Badguys Finish First

Guilty Gear Isuka

I enjoyed the hell out of Guilty Gear XX, and Isuka is largely the same deal. Check out the XX article if you want the nitpicky details of the basic system and all.

First, I want to say this is as close to a 'news' piece as I've done thus far, having pretty much specialized in digging up games rightfully lost to time and memory. I'm actually writing this before the game came out without the aid or hindrance of time travel! (Muchas gracias to my friend for getting a copy of the review disc.)

I'm not sure if Isuka is following the timeline, exactly- there are a couple new faces but no story mode to flesh them out. A.B.A. is a bandaged experimental shut-in who lugs around an oversized enchanted key/axe, and the final boss is... just weird. And cheap, but anyone who faced I-No's Megalomania in XX (or really, any final boss in any fighting game ever) could guess that. Also added to the mix is an even weirder new Robo-Ky who you can customize by 'buying' new moves. Robo-Ky II has an awesome intro, though- he appears as three Getter-style mini planes that drops from the top of the screen and combine as he delivers a lengthy introduction at high speed.

But the new characters aren't the biggest change. Not in the least. You have to be wondering- just HOW does that four player system hold up?

It's kind of aggravating.

To accomodate four players at once, some tweaks were made to the basic system... for one, the trademark Instant Kills are banished to the land of wind and ghosts. Honestly, I don't miss them all that much since they were a pain to set up and missing with one cost you your Tension gauge for the rest of the match. But that might be a downer to some of you out there, I guess. Plus it kind of spoils my fantasy of using Axl to trap and kill everyone at once. It forces you into an even more frantic and chaotic match than ever. Second, since the stage IS only so wide, a second plane (like Fatal Fury) has been introduced. You're in no way limited to spend the whole match in one line or the other or go two on two, though having all four of them crammed on one plane pretty much guarantees you're going to whack your teammate by accident, assuming you are playing on a team.

With so many potential targets hopping around, they decided to add what may be the worst part of Guilty Gear Isuka: The "Turn" button. You no longer face your opponent automatically when they jump over you. So you have to keep hitting R1 to face them. That doesn't sound so bad at first, until you face someone like Faust or Slayer who likes to teleport like crazy then smack you upside the head. The evil turn button also is used for line changes, though the timing on the shift seems a little touchy.

The turn button also manages to make a pain of itself in the other new mode, the Final Fightlike GG Boost. In this mode, you run through a series of stages beating up clone thugs, with extra little guidelines for fun ("DEFEAT CERTAIN OF ENEMY WITHIN 60 SECONDS" [Yeah, the translation still needs some work.]) It's pretty fun using your signature moves to kick the crap out of six guys at once, but once you get so far it's pretty much the same thing over and over- and each stage ends with a rage enducing Robo-Ky II battle where the timer ticks down and his health ticks back up. How does the turn button mess that up? Because in this mode when you're pressing a direction and R1, you dash that way instead of turn. There were way too many times when I found myself rocketing into a crowd of razor-nailed beauticians and Tekken clones when I meant to simply turn around and deal out Tension-fueled pain. Speaking of which, having May and Sol pound the enemy with Tyrant Raves and Mr. Whales makes for excellent crowd control.

Unfortunately, I gotta say that Isuka has enough quirks and flaws that I'd probably reccomend most people try to find XX first, or stick with it if they got it. Isuka's a good companion to it, but doesn't have all that much to offer someone new to the series or a casual fighter. ("Arcade" mode in this is actually "Survival" from XX with a different end boss.) Still, nice effort. Maybe with some fine tuning they can revamp the 4-player system by the time GG XXX comes out.



ABA's kinda cool, in a 'Bride of Frankenstein' kind of way.

Robo-Ky copying Eddie's capture thingy. Or maybe one of Venom's moves. I forget which.

The Robo-Ky scientist tantalizingly shakes his bottom as you flip through the menus.