Saturday, December 5, 2009

Battle Royale

Incredible Technologies / NEC

Battle Royale has one thing going for it but fares poorly in practically every other area. It definitely has personality, which it is imbued with by its colorful, showy, rambunctious wrestlers and their nutty, freaky-looking managers. And that's where the good news begins and ends, as BR's gameplay and graphics are simply terrible.

Your job is to use one of the gregarious grapplers to clear the squared circle of the hooligans who stand against you. Unfortunately, there just isn't much to the action: without any real "techniques" to make use of, you basically have to smack people around until somebody hits the mat; then you can lift up the fallen brawler and heave him from the ring. The controls aren't very good, but they suffice for beating the game, as it's so simple and easy. The fighters' movements are extremely choppy, but it's amusing to hear the fools scream as they're eliminated, which brings us back to the game's strong (and utterly wasted) charisma.

That charisma is the reason Battle Royale is considered by many to be a viable multiplayer option. There's nothing wrong with mashing buttons for a little while with friends, especially when a game provides a great cast to pick favorites from. But make no mistake about it: there are lots of better games that you can go with for any given Turbo get-together, titles that feature superior gameplay and more than one virtue to boast of.

The announcer introduces you to BR's cast of misfit musclemen...

...and then you take control of a manager and race for the right to represent your favorite fighter. You can pummel your rivals if you want to, but I usually just make a beeline for my brawler of choice.

The managers exude confidence regardless of whom they end up with.

Tournament mode has you work your way up from one-on-one affairs... all-out rumbles. I usually hover on the fringe of the fray and utilize my "special kick" when the opportunity to do so presents itself.

The post-match stats chart isn't very interesting.

Stockpile moneybags as you rack up victories.

These people really do creep me out.

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