Platform: PC / PS2 / Arcade
Developer: Type-Moon / French-Bread / Ecole Software
Genre: Fighting Game
Release: 2002, React (2004), Act Cadenza (2005), Actress Again (2008)
The adventures in Type-Moon’s Nasuverse continues- and this time, we do it 2D-fighting style! Melty Blood is a visual novel and fighting game based on Tsukihime, having retained its original characters with the addition of new ones as well as a few-select from Kagetsu Tohya and Kara No Kyoukai.
Synopsis: One year after the events of Tsukihime (Arcueid’s Good Ending, to be exact), Tohno Shiki hears of rumors going around Misaki Town about a new series of murders akin to what happened before. While standing guard and searching for the culprit, he encounters a gun-toting magus named Sion Eltnam Atlasia. She then assaults Shiki with the objective of getting in contact with the True Ancestor, Arcuied Brunestud, so that she may acquire data on her cure for vampirism. After the clash, Shiki decides to help Sion in her cause.
The player goes a succession of novel readings and battles (usually five to seven fights per story) while unfolding the mysteries revolving Melty Blood. But there’s a catch: you just can’t have access to the cream-of-the-crop content by just beating the game once. There are a total of eight endings all-in-all, and the last route isn’t available until you finish the other seven first. What ending you get is determined by winning or deliberately losing certain matches. Thankfully, the English translators of the game, Mirror Moon, provided us a text walkthrough on everything.
Given its 2D-fighting nature, pixelation on character sprites is expected. What makes the game shine though are the flashy jam-packed animations the characters smoothly employ as each one is uniquely based detail-wise on their character background. Players are able to relate more given that they’re fans of these Type-Moon characters.
Other highlights are the clearly fine-looking background stages (yes, even if they are static!) and crescent-ish soundtrack that brings the visual ‘Tsukihime’ feel of the scenario up a notch. Let’s not forget exceptional character voicing – who wouldn’t want to hear Arcueid, Shiki and the other characters grunt out their signature moves and shout ’til someone gets KO’ed? With regards to speed, the gameplay is up to par with Marvel vs. Capcom and Guilty Gear.
Currently, there are three titles and one expansion published under Melty Blood:
Melty Blood: Re-ACT – An expansion to the original game, featuring an ‘Arcade Mode’ whose storyline takes place after the original Melty Blood.
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza – It eliminated the Story Mode visual-novel game to focus more on the fighting game engine and two new characters have been added: Kishima Kouma and Aoko Aozaki. Ver. A was the first arcade port of the series. Ver. B was released for both the PS2 and PC. Ver. B exclusive features for the PC include a tag-team mode, a 4-player team battle mode, a programmable dummy for training purposes and a new hidden boss character, Neco-Arc Chaos Black G666 (replacing G-Akiha from Melty Blood: Re-ACT).
Melty Blood: Actress Again – Released for both the PS2 and Sega Naomi arcade system. Characters now have three different styles to choose from: Crescent Moon-style, Half Moon-style and Full Moon-style. PS2 exclusive features include the addition of Ryougi Shiki, Riesbyfe Stridberg, Michael Roa Valdamjong and Archetype: Earth as playable characters. Actress Again: Current Code has been released for Sega’s Ringwide arcade system, making available the characters that were exclusive for the PS2 version.
For more details about the game releases and changes, click here.
The fighting system doesn’t deviate much from your usual 2D-fighter: quarter-circle supers are still of the norm as well as with dashing, double jumps, jump-dashes and other whatnot moves. This just makes it much easier for newbie players to get hooked up the moment they sit down and play.
Hardcore gamers craving for advanced complex techniques to beat their opponents with are offered unique features Melty Blood has been designed with such as EX-shielding, using Magic Circuits (To activate Arc-Drives and the ultimate Last-Arc super), Shield Bunker Canceling, Circuit Sparks, Reverse Beats and many more.
Overall, this remarkable game is a must have for the 2D fighter-next-door as well as anyone just looking to have a fun time with friends beating each other up with school girl assassins of the church, hot blond vampire princesses and a glasses-guy who can kill anything in existence, among the many other distinctive characters.