Monday, June 04, 2007

Sokku Seitokai: Sonic Council

Continuing our little thread, here's another high quality anime fighter on the Japanese Saturn. I don't know how my loyalties will shift over time - keep in mind that I've just downloaded and burned all these games, and I haven't spent long enough to get into the marrow of each and every one of them. Fighting games usually show their merit over time, instead of more instant-gratification styles like shmups.

But for right now I'm really enamored by Sonic Council. It has style. The characters are a little smaller and thinner than Askua 120% or Astra Superstars, but they have a certain panache when they move about. The animation seems exceptionally smooth; at least, that's the way I remember it in my mind.

The approach to the game is very interesting. It plays out as a TV broadcast, with the spunky reporter girl moving from location to location and narrating the plot. Too bad it's in Japanese and my grammar is so poor. Motto sukoshi dekimasu. But that's the sort of hook I like to see in games, something just a little out of the way, something new.

This cleverness carries through to the fighters themselves, who offer some pretty weird moves. One character throws her cat around. Another - a teacher, I guess - carries a giant no.2 pencil. There's a small kid with boxing gloves. There's the requisite large guy that never interests me (even Zangief was kinda boring). And everyone has that crazy spiky hair. I wonder if Japanese teenagers actually do that. I expect them to all look like anime teens.

One more note about the graphics. Sonic Council has a couple of impressive heat wave effects whenever you pull off good attacks and combos. It's almost like shock waves that burst across the screen in a flash. Very subtle, and you may not even notice it the first time. But once you see it, it's always there.

Sonic Council was made by Banpresto, best known for all their shmups. I never thought they had it in them to assemble a good fighting game. Goodness knows there are a million bad ones.

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