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And now for a collection of reasons Rumble Roses may or may not be a straight up porn game.
David Lee Roth kicks off the festivities!
The first thing you’ll notice when Rumble Roses starts up is that there is an animated “attract” cinema. This is pretty normal, but less normal is the fact that this intro is accompanied by Yankee Rose, a song by David Lee Roth. DLR isn’t terrible, but many of his songs do seem to have a… focus on the female anatomy, and the various things that Davey would like to do to that anatomy. Yankee Rose isn’t much different, as it’s a song elucidating the virtues of “the original good time girl”. Also, the song is somehow about The Statue of Liberty, so that puts David Lee Roth in the same company as Peter Venkman, Spacehog, and other men who clearly want to boink Lady Liberty. It is… a weird way to start a videogame.
But then again…
Rumble Roses is a Konami videogame from the Playstation 2 era. After the ludicrous failure of I am the Wind back in the Playstation 1 epoch, it would make sense for Konami to try to procure some “real” songs. And this is a Japanese company, it’s not like they understand the cultural clout of the once and future singer of Van Halen. Rumble Roses features a pretty clear American “cowgirl” archetype, so this Yankee Rose song really could apply. She is beautiful all right, nothing like her in the whole world.
The protagonist is dressed like a hooker!
Rumble Roses is a fighting game at heart, and its standard-issue perfunctory story seems to focus on its Ryu trying to find a long lost family member who is incidentally currently under the control of a malevolent organization. Actually, it’s pretty much just like that time in Street Fighter Alpha that M. Bison turned Ryu evil and Ken… You know what? Never mind, nobody has ever cared about that plot. The only reason I mention it is that Ryu never dressed like this…
That’s Reiko, and she’s the main character of the piece. Looking at that outfit, there’s no way this isn’t some kind of porn game, right?
But then again…
Oh, wait, she’s basically wearing the Summer version of Tekken’s Asuka’s outfit, and she’s one of the most sexually-neutral characters in that franchise. Her rival is an inexplicable goth lolita, and she shares a game with a super sexy assassin and her equally oversexed sister. Asuka is actually supposed to be a worthwhile character, and not just a breasts-delivery system. My bad, this is apparently just what fighting school girls wear in Japan!
There’s also a girl in a school girl uniform!
A “punk version” of a Catholic schoolgirl uniform! That’s some pedophilia crap right there! That is not okay!
But then again…
Oh, wait, when Street Fighter’s Sakura wears a Japanese schoolgirl uniform for two decades, that’s perfectly okay. I mean, it’s just her uniform, what’s the big deal? Sorry I got upset a moment ago. I forgot which cultural standards were perfectly a-okay.
The Roster is just a series of fetishes given flesh!
Let’s take a look at some of the other lesser stars of Rumble Roses. We’ve got a ninja that is wearing what amounts to a mesh one piece, a “primitive” native Mongolian that could also pull off the Native American stereotype (ah, good ol’ racism regional variety), and, most damning of all, a “naughty nurse”. Could it be any more obvious that this is a game designed to appeal to the male libido?
But then again…
Rumble Roses’ Bloody Shadow apparently went to the same ninja school as Soulcalibur’s Taki, as they could be twins (and Taki’s “descendant” Natsu could easily be labeled as worse). Aigle the Mongolian could be mistaken for Tekken’s Michelle or Julia of… whatever Native American tribe they’re trying to pin the Changs to this week. And naughty nurse Anethesia is on about the same modesty echelon as Skullgirls’ Ninja Nurse Valentine. Perfectly cromulent fighting games feature similar characters, and no one ever accused any of those releases as simply porn games. Well, no one that didn’t get yelled at a lot on a message board, at least.
The “bad” marquee character is wearing a latex devil costume! That is clearly fetish gear!
Reiko’s wicked, brainwashed sister, Evil Rose, is wearing what appears to be a form-fitting, red latex devil costume. That is out of some straight up sadomasochist fantasy play, and not the kind of thing that should be worn by anyone skulking about in public, shy of Halloween and maybe some of the more interesting pride parades. It’s abundantly obvious that this devil is here only to tantalize.
But then again…
Is she dressed that differently from Catwoman? We all agree that comic books are wholesome, right? She’s running around in a tight-fitting, skintight costume that leaves little to the imagination… just like America’s sweetheart, Superman. Wonder Woman has been a national feminist icon for the last month, and I’m pretty sure she’s flashing more skin than Evil Rose. We know that comic books are fun for the whole family (why else would Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe censor its fatalities?), so why should we judge Evil Rose for wearing what amounts to the female variant of a Daredevil costume? Ben Affleck would be okay with this!
The strongest woman is some kind of cyborg/robot!
This is one of those “apparent when you think about it” problems you see in media. In stories where there is some sort of super powerful, but singular, opponent, and said opponent is male, you usually just get a normal dude that is slightly powered up by some supernatural source. M. Bison is just a dude with psycho power. Kazuya is just a dude with a devil gene. Rugal Bernstein is just a dude from Germany. But when a woman is in that position, you’re stuck with some sort of “well it’s not really just a woman” caveat. In this case, the most powerful fighter is Lady X, who just happens to “really” be a terminator. So, despite the all-female roster, we can’t even get a strong example of girl-power. This is all male fantasies.
But then again…
It also might just be an homage to one of the most annoying bosses in 3-D fighting history, Virtua Fighter’s Dural, who also happens to be a robot/cyborg/something or other woman. And Virtua Fighter is one of the most serious fighting game franchises out there. If you’ve got a legit mecha-lady conquering that tournament, what’s wrong with seeing the same thing in Rumble Roses? It’s just a convention of the genre, nothing more to it.
There’s a swimsuit mode!
Is there anything more exploitative than having women fight in little more than their underwear? In fact, only undies might be less shady, as at least then there wouldn’t be lavish intro scenes that seem to be right out of some Playboy photo shoot. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue contains more dignity than this nonsense that gets a chaste “good girl” teacher into a pair of tiny jorts.
But then again…
Name a game released in the last decade that didn’t contain a swimsuit mode (and usually as DLC!). Apparently people crave lavish swimsuit models for every last (female) Street Fighter, and who is Capcom to deny its fans? Hell, even recent Final Fantasy games have offered DLC swimsuit mods for its otherwise serious heroines. And don’t get me started on the cast of Xenosaga. Swimsuits (and bikinis in particular) are as much a part of gaming right now as Mario jumping, and I really doubt that trend is going anywhere.
There’s a mudwrestling mode!
Oh, then this is totally a porn game. Sorry for wasting everyone’s time.
FGC #298 Rumble Roses
- System: Playstation 2. I would have expected an Xbox port, but nope, gotta wait for the sequel for that.
- Number of players: Two people can grow increasingly uncomfortable with each other’s presence while watching Aisha gyrate wildly.
- Shouldn’t this article have been part of Wankery Week? Look, there are more games that fit the WW criteria than could ever fit in one week. I still haven’t covered that game with the naked bicyclists!
- Cross-Promotion: This is a Konami game, and this was back when Konami actually made videogames, so there are ads for Contra, Castlevania, and Metal Gear Solid in the backgrounds of stages. I… miss the game company that remembered Contra existed.
- Reason I will always forgive this game: Look, I don’t care how porny you get, I am down for any game that involves a ninja in a bikini riding a giant, overly realistic frog.
That is just the kind of overly-specific fetish I can get behind.
- Did you know? Each of the Rumble Roses has a “face” and “heel” version (I learned those words from that Luchadore game). Dixie Clements is the cowgirl covergirl of the game, and her heel version is… a police officer. Draw your own conclusions about that one.
- Would I play again: Truth be told, I bought this game for all of five bucks when the PS2 was on the way out, and I think this is the first I’ve actually played the game. It’s not bad for a wrestling game (which are traditionally insane to control), but there isn’t much here beyond ogling… so I’m going to pass on this Yankee Rose.
What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Kendo Rage for the Super Nintendo! Are you ready for a big stick frenzy? Please look forward to it!