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The Fallen Angels
  opened by paleface at 04:29:13 12/04/03  
  paleface [sys=PCB; cat=Fighting; loc=JPN]
A Psikyo (!) fighting game with kind of retro WWI-era styling. It almost looks better in compressed still screenshots than in action, the animation isn't anything too special and some of the characters are just not drawn so well. Some of them are, though, and they have a strong point in being cast semi-realistically, in that WWI-era style of dark leather and sepia tones that looks so nice.
Similar things can be said for the backgrounds, some of which look somewhat photo-realistic, but also some look rather FMVish and blurry. All in all the backgrounds are atmospheric but not very colorful or lively, but there are some neat effects like transparent rain or a table that gets kicked forward into the screen from the foreground in the bar.
On the whole there is something of an uneven feeling, like they could have used more time to make it all top-notch, but only had time to make parts top-notch and the rest had to tag along. This feeling extends to the fighting itself, which sometimes starts to feel like it has the makings of an interesting combo system, but doesn't quite get there. Of course this could very well be due to lack of skill on my part.
There's a super meter, which you can charge by holding three buttons, and another meter below that (GUR or something) that I'm not really sure about. The super meter builds pretty quickly. For the most part the supers I found were like custom combo type things, really quite Street Fighter Zero 2-ish. Some characters had a more distinctive super of their own.
Movement speed is very slow, and the few characters with projectiles have a good advantage as the slow footspeed of characters makes it pretty easy to hold people at bay with the projectiles. Pressing the two punch buttons dodges, however, so I suppose you could use that. Pressing the two kick buttons switches your stance, but this only seems to last for one big heavy striking attack, then your character switches back to the regular stance. Again, something that doesn't quite seem fully fleshed-out.
Each character seems to have a few special moves, the ones I found were fairly normal fireball or uppercut type motions. The slow footspeed and not-so-smooth animation combine to make combat feel a little on the clunky side at times. Characters flash for a frame while doing moves sometimes, I'm not sure what this signifies--but it did make the combat feel a bit choppier than it was. Combat sounds can be loud but not all that memorable.
While it could, again, be due to lack of skill and/or experience, character balance seems like it could have used more test time. As mentioned, characters with projectiles seem to have a significant inherent advantage. A couple characters seem a bit off, just not really very effective, their moves not quite striking as you would hope. And then there's the dude with the Armor Galactica Phantom.
I mean, he has a powerful charge punch like Ralf from KOF, as an unlimited special move, and can't be hit out of it. He'll take damage if you hit him while he's doing it, but it doesn't stop him from finishing the move. So it's pretty much the perfect counter to anything you want to throw at him, because it is almost certain to do more damage than whatever you're hitting him with, and it can't be stopped. If he misses there's significant recovery time, but aside from that the move is ridiculous. It's funny when two of the same character do the move on each other: they just ram into each other, repeatedly hitting, with gouts of red blood spurting off each one, for several seconds.
Of course, these impressions are very preliminary, and I'd like to play it some more. I've only played Vs. so I can't speak for the quality of the AI. Many of the fights came right down to the wire, so a fair chunk of the characters (a scant eight total I think) seem pretty well matched. There seem to be germs of an interesting combo system, and some characters had surprising moves, like one with a couple counter throws. I suspect that it's still a somewhat unrealized mish-mash of cool ideas, but there's certainly potential.
The board I played had a soldered-on four-button mod, perhaps done by Psikyo themselves (the game is four button, standard Jamma is three). Curiously, although the cab we played on has the correct four-button setup for MVS games, with Fallen Angels the third and fourth buttons seemed to be reversed, ie it went
[light punch] [heavy punch] [heavy kick] [light kick]
And the final odd thing, there's a distinctly womanly-looking character (face, figure, clothes, etc) whose stats on the select screen say is of the male gender.

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