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Introduction & Characters
Power Instinct
Power Instinct 2
Gogetsuji Legends

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Groove On Fight
Martimelee
Purikura Daisakusen

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Groove on Fight: Gouketsuji Ichizoku 3 - Arcade, Saturn (1997)

Japanese Saturn Cover

After nipping at the heels of the more popular 2D fighters, Atlus decided to reinvent the series in the third official installment, dubbed Groove on Fight. The cast of characters is almost entirely new, and the graphics have finally improved, as it now runs on the Sega ST-V system (pretty much the same hardware as the Saturn.) The gameplay was finally improved and feels less jittery and awkward, resulting in a much smoother game. However, during the game's reimagining, Groove On Fight has lost a lot of what made the earlier Power Instinct games so unique. The darker visuals and edgier feel have replaced most of the wackiness. Most of the music is bland and uninteresting, lacking any semblance of the crazy vocals from the second game. If anything, it seems a little bit closer to the Darkstalkers games. At least it still manages to come up with some weirdly intriguing characters.

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Groove on Fight (Arcade)


Characters

Solus R8000

Solus has supplanted the grannies as the "mascot" of this game, which is not necessarily a bad idea. She's a time traveling cyborg, and apparently robotic police wear bikini bottoms in the future.

Chris Wayne

The brother of Keith. Kind of looks like Kid Rock.

Larry Light

Your typical generi-guy fighter, except he has goggles.

Sujiroku Tenjinbashi

A giant who wields two huge sticks and wears a scary mask.

Hizumi Yukinoue

Groove on Fight's variation of Saizo from the other Power Instinct games.

M. A. D.

"MAD" stands for "Max Ax Dax". He appears to be a mad scientist some kind of oversized, robotic suit., which has lots of neat gadgets.

Falco

Definitely not Sean Connery hiding out in a Japanese fighting game.

Rudolph Gartheimer

A badass in a leather mask that wields two huge balls chained together.

Oume & Otane Gouketsuji

The two old sisters have returned, although this time they're tied together back-to-back. Can summons the spirits of the old Power Instinct crew.

Popura Hananokouji

Somehow replayed to Clara, she's practically the same character, although Popura has even more crazy cosplay moves.

Remi

A cute little witch who commands a sentient musical note - which usually just smiles and follows her, but can turn vicious on a moment's notice.

Bristol Weller

The main bad guy. After beating him, you will fight your partner - but before the fight can go anywhere. a demon tears out of his lifeless body and then zombifies your buddy.

Damian Shade

Gartheimer's gay lover. He gets unceremoniously shot in the story mode, but he shows up as a hidden playable character.


In addition to the standard four attack buttons, there's now an "overhead" attack button (usually a very powerful but slow move) and a dash/attack button, which lets you run behind your opponent and give them a quick hit. Once again, the game utilizes a tag system, although this time you can switch between characters mid-battle like the Marvel Vs series. Additionally, defeated foes now stay on the battlefield, and can be picked up and tossed around as a weapon.

Groove on Fight is undoubtedly a solid game, but there's not too much here that's incredibly distinctive, even if the gameplay has improved considerably from the other games. At least the difficulty level is much better balanced. Groove on Fight was also ported to the Saturn - although it requires the 1 MB RAM cartridge, it still has some cut animation and plenty of load times, although the game plays fine otherwise.

Groove on Fight (Arcade)


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Additional Screenshots




Matrimelee / Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku: Toukon Matrimelee - Neo Geo, PlayStation 2 (2003)

Japanese Neo Geo Cover

Seven years after Groove on Fight, developer Noise Factory decided to resurrect the series on the Neo Geo under the title Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku (or "New Power Instinct"). It's more commonly known by it's subtitle, Matrimelee ("matrimony" + "melee"). This time, you're fighting a tournament to gain someone's hand in marriage.

Prior to Matrimelee, Noise Factory created the underrated Rage of the Dragons. If you've played that game, you'll feel very much at home with Matrimelee, because it controls practically the same way. Although purists tend to regard it as too fast and flashy, it's one of the quickest and tightest fighting game engines out there, and a huge improvement over all the previous games. All of the graphics have been redrawn to fit the new style, and while many characters have remained the same, a few (such as Chris and Annie) have been given complete overhauls to look less dorky. Noise Factory even borrowed a few characters from Rage of the Dragons, including Billy, Jimmy, Elias, Mr. Jones, and Lynn.

It's evident that the designers loved Power Instinct 2, because it draws a lot of inspiration from it. All of the tag team functions have been ditched totally. The sound effect when you select a character is a clown horn. Defeated characters show up with doodles on their face. And there's a whole new selection of silly vocal songs, all of which sound incredible coming through the Neo Geo synth. The music was composed by Toshikazu Tanaka, who also did the soundtracks for Metal Slug 5, King of Fighters: Maximum Impact and (obviously) Rage of the Dragons, who's proven to be one of the best musicians on the fighting game scene. Unfortunately, if you're playing on an American system without a debug BIOS, you won't get any of the vocal music. The only real new addition to the gameplay is the ability to pick up a kuroko in the background and toss him at your foe.

One of the only noticeable flaws in Matrimelee is lack of backgrounds - there are only a small handful stages, although many of them have several variations. It also suffers from the usual SNK-boss syndrome. The last boss is a tiny little girl named Sissy (who has a box that can summon gigantic monsters and has sawblades on her shoes) is annoyingly difficult, even on the lowest difficulty setting. Otherwise, Matrimelee is definitely the crowning achievement of the series, and one of the last great titles on the Neo Geo.

Over two years after the original Neo Geo version, Matrimelee was ported to the PlayStation 2 by Excite (yes, the same company that's a web portal) under the title Shin Goketsuji Ichozoku: Bonnou Kaihou. Technically, the game is meant to be a sequel (note that the title Matrimelee doesn't appear at all in this version), since there are all new endings and some minor changes to the gameplay. The kuroko judges have been removed entirely, as well as all of the Rage of the Dragons characters and their associated music and stages. Kinta and Angela from Power Instinct 2 have been included into the roster, and the transformations have been added, although this means that Poochie is no longer a regularly selectable character. Real life Nigerian boxer-turned-comedian Bobby Ologun also replaces Sissy as the last boss, and his over-the-top attacks make remarkable sense in a game as goofy as this. There's also a mission mode which lets you get new cards, which can unlock extra characters and modes, as well as give minor benefits during fights. The character artwork is all high-res, although much of the fancy presentation effects in between matches have been replaced with static screens, which is pretty dull. Although some of the changes aren't necessarily for the better, it's nice to see it getting an official port.

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Matrimelee (Neo Geo)

Matrimelee (Neo Geo)

Matrimelee (Neo Geo)

Shin Goketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnou Kaihou (PS2)


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Additional PlayStation 2 Screenshots


Purikura Daisakusen (プリクラ大作戦) - Arcade, Saturn (1996)

Japanese Saturn Cover

The magical girl Clara was so popular that she ended up starring in her own game, dubbed "Prikura Daisakusen". ("Prikura" is a contraction for "Princess Clara", but it's also the name of those photo booths which are very popular with young girls in Japan. This, in turn, is short for "print club", and was invented jointly by Sega and Atlus. "Daisakusen" means "battle plan".) It's an cutesy action/shooter, similar to games like Commando or Mercs, except from the isometric viewpoint. You can choose from one of three characters - Clara, her partner Kirara, and a giant cat named Grey, who is actually a cursed prince.

Each character has two attacks - a standard projectile attack and a melee weapon. You're also accompanied by a familiar throughout the entire game. At first, it's just a walking egg, but as you progress through the game, it hatches and evolves into different forms. What kind of create you get is determined by whether you prefer ranged or melee attacks. Considering that this is a short-lived arcade game that can be beaten in about twenty minutes, this does add a little bit of replay value. Each of the characters also has some kind of special form they can turn into - Clara can turn into the bikini-clad skater from the fighting games, and the two other characters have unique forms as well.

There are plenty of issues that keep Purikura Daisakusen from greatness. Naturally, the strange angle can make dodging enemy fire rather awkward. Your primary weapon is pretty weak, even when powered up. The screen is constantly filled to the brim with enemies that take far too many hits to kill, and it's nearly impossible to take them all down. Even your bombs are underpowered. Additionally, the game just moves slowly, and lacks any of the intensity you expect from an action game.

Purikura Daisakusen runs on Sega's ST-V system (much like Groove on Fight) and was ported almost perfectly to the Saturn. This version includes a gallery mode which features some pictures and narration from the characters, and first prints include a calender with the packaging. Since you're limited in credits, it's barely playable unless you stick it on the lowest difficulty level, in which case it can be somewhat enjoyable. The extra controls on the Saturn controller also let you map the "dodge" function to an extra button, which makes gameplay a little bit easier. (The arcade version requires you to double-tap in a direction, which isn't exactly intuitive.)

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Purikura Daisakusen (Arcade)

Purikura Daisakusen (Arcade)

Purikura Daisakusen (Arcade)


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Related Articles


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction & Characters
Power Instinct
Power Instinct 2
Gogetsuji Legends

Page 2:
Groove On Fight
Martimelee
Purikura Daisakusen

Back to the Index