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Bloody Roar 3
Score: 88%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Hudson Soft/Eighting
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:
If you're looking for some 3D anime-styled fighting, you've come to the right place. The characters are very 'anime' and each have their own 'personality'. The female characters seem to have pretty good 'breast dynamics' (physics-responsive breasts... let's face it - when a woman fighter stops moving, there's a little bit of jiggle before she comes to a complete stop...). However, if you're looking at getting a fighter strictly for 'womanimation', you'd do better to pick up Dead or Alive for the PS2. Bloody Roar 3's graphics look pretty good, although the PlayStation 2 is capable of much better. Also, for those of you who played Bloody Roar 2, you'll find that the short story progressions are missing in BR3. If you didn't like them, you won't miss them, but I personally thought they were a nice touch to keep a plot going. I mean, you can either have a plot or not; you don't want to leave the gamer hanging and wondering what the fights have to do with the storyline. When you beat the game, you are rewarded with an ending to your character's storyline, but the little twists and turns inside the story are not to be found.

The sound is less than stellar, but passable; there are some taunts that are actually kind of fun to listen to (such as Alice's 'teehee'), but even they can get redundant over time. (One minute detail for fans of BR2 - the characters in BR3 are announced by their proper names only. Instead of 'Jenny - the Bat', you now hear simply, 'Jenny') The game's not bad; it simply could have been better.

Bloody Roar 3 is a fighting game. The degree of enjoyment that you can get out of playing BR3 depends on your skill at kicking someone's tail, your skill at keeping your tail from getting kicked and the number of friends (or enemies) in your area that are willing to let you try to kick their tail.) There are, of course, single player modes, such as Arcade mode, Survival mode, and Practice mode. However, the most fun can be had playing against another player.

Bloody Roar 3 does have added interest as you go along; progression in the game will open up new modes and hidden characters...

If you find that you're really having a hard time winning fights, there's a few things you can do. You can find an opponent that's, well, really inexperienced, such as your little sister or your grandmother, or you can play in the Practice mode. The Practice mode has lots of settings to allow you to fight against an opponent who does nothing whatsoever on up to an opponent who can block your moves, beastorize, break your guard, etc.

Perhaps the first thing to consider is which character to play as. Unlike some other fighting games, this can drastically affect your playing style. Some characters have very simple move lists (such as Xion), others have more involved moves that require 'roundhouse' type movements in combination with button presses to pull off moves (Jenny, Yugo, Alice, Shina, Stun, Busuzima, Bakuryu, Gado), a couple have a single six-level 'chain' plus different 'end moves' to finish the chain (Uriko and Shenlong), and Long's move chart is two-thirds combo rings, with two different six-level combo rings and six different moves to finish a combo. Xion is a good character for beginners to start with. More advanced players may want to try Alice, Jenny, Busuzima, Stun or Bakuryu. Advanced players might want to try some of the combo chain characters such as Uriko, Shenlong or Long.

Additionally, there are many settings which will increase or decrease the difficulty of playing Bloody Roar 3. Difficulty (the obvious one) sets the CPU AI strength and has 8 different levels. Attack Level sets the overall damage level and also has 8 levels. The time limit can be 20, 40, 60, 90 seconds, or unlimited. If you are strong in the beginning of a round and slack off, setting the time limit lower could be in your favor. Match Point is an option that allows you to decide how many matches are required to win the fight. (The default is 2, i.e. 2 out of 3) Match Point can be between 1 and 5.

Game Mechanics:
Probably the biggest thing that Bloody Roar 3 has going against it is its release date. If it had come out before Tekken Tag Tournament, its graphics would have been considered superb. If it had come out before Dead or Alive, the 'breast dynamics' would have been almost enough to sell the game. Also, BR3 has destructible arenas, but nowhere close to the diversity found in Dead or Alive. The maximum distance I saw was falling from one level to a lower level, not from one to the next to the next, as can be done in Dead or Alive. So, Bloody Roar 3 imitates these features, but falls short of duplicating them. Also, the load times are a bit on the long side. (This is especially noticable when playing 20 second matches or in Sudden Death Survival mode.)

What BR3 DOES have is really cool, interesting characters and the whole 'beast change' aspect. There's strategy that can be hinged on the beast abilities. In addition, the control scheme is different than most fighting games; it actually has different types of control for different characters (well, beyond the basic kick, punch, block and beastorize). When all is said and done, the game is fun and somewhat addictive. (Just make sure you don't have the difficulty set too high - or you'll get frustrated with the game.) Bloody Roar 3 isn't 'state - of - the - art', but it does offer a unique angle on the fighting genre.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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