Bloody Roar 4 Impressions

Hudson and Konami bring out a new entry in the animal themed fighter.

At a press event today in San Francisco, Konami showed off Bloody Roar 4, the latest entry in Hudson's animal-based fighting franchise that first started on the PlayStation. The game brings back most of the fighters from the previous games, improves the graphics, and refines the fighting mechanics. We had the chance to try out an incomplete version of the game to see how it's coming together.

Fans of the series will recognize quite a few familiar faces in the game's roster. The bulk of the fighter's from previous entries return although it appears that Ganesh is MIA. Fortunately three new fighters have been added to the mix, Reiji the crow, Nagi the spurious, and Ryoho and Mana, a monk and young girl that fight together.

The game features familiar modes such as arcade, versus, time attack, training, sparring, survival, com battle, as well as a new career mode. Career will let you customize any fighter you like with DNA you'll earn by taking on missions. You'll use the DNA to equip a host of varied abilities onto the fighter of your choice to create a brawler with the exact skills of your choosing. You'll find over a dozen ability categories to mix and match on a fighter which offers a broad number of possibilities. Once you've created your uber-fighter you'll be able to save them to a memory card and import them into a friend's game to find out who the best fighter maker is.

The core mechanics of Bloody Roar 4 are still basically the same. Each fighters moves will be performed through a combination of the punch, guard, kick, and beast buttons. The beast button will also allow you to transform into your fighter's beast form which opens up a new set of combo and move options. However there have been a few tweaks to the system which change the dynamics of a battle a bit. Your beast gauge, which fills during a battle and can be used to transform into your beast form, can now be used as a form of life insurance. If your gauge is full when your health bar is depleted your character will automatically morph into beast form. The beast meter will then act as a second life meter during combat.

The graphics in the game have been improved a touch, although the version of the game we played was still a work in progress. The most noticeable addition to the visuals is blood, which finally makes an appearance in the franchise. The character models feature nice bits of detail although they retain the slightly stiff animation from previous entries in the franchise. You'll find eleven arenas in the game that feature the same bi-level layouts with destructible elements as the arenas seen in Bloody Roar 3. The audio in the game features the same mix of voice and rock tunes that are now signature elements in the franchise.

Bloody Roar 4 is currently slated to ship this November for the PlayStation 2. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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