Guilty Gear X
Developer: Arc System Works | Publisher: CyberFront | Release Date: 2001 | Genre: Beat ‘Em Up | Website: n/a | Purchase: n/a
The original Guilty Gear featured a tournament that was held to root out a rogue “gear” called Justice. Gears are biological weapons that ultimately turned on their creators, man. While the tournament was a success and Justice defeated a new gear called Dizzy has made an appearance. With a 500 000 World Dollar reward as prize money for her defeat, its tournament time all over again.
While Guilty gear X has quite an intricate backstory, it is all relegated to the instruction manual with no time wasted on it in the game. You have an Arcade mode where you square off against other contenders before taking on Dizzy herself. Don’t expect any kind of intro or ending for your character upon completion either. Survival mode challenges you to make it as far as you can with only one health bar. The Vs mode is for taking on friends while training mode will help you hone your skills. Its pretty bare bones as far as fighting games go and the focus is purely on the actual fights.
This PC version is a straight up part of the original Dreamcast version and like the American PS2 version misses out on all the goodies added to the Japanese “Plus” version for the PS2. This is disappointing, but at least there is a PC version. Most of the old cast makes a return and they are joined by some interesting new faces. Anji Mito is a fan and umbrella wielding Japanese character which is quite a big deal in the Guilty Gear universe (the fact that he is Japanese and not his effeminate choice of weapons.) Johnny is the flamboyant pirate leader who May fought so hard to free in the last game. Venom is a mask wearing man of mystery that favors the pool cue as weapon. While Jam Kuradoberi is a female chef that seems to have forgotten her weapon at home. Her fighting style bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Chun-Li of Street Fighter fame as well. Then there’s everyone’s favorite mad doctor with a giant scalpel who this time round wears a brown paper bag over his head and goes by the name of Faust. Of course the bosses Dizzy and Testament also become available after beating them.
Visually, the game looks good and runs very smoothly provided your computer can handle it of course. The resolution is locked at 640×480, which might have been high-resolution back when it was released, but looks a bit chunky in this day and age. The manga-style 2D artwork looks great, however and the backgrounds are packed with way more detail and animations than the first game. The characters all have green blood, which is a bit bizarre, but there is a patch available online if you prefer your sanguine fluid in a crimson hue. The endings or lack thereof is very disappointing, especially after having your hopes raised by the nice intro. Getting trounced by the cheap last boss over and over only to receive rolling credits over a static background picture is a bit of a slap in the face. I know not every company has the budget Namco lavishes on the Tekken series’ endings, but still.
Gameplay is where Guilty Gear X comes into its own and while a lot more accessible than the first game, it is still no walk in the park. You can now adjust the difficulty level, which is something that was sorely lacking before. The “destruction” moves are still very impressive, but no longer the horribly unfair affairs they used to be. Instead of winning the match, they simply earn the victor the round and missing carries a big penalty. The game still favors aggression and as long as you push forward and attack your “tension” gauge will fill up. This allows you to perform powerful “overdrive” moves as well as the aforementioned “destructions” or instant kills as they are also known. Watch out as the gauge drains if you play defensively. Dust attacks will send your opponents skywards, setting them up for big combos which you can interrupt at any time through “Roman cancels.” Button mashing might get you far, but practice will show you what the characters are really capable of.
The controls are responsive, but don’t even bother trying to play with a keyboard. Anything less than a good gamepad and you won’t be doing the game any justice. The soundtrack is good and once again, features the rock tracks that are a trademark of the series. The speech is ok but not very clear. The choice of voice for the round announcer is also somewhat on the strange side.
If you are not a fan of the genre, then you can obviously give this game a miss. Beat-em-up fans however, should snap it up immediately as the PC just doesn’t receive the love it used to when it comes to this genre. While it would have been nice to get a port of the Japanese PS2 game instead of the Dreamcast version, this game still comes highly recommended. Finding it on PC is a bit difficult to say the least, so you might just have to settle for the PS2 version.
*Review originally published 2001.
- OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
- Processor: 1.7Ghz
- Memory: 512 MB (XP), 1 GB (Vista)
- Graphics: 32MB
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 800 MB
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card