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The Rumble Fish
  opened by paleface at 03:18:37 03/31/05  
  last modified by paleface at 12:25:50 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Fighting; reg=JPN]
Port of the--Atomiswave, wasn't it?--arcade fighting game by Dimps, those ex-SNK folks responsible for other reasonably solid fighting-style effors, Inuyasha (see entry 132) and Dragon Ball: Advance Adventure (see entry 726).
Here, they go 2D fighting again, or do they? Without progressive scan support I'm hard-pressed to tell if the characters are sprites or cleverly cel-shaded models; they're scientifically crisp and consistent, even rigid in ways, but they don't show the usual aliasing you'd see with models, and some of their movements are skippy, so I can only conclude that they're 2D sprites rotoscoped and touched-up from 3D models--an unusual technique, to be sure, and probably for good reason. The result is sharp but conservative characters, whose joints rotate smoothly most of the time, but who lack the scrappy life found in hand-drawn sprites.
The backgrounds are incredibly muddy and muddled 3D, about as unmemorable as you could get.
While I'm on the AV, although the intro sequence has some really nice breakbeat music, the turgid techno/scratch stuff that plays during fights might as well not even be there for all the benefit it gives.
Okay, on to the fighting. Your ten characters (two more unlockable?) have the usual four-button light/heavy punch/kick controls, plus a fifth button, Dash. Each character has two meters that charge up, Offense and Defense. Defense seems to charge over time, and really I'm not quite sure what it does on its own (there appears to be an entirely separate Guard Crush meter), but a charged Offense meter gives you access to button combos for activating an unblockable attack (I think) or a combo speed burst. With both Offense and Defense charged up together, you can use your various super attacks.
It seems a little complicated to me, but the combo bursts can lead to some lightning-fast rallies. Throw in a sort of standard ABCD chain combo, air-combos (mostly initiated by Dash+Attack, which launches the victim in a big float), air recoveries and the like, and you've got some pretty intense action going on, at least in the hands, I imagine, of those who know what they're doing.
Due to the sort of stiff, precise animation and all these meters and things, the game has a pretty technical feel to it. This is good in that I feel like there's a science behind what I'm trying to do, and when I get smacked down in a big rush, I can't really complain because if I'd timed things right and could hit the right buttons at the right times, I could have done the same thing first. On the other hand, it might be lacking a little life. I think the real test there will come when I try two-player versus, which I haven't seen yet.
The added "Story" mode here is a joke, consisting of just a few added screens of scrolling Japanese text over a still picture involving your chosen character, but at least they got in Training and Survival modes (haven't tried Survival yet), and a little image gallery, all of whose pictures have to be unlocked, presumably by beating the modes with different characters (?).
With only ten initual characters, stiff movement, crappy backgrounds and background music, Rumble Fish has a lot to overcome in making me like it. I think, if I could get better with the fighting systems, I might really come to like it anyway--but we'll see.
  paleface 03:31:27 03/31/05
Download added: aran.gif (107989 bytes)
  "Aran (that's Engrish for Alan, you know) whiffs one."
On the whole, the graphics are really understated. The characters are pretty puny, and even the special move effects aren't very flashy--SNK gets way more impressive stuff out of their ancient MVS hardware than Dimps tried getting out of the sorta newfangled Atomiswave.
  paleface 00:45:40 04/12/05
Gleaned some apparent info about the Defensive power meter from an Impress Game Watch article:
- Pressing Dodge (I was calling it "Dash") right as you're about to get hit uses half of your Defensive power meter but does some kind of hit/block/stun thing maybe
- Some special moves use the Defensive power meter; these moves tend to do less damage, but they give you a longer period of invulnerability
· Dragon Ball: Advance Adventure (GBA)
· Inuyasha: Sengoku Otogi Kassen (PS1)

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