Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Night FIghts: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure


Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: PS2 / DC / Arc 


Year 1998


There's a good reason why you lost..... you pissed me off!!

I only have but a few favorites when it comes to manga, and one of them happens to be Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Now I discovered the series through friends, and loved it and eventually on a mall run we wound up stumbling upon a copy of the capcom fighter. I enjoyed the game so much that I wound up searching through Ebay years later for a copy of my own. Jojo's is a little different from most fighters because instead of being the standard brawler or weapons fighter the characters use spiritual based avatars called "Stands" to defend and attack in addition to punches and kicks. but let's not get ahead of ourselves....





The Devil in the details....

Despite being a Capcom title, the controls are entirely different than the standard street fighter configuration. The attacks are basically low mid and heavy attacks on the square, triangle, or Circle buttons, with X being reserved for Stand summoning. Once the stands are out, they can be utilized for any of the bizzarre attacks and maneuvers that are associated with specific characters. The Stands aren't invunerable, though. They have their own bars underneath the character lifebars and can be disabled once the bars are depleted. This is something kind of like a guard crush that can used to quickly turn the tide and buy you some time to gain the upper hand.

Here's the breakdown of stand use in battle
(NOTE: this is from the actual game manual)

Normal Mode 

- you can control your character while youre character's stand is performing a special move

- All characters can perform a backlash move.

- You can allow your stand gague to recover (switch to normal mode when your stand gague gets low in stand mode, below.)



Stand Mode

- You can perform a chain combo by pressing light, medium, and Heavy attac buttons in order.

-Your attacks do more damage
(XXSP: Jotaro, Dio, Chaca, Kan, and Avdol/Abdul are beasts in stand mode)

- You can use your character's special ability such as Double Jumping

- Only Joseph can perform a backlash move
(XXSP: since his stand isn't an entity so much as a weapon assist)

- As you block or get attacked your Stand Gauge runs out, your stand will disappear and your block will be broken. switch to Normal Mode to allow your stand gague to recover (XXSP: told ya)


The left shoulders are used for safe falls and combination med and heavy attacks, while the R1 button is used for dash / evade moves as well as the advancing block which is a block move that pushes your opponent away from you (A similar technique is used by Dan in Alpha 3). You can also block attacks in the air, which helps alot considering there are a lot of arial based attacks in this game. In addition to defense you can perform a backlash attack by pressing all three attack buttons. Throws in this game are pretty Capcom standard. you just press towards or away when you're in close and use the heavy attack button. Guard Cancels are also possible in the game by making a quarter circle motion and hitting attack once a move is blocked.



Tandem attacks are basically custom combos that take up one level of your super gage stock in order to use. Once activated you have a limited period of time to program various attacks into your program attack which will proceed to chain various moves. The Speed of the character increases once this is done, but I wouldn't reccomending using this in the middle of a battle unless you've gained some proper understanding of how the mode works.

Some of the coolest aspects of the engine are based on the actual manga itself like the ora ora battles, which take place when two stands collide using a similar multi hit attack. the result is a clash sequence where you have to continue tapping the punch button in order to overpower your opponent. A few characters are capible of pulling it off, so it's best to try it out with everyone to fiugre out what works and what doesn't. Another mode added for it's dramaticism and is very much from the manga is the "World battle" which is only available to two characters. In the manga, Dio has this ability that the other characters are trying to figure out before they confront him. (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!) The ability itself is to stop time, and eventually it's discovered that Jotaro's Star Platinum has a similar ability due to it's incredible speed and accuracy. (/SPOILER ALERT) Much like the manga and anime you can utilize the same ability these characters have in order to re-enact the final battle with impressive results.

of course there are major differences between the Playstation and Dreamcast versions; the latter being a direct arcade port, while the former sports a couple of interesting features: A Super Story mode that recaps the exciting moments from the Manga, mini games, and unlockable characters, as well as a Taro reading mode that features Avdol telling the player's future. This is one of the things I rather enjoyed about the Playstation; Their version despite the horrible load times got tons of special features over other versions and that increased their overall value. But i'm digressing..

Who Wants some? 

Jojo's has an impressive roster of friends and foes for you to beat up on. Sixteen in total with Two special characters, and two unlockable characters Here's the breakdown as follows

Heroes 

- Jotaro / Star Platinum - Standard shoto moveset, but un-shoto like moves. QCF is Ora ora, which is a staple of good Jotaro players, and the dragon punch move is set to star finger, which pulls your opponent in close to set up an ora ora, Jotaro hits hard and Star Platinum hits harder and faster!!

- Joseph / Hermit purple - Uses a purple vine-like stand for long distance attacks and grabs. He also uses Harmon energy (The Ripple for you old school Jojo fans) for counters, which he learned previous to this story arc.

- Noriyki Kakyoin / Heirophant Green - His Stand is fast and utilizes traps to snare sleepy opponents. Other than that he seems to be the suave character that bleeds cool. kind of a pretty boy.

- Jean Paul Polanereff / Silver Chariot - Silver Chariot can move freely and use arial and projectile based attacks. He's fast and a good Polanareff player can zone any opponent using his varied attacks

(XXSP: quick side note ; Polanereff seems to be the template for the design of KOF favorite Benimaru Nikaido. Additionally Benimaru's moveset is based off of another manga and anime fave, Hurricane Polymar. In addition to that He, Kyo Kusanagi and Goro Daimon are based off on the three main characters from Getter Robo .. yes , now you know, and knowing is half the battle.)

- Mohammmed Avdol (Abdul) / Magician's Red - Another shoto bsed moveset, but this is closer to Ryu and Ken proper. Magician can use fireballs and a shoryuken move to counter and zone jump-happy players with ease.

- Iggy / The Fool - The Fool rules the skies with a strange glider based attack while Iggy being a dog is immune to upper and some midrange attacks. (For some reason the phrase "From the waist down, you're mine!!" just popped into my head)



Villains 

- Petshop / Horus - This falcon is a effing monster. He uses ice based attacks and his overall speed in order to dominate the screen.

- Maharahia / Bast - Be very careful dealing with her she has a beautiful setup; leaving what looks to be electrical outlets floating around the stage to magnetize her foes so she can throw various metalic objects at them.

- Hol Horse / Emperor - A gun toting cowboy who has bullets that can travel wherever he wants. He teams up with the hanged man to perform some creepy capture supers as well.

- Chaka / Anubis - A crazy swordsman with a posessed sword that controls him. His moves are beastly, and he has counter abilties. Deadly combination!!

- Alessy / Sethan - He likes to use his stand to revert people into children then he proceeds to beat them up. John Walsh and Chris Hansen would definitely have something to say to this creeper.

- Midler / High Priestess - Her stand has a hard defense, and her supers can juggle the fudge out of you, if you're not careful.

- D'bo (Devo) / Ebony Devil -  One of the creepiest characters to grace fighters. his intro has him sliding out of a mini fridge and he keeps a knife wielding ventriloquist's dummy as a host for his stand. Pred status!! His specialty is attacks from behind (why am i not surprised?)

- Iced (Vanilla Ice) / Cream - One suspects that Capcom feared lawsuit from mr Temper tantrum, himself.)  Mid Boss character. Warp abilities, and the only character that can merge with his stand by being devoured by it.

- Dio Brando / The World(o)!! (WRYYYYYYYYYY!!) - Fast like Jotaro, high damage supers and Boss priority fullscreen moves. Deadly if you don't stay on him.

Special Characters

- Jojo (young Joseph) - Due to Alessy's inability to revert him to childhood Joseph Jostar reverts to his seventeen year old self and utilizes some of the awesome powers he had in the second Jojo arc.

- Black Polenareff - Accidentally grabbing the Anubis sword Polanereff can now use sword based attacks along side Silver Chariot which makes him twice as dangerous.

- Shadow Dio - This is the version of Dio that the characters encounter previous to the showdown in Cairo. His stand is a mystery, and his attacks are very stealthy, and the world cannot be summoned directly.


Unlockable Characters


- Hol Horse and Voing (Boingo) - Hol Horse tries one more time to take out the Jostars and their friends using the surviving half of the brothers, Oing and Voing (Oingo Boingo) to even the odds.

- Kan / Anubis - The second Anubis wielder. Not as wild as Chaka, but he is pretty formidable.

- Rubber Soul / Yellow Temperance - This character pretends to be Kakoyin to confuse and ambush Jotaro. his moveset is limited to Kakoyin's.

- New Kakoyin / Heirphant Green - Hey it's Kakoyin with shades on. He wears his sunglasses at night so he can, so he can....look cool? I don't know. In the Manga his eyes were severly damaged by Empress, and he had to spend time recouperating. He shows up just in time (as cool as ever)

How Bizarre...

The game's visuals are pretty stylized due to their comic origins. The backgrounds are incredibly dynamic, being done in panoramic fashion with some being in a slight fish eye lens perspective. All the locales are intact from the manga, and are in full color glory. You can tell that this game was made within the point of Capcom's fighter heyday, due to the quality and amount of effort that was poured into it. The characters are animated beautifully, the feel of the game ties into the strangeness and mystique of the manga. Some of the supers are just mindblowingly awesome, like Hol Horse's destroying the glass of our televisions with his gunfire to create reflective surfaces for the hanged man to travel through, or Chaka cutting the background in half along with the characters. In addition to the supers, if you defeat any character with a super combo, you're treated to this awesome background shot of their battered faces writhing in agony across the screen, which is a really nice touch to add to the impact of seeng your opponent get beaten within an inch of his or her life.

Any Surprises?

In the Playstation version of the game characters and additional modes can be unlocked by filling the jojo ability gague in the menu. In order to do that you have to finish super story mode with most if not all of your story seqences at C grade or higher (A's and S's usually do the trick). To do this you have to complete the segments as close to how they went in the manga as possible. This may require you to read the actual Manga,or at the very least consult sites like gamefaqs.com for information. Either way you'll get a crash course in the manga and you might just become a fan.


Player Result...

I would suggest you play the Dreamcast and Playstation versions of the game respectufully, but I'll warn you the DC version is arcade level hard even at it's normal difficulty. You can tell the game was meant to be a quarter eater and a crucible to forge you into a mean machine. The Playstation version though is meant for fans of the series, and those who want to know more about Jojo but can't get their hands on the full series. Araki puts his name on the credits so you know it's a game that's very close to the source material. Unfortunately, this is within the tail end of the Capcom arcade fighter era, and it's not likely that we're going to see many fighters like this again. But as long as we have the really awesome games of the past like this their legends will never die!

Next Month: A tale of swords and swordiness.....

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