3/2 Fatal Fury The Movie The Game?

     If I was sure Gowcaizer was a parody of traditional superheroes as I hope it was meant to be, I could be a lot more forgiving. However, as far as I'm concerned, parody shouldn't be so easy to make fun of. For instance, in Mystery Science Theater, you can't make fun of the cheap sets without looking like a dumbass because it's supposed to look fake.

     Voltage Fighter(s) Gowcaizer is a fighting game for the Neo Geo. I probably could have saved 13 letters and two spaces by just saying 'Gowcaizer is for the Neo Geo,' but there's a sizable chunk of the population who just remember the Neo Geo as a vague, fuzzy, expensive memory. I never actually met a person who owned one. It seemed mostly like one of those made up arcade games of my youth that game magazines and other kids would make up to sound important.

     "Sure, Sonic on the Genesis is great, but the Narcissus version is so much better. It has uh, raster graphics and... surround sound."

     "So... uh... Street Fighter II Nitro is still the sweetest!"


     For the longest time people thought I made up Ninja Kids, but it was seriously one of those situations where it was sitting in the grocery store next to Mortal Kombat (or Simpsons, I forget which) and was hauled out by the time I got a friend down to see it. I'd like to thank MAME once more for the opportunity to rub someone's nose in it.

     Before we begin, I must call attention to the fact this game was made single-handedly by Masami Obari, out of mostly his saliva and other less savory bodily leakings. He is probably best known for his work on the Fatal Fury anime, specifically how he turned Mai Shiranai into basically a breast-delivery system. He sure can direct a fight scene, but let this guy near art supplies and he'll draw about thirty skinny women with bustlines measured in meters.

     The story, as if fighting games actually needed or adhered to them, involves Tokyo being destroyed by a giant earthquake in the year 1999. Lavos awakens, and the Macross space fortress slams into him, triggering an instant Bleak Future for spiky haired teens to jetbike around on. A chosen few move onto an artificial, computer-run island which is basically an enormous college. A sentence from some promotional site describes the situation well:

"For some reason, unspeakable acts of evil have become increasingly common on this artificial island, in spite of the fact that it is supposed to be under the complete control of the central computer."

     Yes, 'unspeakable evil.' The scope of this is that there are more mad scientists and supervillains wandering around, but virtually no Final Fight thugs or Robocop extras. It's an all-or-nothing crime utopia on the little island. Personally, I think it sounds pretty nice. Get mugged and life'll suck for days. But if Professor Exposed Cranium completes WEAPON Z, you'll get vaporized very very quickly. Into the scene step somewhere between seven and eighty costumed do-gooders to make the streets safe again for youth gangs and petty criminals.

     The whole situation is soon overshadowed by the subplot of the old man chasing the donkey in the Great Wall of China level. Will he ever catch that darn donkey?

     Gowcaizer is the (main; there are a lot of heroes) hero and he gets his power from the Kaizer Stone. And his secret name is Isato Kaiza. He may not have his name on as many things, or even be able to spell it as consistently as Batman, but at least his molded-plastic bodysuit doesn't have little nipples on it. It does, however, make him look like he's trying to cosplay as Galaxy Fraulein Yuna or maybe the girl from the Guardian Legend. Another odd fact is that he's the Burning Hero Gowcaizer, not the Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer. He does seem like the sort of person who would repeatedly electrocute themselves with a wall outlet.

     Gowcaizer's neglected but very bouncy girlfriend Karin seems to have stolen her mystic powers from the Dragonball Z prop department. She can summon and ride a little cloud, jiggle, and fight with an extendable iron power-pole. Most notably, though, she can jiggle and create little tiny jiggly copies of herself. They may not seem very useful at all, as the adorable Barbie-sized/proportioned copy whacks your ankle, then the next thing you know you're on your back listening to her victory speech. Which, as befits an SNK-affiliated game, usually is along the lines of "NICE MUSCLES! POSE, POSE!" She also makes fun of the lazy job the sound effects programmers did by summoning a cloud that makes the same sound effect as a hard punch. Must be some really hard water vapor or something.

      Kyosuke is your garden-variety 'cool guy with magic.' Dressed in all white, wielding a wooden sword and a jagged hairstyle, he's either trying to impersonate KoF's Iori or Michael Jackson. When questioned about this by a reporter, he burned her alive with his shadow and summoned a babboon made entirely out of blue flames. Also, in the Gowcaizer anime (Of course it's directed by Obari!) he had a large-chested assistant. I never saw the OAV, but if they go out of their way to point out she's 'well-endowed' in an Obari film, she was probably cut from the game because of severe back problems.

     Meanwhile, this guy chases the donkey. Actually, I think he looks more Cuban than Chinese.

     Shaia has a complex background negated almost immediately by her bouncy appearance (painstakingly rendered in the opening FMV, no less) and mid-game full-frontal nude transformation scene. I am utterly clueless as to whether she was supposed to be a space policewoman who wanted to become an idol singer, or an idol singer who wanted to become a galaxy policewoman. She seems to have both, as she has a school gym full of cheering fans, a stage with a wall of TV's that show her picture from every possible angle, and a small arsenal concealed in her frilly little outfit. She can't actually fight or anything, so she has a little robot named Ballboy who hits things and goes on little adventures that teach kids to tie their shoes and be kind to the elderly. He later went on to be mass produced by Tyco or given a sitcom. I forget which.

     I really don't know what to say about this green insect robot thing, besides the fact it's named Marion. Shenlong is an old Chinese man who knows karate, and Hellstinger is a gay punk rocker. Fudomaru rounds out this group of characters noone would use in a million years with his painful-to-watch attempts to be Japanese. Especially when he offers to teach you "REAL NINJA TECHNIQUES! AS SEEN ON TV!!"

     Brider! The coolest fighter in the game! He's a blatant ripoff of Ultraman and his extended family, but he resembles the cyborg bug warrior Masked Rider more than anything else, right down to his cries of "Brider Kick!" His gimmick is that he really, REALLY wants to impress Amelia from Slayers, so he constantly cries out the word 'Justice!' whenever it's least appropriate. And who can forget his loveable catchphrase, that has endeared him to millions of fans of all ages:


     Sadly, Amelia wouldn't return his calls and threatened legal action. The Transforming Hero Brider is currently under a restraining order that mandates he and his little red twin must stay at least three VHS cassettes away from any Slayers series. Which, given the fact nobody actually bought the Gowcaizer tapes, and Brider isn't even in them, isn't exactly the harshest of punishments.

     ...There he goes again.

     Going to the far opposite end of the scale, Captain Atlantis is a towering example of everything that can go wrong with a Y chromosome. Even my dad had to comment, "That is one gay pose he's got there" on his victory stance. There is one thing that makes him more enjoyable to play with than say, Captain Novolin, and that is the fact every time you hit him, you're rewarded with an incredibly wussy, "Oh no!" That's not the worst of it. The background of his level features a billboard touting the forthcoming Captain Atlantis: The Movie. He also has body builders, two conjoined midgets, and an 8-bit girl rooting for him.

     Oh, will he ever catch that donkey? Ha ha ha!



The Bosses of Gowcaizer

Pushing the bondaries of sanity and good taste even further, meet the Platonic Twins. They were originally called the Incestuous Twins, but SNK finally put their foot down and gave Masami Obari the slapping he so deserved. Basically, they appear about four matches in to deliver a cryptic threat, then appear again after you've beaten the crap out of everyone else. They fuse into one enormous hermaphroditic... thing which will invariably kill you. The amount of time it takes him/her to do it varies.

But dear god, these two creep me out.

Ohga is the odd, unthreatening final boss. That is, until you actually fight him and he turns into a raging hellbeast and makes shorter work of you than that cheap-ass Kazuma.

He is pretty polite, though. He always waits for your transformation scene to end before he does his, or maybe he didn't want to miss seeing Shaia's perfectly featureless nudity.

You may also remember him as half the characters in Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture.

     And... somewhere in the world, someone chases... a donkey.