may have been exposed to this game and not even known it. Search your
brain for the mental picture of an evil sorceress, with a closeup of
a schoolgirl miniskirt and a hand clutching a sword. Yup, that was Evil
Zone's magazine ad.
most people, that faded completely from my brain until I found a few
dozen copies of it littering the bargain rack at Meijer's. My friend
and I passed it back and forth a little, having a good laugh at the
generic title and artwork. Even though I didn't buy it then, I was already
getting a good vibe off that little green disk. It was obscure, cheesy,
and more than likely poorly produced. In short, a real gem for guys
Zone is a fighting game that tries its hardest to be anime. So hard,
in fact, it makes it seem American. But it really is Japanese. So Japanese
in fact, that Titus felt the need to change its original title ('Eretzvaju')
to something less interesting for domestic release. Transformers Armada
springs to mind too, since the crappy animation and line work made me
think it was some American-made cartoon trying feebly to ape anime style
and starring a Canadian-dubbed Mexican kid. Also, I swear one episode
had a scene of Optimus grappling with Starscream while their token non-combatant
was gripping tightly onto his thigh.
digress; there's enough in Transformers: Armada to make an entire new
article off of. (It also turns out it really was Japanese after all,
go figure.) As I said, Evil Zone is packed to the gills with 'anime'
vibes, but it doesn't work right because everyone seems to come from
a different show. And it's not just a storyline problem- I'll get into
that later- few of the characters look like they belong in the same
ring for some reason. It's just a sort of innate weirdness, like the
game was burned with really bad feng shui, or every time it loads someone
is standing behind you.
characters aren't the most awful batch to look at, but the graphics
rob the better looking ones of their charm. Long-haired characters look
fine when their hair hangs straight down, but once they're in motion
it looks like they have dozens of tiny, badly-clipped insect legs trailing
behind them. Anyone with short hair looks like one of those cosplayers
with foam hair. All the models have soft light/shadow effects that tend
look more like the side of a freight train than shading. One of the
worst-looking characters period is the wizard-in-training Al. Al is
incredibly feminine-looking, and wears huge, loose shorts and a cape.
And he's implied to be one of the main characters.
are at least fun for bystanders; they're two parts Toshinden and one
part Final Fantasy VIII. Triggering a special 'capture' attack leads
to an extended animation with dramatic amera angles, ranging from good
old super combos to one that cuts to outer space as the fighter commands
an orbiting cannon satellite to bombard the ring. It's purely flash,
though- the controls are so simple a housepet could kick your ass if
it laid across the controller the right way. All the special moves are
triggered by hitting a direction and the attack button. Notice I said
button. Singular. EZ uses a two button control scheme. Attack and Guard.
So, each character has pretty much four special attacks, two normal
ones (close and ranged) and their captures, set off by pressing/holding
down and attack. Holding the attack button down
charges up your power, and once you fill your life bar up once you get
a red crystal to use for a super.
These are usually like
doing a regular attack only holding down the attack button. Everyone
has a 'finisher' type super triggered by tapping back twice and then
attack, which gets an extended animation if used to finish off the enemy.
ultra-simple fighting style could be good or bad. On the one hand, you
can learn all the moves quickly, which would in theory lead to matches
determined by sher skill over the ability to memorize elborate key presses.
On the other, which happens to be the hand the game actually has left
after a hideous industrial accident, it means that every character is
basically the same. Everyone has a 'stun' projectile that you use to
set up a Capture. Sure some may have more close range attacks, or invisible
dashes, but in the end it's all the same crap. Which brings up the next
game has tons of extras to be unlocked. Extra costumes, voice gallery,
a comprehensive encyclopedia of character and game information, and
even an option to swap the announcer's voice for your favorite character's.
Too bad they couldn't put this sort of bonus into a King of Fighters
or Street Fighter title, or any other game with replay value. Unlocking
everything in Evil Zone is a test of patience like few other things.
You have to beat every story mode, every arcade mode, AND play about
ten vs. mode mirror matches per character. That adds up to around a
hundred matches. That's valuable Real Bout Fatal Fury time it cuts into,
and I somehow spent a depressing amount of time actually unlocking most
of the junk. I gave up halfway through the voice galleries.
story mode is the summit of campy hilarity. Each character's story plays
out like a series of anime episodes, complete with 'next episode' bumpers.
Unfortunately, in spite of having opening animation and character designs
farmed out by anime studio AIC, most of the interaction scenes are just
the same crappy CG models. The most noteworthy stories I can think of
include Danzaiver, who looks, sounds, and tastes just like a VR Trooper;
and Keiya, the dark sorcerer whose segments are told almost in the style
of a radio talk show.
of the storylines do ultimately converge, though not exactly as well
as one would hope. All the characters have been summoned from their
respective lives and dimensions to battle Ihadurca (pronounced EE-HAW-DOH-KAH.)
I'm a bit sketchy as to just why she's considered ultimate evil and
sealed away in the Evil Zone by the people of Happy Island. Yes, HAPPY
ISLAND, and EVIL ZONE. Her power is described as the ability to appear
in multiple place at once, which doesn't really seem all that evil.
It's like a bunch of people just got together and said, "HOW DARE
YOU BILOCATE, WICKED WITCH!!"
haven't even touched on the wonderfully horrible voice acting yet! The
bounty hunter Gally "Vanish/Banish" Gregman chortles the following
in one of his winposes: "I love my missile-launching technique.
Heh heh hehhh." Say that out loud in the most suggestive manner
possible. Danzaiver's guarding voice bite is him repeating over and
over "I'm not easy!" Every character's vocabulary is just
jam-packed with deliciously corny sayings:
- "I want
to drink the coffee that Yuri makes."
make fun of me- I'm Midori!!"
no, no!" (repeated ad nauseum)
ultra-death attack! Karin... you're too much!"
What are you looking at?" (girl in slutty armor's modest moment)
so much more. If you love basking in the cheesey afterglow of a really
bad anime or B-movie, I strongly reccomend getting a copy of this game.
Yes, you heard right- after spending all this time yammering about how
awful it is, I'm actually reccomending others to run out and buy it.
It's like the Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster of PSX fighting games. It's
sheer cheese, diced and served over a half-baked concept.
"We're all gonna die
anyway, so let's blow our minds!!"
-twerp from Godzilla vs. Smog Monster