Sunday, February 7, 2010

Strong Style

I named my character Jumbo, after my favorite pro-wrestler. Live-A-Live's Jumbo didn't live up to his real-world namesake. Jumbo Tsuruta was a big, surly man, while my Jumbo was a pipsqueak. A pretty boy. He wore a headband, a purple tanktop, and poofy yellow pants. Generic shonen fight manga lead circa...circa-I-dunno, I-didn't-grow-up-in-Japan. He started soft, and as far as I'm concerned he ended soft, because even though he defeated all his opponents he still looked like he weighed a buck-fifty soaking wet. You can't draw crowds with a physique like that.

But the freaks in that screenshot? They can draw. They've been around. They have the ultimate techniques. It's Jumbo's job to steal these techniques. When an opponent uses a special move on Jumbo there's a chance he might learn it. He's pretty much a slightly-roided-up Blue Mage from a Final Fantasy game, and this chapter is pretty much modeled after Street Fighter, but with turnbased battles and no real RPG elementz~! aside from the move stealing. Actually the choosing your opponent bit is kinda like Mega Man, since you may be able to beat the wrestlers in any order if you play smart (though I'm not entirely certain about that), but it's far easier if you have moves they're weak against.

I chose the Thai kickboxing ladyboy as my first opponent. I figured the he-she would be an easy mark.

I was wrong.

The Volk Han/Russian MMA dude crushed me as well. I was fucked and humbled. But the fat guy went down. I stole his move. I used it to break the Great Asia's fucking neck.

And from then on it was easy street. I just played sensibly and used moves that would theoretically work on my opponent in a real wrestling match. For example: the Hulk Hogan like-a-look is like five times not-so-Jumbo's size. One axe-bomber clothesline and I'm dead. So what do I do?

I use high-speed moves that injure his limbs, rendering him unable to move, and finish him off from a distance using high-flying moves. Crazy! There's a bit of logic going on there! In an RPG. And I didn't need to cast some analyze spell or check a menu screen to figure out the weak point. How about that.

I guess I'm easily impressed, huh? Overall the pro-wrestling chapter's a disappointment, though. There is nothing to it aside from these battles. There are no towns, no exploration, no adoring fans, no ring rats, no drug-dealing doctors. Skimpy, skimpy, skimpy. The story is incredibly light, with an intro showing the hero training, brief pre-match promos from your opponents, and an out-of-nowhere final boss named "Odie Oldbright". I think his design was based on the villain from "Highlander". He's killed all your prior rivals and now he's come for you. He killed me many times. I felt dumb. I felt like I missed a special move that would off him in one hit. Then I smartened up. I realized he couldn't perform his one-hit kill move if I stood in a different position. I realized that in this game debuffs not only work, but they stack, which makes it unlike just about every Final Fantasy game. My prior genre experience was working against me! I was not experimenting like I should have. Once I figured this out I was able to repeatedly do the suplex-or-whatever that cut the Odie's stats in half, until he couldn't move at all, and then I put on the Crippler Crossface and choked him to death. The End. Jumbo walks off into the sunset with a gymbag on his shoulder, in search of his next great challenge. Or some shit like that. I don't even remember what happened.

I'm sure the other chapters are better than this one. But man, the pro-wrestling one should have been the best. There is so much good stuff to work with, but it was so barebones and generic fight-manga formula that there was no satisfaction. Oh well! I still appreciate the little things it got right. That brains (or knowledge of PURORESU -- same thing!) were more important than levels and stats.

If I get to pick my final party during the finale no way is Jumbo gonna end up in it, though. He's so lame.

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