Fighting games have easily been one of my favorite genres. Growing up they were some of the earliest games I remember playing and enjoying. While games like Mega Man III and Bubble Bobble have a special place being the first games I played, it wasn’t until Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II made their way to our house I found an entire genre of game I enjoyed.
That might have come from the competitiveness of the fighter. Or by nature of the game itself allowing for two players to square off against one another, meaning my brothers and I could play together. Though a stretch, it could have been for the storylines, but I’d save that development for RPGs over anything else.
Anti-video game haters are gonna hate, but I do think it might have had something to do with violence. Mortal Kombat especially stands out. Aside from the brutal moves and bloody effects, the iconic fatalities had an allure all to themselves. Seeing Sub-Zero rip off someone’s head, spine dangling in glory, was something else. Something completely different from Mario and Luigi jumping on Goombas. That attraction stuck with me. (Though I never had thoughts of doing harm to others at all, let me get that out there in plain view). It led to experimenting with other fighters, including today’s lookback, Bloody Roar 2.
Released by Hudson Soft back in 1999, Bloody Roar 2 is a 1 on 1 3D fighting game. The big draw here is the ability to transform into your fighter’s Beast form during the battle. Doing so allows for new moves and combos and player strategy. BR2 also introduces super meters, super combos, new characters, combat tweaks, and more. It’s painful to go back to the first after the second’s increased playability and improved features. I’d say start here if you’re looking to play.
I don’t think Bloody Roar 2 or any games in the franchise are going to ever stack up to the likes of Street Fighter or other high profile fighters, but I don’t think they were ever supposed too. The premise is kind of silly. There are some definite balance issues if I can trust my younger self’s thoughts. There also aren’t any real modes to enjoy besides a story mode, arcade mode, and versus mode, the essential you’d need. What it lacks in polish it makes up for in fun. Bloody Roar 2 is fun.
The characters and their beast forms exemplify this. Main good guy Hugo turns into a badass Wolf, and main bad guy Gado turns into a ferocious Lion. But then you get more far out inclusions. Stun transforms into a rhinoceros beetle-like Insect. Alice turns into a sweet looking white Rabbit that packs a hell of a quick punch. A personal favorite is Busuzima the Chameleon, both because I loved snakes and reptiles at the time, but also because of his absurd profile pic, and also because he was just crazy to play. Maybe the Eddy Gordo of this game, haha!
Speaking of Tekken, the game felt somewhat similar in the ease of its combo system. It was super simple to figure out basic combos to doll out damage to your first few foes. And the system was complex enough to find some more intricate links to deal with more complicated and tougher foes. As a kid I remember button mashing to victory, and getting upset when that wouldn’t work. Revisiting the game again a few years back I found it a lot more simple than I remember, but that is likely coming from what I like to think is a more well-rounded fighter game brain.
Bloody Roar 2 will always have a special place in my heart. It was a fighting game I was never good at, but one I could call my own. One that my brothers didn’t also play. To me, that meant one that I was better than them at. A game if we threw down in 2000-whatever I might actually be able to beat them. It was one of the first games that made me excited to play video games. And for that I will always have respect.
Now if we can get a Bloody Roar 5 we’ll talk again…