Tuesday, November 20, 2012

SC On Kamen Rider Dragon Knight (Wii)

I could grate so many blocks of cheese with his face.

I'm not a Kamen Rider fan.  It's not that I don't like it, I just don't give a shit about it.  My only exposure to it is listening to Zeromaster and Wizwar ramble on endlessly about it in Skype chats regardless of what the original topic of conversation was.

That and Masked Rider.

I watched a whole three episodes, usually while waiting for Spider-Man to start.

 This is basically a fighting game with a bunch of riders from the Kamen Rider series, with Dragon Knight being the title character.  Forgive me if I find it hard to get into the characters of a series I don't follow, but the way they're presented leaves a lot to be desired in terms of drawing in someone who's new to Kamen Rider, especially if you play Arcade Mode first.  Some of the victory quotes by certain characters reference their backstories or happenings from the series, all of which went over my head.  Looking back at it now, I'm still not sure who from the 15 selectable characters are good guys except for Wrath.  Guess what Wrath is?  Hint: his name is Wrath.

There is a place where the backstory becomes clearer, but I'll save that for later.  And besides, as I was playing this game on a live stream Zeromaster seemed to end a lot of characters' backstories with "he dies after a couple episodes."

Omoshiroku narimashita ne?

The controls are about as simple as you'll get in a fighter short of Evil Zone.  There's a button for light attacks and a button for strong attacks.  That's it.  Mash either of them while holding a direction to do a 2-4 hit combo that knocks down your opponent until you win.

Okay, it is a little more complex than that.

Some of the combos for certain characters are faster or slower, and some incorporate uppercuts to knock a Rider in the air and juggle them or leg sweeps to keep them on the ground more than they already would be.  There's also a button specifically for cancelling combos and- yeah, you can tell where this is going.

Combo cancels, however, take down the Advent Gauge.  I don't remember if that's what it's called, but it's linked to attacks called advents or vents so we'll roll with that.  It's a gauge that fills at the bottom of the screen and can trigger things like combo cancels, advent attacks (where the animal/robot/thing representing each Rider attacks the opponent), advent guards (see advent attack, except it just pushes back the opponent), and the obligatory flashy finishing moves called Final Vents, all of which deal about the same 1/4 life bar damage, are done by having the Final Vent card selected, initiating the vent by shaking the Wiimote (not as annoying or counter-intuitive as it sounds) and hoping you're not only within grabbing distance, but won't be interrupted or dodged.


Oh right, cards.  Each Rider has a certain number of cards which trigger certain effects or moves when the Advent Gauge is filled.  There's the Final Vent card, but also cards that do things like reduce damage, summon weapons, lock a card of the opponent from being used, or turn back time to regenerate your Rider's (and only your Rider's) health.  You'll usually only get a chance to fill the gauge all the way once during a fight though, so in Arcade Mode the variety of cards isn't usually as effective as just leaving the Final Vent up all the time.

The catch about these cards is that you only start off with the Final Vent card for each Rider.  You unlock the rest by playing through Mirror Mode, which is a lot like playing Weapon Master Mode in Soul Calibur 2.  You progress through a series of one-on-one fights against certain Riders (they are determined by who you select and what the fight condition is) while completing conditions like doing an Advent Guard, defeating them with Final or Advent Attacks, or winning in spite of the opponent having doubled attack power, double the health, or constantly being in Advent Guard mode.  This last one will make you want to punt babies if you're playing on Hard.


Mirror Mode also has beat-em-up sequences, in which the guys you fight are dumber and more apathetic than the average Dynasty Warriors enemy.  There are also "?" spaces which either generate another fight, give you life, Rider Points used to unlock cards, or sends you back to the start of the map.  The entire thing is timed by the way, but there's usually more than enough to get through the whole mode well within the limit.

The pain in the ass here comes with how cards are unlocked.  You have to fight and defeat that specific Rider when they have that card on them.  This isn't as big a problem for the regular characters, but some characters like Survive Mode Wingknight only seem to show up against one specific character in one specific match type.  I only found that out after unlocking everyone else's shit and going through each Rider in Mirror Mode one at a time.

I didn't mention it earlier, but when you select a Rider for this mode it gives a brief synopsis of their background and what motivates them to fight.  It also does this after completing Mirror Mode by defeating Xaviax (also the Arcade Mode boss).  All but a few Riders' stories can be summed up with 'Xaviax promises something to <insert Rider here> but lies.  <insert Rider here> finds out and turns on him.'  Bam, back story.  Some of the translations and word choices are unintentionally funny, though.  Maybe it's just me, but the phrase "Chris defeated Xavias despite his asthma" is a hilarious way to end someone's Mirror Mode run.

Take that, Asthma!  Your name is Asthma now, by the way.

In the end, there are only a couple people I can recommend this game to: Kamen Rider fans and people who like fighters that don't have a lot of complexity to them.  Other than that this game is a quick rental, or if you go through and unlock all the cards a relatively quick rental.  Good luck finding it too, as a quick search on their website showed that there are no GameStops within 120 miles of my home (which essentially means the state of Ohio) that have this game new, and mu-tsu dake hurui no wa arimasu yo.  Chotto omoshiroi da kedo, chikai uchi ni tsumaranaku narimasu nee.

Komatta naa!  Eego wa tsukai-dekimasen! 

Chigaimasu!  Chigaimasu!