I have finally found time to do the follow-up to my popular write-up, “Atomiswave Lineup Impressions – Part 1“. There have been quite a few developments on the Atomiswave platoform, even though it may be approaching the end of it’s lifespan.
Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star)
If you’re looking for the freshest project from the makers of the Guilty Gear series, look no further than Sega’s Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star). Gamespot’s hands-on preview of the game gives games a hint of what to expect. Much like Guilty Gear XX, the game will feature high-res sprites, but the battleling will not have quite as much airborne action.
This Fist of the North Star title features ten playable characters including Kenshiro, Shin, Raoh, Toki, and Yuda. The fighting system utilizes five buttons– weak and strong punch and kick bottons, along with a “special” move. In addition to a life gauge, your character has a North Star Seven Star Gauge. By striking your opponent with special moves, you’ll be able to bring instant death to your opponent, regardless of how much energy he has left. You also have a Boost gauge and an Aura gauge, both of which build up when you do damage or are dealt damage.
“The view of the action zooms in and out, just like in Street Fighter III or old school SNK games like Samurai Shodown. To complete this graphically intensive package, colorful and detailed manga portraits of the fighters flash on-screen when specials are executed. The big burly fighter Mr. Heart is particularly impressive, with the ground crumbling under his very step.
Mostly ruinous scenes make up the backgrounds with plenty of on-lookers cheering the fight on. While the one-on-one action looks great in motion, we did count only a repeating four-frame animation for people and objects in the background. Typical of most 2D fighters, a special attack meter lies on the bottom of the screen, this time known as a “God Fist Blow” that can unleash nasty multi-hit combos.”
Much like other 2D fighter fans, I’m anticipating this title quite a bit. I’m hoping this will see a good US console release sometime in 2006.
Metal Slug 6
While I am a big fighter fan, Metal Slug might just be my favorite SNK series. And now that SNK has branched out from their legacy system and using the new Atomiswave platform, while they game won’t look a great deal different than previous incarnations, we can expect the series to get a boost graphically in order to fulfill the creators’ imaginations. In game previews, the current graphic upgrades are mostly in the backgrounds.
Those who’ve stuck with the series for its five previous installments (and there were are some bad ones in there) have some gameplay changes to look forward to. The game now features six selectable characters, including Ralph and Clark from the Ikari Warriors series. Ralph and Clark have a couple of moves all their own, adding some variety to the game. Part six also adds the ability to stock weapons and switch between them freely.
Samurai Spirits: Tenka Ichi Kenkakuden
This month, we will finally have a Samurai Spirits (Samurai Shodown in the US) game for the Atomiswave platform. Tenkaichi Kenkyakuden is bascially a “dream match”, which means it doesn’t follow any specific storyline, therefore allowing a mix of characters that wouldn’t normally meet (As in KOF ’98). However, in order to fit the setting of the Samurai Spirits series, “Tenkaichi” is set during a matsuri festival, which leads the game into colorful backgrounds, no blood spilled and a couple of matsuri-spirited original characters.
The cast is huge: 36 characters as of now, and there is room for 4 more. They all come from the main series and only Earthquake (from SS), Chamcham, Kuroko, Sieger (from Shin SS) and Poppy (from SS Zero) miss the call as of yet. This means that along with the previously announced Wan Fû, old characters Nicotine and Gen An are back. The 3 original characters are Sugoroku, Andrew and Ochamaro. Sugoroku is a matsuri organizer reminiscent of the cast in Ie, Tatemasu! and fighting with an array of original attacks. Ochamaro is a robot filled with theatrical gimmicks. Andrew is a bishônen-type american guard with a bayonet.
To make full use of this impressive roster, Tenkaichi also allows to select one amongst six different fighting “spirits” – in a fashion similar to the numerous grooves in CvS2. Those fighting modes are based and named after each different title in the (main) series plus an original mode, and offer quite different styles of gameplay. Tenkaichi also uses the AtomisWave trademark fifth button of course.