All good things come in threes, which must be why SouthPeak has announced UK release dates for The Con, Monster Madness and Two Worlds, each one month after the other.
It's pretty safe to say that the fighting genre has fallen into something of a rut of late. With nobody really willing to challenge existing and popular franchises such as Tekken, Dead Or Alive and Soul Calibur, let alone the all-conquering Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution, and a veritable dearth of new ideas (well, ideas that actually work as functional fighters, as Guilty Gear Isuka proves beyond reasonable doubt), the genre has slowly stagnated. On home consoles, at least. With little notable competition in the handheld market, portable fighters have decidedly more room for artistic license as the success of Jump Superstars in Japan clearly shows. Now it's Sony's turn to add a twist to one of the most traditional genres of them all and for all its flaws, The Con is if nothing else a breath of fresh air.
The Ready Money Round
The Con's 'thing' is that it ends up being as much a game about gambling as it is about fighting. At its heart is a pretty simple fighting engine but with its emphases spread across several different elements, this doesn't harm the game that much, if at all. While a Tekken-esque four-button layout governs basic punches and kicks, there's an obvious emphasis on combos rather than specials and a decent parry system in place for the more technically minded player. With several fighting disciplines, basic attacks and throws vary massively in power as well as each having unique moves and special attacks. Combat is decidedly static but then following in the wake of portable travesties like Rise Of The Imperfects, this in itself feels original, solid and nowhere near as limiting as it probably should. Imagine a 3D version of Super Punch-Out!! and you're pretty much there. Tight as this is, it combines wonderfully with the game's gambling aspect to make for a unique fighting experience and you'll need a good head for stats and playing the odds if you want to strike it rich.