portfolio show was approaching quickly at college, and having put off
cutting out business cards for about a month I buckled down and started
cutting. I had done the resumes the previous night, which generated
enough waste paper to overfill my just-emptied trash can. Of course,
at the show nobody ended up taking any of my damn resumes, and I only
gave out a handful of cards, but that's getting ahead of things.
was cutting out these cards, see, and had to pitch a sheet because my
blade had dulled to the point it wouldn't go all the way through the
glossy paper. So I switched, and got about halfway through another set,
when suddenly, the blade jumped the side of the ruler and nearly sliced
the side of my left index finger off. (The stitches are out now, but
there's still no feeling in it, for the record.)
my finger was too sore to properly grip a Playstation controller (or
a PC pad that apes the shape of it in spite of having less functioning
buttons) which meant no video games. After a while, I got tired
of not playing at all and decided I needed to try something with a lot
of analog control. I could set the pad down and work that pretty easily.
So, somehow, I settled on Dan's old copy of Ehrgeiz. Manual-less, and
scratched in strategic points to prevent finishing the game with all
this long-winded and wholly unnecessary set-up behind me, I would like
to restate, this game has effectively held me hostage for a week. And
such a solid playthrough after only occasional plays has proved to be,
also led me to force myself to play Capcom vs SNK 2, staining my bandage
slightly and causing brief soreness. But I'll be damned if I didn't
hear the song from "Triumph of the Will" playing when I plowed
through all comers without the use of the Fierce Kick button.
that's not just the title it's given, Ehrgeiz actually saw an arcade
release, and Namco actually helped with the engine (possibly as some
kind of sabotage attempt.) As I understand, the arcade release had more
intermission FMVs, and the crowds were in 3-D. These have been replaced
by cardboard cutouts of the crowd suspended in space outside the ring
and between-fight sequences consisting of posing for a moment, then
spazz-running out of the arena.
main plus and minus of Ehrgeiz is the freedom of movement you are given.
Kind of like Power Stone, you can run all over the 3-D arena, jump up,
mess with transparent boxes, so on. This can be a hindrance sometimes,
though, since especially when jumping your character doesn't like to
follow your specific directional input. In vs. mode, you'll find it
doesn't matter much as they take away most of the ledges and pits for
you to climb around on (in other words, the vs arenas are just rectangles
of varying dimensions.)
may be the main game gimmick, but what drew most people to it was the
inclusion of some random Final Fantasy VII cast. Originally, Cloud and
Tifa were just hidden opponents you could face by completing arcade
mode in a certain time. Now Cloud and Tifa are among the default cast,
joined by teen girl otaku drool stimulator Sephiroth, as well as hidden
characters Yuffie, Vincent and Zack. The hidden FF characters are just
clones of existing fighters with better models, anyway.
of existing fighters, the newcomers are for the most part, dullsville.
There's a Shinobi-esque ninja named Sasuke. Yawn. A boxer with crazy
hair, fighting only for the joy of the fight? Someone who looks unsettingly
like Kazuya from Tekken with a robot arm? With the modest name of GODHAND,
even? The two token females are okay- a schoolgirl who works for Interpol
and flails a yo-yo around, and a girl raised by wolves who polymorphs
into a jagged kind of bestial sort of thing. I kind of like Han, who's
sort of like a Korean Jackie Chan with a missile-launching prosthetic
leg. There's also Lee Shuwen, an aging Chinese assassin who took an
anti-aging drug that is gradually making him younger and younger until
he ceases to be. On the more upsetting side is Inoba, a very large Japanese
man who wrestles in his underwear.
I had a couple friends playing as Inoba in his underpants while the
other was a beschoolgirl-uniformed Yoko. That was one of the creepiest
fighting matchups I'd ever seen outside of seeing an illegal copy of
Thrill Kill at a party.
of the most aggravating things about arcade mode (as far as I'm concerned)
is that static order of characters and stages. You'll ALWAYS battle
Inoba in the wrestling ring, followed by Jo on the rooftop, Godhand...
somewhere else. But the final boss is one of the worst sequences ever.
I'd rate it in enjoyability somewhere between the fight with Onslaught
in Marvel vs. Capcom and I don't know, being shot with red paintballs
while trying to walk a balance beam in a bullpen. While the credits
scroll by, you must break two crates on the monster's head, retrieve
the swords and throw them into it, then run around and collect everything
that falls out of it when it explodes, pinata-like. Then you grab the
Ehrgeiz and are rewarded with a pan-around of your character holding
it up while some awful text appears.
"YOU HAVE DISCOVERED
A GREAT SWORD WITH MATERIA! THE MATERIA GLOWS FAINTLY. YOU COULD BECOME
ANYTHING, EVEN A GOD OR..."
Or something to that extent.
BRAND NEW QUEST:
The Forbidden Dungeon
think the RPG mode is supposed to represent the events leading up to
the tournament. You play the role of Koji Masuda, who is coincidentally
Yoko's father, and a great archaeologist. With him is Claire Andrews,
who assists him by running faster and having a lower base attack. Together
they explore the ruins sitting below a town constructed by the same
retards who designed every arena in the game.
the RPG mode plays like regular Ehrgeiz, except for the fact your two
characters have no special moves on their own. You run about the dungeon,
fighting lizard men, lizards, dinosaurs, alligators, and occasionally
mammals as well. You are also free to jump in the well and get killed
by an octopus immediately. You level up as you kill things, which makes
the price you pay to save your game skyrocket. Yes, you're free to save
anywhere you like, so long as you pay an exorbinant amount to the invisible
quest mode is light on plot, and heavy on power-leveling and exploration,
not unlike the American concept of console role-playing games. Not suprisingly,
having to kill enemies at random until you have the 120 gil to save
your game REALLY detracts from the enjoyment factor. Especially since
most enemies don't even drop cash.
there's the matter of the shutter traps in the dungeon. As thrilling
as the idea of one wrong step locking you in a room with rapidly respawning
foes may sound, it isn't. Especially once you get about six floors down
and you are suddenly overwhelmed and killed by a gang of FLOWERS.
game should be popular with dieticians, however. This is one of those
games where they employ the aggravating device of having a contantly-decreasing
'food meter.' Once that depletes, your actual HP starts ticking away.
So you have to occupy precious inventory space with various food tiems.
But that's not all! You also need to keep track of what sort of nutrients
you intake so that your stats increase the way you want them to.
the end, Ehrgeiz is a pretty disappointing title for Squaresoft. They've
proven themselves to be adept at epic RPGs with gorgeous cinemas and
convoluted storylines. They even made a Mario game with a rounded plot.
But fighting just wasn't their forte. That didn't stop them from making
The Bouncer, but they seem to have more or less accepted it. Ehrgeiz
is a passable party game, or worth having around for the novelty of
the FF appearances, but don't go expecting something to replace SF/KOF
or even Tekken.