Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quick Bytes: Battle Fantasia

Pretty sure you already did.
(image from Killa B)
Sorry I haven't been posting much, folks. I've been caught in the swirling vortex of addiction that is Disgaea. Can you believe I've already spent sixty hours with it? Probably, if you own it too. The game has almost infinite replay value thanks to the Item Worlds, which contain a hundred randomly generated stages. Each item has dozens of other items in it, which contain their own Item Worlds, which means you could potentially play it forever. And from the way things look right now, I could!

But forever is a long, long time. I have to take a break from Disgaea every once in a while, and one of the games that's helping me do that is Battle Fantasia. Designed by Arc System Works (of Guilty Gear fame) and released in the United States by Aksys Games, Battle Fantasia is a pretty ordinary versus fighter in most respects. Instead of the array of confusing buttons usually offered in ASW fighters, you get just two punches and two kicks. Each character has a handful of special moves, two super attacks, and a "heat up" move which temporarily boosts their abilities. If this reminds you of Vampire Savior's Dark Force feature, you're not far off base.

Watch me turn this rabbit into cold cuts!
So there really isn't much that separates Battle Fantasia from other fighting games, apart from the window dressing. It's presented in the style of an action RPG, with a medieval fantasy setting and hit points flying out of your opponents as you smack them around. Like Sunsoft's Waku Waku 7, the character selection is modest but memorable, with a bunny wizard, a toddler swordsman, and a teen armed with the world's most versatile weapon. It's a cannon! It's a chainsaw! It's a jetpack! It slices, dices, and makes julienne fries out of your opponents! The only thing it's missing is an infomercial starring Ron Popeil.

What else? Oh yeah. You may not notice this at first glance, but Battle Fantasia is a polygonal fighter, in the same vein as Street Fighter IV. All the characters are 3D models, which isn't a big deal NOW but must have been surprising when it was first released for the Xbox 360 in 2008. You can catch a hard edge or two on the fighters if you look carefully, but if you're not a stickler for detail you'll swear they were hand drawn. It's not even readily apparent from the gameplay that the game is polygonal... combos don't chain as smoothly as they do in Street Fighter or King of Fighters, but the pace is just as brisk.

I've played a lot of fighters over the past quarter of a century, and I wouldn't call Battle Fantasia one of my favorites. However, it only cost me two dollars in last week's PSN sale, and I can honestly say it was worth the price. I just wish I could pay $19.99 for that crazy all-purpose weapon Urs carries around with him...

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