TOKYO--Video game publisher Ecole has begun beta-testing a new 2D fighting game for the Sega Naomi platform titled Melty Blood: Act Cadenza. By coincidence, one of the Tokyo testing locations is the same arcade where Sammy is beta-testing its new 3D fighting game Kenju, unintentionally creating a competition between the two upcoming arcade games for an audience.
A programmer's group called Watanabe Seisakujo originally developed and released Melty Blood for the PC, meaning that this will be one of the rare cases that a PC game is ported to the arcade instead of the other way around. At its current stage of development, the Naomi version of Melty Blood looks and plays identically to the latest PC edition of the game.
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza plays as an orthodox 2D fighting game, and players use combos, aerial attacks, and other moves to fight against each other. The game is played with the joystick and four buttons: Three correspond to different attacks, while the fourth is for parrying. The parry command can also be used to pull out a dodge attack or to execute a bonus counterattack that can be done after deflecting an opponent's move.
A super move called the EX attack uses one-third of the power meter located at the bottom of the screen, which is replenished by attacking the opponent. When the power meter becomes full, the character turns blue and enters a limited-time "blood heat mode" with increased character abilities and a super attack called the "Ark Drive." The player can also manually enter a shorter blood heat mode without a full power meter. Unlike in the PC version, in Melty Blood: Act Cadenza the character's life meter does not recover during the blood heat mode.
The characters in Melty Blood: Act Cadenza are mostly female. Ten characters were playable during the beta test (three male, seven female), with four to six unavailable characters visible in the character select screen. The characters available for play during the beta test were Shiki, the game's knife-wielding hero; Akiha, Shiki's younger flamethrowing sister; Arcueid, a blond vampire princess who fights hand-to-hand; Ciel, a long-knife-wielding immortal nun; Shion, a rope- and gunslinging alchemist; Kohaku, a traditional Japanese maid who hides a sword in a broomstick; Kohaku's twin sister, Hisui, a household-item-brandishing English maid; Miyako, a small kung-fu-fighting girl; Walachia, a male vampire who fights using his cape and long nails; and Nero, a beast-summoning man in a trench coat.
As expected during beta testing, Melty Blood: Act Cadenza has a number of bugs, such as sluggish character reactions and slowdowns during graphically intensive moves. The original Melty Blood had a number of game balance issues, such as infinite combos, and Ecole has been making many adjustments on its way to releasing the game into the arcade market. The large crowd of gamers who gathered around Melty Blood's beta test in both Tokyo arcade locations shows the anticipation for the game's release.
The original Melty Blood by Watanabe Seisakujo gained wide recognition from Japanese players, despite the fact that the game was created at a fan-based level and was never released through mainstream retailers. The game's background story and characters are based on a popular novel-style PC adventure game called Tsukihime.
Melty Blood was created in cooperation with Tsukihimes developer, Type-Moon. Like Act Cadenza developer Wanatabe Seisakujo, Type-Moon was an amateur game development group until it became a professional studio in late 2003. Both Melty Blood and Tsukihime were sold through Doujin (fan-created) events and stores located throughout Japan. Massive in comparison to the market in North America, the fan-created market in Japan is widely recognized by the public as a source of quality games. In addition to being released as a fighting Game, Tsukihime also became a TV anime series, and a manga based on the title is currently in release.