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     " Most of the fighting can be reduced to cornering your opponent and just button mashing until he is dead. "

      Title: Bloody Roar 3 by Activision

      Format: Fighting game for PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: This is a fighting game where you play a zoanthrope, which means you have the ability to change into a beast form and use super-human powers. But for some reason crests have been appearing on all of the zoanthropes bodies, and if they don't find out what the crest means, they will die. So you must fight your way through blazingly fast battles in nine different arenas with 12 challenging game play modes.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: This game isn't going to blow anybody's mind, but it will certainly satisfy them. The best thing about this game is the speed at witch everything moves. The characters are animated smoothly and seem to flow between different positions. The characters all look great, with tons of great texturing and variations of costumes. The beast forms of most of the characters are equally cool looking, although some beasts, like the rabbit, just look stupid. The background environments are decent, but not really anything that hasn't been done before, and there certainly isn't enough interaction with your surroundings. 3.5 out of 5.

      Sound: The sound does a very good job of supporting the fast paced action in the game. The sound effects are usually short and crisp. The voice-overs are also short and therefore not annoying, except in the case of Shenlong when he says, "I'll kill you," at the start of each battle. At least in this game the characters say things that actually make sense when they fight. The soundtrack to this game is kind of strange. One the one hand it really suits the action with its light, but fast-paced metal sound, but sometimes there are instruments tossed in there that are just overly synthesized (like Street Fighter Two kind of synthesized) and make you want to turn the music off. 3 out of 5.

      Playability: Bloody Roar is one of those fighting games that truly belongs in an arcade. In order to do really well in the game you must learn a bunch of combos for the characters. The control is really simple using a punch and a kick button, but pulling off those neat-o combos can sometimes be ridiculously hard. Most of the fighting can be reduced to cornering your opponent and just button mashing until he is dead, but after you get around that little road bump, you will find that the game can be kind of fun. Even if you suck at it, the fights are so fast and furious you tend to forget how much you suck and just enjoy beating other people up, or getting beaten by others. And in this game the special combos are really cool to watch. Believe me I have succumbed to just about all of them. I have to say that even though the box for the game boasts, "12 challenging game play modes," It should be noted that these "modes" are just different ways to play through the arcade mode. For example if you get first place in arcade mode, you can unlock the "no blocking" mode where characters cannot block high or mid level hits. 3.5 out of 5.

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Amazingly the makers of this game have completely ignored the trend with fighting games of having tag-team matches. It really is unfortunate as now you can only play against one person at a time, which means that at all your gaming parties this game will be left in its box. But when you are just with one or two friends this game is worth playing. The battles are nice and fast-paced so you won't get bored with them too quickly. The only real drawback is that people who have learned the difficult combos will always have a supremacy over their friends who don't own the game.

      Story/Dramatics: Like so many other fighting games out there the stories presented in this game make little or no sense. They certainly aren't engaging enough for anyone to care about them. Players are given about twenty lines of an obscure story about people who are imbued with the power of the beast when a crest appears on their bodies. For some reason this crest means that the person who has it won't live very long. And when they finish they are given another twenty lines that don't really help to explain anything except for the fact that the game is now over. I think that it is about time developers learn that there is room for stories in fighting games. The stories don't have to be gripping or complex, but they should shed some light on why your character is fighting, and what he is fighting for. 2.5 out of 5.

      The Verdict:

       This is a pretty cool game. The battles are almost fun, the character designs, both while human, and in beast form, are very good, and the attacks and combos are fun to watch. But for the most part this game doesn't really bring anything new to the table. It is definitely the best of the series, but if you haven't liked the past Bloody Roar games, chances are you won't like this one either.

      The Good: Stunning visuals, very fast-paced battles, impressive combos, and good sound.

      The Bad: It is the hardest fighting game I have ever tried to beat, and there is no four-player mode.

      The Overall Ugly: Fans of the Bloody Roar series need to buy this game, everyone else should at least give it a look.

      What it's Worth: Oh say $25.00

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