Is this really worth roaring about?
When it comes to natural strength, us humans seem to have gotten the short end of the stick. Sure we have amazing brain power, but our physical traits are just pathetic when compared to our animal brethren. Even our killer cat & ferocious dog friends are better physical specimens than we are. So with the fighting animal spirit in mind, Activision and Hudson Soft are proud to bring the third installment of the Bloody Roar series to the Playstation 2.
Choose one of fourteen different fighters and use their animal powers to defeat all who stand in your way! With the power of the mysterious "Zoanthrope Crests" the Bloody Roar fighters have the ability to "beastorize" and transform into certain animal forms, gaining strength and special techniques in the process. Other than that, this game is pretty much like the average fighting game you've played a million times before.
Bloody Roar 3 is divided up into four main battle modes. I bet you can even name them all - Arcade, Versus, Survival, and Practice. Surprised? I didn't think so. Each mode plays exactly like you expect it to - nothing more, nothing less. After all, the game is basically a port of the arcade version.
Gameplay follows along the lines of a basic 3D fighter with standard attack buttons augmented by a "sidestep." There's also the power bar that shows just when you've built up enough animal hormones to transform. Interestingly enough, most of the move lists are not littered with quarter and half-circle maneuvers. Instead, it's all about button mashing combos. While this scheme is easy to pick up and hard to master, it doesn't feel as strategic as the "Street Fighter-ish" set of moves that fighting game fans have grown accustomed to. But if there's one thing at which Bloody Roar 3's combat system excels, it's definitely the combos.
A master of Bloody Roar can make mincemeat of opponents in no time with a combination that will drain an entire life bar. Catching enemies in the corner and advanced juggling will definitely make the battle a lot easier. While the ability to completely annihilate an opponent is cool, it's very frustrating when you're almost completely helpless on the receiving end. This is a system that just ends up being way too lopsided for experienced players.
The arenas tend to be on the small side, forcing the fighters to remain in close quarters at all times. A few of the levels have breakable objects and "dentable" walls, but this simple design pales in comparison to the "go anywhere" arenas we've seen in DOA2.
The game's graphics are pretty average and will not impress you one bit. Characters are pretty smooth, but the backgrounds are as plain and uninspired as they come.
The major improvement over the previous Bloody Roar titles is the increased number of fighters. You'll still find Yugo, Alice, and Gado. Only this time, they are joined by the new characters such as Busuzima the lizardman and Stun the giant bug. It's nice to see a little more variety in were-people these days.
The animal choices of the new fighters are kind of disappointing, though. Now there are two tigers and two moles along with a host of characters from the cat family. Couldn't the developers come up with a few new animals? How about a kung-fu monkey, raging bull or drunken squirrel?
Bloody Roar 3 could have been saved from total mediocrity by adding a little depth, but alas, it was not to be. Outside of the two unlockable characters, there isn't much to tempt anyone into playing the game again. I suppose you could experience every character's drug-induced story line, but is it really worth it? Nope.
But even with all of its faults, Bloody Roar 3 still has its moments. There's nothing like chomping on a little bunny or mauling a lizard for the win. Even getting a 50+ hit combo is usually a good reason to celebrate.
So there you have it: An average fighting game cleverly disguised as an animal combat game. It's great for those wild full moon parties, but once the sun comes up, it's back to normal.