To say that Guilty Gear is a very strange fighting game series with very strange lore and very strange characters with very strange moves in a very strange setting is like pointing out that there’s sand at the beach, but as weird and wacky as the Guilty Gear games are, some of its’ various elements, music, gameplay, moves and characters are odd but also oddly beautiful and fascinating. One such group that falls into the latter category for me are the Jellyfish Pirates.
This wild ‘n’ woolly band of air pirates (’cause sailing the sea is sooooo last year!), led by the charming and charismatic pirate king Johnny…
Traverse the skies in their fish-shaped airship, doing the Robin Hood thing: robbing from the rich, giving to the poor…
There are two interesting things to note about the Jellyfish Pirates: One, that each crew member is named after the month of the year that they joined (that plus the name ‘Jellyfish Pirates’ is very Japanese, and I love it), and two, aside from their captain Johnny…
But who are all of these not-so-irate pirates, anyway?
Janus – She’s a cat. A black cat, in a red pirate’s hat, who’s a member of a pirate crew. I told you this game was weird.
Febby – Wears a pink hat and does the laundry.
March – The youngest member of the crew, with pink hair covering one eye. She’s kind of an adorable li’l hot mess: when she first joined the crew, she couldn’t even speak, and loves to see people getting tortured. She goes around barefooted and is rarely seen without her penguin plushie. Her role is Communications, somehow.
April – May’s adoptive sister and best friend. Acts as the ship’s Navigator. Now with glasses!
May – The spunky First Mate and the only Jellyfish Pirate who’s a playable character (technically 1 of 2, but we’ll get to that). She’s young looking and never seems to age, despite the game series spanning across years. Utterly devoted to her captain Johnny, and she’d like to get closer to him in more ways than one. (It’s just a crush. Clean up your minds!) She fights with an anchor and can summon dolphins!
June – Purple hair, pink hat. In charge of Deck Management.
July – Combatant. Rocks an eye-patch. She’s also very well-endowed, wears short-shorts and a top which exposes her stomach. (Bom-Chicka-Wow-Wow!)
Augus – Another Combatant. Brown skin, white hair, purple hat, white top, gold rings. Along with July, rocks the sexy.
September – Medic. Blue hat, brown hair, white shirt, but with an apron in front. We only ever see her smiling with her eyes shut, so her eye color is anyone’s guess.
Octy – The Lookout. Has excellent eyesight, despite her eyes perpetually being covered by her green bangs.
Novel – Mechanic. Red hat, white shirt, yellow tie. Sports goggles on her hat.
Leap – The Chef and Administrative Director. Unlike the other Jellyfish Pirates members, she is much older than the rest of the crew. She is the chef of the group and a maternal figure to them, with them referring to her as “Auntie Leap”. While she isn’t named after a specific month like the other Jellyfish Pirate members, her name comes from a leap year.
Side Bar: This is weird to admit, but I freaking love Leap’s design. Her plump, round, dumpling shape contrasts beautifully with the more svelte and slender looks of the younger pirates. Like the other Jellyfish Pirates members, she joins May in her in-game battle pose and her Instant Kill. She is also featured alongside May in her outro in Guilty Gear Xrd and -Strive-. She is the one who causes the final blow due her weight and size, and I love that. Apart from Leap and Granny of the Looney Tunes from Space Jam: A New Legacy, I seem to be bombarded and mesmerized by little old lady characters lately. Is that weird?
End Side Bar.
Now you may have noticed that I didn’t list a December Pirate; well, they had one for a time, but she’s…not around much these days. No longer with the crew is their Administrative Coordinator Dizzy, the only other playable Jellyfish Pirate character.
Dizzy’s been…elsewhere occupied after her momentary stint with the Pirates, and given that she’s an insanely powerful half-Gear with a tail and sapient shapeshifting wings, Necro and Undine, and has more baggage than L.A. Airport, that’s probably for the best.
In the wake of the release of Sonic Mania, today’s Videots visits the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.
Though I’m not a gamer, I’m quite fond of the Sonic mythos and aesthetics. Who knew that a game series about a blue cartoon hedgehog in sneakers who runs really fast while thwarting the schemes of an egg-shaped mad scientist who builds crazy robots and tech to try and take over the alien planet they all live on with other anthropomorphic animals could be so compelling?
Plus, in season #2 of the Saturday morning cartoon, the producers added dragons to the mythos. Freaking DRAGONS. Dragons are now a thing in the Sonicverse. The addition of dragons automatically makes things cooler. There should be dragons. There just should.
The Sonic games have given us tons of cool, amazing looking stages, levels and arenas and some seriously kick-ass background tunes, and that’s what we’ll be looking at today. Today, Videots presents my Six Favorite Sonic Zones.
-I’ll level with you guys: compiling this list wasn’t easy. I like A LOT of the various stages and music from the Sonic games; some I preferred the look of the stages themselves (EX: Angel Island Zone, Ice Cap Zone, Labyrinth Zone) and a lot I liked primarily for the music (Metropolis Zone, Lava Reef Zone, Mystic Cave Zone, Scrap Brain Zone, Oil Ocean Zone, Sandopolis Zone), but if I listed every Zone that I like here, I’d end up typing something the length of the Encyclopedia Brittania, and….
…Also, I wanted to keep the video embeds to a minimum; these days we try not to go crazy with the embeds here since YouTube has the annoying tendency to take them down at inopportune moments, so, while it was hard, I narrowed it down to only 6, all of which I liked the visuals and the music equally. Now the usual preliminaries: I know other folks will have their own personal favorites, and that’s cool, heck, these aren’t even all of my favorite Zones, but I didn’t want to make this list too long for reasons aforementioned. Finally, all together now: these aren’t in any particular number, so I won’t be numbering them. That said:
JUICE AND JAM TIME!
STARDUST SPEEDWAY ZONE
Stardust Speedway is the sixth round in Sonic the Hedgehog CD. It is best known as the place where Sonic the Hedgehog raced and defeated Metal Sonic. One of the fastest levels in Sonic history, Stardust Speedway is a highway adorned with musical instruments above an enormous city; like its namesake implies, the city glows with many lights. A statue of Dr. Robotnik can be seen undergoing construction in Zone 2, with girders and incomplete sections. This stage is freaking gorgeous, and the music has that cool Japanese sound to it. Post Mario Kart, I’m partial to racing levels with a night sky and tons of bright lights.
“Evening, sir! Would you like an extinguisher to put out the fires on your sneakers?”
Frog Forest is the ninth stage in Sonic Heroes. The stage is played differently for each team. In the level, there are Giant Frogs which can be found. They have the power to create rain and make plants grow faster, allowing teams to progress through the level. During Team Rose’s version of Frog Forest, Big the Cat mentions that Froggy comes from the Frog Forest. This fact is backed up by the fact that the frogs here are very similar to Froggy, but much larger.
Frogs aren’t my favorite things, but I do like pristine green forest stages, plus this level’s music is totally psychedelic.
“Nature is totally natural, man! Rib-Bit!”
CASINO NIGHT ZONE & CARNIVAL NIGHT ZONE
I decided to list these 2 levels together since they’re sort of similar.
Casino Night is is the second Stage in the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations. It represents Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in the Classic era of the game. Classic Sonic’s stage features the slot machines from the original level while Modern Sonic’s stage has giant roulettes (which can award fifty or a hundred rings if you land in the Ring or Sonic logo respectively). Modern Sonic also has his own version of the slot machines, as well as some other gimmicks that were present in Casino Street Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog4:Episode I. The Classic remix adds a new baseline to the them, while the Modern remix has a distinctly Jazzy theme reminiscent of settings such as Las Vegas.
What can I say? This is just a cool stage and the music rocks. In my head I imagine this level’s music being titled “Rhinestones ‘n’ Concussions”.
“First ye charge de card, den dey charge you a fortune for drinks on de table!”
Carnival Night Zone is is the fourth Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (or Sonic the Hedgehog3 & Knuckles). It is very similar to Casino Night Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but with a carnival theme. The Zone is a playful carnival filled with balloons, pinball bumpers and cannons to launch from, although unlike Casino Night Zone, there are no slot machines. Think of Carnival Night as Mobius’ version of the later, family-friendly Vegas.
“Hoo-Hoo, kiddies! We’re sure gonna have fun tonight! My bosses pay me to say that.”
CHEMICAL PLANT ZONE
Chemical Plant Zone is the second Zone in Sonic Mania. This Zone is a re-imagination of Chemical Plant Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Mega Drive. Like the original Zone, this Zone is set in an industrialized area that contains pools of various synthetic chemicals, most prominently Mega Mack, as well as long tubes. Act 1 in particular bears a strong to the original Chemical Plant.
Act 2 on the other hand goes deeper into the plant to an indoor section, with large beakers and jars present in the background. New additions to Act 2’s setting also include gelatinous chemicals, sticky platforms and chemical bubbles.
Bouncy-Bouncy! (Call the Biohazard Department.)
“What makes this stage so cool? It’s ELEMENTAL, my dear. -You have no idea who I am, do you? I’m ELEMENT LAD from the Legion of Super Heroes. Element Lad? With the power to transmute elements? Elements?? Chemeicals?? Science?? READ A BOOK!”
Come on, you knew this one was going to make the list. Studiopolis Zone is is the third Zone in Sonic Mania. Studiopolis Zone Act 2 was the first Zone developed for Sonic Mania (which was known as Sonic Discovery back then). Back then, this Zone was presented to Takashi Iizuka of Sega to showcase the developers’ capabilities.
This Zone is set up in a high skyscraper city decorated with studio equipment, cinema elements and theater objects.
The first Act takes place in the color-filled city, whose tall skyscrapers and buildings can be spotted in the background. Along the paths are street lamps with spinning rings inside, frail shop windows filled with TV sets, giant popcorn machines, satellite dish-mounted vans, TVs, director chairs, and giant clapperboards. Dotted around the Zone are LED marquees spelling out various phrases.
In the second Act, the action moves into a large television studio-like environment. This area is dominated by images in Dr. Eggman’s likeness. Features here include stacks of monitors with Eggman’s face on them, unstable stage lights, electric cables, flappable panels that reveal words and phrases, and giant glass spheres that are designed like lottery machines. It’s basically the HQ of Eggman TV.
“Smile and look at the camera! You just got Egg’d!”
So there you go. Six of my favorite Sonic Zones.
“Favorite Zones, bro? I’m too busy blazin’ through ’em to really take notice. That’s the thing about juicin’ at maximum speed: you don’t get to see much along the way!”
More accurately, we’ll be looking at some of the background arenas from the game. From Street Fighter‘s inception, the artwork and animations for the game have gotten progressively more intricate, detailed and beautiful, and SF5 is no exception. I like to just watch the game being played so I can scope out the stages and cool stuff going on in the background (yeah, I’m that person). Today I’ll be spotlighting my favorite arenas from SF5. As is often the case with posts like this, these are just my personal favorite arenas; you may have your own choices…
And again, these aren’t in any particular order, so they won’t be numbered. That said, let’s press start.
LAIR OF THE FOUR KINGS
Located inside Shadaloo Headquarters, this stage is is an enormous dome-shaped room with various high-tech computers on both ends. In the background, a massive set of Mount Rushmore-style statues can be seen, depicting the Four Kings of Shadaloo.
These statues depict Balrog, M. Bison, Vega, and F.A.N.G (or Sagat depending on the mode), the Four Kings of Shadaloo; Bison is holding the world, positioned near the center of the area, in his hand. Closer to the foreground, there is an ongoing battle between Shadaloo forces and a group of Special Forces agents, with a ninja and spacesuit-clad Shadaloo agents chasing each other.
In F.A.N.G’s story mode fight with M. Bison, his statue is replaced with one of Sagat, since it takes place at a time when Sagat had not yet been replaced within Shadaloo.
When a character is knocked out in the right corner of the stage, the person will fall and hit the face on the hand of a M. Bison statue, which unleashes Psycho Power on the victim. When knocked on the left corner, the character hits a screen that displays data about the one that touched it. And let’s not overlook that massive drop waiting for someone to fall though it.
“Watch that first step, it’s a Lulu! Ha-ha-ha-hah-AAA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!! -Sorry, I just thought of something funny.”
HIGH ROLLER CASINO
Let it ride!
This stage, set in front of a casino owned by Shadaloo, is an awesome re-imagining of the Las Vegas stage from the Street Fighter II games. However, the changes made to the stage is the neon sign in the background that used to say “Golden Nugget: Nin-Nin Ball” was changed to “Golden Bullion: Shadaloo Ball”. Some of the other neon signs from the original version are absent. Don Sauvage and Max can be seen in the background. I like how they kept the young ladies with the top hats.
“Say, can ya lend me some scratch so I can get back on the tables? C’mon! I know I’ve lost my empire and I’ve crapped out 20 times in a row tonight, but I’m due for a hot streak! C’mon! I’ll take anything! You like pants? I’ll give ya my pants!!”
The Kanzuki Estate is Karin’s family estate (duh!) which originally appeared in the Sakura Ganbaru! manga. The stage has two settings, its day setting is called Estate at Noon.
It’s 12 in the afternoon. Time to get up.
The manga depicts the Kanzuki family’s estate as so large, it doesn’t just have its own rivers, mountains, and savannas, it has its own climate as well. Even though it’s in the middle of Tokyo, visitors don’t arrive by car, they arrive by chartered plane and land at the private airstrip near the mansion. The estate also has its own train station (a green and red sign can be seen on the top of a building, where a train is moving). The Kanzukis’ enormous swimming pool has a yacht with a pool on the deck in it, like in Karin’s stage from Street Fighter Alpha 3.
The estate’s architecture is a mix of both Japanese and European (possibly French) architecture.
“Aye, the .01 percent. It’s great to be stupid rich!”
Karin’s family is so smegging rich, that she has 2 personal stages. This stage depicts her family’s private beach.
Several bikini-clad women can be seen in the background; among them are the Judgment Girls from the Street Fighter III games, as well as Tiffany Lords and Hinata Wakaba from the Rival Schools series. I’m not a crossover fanatic, but I do think it’s kind of cool how Street Fighter, Rival Schools, Darkstalkers and Final Fight all take place in the same universe.
“Whoa, Mama! Muh Speedoes just got tighter!”
The usage of the Kanzuki Beach stage in Street Fighter V is prohibited in competitive play. This is due to the fact that the water within the stage obscures ground projectiles such as Birdie’s banana peels and pop cans from his Break Time V-Skill as well as Juri’s Fuharenkyaku fireball. It is currently one of the only three stages in the game to be tournament banned, the other stages being The Grid and Skies of Honor.
“Even though it’s summer, I just took you to school!”
“Hey, I recognize that gibbon sitting on the turtle there. Now that I know that guy’s tight with the Kanzukis, he can give me back those 50 Banana Fun Bucks he owes me! THAT WAS AN APE JOKE!”
Located in India, was first seen in Dhalsim’s reveal trailer. In the left corner of the stage, there is a poster of an Indian-made film titled The Eternal Ganga (アジョワンの涙 Ajowan no Namida?, “Tears of Ajowan”), starred by Kamal Ali and Tia Sharma. Several people watch the fight, including Dhalsim’s wife Sally and their son Datta in the center of the stage. I’m not sure how I feel about the beard on Dhalsim (it makes him look like Yoga Claus), but the presence of Sally makes me happy because it reminds me of Dhalsim’s stage from Street Fighter Alpha 2, another favorite fighting game stage of mine.
In it, Sally watches the fray (but only when Dhalsim is one of the combatants). When her husband scores a hit, she smiles and claps her hands…
…And when Dhalsim himself is struck or attacked, she turns her head away in dismay. You’ve gotta love the devotion.
“What?! I’ve got a sentimental side! Big whoop! Wanna fight about it??”
Hillside Plaza is is the home stage of new character Laura, the smoking hot older sister of Street Fighter 3‘s Sean, taking place in Rio de Janeiro.
“Rio? Uh-oh! I feel a rhumba comin’ on!”
Instead of the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue in the background, a different statue can be seen. This stage also reminds me of one of my favorite moments from the animated film Rio.
You know the one.
RING OF DESTINY
The Ring of Destiny is a DLC stage available in Street Fighter V for a limited time, representing the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour. It is available by itself for $10USD in addition to being included in the limited time Capcom Pro Tour package that comes bundled with three other alternate costumes and an exclusive color for $25USD.
“What did ah jes’ tell ye?”
One thing I like about this stage (aside from the golden Adonis statues at the center) is the wide range of diverse spectators cheering on the fighters. You’ve got an American cowboy, a British guard playing a sousaphone, a lady Rio dancer, a heavy metal guitarist, a floating Indian mystic and even a dancing bear! Just about everybody is represented in this crowd.
We, are the world.
Finally, a word about Laura.
Yes, I’m just looking for an excuse to show more images of her.
As we’ve established, I find her to be quite attractive for a game sprite.
Fellas, put on your drool cups!
So why haven’t I said “BOM-CHICKA-WOW-WOW” yet? Well, while I do like Laura and all, doing so would feel a tad off-putting, seeing as how she has the same name as my maternal grandmother.
Today Player Two Start pays tribute to one of Capcom’s lesser known and less celebrated titles, Battle Circuit.
For those who don’t know, Battle Circuit (or Batoru Saakitto as it’s known in Japan) is an action “beat ’em up” game developed and published by Capcom for the CPS-2 arcade hardware for Japan and Europe in 1997. Taking place in an alternate future earth, the game revolves around a group of bounty hunters who must capture the mad scientist Dr. Saturn and secure a sophisticated computer disc carrying a program known as the “Shiva System”. The game contains comic-like characters in a futuristic science fiction setting.
Battle Circuit‘s arcade cabinet provided support for up to four simultaneous players who can each assume the role of five possible characters. The five playable characters are all super-powered bounty hunters who each possess their own unique attacks and Battle Download ability. Though each of the character’s real names are mentioned in their individual character profiles during the opening demo, they are mostly referred to by their codenames, each indicating a physical attribute and corresponding color.
Taste the Rainbow!
Brian Bruno, aka Cyber Blue: A seasoned bounty hunter with several cybernetic attachments to his body, giving him the ability to discharge electricity and project energy from his fists. Cyber Blue makes a cameo appearance in Project X Zone 2 in Captain Commando’s Solo Unit attack.
“Your other high-voltage hero!”
Andrey Mishucin, aka Captain Silver: A highly accomplished bounty hunter who can stretch and shape his body at will. His powers give him the ability to project ice particles from his body, as well as create a number of objects from his suit, morph into a cannon and even transform into a chair and sit on himself. Because of the vast nature of his powers, they will threaten to overwhelm him if he should ever lose concentration.
Diana Martines, aka Yellow Iris, called Yellow Beast in the original Japanese version): A part-time fashion model whose feral appearance gives her access to a number of clawing and agility-based techniques. She is also skilled with a whip and is accompanied by her pet fox “Fin”.
Not that Finn.
Yellow Iris makes a cameo appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a DLC costume for Felicia.
Pinky, aka Pink Ostrich: A large, sentient, pink ostrich with an eye patch and jewel necklace who is always accompanied by her owner, a young girl named Pola Abdul.
“I get it!”
Purportedly, she is the “only ostrich in the world who can fly”, and attacks with an assortment of aerial and spinning techniques. Yeah, one of the bounty hunters is a bird, but we’re not gonna make any lame bird jokes.
OK, maybe one:
Alien Green (real name unknown): An alien creature of unknown origin who resembles a large Venus flytrap with leg-like roots and a large eye in its abdomen. Its attacks mostly center around its vine-like arms, which it can quickly swing to create whirlwinds, as well as grab opponents and slam them against the ground. Sorry, whenever I see this thing I expect it to shout “FEED MEEE!”
“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So gross.”
The Plot: Taking place in the future year 20XX, Battle Circuit follows the exploits of a group of super-powered bounty hunters as they apprehend wanted criminals (identified by special serial numbers) in the city of Neo Koba. The game begins with player attempting to apprehend criminal 9696X, a scientist named Doctor Saturn (who resembles Freakazoid! villain The Lobe with a ring around his head and a Dick Dastardly mustache) and his blob-like sidekick aboard his spacecraft orbiting Earth.
Even by super-villain standards, this guy is no looker.
After the battle, the character selected by the player returns to his employer, Harry,
“Pick a card!”
No, not that Harry, but that would’ve been awesome.
….And is promptly given another assignment to capture the leader of the “Delete Gang”, Johnny Fever,
No, not that Johnny Fever, though that too would’ve been awesome.
…Who holds a valuable floppy disk in his possession. The bounty hunter then confronts Johnny at his disco hideout and learns that the disc contains a malicious computer program known as the “Shiva (Tentei) System”, which is capable of controlling all computerized systems in the world. After selecting one of the available characters, players must travel through various levels- fighting through a variety of enemies from the Delete Gang- to obtain the disc and claim their bounty. Stages like this:
Kind of looks like a missing stage from TMNT: The Arcade Game, doesn’t it?
And whatever this is.
Seriously, what the actual what??
Players must progress through a number of levels made up of horizontally scrolling screens filled with enemy characters that must be defeated using a combination of attacks and movement abilities each character utilizes. Every character is given a selection of these abilities that can be expanded as game play progress by purchasing special “upgrade discs” after the completion of each level using coins obtained by defeating enemies.
“We can give you special upgrades and enhancements, but you can never use any 3rd party software ever again and it’ll cost you the price of a new car!”
These techniques are often a combination of either of the two action buttons and the joystick, and can add additional varieties to a given character’s arsenal. A player must attack enemies until their health (indicated by a bar under the player’s when the enemy is attacked) is reduced to zero and they are thus knocked out. If a player’s health bar is depleted, they will also become knocked out and must use up one life to continue. If all of a player’s lives are depleted in this fashion, the game will end unless more credits are purchased.
There are also special techniques called “Battle Downloads”, which can be used by pressing both action buttons while jumping, resulting in the player and his allies (if any are present) gaining a certain attribute, the effect of which is unique to each character. Cyber Blue, for example, can use his Battle Download “Power Up” to increase the amount of damage dealt by attacks, while Yellow Iris’ “Speed Up” increases attack speed. A character will start with a stock of two of these techniques to use per life, and can obtain more from capsules scattered throughout the levels, up to a maximum of five.
If you’ve never seen, heard of played this game, I wouldn’t be surprised. Battle Circuit saw a speedy translation effort that effectively made the title available in both Japan and parts of Europe on the same day. Though there are no game play differences between the Japanese and other language versions of the game, a few pieces of Japanese dialogue were omitted from the European release. The game was not released in North American arcades or any other part of the world after its initial release. I remember reading about Battle Circuit in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (back when that was a thing) and looking for the game in arcades, only to discover it was harder to find than this guy.
I would have never played it myself if our brother Chaz didn’t have an emulator. It helps to have a hardcore gamer in the family.
So here’s to you, Battle Circuit. This game was weird and wacky, but I’m a fan of weird and wacky. BC never received the exposure or fan base that titles like Street Fighter and Mega Man did, but it gave me some hours of enjoyment. It was just goofy, imaginative, dumb fun, and for that, we at Twinsanity salute you.
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