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Bloody Roar 3 (PS2)

What happened to BR2? I may have played it twice, but that doesn't mean that I'm not a fan of the series. I was playing Bloody Roar for years even after better fighters were released. Why? The first BR was excellent looking for the time, had a unique twist on fighting, and had a small learning curve. It seems that all of this has stayed in tact since those days, but what's disappointing is that it has not really grown much with age.

The story behind each of these brawlers and why they're fighting is rather convoluted, almost too convoluted for its own good. That's why I'll keep the exposition to a bear minimum. The humans with the ability to transform into beasts are now known to the world as Zoanthropes. Just when people start accepting you, and you thought you were done fighting corporations something strange happens. Yes, even stranger than the word Zoanthropes. Strange marks appear on the Zoanthropes bodies which they start to refer to as "crests." Those with crests are more powerful than those without, but they also have the bad habit of dying of unknown causes. Now, those with crests are trying to crack the secret of the deaths ... by fighting each other? Never mind all that extraneous story though, it's gameplay that counts.

The real meat and potatoes of the game is the ability to transform into a beast unlocking different moves and combos unavailable in the human form. In addition to opening up new combos and techniques, beast transformation boosts a characters attack, defense, and regenerative ability. Thus, the addition of the beast alter ego opens up a new element of strategy that is unique to other brawlers.

Of the characters available, all have returned with their alter egos in tact except for the indomitably useless Greg the monkey and Mitsuko the Warthog, good riddance. Alice (Bunny), Yugo (Wolf), Shina (Cheetah), Long (White Tiger), Stun (Insect), Shenlong (Also a white tiger), Xion (Vampire), Busuzima (Dragon), Bakuryu (Mole), Uriko (Human/Beast hybrid), and Gado (Lion) are among the playable characters.

No single element stands out in this game, but that's not to say there aren't a number of good and unique qualities. The character models aren't the best out there, but they're definitely nothing to scoff at either. 14 different characters and 9 different backgrounds are available, a paltry sum compared to modern fighters (i.e., Tekken Tag Tournament ). To add replay value, 12 different gameplay modes are available. Sonically though, BR3 is a gem.

The Bottom Line: If you are a fan of the series, this is a good addition to your growing collection. Your best bet though is to stick with DOA2 or (dare I say) even TTT (Tekken Tag Team).

SOUND: 10/10
- I would say the soundtrack is blazin' and funkdafied, but since neither of those are real words I guess I'll settle with great.

GRAPHICS: 8.5/10
- Superb lighting effects make up for PS2's texture problems. The framerate also stays consistent allowing for fluid gameplay.

- Sadly, most of the combos are preset, you can't have the joy of making a devastating combo you can call your own. The challenge is learning how to execute the combos.

- If you are a fan of the series, this is a good addition to your growing collection. Your best bet though is to stick with DOA2 or (dare I say) even TTT (Tekken Tag Team).

FUN: 8/10
Faster, flashier and on a larger scale than Tekken. What more can you ask for?

OVERALL: 8.5/10

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