As mentioned in the title, today I’m going to talk about a video game called Guilty Gear XX: Midnight Carnival. This is a fighting game and it’s probably one of the best designed fighting game franchise out there. I came across the game in the UBC Arcade. The first time I laid eyes on that game, I know I need to buy it right away. The game is created by Ishiwatari Daisuke, who also compose the soundtrack and does the voice acting of one of the character in this game. Just with this piece of information, you know the guy is dedicated in this project.
If you look closely at all fighting games and dissect each component, all fighting games have similar elements, few of them include:
- Different characters with different fighting mechanisms (Typically fast attack with low damage, or slow attack with heavy damage, and anything in between)
- Different set of moves, but typically involve punches, kicks and throws.
- Certain characters have projectile moves
- Players must employ different comboing and strategies against AI and other players.
- A relatively general plot for each character within the game (Aka why do they fight in the first place)
So what really set each Guilty Gear XX from the other games out there? I can only come up with two words: Character Design. Of course, all fighting games differs in character designs, but the greatest element of this game is how each character looks and attacks. The character design is creative beyond belief. Just to name a few examples: you get an assassin who fights with a pool cue and morph people into billiard balls , a femme fatale who fights with her hair, a dead corpse that fights its own shadow, a mad doctor who fights with a giant scalpel, a tiny girl in captain cosplay fighting with an anchor larger than her size, a possessed guy who fights with poltergeist. I doubt there’s much games out there with this creativity.
The stage background design is just as good, including a desolate forest, the deck of an airship, the lobby of a mansion in Paris, a golden magical forest, the Japanese purgatory, etc.
On top of the already amazing designs, the background music (or BGM) and the voice acting accentuated the experience. The BGM are all solid heavy metal music and lasts as long as a typical song. In fact the 2 original soundtrack of this game each last for roughly 45 minutes, which might be even longer than some music albums out there. The BGM added an extra dimension by intensifying the fight. The voice acting (Japanese, not American) is just as superb. I especially love the start of the battle where the announcer shout out “Heaven or Hell – Duel 1 – Let’s Rock!” Notable voice actors include Koyasu Takehito, Kusao Takeshi, Wakamoto Norio, and even the creator of the game himeself, Ishiwatari Daisuke.
Finally, the game also introduces into the fighting mechanism its own set of Instant Kill move similar to Fatalities in Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct. As the name implies, the move instantly killed the opponent, but with huge tradeoff to the player as well as a time limit for the player to pull off the move before it expires. What makes the Instant Kill move attractive is once again the animation of the move. Examples include blowing up the stage with a nuclear bomb, summoning Sadako (the ghost in the movie the Ring), hitting the opponent with sonic waves in the middle of a rock concert, etc. The move really brings hilarity to the next level.
So all in all I would recommend this game to everyone for said reasons. It’s rare to find a game where every single element not only held together, but actually enhanced every other elements within the game.
Guilty Gear XX: Midnight Carnival
- Ranking: S-Class
- Replayability: A (It’s a fighting game after all, it’s all about replayability)
- Learning Curve: A- or B+ (Easy to learn if you read the manual, but difficult to master, like all other fight games)
- Complexity: B (There are quite a few other mechanisms that I did not mention, not to mention that there is also a story mode and a survival mode in this game)
- Music: A+ (I actually got the original soundtrack to this game)