February 28, 2011

Review – Acceleration of Suguri X Edition

Review Acceleration of Sugari X Edition
One of my favorite periods of Sega Dreamcast game releases came after the system’s “death,” when there was a slow but steady trickle of fighting games and shoot-em-ups released in Japan. I was feverish about importing almost all of these games, and my Dreamcast was happily spinning the likes of Ikaruga, Border Down, Psyvariar 2, The King of Fighters 2002, Karous, and Under Defeat. It was like my home was transformed into a neat little Japanese arcade.

Playing Acceleration of Suguri X Edition (let’s just call it Suguri X for short) immediately made me feel like it was 2002 all over again and I had just popped an awesome new game into my Dreamcast. Suguri X is a frantic, bright, and fun one-on-one arena fighter that had me exclaiming “This is so cool!” over and over again until my wife finally told me to be quiet because I was making our dogs bark with my excitement. At first I was afraid my excitement for Suguri X was overinflated, but here we are days later and I’m still giddy about the game – I love it.

Review Acceleration of Sugari X Edition
Now, let’s get this out of the way: Suguri X is not going to appeal to everyone. In fact, there will likely be plenty of people that read this review and wonder why I’m “overrating” the game. But Suguri X isn’t for those people. If you are the type of gamer that cares about big-budget presentation, deep story lines, and all the other earmarks of high-profile game releases, you can probably just stop reading now and move along. However, if you’re the type of person that went out on day one and blissfully paid $60 for G.Rev’s Xbox 360 game WarTech: Senko no Ronde, welcome home.

So, what the heck is Suguri X, anyway? At its core, the game can be thought of as a top-down version of Sega’s Virtual On, only with the speed cranked up to the max and cute anime girls in the place of mechs. You and an opponent square off in a mid-air arena, dashing about and unleashing a barrage of projectiles at one another. And boy, does Suguri X’s action move quickly. It’s some of the most satisfying twitch gaming I’ve enjoyed in quite some time – my eyes get itchy whenever I play because I forget to blink.

Beyond its twitch action, what makes Suguri X so engaging is the depth of its combat. Each of the game’s characters has two sets of attacks: distance and close-range. Some fighters are best suited to hang back and fire off missiles, while others are best when attacking with a sword up close and personal. No matter your character’s fighting strengths, utilizing the dash move makes it easier to dodge your opponent’s curtain of attacks, but it also raises your character’s heat gauge, which causes you to take more damage if you should be hit. Finding a balance between dashing and dodging, not to mention baiting your opponent into raising their heat gauge in order to unleash massive damage upon them, will be the key factor between victory and defeat.

Review Acceleration of Sugari X Edition
Suguri X originated as an independent Japanese PC game developed by small doujin studio Orange_Juice, and these roots definitely show in the game’s lack of modes. Though there are a handful of one-player modes as well as an offline versus mode, online play is sorely missed, and its omission may make the game something of a tough sell to potential buyers. The game’s computer-controlled opponents put up a good fight and there are three difficulty modes to select from, but you’ll certainly get more bang for your buck if you can find some real-life opponents to play against.

In addition, I should point out that the one-player story modes don’t add much beyond what’s already in the arcade mode save for some silly plot lines playing out between battles over static character portraits. Though I suppose some people might enjoy them, I found myself skipping through the story sequences to get to the next match. But perhaps if you’re the type of person who can be found dressed up as your favorite anime characters at conventions, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, riveted by stories about holiday parties and pudding recipes.

Wait, maybe that’s kind of incredible after all!

Suguri X’s presentation is brimming with color and personality, but it’s not going to win any awards for pushing the envelope in the graphics department. The combatants all sport rudimentary 2D animation and the battles take place atop simple polygonal backdrops. It definitely looks like a game you’d find on the Dreamcast, and not even a top-tier title at that. That said, the frantic pace never hiccups, even with countless missiles and lasers blazing across the screen, so the sacrifice of animation frames and detailed locales pays off in making sure the game never slows down. Suguri X’s thumping soundtrack only adds to the speedy pace.

Bless Rockin’ Android for bringing Suguri X to the Playstation 3. The game’s potential audience is certainly limited and the frenzied action may be a little too much for most gamers to swallow, but for those of us who live and die by these types of niche titles, Suguri X is an absolute godsend. If you’re like me and can’t get enough of colorful, cheery games with hyperactive twitch gameplay (because, you know, there are just so many of them these days!), don’t hesitate to drop $6 on Suguri X. Just be sure to invite a buddy over to play with you – and don’t forget to blink!


Rockin’ Android

PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Network)

Singleplayer, Local Multiplayer

Release Date
February 15, 2011


*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review

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