Guilty Gear Core
It's never a good sign when there are spelling mistakes on the back of the game's box. But apparently the Guilty Gear series is "higly appreciated", so let's press on. For those who aren't familiar, it's all about engaging in complicated 2D fights to the sound of unpleasant guitar music. Or as the back of the box puts it, "In Guilty Gear, to win or to loose depends only on your skills."
I'm not familiar, which made getting to grips with Guilty Gear Core a challenge. I booted up the game without even opening the manual, a practice I have engaged in without incident since 1994. This was a mistake. After three minutes of play I was left confused, exhausted and on the precipice of a migraine.
The manual is good fun though. Perhaps more fun than the game. Sol Badguy is still the best-named videogame character of all time. The pages are sprinkled seemingly at random with instructions like, "This gauge is required for Over Drive Attacks and Roman Cancels. It increases when you use attacks and dashes. Robo Ky has an Electric Gauge instead of a Tension Gauge."
The names of the special moves are excellent. Super Screaming Ultimate Spinning Whirlwind is a particular favourite, along with Bandit Revolver Prototype, which should be the name of a band. Then there's Potemkin Buster, May and the Jolly Crew, Stroke the Big Tree and Sword Mode: Looks Painful... And Is! Exclamation marks are a common theme. I especially like Hello!, Hello Again!, Speak Up! and the superlative Stay Up, Mr Dolphin!
I should tell you something about what the game's like to play rather than just listing things in the manual. So, you can swing the nunchuk and remote around to perform parts of your combos. The system is complex and often frustrating - for example, swinging the nunchuk "quickly" launches a punch, while swinging "hard" launches a kick, and it's easy to make mistakes.
It's almost impossible to pull off some of the harder special moves. To do May and the Jolly Crew, for example, you must perform a punch, kick, slash and heavy slash, and then press left, down-left, down, down-right, right, left, down-left, down, down-right, right. While simultaneously doing another heavy slash.
You might think that sounds like brilliant fun, in which case you've probably enjoyed Guilty Gear games before and will like this one. A word of warning though, you'd be better off with a Classic Controller than the remote and nunchuk. And you might be disappointed to learn there's no Story mode, although Arcade, M.O.M., VS and Training are all present and correct.
If you're a newcomer to the series, this doesn't offer an accessible introduction. It's not the kind of beat-'em-up suitable for mucking about with friends after a night in the pub, unless you're all Guilty Gear fans. Nor is it likely to impress anyone expecting super-sharp next-gen visuals and fluid animations.
A difficult one to score, then. Add two to the number below if you like Guilty Gear, and subtract two if you couldn't give a toss about this sort of thing.