’t unique to Eretzvaju, but it’s way of managing them is clever. You can hold Triangle to charge up a yellow bar in your life gauge. When this bar hits the top of your life gauge you get a crystal, which can be used to either power up a normal move, or used to unleash a separate super move that not only looks impressive but deals lots of damage. Since when you are low on health you can charge up quicker you can output more damage the closer to death you are, this not only allows comebacks, but encourages them much more then other fighters. These moves aren’t over powered though, so losing won’t make you win, but it will make it so much easier then not having them.

Well, thats it for now.

Required Reading

Posted in Games with tags , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2008 by link6616

As opposed to starting with my ideas I think it’s best to start with the work of others. These are sites and games which I feel that all people should play, and will probably will be referenced but not actually explained, partially because so many people have dedicated enough to each game, book or site. Games don’t have to be finished though, just played enough to get the ‘gist’ of whats good about it. The games in this list are mostly one’s that you would know, I’ve tried to avoid anything obscure as they need all the articles they can get.

This list is not the final one, and is a work in progress, but the essentials should get through.

Reading

David sirlin

http://www.sirlin.net

Mainly looking at Playing to win, multilayer balance and single player games. There is lots to find out from Sirlin, and I respect quite a lot of his ideas, although his ideas are skewed from a SF2 perspective I fear (and mine will be from a Plaformer/RPG background with a very healthy respect for fighters).

Trigger Happy

http://stevenpoole.net/trigger-happy/

One of the best books about gaming I’ve read, a brief history, look at design, narrative, lots of cool stuff there, again some ideas I don’t agree with and Tomb Raider gets a little too much praise I think, but given the time thats fair enough.

Playing

NES/Master System Generation

Not a lot here that needs mentioning that wasn’t either out done or ported a lot of times later, but….

Ninja Gaiden, any, the Master system version is different to the nes ones btw.
Wonderboy 3, possibly the least known title on the list, but a great platform adventure that possibly paved the way for Castlevania Symphony of the night.
Megaman, any, I REALLY don’t care
Bubble Bobble

Snes/Megadrive (Genesis) Generation

The ‘golden age’ of gaming, it has most of the ‘classics’ people refer to, but overall it’s not golden for the reasons many claim it to be, but it does have a lot of important games.

Chrono Trigger, one of the best games it has to offer.
Final Fantasy 6, sure 4 and 5 were great, but I think 6 is a little more important.
Super Metroid, exploration, cool world, its really cool.
Secret of mana, cool RPG, everyone loves it, possibly more then it needs, but it is loved.
Megaman X (any), Megaman games fundamentally never did change, but somehow the games actually did evolve, so it is nice to look at the whole series.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the past. The start of the modern zelda, and possibly the earliest now seriously playable one.
Super Mario World, great platformer, shaped to generation really.

Street Fighter 2, a classic fighter that shaped capcom forever.

Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Knuckles, a great paltformer of a different breed to Super Mario World.
Gunstar Heroes, great run ‘n’ gun game, Cartoon Contra and the start of Treasure.
Streets of Rage 2, quite possibly one of the best beat ’em ups ever, probably not, but possibly.

PSX/Saturn/N64 Generation

NiGHTs into Dream, hard to explain, easy to play.
Virtua Fighter 2, number doesn’t really matter,  just play one.

Final Fantasy 7, you do have to play it, just to know that it isn’t as good as everyone says, but it well paced.
Final Fantasy 9, my personal favourite FF
Chrono Cross, got rid of a lot of RPG mechanics that aren’t that great, unfortunately it sits in the shadow of it’s older brother Chrono Trigger.
Resident Evil 2, I suppose any would do, but 2 is quite good and as good as any to start with.
Megaman Legends, I just add the megaman games because they are ALWAYS there, and it’s one of the earlier games that used cell shading.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, yeah THPS 3 and 4 a gen later are better, but this was a pretty important title that anyone can play.
Metal Gear Solid, classic in more ways then a single line could ever try to say.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the first metrovania and fun ride that was well done, if a little easy.

Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time AND Maljora’s Mask. Yup I want you to have played both, both are classics and a good example that the game engine doesn’t define a game, its the content, as OoT and MM are wildly different to eachother, but use the game gameplay engine (well, not the EXACT engine, but very simmilar ones)
Super Smash Brothers, a great party fighter, simple.
A Rareware platformer, I don’t care what you pick, they all are of simmilar quality
Perfect Dark/Golden eye, either or, Perfect dark ranks higher for me.

Well, thats it for that list for now, handhelds come later, and the PS2 gen I need to play more of to comment fairly on