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Bloody Roar 3
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Hudson Soft
Publisher:   Activision
Genre:   Fighting
# of Players:   1-2
ESRB:    Teen
Release Date:   June 2001
Posted:   02-08-01

Although Bloody Roar 3 hasn't exactly been officially announced, I guess we can just assume that the title will be making it's way to our American PlayStation 2's sometime this year. After all, both the previous Bloody Roar games reached critical praise and above mild public success since the first one's release on the PSone in early 1998. Despite what Namco and Sega's AM2 division would have you otherwise believe, the first two Bloody Roar games were some of the best fighters seen in the 32-bit era. No, neither of them had the type of depth found in Virtua Fighter or the polished, mainstream appeal of the Tekken Franchise, but what Bloody Roar 1 and II did have was some fantastic visuals and addictive, if not a little over the top, gameplay. Hoping for the third time to be yet again a charm, Hudson Soft is on the verge to do a three peat of their critical series by releasing the third entrée onto the PS2, aptly named Bloody Roar 3.

While all the solid details about the game have not surfaced, as of yet, the basic foundation of the game is already known. Ten warriors will return (although there's not a single new character in sight), each retaining the same animal mutation as they had in the previous titles. The focus of BR3 - as was in the others - will be the Best formations. Like past Bloody Roars, characters can build up a certain power bar - by means of attacking foes or receiving damage - until they are at full height, and that's when the fighter can morph into their selected animal. During this stage a character's arsenal of moves is lengthened, added to by their increased animal powers and individual moves. When mutated, a fighter may produce huge combos of insane flash and moves - a feat that is fairly easy to pull off and incredibly fun to watch. Combos don't require much more skill other than simple patterns, but linking them together and using them at the right time creates a sense of strategy missing from the original Bloody Roar. At full strength a mutated character may trip out and go on a "Best Rave", in which each best can perform a spectacular super combo full of flashes, pizzazz and a lot of pain to your opponent.

Running off Namco's arcade 246 board (the same circuitry used on the upcoming Soul Calibur II), Bloody Roar 3 will no doubt be a please to the eyes. Going under a consistent 60-FPS rate and featuring smooth textured, polygon filled characters, BR3 is unquestionably a visual thriller. Arenas will stay the same, using caged-in areas, ala Fighting Vipers. If Hudson can live up to the name of past Bloody Roars, animation should be superb as well on top of it all.

With the increasing amount of fighting games these days pushing the "realism" factor to it's brink, it's refreshing to see a new beat-'em-up that doesn't take itself too seriously. Full of thrills, action and a whole lot of visual flash, Bloody Roar 3 may finally earn the franchise that lucrative spot next to the Tekken's, Soul Calibur's and Virtua Fighters in even the most jaded of fighting game purist's libraries.

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