As far as the beat-em-up genre is concerned, originality has become a scarce quality. We’ve played 2D fighter after 2D fighter, and we’ve mastered Tekken and Virtua Fighter. Is there anything else beat-em-ups can offer us? We think there’s a little innovation to squeezed out yet, and Activision’s Bloody Roar for GameCube is a good example.
As one of the first beat-em-ups for the purple/black vanity case (it's your choice, dear shopper) Bloody Roar is likely to come under considerable scrutiny. At first glance, Bloody Roar looks like nothing more than a standard, Tekken/Toshinden clone. All you have to do is choose a fighter, climb into the ring and take your opponent down. But veterans of the series will know there is more to Bloody Roar then meets the eye. As you fight, a gauge slowly fills at the bottom of the screen. Press the appropriate button once the gauge is full, and something completely unexpected occurs – your character transforms into a wild beast! Now your attacks become stronger and deal more damage than ever before. It’s getting used to two unique fighting styles with a single character that makes Bloody Roar so compelling to play and such a challenge.
Bloody Roar: Primal Fury has a flexible and fluid combination engine that allows chains (linking together normal attacks) that are cancellable into special and super moves. You can even juggle your opponent as they fall to the ground or bounce off the walls. Many spectacular and difficult combos can be mastered if you are prepared to practice.
Bloody Roar still retains the same classic play mechanics as the first three instalments, but improves on the formula with visually appealing, fully-interactive environments and new super beast power-ups. Combatants can throw one another through walls or other structures and then follow them through to finish them off. And it’s all demonstrated by the graphical prowess afforded by the GameCube hardware.