Happy Holidays, readers!
I know it’s been a while, but after taking care of more pressing matters, I now have the time to once again tackle the Bloody Roar franchise and address how I’d reboot it, had I only the legal rights to do so. From what you may or may not recall from my first post in this miniseries on July 23, which you are free to read at your leisure for the sake of catching up on the discussion, I’ve already covered the first Bloody Roar game, which I’ve edited based on the feedback I’ve received since my initial posting of the article. Naturally, then, comes my reboot of the second installment of the BR series, Bloody Roar 2, which is subtitled either The New Breed or Bringer of the New Age, depending on where you’re from (USA versus Japan/Europe). In this reboot, I’ll be reintroducing the “lost” characters from the first Bloody Roar game (i.e., Mitsuko, Hans, and Greg) in such a way so that they’ll fit within the rest of the BR saga as well as throwing new characters into the mix in addition to the heroes and villains from the original roster. I also hope to introduce a subplot that, while it might not fit directly within the BR 2 story as fans have come to know it, will nonetheless cover an aspect of the game’s setting that said story wasn’t able to cover. At any rate, any and all BR fans who chance to read this article are free to leave feedback, including any and all constructive criticisms they may have with this reboot. Without further ado, then, let’s dive in.
The Story as a Whole
Five years after the fall of the infamous international conglomerate known as the Tylon Corporation and the exposure of their zoanthrope experimentation, the whole world now knows full well the existence of zoanthropekind, and as is true with the humans in the world of Marvel Comics’ very own X-Men comic book series in reaction to the existence of Homo sapiens superior (i.e., “mutants”), the “base stock” humans within the world of the Bloody Roar saga feel threatened. Needless to say, hostilities arise between them and this strange and powerful subspecies of their own race to the point where certain humans end up banding together to stage “beast hunts” in an effort to drive zoanthropekind into extinction. To counteract their efforts, however, is the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, an organization of zoanthropes whose members claim to support their fellow “beasts” in their struggle against human intolerance. Then again, the ZLF’s terrorist tactics have soon awakened the suspicion of zoanthropes and humans worldwide, and rumors soon spread about them kidnapping fellow zoanthropes who refuse to join them in their cause and hold them for ransom. As such, many a zoanthrope learns to distrust the ZLF every bit as much as they despise the beast hunters for their cruel actions against their kind, thus forging a “triangle of hate” (as it is referred to in the second part of SCXCR’s Bloody Roar Retrospective) between the three factions that is currently rocking the world to its very foundation. Such was the basis of the original BR 2, and such will remain the case for this reboot.
As mentioned before, the first part of this reboot will be covering the reboot of the actual BR 2 game and focus more on the struggle between the characters we’ve all come to know and love (Yugo, Alice, Long, etc.) and the Zoanthrope Liberation Front. The second part, on the other hand, will cover the humans versus zoanthropes aspect of this story, which will be explored in a story entitled Bloody Roar Beast Corps that—if it were to ever be translated into video game format—would more likely than not manifest as a classic beat ‘em up rather than as a fighting game like the rest of the games in the BR franchise. Likewise, in order to make BRBC cannon to the rest of the BR saga, there will be a connection between it and my reboot of Bloody Roar 3. What that connection will be, however, will be up for you BR fans out there to determine at the very end of the article. For right now, though, let’s take a closer look at the who’s who in BR 2.
The Heroes and Heels of Bloody Roar 2
First off, the cast of characters in this reboot of Bloody Roar 2 will be divided into two separate groups. The first of these two groups I’ll be labeling the “Initial Eight” on account of their being the primary eight characters who, in the instance that this reboot were ever translated into an actual video game, would be the eight characters that would be playable right off the bat. In a nut shell, they’re the chief protagonists of the story, each having his or her reason to venture out and thwart the ZLF, which will be explained in greater detail for each character later on in this section. The second group, however, which I’ll be labeling the “Unlockable Eight,” consists of characters who are either actual or alleged villains within the story’s plot or are at the very least under the control of the actual villains. Naturally, then, we’ll start off with the Initial Eight and work our way from there.
The Initial Eight
To begin with, immediately after doing his part to bring down Tylon and promising his murdered father that he’ll do whatever it takes to avenge his death and seek justice for his fellow zoanthropes, Yugo manages to discover a young boy amidst the ruins of Tylon’s South American laboratory. Though unsuccessful to get an answer out of the boy concerning who he is, where he came from, or anything of the sort, Yugo nonetheless adopts him as a kid brother, naming him “Kenji” in the process, and tries to live a peaceful life with him from that day forward. He manages to do that for the next five years, too, as he enters the world of professional boxing to earn a living for himself and Kenji until one fateful evening when he’s suddenly ambushed on his way home from the arena with Kenji in tow. Next thing he knows, he gets knocked down, and Kenji is abducted by the assailant, thus leaving Yugo to regain his second wind and chase after the kidnapper in hopes of bringing Kenji back home. Such is pretty much the story that Hudson Soft had originally written for Yugo, although I’d personally make one small change—that being the identity of Yugo’s attacker, which I’ll uncover later in this article.
Next comes the story of Alice, which also pretty much remains the same in comparison to how it had originally been written. Basically, Alice has lived with her foster family, the Nonomuras, for the past five years and is presently working at her local hospital as a nurse after graduating high school. One night, however, after having spent plenty of time at the hospital already, she receives word of an emergency arrival which just happens to be Yugo, whom she remembers crossing paths with half a decade ago during the events from the first Bloody Roar. Yugo, however, isn’t one to shoot the breeze with his old acquaintance and very quickly bolts out of the hospital to carry out his mission in rescuing Kenji. For a while, Alice stands there perplexed, not knowing what to think until the idea pops into her head to follow him into the thick of danger. Now, granted, while this story does set up the beginning of Alice and Yugo’s relationship as friends, it completely ignores Alice’s kinship with her foster family, save for the part in Alice’s story from the original BR 2’s Story Mode where Alice and Uriko bump into each other (See the following YouTube video by LightningBS from 3:09 to 4:01.). Therefore, I’d illustrate how reluctant Alice is in joining in the struggle against the ZLF, preferring instead to focus on her duties as a nurse while Uriko has Long accompany her in her mission to save their mother…at least up until Yugo comes into the picture and she soon finds herself in the thick of things anyhow. As a result of this series of circumstances, Alice soon comes to learn an important lesson: The only way for evil to truly win any conflict is if the good people of the world—be they of baseline or zoanthropic stock—do nothing. I’d also be sure to have the two sisters cross paths during the course of their respective missions and join forces to rescue their mother from the ZLF’s clutches with Long in tow, thus making their forces three zoanthropes strong as they finally come upon the Front’s headquarters.
The story of Long isn’t too much different from how it was in the original BR 2, either, save for the idea of an only vaguely familiar Japanese schoolgirl in Uriko being able to find him in his remote mountain hideaway in China simply because some mysterious bat-lady (i.e., Jenny) told her where to find him and missing school all the while without any word of her principal allowing her leave of absence on account of her mother’s abduction by an international terrorist cabal. Sorry to nitpick, readers, but even in a science fiction setting surrounding itself around human beings with the ability to transform into human-animal hybrids, there has to be some sense of logic. Therefore, I’d have Greg be the one to locate and get in touch with Long and enlist him in training Uriko in kenpo upon having her hire him to help in finding her missing mother. After all, I did mention in my first installment of this miniseries that I’d turn Greg into an international detective, and who else better to discover the whereabouts of a former corporate assassin turned monk who’s chosen to distance himself from humanity than a detective? At any rate, Greg manages to coax Long out of hiding by informing him all about his clone Shenlong and his apparent leadership of the ZLF, promising Long that if he were to take down Shenlong and the rest of the ZLF, he’d manage to heal at least a small part of his sundered soul. Of course, being able to train Uriko in the martial arts so as to help her in her quest to rescue her mother would certainly do wonders in that department as well. It’s on that note, then, that Long agrees and takes that crucial first step in redeeming himself for all the misdeeds he’d been responsible for while working for Tylon.
Speaking of Uriko, she’s next on the list of characters we’ll cover under this heading. Having overcome the effects of the experiments performed on her while a captive of Tylon five years ago, she seems to be living just as normal a life as any other girl her age, going to school, spending time with her family (including her foster sister Alice), and the like. Then again, she does have the responsibility of having to hide her zoanthropy from the rest of the world…until, of course, her mother is abducted by the ZLF right before her eyes. Quickly, then, does she beastorize, but because she no longer has the synthetic grownup body that Tylon had given her to absorb the amount of “Factor B” that her brain now produces (twice as much as the average zoanthrope, as mentioned in the first installment of this discussion), she can only transform halfway into the form she is better known for—namely, that of a bobcat. Of course, the fact that she hasn’t beastorized during the course of the five years between her rescue from Tylon’s lab and her mother’s abduction doesn’t help maters, either, but regardless, the fact still stand that Uriko’s body only allows her to transform into a form that is far less powerful that what she’s used to, and as such, she desperately needs to learn how to fight properly. Therefore…
…enter our old friend Greg, who had been excluded from the series entirely following the first Bloody Roar, yet is back with a vengeance here in this reboot. At this point in the saga, Greg already has his hands full with this ZLF business, what with how many missing persons cases he’s taken on as of late. Thankfully, they all have one distinct connection: They’ve all been perpetrated by the same man—a dark, brooding fellow with cruel eyes and enough martial arts expertise to put any five to ten randomly chosen action stars to shame. Not only that, but the man suspiciously resembles an individual whom Greg had crossed paths with during his last major case five years prior in South America. However, when he is suddenly given a case to recover one Mrs. Mitsuko Nonomura from the clutches of the ZLF at the same time he gets a hunch concerning the whereabouts of one Mr. Long Shin, he decides to kill two birds with one stone and recruit Long to help train the anxious yet ill-prepared Uriko in the art of kenpo so that she’ll be better prepared in her quest to rescue her mother. Greg himself, in the meantime, has plenty else to take care of once the two of them head off to complete their objective, such as discover the whereabouts of all the other abductees he’s been hired by various other clients to track down and bring their kidnapper to justice.
Next we’ll discuss the role of Hans in this installment of the BR story. At the end of the first installment in the Bloody Roar narrative, this crazed pitfighter-turned-assassin finally breaks free from the mind control placed upon him by his Tylon “recruiters,” but not before killing his own mother while under the influence. The grief is too much for him to bear, and he ends up screaming into the dead of the night to the point where the foreign object that had been implanted into his brain—an electromagnetic node that had been the source of the psychotic behavior that he’d displayed throughout the course of the first story—shuts his brain down and makes him collapse on the spot. Tylon scientists then place him within a cryogenic deep freeze, where he is kept for five years until he awakens one day within the secret laboratory of former Tylon scientist extraordinaire Dr. Hajime Busuzima, the puppet master of the ZLF. Once he notices Hans awaken from his half-decade-long slumber, Busuzima informs the ex-assassin of his plans for world domination and attempts to employ him as a ZLF hit man. Hans wants none of it, of course, and fights his way out of Busuzima’s lab, only to be left on his own and against the odds with reminders of his former life flashing before his eyes with every passing breath, from the familiar faces he comes across to situations similar in nature to those he’d come to endure five years ago. The question as such remains as to whether Hans’s fighting spirit will help him prevail in maintaining whatever is left of his insanity or crumble under pressure, thus permitting him to cave in to his psychoses and revert back to the sick, twisted, remorseless killer he once was.
Stun will also be making a comeback to the BR 2 story after having spent the past five years in hiding from the world and waiting to die as his unstable, genetically altered body wastes away, forever brooding about what his former colleague Busuzima had done to him. Such would be the case, of course, if not for BR 1 hero Alain Gadou managing to find him one day and more or less give him the same kind of tongue-lashing that he had in the original BR 2 for his “cowardice” and “self-pity” (See the following YouTube video by LightningBS from 1:59 to 3:02.). It is this very scolding that riles Stun up to the point where he thrashes Gado for his insolent comments, then storms off to take the rest of his newly incited rage out on any and every zoanthrope he meets along the way until at long last, Gado’s hired informant Jenny steers him in the right direction towards ZLF HQ, where he finally gets his revenge on Busuzima…at least as far as BR 2’s plot is concerned. In short, as was the case with Yugo, Stun’s new story wouldn’t be any different from how it had originally gone in the original BR 2, save for a few new fights along the way, considering this reboot’s extended roster.
Finally, we have the only member of the “Initial Eight” to have not appeared in the Bloody Roar story until BR 2, Jeanne Gadou (a.k.a. Jane Gado), better known to Bloody Roar fans as Shina (or Marvel, for those of you familiar with the Japanese version of the game). Now, I know full well that Shina has been documented by the Bloody Roar Wikia, the wiki at BLOODYROARHQ, and even Fenixware.net as being the adopted daughter of Alan Gado. However, I will say this: River City Gamer and fellow Bloody Roar enthusiast SCXCR isn’t the only one who’s taken note of the fact that Shina and Alan have similar physical appearances (complexion, hair color, hair style, etc.) on top of them both being zoanthropes who share the same fighting style, last name, and nationality. Feel free to check out the second chapter of SCXCR’s Bloody Roar Retrospective, the link to which I’ve posted earlier in this article, between the 16:18 and 16:35 minute marks whenever any of you have the time and take note of this discovery yourselves. Regardless, the rest of Shina’s story will remain unchanged without question. In other words, she still takes after her father in terms of being a ferociously competent mercenary, even at the tender age of thirteen when she defeats an entire platoon of enemy soldiers by herself and hence earns the nickname “Fighting Marvel” from her father’s comrades. Additionally, Gado still insists that Shina lead an ordinary life rather than follow in his footsteps, which is advice that she ignores wholeheartedly by becoming a mercenary anyhow after graduating high school. Most importantly, however, is the fact that her father goes into hiding one day without notifying her in the slightest, no doubt because of the rumors of him being the leader of the ZLF. Naturally, Shina doesn’t believe the rumors and instead ventures forth to find out the truth, thus providing the audience a chance to witness the nature of Shina and Gado’s relationship as daughter and father once they finally meet and the truth behind the elder Gado’s little vanishing act finally manifests.
The Unlockable Eight
Okay, moving on to the remaining eight characters in the game, starting with Busuzima, whose name has already been mentioned before in this article in the storylines for at least two of the “Initial Eight.” By now, then, it should be obvious that this sinister scientist is indeed—as was the case in the original Bloody Roar 2—the real leader of the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, which truly lives up to its calling as a “front” for his continued experiments. Not much else needs to be explained about him, save for the fact that in true sociopathic fashion, Busuzima only cares about himself and his barbarous work and as such will use anyone as a pawn in his relentless quest to advance his research, as one can ascertain for oneself upon reading some of the background stories for several of the other “Unlockable Eight,” such as…
…Bakuryu, who also makes a comeback in BR 2, even if only in namesake—not the original Bakuryu, Kato Ryuzo, obviously, but Kenji Ogami, Yugo’s adopted kid brother, who (as it has been explained in later installments of the BR series) was also once upon a time Kato’s former student and subsequent successor. The premise behind him is simple: Though a stoic mute upon being rescued by Yugo in the beginning of the story, Kenji surely enough starts to warm up enough to his new foster brother to the point where he starts enjoying living a normal life with him…until that fateful night when the two brothers are ambushed and Kenji is captured and brought to Busuzima’s laboratory, where Busuzima brainwashes him to become the new Bakuryu, ninja master and ZLF spy/assassin. Next thing we all know, the boy formerly known as Kenji Ogami starts dispatching anyone who dares to threaten the secrecy and security of the Front’s headquarters up until the point where he finally snaps out of the mind control that his captor had placed on him and starts avenging himself and his brother as well as anyone and everyone else whose lives the ZLF have made a living hell.
Next comes Mitsuko, who, in very much the same vein as Hans and Greg, makes her return to the BR saga as a playable character. That’s right…no longer is Mitsuko a character in name only; she actually gets to fight in this reboot of BR 2. Sadly, whatever fight she puts up against Shenlong in the very beginning of her story clearly doesn’t end in her favor, what with it being out in the open where even the most casual passerby would notice her beastorizing—something that she is loathe to do, particularly during a time where zoanthropes are persecuted by baseline humans left, right and center. Needless to say, then, she ends up a prisoner of the ZLF and, worse yet, a servitor of them as well, what with Busuzima brainwashing her to do his bidding. Will the brainwashing be potent enough, however, to lead her into battling and brutalizing either (if not, in fact, both) of her two daughters, or will she be able to snap out of it in time to turn the tables on her captors and put an end to their nefarious activities? Only time will tell…
Shenlong is next on the list to talk about. Basically, there’s no point to alter his story to the slightest degree, at least in the beginning. After all, he’s a creation of Busuzima’s—a clone of former Tylon assassin Long Shin, to be exact—who doesn’t believe he’s a clone or realize that all his thoughts and memories are mere fabrications that Busuzima had created for him to keep him check while the devious lab lizard carries on with his experiments. As far as he’s concerned, he’s the “perfect” zoanthrope—the alpha male of all zoanthrope kind, if you will—and on that note the rightful leader of the Zoanthrope Liberation Front…that is, of course, until near the end of his story arc, where he discovers the truth of him being a mere front man for Busuzima and his cruel experiments. This all leads to the end sequence where, at least in the original BR 2, Shenlong only allegedly takes his own life upon finally accepting his “imperfections” (i.e., missing memories of a former life that he hadn’t the opportunity to live, as further detailed here between 8:31 and 10:21), then disappearing altogether until resurfacing in Bloody Roar 3 as a carrier of the X-Genome Code and—at least in his eyes—destined to die anyhow, living only for the moment and caring not for the future. However, in my reboot of BR 2, I’d make Shenlong’s suicide real, despite him being one of the franchise’s better villains. Don’t worry, though, for while this incarnation of Shenlong may be dead by the end of my retelling of the story, I’ll be sure to bring Shenlong back to play a part of my BR 3 reboot, so you may want to stick around for part three of this miniseries to figure out what that might be. 😉
Another returning character is Gado, who—as explained in my discussion of Shina’s story—is suspected of being the leader of the ZLF and as such has gone into hiding, working incognito with his right-hand woman Jenny to track down the Front’s headquarters and bring the real ringleader to justice. He knows better than to think that two zoanthropes will be enough to bring down an entire terrorist organization, however, and employs Jenny to track down a number of the “Initial Eight” and clue them in on the whereabouts of whomever they might be seeking (Yugo searching for Kenji/Bakuryu, Stun gunning after Busuzima, Shina discovering the identity of “Alpha” (3:39 to 4:50), etc.). As mentioned earlier, his relationship with his daughter Shina has grown strained because of his decision to veil himself and his operation from her and test her skills as a mercenary in such a clandestine way (See Shina’s original BR 2 story for more information on that, particularly between 5:34 and 7:33.), but even she learns to set her differences aside with him to help him clean up the scraps of the ZLF near the end of the struggle. Once that’s all taken care of, Gado has one more task to accomplish, and that is to train the younger generation of zoanthrope heroes (Yugo, Alice, Shina, Bakuryu, etc.) to see how competent they will be in fighting for the cause that he’s continuing to represent, albeit in a different fashion than before as a member of the United Nations (See the following YouTube video by LightningBS for more on this development.). In other words, he, too—as is the case with so many other original BR 2 characters—enjoys keeping more or less the exact same story he’d been given in the original game.
The last original character we’ll be talking about in this section is Jenny Burtory, the spy whom Gado hires to be his informant for this installment on the Bloody Roar saga. Other than what I’ve already said about her in Gado’s story, there isn’t much to say about Jenny or even to add to her own story, save for perhaps the fact that of all the zoanthropes who are opposing the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, she comes off—at least in my opinion—as being the most flippant, sarcastic, and condescending piece of work and as such the least sympathetic. Even during her own story from the original BR 2 when Gado informs her of why he resigned from the Security Corps, her comments come off as dismissive and insincere. In fact, the only time I notice any sense of genuine compassion out of her is when it comes to Gado himself, specifically in the beginning of his story (1:24 to 1:55) when she scolds him for wanting to personally test each of the younger heroic zoanthropes’ fighting abilities when the wounds he’d received at the hands of the ZLF have yet to heal. Furthermore, the deepest level of character development doesn’t even present itself in her own story, but in Stun’s (6:35 to 7:33) when she chides the former Dr. Steven Goldberg for being so preoccupied with his own involuntary transmogrification and overlooking the fates of others who’ve suffered similar circumstances. In fact, she goes as far as to allude to the notion that she is one such zoanthrope and that unlike Stun—whose life expectancy is quite short, considering his condition—her life is promised to be long and, in its own little way, unforgiving, much to her apparent frustration. It is this aspect of her character that actually adds a layer to her otherwise snide and icy demeanor, even when it comes to hearing about her present employer resigning from his former position on account of the soldiers whom he was commanding ignoring his orders and deliberately slaughtering an innocent half-zoanthrope family (See between 0:20 and 0:49.). However, the question remains as to how she came to have such longevity, which I honestly cannot recall ever being explained in any of the following installments of the Bloody Roar franchise, or at least not in great detail. However, in my reboot, I’d propose a connection of sorts between her and Hans, who—as I’ve mentioned earlier in this article—had been put into cryogenic deep freeze by Tylon prior to being thawed out in the beginning of this particular chapter in the saga. Not only that, but seeing as Jenny is as proud of her beauty the way Hans used to be concerning his own looks while he was working for Tylon and also shares a similar appearance to his from his BR 1 days (blonde hair, green eyes, slender figure, etc.), is voiced by the same voice actress in Bloody Roars 2 and 3 as Hans was in BR 1 (Samantha Vega), and—at least in the original BR 2—borrows a number of moves from his arsenal, I think this arc would do wonders for Jenny’s character. As for the storyline connection itself…I won’t give away too much here. All I can ask is that you stay tuned for the third part of this miniseries and, in the meantime, check up on the science of cryopreservation here as well as elsewhere on the Internet for more background information. Oh, and feel free to study some video game footage of the first two Bloody Roar games to witness for yourselves the similarities between Hans and Jenny, including part 2 of SCXCR’s Bloody Roar Retrospective.
Now at long last we come to the two members of the “Unlockable Eight” who are my personal inclusions into the Bloody Roar setting. On one hand is Lance Underwood, a Muay Thai-kickboxing deer zoanthrope from Canada who has become a soldier for the ZLF on account of the Security Corps murdering his family, as mentioned in Jenny’s story within the last paragraph. In summary, Lance used to be a kind-hearted man who’d endured Tylon’s brainwashing experiments himself and, against his will, had become one of their top soldiers until the corporation’s collapse. Since then, he’s been absolved of all the crimes he’d committed while under Tylon’s influence and has lived a normal family life until the aforementioned annihilation of his wife and children. Since that tragic moment, he has gone the way of Frank “The Punisher” Castle of Marvel Comics fame and become a militant, vengeance-driven fighting machine, albeit not necessarily his own man as Frank was. Moreover, the forces to whom he’s lent his services aren’t exactly noble on account of the fact that they don’t practice what they preach in terms of preserving zoanthropekind and promoting zoanthropes’ equality to base stock humanity. He’s convinced otherwise, however, and is too blinded by his own grief and disenchantment with the baseline half of the human race to see the light until towards the end of the story when the ZLF is officially dissolved…or at least until a future installment within this reboot of the BR franchise. Which installment exactly, you may ask? I’m not at liberty to say here. Again, as I’ve said a number of times already, you’ll just have to wait until a later article.
Last but not least, we have Gayle Newcastle, an Australian animal rights activist who—unlike a certain other animal rights activist I’ll be mentioning in the second portion of this installment—takes her passion for the preservation of animal life to a particularly dangerous extreme. You see, Gayle starts of as a commonplace baseline human who actually sympathizes with the cause of the world’s zoanthrope population and sees the beast hunters for what they are: glorified poachers guided by hatred who’ll stop at nothing to completely wipe zoanthropekind off the face of the earth. So much does she side with the zoanthropes, in fact, that she uses a portion of the donations made to her organization to pay for a surgical procedure that transforms her into a shark zoanthrope—a transformation that, in spite of its procedure being a success, doesn’t come without complications. For example, unless she’s submerged in water, Gayle can only remain in her newly acquired beast form for a few hours at a time before she starts to “drown” and must either revert back to human form or die of suffocation. Likewise, Gayle suffers from a nigh-insatiable appetite, which can only be appeased if she eats meat—an egregious violation of her organization’s code of conduct. Regardless of these shortcomings, however, Gayle soon becomes a force to be reckoned with for many a beast hunter party, marauding their ilk left and right with the help of her freestyle form of wrestling to the point where she draws the attention of the ZLF, who readily take her into their fold. She’s quite a zealous supporter for the Front’s cause, too, and is blissfully unaware of the hypocrisy of their actions (i.e., kidnapping and converting resistant zoanthropes into fighting for them) until the very end of the story, where the truth is finally revealed and she comes to despise herself for turning her back on who she once was for the sake of supporting a group that was hardly what it’d claimed to be.
Bloody Roar Beast Corps: Characters and Plot
In continuing the evaluation of BR 2’s setting, we shall now look into the other half of the struggle for zoanthrope equality—in other words, the feud between zoanthropekind and the rest of humanity—through the premise of Bloody Roar Beast Corps. It is in this story that we shall examine the severely fragile nature of human-zoanthrope relations on account of beast hunter activity and one particularly bold band of zoanthropes in their efforts to put down arguably the most dominant militia of beast hunters the world has ever perceived.
To put it simply, if the ZLF represent the one extreme of the whole “humans versus zoanthrope” conflict, then the primary villains of BRBC, the Order of Natural Preservation, represent the other. Out of all the many beast hunter factions within the world, these particularly well-organized human supremacists are every bit as vigilant in their stance on the human-zoanthrope conflict as the Front is on theirs and have employed every possible tactic under the sun to ensure humanity’s “survival” against the “monstrous anomalies” who lurk among them. However, rather than directly resorting themselves to the blunt tactics employed by other beast hunters, the Order uses diplomacy to inspire and unionize members of other beast hunter coalitions into their fold and more or less form their own worldwide army that does their dirty work for them. They’ve also conscripted many a baseline human who has been a victim of zoanthrope violence to act as the organization’s public face and speak out against the evils of zoanthropekind, thus gaining the open support of the masses on a global scale, especially when targeting the misdeeds—be they actual or fabricated—of many a high-profile zoanthrope (i.e., Alan Gado, former Commander of the Security Corps). Finally, when the going gets tough and action must be taken to either defend their human supporters or simply keep either zoanthrope supporters or zoanthropes themselves in line, the Order has equipped itself with a bizarre yet effective technological arsenal that, amongst other things, allows its most skilled soldiers and assassins to mimic the common zoanthrope’s beastorization process in order to give them an edge over their prey. Furthermore, there have been plenty of rumors surrounding the affiliation, such as the idea that they’ve taken many a zoanthrope hostage and have subjected them to various experiments that have “cured” them of their zoanthropy by preventing their endocrine systems’ natural secretion of “Factor B” into their bloodstreams. These rumors have further evolved to suggest that the advocates then brainwash their ex-zoanthrope prisoners to join their cause and fight alongside the beast hunters who would have otherwise gone out of their way to murder them by helping them take the lives of their former fellow beasts. To put it simply, then, the Order of Natural Preservation is the ultimate threat to zoanthropekind worldwide, and it would truly take a special breed of warrior to help bring them down and put an end to their machinations.
Then again, before I talk about the heroes of Bloody Roar Beast Corps, I find it only pertinent to discuss the nature of the Order’s leader, Zacharia Faust, a former Tylon scientist whose prowess in the biological studies is exceeded only by his strong predilection for occult legends and zoanthrope mythology. Being a cold, calculating, and deviously practical man, Faust is one of the furthest things one can imagine from his former colleague Hajime Busuzima. Even so, just as Busuzima uses the Zoanthrope Liberation Front as a mask for his continued experiments, Faust hides his true agenda behind the activities of his own coalition. His ambitions aren’t all that different from Busuzima’s either, as he, too, is searching to create the ultimate life form—not necessarily an immortal one, mind you, but one with nearly godlike power such as that which Uriko used to possess while she was a test subject for Tylon. As such, he really has no ill will towards zoanthropes per se. Rather, he just wants to harness their power to fuel his latest experiment, which involves the application of a small device that can drain a living organism of any chemical compound within its body that the user elects to purge from it and can transfer said substance into his or her own body in the form of a powerful blast of radiation. The strange thing about this device, too, is that it oddly enough resembles an ornately carved stone disk that’s roughly the size of a serving tray—very much like the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts from Bloody Roar 3, in fact, which, believe it or not, is indeed a heavily documented artifact from zoanthrope history. It is according to legend that the actual Tabula grants its possessor precisely what its name implies—namely, the power of a thousand beasts—thus making the individual the most powerful zoanthrope in the entire world. Needless to say, it is this very legend that has inspired Faust to carry on this experiment, and what better a time to do so than when human-zoanthrope relations are at their most strained and base stock humans’ fear of their “Factor B”-empowered brethren is so easy to exploit? Now, granted, this arc doesn’t explain whether or not the Tabula itself truly exists or, if it does, if it works or not, but trust me: That notion can be later explored within my reboot of BR 3. In the meantime, however, with the inclusion of this development and the previously established connection between BR 2 and BRBC, I hope to keep the overall story of the BR series flowing smoothly from one installment to the next, covering each and every aspect of it along the way as I do so. Additionally, this serves as an example of how I plan to keep Tylon’s scientific influence a recurring theme throughout the course of the BR saga up to at least BR 3 while simultaneously trying to incorporate the supernatural elements presented within the actual game series in such a way so as to make them work for the franchise as a whole without steering it away from the light sci-fi themes that had made the story so compelling in the first place.
Of course, as is true with every good story, no villain is complete without a hero to come along and at least try to thwart his or her machinations, and Bloody Roar Beast Corps is no exception to this rule. In fact, this story starts out with four heroes, all of whom belong to the same company of mercenaries, who have made it their mission to eradicate the Order of Natural Preservation and bring its members to justice before they can dare bring about any further harm to the world than they already have. The members of this zoanthropic “A-Team” are as follows:
Paul Upton is the hard-nosed leader of the team—a shrewd, level-headed Canadian who, as such, is a master tactician who can look at any given situation from multiple angles and come up with a solution to it within mere minutes. He’s a practitioner of combato/defendo—the official hand-to-hand combat style of British-born Canadian martial arts instructor Bill Underwood—and his beast form is that of a puma.
Sonja Nunez is the squadron’s tech expert and scout and can therefore hack her way into an enemy’s computer system just as well as she can maneuver her way into an enemy camp to gather vital information about them that she and the others can use to their advantage. Hailing from Mexico, she holds her country’s traditions close to her and her family even closer, so as one can guess, she’s quite upset, and rightfully so, when she hears about a pack of beast hunters affiliated with the Order abducting her family and trying to “draft” them into their legion of brainwashed militants. Can she keep in control of her emotions, however, and utilize her expertise in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and her ability to beastorize into a coyote to the best of her advantage, or will her fury consume her and make her another victim of the Order’s heartless procedures?
Mireille l’Oiseau is the unit’s mechanic and pilot—a woman who knows how to handle a fighter jet every bit as much as she does an entire militia of armed thugs and who is every bit as capable of solving a situation with her trusty toolkit as she is her own bare hands. Then again, flying should come as second nature to her, seeing as her beast form is that of a peregrine falcon. At any rate, though, Mireille is one smart cookie, albeit a little stereotypically brash at times and not above showing off her skills on the field, specifically when it comes to her mastery of savate, the official kickboxing style of her home country of France.
Finally, Yao Hong is the battalion’s artillery expert, known for his great strength and high degree of resolution. Your typical “gentle giant,” Yao is surprisingly tall and broad for a man of Chinese lineage, yet is disciplined enough to keep his head on straight and not throw his weight around unless a given situation absolutely demands it. That being said, even he has his limits when it comes to extreme prejudice, particularly when it comes to beast hunters, and is not afraid to unload a few rounds of heavy artillery into any zoanthrope-killing scumbag or—at the very least—metamorphosize into his panda beast form and unload on them with a few dozen KunTao Silat maneuvers that had been passed down to him by his father when he was but a child.
In addition to these four soldiers, there are two additional heroes who lend their skills to the fray against the Order, the first of which being animal rights activist Rupert Waters of Australia. A naturally born zoanthrope who is also a member of the same animal rights organization as Gayle Newcastle, Rupert—unlike Gayle—is usually quiet and reserved and is therefore patient enough to think about the consequences of his actions before he commits to performing them. Such is why he is respected amongst his fellow activists, who have willingly lent their support to his program ZAP-2 (Zoanthropes Are People, Too), a kind of people’s rights movement that recognizes the good in zoanthropekind and hence rewards noble zoanthropes for their just deeds while simultaneously taking more peaceful measures in educating the masses of the evils of beast hunting. Unfortunately, while ZAP-2 has been garnering much positive attention from the media in recent months, such attention has also given the Order reason enough to abduct Rupert and subject him to their methods of conversion, However, if the Beast Corps reach him in time before the Order stunts his brain’s ability to produce any “Factor B,” Rupert will gladly lend them his talents on the field, from his clever application of aikido to the natural abilities of his turtle beast form.
Likewise, there’s Rupert’s daughter Annette Waters, who is arguably her father’s biggest supporter and, sadly, also a captive of the Order. Though not as reserved and reflective as her father, at least she’s not as rebellious as her former best friend Gayle has proven to be and can take note of a bad deal when she senses it. Unfortunately, her fierce devotion to her dad’s cause won’t be enough to help Annette resist the conversion process that the Order surely has in store for her, so it’s up to the Beast Corps to reach her before she suffers such a foul fate. Should they manage to do so, however, they’ll be rewarded with yet another ally who’s confident and competent enough to aid them in their mission, for with her application of Tae Bo as a style of self-defense and her ability to beastorize into a kangaroo, who’s to say that she wouldn’t be a force to be reckoned with?
One last key character I’d like to introduce into the story of Bloody Roar Beast Corps is Dr. Herman Maxwell, the Tylon scientist who was formerly the mentor of Dr. Steven Goldberg prior to the latter man’s abduction and transformation into Stun. While Dr. Faust has plenty of capable fellow scientists aiding him in his objective—a number of whom serve as bosses during the course of the video game adaptation of this story—only one sticks out as a segue character from BR 2, and that would be this gentleman here. You see, back when the original BR 2 still has a PlayStation web page dedicated to it, Dr. Maxwell was brought up as being the man to whom Steven reported Busuzima’s unorthodox experiments. However, rather than take his protégé’s concerns into consideration and trying to shut down Busuzima’s work, Maxwell instead turned his back on Steven and allowed Tylon security to lead him into Busuzima’s laboratory, where the nefarious lab lizard proceeded to transform him into the world’s first official insect zoanthrope. Sadly, because the experiment resulted in Steven’s—now Stun’s—body becoming unstable on account of having his natural DNA tampered with beyond recognition, Busuzima found himself perplexed and frustrated and as such demanded to know how he’d produced such unsatisfactory results. Therefore, in order to learn from his errors, he decided abruptly to use Maxwell as his next test subject, altering his DNA as he saw fit and, upon stimulating his brain to produce “Factor B,” turned him into a toad zoanthrope. Since then, Maxwell has come to lament his fate and wishes he had the resources to turn himself back into a regular human again, although truth be told, at least Busuzima had discovered what he’d done wrong with Steven’s metamorphosis when he’d converted Maxwell into a zoanthrope, so if nothing else, at least Maxwell can enjoy the cellular stability that Stun cannot. Not only that, but while in his beast form, he possesses toxic skin (thanks to the parotoid glands located on his back between his shoulder blades and spine), great jumping ability, and a long prehensile tongue. Plus, ever since Faust and his underlings chanced to rescue Maxwell from the collapse of Tylon’s South American laboratory from BR 1, they were kind enough to brainwash him just enough to “program” him to know the fighting art of Shini-Rokugo-Ken—the same fighting style used by Gen-Fu from Tecmo’s celebrated Dead or Alive fighting game franchise. In short, Herman can be quite an opponent for the Beast Corps…should he desire to be, that is, and not let the grief of his transformation or, for that matter, his reconstituted sense of morality get in the way of the services that he’s now providing his one-time rescuers. Can Faust find a way, then, to make sure that Maxwell stays in line during his tenure under him, or will the middle-aged molecular biologist finally find the strength and determination he needs to turn his former colleagues in for their crimes? There’s only one way to find out for sure.
Well, that’s pretty much my reboot of Bloody Roar 2 in a nutshell. Hopefully, all you BR fans see where I’m going with this reboot as a whole and will be willing to come on back for the third part when I get the chance to post it. Again, as mentioned earlier, if there are any disputes with any of the ideas I’ve presented here, please don’t hesitate to share your concerns in the comments section below. Suggestions for what you’d like to see in my reboots of Bloody Roars 3 & 4 and BR Extreme/Primal Fury are also welcome, as I look forward to drum up some conversation on this blog. Otherwise, please stick around for future installments to this miniseries, and thank you all for reading. Also, be sure to check out my author page at Smashwords.com and my Author Central pages at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and to follow me on Twitter @DustinMWeber. Until next time, then, happy reading!
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 3: February 2, 2013
Part 4: February 7, 2015
Part 5: August 23, 2015
Bloody Roar (c) 1997-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./2012 Konami Digital Entertainment. Additional materials used in this article are as follows:
Bambo and Macho Women with Guns D20 Modern Edition: Written by James Desborough and Nathan Webb, 2003 for Mongoose Publishing
Pic of Jamie “Sirelda” Dauncey: Accelerator3359.com
Street Sharks: (c) 1994-1996 DIC Entertainment
Bloody Roar logo used in Bloody Roar Beast Corps cover: (c) 1997-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./2012 Konami Digital Entertainment
All other logos used in Bloody Roar Beast Corps cover: (c) 1995-2012 Sony Corporation/Sony Computer Entertainment America
Order of National Preservation logo: (c) 2012 Dustin M. Weber, created with MyECover.com
Bloody Roar II logo at the end: (c) 1998-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./2012 Konami Digital Entertainment; image copied from Bloody Roar 2 Game Sample – Playstation by Vysethedetermined2
All other visuals used (c) 1998-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./2012 Konami Digital Entertainment.
All opinions expressed within the above article, however, are solely those of the author himself and no other party.