The Rumble Fish

From the people that brought you the Guilty Gear series of 2D fighting games comes The Rumble Fish! I have no idea what the title has to do with the game, but this is the first new 2D fighting game to come out in a long time since 3D became all the rage a few years back.
You choose from one of ten fighters and fight your way through to the boss (who becomes playable after you beat the game) just like any other fighting game, in either the Story or Arcade modes. Also as usual, each character has their own set of special attacks and super attacks that can be pulled off when your powerbar is charged up. You have two powerbars, one for offense and one for defense. Every character has one super move for each powerbar, but when both bars are maxed out you can pull off a Critical attack. The powerbars can also be used to break an opponents combo while blocking it, as well as kicking out of a fall in mid air so your opponent can’t hit an air combo or hit you while your laying on the floor.
If you’ve played the Guilty Gear games (and where the Hell have you been if you haven’t?), the graphics are pretty much the same anime-style drawn 2D characters, but the twist is that there is a bit of a 3D element to the graphic style, as the character animations have a unique movement to them blended into the 3D backgrounds. A lot of detail was paid to the character movements and each character has their own “weight” when you play as them. But I have noticed some short-cuts in the animation frames and combos, so it’s not perfect to say the least. Also notable that the in game characters are kinda small, even on a large screen TV, so you can’t really see all the character detail that clearly.
Another interesting detail is that attacking body parts can result in broken armour or torn clothes, and these are carried over not only to the next round, but the next fight as well! So if you lose your shirt (or worse if you’re a female character), you stuck in your shredded clothing until you lose and use a Continue.
Audio-wise, the opening intro and the background music can be pretty catchy, and the character voices are also done pretty well. But the voices do get pretty annoying sometimes as there is a lot of screaming going on depending who’s fighting. Unfortunately the backgrounds are pretty empty, so there isn’t much in the way of background noise to add to the ambience of the action.
The game uses the 2-punch, 2-kick control scheme, and you can assign the top buttons to dash and guardbreak or taunt. Like I mentioned earlier, everyone has their own feel so it takes awhile to get used to each character and the timing to pull off combos and such. I have noticed like most other PS2 fighting games that it can be pretty annoying to pull off super multi-direction pressing attacks on a PS2 controller, and it can get frustrating at times as the timing can be really hard, and you can’t do the motion for a special or super while getting up as they CPU doesn’t seem to acknowledge the command.
One other problem I have with this game like so many other recent 2D fighters is that the boss is REALLY hard. Maybe not as bad as the bosses from Samurai Showdown Zero or Guilty Gear Asuka, but this Greed, the boss of the game, will have you screaming at your TV at times as he unleashes combo after and combo that for some reason doesn’t connect altogether, but your recovery is so slow that you get hit anyway! It got so frustrating that the first time I played the PS2 version, after 4 HOURS and 40 continues, I STILL couldn’t beat him on the normal difficulty setting. Oh yeah, and the guy has infinite specials and guard-breaks too. He’s still not as bad as some of the other game bosses though, as at least you can damage this guy and can actually beat him as apposed to say, the boss in Samurai Showdown Zero that you can’t even touch!
Overall, this game does have a few flaws to work out, and I hear that a sequel is indeed in the works. This game is limited by the amount of play options, and only having a gallery to unlock in single player mode doesn’t help the lifespan of the game. Two players could get some fun out of it for awhile, but there are better fighters out there.

Graphics – 8
Sound – 8
Gameplay – 7
Lifespan – 6
Overall – 6


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