Let’s… Sorta… Talk About Breakers Revenge

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Guaranteed statement: you will never find a game that epitomises the word ‘solid’ as much as this one. Imagine this as the gaming equivalent of an oak table. You could probably place all manner of things on top of it, nearby it, surrounding it and it will not change the fact that it is as solid as a rock.

And surprisingly, that probably won’t be the strangest analogy in this review. I mean, knowing me, I might be able to compare one of this game’s characters to a pair of unwashed socks or a blue tit or something. YOU NEVER KNOW.

In retrospect, the idea of comparing this game to a pair of soiled footwear or a small bird is a challenge I refuse to accept, despite the temptation. Feel free to try one for yourself and see what you do. If you come up with one now, you’re doing better than me and you clearly need to do more important things with your life.

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You will not be surprised to hear that this is a fighting game on the NEO FUCKING GEO, people. Such things did indeed exist, alongside the minuscule amount of other 2D fighters on the system. I mean, who would ever consider bringing out a fighting game for the Neo Geo? HA HA FUCKING HA.

All HILARITY aside, Breakers Revenge is the pseudo-sequel-but-more-of-an-update to Breakers, also a 2D fighting game, released in 1996. The pseudo-sequel-but-really-just-a-rehash-of-the-same-game was only ever (apparently) released in the arcades back in 1998 and basically acts as a reworking of the original game with an extra character added to the roster.

And that was the culmination of 2 years of after-thinking.

Perhaps there’s some hope for No Man’s Sky after all WHOOPS HOW RUDE OF ME! Not even 300 words in and I’m making an outdated 2016 reference. Good grief…

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So Breakers Revenge, the pseudo-sequel-but-one-character-extra-doesn’t-make-it-one, is the fighting game equivalent to a standard chocolate chip muffin: a solid dessert that came be dressed up to look beautiful, given all of the bells and whistles it likes and yet, at the base of it all is still the same standard, slightly meh-flavoured cake that it was in the first place. Breakers Revenge, the pseudo-sequel-which-isn’t-a-sequel-give-over, is the smallest dollops of cream placed on the top to try and disguise the fact that it’s basically the same game as it was 2 years ago with a bit of rehashed balancing and a ninja character thrown in for good measure.

If you’re looking for the picture of this game in the dictionary, remember: solid begins with an ‘s’.

You could also throw it out next to cliched as well but details, details.

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Booting up the game, the character selection is a little bit sparse at best. Even in 1998, the choice of 9 characters was pretty lacklustre, and the majority of them all feel a little bit too cliched all things considered. There are your standard rival pairing who try to be the game’s Ryu and Ken, although one of them ends up being the game’s Guile with his move inputs, lady Ryu, lady Blanka, Egyptian Dhalsim-alike, what-the-fuck-are-you-wearing T-Hawk, and they also thrown in three sword-wielding characters: ninja-man, arrogant-fencer, and balloony-sheik.

Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the cast of characters because they’re not exactly as blah as I make them out to be, but they are woefully unoriginal in terms of characterisation. Save for the swordsmen characters, they are pay dutiful homage to other characters from other 2D fighters because apparently there are no other ideas left in the world and imitation is the sincerest form of bullshittery, apparently.

Of the roster, Alsion III is clearly most interesting, given that he’s a rubbery undead Egyptian pharaoh who spits poison and electric attacks like he’s some sort of hybrid Pokemon.

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That isn’t to say he’s the BEST character. Far from it. He’s incredibly irritating to play as or against and his voice makes you want to shove drawing pins into your ears DON’T FUCKING DO IT, YOU MORON. Instead, the title of best character probably falls to Condor, the big burly Native American character, clearly inspired by T.Hawk from Super Street Fighter given he plays in almost the exact same way. He’s a big, burly brawler of a character but here’s the kicker for you: he might well be the sexiest character in the game.

I don’t make that statement lightly.

Now, you know how there are constant, and well-based, arguments into the way female characters are portrayed in games, particularly fighting games? The ones about the way they are styled and dressed to show off as much boobage as possible and potentially even more? You know the arguments. The pictures of male characters dressed in skimpy outfits speak for themselves. I’d tell you to google it but you probably already have.

Condor is that character in this game.

His clothing or choice is a pair of trousers attached to his belt from small loops at the side… and they’re pretty much buttless.

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I mean, yes there’s a sort of lion-cloth thing happening to cover the crack and balls and all of that, but… well… this is sort of unusual in a fighting game.

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Oh you didn’t quite believe me on the buttless trousers part? HERE YOU GO THEN.

And that, gentlepeople of the interwebs, is why Condor is the sexiest character in the game.

I mean… let’s be clear here, the ladies have been sexualised COMPLETELY but that’s pretty much par for the course and you expect to see silly skimpy outfits and heaving bosoms all over the place. To see the male equivalent is rare in THIS day and age without expecting to see it in 1998… at least not without outcries of sexism or something stupid. THIS ISN’T FUCKING SEXISM, PEOPLE. GO FIND AN ACTUAL ARGUMENT TO HAVE, YA DICKS.

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Anyway, your character roster is smaller than perhaps it could have been and they’re all a bit bland for the sake of being bland and the only real characterisation comes into the win quotations after each fight… which pretty much collects every gaming cliche going from the “you are my rival!” quotations to the “I must find my [insert relative here]!” ones that litter most fighting games.

LOOK, GUYS. I MENTIONED IT’S GENERIC AF, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? A COOKIE? Sod off and go eat your own damn cookies.

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In a world full of Street Fighter Alphas, the first two which were out on the PS1 before this game was released in the arcades, Breakers Revenge, the pseudo-sequel-that-really-ought-to-know-better-than-to-call-itself-that, is nothing short of AVERAGE at best. The character designs are mostly generic and watery, right down to the gi-wearing Shoto-clones, and the entire game has this definite whiff of plagiarism thrown in. It’s not exactly the worst example of how to take another game and copy the living hell out of it. I distinctly remember there being a 2D fighter that basically ripped off the Street Fighter 2 sprites and reworked them to their own character models and then called it their own game. This does at least put in the effort of creating a full roster of its own and attempting to do what is already good in the other fighters. It DOES try. It does implement the standard features perfectly soundly throughout. The combat is fast-paced and intuitive, it runs smoothly, the character graphics are reasonably good, the game runs at a solid pace throughout and the special moves and super moves are balanced and tidy.

But fuck me is it a bland as all get out fighter because of this.

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This is the game that pretty much does everything right and yet for all of that trying and effort, it basically falls flat on its face because of it. Breakers Revenge, the pseudo-sequel-that-wouldn’t-even-pass-for-DLC-these-days features everything that you would expect from any fighter of this time and yet there is always a game that does each part better. The sum of its own parts is therefore weakened because they’re so super generic and standard. It is the Ikea of fighting games. You could literally put together the standard pieces in your own living room and actually create a game of equal standing because it’s so very identikit that it has absolutely zero identity for itself.

No one remember this game for a reason.

It’s not because it’s so bad. No, no, no. If anything, we always remember the bad and the good. We rarely remember the ‘meh’ or the average because why would we need to? We have Street Fighter Alpha. We have the King of Fighters. We have other games on the Neo Geo that implement every part of this game better.

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And how frustrating must that feel for the developers of this game? I mean… I’ll be honest, I do have fun now and then with this game because it IS, by all standards, a good fighting game because everything you want it to do, it does. It looks good, it plays smoothly, the combat is super satisfying, the whole package is fine and dandy…

But who wants fine and dandy? Nobody wants fine and dandy. Nobody wants to spend £40 on a game that is basically an OK experience. If you told me this was half that price when it was released… I might have bitten, if I’d given it a test beforehand. On face value, it doesn’t do anything to excite the player or make them seriously sit up and take notice. There are no major visual flourishes or owt like that to make you go wow at any moment. If anything, the super finish visual flourish feels cheap and tacky in the background. The visual effects encompass far too much of the screen and the combo system isn’t exactly on par with some of its better contemporaries.

Breakers Revenge, the pseudo-sequel-that-seriously-needs-to-find-the-definition-for-that-term, is the most solid fighting game you could possibly find.

And that’s what makes it fall flat on its face.

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There is one thing that this game does do differently than most other fighting games. You know how mirror matches in fighting games don’t make a blind bit of sense? Pitting Ryu against Ryu BECAUSE GAMING LOGIC is bypassed here by giving the characters alter-ego style characters when there’s a mirror match. Instead of protagonist Sho being the limp Ryu wannabe, he is instead Jin, a karate master who is a big fan of the band TUBE!

Instead of Alsion III, we have Atoum, an ancient civilisation nut who likes to dress up as a mummy!

Instead of Dao-Long (which I’m still not convinced is a very Korean-sounding name but do correct me if I’m wrong), we have Liu-Khai, a man whose girlfriend left him and wants to become a voice actor!

So… there is at least one thing that Breakers Revenge, the pseudo-sequel-oh-bloody-hell-am-I-still-doing-this-joke, gave the fighting game world.

No one other game has done it since though.

Developers clearly had their priorities all worked out on this one.

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And lo, the sands of time did not help this game to become the potential series it could have been had the developers actually put in something of note aside from calling their characters two names instead of one.

And thus it sits in the corner of the room… the unwashed sock of the gaming world – OH I FUCKING WELL DID IT!

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