Poem of the Week: Decisions

Decisions
August 27, 2015

Decisions—not for the weak of mind.
Decisions—not for my dull behind.
Decisions—so many to make,
And I’m not sure how much more my mind can take.

Frustration—feeling so confused.
Frustration—not knowing what to do.
Frustration—so much on my plate
That I need to take care of and just can’t wait.

Organized—what I need to be.
Organized—so my future I can see.
Organized—getting my act together
So I can prepare myself for a change of weather.

Busy—the only way I can last.
Busy—need to stay on task.
Busy—if it’s a future I want
And it’s fame and fortune I want to flaunt.

Focus—what I can’t afford to lack.
Focus—need to stay on track.
Focus—on what I need to get done
If I want to send my troubles on the run.

Impact—what I hope to make.
Impact—even if I break.
Impact—remembered for all time
Along with those who came before me. Is that such a crime?

Icon—what I’m trying to become.
Icon—beloved by most everyone.
Icon—leaving my mark on the biz,
But I’ll never be one with how my work ethic is.

Decision—I’ve finally made one.
Decision—based on what I’ll become.
Decision—now to act it out
So that my dreams will be what my life’s about.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com

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In Relation to My Work: How Would I Reboot the Bloody Roar Series? part 5

Finally...we tackle the most controversial game in the Bloody Roar franchise.

Finally…we tackle the most controversial game in the Bloody Roar franchise.

Welcome back, readers!

This has been a long time coming, but I’m now at long last here to discuss the fifth and [possibly] final installment of my reboot of the Bloody Roar franchise. As you can probably guess, this last installment shall be discussing the reboot of Bloody Roar 4, the final and most hated installment of the original BR video game series. Why such a nasty reputation? Well, to begin with, there was the whole game mechanic that gave each character’s beast form its own distinct health bar that replaced each fighter’s beast gauge, which had been a well-established staple within the rest of the series that owed a lot to each previous game’s sense of strategy. On a similar note were BR 4’s numerous glitches, from graphical slowdown to disappearing timers and health bars during gameplay. The game also had unaltered character costumes from BR Extreme/Primal Fury (which went against another long-standing BR tradition by that point), several unaltered arenas (save for being tinted darker to reflect the game’s overall tone) also from BR E/PF, force fields that prevented players from truly interacting with the environments, ill-fitting music (as opposed to the well-established instrumental rock of previous games), and—for the sake of this blog entry—a sloppily executed and logically devoid story that diverged so much from the original BR narrative that it didn’t even feel like it belonged to the series. Remember how the first couple of BR games had a contemporary sci-fi vibe going for them a la Resident Evil and X-Men? Well, the same can’t be said for BR 4, which follows the story of BR 3 with a tale so rooted in the supernatural that it’s more reminiscent of a fantasy tale than anything else…a high fantasy tale at that, too. Worse yet, one could even go as far as to claim that the story centered itself so much around three of the four new characters whom Hudson Soft had introduced into the plot that it rendered most of the rest of the cast completely inconsequential. Sure, Yugo has been able to remain somewhat of a protagonist, but to what degree? Also, how important has Alice become come BR 4? What about Bakuryu? Long? Shina? Uriko? I could go on. Heck, things were so bad in this respect that if one didn’t know any better, one could have sworn that Hudson was trying to promote Nagi as the new lead for the series, which would have been a disastrous indeed if they’d followed through with it in later installments, and not just because Nagi’s beast form didn’t look anything like an actual animal, either. Honestly, that’s like a wrestling promotion making its marquee star take a backseat to its latest rookie and pushing the latter as its new feature attraction without giving the sot a chance to prove himself or herself against even the lowliest jobber, much less the company’s (former) main player.

All things considered, though, I still believe that just like the story of Bloody Roar 3 (and Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury, for that matter), the whole thing could have worked for Bloody Roar 4 if only Hudson Soft had taken their time and crafted their narrative with a little bit more finesse. Alas, they didn’t, which already hurt the credibility of a game that was already destined to peeve off a good chunk of the BR fanbase. Needless to say, I hope to explain in this article how I personally would rewrite BR 4’s and make it more compatible with the rest of the series. In doing so, I intend to make the new characters from this game fit in more tightly with the rest of the BR cast, all the while trying to stay true to each new character’s role within the BR universe and eliminate only those elements that work against the series’ overall plot as it had been previously established. Without further ado, then, let the reboot begin!

Things in a Nutshell

To sum things up, a year has passed since the events of Bloody Roar 3, and though the crisis surrounding the X-Genome Code and the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts has mostly come to a close, the Unborn is still running amok, using Xion as its host as it continues down its path of destruction. Outraged with the Unborn’s presence, Gaia, the spirit of the earth herself, has brought it upon herself to summon forth a great dragon to help dispose of the foul aberration. In doing so, a stone seal happens to break within the confines of a remote temple hidden somewhere in Japan, and a thirty-seven-year-old Buddhist monk named Rao “Ryoho” Mamurasaki finds himself transforming into the very dragon Gaia had created to help protect the world from creatures such as the Unborn that would threaten the planet’s natural cycle of life and death. The dragon proves to be too powerful a creature for Ryoho to keep in check, however, and sure enough, it’s up to his nine-year-old daughter figure Mana—a young miko with the power of the nine-tailed fox of Japanese lore—to reseal the great beast, although she cannot do it alone and must summon forth strong zoanthropes to her and Ryoho’s temple and have them help her complete such a task.

The Unborn revealed!

The Unborn revealed!

Such is how the original BR 4 begins, and yes, it initially comes off as kind of an awkward plot to follow up those that involved underground scientific experimentation and violent conflict between zoanthropes and baseline humanity. Even so, I can at least credit Hudson Soft with trying to blend the paranormal nature of lycanthropes with the preexisting light science fiction theme that the first two games had already established in an attempt to flesh out a sort of mythology that would explain why zoanthropes exist in the world of BR. However, as I’d mentioned earlier, the whole thing more or less backfired on them, and what fans received instead was something that sounded far more fitting for a traditional RPG than a hard-hitting fighting game involving werebeasts. I also personally dislike how this narrative nullifies the relevance of both the Tylon Corporation and the ZLF, thus stunting the continuity of two of the most influential antagonist organizations in the entire franchise. This especially holds true for Tylon, whose ill-intentioned experiments have played a significant part of BR’s story collective for at least the first two games, and even BR E/PF had shades of Tylon spattered throughout it, what with the experiments that were going on behind the scenes of the Kingdom of Zoanthropes’ Ultimate Zoanthrope Fighting Tournament. Then again, this plot doesn’t even do that great a follow-up to the plots of either BR 3 or BR E/PF, either. Sure, it mentions the X-Genome Code debacle from Bloody Roar 3, but it does so incorrectly by referencing XGC-free zoanthropes rioting across the globe rather than those who were carrying the Code—not that the latter were necessarily “rioting,” either, so much as panicking on account of there being such a high number of fatalities amongst their kind for reasons they could only begin to fathom. There is also the mention of earthquakes during the XGC incident, which have apparently only worsened presently, although the only true earthquake to take place at all happens around Ryoho and Mana’s temple, which is where Alice starts off in the game aiding those whose homes have been devastated. As for Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury, there’s no mention of it at all, which makes me almost wonder just how cannon BR E/PF’s story is at all within the series. Sure, BR 4 borrows a lot of the models from previously existing characters as well as several of the arenas—most notably the aquarium and alongside the highway—from Extreme/Primal Fury, but as far as storylines go, there’s no connection at all between the two games.

Personally, I’d have the events of Bloody Roar 4 directly follow those of BR Extreme/Primal Fury. To put matters simply, Yugo Ogami and the rest of the World of Coexistence have finally exposed and put an end to the clandestine experiments that the renegade Tylon scientists who had founded the Kingdom of Zoanthropes had been conducting at the behest of the Zoanthrope Liberation Front (See Part 4 of my reboot for more details on this particular arc.). Once that happens, order returns to the KoZ, which the United Nations officially recognizes as a self-governing political entity, and the founders are at long last allowed to return to their own homelands after spending years in isolation following their escape from Tylon’s infamous South American laboratory. As they all come home, many of them—including Hiroshi Nonomura, Mitsuko’s long-estranged husband and Uriko’s father—share with the world the medical findings from the studies they had conducted on zoanthropy and its many unique medical conditions. Among such information are the scientists’ findings of the X-Genome Code and even the possibility of hybrid zoanthropes such as Uranus, whose endocrine systems produce twice the amount of Factor B during the “beastorization” process than those of ordinary, single-species zoanthropes (i.e., most everybody else in the BR saga), making them more powerful and dangerous fighters as a result. Such research gives other scientists worldwide a better understanding of how zoanthropy works and as such a better understanding of how to treat the various medical and psychological conditions that zoanthropes suffer in addition to those that plague regular humans.

Xion the Unborn is still on the loose, and all the while spewing the most poorly translated dialogue imaginable...even by Bloody Roar standards.

Xion the Unborn is still on the loose, and all the while spewing the most poorly translated dialogue imaginable…even by Bloody Roar standards.

Unfortunately, old sensitivities more often than not take quite a while to die, particularly when it comes to the friction between baseline humans and their zoanthropic compatriots. As such, it’s no surprise that with much of this new information—especially that concerning hybrid zoanthropes—many humans begin to distrust zoanthropes as a whole, hence the reformation of several beast hunter parties as per the days of Bloody Roar 2. Violence begins to resurge across the globe at the hands of these groups, and the WOC once again has its own hands full as they try to put these radicals in their place and restore global order. Worse yet, however, is how the stage has been set for the ZLF’s return to prominence, and despite the Front’s infamy from previous years, many zoanthropes feel pressured to align themselves with them in hopes of seeking salvation from their increasingly brutal beast hunter assailants. Even highly esteemed public figures amongst zoanthropekind seem to be jumping on the ZLF bandwagon with the claim that human prejudice has grown too strong to tolerate and that violence is no longer avoidable. The WOC feels the effects of this firsthand, too, when a hefty percentage of their own kind resign from the organization to support the ZLF and their promise of a safer world from beast hunters and their ilk.

The Who’s Who of MY Bloody Roar 4

Yugo, Alice, and Bakuryu: The three staple protagonists of the Bloody Roar series and all back for more action in BR 4

Yugo, Alice, and Bakuryu: The three staple protagonists of the Bloody Roar series and all back for more action in BR 4

Now that we’ve set the scene, it should be pretty easy to determine who’ll be in it. To begin with, it’d be a sin to exclude the likes of Yugo, Alice, and Kenji (a.k.a. Bakuryu), seeing as all three of them have been staple characters since the first Bloody Roar game (or, in Bakuryu’s case, BR 2) as well as the three members of the World of Coexistence around whom the BR saga has revolved. I could very easily have them all act as one unit, too, and work together to see to the ZLF’s defeat, but that wouldn’t do much at all to firmly establish each character’s role within the overall saga, and believe me when I say that if there was one thing that hurt at least most of the returning characters in the original BR 4, it was, as I’d mentioned earlier, their reduced importance in the game’s story. That being said, I’d have Yugo enter the fray out of responsibility as the WOC’s leader, concerned for the safety of zoanthropes and regular humans alike in the face of the ZLF’s return to world dominance. On his mind in particular is the safety of his close friend and fellow WOC member Nagi, who has just started to recuperate from the ordeal she’d endured from my reboot of BR 3. I plan to go into greater detail when I discuss Nagi’s role in the story, but to sum it up briefly, let’s just say that Yugo notices that something’s simply not right with her and makes it a secondary priority of his to discover the truth about her during his investigation of the ZLF’s schemes. Alice, meanwhile, has officially decided to work for the WOC fulltime following the events of BR E/PF and, upon doing so, has been fulfilling her duties to the organization by taking care of a Buddhist monk and his foster daughter who have been recovering from their own respective complications from the X-Genome Code. Upon making a routine visit to the duo’s temple, though, she arrives to see that the place has been ransacked and that the monk and his foster daughter are missing. Fearing the worst, she comes to suspect that they have been abducted—allegedly by beast hunters at first, but sure enough, she crosses paths with the monk’s daughter, who tells her that the ZLF are behind her father’s disappearance. Upon learning this, Alice feels her inner avenger get the better of her and sets off with the young girl in tow (against her better judgment) to rescue the monk at all costs. Finally, Kenji/Bakuryu may start off this whole adventure strictly out of his duties as his big brother’s second-in-command, but as the plot thickens, he finds himself engaging in a rivalry that I’d established in my BR 3 reboot with Reiji. Could this be the final showdown between these two combatants and, by extension, their respective clans? Who knows? All I can really say is that the battle between these two is bound to be fierce.

Nagi and Reiji, Hudson Soft's female lead elect and newest antagonist for BR 4

Nagi and Reiji, Hudson Soft’s female lead elect and newest antagonist for BR 4

Nagi and Reiji will be appearing in this reboot as well, although I promise that neither of them will be quite as “front and center” as they were in the original Bloody Roar 4. Nagi’s story I’ve already briefly covered, but to elaborate, she’s almost fully recovered from the events she’s endured during the course of my version of BR 3. I say “almost” because following her defeat while under the control of my reboot’s chief antagonist Andreas Drakos, Nagi’s been spending time in the hospital having the effects of not only her brainwashing reversed, but also her contraction of the X-Genome Code via Drakos’s victims’ blood samples. She hasn’t fully been purged of her then-acquired zoanthropy just yet, though, of which he doctors have made her aware. She refuses to sit back any longer than she already has, however, and against her physicians’ orders, she springs back into action, using what’s left of her chimeric beast form and the Factor B that her brain has been producing since her becoming a zoanthrope to help thwart the ZLF’s menace and hopefully avenge herself against the man who was responsible for her transformation in the first place. Reiji, on the other hand, has become a full-fledged member of the Front and has been serving them as a hitman of sorts, taking out potential threats to the ZLF’s rise to power. He’s especially focused on eliminating Kenji as per their respective clans’ generations-old rivalry. Only time will tell, sadly, if Reiji will be able to quench his blood thirst or if the present Bakuryu will put an end to the former Yatagarasu’s rampage.

Ryoho and Mana

Ryoho and Mana

Additionally, my reboot will indeed include Rao “Ryoho” Mamurasaki and his adopted daughter Mana, two ecclesiastics who—according to their original backstory—operate out of a hidden temple somewhere in Japan that is dedicated to the practice of both Buddhism and Shinto and has managed to escape the Meiji Restoration law that separated Buddhist and Shinto religious activities. In my reboot, however, Ryoho and Mana’s temple, though it is located a bit off the beaten path, isn’t exactly quite so “underground” for reasons that SCXCR explains in his sixth and final installment of the Bloody Roar video game series when discussing the duo as in-game characters (See minute mark 18:58.). In fact, the way I would have it, Ryoho is actually a relatively well-known and highly respected figure amongst zoanthrope kind who preaches unto his followers and anyone else who visits his temple the virtues of patience and tolerance, encouraging his fellow zoanthropes to work and live in harmony both with each other and with baseline humanity so as to ensure the wellbeing of the world at large. Likewise, Ryoho and Mana are both natural born hybrid zoanthropes, each the offspring of two zoanthropic parents as per Uriko’s case (See my reboot of the original Bloody Roar for more information.) and very powerful individually at that. So powerful are they, in fact, that when the ZLF become aware of them, they immediately set out to ransack the temple and abduct Ryoho. Mana thankfully escapes and manages to reach Alice, whom she tells everything and whom she inststantly accompanies as the two venture forth to rescue Mana’s foster father. Now, I’ll admit that this refreshed story does indeed break up the duo as a playable tag team, but rest assured, BR gamers, that Ryoho’s gameplay as a single solitary fighter would remain unchanged from how it was originally…give or take a few balancing issues, of course. Similarly, this story would allow Mana to become a playable character in her own right with karate being both her and Ryoho’s chosen fighting style with notable variations in attacks as appropriate for their differentiations in size and beast form (Dragon versus Ninetail).

Just when you thought the Nonomura family could live happily ever after following their reunification following Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury...

Just when you thought the Nonomura family could live happily ever after following their reunification following Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury…

Speaking of abductions, I’ll also be bringing back all three members of the Nonomura family as playable characters: Hiroshi as a captive of the ZLF, who want to milk him of his most recently attained research so that they can use it to create new super soldiers, and Uriko and Mitsuko as a mother-daughter team who set out together to once more rescue the beloved patriarch of their family. Additionally, I’d throw in element to Uriko’s story where she ends up proving to her mother along their journey that she is indeed growing up and able to take care of herself whenever the situation calls for it. No doubt this would be a double-edged sword for Mitsuko, who would be proud to know that her biological daughter is coming into her own and able to make it into the world, yet sad al the same of having lost the opportunity to bond with her the way moist other mothers do with their children. I would also be sure to have Uriko show continued and consistent interest in her father’s research on account of her experiences from earlier installments in the series in an effort to fully understand the nature of her zoanthropy. Is the possibility still there for her to become the big, ghastly chimera she’d once been able to become in the first BR? If so, how well would she be able to handle her fully realized power? Such are the questions she asks herself as she ponders her dad’s research and further steps away from the over-the-top childlike demeanor that Hudson Soft had given her in the original BR.

Xion, Stun, and Busuzima

Xion, Stun, and Busuzima

I’d be downright foolish to exclude Xion from this reboot, considering that he was the one responsible—at least in part—for Nagi’s zoanthropy. Still troubled by the crimes he’s committed on account of his strand of the X-Genome Code and its effects upon his mind, Xion seeks out the aid of a medical expert who can revert him back to a regular human. Unfortunately, the expert he seeks is Dr. Hiroshi Nonomura, whom the ZLF have abducted. Seeing this as an opportunity to practice compassion as Long had advised him at the end of Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury as well as a chance to seek redemption for all that he’s done as the Unborn, Xion sets out to rescue Hiroshi, all the while coping with many a foul memory of his being a puppet for Andreas Drakos back in the BR 3 days as well as the distrust he has earned from each and every potential ally with whom he crosses paths, including Yugo, Mitsuko, and Uriko. He won’t be the only one fighting for his piece of mind, though, as Stun will be out and about trying to piece his memory back together following the experiments from BR E/PF that brought him back to life. Piecing his life back together shouldn’t be too hard, either, what with all the familiar faces he’ll surely run into, the least of which not being Busuzima, who’s recently become depressed on account of his continually incomplete research concerning the Ultimate Life Object. At a loss for what to do next, Busuzima comes to learn about the discoveries that Hiroshi and his fellow KoZ founders had made concerning hybrid zoanthropes and wonders if such is the direction in which he needs to take his experiment. With his ambition suddenly reignited, he is convinced that the perfect test subject is out there unwittingly waiting for him to begin his latest string of tests on, from Xion with his bizarre Unborn form and the half-Unborn Nagi to the likes of Ryoho and Mana to even Hiroshi’s own daughter Uriko, who used to be a hybrid zoanthrope herself once upon a time. The options are endless for the good doctor, as are the extremes to which he’ll go to fulfill his destiny.

Alan and Jane "Shina" Gado, back together for one more battle

Alan and Jane “Shina” Gado, back together for one more battle

Next, with the ZLF at large once more, I find it only fitting to reintroduce Gado and Shina into the mix. On one hand is Shina, whom Gado initially calls upon to rescue Ryoho and Mana from the Front when the news breaks about their abduction. As she sets off to fulfill her duty as a peacekeeper and sworn enemy of the very terrorist cabal who’d tricked her into training recruits for them back in my reboot of BR E/PF, Gado sits back behind his desk and becomes frustrated with the notion that he, as a United Nations commissioner, is forbidden to directly involve himself with the Front’s resurgence. Risking his removal from office within the UN, he sets foot onto the battlefield once more to put an end to the coalition of radicals that he’d once been suspected of founding back in the days of Bloody Roar 2. This thus leads to a heated confrontation between father and daughter later on in the game in which Shina accuses Gado of not trusting her as a mercenary to fulfill the very mission he’d hired her to complete in the first place—a situation that should offer a dose of comforting familiarity to BR fans without fully resetting the pair’s narrative.

Long, Lanfa, and Shenlong

Long, Lanfa, and Shenlong

Meanwhile, Long’s foster sister Lanfa has recently been abducted by the ZLF, and in a manner similar to Bakuryu’s situation in Bloody Roar 2, they brainwash her into becoming their latest recruit. It is therefore up to Long to find her and help bring her back to her senses so that the two can work together to thwart the Front once and for all…assuming, of course, that neither of them end up crossing paths with and end up getting beaten up by Shenlong, who has been keeping a long profile since the events of BR E/PF until the Front once again “invites” him to partake in their conquest over humanity. Tired of all the grossly inconvenient “adventures” he’s been on along the way, he refuses the Front’s offer to reunite with them, only to be brainwashed as well to become the same arrogant, ruthless, bloodthirsty antagonist he used to be back in BR 2. Only time will tell, sadly, if he can snap out of his delusional mental state or if his brainwashing ends up being permanent, thereby returning him to his proud, violent, and pitiless way of life as ZLF puppet leader until his ultimate demise.

Hans, Jenny, and Greg

Hans, Jenny, and Greg

Also investigating the ZLF’s activities are Hans, Jenny, and Greg, all of whom hope to discover the identity of the Front’s true leader and either bring him or her to justice or an end to said leader’s life. Hans most certainly could go either way, although he would no doubt try to keep his bloodthirsty proclivities in check and apprehend the ZLF’s head honcho on behalf of his employers within the UN. Sadly, he has yet to fully overcome the shellshock he has endured over his many years adventuring within this reboot as well as the psychological complications he has endured from his strand of the XGC. Then again, the possibility of this mission being the one to help him cope once and for all is there, seeing as the man who originally discovered the Code just might be able to help him put an end to his mental suffering…assuming, of course, that he can rescue Dr. Nonomura to begin with. Jenny’s mission is similar, although the spy agency for which she works has given her strict instructions to assassinate the ZLF’s ringleader at all costs. Then again, who’s to say that she won’t be able to dig up some information on her own origin and zoanthropic condition along the way (See Part 2 of my reboot for more information.) and even run into the man from whom she’d been cloned for one definitive battle between the two of them? Greg, in contrast, is simply out to detain the Front’s head cheese, pure and simple, having finally come to grips with his strand of the X-Genome Code and returning to action for the first time since the events of BR 2. Seeing as it is his first time back on the field, he finds himself followed by son Nathan, who wants him to return home and rest some more while he carries out his mission and collar the ZLF’s head cheese. This thus sets up some contention between father and son, with the former being too stubborn to let the latter deprive him of his professional responsibilities while also posing the question of whether or not the duo can set their differences aside and work together in smashing the Front once and for all.

Obviously, there’s no point in having a storyline revolve around the ZLF without having members of the Front itself as playable characters. As such, Lance and Gayle from my versions of BR 2 and BR E/PF will definitely return. Lance, for starters, is still the leader of the Zoanthrope Liberation Front and is more determined than ever to avenge his family’s death at human hands by employing his latest “recruits” against anyone who should oppose the front’s quest for zoanthrope superiority, including such hybrid zoanthropes as Ryoho. Gayle will be back as well as a reluctant member of the Front whom Lance has more or less blackmailed to remain in service by denying her the right to reverse the effects of the experiments that she’d undergone in my BR 2 reboot and becoming “the enemy” as a result. She therefore has to keep her motives to herself as she progresses through the course of the game, brooding all the while about the fate she’s brought upon herself and her apparent inability to put an end to her situation one way or another. These two won’t be alone, however, for I also plan on introducing two of Lance’s top operatives, Iwao Otami and Funani Tshabalala. To begin with, Iwao is a dock hand from Japan who’s been down on his luck in recent times on account of his strand of the X-Genome Code and the complications it has had on his body and mind. Worse yet is how his income was low enough as it was before his complications set in, and because he’s had to take so many days off from work to recuperate, such expenses are only hitting him and his family harder. Needless to say, when Lance hears of his plight, he immediately enlists him onto the ZLF with the promise of not only making the money he needs to pay off his medical aid, but also earning a more affluent way of life for him and his family as a whole. Iwao is thus quite loyal to Lance and fights alongside him with his puroresu fighting style. Funani, on the other hand, hails from South Africa—a nation with a long history of racial tension (no thanks, in part, to apartheid) and limited healthcare (no thanks to, of all things, HIV/AIDS). Needless to say, she’s faced quite a bit of prejudice in her life as well as very limited aid for the complications she’s suffered in the past from her strand of the XGC. She’s since understandably grown fed up with her old way of life and has joined the ZLF in hopes of scoring some serious comeuppance against those who’ve held her down in the past. Her beast form is that of a parrot, and her chosen martial art happens to be Engolo, a martial art from southern Angola and an alleged precursor to the more readily recognized Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira.

Golan "Ganesha" Draphan, exiled from the Kingdom of Zoanthropes until he can prove his loyalty to the royal family

Golan “Ganesha” Draphan, exiled from the Kingdom of Zoanthropes until he can prove his loyalty to the royal family

Finally, we have Ganesha, who had only been incapacitated at the end of my reboot of Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury after having avenged his village at the hands of a Tylon-controlled Cronos. Regardless of whether or not the KoZ’s kind-hearted yet naïve prince and his burly and [at first] loyal bodyguard actually make it to the finals of the first annual Ultimate Zoanthrope Fighting Tournament, I’d still have the pair of them face off against one another with Cronos not taking too kindly to either his defeat at the hands of the former Golan Draphan or the big man’s motives for taking him down in the first place. Still, Ganesha’s apparent act of treason isn’t enough for the young prince to see to the guy’s execution or even imprisonment, but rather to send him out into the world to find out about and thwart the ZLF’s plans of conquest as an act of loyalty to the kingdom. This situation could make room for an interesting twist, too. After all, even though Ganesha would definitely start out wanting to squash the former infiltrators of the Kingdom of Zoanthropes and prove his commitment to serving the KoZ and its ruling family, he still remains a prime enough subject for the ZLF to target and turn against his own nation and ultimately make into yet another one of their soldiers, thus widening the rift between him and Cronos even more.

Bloody Roar Beast Corps 4

Last but not least is the possibility for the official last chapter in my reboot of the original Bloody Roar franchise, Bloody Roar Beast Corps 4. It is in this fourth installment of the BRBC saga that Paul, Sonja, Mireille, and Yao unite for one last run in an attempt to bring the Zoanthrope Liberation Front down for good. The whole premise isn’t too different from BRBC 3, either (See my fourth installment of this reboot for more info on that game.). Basically, the player takes on the role of one of the four members of the Beast Corps and ventures across the globe beating up ZLF operatives as his or her chosen zoanthrope hunts down the cabal’s elusive leader and tries to bring him to justice. Fang and Mashiro will come back to lend the Corps a hand this time around, too, as will the Create-a-Hero mode for those gamers who prefer to create a new ally or two to aid the Beast Corps in their mission. I’ve also pretty much given away whom the bosses in this game would be earlier in this article: Lance, Gayle, Iwao, Funani, Shenlong, Reiji, Lanfa, and Ryoho—ZLF loyalists and brainwashed servitors alike joining forces in order to keep the Beast Corps at bay so that they may ultimately take over the world and establish their pro-zoanthrope dominion over humanity. Whether or not this battle will result in the closure of the Bloody Roar franchise as a whole is still very much up in the air, however, as the deciding factor will ultimately be where the story can go from here once things come to a close. Is there a force out there that’s even more powerful and organized waiting in the wings of this years-long conflict waiting to spring out of the woodwork and possibly succeed where the ZLF had failed? Will the Beast Corps—or, for that matter, the World of Coexistence—be ready for such opposition in the instance that it does rear its ugly head? We’ll just have to wait and see.

BR4 Nagi, Reiji, and RyohoThis hereby concludes my fifth installment to my Bloody Roar reboot series. Thank you all who have been following this topic since I started way back in the July of 2012, and I wholeheartedly apologize for the wait. As of right now, I have only a vague idea of whether or not I’ll introduce a sixth installment, much less when I’ll post it in the instance that I am. I will say this, however: I think it’s a shame that the Bloody Roar game series hasn’t carried on beyond BR 4 and that it more or less died when and how it did. Sure, I know these games get a lot of criticism today for being “button mashers,” amongst other things, but I’d be lying through my teeth if I were to say that I didn’t have fun playing them—BR 4 included, in spite of its numerous flaws—when I had the chance. Needless to say, I, too, had been looking forward to the day when BR 5 would bring the series out of the ashes, but alas, it’s been nearly twelve years since BR 4’s release for the PlayStation 2 (November 11, 2003) and nearly three-and-a-half years since Konami Digital Entertainment had absorbed Hudson Soft, the original publishers of the BR games and the owners of the BR IP, into their own stock (March 1, 2012). Worse yet, with the way Konami has fallen from grace over the past several months with the way it has reportedly been treating its own employees (including its former vice president and top game designer, Hideo Kojima) and with numerous business decisions that have understandably upset its core supporting audience, my own hopes for any of Hudson Softs IP’s returning to the video game market are quite low. Then again, in an industry when Rare Ltd. can release a new Killer Instinct game seventeen years after its second (and, at the time, presumably last) installment in the KI franchise, maybe there’s hope yet. Until then, though, I’ll believe the news of a new Bloody Roar game when I see it and issue the now-defunct Hudson Soft one last thank you for creating one heck of an imperfect yet nonetheless fun fighting game series.

Bloody Roar promo poster featuring Japanese model Yuko Ogura: Proof that the original Bloody Roar 4 fell short not only critically, but also promotionally

Bloody Roar promo poster featuring Japanese model Yuko Ogura: Proof that the original Bloody Roar 4 fell short not only critically, but also promotionally

Until next time, then, readers, be sure to check out my author page at Smashwords.com and my Author Central pages at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and feel free to subscribe to this blog, if you haven’t done so already. Otherwise, thanks again for the support, and as always, happy reading!

Regards,

Dustin M. Weber

*****

PS: For the sake of convenience, here are the links to the other parts of this miniseries:

Part 1: July 23, 2012

Part 2: December 12, 2012

Part 3: February 2, 2013

Part 4: February 7, 2015

*****

Bloody Roar (c) 1997-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./2012 Konami Digital Entertainment. All visual materials used in this article are as follows:

Bloody Roar 4 cover: GameFAQs.com

Bloody 4 Unborn; Bloody Roar 4 Nagi, Reiji & Ryoho; and Bloody Roar 4 Yuko Ogura Promo Poster: The Bloody Roar Retrospective: Bloody Roar 4 (Full Version) by SCXCR

Bloody Roar 4 Xion Defeats Nagi: Bloody Roar 4 Stories – Xion by xTimelessGaming

Bloody Roar character models: BloodyRoar.Wikia.com

All opinions expressed and ideas shared within the above article, however, are solely those of the author himself and no other party.

Poem of the Week: Singlehood Isn’t Loserhood

Singlehood Isn’t Loserhood
August 12, 2015

There’s no shame in being single.
Marriage isn’t for everyone.
Not everyone can share his or her life,
So why feel the need to be glum?

People fall in and out of love
So often, it makes heads spin.
While one minute’s bliss, the next sees you pissed
‘Cause of what pain you’re in.

Some people can’t help but feel guarded
When their feelings are at stake,
For it’s far too easy for others’ words
And deeds to make their hearts break.

I’m not even talking, either,
About those who’ve loved and lost.
They certainly fit that bill, I’ll admit,
And have paid a heavy cost.

Rather, I’m talking about folks
Whose love’s never been returned—
Whose doting eyes have graced others,
Yet in the end, they’d been spurned.

I also speak of others
Who’ve never loved at all
And thus have never set themselves
Up to take a fall

And yet don’t feel any sort of need
To seek companionship
Outside of friends and family,
For why bother with such a trip

When friends and family provide
All the love and support one needs?
Why bother searching for any more?
Why bother feeding such greed?

Then again, if it’s loneliness
That’s causing a pit in your bowels,
I can understand the need to search
For the one to wipe off your scowl,

And I won’t begrudge you for seeking
The one with whom you’ll share
The rest of your life, for in the end,
When it comes to me, who cares?

Just as long as you’re happy, friend,
And aren’t hurting anyone
As you live your life, then who am I
To hover like a cloud ‘fore your sun?

Just be careful, though, for you know how
The scene can be a pain
And you’re sure to lose time and again
More often than you might gain,

But should you find that special someone,
Props to you the world over.
I wish you both all the luck
Of a million four-leafed clovers,

For that’s what it takes to score “the one,”
Which not many have these days,
And I highly doubt we’ll ever go back
To what were better days,

So keep your chin up either way
And let Fate play as she may,
For singlehood isn’t loserhood,
No matter who else might say.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com

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Poem of the Week: No More “Me” Show!

No More “Me” Show!
August 12, 2015

Alright! Enough is enough!
Your time in the sun is up.
It’s time to move on
‘Fore our brains are all gone,
You sick, attention-grubbing pup.

You’re not whom our kids should be,
Doing naught for society,
Save to hog the limelight
Ev’ry day and night
From hopeful celebrities—

People who break their backs
And even risk heart attacks
To make themselves a name
In this sick game of fame
‘Fore their empty lives fade to black.

Your actions are nothing new
From what the rest of us go through
Winter, spring, summer, fall.
Yet you broadcast it all
And turn your life into a zoo

Where the lonely and bored come to see
How you pretend your life to be,
Filled with chaos and drama.
Hey, it’s nothing new, mama—
As phony as phony can be.

It’s all so transparent, it’s sick
And nothing can do the trick
For you to fool us,
So call for a bus
And hit the stinking bricks.

Just go far, far away, please,
And let us all be at ease
So we can focus on
More pressing goings-on
‘Fore ignorance brings us to our knees.

I don’t see how it’s so strange
To insist things be arranged.
Enough is enough
With this “Me” show stuff.
The time has long come for a change.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com

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Bonus Poem of the Week: Back to School Blitz

Back to School Blitz
August 5, 2015

Back to school,
Back to the grind.
Grind figures,
Grind facts—
Facts of life,
Facts of childhood.
Childhood cherished.
Childhood too short,
Short to waste on drudgery,
Short to waste on the trivial:
Trivial toiling,
Trivial lectures—
Lectures about reality,
Lectures about the world—
World beyond childhood,
World where adults reign,
Reign over life,
Reign with knowledge,
Knowledge of how things work,
Knowledge of how things should work—
Work for us,
Work for the masses,
Masses of starry-eyed wanderers,
Masses of starry-eyed wonderers,
Wonderers of the future
Wonderers of tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow is a new deal.
Deal with something new.
Deal with something familiar—
Familiar situation,
Familiar setting,
Setting a new foundation,
Setting up days to be.
Be prepared.
Be vigilant—
Vigilant in pursuing greatness,
Vigilant in making a statement:
Statement to last a lifetime,
Statement of who you are.
Are you ready?
Are you prepared?
Prepared for another year?
Prepared for another step—
Step toward the future?
Step towards the rest of your life,
Life that awaits you?
Life that lies ahead?
You…
Ahead.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com

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Poem of the Week: Good Riddance!

Good Riddance!
July 31, 2015

Nagging, petty, nitpicking—that’s all you’re good for.
Honestly, putting up with you is naught but a chore.
You’re a condescending, overbearing, obnoxious pain in the ass,
Talking down to me like I’m stupid and haven’t any class.
I’m not excusing how I’m “only human,” but hell!
The way you treat me day and night, I might as well.
You that that just ‘cause I struggle, I haven’t any sense,
And with that in mind, you feel your jaded wisdom you must dispense.
Well, newsflash, bitch! It’s not helping a single stinking bit.
You’re only berating me with it, and I’ve had enough of it.
You’re not helping me grow at all, only making me feel dumb,
Hopeless, clueless, incapable of evolving, and just plain numb.
You’re not benefitting me at all, much less empowering me.
You’re only putting me down, especially considering
How worthless your advice really is and how much your words sting.
You don’t say anything meaningful but instead prattle on and on
About how stupid you think I am and what you think I’m doing wrong,
And even when you do say something that just might make sense to me,
It’s so deeply tucked within your scolding that it I simply can’t see.
I thus look elsewhere for help, and when I finally do,
I heed the words of the other source and to you say, “Screw you!”
You’re nothing but a piece of trash in love with your own voice,
And since beggars can’t be choosers, I’d rather have the choice
To blow your toxic carcass off once and for freaking all
And hope that your rude belittling will soon lead to your downfall.
I don’t know where you get off thinking you’re so hip
And cute and tough and excellent, but frankly, I think you’re a dip.
You’re just a snobbish lowlife thinking your words are law,
And I’m so done with you, I can’t let out a single guffaw.
I’ll take my chances elsewhere, then, and finally get the respect
That every good writer deserves and not have you further infect
My mind with words so offensive and poisonous to my plight,
And once that’s been taken care of, I can finally sleep at night.
Good riddance, then, self-righteous hag! I’ve finished my rant with you.
Best of luck, as the mockers say, for you and I are through.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com

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Poem of the Week: Happy Little Maple

Happy Little Maple
July 28, 2015

Oh, happy little maple, I grew you from a seed
I’d planted in my back yard, and much water did I feed
You as you sat there happily sprouting from the ground,
Soaking in the sunlight that shined down all around.

Oh, happy little maple, the pains I took gladly
For days, weeks, months—all in hopes you’d grow to be
A happier, bigger maple, strong like any other tree
With bushy branches long and proud for all the world to see.

Oh, how I’d have loved to see such a one-tree canopy,
But alas, little maple, such was not the fate for thee,
For o’er the past few weeks, Mother Nature’s had her days
When for some reason, she decided not to let things go that way.

Oh, how the wind did howl, then! Oh, how the rain poured down!
Such a ceaseless, sour torrent to mark Mother Nature’s frown—
So sour, in fact, that your branches, soft and thin as they were,
Just couldn’t take the pressure, hence their snapping into spurs.

Oh, how your limbs just hung there after all was said and done
When the wind and the rain finally stopped and out came the sun
To heat the humid air so and remind us all of the season
As we saw the aftermath of Nature’s fit, regardless of reason.

Oh, sad and sundered maple, you weren’t happy anymore,
Naught but stumps a-sticking out from where your branches tore.
To think that all the time I’d spent had been flushed down the drain.
Damn you, Mother Nature, for causing me such pain!

Oh, crippled, creaking maple, I hated to see you suffer,
But alas, you fractured condition I just couldn’t buffer,
No matter how much I wished to see you standing tall and free
And proud out in the open like how things used to be.

Oh, broken, bitter maple, you so deserved to live,
But a swift release from your misery was all that I could give,
So I hope you forgive the handsaw I had to take to you,
For alas, dear gentle maple, ‘twas all that I could do.

Oh, how I wept as I sawed you this way and that,
Reducing you to logs no bigger than a housecat.
Oh, how my tears did flow then like the rain from that fateful day,
Stinging even as I used my free hand to wipe them away,

And now, miserable maple, you sit as part of a pile
By my shed in the backyard, not to be touched for a while—
For several months, in fact, when the first snow falls
And the wind again blows fiercely, fracturing other trees and all.

I’m sorry, little maple, for ‘tis all I could do,
And forever am I reminded of all I’d sought for you.
If only I was Nature, I’d watch my Ps and Qs
And make sure I didn’t do what that bitch had done to you.

Oh, how I hate excuses—especially making them—
But if nothing else, I have the chance to become a father again,
For here in a small bucket, its tight-fitting lid sealed shut,
I keep your brothers and sisters in a dry space in my hut,

And once again, butchered maple, I’ll plant your kind from seed,
Keeping your sibling safe from the diabolical deed
That claimed your life, all the while feeding water and sun
To your budding sibling, hoping one day he or she will become

The same kind of happy little maple you’d been before,
Albeit a little stronger so when Nature kicks down the door
And throws her tantrum, he or she will survive the whole ordeal,
And when that happens, I’ll purge myself of this grief I feel.

Rest in peace then, little maple, for though you’ve passed on,
Your legacy shall not yet end, but instead grow strong,
And I’ll move forward from this tragedy we’ve both endured,
Now that my resolution as a parent has been stirred.

*****

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