Welcome back, readers, and Happy Birthday, America!
Due to, in part, my soon-to-be-ongoing dissertation of video games and what they mean to me as a writer, I have suddenly found myself bitten by a nostalgia bug of sorts and having thoughts about what I could arguably call my favorite fighting game series of all time, Hudson Soft and Eighting/Raizing’s Bloody Roar series. Now, I know I’d talked about this collection of games briefly in my June 30 installment of my “In Relation to My Work” segment when I discussed Bloody Roar 2 in particular having such a great Story Mode that explained who everyone was in the game, what was going on, what everyone was doing, and the like. In this post, however, I’m going to focus exclusively on the entire BR franchise and pay some long-overdue tribute towards it for triggering my imagination more than any other fighting game or fighting game series ever has so far. You see, until I first officially started my “In Relation to My Work” segment on this blog five days ago, I was so wrapped up in my current work as a novelist and poet that I had been paying little to no attention to what had been going down in the video game industry for quite some time, to put it mildly. Shortly after initiating my video game discussion, though, and on account of my simply mentioning BR 2 within it, I’d managed to subconsciously reignite my passion for the BR games on the whole. Naturally, then, I ended up Googling the term “Bloody Roar 5” just for the heck of things—not really expecting any new developments in the matter, of course, especially after the apparent hoax last fall about someone with a bogus Twitter account pretending to be a Hudson Soft Co., Ltd. representative and claiming that there would indeed be a BR5coming out this year (Way to get so many of my fellow BR fans’ hopes up, too, by the way, you little schmuck, whoever you are!). Sadly, I’d learned that Hudson Soft, the co-developers of the BR game line, had gone out of business on March 1 this year. This didn’t come as too much of a surprise to me, I’ll admit, considering the news I’d heard back in the February of 2011 from a trusted source about Konami Digital Entertainment acquiring Hudson the month before and turning it into one of its wholly owned subsidiaries via a stock swap. Nonetheless, it was enough to make me sigh and shake my head, and I couldn’t help but think about all the great games and game series that gamers like me had received from Hudson back in the day, including Bonk, Adventure Island, Bomberman (save for, of course, the widely despised Bomberman Act Zero), and, obviously, Bloody Roar.
Dang! To think, too, what the Bloody Roar line could have been, had Hudson Soft only paid closer attention to it and given it the TLC that I and so many other fans thought it truly deserved! After all, in spite of how much I still love the BR games, even I had to admit that they had their fair share of flaws. This particularly—for the sake of this blog, leastways—relates to the franchise’s overall story, which went from having a “not-too-distant future” sci-fi flair that borrowed elements from the likes of Resident Evil (as demonstrated in the original Bloody Roar) and, more definitively, X-Men (as depicted in BR 2) to concerning itself more and more with metaphysical/supernatural concepts such as the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts from Bloody Roar 3 to the whole “Gaia vs. the Unborn” story arc from Bloody Roar 4. Seriously, it was getting to the point where the series was almost entirely abandoning the very elements that made its original premise so fun and intriguing, no thanks to Hudson’s lax supervision of it. Then again, if the way Hudson Soft had been handling the BR roster from game to game was any indication of their negligence with the series, then maybe we BR fans should have called the company out sooner for mishandling the very brand we’d come to know and love. That’s the way I think, leastways, seeing as how from Bloody Roar 3 on, all Hudson did was copy and paste the roster from the previous game (i.e., BR 2 to BR 3 and BR Extreme/Primal Fury and BR 3 to BR 4) and install it into the next with just a handful of new characters to round things out. Not only that, but the progression between each game in terms of storyline development contained enough gaps to make fans wonder how the plot from each subsequent game fit in with the rest of the story as it had been previously established. Of course, I could go on and on about all the things that I personally would have changed about the Bloody Roar story as a collective whole, including the inclusion and exclusion of certain characters from certain installments of the franchise (including Hans the Fox, who—as you’ll read in the poem below—should’ve been made a woman altogether, IMO, rather than just some cross-dressing “dude,” if the BR team was so anxious to have a femme fatale on their initial roster) and the desertion of certain staple principles in the BR saga. Then again, I’m sure you all get my point by now. Besides, I can always include a complete article about these feelings of mine in a later installment of my “In Relation to My Work” segment, and if anyone reading this blog entry is interested in that, please leave a comment below.All that being said, I think it’s high time that I pay homage to the Bloody Roar saga the one way that I know how: via poetry. Without further ado, then, here’s a little something I’ve managed to whip up yesterday morning in honor of what I believe could have and should have been Hudson Soft’s answer to such bigger, more celebrated fighting game franchises as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Dead or Alive, et cetera. Again, sorry, SCXCR and all other fellow Bloody Roar fans, to produce this little work of mine so late after the fact, but I hope it’s worthy of your time all the same. Therefore, without further ado…
Thanks for the Memories, Hudson! A Bloody Roar Tribute
July 3, 2012
It’s been over four months since you’ve been gone,
But at long last I’ve decided to sit myself down
And write you what one would call a farewell song
And thank you for what you gave us when you were around.
One series in particular touched my heart
And has stuck with me to the present day.
Thing is, too, I know exactly where to start
In terms of paying this franchise tribute in this way:
Thank you, Hudson Soft, for the series Bloody Roar
And all the great characters and stories it gave,
Complete with rocking music, score after score,
And fun, addictive gameplay. What memories you’ve made!
Thank you for Yugo, who first sought out his dad,
Then later on came to lead the W.O.C.
Thank you for Long, with his story so sad
That he couldn’t help but fear his own destiny.
Thanks for Mitsuko, queen of all zoanthrope moms,
With her heart of gold and her body packed with muscle.
Thanks for sweetheart Alice, whose fighting style was “da bomb”
And for Shina, a tomboy with whom no one smart would tussle.
Thank you for Hans, otherwise known as “Fox,”
A man so effeminate you might as well have made him a chick.
Thanks for Bakuryu (Both Kato and Kenji rocked!)
And the gentle giant Greg, even though you made him a bit thick.
Thank you for Dr. Hajime Busuzima,
A bizarre, perverted heel who was nonetheless fun.
Thank you for Prince Cronos, Xion, Ganesha,
Gado, Jenny, Shenlong, Reiji, Uriko, and Stun.
All these characters I’ll remember forever
As well as those whose names I could not quite fit in,
And all the games they came from I’ll consider great endeavors,
Save for BR4, which most fans see as a mortal sin,
Though I myself don’t have the heart to bash you for that game now;
Doing so would be moot, now that you’ve had to close your doors.
Besides, I still want the series to survive somehow,
And I just hope Konami will soon have something in store,
Now that they have the rights to your beloved creation.
Personally, I hope they make a reboot one of these days—
Something to showcase for a new generation
And hopefully eventually pave the way
For a full-fledged revival of the franchise
In the form of books, toys, and even TV—
Something to make the detractors open up their eyes
And see what Bloody Roar was always meant to be.
Come on now, then, Konami! Make us fans’ dreams come true.
And show the world what BR is really all about.
We thousands of fans will surely thank you.
Our loyalty to the series is nothing for you to doubt.
Just reboot the whole story from beginning to end,
Making sure each chapter melds well with no frayed ends to speak of,
And find a proper place for everyone Hudson’d created, my friends.
That’d be a guaranteed way to earn our respect
After nearly nine years since Bloody Roar 4 came out—
A game that, as I’ve said before, most fans see as a car wreck
And a complete contradiction to what BR what originally about.
Until then, back to you, Hudson: Thanks for all the memories.
It’s sad to see that you’ll no longer be making any more,
But I know I’ll never forget your name or your trademark bee,
And I’ll certainly cherish the legacy of your baby, Bloody Roar.
Yeah, I know it’s a bit bizarre to pay homage to a Japanese fighting game franchise on the most American of holidays, but trust me, folks, I just had to get this off my chest. I hope you all understand where I’m coming from, too, and if any of you love Bloody Roar the way I do, feel free to send a polite, professional email to Konami Digital Entertainment and let them know that you, too, care about Bloody Roar and its future as a fighting game franchise. Whether you want BR 5 to become a reality after nine years since its most immediate predecessor’s release or a complete reboot of the entire BR series, Konami is the company whose operatives need to know now, seeing as they’re now the ones who own the rights to everything Hudson Soft. I sure know myself that if I had the rights to the franchise, I’d do my best to whip up a BR reboot via a series of Bloody Roar novels, but let’s be realistic, folks: What are the odds of an outsider like me ever getting the chance to work with an intellectual property that isn’t my own? As far as I’m concerned, the whole notion is naught but a pipe dream, so guess what: It’s off to work on my own projects.
At any rate, thank you all for stopping by to check out my stuff, and as always, keep you eyes peeled on my author page at Smashwords.com for any and all upcoming and current releases. Otherwise, happy reading, and Happy Independence Day!
Dustin M. Weber
Bloody Roar and all relating titles and characters (c) 1997-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./(c) 2012 Konami Digitial Entertainment.
All images used in this article are courtesy of the Bloody Roar Wikia (bloodyroar.wikia.com) unless otherwise noted. All opinions shared in this blog entry, however, are those of the author himself.