What Makes Devil May Cry Cool: Devil May Cry

Welcome to a new series of posts I will be making around the Devil May Cry series. Originally, I was thinking of just making one post about why Dante is cool, but that would betray the entire point of asking why things are cool to begin with. Yes, Dante is our main character for three whole games (four if you count reboot) and while for the fourth game he took a more mentor-like role it seems that the fifth game is going to be good with sharing the spotlight this time around. There will still be a look into why Dante is amazing, but we still have other characters in this series. These games rarely have a large supporting cast, but each game still has a distinct cast at the very least. Then along the series there are many different things to talk about with presentation and mechanics. Also, I will be looking at every game in the series which will include the first sequel and the reboot. While I may not like those games there is still something to look at because Devil May Cry always tries to be the stylish game. It started a new era of action games into what we know as Character Action games now these days. With that all said, let us take a look into the game that started it all, Devil May Cry.

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Probably the first thing to talk about with the original game is the director of this game, Hideki Kamiya. Before the days of Platinum and Bayonetta, Kamiya was working with Capcom and made some damn important games. The focus here being Devil May Cry and later on we got Viewtiful Joe and Okami down the line. Even Shinji Mikami has some presence with this title as well since DMC was originally Resident Evil 4. Capcom says the high sense of action is the reason why it got changed and I bet that is a case when you do look at the Resident Evil 4 we did get, even if the fifth and sixth games went on that path in the end. I also feel that the use of demons could have been a reason for the departure as well since we always dealt with bio terrorism. Still there is something important about what these two game creators brought to the table for the first game and that is what is cool to them.

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For Kamiya, he made Dante to be the spitting image of the awesome guy we all want to be. Which if you find an image of him while he was younger and looking at something like Viewtiful Joe and Wonderful 101, you can tell this guy liked his superheroes. Now when I say that keep in mind, he is a Japanese man and while Japan has a love for the American heroes, they have their own history with heroes as well. A big part of that history would be the Tokusatsu genre. Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Metal Heroes, and Ultraman four franchises with a lot to offer and then there are one shot series that did belong to a franchise. With Wonderful 101 we see the Sentai elements for sure and I think Carranger is probably one of the best ones to look at for the comparisons. Viewtiful Joe clearly takes pages from the single hero aspects which would be a lot, but he has a Rider Kick so that helps out. So, what would Dante be? I think he would be the Kamen Rider as well. Knowing that those shows are for kids can also explain Dante’s behavior. He would rarely swear and never drinks or smokes. On top of that Dante has his Devil Trigger which gives him a brief transformation. The original riders were cyborgs who were already strong, but their transformed state shows off their true potential. Dante is a demon/human hyrbrid and his demon form would be the transformation. I can easily link the Showa era of Kamen Rider clearly inspired the Dante we know from the first game.

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As for Shinji Mikami that has to deal with the character Trish. While Kamiya had his dream hero, Shinji had his dream girl in Devil May Cry. From what I know from Hideo Kojima, there are sure some Japanese men who love blonde bombshells. Trish would be no exception to this since that is what she is. Hell, she even has a female biker look something that Jeane would pick up in her Bayonetta 2 look. Funny enough Jeane is actually Kamiya’s dream girl so the idea for the secondary to be someone’s fictional crush stuck in Bayonetta even. Along with Trish’s black costume and of course them being tights I guess you could stick that into some bondage territory. This could mean Trish is a dominating woman and seeing how the first thing she does is impale Dante with a sword and then throw her motorcycle at him, yea Trish is no pushover. So, Shinji likes a woman who plays rough and oddly enough the game he is not a part of is where Jill Valentine becomes a blonde.

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Now we get to one of the biggest core concepts of Devil May Cry and that is how danger is shown. For Dante danger is barely a thought at times as he would rarely show himself having a hard time. This motivates the player to be the best and keep up that stylish direction while playing the character. For the first game I bet people felt good in the beginning since all you were really facing were demonic puppets. Then you get Alastor and stop unleashing your full move set and the Devil Trigger. Now the player is feeling awesome doing stingers and million stabs and I bet feels a bit invincible right now. The game does a great job of showing you things are only going to get harder when the first boss appears, Phantom. Now these days people know the way around him, but in the beginning this boss caused people to go on that easy option. Phantom was a boss that would deliver all the pain and would rarely stop his assault. I bet many players were then shocked to see Dante glance him off then in the scene right after you actually beat him. To me this motivates a player to make sure Dante keeps the image of being the cool guy and the game even ranks you on your performance even. This ranking system would then be in mostly every action game afterwards, even No More Heroes had one and its back in Travis Strikes Again.

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Another aspect of Devil May Cry would be all the weapons you can get in this game. You start out with swords and guns. The guns start to change some principles as the shotgun is nothing like the pistols. This is already showing you that your input and opinions are important here. Do you want to get right in a demon’s face the hit hard with the shotgun or do you want to space yourself out with the pistols? Then while getting some other swords like Force Edge and Sparda, the gauntlet weapon Ifrit really stands out and becomes a stable in the franchise. This was a big part about being stylish since you could not just stick to one thing at a time. You could change on the fly like in other titles, but the game always wanted you to try everything out and learn. Variety lead to many good rewards in this game and even some bad ones like the swimming sections. Then a weapon like Sparda was completely different from your usual sword flair. Knowing when to use certain weapons was a big part of why action games started to always give you a large pool of weapons, because one player does better with one thing than another and vice versa.

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Onto the next boss is the third most important character, Nelo Angelo. With Phantom this demon had some lines with Dante and of course in Dante fashion talks trash at the demonic spider scorpion. Then comes the new boss where Dante already likes the look of him which just has Angelo snapping his finger and walk outside while prompting Dante that this fight is happening outside. Nelo Angelo even taunts you during your fights and you start to see something, this boss fights similarly to you. I will save this for later, but Nelo Angelo did start a popular trend of fighting a FOIL. Nelo Angelo has such a strong presence and soon with other demons we get to see that Dante does appreciate that they bring a good fight. Dante has fun with fights even if he has a mission to complete in the end. It is like he is finding stress relief during a task that would be stress inducing. We can even see that later with Leon in RE4 so Capcom must have loved the idea of a badass acting like nothing is wrong, insert your bingo joke here. Things do start to break though as Dante gets to learn about a certain demon.

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Mundus the demon that is responsible for the death of Dante’s mother and the demise of his brother. Throughout the story of this game, Dante sees Thunderhawk get killed by Mundus in cruel fashion. Dante actually got to respect Thunderhawk and seeing the demon bird get killed with no remorse bothered Dante. We now finally get to a demon that irks Dante and Mundus is no joke. The path leading to Mundus is a nice spectacle of itself. In the game the journey has you fighting demons in this wrecked castle and some of these demons were ugly. They spewed out so many liquids out of them and never look refined at all. Getting to Mundus though we get to see a chapel like area where Mundus has himself as a statue. He hides behind this shell to make himself look like a god which he is trying to achieve. When you fight him though you get to see the ugly parts inside of him as he is just like the others. This is something Bayonetta continued with having angels being the villains, they look regal on the outside, but peeling away their armor shows their true self. This is also Dante’s hardest fight to this day as no one else comes close to this since Dante has to turn into the spitting image of his father to finally settle the score.

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We get to see a lot from Dante in this first game. In the beginning he acts like the hot shot with barely breaking a sweat. We see that he honors his foes and appreciates a good fight. Dante even has a soft spot for his family since Trish resembles his mother and when defeating Nelo Angelo he knew that his brother is now gone from his life. Then with Trish even if she betrayed him, Dante still could never deal a killing blow to her. Not only since Trish looked like his mother, he still had hope that she would be a good person in the end. Sure, the line delivery was a bit awful, but the idea is still there. It is great to feel awesome playing as a stylish action character and Dante can also hit to the fields with his personality, something which we will easily get to at many later points.

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So, the first Devil May Cry is a flawed game, but oddly enough still holds up thanks to Kamiya’s direction. The first game also leads to sequels wanting to continue on certain aspects and possibly change the cool aspects too. Some lead to the franchise evolving and then others were just ignored or even caused a bit of chaos in the circles. Either way with the first game it was obvious it was trying to be the awesome game. While a bit limited because of the times the presence of Devil May Cry is still strong. The big thing with the first game is variety as you do fight a whole lot, but the mixture of Resident Evil puzzles, swimming in a first-person view, and even having a shooter fight can be found in action games later on. The puzzles have always been around, swimming did continue for a bit, and the shooting segments lived on in Bayonetta. Then of course the feeling of being cool exists in many other games after it, except for the sequel which is another story.

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Next one is going to be a hard one to do…

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Lupin the 3rd Part V: The Best Lupin?

I cannot tell you all the current anime people love to rave about that personally annoy me or just puts me to sleep. The big trend right now is My Hero Academia and I cannot get behind it. I can say it does look nice in terms of animation, but first I have seen better and personally I usually prefer the older styles of animation. With My Hero I just feel like I have seen this before with no special flair to it. I knew this show would not be for me when a friend told me it’s the new Naruto, which he could be wrong saying that, but when recommending me a show that is a bad sign to me. I will even admit while binge watching so much Lupin the 3rd, Part IV really started to feel weaker and weaker the more of other products I got to see. So even Lupin had trouble with one of its current shows. Lupin Part V continues the idea of the previous series with having main story junctions and can it do it justice this time around? 

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Personally, I can say that Part V does this idea with better execution thanks to making arches and splitting them between with filler episodes. It really helped the pacing of the show and it did not feel like Part IV where the filler episode could have been in the middle of something interesting happening. Another smart move with the filler episodes was that they decided to do tribute episodes to previous eras of the franchise, which was pure genius. On top of that the main story plots did not falter in comparison to these fan service episodes, hell the main story plots themselves had tons of fan service too. I think this is where Part V exceeds so well at, it was a show for the fans, but at the same time had fun new adventures for possible newcomers to the show. To be honest I can see these references actually making people interested in looking back with how soft some of them are and how they actually spice things up. There were many characters popping up in this show and some of them were previous characters from different eras. To me it can be seen as a fun scavenger hunt to find out where some of these characters came from. The fan service felt like an absolute treat this time around and kept old Lupin flavors while the big meat of Part V decided to bring new factors in. 

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Part V’s biggest draw was that Lupin and the gang were going to be using newer technology and also dealing with it. The first arch has Lupin feel the sting of social media with everyone being able to hunt him down thanks to it. The idea was extremely clever since the idea that the whole world is watching over Lupin which is a nightmare for a master thief. It’s an idea like that which showcases how this franchise can always work with ideas. The newer technology does more than create hassles for the crew, it could even take the fun out of the lifestyle. I can even admit that the show still had many surprising elements to it and that is saying something when all of Lupin will usually having shock to it. At this point I felt like things are going according to plan because Lupin is just tricking everyone, but no I was shocked to see things not go to plan at times. Which is really thanks to some big players being introduced into Part V, like the man who almost became Lupin the 3rd, Albert. Albert is another master thief, but he aims for a bigger prize than just some random treasures. He is incredibly smart and rivals Lupin and their back and forth while introducing this character is probably the best introduction for a new character in the series. 

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So, before I get too detailed about the plot sections about Part V, I want to shift my focus towards the tribute episodes. The introduction to these was a bold move since they decided to do a tribute to Part III of all things. This era of the series is considered the black sheep and while I have watched and enjoyed what I have watched of it so far, I can see where the stigma comes from. The third part is extremely wacky which is saying something when Part II is the real start of the craziness. With how they treated that episode though was a nice way to tell viewers how exactly these will be handled though. It focuses on the big aspects of said era while creating a new story around them. They also splice in many other references, but it never hinders the episode. I bet new viewers will still get a kick out of them because the show just knew how to use these references. Overall you get a completely new episode with an old flavor and the writing cast brought to life each part well. There are even Part II tribute episodes that showcases when the gang dealt with more supernatural aspects and even the shift to focus more on the other characters. A Part I tribute simply has Lupin solving a murder mystery which is also a clever reference to the original manga as well. Part IV even got a tribute episode with something a bit more comedic, but it still came of as a heart filled tribute. 

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Just remember that an episode dedicated to Part III pulled off a reference from Cagliostro

All of Lupin Part V just felt like the best tribute any series could ask for. With new characters that can rival the old, the old characters getting newer moments like many people questioning their relations with Lupin. Which I will say in terms of the main story Zenigata did get the least out of this, but he did also get one of the best tribute episodes as well, so there is that. Zenigata also had some great lines overall and his importance in the first arc was strong enough. At least Zenigata wasn’t ignored which is the crucial part here, he is still a character worth noting. Also, there was even a new character by the name of Amy (it’s Ami) that got to consider if a new character will possibly join the main cast, which could be more likely than one would think. Also, Ami herself is another strong character in this show where she appears in three of the four main story parts. She starts off being a girl stuck in the underworld to where she feels free and even joins the thrilling life that Lupin experiences, which of course was exciting. 

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Along with that, this new Lupin brought back more of the mature vibes that the franchise as had before. Part IV did have small moments with even a small scene of prostitution in Europe, still Part IV felt safe to say at least. Part V not only went harder with that aspect, it even brought back more of the gore which only few Lupin products showcased. It just felt this show was not afraid to hold back and while it is not the goriest Lupin product, I think I can say it is probably the goriest show though. Now in terms of maturity the Fujiko Mine focused series is the best one of that where it was not afraid of the constant nudity. Still for Lupin to get back to more of its roots with violence and even some sexual content compared to Part IV, just felt right more at home. I cannot really remember a Lupin product having so many bodies drop. It never felt out of place though as most of it was due to dangerous circumstances like the many assassins after Lupin and his gang, which again I think the previous series felt weaker due to being a bit safer. 

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Overall, Lupin Part V is a great new show and to me hits all the right notes. For a fan who remembers watching Part II when it was on Adult Swim back in the days and then recently re-watched some of Part II last year, the spark came into me. Not only did I finish Part II, I finished Part 1 and IV, watching Part III at this time, and not only re-watched Castle of Cagliostro (which I reviewed), I even got to watch many Lupin films and specials (which I have talked about as well). I got back into Lupin faster than I expected and watching Part V feels like a perfect show for a fan who binged so much into his head. I noticed many references, but also got to love the new ideas explored into Lupin. I can easily say this rivals Red vs Green in terms of a tribute since this show can clearly be called the All Jacket series, a love letter to the franchise.

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Even Ashita no Joe gets a reference! Oddly enough another franchise I had a binge with.

No More Heroes: The Beginning of a Grasshopper Otaku

As seen on this blog before, No More Heroes is a huge game for me. I have talked about it so many times in my life. I still remember just being mesmerized from that first trailer and experiencing the game by renting it when I was a young boy. What started as a great game with some zany aspects to it soon changed to where I constantly look into all the satire the game has brought. Even with No More Heroes 2 I am doing that right now. There are tons of things to pick with No More Heroes and it is not only because of story elements. Even the game design itself speaks so many words. While it was not perfect the experience was just something amazing and ballsy to look at. Suda 51 with the original game and previous titles he has worked on were really risky for the gaming environment. Even his writing for the Fire Pro Wrestling series left a big impression on the series. A big thing Suda has talked about with video games is that he never tries to follow a mold and always wants any title he personally works on to be different. With that in mind, I want to share my experience of what No More Heroes did for me as a gamer.

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2006 was a big year for gaming, especially at E3. The Nintendo Wii was revealed for the first time and Super Smash Bros Brawl was even announced that same presentation. I still remember when Zero Suit Samus, Wario, Pit, Meta Knight, and Solid Snake were first revealed. Those were exciting times and then I remember getting interested with Red Steel, but the trailer that stuck with me the most was Heroes. The original title for Travis’ adventure was simply called Heroes and the trailer shows off his first fight with Rank 11, Helter Skelter. Sure, there was no game footage shown, but man this trailer just impressed me. It is mostly thanks to how Helter Skelter looked like the main character and he was even shown first. Helter even had a good one liner “Hear the lullaby? Well rest in peace, baby!” Then we see him get killed by Travis who simply says “Your shining armor and fine words won’t get you anywhere.” What a lame line to say when you killed someone and it does not help that the voice acting was so awful for this trailer. Still the premise that there are ten more killers above this man sounds so enticing, like you think this guy was awesome? Wait to see what is next. On top of that we had a lovely shot of Travis fighting in a movie theater which I guess fighting Harvey on a stage was close to this. Either way this trailer shocked me and just hearing Travis being excited for his upcoming battles just gets you right in.

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I paid close attention to this game along with Brawl and we got a better look into Heroes became. No More Heroes being revealed in 2007 and man what we got to see what an extremely early build of the game. One thing to note is that we got to see two more bosses which was Shinobu and Destroyman, two that would be known as fan favorites in the series. Shinobu was school girl with a katana that was jumping off walls and throwing projectiles through her sword. Then Destroyman looking like a reject superhero with lasers and electricity shooting out of him. My curiosity was still hitting the roof because I still had no idea what was left. This is even before they still shown off the famous recharge animation for Travis, hell his default Beam Katana was green in this trailer and he held it on his back. Then seeing the name Suda 51 being flashed around was interesting because this was the first time really seeing this name. An aspect of the trailer was that the voice acting had a big improvement and still to this day I can say that No More Heroes has some of the best in voice acting. Travis got to be known well not only for his lines, but the performance as well.

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Now it did take some time for me to own this game, but I did rent it a couple of times. Oddly enough I owned the sequel first, to clear the air I was still pretty young at the time so buying games on my own was not really a thing yet. I was a bit worried with No More Heroes since it was an “M” rated game, but I’m not too sure why it bothered me during that time. I have played Doom and Quake beforehand, but I guess I started to see how violent some games got to be afterwards like with Mortal Kombat games during the time, so seeing No More Heroes being that same rating made me think there was going to be many things awaiting me that would end up getting me in trouble. That did not happen at all, my parents were always flexible with stuff like this, so again I really forget why I was worried in the first place, young anxiety I guess. Now with this being a Wii game, I was expecting motion controls as I am still a fan for them and I can say No More Heroes had a clever idea to use them. They saved the motions for the big moments and did not make the whole game around them like Red Steel. Personally, I think this turned out better than both Red Steel and Madworld. The main combat was addicting, but there was still more to come.

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No More Heroes did tons of little side missions to vary up the game. Now this was before the 8-bit minigames in the sequel. The side missions simply were real life tasks, playing a deadly game of baseball, and killing a bunch of dudes. I know many people hate the side job tasks, but I really enjoyed them even when I first played them. I do remember being into Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing before so maybe No More Heroes did resonate those sim-like qualities I enjoyed in previous games. I did end up getting tired of them, but not mowing the lawn in this game. I think everything was just presented so well and I enjoyed the use of motion controls. I rarely struggle with motion controls and controlling Travis was simple to master that I felt so great doing everything. Hell, even holding a button for simply refueling cars felt great, which is probably thanks to the music. No More Heroes had great attention to the presentation and Santa Destroy is an empty city, but I loved exploring it. It was a rundown city and seeing every nook and cranny of it, just felt correct. Some games that try too hard to simulate environments really can take me out of the experience. The flawed Santa Destroy felt better for me since it was a hollow city naturally.

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This is where No More Heroes really got me and still does to this day. The flaws were still so interesting to look into. It is thanks to such raw creativity that everything comes together. It also helps that the variety was high even with the main combat. The first level simply had you explore a large mansion and fight enemies till you got to the boss. The second level had you going through a stadium where you play baseball and fight a Western styled character at the baseball diamond. The third level gave you a school to travel where the you got to deal with punks with torches that can put you on fire then the sprinkler line short circuits your weapon making you defenseless. The fight with Shinobu was also a big game changer with her low health, but better mobility and deadlier moves compared to the two previous bosses. The next level was really interesting as you start on a subway train so it’s a more closed in area for fighting. Then you get to a big studio where you got to explore the high and lows of each area. Destroyman’s fight was unique thanks to how he flies in the middle of the battle and you got to bring him down.

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The fifth level was a straight shot and even teased you out of a boss battle, like what the hell?! The sixth level then gives you a minigame to play as you do a bullet hell arcade game all of a sudden. Level seven soon puts you on a bus with a 2D camera view this time around as you slice up guys. Even the boss fight for that area was a stage in itself as you avoid the giant lasers. After that we get to use the motorcycle to mow down some baseball goons and you can mess up and then fight them on foot. The last level then gave more motorcycle fun as you kill and avoid foes. Then we get to a haunted forest where you need to take the correct paths to make it to the end. The game even hides a true final battle after all of this. The level of variety was so high with the first game and it knew how to explore concepts because assassination missions even changed things up too. Were they all perfect though?

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No, many levels had problems. The bus area with the 2D view really becomes troublesome when foes can appear behind and in front of you. The motorcycle section with running down guys can take more time than you think and I remember just wanting to kill them the old-fashioned way because you needed speed to actually kill them while on the bike, which can be hard when you got only like three guys left. The level extension boss fight where you dodge lasers is actually boring because the enemies can be in locations which you can avoid if you do things right. I feel like that part of the game works well for the first-time experience because the idea of trying to find cover and then you got to worry about foes popping up in them is cool, you can even get foes caught in the laser beams. Even a boss fight like with Dr. Peace is extremely easy because you can circle around him and then not get hit at all since he is only a gunslinger. Still I enjoy the fight fully thanks to just how enjoyable Dr. Peace is. The same can be said for Harvey where his fight throws more at you while still being an easy outing. The camera can flip on you, you can get caught in an instant kill move (super easy to escape from), and Harvey can even do the Majima spin! This will always be the saving grace for No More Heroes, raw creativity.

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This is one of the reasons why I can be excited for Travis Strikes Again, the concept is literally all about variety. While I bet some will not be as great as others since people are worried about one of the game worlds and saying this is the whole game, I know that is not the case. I mean with TSA’s first levels being a straight hack and slash is not worrisome, since it is the beginning. Knowing Suda putting back his mentality of variety in this title makes me feel safe to go all in and even if there can be a repetition factor, I had no problem with that in No More Heroes 2 (and at times people go back and forth on which NMH game is better). The sequel really focused on the combat alone without the huge variety the original game had, there is still other things to do thanks to the awesome 8-bit minigames, but the levels rarely spiced things up. Desperate Struggle still comes off as a fun game for me since I was always a fan of the combat and while this game did not have the flow of the original, it is still so enjoyable to chop of heads as Travis. Giving Travis newer weapons that are more based on preference of what a player likes were way better than just the upgrades you got in the original game.

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So, what I am really trying to say here? Well the big thing is that perfection should not be the reason to love any piece of media. Simply having fun should be the focus. People who talk about a game being perfect always has me laugh since there will always be a flaw, even if it comes from a different opinion. What one can consider a good mechanic could easily be called bad from another. While I can think of some games that really do no real wrong in terms of mechanics, it comes across as boring for me then. It’s like the movie that does nothing wrong in terms of writing, but it never hits a really exciting point because of that. To me when so many people call a game “perfect” to me I rather call it boring. These perfect games really just play the market and do nothing grand.

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This is a huge reason why I loved Suda 51 and Grasshopper in general. All of their games keep coming up with creative ideas. The Silver Case and its sequel are visual novels, but the exploration aspects of it and the overall story telling is quite shocking for the years they were released. Flower, Sun, and Rain is one of the strangest adventure and mystery game around thanks to a great presentation and near torture inducing amount of walking, but the puzzles were uniquely done as well. Killer7 is still to this day one of the craziest games ever made. A rail shooter where you can still control where you go mixed with adventure game logic. No More Heroes mixed tons of variety into a 3D action game and then its sequel tried to focus more on changing up the boss fights more than anything else. Shadows of the Damned takes the Resident Evil 4 formula for a ride with not only shooting baddies down, but also giving survival missions and some unique ideas for battling the damned. Lollipop Chainsaw is easily the most action focused out of the bunch, but the presentation is still something to talk about. Killer is Dead being the most in-depth action game thanks to skill paths and a combo system, along with a strong art style and bringing back variety with minigames made this a near return to a certain style. Let it Die takes the Dark Souls concept for a fun ride thanks to the gauntlet idea becoming a bit more extreme and that your past self can be a foe. There are even some side games that are not only fun, but still out there in their creativity.

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Overall, perfection will always be an impossible task since its highly subjected and so is fun itself. The aim should be to see what is fun and going for all aspects of it. Video games do go through this trouble at times thanks to franchises being expected to do the same thing over and over again. Even creators are expected to do the same thing again or they just get compared to their older work at times. Shinji Mikami being a strong example of this with him working on Shadows on the Damned and then even the original Evil Within. People will always mention Resident Evil 4 when talking about those two titles and even I did it with the first game. This is why I adore Suda 51 and his company to a high degree. I never feel like they got fully stuck with that problem, the closest being the times of Shadows, Lollipop, and Killer is Dead where the humor got a bit overly sexual and even Kadokawa Games even expected that after Lollipop Chainsaw which lead to one of the minigames in Killer is Dead. Still all of their games hold unique styles to them and considering how much they have made, that is an amazing task to pull off. The same old can be done over and over again, but with “Punk is not dead” mentality, Grasshopper and Suda will make sure to bring something crazy.

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Keep the punk alive, Suda!

Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes: What To Really Expect

Travis Strikes Again has been a title I have been excited for. A big stigma the game has been that certain people are not happy seeing the game from the demos. People are worried about the game being repetitive. Which to be honest, No More Heroes had this problem since day one. The original game was an action game where you go through levels killing guys. The original game had little segments between those levels and then Desperate Struggle barely changed the pace. Travis Strikes Again is aiming to change up the formula by using different game genres. This is a smaller game compared to the previous two and this one is basically making the mini games more full-fledged. The basic No More Heroes concept is around of hack and slash, but what will soon change is how you progress through certain levels. There will also be completely new styles of levels. Through game footage shown and new screenshots, this game has many aspects of what Grasshopper has done before. Suda has even mentioned that this game is being done with the mindset of reaching back to their roots, a smaller team making a game.

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A big aspect of Grasshopper in general is how they focused on different genres to begin with. The Silver Case and Killer7 experimented with different art styles to represent different sections of their games. Even No More Heroes dabbled into different ideas of the media by making characters representing these aspects. Where things get a bit blurry with that idea would be Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw. These two games did not really dive too much into this aspect. The tale of Garcia Hotspur and his partner Johnson was a trip through hell with demon slaying all around. Lollipop Chainsaw had zombie slaying with a cheerleader hero. Killer is Dead did bring things back to focus for a little bit thanks to the noire style the game has with references to spy films or possibly South Korean films. Killer is Dead even threw in some movie magic into the mix with obvious B-film references. Let it Die really focused on the dystopia aspect and how you climb to the top. Travis Strikes Again is easily bringing back the look into different forms of a medium and this time it is all about games. 

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Suda 51 has been loving independent games as of lately. I can easily recall all the times he talked about Hotline Miami. Suda easily got inspired by the indie scene for video games and I cannot blame him. This scene has been having a big boom as of lately. Titles like Shovel Knight, Shantae Half Genie Half Hero, Bloodstained Ritual, and the big library from Devolver Digital have been doing well. This is not the reason why Suda focused on them though, it reminded him of the old days of his company. Grasshopper started pretty small and how they got around their lack of budget was with creative style. Indie games easily have that similar flair. They are lower budget games, but the effort put into them make them stand out with the other big titles. Looking at games like The Silver Case and Flower Sun and Rain, they were low budget games and what helped them was clever ideas of how to present these titles. Travis Strikes Again is having a similar idea of wanting to bring the most with smaller ideas.

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The big thing that people are worrying about is the core game because demos have been showing the same first game world. That is the thing though, it is one of the game worlds. There is a total of seven game worlds in this title and each have a different genre. Action, racing, and puzzle are only three so far. The action is what we have been seeing so far and to be honest I love what I see from that. The co-op play looks great, sure the enemies so far seem low in numbers, but one thing I noticed from people playing the demos, it is on the easy difficulty. So, who knows how many will appear in other difficulties or when they are not in demo mode. I am also happy to see new moves being shown off and even a co-op special move with the best name ever, “Choco Banana Cream with Caramel Ice Cream!” The boss fight looked fun thanks to all three phases being shown off. One you are fighting him as he gets overconfident, the second phase as you destroy his arena since it is causing electricity to shoot from the floor, and then you finish him off with wrestling moves!

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For the puzzle segment it was shown before and it got shown again in a screen shot. The puzzle method is an area where you can move the roads and houses to create your path while worrying about enemies attacking you. I also bet since their bugs in a video game they can just break the rules and attack you whenever, like they can go through environments that Travis cannot. It also seems some areas are bugged out, maybe you have to destroy those areas or restore them so you can use them to bridge your way out.

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The racing section looks amazing! The whole wire frame look for this title really reminds me of some old arcade games. I do wonder if this will play like Madworld’s biking sections where you get to the finish line while still killing foes. Because I imagine all of these games have co-op features to them. It would be insane if the race mode secretly has the two of you compete with each other to win a bonus, sort of like how some Nintendo games do that. That screen shot of the racing section has me really excited since the completely new look really has me waiting to see what else can happen. 

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Then the camera view gets changed which was seen before in a trailer. We have a desert and a mansion area. With the new camera change you could be able to move up and down those stairs and explore this mansion. Who knows, it could function like a survival horror game because when I think of mansions, I tend to think of horror games. For the desert it could be survival as well, but without the horror elements. So with the camera view looking the same in these shots for desert and mansion locations, that is probably the same game world. Or who knows maybe what lies in the mansion are doors that have challenges that keep changing things up. 

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The one screen shot I am very happy with is this one where it is a live action scene. I really wonder what could be going on with this one. Maybe the game could be a joke on certain choose your own adventure games. I would love to see a live action Travis Touchdown in this style. Also, the most human looking boss appears in this scene which explains his design being the most normal looking one. Speaking of bosses, we do see two other ones in screen shots. One is the racing boss as he is made up of different colors and wireframe graphics. The other one is the matador looking man who has a mech he can pilot which could mean an old minigame from the original No More Heroes or something like the giant robot fight in No More Heroes 2 could be making a return. 

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Overall there is still much more to look forward to with Travis Strikes Again. This game is doing something that Grasshopper has done before in the past. Along with that Suda 51 is back in the director’s chair and he wants to show that indie love he has right now. The game is going for a smaller game with big impact feel and while not everyone might not see it, I know I will. Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes will be releasing on January 18th, get those beam katanas ready! 

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Super Smash Bros Ultimate: Newcomer or Echo?

With even more information about Smash Ultimate coming out it is getting people crazier about the game. With the reveals of Simon and Richter Belmont along with K. Rool people are speculating who is left to reveal? The big question is though that Echo Fighters are a thing in this game. A desired character could easily be made into an Echo, which do not let that make you think they are going to be lesser of a character. Echo Fighters are being made to increase the roster size still and give fans long awaited characters. Daisy finally gets her chance to appear in this game and not just a color for Peach. Chrom gets his chance to shine and Dark Samus is another Metroid villain Samus has to worry about. Now so far, the newcomers we got are, Inkling, Daisy, Ridley, Simon and Richter Belmont, Chrom, Dark Samus, and K. Rool. So, we are at four completely new characters and four Echoes. There is a balance as of lately which I bet Sakurai is doing that on purpose to make a good list of newcomers still. Sure, splitting the numbers make it seem smaller, but we already got eight new characters revealed, that is a lot. The usual process of waiting for even one new character was a drag and then they hide some as secret fighters. Personally, I do not think there will be any secret fighters because of what happened with the 3DS version being leaked online. That really just sucks to see all the hard work of trying to surprise people be wasted. I bet the last bit of information we get will be in November so that type of incident does not happen again. Now people are still wondering who is left to reveal, but after that is the question of, what role will they play? Let’s look at fan requests as of now and speculate who can be a brand-new fighter or based on another. 

Travis Touchdown

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Yea I am starting with Travis because I will not hide the fact that I bet he will be in the game. Not only that I do feel an Echo Fighter for him can be possible. We have seen with Richter that Echoes can even go with a new character. This is not that surprising because certain characters work with new gimmicks of their games. Just look at Palutena when she was revealed alongside the Mii Fighters and advertising custom move lists. Simon and Richter could be the last ones of this kind possibly. Still we should not ignore possibilities here. Travis Touchdown for sure will be his own unique character, a new franchise being added into the roster should be proof of that. As of now Echoes are still being in their respective series. Which personally I could easily see Ashley and Red being an Echo for Rosalina and Luma, but oh well. Any new IP being added means you are a new fighter, Splatoon and Castlevania prove this. No doubt Travis will be a new character with the unique mechanic of watching his battery levels just like in No More Heroes. The Echo then could be Henry a character who does not have to worry about charging his weapon, but his attacks would be weaker to compensate for that. Henry could even have a projectile move for a bigger difference compared to Travis. Travis could throw in his side job items for attacks, while Henry sticks to his main weapon of choice while still doing similar motions and animations. Overall, I know for Travis Touchdown will be in this game and I would die if another character can be an echo for him, maybe even Shinobu would be a good choice? 

Bandana Dee

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Here is a character that I put money on he will be an Echo. Because seeing how this Dee fought in Return to Dreamland where he has a sharp weapon and even some flight, makes me think of Meta Knight. Dee can easily carry similar moves to Meta Knight, but have a better range than Meta Knight’s sword thanks to his spear. Now you can change things still, Chrom being an Echo of Roy, but still having Ike’s Aether move shows this. While Dee’s flying move can be different, the idea of him having a similar air game to Meta Knight is not that crazy of an idea. Another reason I see this is because he is not that big of a character in the Kirby series compared to the three we got. I say that Bandana Dee will be an Echo if he gets in, because can you really see a big newcomer trailer for him? 

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Does cute work for hype?

Ken or Akuma

If you know anything about fighting games there is one type of character that this genre loves, Shotos. Ryu is famous for being the first and the Street Fighter series made some interesting variations based on this character. We got Ken who was more of a combo hitting character with fire elemental attacks. Akuma being more aggressive thanks to in air projectiles and his unique style of movement. Both of these two can easily be Echoes for Ryu and while Akuma gotten to shine in Tekken as well, I feel like Ken should get this slot. Ken has always been with Ryu and looking back at the Street Fighter music in Smash 4, we had Ken themes along with Ryu’s. Seeing on how Smash stuck with the classic look of Simon Belmont, I can bet Sakurai would like to stick with the classic character that has been with Ryu ever since the first game. Ken can have more combo attacks in his move list and possibly have fire elemental attacks too. Akuma is possible too regardless and his changes could be seen in movement and how he works with the projectiles. Since how Akuma does them in the air is different as he always aims them down. The movement aspect came to me when looking at Samus and Dark Samus, they have completely different animations in their movements. Dark Samus is literally floating the entire time. So Akuma’s dash could have his unique style of movement or maybe when he cancels his focus attack he does the famous slide. While my vote is for Ken, Akuma still has a great shot as well. 

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Oni costume would be sick!

Dixie Kong

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With K. Rool popping up, I remember people talking about how Dixie Kong will be with him and high chance she would be an Echo for Diddy Kong. She can easily keep the same basics as Diddy in terms of the normal moves. Things can get a bit different with that hair though, since she will use her hair like Diddy uses his tail. I bet her recovery can be a charged on, but with no negative drawbacks to it. She can easily chuck physical projectiles with her hair being the neutral special and holding onto to them for too long will cause her to drop them. She can keep the banana play and monkey flip then. So, this one is pretty easy to go through as I can see Dixie having a bit of a better range with her hair compared to Diddy’s normal moves. She would be a bit weaker, still be fast with fluid movements and set ups, and have a bit more range. 

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I guess Funky Kong could work as an Echo too.

Tetra and Impa

These two are an interesting pick because I can see both being an Echo for Shiek, but I can also Impa being her own character. If Impa goes with her Skyward Sword design, she would easily be an Echo for Shiek. If they want to go with Hyrule Warriors design though, she would be a completely new character. Warriors’ Impa has too many different weapons to work with to not make that a new character. Tetra easily can have the similar tricks that Shiek has like the grenade and such. Who knows they might give Tetra or Impa the whip that Shiek had originally. Tetra would easily be a toon variation of Shiek which could make her a new character and not Echo, but I feel closer to Echo regardless. I bet you can replace Shiek’s needles for Tetra’s bullets like how she uses her guns in Hyrule Warriors. To be honest there are tons of Zelda characters that can work as Echoes or new characters. Toon Ganon or Phantom Ganon could be used and Skull Kid is a high request. I have to say that Zelda has the highest chance for a new fighter in general if it is Echo or not. 

Mona

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With Ashley still being an assist trophy, will Wario ever get an ally for his franchise? High chance no, but Mona is one of the first characters that appeared from the WarioWare franchise and high chance she could work like an Echo Fighter. Mona does have her scooter so she does have transportation similar to Wario’s bike. The fart move could easily be replaced with anything, like maybe Mona takes a pizza out and could make it a physical thrown projectile. The thing is to mention as well is that Mona did many different things. She had her pizza job along with singing, she became a cheerleader, archaeologist, and then even a fashion icon in her recent appearance. She has many things that can make a move set. Like the up B could have her in cheerleader outfit doing a similar move to Wario’s twist. Neutral B can be her taking out a device for digging or such and people get caught in it. Wario is one of the few IP’s that only has one rep and yet easily has characters that could work in Smash and speaking of that… 

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Maybe next time

Black Shadow 

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Ganondorf got a bit of a makeover for this new game and I mean it is finally time too! I have mentioned before if Ganon does get changed there should be a way to still keep that same fun fans had with the old Ganondorf. Now he still may have similar moves in terms of specials, but an Echo for Captain Falcon is still not impossible. Black Shadow will keep filling this villain quota we have been getting lately. There could be a theme going on here for that since we got Ridley, Dark Samus, and K. Rool. I will say with Chrom being an Echo it kills Black Knight’s chances of being an Echo, but Sakurai really loves Fire Emblem… Either way Black Shadow keeping everything the same in terms of Captain Falcon’s moves, but just slower and stronger could still be around. I really cannot see any other character getting a shot to be a new F-Zero representative at this point and if it still does not happen, Captain Falcon is going to be alone forever. 

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Chibi-Robo 

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Now we have hit an interesting character that has a high chance of being in the game. I sadly forgot about this little robot and while looking back he could easily be in. Chibi-Robo will be one of those other solo characters that show off their franchise, just like Wii Fit Trainer, Duck Hunt, and ROB. Which with those characters being one-offs, could Chibi be made as an Echo for ROB? I can easily say that Chibi can be his own character and I would like to see his plug get used in a specific way as well. Like Chibi-Robo has a move where he plugs into characters and drains energy from them so that he can keep charged and strong. Or maybe use a taunt to have Chibi plug in and charge with cancelling animations being allowed. Also add in that he uses that plug and wire like a whip can leave some great imagination too. It would easily be an interesting tether grab too. Still let us look at ROB’s move set too. I bet they can make the Chibi fire electricity like ROB does with his laser and the longer you hold onto it, the stronger it will be with an indication for it. Chibi could throw garbage around like ROB does with his Gyro and Chibi can add electricity to it to make it a stronger physical projectile with charge functions as well. The up special could just be Chibi, twirling his plug like a helicopter and fly like ROB, and Chibi can do that as well for a side special like ROB does. It is not impossible to make these two robots share a move set and Chibi can still keep some unique things as well, like tether grabs and a better range of attacks compared to ROB. Still, every new IP has a completely new character and not just an Echo to represent their franchise. 

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Dr. Luigi 

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I’m just joking, we already got Dr. Mario and yet he is not an Echo. Dr. Luigi would just be a silly idea… right? Sakurai?

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Isaac and Geno

I am putting these two in the same paragraph because they have a similar dilemma. Isaac would bring Golden Sun to Smash, but I will say he does have a bit of trouble with Robin and Shulk being around already. Geno is owned by Sqaurenix and yet is still part of the Mario franchise. Isaac could easily be a lonely character representing his franchise and like I proposed for Chibi Robo, could he be an Echo? When really looking at Robin he shows the unique aspect of Fire Emblem with him thanks to weapon durability. Isaac could implement this in a different way. Golden Sun has the usual hit points and magic points like many other RPG’s. I can easily see Isaac having to worry about his magic points in the middle of battle just like how he explores and battles. Isaac cannot just spam magic whenever he wants to and has to collect that back up or wait for it to restore just like Robin’s tomes coming back. Now the Djinn could then make Isaac a Shulk Echo possibly. The reason for that is the Djinn do give different boosts to the character they are equipped to and I can easily see Isaac wanting to change around those Djinn too. Then on top of that they can give him elemental properties too. I can see Isaac being an Echo for possibly two characters, but again new IP’s usually just mean new move pool. Geno then is a tricky one because if he had to be an Echo for a Mario character it is not possible really. Also, the backlash that will get would be huge! Geno is such a tricky character and the reception he has is interesting as well. I am sure there are genuine fans for him because of the scene for Mario RPG characters are usually just one-shot characters and they want more out of them. I can agree on that front, but being a one-shot wonder could make this a problem too. I remember Sakurai saying Geno has a chance for this game based on his comments during Smash 4’s DLC run and I can easily see him being a character with a new move pool. Still, something just bugs me about this it is probably because he is a one-shot wonder and hence does not have that much history with Nintendo in general compared to many other characters. 

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Mii Fighter theory helps him for sure

Paper Mario and Fawful 

While speaking of Mario RPG’s there are two characters that would have no trouble being Echoes. Paper Mario being an obvious one with Mario and Fawful could be an Echo for Bowser Jr. For Fawful I have even seen a fan made costume for him being placed over Bowser Jr. Fawful is known for using technology on him at all times so it’s not a crazy idea. Maybe make his headgear be the little kart in comparison to Bowser Jr. Fawful can pull many tricks out of that head piece or maybe make his floating platform be the object he uses too. Either way Fawful can easily be an Echo and the same can be said to Paper Mario since he is Mario. Now Paper Mario is known for having allies on his side and they can still be implemented easily. Replace Fludd with Sushi since that fish squirts water out of her mouth. An up special can have Mario still do a jump, but then Parakarry carries him up for an extra boost. The cape can be replaced by Vivian being someone a little jab that turns them around and causes a little burn as well. Then the neutral can be Paper Mario setting his bombs out like Bombette and Bobbery. They would be slower than the usual Fireball special, but they can still work the same and be more like a physical projectile. Smash moves then can still have Paper Mario with his hammer and just be a little beefier than normal Mario’s Smash attacks. Paper Mario would easily be a lightweight for sure though so he would easily be a glass cannon compared to Mario being a completely balanced character. I can say for sure that there will be a character showing off the Mario RPG scene though no doubt. 

Rex and Ninten

Speaking of RPG’s there are two characters that can be Echoes. Ninten for Ness and Rex for Shulk. Let’s start with Rex because oddly enough it can easily work out like that idea I had for Isaac. Hey Isaac, you got one Echo possibility off of you. Rex easily changes between different blades with elemental properties. Sure, they give completely new moves all the time, but Smash has to take some liberties here and there. I mean look at Shulk with the Jump and Smash arts. So, while Shulk focuses on buffing himself, Rex focuses changing how his attacks work with the elements. Ninten is then another easy one since he is one of the other boys with PSI powers. We have seen Lucas take some spins on it as well and Ninten can be closer to Ness then. Maybe make Ninten this mixture of both since Chrom is a Roy Echo, but with Ike’s up special. I bet Ninten will not have ice powers though.

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People also really liked Pyra and Mythra.

Pokémon

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I am keeping this topic very broad since recently the famous leaker has been talking about a generation seven Pokémon lately. Mimikyu is simply a Poke ball summon which again I could have seen that little thing being an Echo for Pickachu. The leaker said that Decidueye is not playable, but again that screams Echo chances with Greninja oddly enough. The arrows can work like the water shuriken, just the full charged one will be one bit hit and not the multiple hits. Still the bird can easily fire a lot in succession. The up special can be replaced with wind properties that can possibly move players around. Since the owl is a Grass Ghost typing it can vanish and appear like Greninja does and counters are easy to implement to any move pool. While Pokémon Trainer is back he still has three numbers to himself so Echoes are possible with all three of those Pokémon. Incineroar could be an Echo for Charizard thanks to their aggressive nature. They both have claws oddly enough too. Also, Charizard does not fly that well so it is not impossible. I have heard people talk about Necrozma which he looks like he can be an Echo for Mewtwo and maybe throw in Darkrai for being a possible Echo for Mewtwo too, hell even Deoxys can work with that. Overall there are so many Pokémon that I would not be surprised if a new one becomes an Echo for like any of them. 

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Doc Louis or King Hippo 

Little Mac was a big game changer for Smash Bros in general. Being a completely land dominant character he still comes off as one of Smash 4’s most deserving and original characters. Now can Little Mac have an Echo for him? There is his coach who we know can fight since he was a boxer in his past as well. Or do you go for a completely bigger and slower character like King Hippo. Also, oddly enough for some reason I can see King Hippo being an Echo for K. Rool for some reason. Now Little Mac goes with the Power Meter and maybe Doc Louis can work with the star system from the console games since it is in the lore of Punch-Out that Louis invented the Star Punch. King Hippo could just work with the power meter then and maybe it could also give him a better recovery move because yea King Hippo would have the worst recovery of all time if he gets in. Then for Doc Louis it would be great to see if he can keep the bike around for like his running or dash attack. I bet this will never happen for either of the two, but I just had fun thinking about these two. 

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Dante

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Dante can easily be an Echo for Bayonetta of course, I mean we all know we want to see Dante strut what he got just like Bayonetta. Again, another joke, but we all know Dante is sexy… what? Also, to be honest Dante would make me go out of control with excitement because Dante and Bayonetta fighting or teaming up sounds too good to pass up. A bit sad to see that Jeane will not be an Echo for Bayonetta. 

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Shadow the Hedgehog or Tails

A pretty obvious one since everyone has been talking about this one non-stop. His assist trophy has not been found and then Knuckles just shows up as one all of a sudden. This would not be a hard thing to do even for the sake of a character model. Shadow is Sonic in many ways. I would laugh if he somehow has a gun on him. Personally, I am more for Tails since Tails has been Sonic’s buddy since the second game and he knows how to fight too. Tails does many similar moves to Sonic as well. Tails can have flight be his game changer while Shadow can probably mix in some projectiles in his move pool like Chaos Spear for example. We did also have Sonic Mania bring Tails back into the playable spotlight which I want Tails to stay like that. I am personally annoyed he is getting slated as the smart guy only right now. Again, third party characters can easily get Echoes since some of them have characters who are just like them. 

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I’m just waiting for Big (obviously joking)

Isabelle

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This character is getting talked about a whole lot because of the famous leaker mentioned before. This man has even gone so far saying that any leak that does not have her in the list, is a lie. That is a big claim right there. While thinking of Animal Crossing, can an Echo really be made for the Villager? His most unique thing is to pocket things and will they really just have Isabelle keep that? I am really wondering where the differences will come into play for this one. Can Isabelle somehow upgrade pocket items thanks to finances? I am also trying to think of what could replace the Gyroid Rocket or how it can be changed up. I cannot see Isabelle planting trees or even be wearing balloons on her head. While I am struggling to see this done for an Echo, this does not mean I am for her being a completely new character too. I personally just cannot see this character getting in except for like one idea possibly. She is a character that got tons of love in her first appearance, but is she worthy of a completely new move pool? 

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Chorus Kids or Karata Joe

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The Rhythm Heaven series has been getting a short stick lately in Smash. The Gematsu leak had some hard evidence for the kids since Chrom was the part of the planned roster, but got changed to Robin in Smash 4. Chrom is now an Echo or could the Chorus Kids get that same treatment? They are famous for being a team of three, but could they be reduced to two to be an Echo for Ice Climbers? They can spout out musical notes and they have a slight upwards slant compared to the ice chunks. Spinning is not that hard to pull off for any character, hell imagine one kid using two of his buddies as weapons in a spin attack. Then they could use each other in a rope like structure for a recovery move. Maybe a three teamed Ice Climbers like character is not that crazy either. Then Karate Joe… he has karate. I guess his gimmick could be rhythm while fighting, but that sounds like a hassle. Who knows he could just add in other characters from the series for his move pool. I cannot see him being an Echo though only because of how normal he is. Like I guess a Ryu Echo, but why would they give a third-party character an Echo of a first party? I bet Sakurai is a clever man and can work with many things, so we shall see what happens. 

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Balloon Fighter
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The retro character pick is another trend for the series. It all started with Melee and Game and Watch. For Brawl that pick was for ROB and then Smash 4 got Duck Hunt. Knowing Sakurai’s friendly relationship with Iwata, I bet Sakurai would want to do something to honor the man. Balloon Fighter is famous for being one of Iwata’s games he has worked on. Balloon Fighter would easily be a unique character for sure and it would be interesting to see a completely aerial fighter. Balloon Fighter can still keep his balloons getting popped, but they should work with a damage cap. They should not just pop whenever and recharge will be a thing as well even if one is gone. Balloon Fighter can really have a strong neutral game. Now for moves it could be a hassle, but again Smash can make new things up for characters. Balloon Fighter has also been one of the early characters planned for the original game too, so he has history for sure. 

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I think that is all I can think of then at this moment. Smash Bros Ultimate has a huge chance of being one of the craziest rosters in fighting game history and thanks to Echo Fighters, the possibilities can be endless. I still feel that Echoes should not be constrained by their IP’s, but who knows how this process will go. Leave some comments below on fighters you can think of too. I would love to do a follow-up post to this because racking my brain around fan favorite Nintendo or even just video game characters in general is fun. Finally, just because a character was not mentioned does not mean I think a character is not in. With certain characters like Crash, Spyro, or Rayman they are going to be unique of course.

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My Top Eleven Favorite Kirby Games

Kirby has always been one of my all time favorite franchises. The first Kirby game I got to play was the one on the Nintendo 64 and man I played it so many times. I never did complete it as a kid, but I just always went to it for a fun time. I have played previous Kirby games later on thanks to collections and such. Either way, thanks to Kirby 64, it got me to play many other Kirby games in the future. These games are always full of cute and destructive fun. No one can stop Kirby while he is on his path of devastation and so with that said let’s get this done and give Kirby some well deserved cake.

11. Kirby Star Allies

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This is probably the reason why I am making this a top eleven and not a top ten. Kirby Star Allies just released this year and has been updating itself with some fun new content as well. I will admit the main game by itself is simple and easy to get through, probably the easier main Kirby game possible to be honest. The real fun comes from the multiplayer content and the post-game content as well. The fan service was high just like a previous title in the franchise. I always love it though when Kirby does this type of service though as they really make stellar levels and fun mechanics out of them still. Also, the return of helpers from Super Star was just an awesome bonus to the overall game. Then thanks to a new Helper to Hero mode called Guest Stars and making all of these allies playable, really opens the game up. The game is even giving out new friends to join the fun and their moves are really unique from each other. Bandana Dee brings back his spear, Meta Knight is Meta Knight like usual, and Dedede brings a better hammer game than Bonkers. They even got Gooey, Rick, Kine, and Koo, Marx (HE”S A FRIEND?!), Dark Meta Knight, Daroach, and Adeleine and Ribbon (KIRBY 64 LIVES ON!). By the way, it’s all free! You cannot beat free content ever. Overall, this is a Kirby game with tons of content to be explored and a big drawback is the main game not being that great alone, this game really stands strong with friends on your side. 

10. Kirby Canvas Curse

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I had tons of fun with the beginning of the DS. This game and WarioWare Touched were ones I were playing the most on my original DS and yes, I never got any future version of the DS, I stuck with the brick! Either way, the early DS games were extremely heavy on using the touch screen for a sense of control. In Canvas Curse, you control Kirby by tapping him and then drawing lines that could give him new paths to follow. Now this game and a sequel to it gets this back and forth debates about which one is better. Personally, I am with Canvas Curse because I like its faster feel to it. It also shows this with how there are time trials to complete too. Then the use of copy abilities was fun in this game and the abilities in Rainbow Curse were fun as well, I liked having more control on when I could have powers. Then there was actually only one boss fight in the game, but I really enjoyed the mini game sections this game had though and they felt good replacements for the usual boss formula. Then that final boss in Canvas Curse while easy, was extremely rewarding to play, literally better than any boss in Rainbow Curse. So, it was simple gimmick game that really knew how to use a fast flow and even give you some different playable characters, I always loved playing as King Dedede, he was such a big ball of pain! Kirby Canvas Curse knew how to be a good first title on the DS with a fast style. 

9. Kirby’s Epic Yarn

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Now we get to an extremely slowly paced game compared to Canvas Curse. Epic Yarn while in development was not a Kirby game, but seeing the concept art and the character Prince Fluff, people felt that Kirby could fit in well into this game. It clearly did work out well and even if Kirby did not get his copy abilities and there are sections for when Kirby and Fluff transform into tanks, surfing penguins, or dolphins, those segments felt stronger than let’s say Rainbow Curse. Then I cannot lie that this game is the perfect therapy anyone can ask for. If you love cute things, then you want to check out Epic Yarn. Also, Yoshi’s Wooly World, you know what just watch the Yoshi and Poochy shorts on Youtube right now, I’ll wait. The cuteness overload from Epic Yarn just soothes the soul. Now this game is the easiest Kirby game to date with really no way to die or get a game over, this game does rank you on your performance still. You get better ranks from how you were collecting gems and one touch could just mean you burst gems everywhere! It was truly a thing you had to worry about, but there were bonus levels that opened up to you for getting gold ranks on certain stages. Also, with the whole no game over situation, it really makes for a great co-op experience with a friend and such. Not having to worry about someone messing up and making you restart a level. I can really recommend this to young ones for their first game ever, they can literally go at their own pace and I bet they will love the yarn ascetic. The level designs are still really strong in this game and collecting is a fun reward with the usual music being given to you and even fun decorations to well decorate rooms with. Not a challenging game at all, but one I think is well needed for those who want to start video games or are simply having a bad day and need to relax. 

8. Kirby’s Dreamland

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The original game makes it on the list and is there really much to say about this old gem on the Game Boy? Yes, I mean I am making a list here, I need to give reasons unless this would just seem like I just ran out of games to use on a list. That is easily one strange thing with Kirby, I have never hated a Kirby game. All of them have been fun in some way or form. I can say Squeak Squad is my least favorite Kirby game, but I would still give it like a seven and a half rating out of ten. The Kirby formula just works out so well and the original game knew how to become a platformer for beginners. The level designs were fun and easy to get through while Kirby just eats everything in sight. We still the bosses from this game appear in future titles, hell even the airship has come back and that style of fighting did not die in the franchise either. So much began right here in this classic game and I do love the added hard mode for this game too. What a nice little reward to those who wanted to test their skills. Then while being the first I still think it has probably one of the best Dedede fights still, again not having copy abilities was something that shocked me first playing it. I literally had to change my overall plans of playing as Kirby this time around. Waiting for bosses to drop things and then even leave themselves open while Kirby keeps stars in his mouth was exciting. Overall, this is a fun game to play even now and this formula knows how to stay around well. 

7. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

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Another Wii title in the Kirby franchise with the next one being the anniversary collection, which I have of course. Return to Dreamland brought Kirby back to the usual formula after Epic Yarn. Return to Dreamland easily became the new style of Kirby games to follow afterwards. Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot uses this engine for sure and Return to Dreamland was a great start for it. I can say I like this game more than Triple Deluxe and as for the other one… we shall get to that later. Either way Return to Dreamland easily followed the example of New Super Mario Bros and decided to make this a four-player adventure where players could be a different Kirby or one of Kirby’s allies, Meta Knight, Bandana Dee, and King Dedede. There was the new implement of the Ultra moves which soon began a tradition of a new gimmick, something that even Star Allies did continue, but made it for the entire game. Again, little gimmick segments can be done correct and I do enjoy how Return to Dreamland does it. The power of Ultra moves is so destructive! Using giant swords, summoning fire dragons, or becoming a giant snowball are just all fun. It really got the destruction aspect of Kirby correct. There were even little rush sections where you have to not get killed by a dark wall. Return to Dreamland even has some great boss fights in the series. There were many things that returned to this franchise like the boss rush mode which I absolutely always love them! Overall this engine had a strong start in the franchise and this style got to live for two more games. 

6. Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland

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Now onto the Game Boy Advance, this was a powerful little system and Kirby started to use this engine for future titles. This engine was used for this game, Amazing Mirror, and Squeak Squad. So, the first game that started it was actually a remake of Kirby’s Adventure. I actually did not know of this when I first played this game in 2002. It was easily a fun surprise to play Kirby’s Adventure and notice the same bosses later on. This adventure exists twice and yes it deserved to be played twice. The original started copy abilities and as said before Nightmare started a new engine for two more Kirby games, oddly enough Return to Dreamland had this fate too. Again, this was another strong start for a new engine for Kirby games. This engine probably has the best flow of all Kirby games. Things just feel so right. How Kirby goes into his run animation and then into his crazy moves just feel so correct. All the boss fights fit so well into this engine as well, I still just love to fight Meta Knight in these games the most. The overall little hub world is nicely paced out and giving power rooms, mini game rooms for bonus lives, and even warp areas just make the flow keep going. Then with all of that, the option of having a total of four players join this journey really makes it stronger. Another simpler addition to the franchise since it is a remake, but Kirby’s Adventure was a great sequel to the franchise and remaking it was not a bad decision at all. 

5. Kirby Air Ride

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A spin-off game that really has a cult following and I so part of that following. Kirby Air Ride is a unique idea for a racing game. To be honest the racing is actually the most ignored aspect of this game. It’s not a bad racing game, just a bit simple with some awesome tracks. I would love to see a sequel for this game and have the same number of players as some recent Mario Kart titles has been having recently. If there were simply more players going at it, I bet it would change the game up for the better. Either way there are two other modes which one is a top down race with a small track, but acts like a Mario Party mini game where you mess with your friends with power-ups. I grow to like this part of the game more now these days because of how chaotic it can get compared to the main racing. Now if you want the best part of the game, that would be the City Trial. This was a little adventure mode for a racing game, I know that sounds crazy, but it really works. You and three other players travel around the stage to find the best star to ride and pimp it up with the best stats around. There were even legendary stars to use and those can make or break that run for you. Dragoon is a great flying star with some great speed. Then the Hydra destroys everything in its path with great speed and power. The make or break part comes from the end segments of City Trial where a mini game takes place. It can be a race, a battle, a race to kill the most foes, and even a fight with King Dedede. There can even be fights during the City Trial, a thief appears to steal items, meteors start to rain down upon the land, and even Dyna Blade makes an appearance. The overall love for City Trial really sells this game, the level design is perfect for exploration and the whole aspect of you always need to find the best star and stats really makes things nerve wrecking. I also love just being on this stage and pretending being a traveling sushi restaurant in the free run mode for this game. This is such a childhood classic for me and I can always go back to it simply for City Trial alone. 

4. Kirby Planet Robobot

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Now we get to Robobot, I told you we would be back to this game later on. Triple Deluxe to me was another one of those good Kirby games, but it did just not leave a big impression. It really did feel like Squeak Squad all over again and then when I saw Kirby in a mech suit, I loved it so much, but was a bit worried at first. I thought it would have been the same feeling as the Triple Deluxe gimmick, but the mech suit Kirby uses is pretty much X’s Ride Armor, but used for a longer run. I was really happy on how this mech suit got used for like entire levels and even some boss fights. Robobot even brought back some awesome call backs to the Kirby franchise. I have talked about awesome level design with the gimmicks and for the mech suit there are times they feel short, but further and further in you get it starts to last longer. It really shows how this just became the image of this game and gave a new sense of identity for the end of Return to Dreamlands style, other than those battle games Kirby had. Now while the mech suit did become a new image of the game, but there were legibly just strong Kirby things in this game in general. The flow was better than both Return and Triple Deluxe, the boss selection was stronger, and then the beginning of the secret lore started to become more apparent in this title. Something that Star Allies started to drive more. A new Meta Knight mode was added to this game which is always a plus and again secret lore galore! Overall the use of strong level designs, a brand-new gimmick that fully becomes integrated, and a great use of call backs makes Robobot one of the strongest titles of the franchise. 

3. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

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This is simply just a classic for me at this point. As a kid I played this game so much that the first levels became muscle memory for me. Even if this game had a slower sense compared to previous and future titles, everything was set in place for this sense of feel. Again, you could always head back to certain parts of stages before or not, but this game really encouraged going back more than others. This is thanks to the combo system the game had and by combo system I mean how copy abilities combo with each other. If you have one ability, you can fuse it with other ones. This to me is still the best Kirby gimmick to this day and really plays around with experimentation. It also plays well with just how the player feels about certain powers. Sure, there are some distinct powers that just work so well regardless how you play, but still the encouragement of having whatever power you want from the simple ones into combo powers is insane! These can vary with fire or lightning swords, into a spark needle, shooting missiles out of your mouth, or straight up becoming a fridge. The creativity was strong for this title and while boss fights were not the greatest I will admit; the overall level design was strong with combo powers. The collectables of the shards relied on how you can use the powers and know when to use them. The further you got in the harder it got to know and these were needed to complete the game. There are actually two final boss battles in a way where you can get a normal ending after beating one boss, but beat that same boss with all of the shards and you get the true final boss. I will admit that these two became strong icons in the Kirby franchise and again their styles still exist to this day. There are many call backs to them in both similar moves and how you control Kirby. I can also admit that this is the one of the cutest Kirby games for me, the cut scenes are amazingly funny and the whole aspect with your new allies was great. Waddle Dee helped you out with traveling in style, Adeleine made food for you or gave you hints to puzzles. Then Dedede puts you on his back and wrecks fools with his hammer. There was just a load of things to do in this game and possibly this one has the best mini games by far. The racing mini game, the catching fruit mini game and the fighting mini game were all spectacular. I just love how crazy these games get with actual people. I remember trying to mess with someone’s button pressing during the races. I will admit the card collecting was a bit much on the tedious side, but I play this game a whole lot regardless so I was never fully bothered by it. Either way this is what got me started into the Kirby franchise and I cannot thank it enough for doing that. 

2. Kirby and the Amazing Mirror

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Another title I mentioned before on this list. I also did mention that when I was younger I never did truly complete Kirby 64. With Amazing Mirror though, this was the first Kirby game I completed till finish. I had a school field trip with a long return trip, so I had my Game Boy Advance SP on me with a full battery and played the game from start, to finish, to completion. It really was an impactful experience for me completing a game like this for the first time because if you know about Amazing Mirror, it builds off of one segment from a previous Kirby game. The one in question was the Great Cave Escape from Super Star. In this escape, you play as Kirby and collect treasure on the way, you are never truly forced to do this and the same can be said for this in Amazing Mirror, but getting these little rewards felt so nice. In Amazing Mirror though these were just random items, they varied from being maps to the overall areas, colors to spray Kirby with, to even move scrolls that unlock new potential for them. There was even a way to play this game with four people if you could get those link cables to work or those wireless ones. Still the AI for these new colored Kirby’s were useful, but they were kind of dumb and I love them. This was also the game were Tornado Kirby was the best thing ever! Now the craziest part about this game is that you can really just go on your own path and do whatever. Freedom in a game especially a Kirby game was never done again after this and it baffles me that this wasn’t done again. It leads you to find bosses out-of-order and that can be surprising to just have a Meta Knight fight possibly for your first boss fight. I will admit the final boss got a bit stale though as you fight this guy a little too much, but that is the only blemish to this title. The flow of this game continued from Nightmare in Dreamland and giving it an area with free exploration just makes that flow perfect, you can be fast, but don’t get lost. 

1. Kirby Super Star Ultra

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Alright now this is the best Kirby game. Sure, there can be debates, but for the most part this is the Kirby game many fans love to talk about. Even the original Super Star was already at the top of these games before Ultra. Super Star was filled with many smaller adventures for Kirby and yet it was all rolled into one super package. Again, this is where the Great Cave Escape comes from and there was even a short remake of the original game in here too. There is even Milky Way Wishes where you do not have normal copy abilities anymore and have to find statues to gain these powers forever. This really did begin the collection fever future Kirby games started to have and while Ultra was a remake for Super Star, the additions were huge! Not only did you have the best segments for Kirby games including the final boss battle with Marx, you got an arena and expansions on previous titles. There was a remake for the hard mode of the original Kirby game where the best Dedede fight exists, do not mess with MASKED DEDEDE! Meta Knight’s best playable adventure as it even started the Galacta Knight fights which are arguably the best Kirby boss battles in general. There is even a new final form for Marx which again holy hell how did they make Marx even a better boss battle?! There is even then an Arena mode where you play as the copy ability allies, like there is so much playable options here! The classic mini games are here with Megaton Punch and the famous quick slash gam with swords, fans, hammers, and… party poppers? This game holds the best arena modes and possibly the hardest and greatest boss battles for the entire franchise. The iconic Kirby really lives strongly in the original and this newer addition brings the super star icon higher thanks to better mechanics and expanding into even more playable adventures. 

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So that ends this little list for the little puff-ball of eternal doom. Again I never really had a bad time with any Kirby game and I know many fans feel the same way. So these lists for Kirby games can always vary. This is just one of thousands of lists and I will be surprised if any of them are exactly the same as mine. Maybe you do agree with me one hundred perfect or even zero percent. Either way float some opinions into the comment section and lets see how many great Kirby games there truly are, spoiler alert all of them are great.

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Lets Talk Character Designs: Kamen Rider Double Part 3

It has been quite recent since part two of this look into Kamen Rider Double’s designs, but with what I have to cover today, I want to get this done. Not only do I get to one of the best final forms of the franchise, I even get to my all time favorite monster design in the entire franchise. So I am not wasting any time… XTREME!

Cyclone Joker (Accel) Xtreme

 

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Time to gush folks, this is still one of the loveliest final forms around. What a great concept of adding a third main color to the overall Double suit. Easily the best part about this color is the use of white which has the meaning of perfection, pretty good idea to get across for a final form. The base form for Double always had a silver line in the middle so with those lines finally breaking and creating a new formation it makes the new section pop up more. Then did not go for just a simple white, they went for a reflective clear section and now there are more silver lines around the suit. I love the change to the helmet where you clearly see an “X” on the top and what is even better you can still form a “W” with that. The shoulders are still easy to move in and now have clear “W’s” on them, but I say this again, you can play connect the dots and get “X’s” too. The Xtreme memory is bigger than the Double Driver and yet it does not become a problem for the suit. Again we have the “X” and “W” there and the gold on it clashes well since Double’s Cyclone side already has gold as well. Then they even got a bit crazy and even had a suit for Cyclone Accel Xtreme where I am surprised how good the red works and how the visor changes is a nice cherry on top. What more can I say about this suit, it has big changes and does not go overboard making it good to see in fights. The straight split with the clear center makes each side easy to look at like with regular Double. I clearly still see the two in one rider which is another plus for any final form to do.

Accel Booster

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Accel did receive a third form thanks to a focus movie for this rider and I will say this is probably my least favorite of Accel’s designs, but it’s not bad by any means. It is also a clever idea since we have seen yellow Accel before when he transforms into Trial. Which this yellow form is a clear fusion of both designs. Most of the silver is kept from original Accel and yet he is slimmed down like Trial. The shoulder pads have changed to something I am not a big fan of which is how they flap around, but they are small so it does pass. The new visor has a closed look to it, possibly because of how intense he is flying (got to wonder how he can see). The silver toned feet stick around from the original design as well and yellow and silver work well together. Its like gold and silver they just mesh so well together. Now the new chest piece is something to behold because it’s not bad, I just think there are too many pieces to it. The overall top part of the chest is fine, but the lower half is where the problems start. I really think the six silver bars easily could have been just two full pieces with no lines in them. Or even just have one big silver bar and get rid of the horrible middle part of the lower half. Also I feel like Accel is going to shoot lasers out of his chest. Overall the use of yellow and silver work extremely well even if the chest can be a bit strange to say the least.

Terror

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One thing I found out for certain that the Sonzaki family memories all have distinct connections to South America. Nasca are the lines in the sand, Claydoll is based on pottery, and now Terror is probably a way to represent the Mayans. Now the big problem is how to pick between the Mayans and the Aztecs because both can be mistaken for each other at times. Well there is a bit of an interesting take here for the theme of the character himself that I want to look into first. The Mayans lived in independent cities where they had a king and his royal family. With how Ryubei really controls Fuuto from the underground and how the city cherishes the family, that can easily be taken as the Mayan live style. Fuuto is Fuuto and clearly has it own established culture compared to other Japanese cities, this is a big reason why Fuuto was a fictional city in the first place. So that it can have stand out qualities and the show did really well to do that. So Mayans are pretty dead on here, so where does the fear come from?

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One thing about Terror is that he usually likes to come out during the night or anytime he does appear the scenery gets dark. Why is this a reoccurring theme with Terror? Well oddly enough there is a legend in Mayan culture about the solar eclipse. One thing to remember is that the sun was extremely important for the ancients so with the sun just going away was scary to them. The legend even created a snake or dragon “star demon.” So with all that said what does Terror have to relate. Obviously he uses the darkness at his advantage and he literally summons a demon out from his helmet! On top of that his head-piece really looks like he just stole something from a temple. It is also the reason why that head piece stands out so much, the demon rest there. The dark colors Terror has and then that blue on top just stands out so much. Even the head piece has a dark cape coming from it and that cape even has gold underneath it! This is a literal representation of the darkness looming over light. So the whole aspect of terror is based on a legend, like how crazy is that?

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Smilodon

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Now this is an extremely easy one to get down. Simply by looking up what a Smilodon is just reveals the whole thing. The Smilodon is a saber toothed cat, not a tiger, but a cat. This one is more obvious when knowing that the family cat is this Dopant. Funny enough fossils of this species have been found in Brazil which connects this to South America. Now while the concept of this Dopant is easy, they still went out of their way to make this cat creature stand out. You simply got to love all that fur he has. It goes well with the overall black body, it jumps out. Yet the two things that really jump out you would be those red fangs he has. This easily shows that this creature is always out for blood and knowing its the best killer of the family easily establishes that. Then here is something crazy to notice, the right arm of this beast has an eye. I love it when this Dopant puts his hands together and points that eye in your direction, it just looks like another creature. The right arm even has a nostril! The markings it has on its head could be a reference to the skull of this creature since they always this hole in its skull. Either way what a freaky cat to have as a pet.

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Nightmare

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A creature of the dream realm is not that original. I mean we all know who Freddy is. Now there have been depictions of other dreams creatures before and I really enjoy Nightmare’s ties to Native Americans. The big thing to notice for that would be the big bird head this creature has. Dream Catchers have feathers tied to them and they control the good and bad dreams. Nightmare even has a chakram for a weapon and even uses it like a catcher. The use of white could be reference to the legend of the dream catcher where they were made from webs. Also if you look at the center of the heads we do see a webbing like design on that bump. The chest piece clearly represents an insect of some kind which could relate to the web. Many other pieces to this design could be references to the bad aspects of dreams, like the skull. Death has been experienced in dreams so the use of the skull represents that and it is stuck onto this creature meaning it caught the bad dream. Even the two faces could represent both good and bad with one face in happiness and the other in shock. We all have those dreams that make us smile or the ones that make us jump out of bed. Also funny to note that the Dreamcatcher only works for those who believe the great spirit, in the show this creature would only cause harm to those who saw it. Then with the popularity of Dreamcatchers they are mostly popular in North and South America, so the connection is there again.

Liar

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To get into the Liar Dopant we must remember what he called himself, the Radio Clown. Now a clown could be the wrong direction to look, but there is another type of jokester around. That would be the jester, which many people know for being the fool. Now everyone knows them for their funny hats and such, but there have been other depictions of jesters before. While this jester is not pleasing the people he is being tricky with his jokes. In literature there are fools that outwit the higher class. Also a modern use of the jester has the word “buffoon” where they ridiculous yet amusing. The Liar Dopant is no pretty looker and he constantly fools others around him with his lies. A jester can have a sharp tongue at times and they could get away with saying certain things. Another connection this Dopant has to the jester would be both hold spectres. Those usually symbolizes the jesters themselves with similar color schemes and decorations. The Liar Dopant’s spectre represents a big mouth which yea this guy talks a whole lot. Then that weapon even has spikes just like the Dopant himself. Then the obvious use of needles and spikes around his designs show off how hurtful words can be.

Utopia

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Alright, I have saved the best for last. This is my all time favorite Dopant in the series and this creatures hold one of the greatest designs I have ever seen. The first thing to mention is what a Utopia is. The term was made by Sir Thomas More where he wrote about a fictional island that is off the coast of South America (THE CONNECTION IS HERE TOO!). The reason why this was a fictional society was because the original term literally meant “no-place.” Now the meaning of utopia has been changed many times, but the biggest thing to focus on is that is not a real place. So how does this memory even work on the concept of technically nothing. Utopia is based all around hope because many people want to believe in a perfect place. This is where his design really kicks in, he looks like a monarch of some kind. There is even a technology side to this creature where you can see machine parts. There was a European novel that depicts that technology will bring this said Utopia, but there have been criticism towards it saying the opposite. The whole struggle of a Utopia in general is his design. A monarch that promises a perfect place and is clearly lying to fool his people, people give him their hope and he uses that for his own use. The broken parts of him shows the illusion of this fantasy and even the memory itself shows two men holding hands and laughing at each other. Gold is such a powerful color to show rank and that cape is flashy too. Then with nothing, but a simple baton he guides people or even powers to his will. Such a powerful image this Dopant holds and I love how his visor is incomplete since the owner of this memory is only 99% connected with this memory. It just shows that even having a power like Utopia is impossible to use fully and yet that is what powers it. Utopia in concept is one of the greatest powers around and they knew how to show it off.

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Alright, I think it’s about time to end this look into Double’s designs. I know there are more out there, but I think I am dry on what I can possibly say about this topic. Maybe down the line I will do just Dopants since I am out of rider designs with Double. High chance I will probably be moving onto the finale of the look into Guilty Gear or something new.

Top Ten Americans In Fighting Games

I am usually not a man who likes to celebrate holidays, but I can do little things to celebrate them here and there. So why not make a little list to celebrate the best Americans in fighting games on fourth of July. No rules on this one because there are some fighting games I am not so big on or don’t know the characters all that well, sorry Tina. Also I am not doing any specific thing like they have to show how American they are or anything like that. If their nationality is American then they can make the list, even if they live in a fictional city of America.

10. Paul Phoenix and Bob

There will be a couple of ties in this list because when I think of it, there are many characters in fighting games. Especially when you look into the big franchises. There will be one franchise in particular that will win this list for sure, but we will get to that later. Tekken has two awesome American fighters and I love them for being great at fighting and normal dudes. Well I guess Bob is not all that normal considering he is a large man who can somehow keep up like anyone else in the Tekken franchise. That is the appeal of Bob though as he is no funny joke, he is a serious fighter that loves to show off his perfect body. Again I mentioned Bob when I discussed about the worst Street Fighter character, Rufus. While both are fat men who fight, Rufus feels more of what you expect and Bob comes off as his own person. Bob is humble and would rarely make the usual fat jokes. We also had the funny Slim Bob as well. Then with Paul Phoenix one of the original Tekken characters and while he is not what he was in the past. Paul still holds strong in the heart’s of fans. I remember the days when Paul was a rival of Kazuya of all people and how many canon victories he had. He is simply a man with a strong passion for fighting and he defeated the first form of Orge! One of the big bad villains in Tekken and was only killed by Jin in his devil form later on was original defeated by this American badass. Both of these characters are just simply awesome and I would not have them any other way.

9. Tiffany Lords

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Now reminding myself of Tina Armstrong there is the usual stereotype for the American gal, the blonde bombshell. Now while Tiffany and Tina have similar personalities with Tiffany being a bit more bubbly. I still have to give this to Tiffany for her awesome designs. Tina has some American outfits, but those would simply be a whole bikini or a bikini top with the jean shorts. Tiffany wears America all over her body. While I can see some liking Tina’s simplier looks, for me I love when things can get a bit silly and Tiffany is proud to do that. Also I personally like Tiffany’s story more. While being American she transferred to a Japanese school and I really like her home-sickness, it something she usually keeps to herself, but its a nice side regardless. She always keeps up with her parents and she would receive presents time and time again from them. She even has a nice little love story with the American football player, Roy. Then I really enjoy what she takes from her experiences as she trains to be a bodyguard and even plans to help Roy who wants to take a stand in politics. Tiffany got to save an important character like Hinata and still show off her American pride. So yea while her design is out there, I really enjoy that as it’s still visually striking, adding her in Street Fighter V would be awesome or just revive Rival Schools, that would be nice as well.

8. Johnny Cage

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I will admit I am not the biggest Mortal Kombat fan. The early games never impressed me while something like 9 and 10 have actually got more of my attention. If there is one thing though that I will always like in Mortal Kombat though would be Johnny Cage. His super ego always stood out and even his moves are insanely funny. Everyone knows the big punch he does to someone’s crotch. The super star image he gives to the point where he has his own name tattooed on his chest really says something. He is full of himself, but oddly enough with the recent game of the franchise he is a dad now. While being a father he even gotten rid of his big ego for the most part. Johnny is still fighting and even alongside his daughter while making dad jokes. Hell, Johnny seems to becoming more of a major fighter in the series now which is impressive. Originally he died in one of the stories and is now being a serious contender. Its progression like that makes me enjoy a character more. Sure in the beginning he was simply a funny character with silly moves, he has grown to be a man who cares for his family, even if Sonya left him. The Cage man has shown some progress over the year and that gives him this spot.

7. Blue Mary

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Sadly the last woman for this list, but I am ending the gals on a strong one. Blue Mary was around the Fatal Fury series and man I always enjoyed her. When she returned in King of Fighters XIV I was so happy, along with her, Whip, and Vanessa, I so needed to make that a team. Blue Mary has always came off as a female Terry Bogard before we literally got that in the series. She was always a good character to support Terry and Andy and even though she had some time away from the well anything, people did not forget her. Her mixture of close combat into some wrestling moves really worked well and she has some great supers. For a fun bit of trivia, she was based on Android 18 from the Dragon Ball series and her design does show that and who is not a fan of 18? Finally, Blue Mary is a strong female fighter and I will not lie, seeing her take Terry to heaven sounds amazing to watch.

6. Johnny Sfondi

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Onto another Johnny in fighting games this one comes from the Guilty Gear series. Johnny is a simple character at best, but I really adore him. The design while again simple really speaks his character. The big hat and no shirt on with that jacket shows a carefree personality. Johnny easily has many problems like drinking, gambling, and women and yet he still takes care of many people in his life. He literally took in orphans without a home and made a crew out of them. May being the most important one of that group is completely in love with Johnny and she even acts like the wife already. This really strikes me because one of Johnny’s trouble has been with women before and yet he never acts like that to his crew or even Dizzy when she became a member. Then surprisingly Johnny is even more a serious fighter some would think. He completely paced out Leo Whitefang and even gave something Bedman to remember. Then onto his fighting style we are talking about one the best characters in the franchise. With Xrd right now he is one of the top picks and I love the flair he has. His quick draw swordplay is always a personal favorite of mine and then how he flicks coins and mist around is fun to watch. Overall Johnny is a gambling man and they even showcase that in while he is fighting.

5. Ken Masters

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I talked about Ken Masters in my previous Street Fighter list as being one of my personal favorite characters of the franchise. While I do like Ryu and his story, the friendship he has with Ken is unforgettable. Ryu by himself can be a bland character, but its characters around him that improve him. With Ken it shows Ryu’s friendly side and even thoughtful side. Ken trained with Ryu in the early days and these two still keep at it. I do like that Ken does not take fighting as serious as Ryu anymore, but Ken does not forget about it. Ken still helps when the time comes and then when it’s all done he is a family man, Guile would approve of this. While the story mode of the fifth game was questionable at times, the small scene where we see Ken showing his son some of his moves really warms my heart. Then for his moves he has always been another style of Ryu which is fine because I prefer him over Ryu any day. Ken is more aggressive and his super moves with those multiple hits always leaves an impression. Then I really enjoy the changes he has in the fifth game where those fire effects are more apparent now. Ken’s story may not be that big of a game changer compared to Cage, but Ken’s personality was always great from the start. His basic image became an icon and can never be forgotten.

4. Terry Bogard

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While Ken is the loyal friend of Ryu there is no way I can put him higher than Terry Bogard. If you want one of the best fighting game intros, that would be when Ken kicks Terry’s hat to him. I am also not doing this because Terry is a man character because as of right now that is not the case for King of Fighters. Terry was the main character of the Fatal Fury series and then in King of Fighters his title was taken by Kyo. Which was not a bad move at all and we still get to enjoy Terry’s character. He has become an icon for SNK that they literally make characters that have learned from him or just be super fans of him. Terry has a huge amount of inspiration onto other characters and that really makes a strong impact. The best Terry is easily the Legendary Hungry Wolf where he is Rock Howard’s mentor. Terry got his revenge on Geese Howard, but unlike Geese he felt guilt because of Rock, a young boy who now lost his father. Terry lost his father to Geese and just seeing Rock reminding of the sorrow he lived with. That is why Terry became his mentor so that a boy did not have to grow up with the feeling of loss. That really cements this character as a loving figure in the genre and it shows since on Eventhubs there was a poll for favorite leads in fighting games and Terry was originally left out, soon though a new poll was made to include Terry and he became number one. Terry is not my number one favorite lead, but he is easily the second place winner.

3. Cody Travers

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Now I bet some are confused on why Cody tops Ken when I did not even have Cody on my favorite Street Fighter list. To be honest, he was number eleven and again I feel like Street Fighter V did great with changing a character. For any Final Fight fans we all know how Cody got started. Sure with Jessica in Mad Gear’s hands he went out to save her, but in reality he just loved to fight. Cody was no bad person, he just let his passion get a bit out of control. I mean Mike Haggar and Guy still feel that he is a close friend. Because of the events of Final Fight, Cody found himself in jail and while he could break out whenever, he still returned. The reason Cody did this is because he just got bored and wanted to fight some worthy foes. Cody is not a master of the martial arts like Guy or even Ryu are and yet he is one of Street Fighter’s strongest characters. He defeated Ryu in battle before Ryu lost control of himself. Then Cody is even implied to be stronger than Akuma in sheer physical strength. Cody does hold back now these days which says something for a man who would nearly kill someone in his Final Fight days. Then with his recent addition in the fifth game, he became the mayor of his hometown. Mike Haggar trusted him to watch over the city and while Cody is a bit too relaxed with this task, he does truly care for the city. Its funny, Cody started out wanting to protect his city and girlfriend and got lost in the violence and now he is back where it all started with a big roll to play.

2. Chipp Zanuff

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Now this number two spot is going to be a funny one. Chipp while many think is one of the few Japanese men around. Chipp uses ninjitsu and even dresses up like a ninja, but the truth if that he is American. Chipp is just trying to be a ninja and just works with the clichés. I extremely love this personality of his and he is even trying to be president in Xrd. Chipp is no joke as well in the Guilty Gear verse as he is possibly the fastest character in the series. I just love that all he is, is the wrong portrayal of ninjas. This just reminds me of actual Americans who say they love Japanese culture and just get it all wrong. Now even though he has many things wrong, his fighting style is still no joke. Chipp can vanish before the human eye and appear all over the place. Chipp has the best flow from on ground fighting to doing combat in the air. Chipp is energetic and hyper and that really shows in his fighting style. An odd choice to pick for an American character, but the joke works so well that I love so much.

1. Charlie Nash and Guile

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Now while I am more of a fan for Charlie Nash I cannot ignore the icon that Guile is. Also in the overall story for these two they are intertwined. I talked about Charlie before as he is my third favorite character in the franchise and he passed down his moves to Guile. Guile’s story is also one of the most intact ones from Street Fighter 2. Guile is about to kill Bison and his family tells him that doing this is not going to bring Charlie back. Charlie always had presence and seeing how I love mentor characters with Terry it is no doubt why Charlie is one of my favorites. Then with Guile he is one of the fan favorites thanks to the best stage and the best music. Guile is the icon and it shows still to this day. Guile is the army man who tells his foes to go and be a family man. The music is used for many videos and that stage of his has many in-jokes and everyone tries to recreate it. The story these two share is one of Street Fighter’s grandest even if the payoff in the fifth game did not live up to it. The image that Charlie left was big and Guile is the icon who keeps his image true. For their fighting styles I mean do I really have to talk about that? Guile is the original character with charge motions where you hold back and then hit forward with your buttons to do the famous Sonic Boom and Flash Kick. Guile even got a cool new power with his recent appearance where he equips those winds on his arms or legs. Charlie with his recent appearance shows connection of Gil and even if he still has the sonic boom and flash kick, his teleportation was a big game changer in the originally days of SFV. Guile was more of an aggressive fighter with those attacks and Charlie was more tactical. Their differences highlight each other and again without Guile the huge impact Charlie had would be for nothing.

No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle: Another Look Into Violent Media Part Two

It has been some time before returning to No More Heroes 2 analysis. Again, No More Heroes 2 is a bit messier to deal with mostly because of the larger amount of bosses around. Then including the tone shift from the first game, there can be some outliers here and there to look into. Either way, it is time to kick off with part two as we score ourselves with a touchdown.

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No More Heroes 2 is ready to play with more violence goodness as we did get some more violence representation with music, plays, and religion, but what about sports? Well our next man is Charlie Macdonald and his group of cheerleaders. Somehow Charlie is ranked 25th and all of his cheerleaders are lower numbers than him. I am just imagining cheerleaders killing people now. Well the first thing that is obvious to point out is that this representation of sports is more of an American point of view. Football is really big in America and Santa Destroy is a fictional city in America, so it makes sense why football is being used. Then with Charlie being the big strong football player, he is the jock you know the stereotype that would beat up the nerds. Then the cheerleaders simply follow his lead because he is a hunk! Also I have to point out the outfits for these cheerleaders are insane, there is no way any high school would approve of this outfits.  So the violent angle that could be here is probably jabbing at the rough physical nature of a sport like football and maybe even some sexual nature. Well guess what Suda must of got bored of the idea and just decides to make Charlie and his groupies to have a giant robot, yup we got a giant robot fight! Travis somehow gets access of one as well because someone wiped it up for him, but how in the hell did both of these guys get giant robots?

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This is probably actually bringing up another point of violent media, when one is impressed by such violent acts, weapons are usually needed to perform them. What is a big problem in the United States compared to other countries, is gun control. Also, there is a cliché with jock characters getting weapons with no real trouble which does come from some real life issues in the States. Suda 51 used the football angle to represent how violent these players can get and most importantly when they are young and easy to impress and making mistakes in their lives. Well Charlie messed with the wrong assassin as him and his cheerleaders get sent to space and get blown up by the Buster Cannon! What I find funny is that Travis does feel a bit bad for killing some cheerleaders, but when his rank was at risk he quickly goes on how dangerous they were. Travis needs to progress in the ranks so that he can get his revenge and he did have a more funny way of showing that it is still revenge in the end, the never ending cycle of violence.

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The next boss is Matt Helms and with a big body and a creepy looking mask, there is no doubt he is based on the horror genre. Now for Japan, horror is quite different compared to America, but luckily this character carries tropes and references from both regions. Let us start with his appearance since that is what we see first and what we fight. Matt does not say anything when he appears or even when he fights, this is clearly pointing to icons like Jason, Leatherface, and Michael Myers. With Matt having a bigger body and blood all splashed around his body I will say he represents Leatherface the most. Another thing about American horror icons is that they have a unique weapon like Jason with his machete, Freddy with his claw, and Leatherface with his chainsaw. Matt carries a huge axe that can also be a flamethrower. Well the axe can be a nod to Evil Dead where Ashley Williams does constantly use an axe. The flamethrower could then be a reference to The Thing where the flamethrower was one of the most important weapons in that film. Also, Matt Helms wears a mask which is similar to the three horror icons I mentioned before. Then add in the fact that his stage is destructible just like how many horror icons love to break through windows, doors, and even walls. By appearance he has many mixtures here, but what is Matt’s story?

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Matt is actually a child and he can never die so how did this guy become an assassin in these death battles? Either way Matt is a child who swore revenge to Hell itself because his family tried to kill him and in his last breathes he vowed to the devil. Now Matt is a spirit of the damned where he got his revenge, but he lives eternally just doing nothing. Him being a child spirit is a reference to Ju-On the big horror franchise in Japan. I do think they also have a Nightmare on Elm Street reference since Slyvia just burns the house down with the child spirit still in there. Matt does show something though about the cycle of revenge though since he got it on the people that tried to kill him and what did he get? This boy got eternal damnation of being a spirit that just haunts the living and just being a maniacal killer. So Travis is just getting revenge right now so will something like this happen to him soon, will Travis’ life just be fighting forever like the child with a grudge?

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Now for the next two assassins are two deadly females in their own special way, one with innocence and the other with lust. I want to cover the desirable girl first since she has one of my favorite designs in the whole series. Cloe Walsh is actually a ranked assassin in the battles as she is locked away on Prison Island. First to mention would be her heavy gothic themes and she came right after the horror themed boss. Cloe does even show the time of the gothic boom where everything just got added goth themes. Now the big thing people like to point about this character is that she is a seductress with poison breathe and it is known that Suda is a fan of Batman, so she could easily be a reference to the villain, Poison Ivy.

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Then there are previous bosses that have played with sex appeal before, the biggest one being Bad Girl, but I think Cloe tops her. When Cloe is first found she is all tied up and even Travis makes a bondage reference saying that he is a not a fan. Then even when she is fear from her prison she still has an extremely sexy look along with some kinky bondage looks. Now what is funny is that Cloe almost got a quick kill on Travis when she almost got a kiss on him. With knowing about previous bosses there have been some changes with themes. I feel that Cloe works as showing the distraction of violent entertainment. Looks can be deadly and there are times you do not know what you are getting yourself into which can apply to real life and even some entertainment, so be careful.

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So with Cloe showing how violence can have it distractions Kimmy works in that way too, but she takes a more innocent way of doing it. First off Kimmy was not part of the ranked assassins, but she has been in assassin fights before because Travis is her role model. She was motivated by Travis the Great and wanted to be just like him. So this is a character that is going blindly into the battlefield because she wants to meet someone that is great and powerful… this is just another Travis. Now what Kimmy shows is tons of anime tropes, first she is a young school girl that has a crush on her Senpai, she even hands Travis a love letter! What ended up happening though is that her thirst for blood has gone too far. Kimmy even of thinking killing Travis has she starts off showing yandere traits. Kimmy even shouts out internet lingo. Kimmy is pretty much mocking the recent trends of what the generation of people is like. They are all about the moe~ or even the yandere archetypes as those can be heated debates on the internet. The other shocking part is that Kimmy does not die in her battle since Travis does not want to kill a coed. To me this is showing there is no point in killing such an immature child that has not grown up yet.

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This one is a bit shorter than my usual analysis posts, but I did cover four bosses in one go. Again some of these bosses do have less material than others and that is simply because there are so many other bosses and not all could get the same attention. For the next part of this analysis we get a huge dose of déjà vu with tons of returning characters like a killer machine, the femme fatale, the split personality superhero, and our friendly rival character along with some new surprises.

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The Importance of Devil May Cry 5

Now that I have time to actually be calm about Devil May Cry 5 (I am so lying right now; the excitement levels are still at the top). I think talking about this title’s importance is needed. When I started with the series was with the fourth installment. I have known about the series, but the PS3 was my first Sony console and I always seen tons of Dante thanks to Devil May Cry 3 videos on the internet. I even watched the animated series which some people like to get mad about that product, but I am simply okay with it. Either way the most obvious point to mention is that it has been ten years since we got numerical sequel for this franchise. There was the reboot game which we shall get to at some point in this post. Lately Capcom seems like it is bringing back their old golden standard, I mean not only is there Devil May Cry we also got Megaman and more to standard Resident Evil game. Overall though, this fifth title is going to be extremely important to the market as the Devil May Cry name has only been getting stronger over time.

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So with the mention of DmC: Devil May Cry, the reboot title developed by Ninja Theory there is no doubt it damaged the franchise a bit. Whether you like the game or not, it cannot be ignored that the issues with DmC did cause some conflicts. Capcom simply wanted a Western take on the franchise which soon got a bit out of hand thanks to the development team. Ninja Theory did listen to Capcom about what they wanted for this title, but then how they reacted to the initial spark of insanity is made everything go crazy. Ninja Theory calling out fans which soon lead to articles saying that fans were being dumb and a disappointment to the franchise itself. Also, the whole fact that the company compared the female characters of the franchise to prostitutes, classy. So, with the madness that began from a teaser trailer is quite silly. When the company is then starting to throw insults, the anger is easier to understand.  Now when the game did first come out, yea there were issues to the game itself. Later on, though they did make a new version of the game and fixed many of those problems, including some cut scenes. Either way though, DmC was a bit too damaged to be saved and while the fourth game got a special edition, it still took some time for number five.

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Capcom clearly did not forget about the franchise since Dante still had his fighting game appearances, but at this point he was up there with Darkstalker characters with the fact that they will just be in the fighting games. High chance the interest came back up though even before Marvel VS Capcom Infinite when the special edition of the fourth game did well in sales. The sales numbers were actually one of the big reasons why the reboot even happened in the first place. So why did Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition do well? The obvious answer was that high chance with the turmoil, it did get more people to know the name of the franchise. I bet while not selling well, the reboot did get attention from outsiders. Then with the magic of the internet and being able to buy so much from online services and those HD ports of the first three games, people just had time to check this franchise out during the quiet times. Devil May Cry is getting more fans, so this fifth game could be big for the sales numbers.

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This has always been Devil May Cry’s biggest issue in its history. The original game did well to make it into a franchise and while the first and second games did good in sales, the third game did the worst. The first game did the best in sales out of the first three, that is not a good sign. The fourth game actually did the best which is thanks to making that game for Microsoft’s consoles as well compared to the Sony only days. Still Capcom was not impressed by the numbers. Now we are back to the original feel of the series after the reboot game, if this game does well, there could be more demon hunters in the future.

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Now for some personal reasons why I am saying that Devil May Cry 5 is important is because of the recent scene that action games are having right now. God of War for the Playstation 4 came out and while many people did like it, there were some people quite confused with it. I would be one of the confused ones because the combat was so poor compared to so many other action titles. Whenever someone would have this opinion the fans of the new God of War will tell those people that the game is being better regardless because of the focus on its story. I will be blunt about this, if a game is going to have action in it, have the action be good. I would rather play DmC before the new God of War because thanks to the newer version of the reboot it plays a whole lot better, sure that story is still awful, but I rather have a more action-packed adventure compared to a game where walking takes half of the game. Does Devil May Cry have exploration? Yes, this is because of its Resident Evil roots and exploring was still being done better than the straight line you mostly have in God of War.

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I told you all I had some beef with this game

I feel like the action game genre is having a bit of trouble lately and of course the overall love for cinematic games. The thing is that there are many games I can call cinematic games but having that not be a problem. The Bayonetta series is proving that it can have amazing production values through its action and not just cut scenes. Bayonetta is quite the opposite in that factor too since the cut scenes can play like a slide show at times and still be enjoyable. There is also the fact that I feel an action game needs a skip function for the scenes. The problem with these games focusing on its walking and such, it feels that the cut scene effect takes too long even in-game play. Devil May Cry never had this trouble and while they do have their cut scenes, I can have more enjoyment with them. Games like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry have a more simplistic fun with their cut scenes and there is nothing wrong with that. Hell, I can easily remember them more for the fun they shown me, like Devil May Cry 3’s opening scene.

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Or when Dante rocks out!

Going back to these cinematic games, like God of War for example. I do fear that the movie styled games are going to cut down on the combat. God of War shows us this by adding things that are simply not needed. Walking, walking, and walking. Okay there are more problems like the whole camera view in that game and how it just gives Kratos a blinking indicator on his back on when an enemy is going to attack. While it was not a bad idea of why it is there, it creates a problem that makes reading foes easier. The previous God of War games did not have this problem and while I am not a big fan when the series quickly went into QTE hell, I can still say those games had better combat. I really have to call out on God of War’s combat when a PS2 game called God Hand has similarities to it and have a deeper combat system, maybe a bit too complicated, but I rather learn to play an action game. God of War never really shows this and the further you get in, it gets easier thanks to the new weapons you gain. The farther you get into God Hand you still need to set up your move list and while you have more to use, you need to know how they work together.

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While God of War is better made, God Hand still comes off as better experience for me.

Bayonetta did make the whole process of learning combos easier and in return they made the enemies for aggressive. Bayonetta teaches you of to dodge to get big rewards and those games never have an indicator on her back. The experimentation is still around thanks to new weapons you can use. It gets around a problem that games like Kingdom Hearts has for me with how easy it is to use one button to win the game. Devil May Cry follows these ideas as well and thanks with a strict combo system that depending on a certain rank you have, you can actually start to damage some of the enemies. Metal Gear Rising teaches you to play offensively and still read the foe so that you can parry and get right back into your attacks. The Yakuza franchise has open combat and teaches you to store energy and use the environment around you. While action games can be hard to get into, I feel that is a massive appeal to them because when you master them, you can start to have more fun with the combat. Then thanks to multiple methods of mastering combat just keeps opening up possibilities of how you can play and learn. Action games needs to teach people the hard way at times and it’s fine to struggle in the beginning. A game like God of War does not have these factors which makes the combat too easy to learn and yet be a game that is slow to get through.

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Overall, my biggest hope for a game like Devil May Cry 5 is that the mainstream audience can start to learn more about the good feelings of intense action. Games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne do well with being known has hard action games. There is no reason why any action game should make itself easier with its mechanics. The only option is to give more possibilities to use and learn because with that method people can find their own ideas. Bayonetta did do well thanks to the sequel it rightly deserved and there is even Nier Automata that even tells a strong story along with rich and open combat. So far Devil May Cry 5 is showing off its flashy combat correctly thanks to many ideas and weapons to use for combos. All that is left to say is that my Devil Trigger has been pulled as I cannot wait to enjoy the rich combat that Devil May Cry has been known for, as I hope many others will learn as well.

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Nero can ride on his own arm! Who needs Dad of War?!