Name: Baldrfist (68.00% in 10 votes)
Company: TGL - Japanese
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Lamuness
Giga's Team Baldrhead, who made a really cool H mecha action-RPG game Baldrhread, kept their words and released the so-called sequel to the game - Baldrfist. Unfortunately, the story is not the continuation of the storyline in Baldrhead; rather, it has no plot because unlike the previous installment which is a action-RPG, Baldrfist is purely a 1-to-1 fighting game like V.G. so plot is err...negligible for this game genre. However, it copies 100% from the storyline of V.G.: it takes place in the future of the Baldrhead world and there is a tournament where you have to control mechas called GIGAS and the winner wins cash prices, and the loser gets harrassed...
Like Ningyoushii 2 (metal & lace 2) you select a fighter at the beginning of the game (in this case, from a total of 6), and you follow their own little so-called story. The tournament takes place every Sunday, and you have a week from Monday to Saturday to prepare yourself for it. You are allowed to do one of 3 major actions daily - fight with GIGAS "mininons" which is a one-round fight and earn cash, customize your GIGAS to raise their stats, or purchase new skills. The latter 2 requires a lot of money and the cash prize isn't alot so spend your $$ wisely.
The fights are taken from aerial view like in Baldrhead and besides your energy bar you also have the Baldrhead-tradition overheat bar which will increase everytime you unleash an attack and the amount increased will vary depending on the attack. You can continuously unleash as many attacks as you like as long as you don't stop or as long as your overheat bar doesn't get filled up completely. After that you cannot attack at all until you cool down and the rate of cooling depends on if you are standing, walking or dashing. There are over 100 skills for you to discover and you only start out with 10 or so. The only way you can learn new ones is when your opponent unleashes them (however you have to purchase them in order to really use them). A couple of really nice features include the addition of movement skills such as revolving dash, quick dodges and jumping skills, and finally special attacks. These attacks are limited (you can increase the # of uses by customizing your GIGAS) and they usually automatically puts your overheat bar to max, but they are the best ways to quickly drain your opponent's energy. Likewise, you can learn opponent's special attacks if they unleash them in front of you.
Another nice feature is the training session where you can customize Heat Combos which is simply telling your GIGAs exactly the sequence of attacks to unleash for the best effect. With over 100 skills to put into this combo link, one can have alot of fun customizing your favorite attack styles. In addition, the best feature of all is that you can try out "un-bought" skills that you have learned from enemies, which serves as a "try-before-you-buy" thingy so you can save money but not buying a skill that you won't use.
Overall, the system is really well thought out and alot of nice features are added to greatly increase gameplay. With 6 fighters, each having their variable GIGAS stats, increases replay value compared to Baldrhead, which, like most RPGs, has no replay value once you cleared it. Now let's talk about graphics. The 3d mecha models in Baldrhead, although decent, suffered from really course polygon renderings. In Baldrfist, quality is much more improved with much more detail added to each GIGAS' design. Although more detail is needed on the modelling, considering that each GIGAS 3d model has to be able to do more than 100 moves, the mecha design overall is over satisfactory. Bishoujyo CG graphics....now we have a problem...unless my eyes are going wild, color quality doesn't seem to improve at all since Baldrhead...plus...why isn't Kusaka-Takeshi doing the CG artwork? ^^ Music the voice acting are alright, but the battle sound effects are pretty nicely done.
Cons about the game? not much really if you want my frank opinion - as a fighting game, besides the 2d CG quality. This is not really a bad thing, but if you don't have a 6 button joypad then you can start crying because don't even think of playing this game on the keyboard (I don't think the game will let you, in fact). Hmm....the battle animations, although pretty fluid, lags a bit on my P200 machine, prolly because of the higher graphic quality of backgrounds and mecha designs. Finally, Giga should be enable voice acting skip since when I quickly run through dialogues by repeatingly pressing ENTER, there are overlaps of voice dialogues.
Overall, despite the fact that there are very few H-fighting games out there, I must say Baldrfist is by far the best H-fighting game out there right now. It's a definite improvement over Baldrhead with lots of really nice features added that, in some aspects, makes Baldrfist more fun to play. Graphics are generally much more improved with better 3d mecha modelling, but I really hope to see Kusaka-Takeshi doing the artwork. Fans of any H-fighting games, be it V.G. or Metal and Lace series, MUST try this game.....but get yourself a good joypad first, since you will have the opportunity of making a 50+ hit combos and these count as bonus cash (my best record is 43 hits so far)!!
As a final note.....the first game of the series is BaldrHEAD, and now the second is BaldrFIST. So according to logic, the next installment will prolly be called BaldrLEGS..hehe
PROS: Over 100 skills to discover, much better interface, much better 3d mecha modellings, able to customize your attack style in any way you wish, a well thought-out practice sessions with a "try-before-you-buy" skill feature.
CONS: Lack of a story, but this is negligible in any fighting games. Why isn't Kusaka-Takeshi doing the character CGs?
HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO: All H-fighting fans, especially the ones who like the mecha fighting genre and like to make 50+ hit combos.
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