Tag Archives: guilty gear

Year in Review: 2022

Disappointment of the Year: Pocky and Rocky Reshrined

Take a dipIt wasn’t bad! And it was even a pretty good Pocky and Rocky game! But, after decades without a Pocky or Rocky, it really felt like there could have been more done with the franchise. Or maybe the issue was simply that it was released right around the same time as Cuphead’s Delicious Last Course DLC, so Pocky and/or Rocky had to try to shine in the shadow of an amazing take on the shoot cute giant creatures genre. Whatever the case, this game felt like the sequel to a game from the 90’s that completely ignored the fact that there has been a whole heck of a lot of great games released since said 90’s. And that doesn’t make a bad game, just a disappointing one…

Compilation of the Year: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection

Do you recognize him?This was an amazing year for compilations and/or remakes. We got Capcom Arcade and Neo Geo Pocket compilations! A whole pile of Capcom fighting games! Klonoa! Artisanal Atari! Death Smiles for some unknown reason (also, that technically was released in 2021, but it was December, so I’m going to count it)! But the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take the cake, because their compilation runs through such an unusual gamut of choices. You have beat ‘em ups! Fighting games! Action games! A Gameboy Metroidvania! All on one cartridge/disc/download, and all united by including games that feature Renaissance artists with Japanese weapons. And all the games included are at least passable! Except Genesis Tournament Fighters! Whatever! I can’t stop shouting! Cowabunga!

Remake of the Year: Radical Dreamers

PointyI have spoken of this at length already, but the fact that we now have a playable, English Radical Dreamers is amazing to me. This slot was going to go to Live-a-Live, which seemed like an equally unlikely SNES English rerelease that by all accounts has the objectively better graphical upgrade… but screw it. I gotta go with my gut on this one. I had been waiting for Radical Dreamers since before I ever saw a Nintendo 64, so finally playing it on my Nintendo Switch was a surprisingly significant experience. And it included an unexpectedly friendly goblin, too. Can Live-a-Live say that?

Title of the Year: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Burst Forth!! Choro-gon Breath

This award is traditionally granted to a game that is playing it straight and just incidentally thinking it was a good idea to include the word (?) “UnderBirth” in its title. However, this year we have a comedy game based on a comedy series featuring comedic characters, so it is entirely likely this title is intentionally funny, too. That said “choro-gon breath” is complete nonsense, and there is no universe where that joke lands in any way. I did a google search! The only result for “choro-gon” is this game! What does it all mean!? Can someone help me with this shouting problem!?!

Game Most Recklessly Encouraging Obesity: Kirby’s Dream Buffet

Go Kirby!In a weird way, it is a shame that Kirby’s Dream Buffet is just a silly little racing game. I love it! But it is bite-sized, and even my Kirby-loving heart was only able to wring a few hours out of the experience of gradually earning Kirby more and more hats through gluttony. Regardless, it is likely my favorite surprise experience of the year, one of two remarkable Kirby games, and is worthy of Master Hand and Crazy Hand clapping for the Kirb blobs.

Game with the absolute worst release date of the Year: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Such friendly friendsDon’t get me wrong, I am happy to see any “retro” game released on modern consoles, particularly a fighting game that is reliant on online matchmaking. Ain’t nobody suplexing robots back on the Playstation 3 anymore. That said, March 2022 was a weird ass time to see this game resurface. There were rumblings (now coming to fruition) of “back” Persona titles being released on the Nintendo Switch, which is practically the best system in history to host a Persona game (chat with buddies on the big screen, go to portable mode when you must stalk through 50 floors of a dungeon). We had just seen at least two releases of Persona 5 on other systems, and we even had that dancing game or the beat ‘em up to keep us company as vaguely new content. And then we have the Persona 4 fighting game. Not Persona 5, currently featured in Smash Bros, but Persona 4. And the majority of this playable cast was already available in Cross Tag Battle, a game currently continually on sale for two bucks. And… what was the point of all this again?

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, you were always a great fighting game, but your release date in 2022 was a rainy day.

DLC of the Year: Guilty Gear -Strive-

Did you see that?I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but mankind knew they could not change society, so instead of reflecting on themselves, they blamed the beasts. And, sometimes, that beast is DLC. The current state of gaming is one where DLC is often promoted longer and harder than its parent game. Every announcement has to be an event, and every new stage, character, or mode has to be the greatest thing to happen to the genre since the last time someone asked you to get excited about the same guy you’ve been seeing since 1994. That said, the DLC for Guilty Gear -Strive- has done something no other fighting game has done with its DLC: it made Bridget a girl. And good for her! Sora in Smash Bros. is important or whatever, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time DLC has made a person come out. Testament being nonbinary is also a nice bonus. They like potatoes. They just think they’re neat.

System of the Year: Xbox X|S

Hack away!Xbox quietly took this title for 2022. I now have all the current generation systems (thank you Stranger of Paradise for inspiring that Playstation 5), and, while the only unique game for the Xbox X|S that has struck my fancy has been a pretty standard flight simulator, it is also the only system that currently goes back four generations with its game library. So I can play some crazy ray-tracing adventure with a fox that looks like Link, or I can go back into the archives and easily play the likes of Final Fantasy 13, Jade Empire, or even just Xbox Midway Arcade Classics. The other systems play some oldies, but, as someone who has been accumulating a terrible collection of games that go back to the Atari, the ability to instantly boot up titles I purchased opposite the Playstation 2 or Gamecube is amazing. I now actually regret buying many games on something other than the Microsoft console du jour, as (miraculously) it seems like it is only the Xbox that genuinely cares about backwards compatibility, and not just reselling the same game over again. And it can play all sorts of Toejams & Earls. Worth the price of admission right there.

Game of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Let's JamI have a lot to say about Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and you will read that meandering essay on this site eventually. But in the meanwhile, just be aware that this game managed to soak up approximately 90 hours of my life, engage my imagination, and be a fun-to-play game all the while. My general enjoyment of Xeno-titles has been extensively documented on this site, but I need to make one thing abundantly clear: this is the first Xeno-game I can recommend without hesitation. After decades, they finally got it right! And the characters, plotting, and general tone are only, like, 5% embarrassing. Max. I cannot even say that about Elden Ring and its silly little horse man! Oh, and this is also a game I never expected to be anything better than general “good, but not amazing” Xeno quality, so that probably gave it a rank up, too. Look, it’s just a good game that came out of nowhere (“nowhere” being “literally years of experience and anticipation”), so it wins. It just plain wins.

Oh, and best soundtrack of the year, too.

Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Gotham Knights, God of War Ragnarok, Bayonetta 3, Sonic Frontiers, Stray

Look, it seems like a lot of games came out in the October-November window. I know that happens a lot, but it still hit like a ton of bricks this year. I know I will at least get to the Sonic game. God of War is a firm maybe… After I play the last one… that came out four years ago…

Also, I looked back at previous years’ “games I will play eventually” lists, and I just got to a 2017 game this year…

Gogglebob.com Introspection 2022

AgreedThis was a weird year for a lot of reasons, but the “arc” of the site was particularly surprising. I tried to dial it back a little and exclusively focus on the Wild Arms 3 Let’s Play for the Summer, but then I wrote FGC articles while I was on the break, started publishing them in the Fall, and had enough of a “backlog” that I could produce new content easily for the rest of the year. And then I started writing about the Even Worse Streams videos (thanks to having a lot to say about Chrono Cross), which has become a consistently weekly thing in an effort to finally post those Xenogears videos from 2021. So now the site is consistently updating three times a week for the first time since Spring of 2018, and it is during a time I was trying to “cut back”. Guess time makes fools of us all… or… something…

Regardless! Here are some favorite FGC articles of the year:

FGC #618 Body Harvest
FGC #625 Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
FGC #628 Popeye
FGC #630 Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
FGC #634 Martial Champion

And that’s ignoring everything from this year I already linked.

Here’s to 2023! The year I end the FGC!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… E.V.O.: Search for Eden! Speaking of games featured on Even Worse Streams, it is time to look at the tale of a fish becoming a human despite the fact that monkeys still exist. Please look forward to it!

Chrono Cross 10: The Ends

We missed these guysViper Manor is an integral part of Chrono Cross. And, befitting such a centerpiece of the game, there are three entirely different, entirely separate routes to Viper Manor. You can scale a cliff with Guile, fight through a forest with Nikki, or storm the front gates with Pierre. All three routes have their own puzzles and challenges, and all three routes come with one new party member and distinct treasures (of the more physical variety, though making friends with Pierre is still the greatest treasure of all). And, given selecting any route means excluding your other two choices, it is 100% mandated that you cannot see all the content Chrono Cross has to offer on one play through. Unlike Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross has a significant reason to utilize New Game+ and play through this multiple-choice adventure again.

And then there is the other significant branch in Chrono Cross: do you hunt the hydra for Kid? And if you choose the obvious “Route B”, and decide not to start an ecological disaster for the strange thief lady you just met…. Well… nothing happens. There is no alternate scenario, you just get a handful of different characters (two quickly/mandatory, one other eventually), and the normal plot of the game continues aplomb, just minus a trip across dimensions to a swamp. Oh, excuse me, the plot does not continue exactly the same, as there is a gigantic plot hole (or at least plot confusion) wherein someone apparently acquired hydra humor, but the hydra in a completely different dimension still died, presumably of natural causes. So, to make a long paragraph short: one “branch” is clearly the “real” plot of Chrono Cross, and the other option is just an excuse to hide some characters behind a choice that is proven to never have been a choice at all. And, no, you do not get a bonus dungeon out of the deal.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that is Chrono Cross through and through.

Keep it cleanDeptford hit the nail on the head during his guest stint: Chrono Cross is a game where “individual moments are great”. There has not been an update here where there was not at least something cool happening at some point. There may have been a boring haunted ship, but we got to use a magical luchador through it all. The Isle of the Damned may have been an annoying puzzle that was already outdated on the NES, but it came to an amazing climax with a ghost giant. Dragon hunting can get boring, but at least someone thought to include a rock opera in there. And, in today’s example, we have the fact that there are three whole separate scenarios with interesting locales, characters, and challenges in one branch of the game, and the next branch immediately after that has… Glenn as a consolation prize? It is a lot nicer to say that than “a fat lot of nothing”…

I cannot in good conscious call Chrono Cross a bad game. It is a game full of moments, all stitched together in a manner that make a lot of its other moments look terrible. The direction of the game is not great, and the plot barely holds together. But there are so many remarkable moments in between, it can all be forgiven. Lynx is a great visual design! Just don’t think about the thinly-veiled plot justification for “this cat man is a super computer and also your father” making absolutely zero sense! The resolution of Schala is something Chrono Trigger fans begged for for five years, so please don’t think too hard about the process of scientists in 2300 AD somehow forcing a space bug to birth a baby clone in 1005 AD on Lucca’s doorstop. It is ridiculous, but the only thing surprising about it is that the producers then didn’t try to paste on an even more ridiculous justification for Kid’s Australian accent (we know for a fact she grew up with Lucca in Guardia! Where would she even learn the word “strewth”!?). And, while we are on the subject of Chrono Cross somehow being good or bad because of its choices, consider the battle system, which is a germ of a good idea that simply never evolves into something that is consistent. How do you do the most damage in Chrono Cross? Playing with colors? Summons? Focusing on physical attacks? Who the heck knows. And I can certainly say this person that has devoted hours to the game has no idea. At least there aren’t any relevant super bosses!

Kind of familiarSo this is Chrono Cross. It is a mess. But is it bad? No, it has too much good to ever truly be bad. Chrono Cross is all over the place, but its marvelous highs justify its horrendous lows.

Oh, and the music is unequivocally, universally good.

… Except the battle theme, the song you probably hear the most…

Dammit! I’m going it again!

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 10


Original Stream Night: August 2, 2022

Recruited this stream:

  • Guile
  • Macha
  • Doc
  • Pierre (in another timeline)

Random Notes on the Stream

  • Ajvark joins us for a revisit to Termina “like from Majora’s Mask”. No, it does not get mooned.
  • We’re going for Guile!
  • This is the path of least resistance… and Guile is pretty cool. Still no Magus, though…
  • Fanboymaster and I once again disagree on the merits of Final Fantasy 8 versus Final Fantasy 9 as we climb cliffs.
  • “The plan is there is going to be ten weeks of Chrono Cross, and then I’ll start Xenogears.” Guess what is next week, ladies and gentlemen!
  • Maybe wear a helmetAs we return to Balthy’s library, we discuss that other Let’s Play that is going on.
  • BEAT evidently did not read the Wild Arms 2 Let’s Play which features far too much twincest.
  • After the Viper Manor raid, you know you are a certain age when you say, “Do you want to hear my funny ICQ story?”
  • We recruit Macha and Glenn, and then head for… the exact same pirate ship we fought through the last time. No Hydra Marsh, no replacement for the Hydra Marsh.
  • Let’s talk about how many crappy Blaster Master games are out there!
  • I apologize for the fact that I did not rename Zoah to ZOAH on the previous playthrough.
  • We swing by Marbule and talk about the terrible Marvel comics featuring Aunt May getting laid.
  • “Is he strong, listen punk, he’s got radioactive spunk.”
  • Brave Fencer Musashi is suggested as a next stream game around the same time Kid comes out of her coma. Now we know what is going to be played next, even if it won’t be on the site next.
  • Caliscrub stops in just as we get Serge, Poshul, and Doc to fight Lavos.
  • They so angry!Is Lavos dead yet? We learn that Minecraft, Xenoblade Chronicles, and not much else is New 3DS Exclusive before finally seeing the “angry girlfriends ending” of Chrono Cross.
  • The finer points of Guilty Gear, Venom, and Dizzy are discussed as we finally recruit the last character on the stream, Pierre.
  • And, finally, the battle against Ketchop closes out Chrono Cross. Ketchop is not a lady piloting a giant old man robot.

Next time on Even Worse Streams: Let’s find religion!

Maybe next time

FGC #634 Martial Champion

So many fighting gamesNot all fighting games are created equal. For every Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or even Clayfighter, there are a bevvy of games that seem to have been forgotten by all but the most dedicated of fighting game enthusiasts. But that does not mean we can’t learn from these “lost” fighting games! Every fighting game, no matter why they were forgotten, has something to offer. Let’s take a look at some forgotten fighting games, and see why they deserve at least a cursory glance…

King of the Monsters
1991

RAWRWhat is going on here: One of the best games to take place in the far-flung future of 1996, King of the Monsters is the story of what happens when six or twelve legally distinct monsters all decide to rumble and see who will be the titular King of the Monsters. This is bad news for anyone that lives in the future-past Japan that is their battleground, but great for anyone that has ever wanted to see a rock giant fight a snot ghost.

Best Character: Is Astro Guy really a monster? He looks like Ultraman, and there is Beetle Mania over there to be his trademark inexplicable giant bug opponent. Astro Guy wins, as he may be a copy like every other monster, but at least he is the kind of monster that didn’t already appear in Rampage.

What can we learn: King of Monsters was released before “fighting games” became codified with Street Fighter 2 (dropped that same year), so King of Monsters almost feels like a “wrestling game”. It has turnbuckle attacks, an emphasis on grabs, and, most importantly, you have to pin your opponent for three seconds to score a win. And that can be fun! An empty life bar is not a loss in King of Monsters, it just means it will be more difficult to get up when Rocky the Moai power dives on your monster. Extending the match a little longer is great in a game with a scant six playable characters, and it is nice to see the potential for a turnaround despite a theoretical impending loss. Let’s see some last-minute grappling from modern games!

Dino Rex
1992

Big boys starting this offWhat is going on here: Like Primal Rage, this is a 2-D fighter featuring dinosaurs battling for supremacy. Also like Primal Rage, this game absolutely sucks. You’ve got three attack buttons, special moves, combos, and the ability to “charge meter” via shouting, but… Oh man. The central conceit here is that you are technically playing as a scantily clad man controlling a dinosaur via whip, and it sure feels like you have only a whip’s worth of control over your chosen dinosaur.

Best Character: All the humans in this game are generic prehistoric dudes (though, if a match ends in a draw, you can play as one of the dudes, and they curiously have Ryu’s moveset), so we presumably must pick a favorite dinosaur here. And is it possible to pick a dinosaur that is not the mighty Tyrannosaurus? It might be purple again, but it is still a goddamned t-rex.

What can we learn: Dino Rex is a bad fighting game for the fact that you are very likely to lose because it is difficult to confirm whether your controller is working at all, but sometimes it feels good to get your ass kicked, because it also kicks everyone else’s asses. The storyline for Dino Rex posits this is an annual dinosaur fighting tournament to win the hand of an Amazon Queen, so there are spectators, and an arena built up for this yearly battle. And, since dinosaurs are fighting, it gets absolutely wrecked. It is fun to watch the surrounding area get destroyed by careless dinosaurs! And someone on staff evidently noticed, as the bonus stage is controlling your dinosaur in a “dream sequence” that sees a modern city getting similarly smashed. So if you’re going to make a bad fighting game, at least let us destroy everything in it.

Martial Champion
1993

What is going on here: One of Konami’s rare, early fighting games (they were more into beat ‘em ups), this is a pretty obvious Street Fighter 2 clone where a bunch of international weirdos are all punching and kicking in an effort to become… I don’t know… some kind of Martial Arts Champion or something. Your attack options are limited to three buttons (high, mid, low), and there are a total of ten selectable characters (and one unplayable boss).

Best Character: Avu is a tempting choice, as he is basically Karnov (he’s even got fire breath!), but I’m going to choose Bobby. Not only does he have the best name, but he seems to exist as an obvious example of “Well, Guile looks kinda American, but is there any way we can crank that up to ten million?”

What can we learn: Martial Champion has a variable weapon system! Kinda! Some fighters have weapons, and said weapons can be knocked out of a fighter’s hands. And the opponent can retrieve these weapons! And… maybe do nothing? If a fighter doesn’t have a weapon to begin with, it seems they do not have any abilities with any weapons. But! Even if you can’t use it, playing keep away with a weapon is good fun. Thought you had increased range with that scimitar before, loser? Now you’re not getting it back until a knock down. Good luck!

Now let’s talk about Shaq-Fu…

FGC #567 BlazBlue: Centralfiction

This post originally appeared about two years ago on a forum post that… apparently no longer exists. Whoops! In the interest of my beloved words reaching as many people as possible, please enjoy this nonsense with the excuse that I am now playing the Switch version of BlazBlue: Centralfiction. Oh, and be aware there are spoilers for the entire franchise here, and it is super GIF heavy. I probably should have led with that…

Time to Blaze itWhat you have to understand is that BlazBlue could be so, so simple. At first glance, it’s a pretty straightforward story: 100 years in “our” future, but 100 years before the events of the game, mankind goes too far, and accidentally releases magic (good), and the Black Beast (bad) on the universe. The Black Beast nearly destroys the world, but six brave heroes rise up and seal away the ancient evil. Now, in the present (of the game), a terrorist in a red coat is running around wrecking stuff, and it is assumed he is trying to revive the ancient evil. Naturally, he’s misunderstood, and the real bad guy is hiding in plain sight within the current ruling government, so the wheel of fate is turning, action!

And were this a simple, traditional fighting game universe, that would be it. There would be a “new” gang of heroes, a few would have obvious or subtle ties to the previous legends, throw in a wannabe ninja or two, and you’d have a pretty straightforward fighting game universe. Everybody battles at first, they eventually join up, and the inevitable “return of the Black Beast” is defeated by friendship and mashing the jab button. It could work! It could work well! Perhaps in that universe, all would be joyful, and I wouldn’t be getting ready to explain how the pretty sorcerer lady had sex with a goddamn cat. Maybe that universe would be better for all of us…

This isn't realActually, speaking of universes, BlazBlue does something interesting with its overall plot. Were you around for the Mortal Kombat debates of the 90’s? I’m not talking about the silly disputes over whether Mortal Kombat was too violent for young eyeballs; no, I’m talking about the important arguments about things that mattered. I’m talking about the debates over which Mortal Kombat endings were canon. Did Scorpion really kill Sub-Zero? Did Kano really kill Sheeva, or did she kill him (and did Sonya watch)? Yes, we know Liu Kang won a tournament or two from that opening roll, but we want to know some details! Johnny Cage: Goro-slayer or conceited movie star? This is important to my fanfic, dammit!

BlazBlue does its best to sidestep all of that, and introduces some canon multiversal theory to the fighting game genre. All endings are valid. Yes, Ragna saved one world, and Arakune devoured everyone and everything in another world. Every single BlazBlue game has multiple endings for each of its characters, and every ending is equally canon, because the forces of good and evil at the highest levels are distinctly watching every universe to see the potential best outcome. And it’s a very distinct plot point in practically all of the games! All endings are canon, so, yes, that goofy finale where Dan wins the tournament and Zangief becomes a robot totally happened.

Unfortunately, it seems like the writers wanted to justify this conceit, and… things got complicated.

This story has no beginning and no end. It is a tale of souls and swords that, unfortunately, gets a little confused along the way. I guess we’ll start with the kids…