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Bloody Roar 3
Review By:  Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Hudson
Publisher:   Activision
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Fighting
ESRB:   Teen
Date Posted:   8-2-01

The Bloody Roar series has always been a great alternative to the mainstream, hardcore fighters such as Virtua Fighter and Tekken. Both Bloody Roar and itís sequel, while not terribly deep in gameplay, provided a lighthearted and fun change of pace. With both BR1 and BR2ís prosperity on the PSOne as a sign of proven success, Bloody Roar 3 (BR3) was put through itís PS2 stages hoping to retain the same achievement. Yet despite the new flashy visuals and easy to pick up controls, the replay value and depth havenít gotten any better. Thatís not to say the game canít still be enjoyed.

BR3 has a minimal set of modes by todayís standards, featuring the usual Arcade, Vs., Time Attack and Practice. The game features a healthy amount of characters, each one highlighted by their alternate "beast" form. You can transform into this substitute appearance by building up your power bar, although going back to human form can be done by performing your super move or being beaten severely enough by the opponent.

The actual in-game fighting presents the largest problem with the game. Though the fighting itself is fast, fun and easy to play, my biggest dilemma is that there isnít enough of it. Each fighter is given a very limited arsenal of moves to the point where combos are so inadequate and boring that simple jamming of repeated kicks and punches usually hands out better results. The strategy goes from learning the ins and outs of a certain fighter and using them to your advantage, as seen in most other fighters of today, to who can corner your opponent into a wall and mash on the buttons, as BR3 does so well. For a short time, this quandary didnít affect me too much, but after multiple hours of play and realizing that the tactics and approach to enemies is as simple as even some 16-bit fighters, I was thoroughly discouraged. No matter the difficulty levels, the game can be swept through without a total effort by just button mashing and hoping that youíre quicker than the AI, a technique that I had thought (or wished) died out with the last generation of consoles.

On other hand, BR3 sports some pretty nice visuals. While not detailed and realistic as Virtua Fighter 4, BR3 isnít exactly a slouch in the graphics department. Character models, while somewhat plain, are cleanly drawn. The animation is solid, backed up by a constantly smooth 60 FPS. Each special attack has a bit of flash and pretty lights fuming after every attack, so the fighting can seem hectic at times. Arenas themselves, however, are pretty archaic in design. They are fairly plain in color and architecture, excluding the few that have action in the background or continually breaking barriers and walls.

Aurally, BR3 is average. The kicks, punches and character voices are all pretty stereotypical stuff here. The music and background score is god awful though, containing videogame metal tracks that sound like theyíre straight out of an 80ís action flick or an early Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show.

In the end, BR3 really doesnít change much for its namesake. Although the first Bloody Roarsí seemed fresh, the third time isnít exactly a charm. Itís basic and rudimentary gameplay hold it back from being a real top-caliber experience. BR3 may seem like a flashy and simple game to play at first, but after a while youíll realize thatís exactly what it is: a simple and flashy game.

HIGHS:

  • Smooth, exciting graphics
  • Controls are easy to pick up

LOWS:

  • Gameplay hasn't evolved much from the first two games
  • Music is nasty
  • Characters don't portray much originality

FINAL VERDICT:

Bloody Roar 3 is an enjoyable (but forgettable) experience. I advise to rent this one first, but only buy if you must have something to hold you over until Tekken 4 and Virtua Fighter 4 come home.

Overall Score: 7.2

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