Kou_Leifoh (Level 10)

Needs to stop watching hentai.
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This year became exciting with a unexpected bang with the announcement of Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. A sequel that was in demand for a decade, a sequel, unlike yearly ones, actually matters among so many.

I don't really have much fond memories playing Marvel vs, Capcom 2, most of my fond memories was on Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Superheroes and the playstation version of X-Men vs. Street Fighter (Yeah I played that awful version, but in those days, I was young enough to not notice the awfulness of that version).

Then came Capcom vs. SNK on the Dreamcast. At the time I wasn't knowledgeable about the SNK properties, I knew the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters series existed, but didn't have enough relevance to know who most of the SNK characters were at the time. None of that seem to matter because I was surprise by how well crafted the game was, even though Capcom vs. SNK had recycle character sprites.

The gameplay did have it's controversies among hardcore SNK fans. But for what Capcom vs. SNK  is, there was lots to appreciate. Once you go into the arcade mode you're welcome into the groove selection, and in the backgrounds you see multiple T.V screens running footage of Capcom & SNK games that spans both companies' history. The games that were shown were the highlights of both companies' existence.


   Some of the games I was able to point out.
 Some of the games I was able to point out.
The expertise was express all over the game's backgrounds. The choice of colors were unlike anything I've seen in past Capcom fighting games; the colors were bright and colorful. In Capcom vs. SNK, the colors were dimer and had a more realistic feel to them; they look like they belong on a wall as a portrait. They had nice effects such as the nice animation of the fire in Ryu's stage, the shadows of the characters in the background when they are in front of the spotlight in the Final Fight stage, or how things would crumble down when a fight gets intense in the Sakazaki stage.


All of Capcom vs. SNK's well craftsmanship in its presentation was complemented by the music. The selection of music in Capcom fighting games in the late 90s was out of left field, like the Jazz music in Marvel vs.Capcom 2 and some of the rap themes in Street Fighter III Third Strike; but it surprising work really well. With everything the game provides, the music brought a cohesive experience.
   
                                                                                           "Shake well before severing." I don't know what that means, but I like it.

A much improve sequel in the gameplay department, but a noticeable trade-off in the quality in its presentation, though it's not to go to say it's terrible, arrived in the form of Capcom vs. SNK 2. The game offered lots more to the package than the original, some of the characters added were characters that were unexpected yet couldn't help but put a smile on your face (Who would of thought Capcom would bring Eagle from the original Street Fighter!). 

Capcom vs. SNK 2's presentation didn't generate as much sparks as the original; there weren't moments like the multiple T.V screens showing many Capcom & SNK games - techniques within the presentation that had a clever and sleek feel to it. Capcom emphasize a bit more on 3-D effects. They look in the stages, but have a less organic essence compare to the backgrounds in Capcom vs. SNK. Though the game's stages did contain some cameo appearances from other characters in the Capcom & SNK universe.






So with the announcement of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, does this increase the chances of a Capcom vs. SNK 3? Sure it's not as popular as the Marvel vs. games due to the fact that the Marvel vs. games has this simplistic nature of its gameplay that makes it accessible to casuals and a recognizable cast of Marvel characters. Pretty much the opposite of Capcom vs. SNK, but if Tasunoko vs. Capcom in U.S can happen, along side the existence of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it makes my fire burning even stronger for the third entry in a bout between two companies that's best known for their fighting games.

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Some of the most popular fighters have mostly come from Capcom and SNK. All hardcore fighting fans know about Street Fighter, DarkStalkers, The King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, etc. . .it's those games that condense the genre, but it's not just all bright lights of praise when it comes to those games. With every successful genre, comes a metabolic reaction of unknown games; in the realm of fighting, there's a dark corner that lies many obscure (Yet enjoyable) fighting games. Sure we know some of them, like BlazeBlue, Clay Fighters, Bloody Roar, and Primal Rage; but there's also many others that a lot of people don't know about.
 
So how far does the rabbit hole go for this genre? I looked into the genre's past and opened up a closet of old fighting games. I'm going to shed some light on these games to let everybody know what came out of the fighting game genre when it was once popular. 

Double Dragon

You think after Double Dragon V another Double Dragon fighting game wouldn't be produce, well guess again. Double Dragon was based off the 1994 live action film (The game based on the movie based on the game come into mind?), it was Double Dragon's second attempt in fighting game form, and release a year after the film & Double Dragon V for the Neo Geo.
 
Being based off the film seems like an invitation to a terrible game, but Double Dragon turned out to be much better than you might think; it's not the best game in the world, though it does generate some fun. First off, the game barely resemble the film it's based off of, aside from some footage of the film that's shown in the game's intro. Second, the story shares no connection either; the story of the Neo Geo Double Dragon is the Lee brothers receives a letter from their martial instructor to come back to their hometown, Bloody Town. But to set off the complications of Double Dragon's plot is that Jimmy & Billys' nostalgic birthplace has been over run by gangs; so it's up to them to put a stop to the leader to restore Bloody Town to its former glory.

There's a total of twelve characters to chose from (Two of them are unlocks with the use of a code). The characters were all design with the use of the anime art-style. As said earlier, Double Dragon barely resembles the film mainly due to the fact that most of the characters look nothing like their live action counter-parts; Jimmy Lee is pretty much the only character that looks somewhat similar to Mark Dacascos, the actor who played Jimmy Lee in the film. Some of the characters in the game are characters from the Double Dragon universe whom didn't appear in the film, such as Burnov, the first boss from Double Dragon II: The Revenge, and Duke, the final boss from Super Double Dragon. To provide more evidence on how Double Dragon is a bleak comparison to the film, Koga Shuko is in the game as the final boss and as a playable character, but doesn't resemble the actor who played him, Robert Patrick; or as Nostalgic Critic likes to refer to him as "Vanilla Ice 1000." The rest of the cast are original characters design for the games. The new characters are not that bad, I really liked Rebecca, despite the fact that she looks like Kasumi Todoh from Art of Fighting. The overall art-style is something I really grown to love, it's colorful, filled with personally, interactive environments really make this game shine; and characters like Marian look great in this game as well.
As for the gameplay, Double Dragon features mechanics that were found in Capcom's Marvel Vs. games such as the ability to attack in mid dash and the way supers (Which are known as "Charge" in the game) are perform. One original element is the charge meter, it's actually one in the same as the health meter; so in other words, the losing player has the advantage as the player can have the charge meter filled faster than the opponent once the player loses health. Double Dragon is not a hard game to get into, unlike the SNK fighters on the Neo Geo, there's no precise timing process when performing combos; there really simple to pull off. Overall, it's a good game; though there were some balance issue, like a couple overpowered moves and characters easily getting stun, which brings on some annoyances.  If you played Double Dragon V on the SNES and play this game, then you'll find this to be a much better game.
 
In 2002, there was a spiritual successor made that was known as Rage of the Dragons. The game wasn't develop by Technos, the people behind the Neo Geo Double Dragon and the Double Dragon beat'em ups, the helm was taken by two development teams; a Mexican team known as Evoga and Noise Factory, the people behind Sengoku 3. Rage of the Dragons was going to be a sequel to the Neo Geo game, but due to licensing issues that occur during the development, the game was changed into a "homage." Some of the characters from the Double Dragon games do return, but the characters' names were alter; for example, Jimmy & Billys' last name was now Lewis instead of Lee, and Abobo was known as Abubo.

Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors

As a need for Sunsoft to make it in the fighting game market of the 1990s, Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors was develop for the Neo Geo in 1995. This game has a spaceman, alien, robot, ninja, a guy with a horn on his forehead, a woman in a S&M outfit (Though there's nothing wrong with that), and a cat girl fighting from planet to planet for universal dominance. Galaxy Fight was a very basic fighter that only focus attacks, special attacks, and combos, and nothing more; but by all means, doesn't result to having no fun.
 
Galaxy Fight delivers some nicely animated sprites. Though the same can not be said about its backgrounds, there really bland with not much activity is going on to give the game a little more life. The artwork for the characters look somewhat similar to Killer Instinct or Donkey Kong Country, as they look pseudo 3-Dish; the style of the characters, or at least the ones with human faces, are done in a anime style.  

When I said that Galaxy Fight is a basic fighter, it's pretty basic. At the time of 1995 fighting games were starting to implement super meters and more emphasize on combos. Galaxy Fight only contains a health meter, no super meters or anything of the sort. The game doesn't even feature a data analysis for the combos you'll pull off; the game does have combos, but the combos that I successfully pulled off most of the time were just mashing on the same attack button. I wasn't quite sure that canceling special moves in combos worked, at times it did worked, but others it didn't. Sometimes my opponent would recover in the middle of a combo and block the next attack; I didn't know if this was a case of fighting game A.I being cheap (The difficulty is tough). I tried looking for a combos list on Gamefaqs to know what worked, but I had no luck.
 Another unique feature of the game is that Galaxy Fight doesn't feature any walls; so stuff like corner traps don't exist. You could move to the left or right endlessly. It does deliver a weird effect with the background, objects in the front and some in the background moves along with the characters, but everything else in the background doesn't; which gives you a suspension of disbelief.

After the release of Galaxy Fight, Sunsoft went on to create another fighting game for the Neo Geo known as Waku Waku 7, then later on, Astra Super Stars in 1998. As for Galaxy Fight, the game was released for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation. The game was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan, I'm not sure if it was released here in the States on Virtual Console. For those whom love playing unusual fighters, hope for Galaxy Fight to be release on a Virtual Console that you have access to.

Cyberbots: FullMetal Madness

As a somewhat sequel to the beat'em up Armored Warriors, Cyberbots: FullMetal Madness is a fighting game that features mechs. If Gundam Battle Assault wasn't enough for you to filled your void of wanting one-on-one mech fighting game, then Cyberbots is the game for you. It was released in the arcades in 1994, but it saw limited distribution so some of the old arcade players may have caught a sight of this rare arcade fighting game when it was first released.

Cyberbots is the one of the few Capcom fighting games to not use the full six button configuration; instead it uses four. The buttons are three attacks (One of them is a projectile button) and a dash/hover button. Cyberbots is not a game that requires much depth to get into, there are fireball and dragon punch style moves, but the other attacks that the mechs can do can be just as viscous and are one button moves.

The actual fighting of Cyberbots kinda of reminded me of a fast pace version Samurai Shodown game. I know that sounds crazy, but most of the empathizes was defense and trying to get in a attack at the right moment. If you attempt to go all gun-ho on your opponent and he blocks your attack, you will severely pay for it as I said that the moves that the mechs can do are pretty viscous.

There are six pilots to chose (Several others are unlockables) and twelve mechs to use. But the main stars of the game is the mechs, the only benefit the pilots offer is story-arc. Cyberbots is the birthplace of Jin Saotome, a character that appears as a playable character in Marvel Vs. Capcom. Another character from the game, Devilotte, also appears as an asset character
Since Cyberbots a spiritual successor to the game was made, in the form of a 3-D mech fighting game called Tech Romancer that was released in the arcades and Dreamcast. Tech Romancer featured Jin Saotome as a hidden character, though I didn't see any word if Tech Romancer and Cyberbots are canonical connected; so my theory is Jin's appearance, like Sakura's appearance in Rival Schools, wasn't canon.

As for Cyberbots, the game was ported on the Sega Saturn and PlayStation only in Japan in 1997. The console version of Cyberbots actually marks the second appearances of Akuma (He's know as Cyber Akuma) as a secret boss in a non Street Fighter/Vs. game. So it's a shame that this game wasn't never released here, but there's always hope.

Waku Waku 7

If there was a game that can make the word derivative seem like a good thing, then Waku Waku 7 is that game. Sunsoft's second approach in the fighting game market after Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors. It was released in 1996 for the Neo Geo, then later released for the consoles. Waku Waku 7 is a defiant improvement over Galaxy Fight in several ways.

The word derivative is a key word for this game. First off, the story of Waku Waku 7 is that seven orbs known as the "Wheenisian balls" are scatter across the world of Waku Waku 7, and if all seven are collected, a wish will be granted. Obviously that plot line was taken from Dragon Ball. Another example is some of the special moves; the character Rai has Terry Bograd's powerwave and Burning Knuckle. To matters even more derivative (And add a little bit of weirdness to it), Waku Waku 7 features a mid-boss known as Bonus-Kun, a punching bag that has a red bandanna and can throw fireballs and do a hurricane kick. This character also appeared in Galaxy Fight.
With Sunsoft's knowledge gained from their previous work, they used it to develop a better game. Waku Waku 7 does what Galaxy Fight didn't do, it takes advantage of all four buttons for attack instead of three like in Galaxy Fight, there's also sub-meter for supers, and has a better combo system with a data analysis along side it.

To keep the derivative theme going, Waku Waku 7 has ES attacks, a move that was originally found in DarkStalkers. For those whom don't know what it is, a player can use one stock from the super meter to perform a more powerful version of a character's special.

The central theme of Waku Waku 7 is pure randomness and insanity. The game has a cast filled with robots, cat girl, a guy with pointy ears that fights with a sword, and a big animal with a little girl on its back. Okay, the theme is more like incomprehensible. The colorful and beautifully drawn graphics enhances the zaney nature of this game

Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer

If you ever wished for a fighting game that contains anime girls in scantly-clad outfits and showing off their rear-ends with the help of their G-Strings, then Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer will fulfilled your demand. As the second fighting game from Technos after Double Dragon, this was a superhero theme game that was populated with American and Japanese style superheroes.

The plot of the game is similar to X-Men. In 1999 a deadly Earthquake occurs in Kanto , Japan and resulted the community to inhabit a island in the Tokyo Bay (Remember that?). The island has a high school that's filled with students with gifted abilities.

Masami Obari was the character designer for the game; he was the man behind the Fatal Fury anime. One of the characters I took notice was Kyosuke, who's outfit looks surprising similar to Kyosuke's from Rival Schools. It's bad enough that the characters have the same outfit, but do they had to have the same name as well? Also, Voltage Fighter came out in 1995, and Rival Schools came out in 1997. Everybody knows that Capcom has borrowed ideas from SNK's games, but is this one of them.
The main gameplay element that sets Voltage Fighter apart from other games is the ability to take a special move from your defeated opponent and use it with the character you're playing as. It's a neat idea considering that Voltage Fighter has no sub meter for supers.

The game was re-released for the PlayStation in Japan (Why does Japan get everything?), the game was released in the arcades in the States. Maybe there's hope for the Virtual Console.

In 1997, an OVA about Voltage Fighter was made. Masami Obari return to the series as the director. I haven't seen it so I can't give an word for it.
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It's been quite a while since I last saw Dragon Ball Z on air. It was a couple of years ago (Like 2007 and maybe 2008?) that I last viewed Dragon Ball Z on Toonami. The series was on the Cell Saga and I knew that I had to watch it. I have lot of fond memories experiencing what would be consider the highlight of the Dragon Ball Z series; I wanted to relive it again, but the show was taken off the air in the middle of saga =(. 
 
The 20th anniversary comes up and Funimation commemorates the occasion by remastering the series in the form of Dragon Ball Z Kai - a version that has been quicken in terms of pacing, redrawn frames of animations to look good for HD, and a brand new dub.  The first place I expected for this new version of Dragon Ball Z to air on television was Cartoon Network. Obviously a lot of you people know that there's tons of history with Cartoon Network and Dragon Ball Z, or pretty much the Dragon Ball universe period, but then I find out that Nicktoons will be airing the series instead. I was surprise by the announcement and drew some skepticism within me, I mean Nicktoons, Nickelodeon was about targeting a younger audience, while Cartoon Network has done pretty good for themselves appealing to a wider crowd. I just had a feeling that Nickelodeon was going to heavily censor the show for those young kids, yes I know Cartoon Network has done some censoring, but I thought it wasn't that bad when compare to the uncut version.
No Dragon Ball Z Kai on Cartoon Network was a huge disappointment. I figure that a show that was the biggest thing for Cartoon Network from the late 90s to the early 2000s would be something that Cartoon Network could be worth fighting for. Now I'm not sure if Cartoon Network was actually considering getting the broadcasting rights for Dragon Ball Z Kai, though some people have accused the new president of Cartoon Network of not wanting anything to do with anime. 
   
Now, the show finally made its debut on Nicktoons. So far, it seems okay; I'm not seeing any noticeable censors (With the exception of some blood), I honesty thought me watching Dragon Ball Z Kai on Nicktoons would a similar experience to watching the Disney Channel XD version of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - where as lines of dialogue where cut out. I do have some problems though, the new voice actor for Gohan sucks, the intro music, "Dragon Soul," pales in comparison to "Rock the Dragon" - "Dragon Soul" was cheering and had a kid friendly tone to it, while "Rock the Dragon" had a dark, edgy theme, and also made you feel like a bad-ass.  
  
There's also a new narrator, he's not bad but again, I prefer the original narrator. The original sounded more dramatic and kept you immerse in the tone. I also saw the new promos for the show. *Sigh* I couldn't help but go onto YouTube and view some of the old classic Toonami promos. 
So what my opinion of Dragon Ball Z Kai? Fine. . . The series is only on the Sayain Saga and I saw six episodes so far. I will keep watching, and of course, I am anticipating the Android/Cell Saga once again; time to relive the good old times.      

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While everyone was familiar with beat'em ups from Capcom, Konami, Sega, and Taito in the glory days of the arcades, you ask yourself, "What was SNK doing?" SNK was best known for their fighting games, like Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, The Last Blade, and many others. But SNK has breach onto other genre which one of them was the beat'em ups.  
 
I decided to feed my curiosity on how SNK's take was on the genre. Some of the games were impressive, others were sub-par but fulfilled my need for a good beat'em up overall.

Burning Fight


The growing popularity of beat'em ups in the 90s defiantly caught SNK's attention in 1991 with a game entitle, Burning Fight. This and Sengoku were SNK's first attempt at catching success in the realm of beat'em ups. Burning Fight is not the best game in the world, nor does it stand against beat'em ups such as Final Fight or Streets of Rage, but it's a good start for SNK.
 
Two of the characters are a rip-off of Guy and Cody from Final Fight, while the character Billy King is consider original. Capcom did eventually rip-off SNK in one of their beat'em ups, Final Fight 2, as the character Maki Genryusai was sighted as a rip-off of Mai Shiranui. The story with these characters is that two NYPD detectives (One British) chase after a crime syndicate in Osaka, Japan. That's were they meet up with Ryu Saeba (The Guy clone) and team up to take them down.   
 
The gameplay is pretty much sub-par. It doesn't do anything original, but what it does, it does a good enough job. Burning Fight takes advantage of three buttons, punch, kick, and jump (Though if you jump up and hit punch, you'll kick). The kick is the attack of choice for some of the lower tier enemies as it performs more damage, it also good for anti-air (If you can the timing down right) for jumping attacks from certain enemies.
 
 Duke Edwards, as he appears in King of  Fighters 2000.
 Duke Edwards, as he appears in King of Fighters 2000.
Burning Fight gave me this vibe of obscure action films from the late 80s and early 90s like films such as Showdown in Little Tokyo and American Kickboxer 2. Yeah that's right, I watched those awful flicks and Burning Fight reminds of those films. Though ironically enough, Burning Fight is the Double Impact of beat'em ups, but in video game form, it's not so bad for Burning Fight.
 
SNK never forgot this game, they brought Burning Fight on the Wii's virtual console, and it was a part of SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1. The main character of the game, Duke Edwards, was feature in The King of Fighters 2000 as a "Another Striker," and supposedly had a appearance in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum. As for me, I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to Burning Fight; who knows, it could be just as awesome as their other beat'em up sequel, Sengoku 3.

Mutation Nation


Finally, a beat'em up that allows me to beat up mutated human/insects instead of just random tugs. Release around the same time as Burning Fight in Japan, and in 1992 in the U.S and Europe, Mutation Nation is a pretty disgusting beat'em up I have ever played. It's a better attempt at cracking the beat'em up market for SNK at the time, and it stands before me as a pretty good game.  
 
It takes place in the year 2050, that's were a creepy-ass mad scientist spreads a virus across a populated slums and has the people mutated into weird humanoid-insects things. It's up to two protagonist to save the day by stopping the mad scientist.
 
The action is a bit more refined than what was found in Burning Fight; it's more faster, the hit detection feels more spot on, and it's a overall satisfying beat'em up that's worth playing. Mutation Nation contains no weapons, instead has these four elemental spheres that act as the desperation moves (They also give you health as well). Unlike most beat'em ups, the  desperation move is not done pressing two buttons simultaneously, but has you charging it by holding onto the attack button until your special meter is filled; a similar gameplay method was later found in Capcom's Battle Circuit. The desperation move is a pain in the ass to execute (It's hard to try to pull it off while you're being attack by multiple enemies).  
 
As for the enemies, what can I say? They're just plan weird, though they're greatly well animated. Most of the enemies are of course mutants, but some of them are robots. Most of the enemies are human bodies with a strange creature's heads, and some could mutate half of their bodies into a stag beetle that would charge at you. And of course, there's the bosses. One boss in the game is a giant armored clan knight that has a rhino's head bursting out of his chest mid-way through his defeat, a four arm lady (Not talking about Sheeva from Mortal Kombat) with a hard-to-describe head, and can summon out flying insects by generating them through her stomach. The bosses get weirder from there. Once they get defeated, they explode into a big puddle of green blood which the animations for that is well crafted.              
 
Aspects of Mutation Nation is hard to comprehend, what's the deal with the mad scientist and rhinos, bugs, robots, giant knights, and four arm ladies? Anyways, it's a pretty good beat'em up that offers some originally unlike Burning Fight, which tries too hard to be Final Fight. Mutation Nation is unusual game, but it's a game that takes care of my beat'em ups needs quite well.

Robo Army


From fighting mutants to fighting nothing but robots, Robo Army was release in the same year as Burning Fight and Mutation Nation. The game's plot is similar to Mutation Nation as a mad scientist attempts to take over; instead of transforming human into mutants, he transforms them into robots that are under his command. You play as two police officers, Maxima and Rocky - who I swear he looks like Thomas Bangalter's robot suit from Daft Punk - the two were kidnap and transformed into robots, but they manage to escape before the scientist could put them under his control;  so they both go off and fight the robot army and put a stop to the mad scientist.
 
Robo Army feels just as solid as Mutation Nation. It uses three buttons, attack, jump, and a desperation button; you can use two of them to perform a spin kick that takes care of enemies from behind. In some points in the game you could transform into a vehicle and run down robots. Taking down the emotionless moving object that is the robots is very satisfying; some of the destroyed robots would leave their arm that you could use as a melee weapon.      
 
The game has a announcer that shouts out what you just pick up like a weapon or a health tank, he brings in enough enthusiasm to the game that he betrayed the whole game like if were a competitive sport. But another thing that's great about the sound is the music, it brings a heavy uses of drums and guitar riffs that excels the fun factor up a notch.

 Rocky, as he appears in King of Fighters 2000.
 Rocky, as he appears in King of Fighters 2000.
From what I found out about Robo Army, is that the character Maxima was the inspiration for Maxima from The King of Fighters. So much that Maxima's story-line is that he had a partner name Rocky who was killed the NEST cooperation. Apparently during the development of The King of Fighters '99, SNK was going to feature a Robo Army team, but that idea was scraped. But like Duke Edwards from Burning Fight, the character Rocky was in The King of Fighters 2000 as "Another Striker."  Also, in The King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2, Maxima had a alternate costume that made him look like Rocky.
 
Robo Army was going to get itself a sequel, but was cancel for unknown reasons. It's a shame, Robo Army is a good game and should be played by people who love them some beat'em ups. With the shape that SNK is in, it's highly unlikely we would ever see a sequel to this game or any other beat'em up that SNK has made in the past.

Sengoku 3

 
If you played the first two Sengoku games, then you'll realizes that Sengoku 3 doesn't resemble Sengoku. As for the first two games, Sengoku 1 & Sengoku 2 were about demons invading Earth and it was up to two protagonist who were given that powers to transform into several persona like a armor-clad dog, samurai, and a ninja. In some parts of the games' levels you would be transported to different dimensions to fight off demons and transported back. Sengoku 3 does away with those elements, but that's not a bad thing because Sengoku 3 is one of the best beat'em ups you'll ever play. 
 
Sengoku 3 was develop in 2001 during SNK's bankruptcy. The craftsman of this wonderful game was Noise Factory, who's previous work was Metal Slugs 4 and later on, The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact
 
Along with Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Sengoku 3 is one the best looking games on the Neo Geo. The animated quality of the sprites is one of the high points of the game, they're big and colorful, and offer excellent amount of frames of animations; the bosses definitely make the words I used more obvious. But the enemies do show off the fine quality of the animations, some enemies are samurai demons, giant frog, spheres with masks decorated around it, and many others.
 
 Take notice at the Neo Geo Pocket at the  right.
 Take notice at the Neo Geo Pocket at the right.
The gameplay is another aspect that improves upon the first two games. If there's one word to describe the fighting, it's variety; the game takes advantage of several attack methods, two attack buttons, jump, special attacks and projectile. You can combo the hell out of enemies by providing over twenty hits (If your that good) with the use of the two attack buttons, dashing into enemies to allow you to air juggle enemies, and special attacks that's perform with a filled special meter (That can be filled by attacking enemies) and a combination perform.
 
After coming off from Sengoku 1 & 2, I didn't expect this level of quality from Sengoku 3; this is a beat'em up that I consider as one the best. Noise Factory did make another fine beat'em up called Gaia Crusaders, they went on to make games for Atlus. But hopefully they decide to make another well photosynthesize beat'em up again.   
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Throughout the 90s there were a slew of beat'em ups. Some were in the vain of Final Fight, you beat the crap of everyday tugs whom kidnapped a love one; and others would go off on bizarre and usual territory.


Sure beat'em ups aren't the deepest games, but why do I or anyone else keep playing them? For me it was the presentation and the satisfactory level of handing the ass to a tug by piledriving him (Or her). But it would also have to be the same reason as to why Billy Mitchell plays Donkey Kong and Pac Man, trying to score that perfect game. Even with free play by my side I would cringe when I lose a life, I also use every attack method possible than just mashing on the attack button. I play cautiously, because if I get sloppy with my gameplay, that's when the Andores or Bill Bulls attempt to strike.

Now the games I wanted to play and talk about were coming from other companies like Konami and Tatio, but I couldn't get MAME to work =(. So all the games that are going to be discuss are all from Capcom.

Captain Commando

 

Was anybody aware of Captain Commando before he made his appearance in Marvel Vs. Capcom? In the mid to late 80s, Captain Commando was Capcom's mascot. The character originally appear in Capcom NES game manuals thanking players for purchasing the game. His name was also one big reference to the name Capcom - Captain Commando (Get it?). Anyways, finally in 1991 he was giving his own game in the form of a beat'em up called. . . . . .Captain Commando, what else?  But the game didn't do so hot in arcades and the character was dropped as Capcom's mascot. What about the game? Did Capcom abandon it? No, Capcom ported the game to the SNES in 1995 and had a Japan only release for the PlayStation in 1998, and was also apart of Capcom Classic Collection Volume 2 in 2006. Of course, we all know that the character became fully establish in 1999 when he made his appearance in Marvel Vs. Capcom.


As for the game, it was actually pretty good.You can take control of mechs that can freeze or set enemies on fire. And firearms such as missile launchers and M16s that you could blast bad guys with. The enemies in the game are just out of this world, some enemies are scantly clad women who kind of look like mermans, or other enemies are wearing gas mask for some reason. There were these one enemies who kind of look like El Gato and Holly Wood from Final Fight.

The game has four casts of oddballs. The main character is Captain Commando, who can electrocute and set dudes on fire as his air dash attack. Baby Head, a two-year-old baby that has the intelligence to operate a combat mech, seems normal. Ginzu the Ninja, a ninja that was trained under the same style as Guy from Final Fight. Mack the Knife, who I wouldn't be surprise if he was the inspiration for Jack from Power Stone. Mack the Knife is a alien mummy that welds knives, hence his name, Mack the Knife.

Captain Commando also takes place in a futuristic Metro City, which is the basis for Final Fight. So wait, Captain Commando is apart of the Final Fight universe which is also apart of the Street Fighter universe. You know what that means, Captain Commando is a apart of the Street Fighter universe. If that's enough to know that Captain Commando's essence is within the Street Fighter series, check this out. 
 

 


Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

 

Based on a comic book known as Xenozoic Tales which was adapted to a animated series for CBS that only lasted thirteen episodes in 1993 to 1994.  Many other companies other than Capcom were acquiring the rights to a bunch of license properties (Mostly on Marvel characters). Marvel had some involvement with the T.V series but Capcom making a game based on this cartoon series was a bit strange, I mean, I would say that it less popular than Marvel properties like Spider Man, Punisher, or Captain America. There were lots of popular Marvel series to make a solid beat'em up on, but why would this be one of them?


That doesn't matter to me any more because this game is a well constructed beat'em up with colorful level designs, good controls, good music and also, you get to drive a cadillac in one level. Like Captain Commando, you have a variety of weapons to mess around with; like pistols, Uzi, explosives, and a bazooka.The game features rising attacks, you push down and up then attack to perform a special attack that will apply a few hits; you could combo this with the regular attack combo that's done by mashing on the attack button. That defiantly gives the game a bit more technique.

And yes, the game has dinosaurs. They're not your enemies throughout most of the game, though. Your standard enemies are guys who look like they're coming straight out of Road Warrior, there also one bad guy who look like Blanka from Street Fighter. Dinosaurs do appear, they appear under a certain color to let the player know if they mean any harm. If they're in red, that's when they attack anybody (They don't side with the enemies), you just punch them a couple times to convert them into their good side (Which is green).

Even though Cadillacs and Dinosaurs was closer to the animated series (Which is a kids series), the game was pretty violent. When you blast enemies with the bazooka as their final hit, they explode and you'll see blood splattering and two eye balls flying up in the air. There was one scene with one of the bosses cutting up a dead dinosaur, you'll see huge gashes with blood pouring out.

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs is a solid game, which sadly was never ported to a home console. There was another game based on Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, it was a 3-D driving game for the Sega CD that looks pretty terrible.

Knights of the Round

 

Since Golden Axe's release in 1989, there were a slew of beat'em ups based on medieval fantasy. One of them being Knights of the Round that was release in 1991. A retelling of the legend of King Arthur, you get to play as, who else? King Arthur and two of his alleys, Lancelot and Perceval.


Of course, this ain't no Final Fight or Streets of Rage. The empathize is on swordplay. The fighting is not quite over-the-top (You're not going to be picking up dudes several feet in the air and slam them into the ground) you get the standard attacks that you see in any other beat'em up, but the main focus of the game is blocking. It's not that easy though, there is a strict timing process in order to perform it, you have to hit attack then immediately hit back. I actually had a hard time performing it.

Knights of the Round also features a leveling up system that was also in other Capcom beat'em ups such as The King of Dragons and Mighty Final Fight. Like those two other games the leveling up is handle differently, the stats of your character builds up and up grades his attire and weapon. From my experience, I didn't see much of a differences in terms of strength, my character's level seems on par from how it was from the beginning.

This game was not really my favorite beat'em up. It's a pretty technical game in terms of timing. But if you're into the legend of King Arthur and changeling gameplay is your thing, then you'll like this game.

The King of Dragons

 

Release around the same time as Knights of the Round, this game put more empathize on the whole medieval fantasy theme. I actually like this game better than Knights of the Round, this game felt more like a side-scrolling version of Gantlet.


Your cast of characters are an archer, wizard (The projectile characters), and your swordmen/axe characters, the fighter, cleric, and dwarf.  Like Knights of the Round, this game has a leveling up system. But unlike Knights of Round, I did notice the differences in my character's power, some enemies that took me two hits to beat would only take me one.

The King of Dragons features some nicely drawn level design. There are sixteen levels to go through but some are pretty short. In these levels you'll be fighting reptilian knights, mummys, skeletons, or any other humanoid creatures of the short.

Another similarity from Knights of the Round is the game has its own unique way blocking. It's not like Knights of the Round, in this game you have to hit back when you're about to get hit by a melee attack (That sounds like Just Defend from Garou).

The King of Dragons doesn't seem like any ordinary beat'em up, but I like it. It's the type of game were it has me focusing more on avoid enemy attacks and attacking them back at the right moment.

Warriors of Fate

 

Okay, this is the last medieval beat'em up I'm going to talk about. Though unlike Knights of the Round and The King of Dragons, this isn't a fantasy theme. Warriors of Fate takes place in the medieval era of Japan and get to play as five warriors of fate. This game is actually a sequel to another beat'em up call Dynasty Wars which both games are based on a manga entitle Tenchi o Kurau.


Warriors of Fate is a standard beat'em up that is closer to beat'em ups like Cadillacs and Dinosaurs; actually this game is pretty close to Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. The game features rising attacks like Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, one of the characters in the game (Portor) has a rising attack that exactly the same as Mess O'Bradovich from Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. The other rising attacks in the game were actually inspired some of the special moves from Street Fighter. The character Subutai has Gulie's flash kick.

The game's levels are pretty large which gives the room for a good amount of enemies -  I was literary fighting a dozen enemies at once. Warriors of Fate felt like I was playing a 2-D version of Dynasty Warriors. 

The Punisher

 

A well made game that does everything right. Great feel of the hit detection, good controls, and some crazy looking animations. With Nick Fury by your side, The Punisher is one hell of a adrenaline rush.

You get a good variety of weapons to put enemies in their place, but some weapons (Melee weapons) do break after used a few times. The blade weapons like a samurai sword or combat knife provide a good blood effect when it's struck n enemies. But the my favorite attack to perform on enemies is the desperation attack, Punisher yells out "Whyeeya!!!" which just hilarious. Also, there firearms; when enemies with guns appear, that's when Punisher pulls out his gun and you can start blasting your gun with infinite ammo.

Like I said, the animations are pretty crazy. The desperation attack can be perform when an enemy is grab, and as a result, Punisher can swing an enemy from their feet and attack other enemies with that enemy. And this is based on a comic book, so you're going to see a lot of comic book style visuals, so you'll be seeing stuff like "Bam!" a lot.

The Punisher is one of the greats, it's right up there with Aliens Vs. Predator in terms of license beat'em ups.

Armored Warriors

 

During the CPS II era, Capcom was getting pretty crazy with the beat'em ups that they created at the time. With games, as mention, like The Punisher, Aliens Vs. Predator, and hell, even Final Fight 3 for the SNES got a bit more technical, and of course, Armored Warriors made the early stuff like simple kids stuff.

Armored Warriors is a mech game that requires some skill to handle. Unlike most beat'em ups, there's a lot of gameplay elements that will seem unfamiliar if you're only use to games like Final Fight. You can customized your mech during the game with defeated enemies parts, such as arms, legs, and gun. Each part has a special ability like one part for the leg can transform your mech into a giant drill and unleash multiple hits on every enemy that's in your way.

If there's any game that's needs to be re-release on PSN and XBLA (Or just bring it on GGPO if possible). As for console release, I don't think this game never made its way to a console.

As for the mechs of Armored Warriors, these mechs were playable in the mech fighting game Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness which features a character that was in Marvel Vs. Capcom.

Battle Circuit

 

Here's a game that was only release in Japan and Europe. Battle Circuit is another crazy beat'em up from the CPS II era that was release in 1997. This game is a Sci Fi beat'em up like Captain Commando, but even stranger.

Some characters you play as are a plant (I'm not making that up) a little girl on a pink ostrich. Other characters is Cyber Blue who kind of looks like Captain Commando, and Yellow Beast who reminds me of Felica from Darkstalkers.

As said, this another beat'em up with some insane gameplay. Battle Circuit actually has air juggles and some over the top rising attacks that can be comboed. Variety is the key word for this game. you collect gold coins for a upgrade shop to either learn new moves or upgrade the currents ones. Each character also has a charge attack like Cyber Blue's, that looks similar to Ryu's hadoken attack (The Marvel Vs. game version).

Like Armored Warriors, this game was release on a console, but what's even worse, is that it was never release in the States. This is a game that should be re-release, at least in a compilation like Capcom Classic Collection Volume 3?

 

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