Bloody Roar Extreme
Contrary to its name, Bloody Roar Extreme is anemic, mewling, and mild. As in the series’ previous games, fighters begin as humans and transform into feral beasts midbout to tear each other apart with claws and fangs. That notion could make a fine fighter, but BRX is eviscerated by stylistic and technical failings. First off, you’ll find a particularly motley (read: embarrassing) crew of brawlers here. The Chameleon, Rabbit, and Cat-girl look downright ridiculous next to more toothsome competitors like the Wolf and Lion. And why include losers like the Mole and the Insect before nature’s better fighters? Laughable characters aside, this game just ain’t fun. It’s so simple that even experienced players fare better pounding one button than trying to execute combos or reversals. I had Karate Champ (NES) flashbacks when my characters refused to face their opponents. The lack of moves lists in Training mode, absurdly cheap A.I. opponents, and dull arenas make BRX even harder to enjoy. Even the tykes for whom it’s intended should avoid this shambles.
Why visit this unaccredited zoo of mediocrity when you can get more satisfying thrills from the non-furry stars of DOA3 or the upcoming Soul Calibur 2? BRX’s sickly critters are so sloppy that strategy is moot—pecking a single button produces seven-hit strings, shoddy sidestepping results in beasts that bare more back than fang, and throws skip jarringly into preset cut-scenes. You can’t expect studied grace from animals, but where’s the ferocity and guile? Bloody Roar's keepers best clean this cage quick if they want any visitors.
I am usually at peace in the world of beasts, but BRX is something else entirely. Its goofy characters and lackluster environments pale compared to those in other Xbox fighters. And the simplistic button mashing combat mocks the natural ferocity, grace, and patience that my real-life animal friends once channeled into my deadly mantis stance. Infected by BRX’s mediocrity, I now move in lame, predictable ways, and require months of meditation and fasting to regain my power.