Tuesday, 18 August 2015

SNES Game Review 85 Ranma 1/2

OK so I will apologise in advance, as is often my style this review will be a mix of review, video game history lesson and my memories. So video games have also been a big part of my life, they were when I was a child and they are now but they are not the only thing I am into.  When I was about 4 my Dad started buying these video cassettes of Japanese cartoons for me. He knew that I was crazy in to Transformers so he went to try and find me other things like them what he found me was Grandizer,Guyking, StarAvengers and Danguard Ace. I watched these cartoons and loved them to this day I still do so when I was older and everyone started to get into Manga Home Videos like Dominion Tank police and such I was in my element. We all got into anime films and series and one of the ones I found and particularly enjoyed was Ranma ½.  So when I came across a pal cart with Ranma ½ wrote on it on a flea market I was incredibly excited. I never expected to see a game based on one of the anime I had been watching, I had never seen the game on the shelves in any store, never heard anyone talk about it so it came as a huge shock. I paid for it straight away without trying to ask if they would take less or without working out how I would get through the rest of the week if I spent all of my pocket money in one go. The answer was very simple I needed this game and if I needed any more money for anything else then I’d have to pocket my school dinner money, go without eating at school and tell my parents I had, yes I did this quiet often.

It would be an understatement if I said that when I got home I excitedly popped the game into my Super Nintendo, and played it for a bit. The market I used to get some of my games from was held on a Thursday night, it started at 6pm and I literally ran home and put the game in my SNES and played it none stop until my parents came in my room and told me to turn the damn machine off and get some sleep as it was a school night, this was around 11.30. I guess this statement in and of itself makes it sound like the game is something great and well it kind of is and it kind of is not. The game is just a standard fighter game in some ways it is sort of just another Street Fighter 2 clone but this time one with Ranma characters. I suppose what you think of this game depends on your tolerance for street fighter clones and also your attitude to Ranma and its characters.

I was shocked that there was a Ranma game on the SNES but the truth is in Japan there were actually 5. The first was a game called Ranma ½: Neighborhood Combat, the game we got was actually a direct sequel to this game. So Did America get the first one? Yes and No Combat Chapter was altered by Irem, it had all of the Ranma characters stripped out of it, the graphics and audio altered and became a game called Street Combat. Now I don’t own Street Combat so I won’t be reviewing it I have however played it and it is dire. To the best of my knowledge it never came to Europe. Japan also got a sequel to the game I am reviewing the Sequel was called Ranma ½: Super-Skill Wild Dance Chapter, this was actually supposed to be released in the USA and possibly Europe afterwards under the title of   Ranma ½ Anything Goes Martial Arts, however the company that owned the rights for it went bust leading to its cancellation. So all we ever really got was part 2 of a 3 part fighting franchise (Japan also got a Ranma RPG and a Ranma Puzzle game).

OK well back to the game. This game looks great. The characters are all brilliant sprites who are instantly recognisable and look just like they do in the anime. It goes deeper then this though the graphics are full of brilliant little touches, you can see the wind blowing in the one of the female characters hair, you can also see leaves moving, light blinking all of which adds so wonderfully to the atmosphere.  The music really fits in well with the game and its graphics, it also I believe really in the correct style for the anime this is based on. The music is really bouncy and up tempo. It really sets the tone for what is a humorous fun game. Every level has its own song adding to the variety. On top of this there are the sound effects. Just like you would expect all of the actions such as punches and kicks are met with the sort of sounds you would expect and on top of this most specials are  accompanied  by what sounds like a  Japanese voice actor screaming the attack name in pretty broken English, which I actually considering the origin of the source material love.

As for the game itself well you get a choice of characters, sure there is not loads of them but they all do tend to feel unique, there are 10 characters to start with and 2 boss characters one of which is unlockable. Each character has their own reason for fighting which will be explained with text and pictures after you pick them. I think this is great as even if you haven’t watched or read any Ranma it helps draw you in and make you feel a connection to the characters, you want to play your way through the fights to see what happens to them, to see if they get a happy ending or not. This actually gives you a reason to try and get better with the characters that you are not that keen on and so adds to the replay value.

The default controls are a little strange, especially given the fact that there is a jump button instead of just pressing up, this can be changed in the options but if you want to change it then you will need to do so every time you put the game on. The characters are very responsive and the attacks are easy enough to do. The attacks are a little limited in comparison to something like Street fighter 2 as you basically only have a strong attack and weak attack button. Like mortal kombat blocking is assigned to a button as opposed to just pressing back. This does make this a somewhat simple fighter but the game does benefit from the way it sticks so well to its license and makes the most of it. It’s a fun game which although it is not going to change the world is worthwhile if you like fighters or if you like Ranma. This is a game on its own account not some awful street fighter 2 clone.

I am really struggling to give this game a score, it has its strengths and its weaknesses to the point that it has made me bump out my first quarter score so here it goes 6.75, it is a fun game, it’s not a bad fighter but it’s not brilliant, if you want a fighter which is not a Street Fighter, a Mortal Kombat or a Killer instinct you could do a lot worse than this. So if you do want this, well the best way I have seen to get it would be from ebay, the copies I have seen selling in England have been most often ridiculously expensive for what it is but if you look at pal copes from other European countries you can get it for about £15 including delivery. I guess if it’s worth it or not comes down to how much you like fighters and if you’re looking for a new one you don’t have.

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