Tag Archives: fighting

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – The King of Fighters XIII

I’m struggling to remember why I had so much fun playing Tekken, Bloody Roar, and Star Gladiator by myself as a young teenager and now, as a full-fledged adult, I barely touch fighting games unless I have a real-life person to play against. To me, they aren’t fun solo, and online play is too competitive. Maybe it’s because I was fascinated by all the throw options in Tekken married with the instant replay feature. Or maybe…I liked having all the time in the world to figure out how to make characters grow ginormous in Star Gladiator or figure out who had the best beast transformation in Bloody Roar (answer: Alice the rabbit). Anyways, The King of Fighters XIII is a fine 2D fighter, but it’s not able to hold my interest for very long. In short, too much anime-esque yelling going on.

The main draw for The King of Fighters XIII is its three-on-three team battles. Basically, you choose a default team of three characters or make your own team by selecting three characters of your choice, and then you battle against your opponent’s team. Simple as that. Here’s the rub. This isn’t like Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds or Tekken Tag Tournament 2, where you can swiftly switch between characters at any point during a match. No, in this one, you pick the order you want to play each person in beforehand and then fight with them until their health bar depletes. If you defeat your enemy, your character’s health restores a tiny bit for the next round.

Oh, and there’s a story. Via this mode, you’ll experience a variety of background stories not touched upon in the game’s original Arcade mode. You can discover the truth about King of Fighters’ “Ash Saga” and its secrets through the eyes of the main character, Ash Crimson, and other characters who were not directly participating in the tournament. Your decisions and battle results may lead you to discovering new story elements, which drives replayability to see all the different options and every scene. For me, I couldn’t really follow anything that was going on; a fight would start, there’d be some back-and-forth banter between the combatants, which got extra funny when fighting a clone of yourself, and then you’d pummel each other into the ground, hopefully with style. After that, it was on to the next fight, with a short anime cutscene to watch as you got closer to the main bosses of the mode.

I played through the Arcade mode using this tag team, mostly picked at random or by what I deemed looked like cool people from the outset: Iori, Benimaru, and Kula. You can tell me I’m wrong, it’s okay. I don’t know jack squat about this game series and these characters, but they have to be a thousand times better than Mai, who’s sprite animation is one hundred percent focused on her boobs bouncing in as inhuman  of a way possible; I’m sure she has her fanbase. Right, moving on. I was able to pull off a couple of special moves, several combos, along with a few EX finishers, which is something I always struggled with pulling off in, say, Street Fighter IV. Also, I unlocked two new characters for a game I’m going to uninstall real soon, so go me. Alas, I was not able to beat Saiki, as, like many final bosses in fighting games, he proved too tough–or is it cheap?–for my trio.

I’ll say this about The King of Fighters XIII–it is absolutely gorgeous. The animations on the characters are smooth and fluid, and the backgrounds are quite honestly pure insanity, what with all the detail and colors and different styles throughout. On occasion, I put my controller down and let my opponent beat me up just so I could watch more of what was happening in the background. The menus are slick and stylized, though I found the music to be mostly irrelevant. This series has certainly come along way from its heyday in 1994…though, even then, it was a beaut to behold on the Neo-Geo.

Similar to my problem with too many shmups for PlayStation Plus, I’ve got a bunch of other fighting games to get through. Namely, these ones–Darkstalkers Resurrection, UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late, and Skullgirls Encore. My god…the name of that middle title just strikes fear in my heart immediately. Until then, I’ll cut the cord for The King of Fighters XIII and set it free. Y’know, from my PlayStation 3 internal memory space.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Rag Doll Kung Fu™: Fists of Plastic

First things first–um, what?! Secondly, no, really, what even is this? Lastly, I don’t understand. A part of me really wishes to leave those few lines to describe my short time with Rag Doll Kung Fu™: Fists of Plastic, but the writer in me knows that just won’t happen. Plus, it’s always more fun to write about poor games than great games, strange as that may seem.

Developed by Tarsier Studios, Rag Doll Kung Fu™: Fists of Plastic is an exclusive party-fighting game for the PlayStation 3, focusing more on exaggerated physics than anything else. Certainly, this game has an imaginative look and feel, with the characters acting like puppets minus the strings. There’s a strong attention to detail for the fighting arenas, which are intricate miniature playsets. The characters themselves also look sharp, with plenty of light bloom to go around, and their limp rag doll movement is fun to watch…for a bit. Playing the game is not as enjoyable.

Your battling success depends on mastering basic kung fu moves while using acrobatic skills to swing off platforms and somersault through the air. There’s an unfortunate heavy reliance on motion controls. Still, face buttons are used to punch, kick, jump, and block, and basic combos can be performed by stringing these together. You can use the analog sticks both to move your character around and rotate their arms when grabbing items or swinging weapons around. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Furthermore, if you want to do a quick jolt to slam the ground or convert your chi power into a lightning ball, you’ll need to thrust the controller up or down in a specific way to get the job done. This is not always guaranteed, and I personally hate using the PlayStation 3 controller in this way.

There’s no story in Rag Doll Kung Fu™: Fists of Plastic. It’s a brawler, where the goal is to do more damage to your opponent(s) and remain on the healthy side of things. From the main menu, you can select the following: Multiplayer, Challenges, Tutorial, Character Editor, and Options. I basically only touched the Challenges and Tutorial and experienced enough to know that this isn’t for me. I’ve never been interested in these sorts of games to begin with–sorry, Super Smash Bros., fans–but the action is a little too chaotic and hard to follow. Throw in the wonky physics and reliance on motion controls to do anything cool and…I’m out.

Because I noticed the trademark symbol in Rag Doll Kung Fu™: Fists of Plastic‘s name, I had to know if this was based on some sort of TV series or movie. Nope. This is a fighting video game, created predominantly by artist Mark Healey, while working for Lionhead Studios, along with other Lionhead employees, such as David Smith and Alex Evans. You might remember this studies, defunct since April 2016, as the people behind Fable. Alas, unlike Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom, there’s no connection that I can find to any other media, which then strikes me odd on the insistence to include a trademark symbol. There’s a tiny link between this and the original Rag Doll Kung Fu, which came out on PC in 2005 and had an unusual mouse-only control scheme, but that’s about it.

Here’s the one positive comment I’ll make about Rag Doll Kung Fu™: Fists of Plasticit’s got a pretty strange yet catchy theme song.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.



In lieu of a copy of Street Fighter II or any of the Mortal Kombats, I had other fighting games in my collection to play on my first console, that lovable Super Nintendo currently sitting in my closet, dusty and yellow, but all the way functional, such as Killer Instinct, Shaq Fu, and Samurai Shodown. I probably have a few things to say about that first title and many, many words to write about how I got Shaq Fu–trust me, it’s more interesting than the game itself–but today, it’s all about twelve of the fiercest warriors of the late 18th century engaging in duels to the death as a dark power rises over Japan.

Yup, Samurai Shodown. It originally made its debut on the Neo Geo, but then got ported to a bunch of different consoles, which is how I ended up with a copy of it on the SNES. The SNES version is evidently a bit different than other ports, but I’m only learning this after the fact, years later, as I assumed everything I was seeing then as I jumped and slashed was how it all truly was; for example, the SNES version removed scaling, keeping the character sprites small and constant for an entire fight instead of zooming in and out of the action. Also, similar to Mortal Kombat, there’s no blood on Nintendo’s console when it comes to cutting people up with swords.

Samurai Shodown is known for being either the first or one of the first fighting games to focus on weapon-based combat–I’d later fall hard for this concept with Soul Blade on the PlayStation 1–and having a style based around late 18th century Japanese culture, such as calligraphy and musical instruments. A couple other standout elements from Samurai Shodown are camera zoom effects, randomly-dropped items like food for healing and bombs for damage, destructible environments, and the Rage Meter, which builds up over time upon receiving damage, allowing the fighter to become momentarily more powerful.

Here’s the thing. I haven’t played Samurai Shodown in a good, long while. The SNES cart left my hands probably at that time I gathered a bunch of them together to trade in at Toys “R” Us for some kind of lump discount off the forthcoming PlayStation 1. I do not remember every character and fighting stance and weapon type. That said, there’s Galford, the San Fransisco swordsman I couldn’t get enough of, and here’s why–side puppy. Named Poppy. She’s a beast, literally, and Galford can perform a special move to send her after opponents to maul them like a good puppy doggy. I mostly mained Galford, but I do remember using Hanzo and Jubei a bunch. Everybody else is a blur.

I never got to play any further releases in the Samurai Shodown franchise, nor did I really get into any later SNK fighting games. I think I tried The King of Fighters XIII once and found it bewildering. All in all, I’m a Tekken man, born and bred, as I can’t get enough of throws and countering and cool slow motion replays. It’s what I was raised on, and I’m only mentioning it now so that you’ll be prepared when you see another GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH for the original Tekken. Don’t worry, I still have Tekken 2. I’m not completely without reservations.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

Jinpachi Mishima proves you’re an insignificant worm

tekken 5 jinpachi the worst end boss ever

End bosses in fighting games have always been a hassle, but none have been quite the crotch-kicker and stun-gunner as Jinpachi Mishima from Tekken 5. If his name sounds or looks familiar, it’s because you’ve met and played as his offspring and his offspring’s offspring throughout the Tekken series so far; he is Heihachi’s father, Kazuya’s grandfather, and the great-grandfather to Jin Kazama. Also, please note that he is possessed by an evil force, which explains the teethy mouth in his stomach and purple smoke aura. Or maybe it doesn’t. Really, who bothers with the fiction these days in any Tekken games? It’s all about the throws and air juggling.

Now, I’m not a crazy huge fan of fighting games, mostly because I have no one to play against anymore. Computer-controlled opponents can only do so much, and they generally only become challenging when they start using cheap tactics that always feel unjust. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed the black sheep of the genre, like Bloody Roar and Star Gladiator. Obviously, I played a bit of the two big boys, but Street Fighter always felt too sluggish to me, and Mortal Kombat was the type of game I enjoyed watching in arcades more than playing. But I will always come back to the Tekken franchise as my first true love when it comes to punching, kicking, and side-stepping.

So far, Tekken 5 is pretty cool. Character movement is swift and accurate, and there’s a bunch of new characters–well, for me–to try out. Also, and this part is absolutely insane, you can play the arcade versions of previous Tekken games, making this, perhaps, the greatest collection of Iron First tournament titles this side of silly. My only gripe though, and it’s a big one, is that the final boss is wickedly cheap. Like to the point that it feels completely unfair. Jinpachi is able to launch a number of unblockable moves that take away a large chunk of your health, as well as the ability to stun you no matter what move you are doing. Screw animation priorities. Oh, and one of his moves heals him while damaging you. Fun times, people.

At this point, I’ve beaten Tekken 5‘s story mode five or six times, unlocking the very same amount of hidden characters. However, each fight against Jinpachi has varied considerably, and I know that I just barely got out alive when using Steve Fox and Craig Marduk against him. Things were much easier when using fighters that had range or a lot of powerful kick moves, like Christie. For a lot of the fights, it is a mix of endurance and luck, as well as avoiding that fireball he tosses your way. But some fights, if the wind isn’t blowing your way, can end in a matter of seconds, considering how much damage Jinpachi does. And yes, for the record, I’m playing on the easiest of difficulties, with settings for one round and 30 seconds–that’s how hard he is to battle. Cervantes from Soul Edge, Seth from Super Street Fighter IV, and Galactus from Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3–they seriously have nothing on this demonic fart-knocker.

Annoying boss fight aside, this is still ten times more favorable than Tekken Revolution.

A night of Tekken 2 and Tony Hawk

Progress is slowly being made on setting up the living room at the Leaky Cauldron, with the most important part being the entertainment section where all the videogame systems go. Right now, we only have the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 up and working; the Wii and SNES will come later once we find all the wires and space for ’em. This is a little embarassing, but I only noticed that there were more audio/visual ports in the back of the TV as we moved it from apartment to apartment, and that means having multiple systems plugged in and ready to go without having to switch wires in and out all the time. Go ahead, call me a n00b. I deserve it.

Tara wanted to play some games last night, and since we were having trouble finding a certain wire for the SNES we went with some ol’ PlayStation games because, well, the majority of my Xbox 360 games are very much single-player experiences. Watching me play Fallout: New Vegas actually puts her to sleep, she says–but she means that in a nice way. Evidently, the sounds from V.A.T.S. and menu clicks are like white noise to her, very soothing and not distracting at all. To each their own, I guess.

First we rocked some Tekken 2, a game that really has not aged well. Those blocky, stiff characters really stand out as…blocky, stiff characters. Especially the bigger dudes like King and, um, Paul Phoenix’s hair. And speaking of characters, I didn’t have all of them. Must have erased my memory card save a long time ago, but now I’m itching to unlock everyone again just in case we ever feel the need to play a fighting game again. Having options is nice.

I remember when I first got my PlayStation; it came with a demo disc that had a slew of interesting titles on it. One was for a couple of rounds of Tekken 2, and it was all I played. Over and over and over. The same two characters, the same boring black background level, the same time limit. But over and over I played, trying to learn all the moves and throws, loving every instant replay it showed me. I remember thinking this was THE game to get, and soon after I did get it. And still have it. Playing it now, I can obviously point out its lack of depth (and side-steppin’), but it’s still a classic fighting game, with fun characters and bizarre snippets of FMV.

After a couple rounds, we moved on to some Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Oh boy. Tara was Wolverine and I was that Eyeball logo character. We did some free-skating in Suburbia and Los Angelos, falling down a lot and constantly goofing up strings of tricks, and then created characters in our own likeness. Well, mine could’ve been fatter. Did some more skating, skipping every rap song in the playlist. Was a lot of fun actually, and now I really want to revisit some older games that I haven’t played in a good ol’ while. Too bad Fallout: New Vegas is here, demanding the majority of my free gaming time. Yes, “too bad”…ha!