Wut U Talkin Bout is a quick look at overlooked titles in gaming history, or a overlooked entry in a franchise.
This Wut U Talkin Bout? is written by forum member Grims Child as a guest entry.
To say fighting games are part of an odd genre is a grave understatement. After the huge success of Street Fighter II in the arcades, it seemed like every company in the world was trying to cash in on Capcom’s success by making cheap, and in some cases unplayable, knockoffs using the same formula of “Beat that guys health bar down to zero and then you win.” Of course, that was 1995. And now in the modern age of video games, it seems that 2D games have almost died out completely. The 4th iteration of the main Street Fighter franchise went 2.5D, King of Fighters became terrible with XII and Guilty Gear disappeared due to legal issues when Sega split as a company from Sammy. In recent years, there have only been two truly great 2D fighters: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (Or in the delayed case of my country, Calamity Trigger) and of course: Melty Blood: Actress Again.
(Image via: Famitsu)
If you have not heard of Melty Blood before (I don’t expect you to), allow me to explain. Melty Blood: Actress Again is the latest iteration of a series of Japan only Doujin fighters made by Type Moon, whose other works are the Visual Novels Tsukihime and Fate Stay/Night. These two games in particular are referenced heavily in Melty Blood with eleven characters in the game directly lifted from Tsukihime and various costumes of the Fate Stay/Night cast available for various characters in the game. Various costumes from other popular game series such as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, Touhou and even more mainstream games like Castlevania are available as well.
Fighting games in general can be divided into two types. “Type 1″ refers to games that are very simple to play. They are not too combo intensive and instead rely more on reading the opponent’s actions and reacting accordingly, similar to that the Street Fighter series (or anything made by Capcom) or SNK’s The King of Fighters series (and Mark of the Wolves of course).”Melty Blood falls into the completely and utterly insane category (“Type 2”) where slow paced and very carefully planned strategies are thrown out the window. Instead, they feature fast paced high octane action which requires both players to think on their feet at all times, which was a style only Guilty Gear was able to perfect in previous generations.
Melty Blood can be compared to Guilty Gear in a lot more ways than just game play. The music is fast paced and annoyingly catchy. The characters are all based of various animé clichés, however they are played in such a way that they come off as rather refreshing due to their presentation and character. There is a gauge in each corner (magic circuit for Melty Blood, tension gauge for Guilty Gear) of the screen that fills up during play that allows various cancels, special defends, supers and even ultras to be pulled off. Of course, every fighting game needs their gimmick; that one thing that differentiates them from the rest of the pack, and it is my personal opinion that Melty Blood has the best system ever devised for a fighter: the moon system.
The moon system gives each character 3 completely different fighting styles. In short, each of the 31 characters (except 1) has three moons available to them: Crescent, Half and Full. Each moon gives the character in question different moves or fighting styles to choose from. Each moon also changes how you refill your magic circuit (the bar similar to the earlier mentioned tension gauge), which matches the style of play for that moon’s move set. This means that people new to fighting games are allowed to choose a style to reflect their own personal tastes and tactics, while seasoned players can choose the style which they are used to from their previous experience in the games of their choice. In short: Crescent is for Type 1, Full is for Type 2 and Half is a style unique to Melty Blood which is a mix between the two moons.
Melty Blood is a highly unique fighting game that has appeared into the once dead world of 2D fighters. The game itself is ~£30 new although a Japanese PS2 is required to play the game due to the Japan only release for it. Though in my opinion, it is still worth the money.
Edited by Oculin