Welcome to my third essay on my reboot for the Bloody Roar saga. Today I’ll be tackling the one game where the franchise went downhill, despite how many BR fans still consider it to be the best game in the line. Granted, I’m more of a BR 2 guy myself, but I will admit that Bloody Roar 3—despite having an overall Metacritic rating of 71 last time I checked (considered “average” by the website’s rating system)—does have quite a bit going for it. Rave Mode comes back, for one thing, in the form of Hyperbeast Mode, and each character now has two Beast Drives rather than just one…save for Busuzima, that is, who has a hidden third Beast Drive called Busuzima Olympic Games. The fighting is also the fastest and fiercest yet by this point in the series, and juggling is more of a thing than before as well, allowing for even greater combo potential than in BR 2, which had already taken a step up from BR 1 in this regard by allowing the cancelation of certain moves to lead into others. Sadly, I wish I could be more positive about the game from a storytelling perspective, considering that, as I’ve mentioned before, Hudson Soft felt the need to juxtapose supernatural elements as suddenly and as heavily as it did into a tale that had so far proven to work well enough within a light biology-based science fiction framework. The complete removal of Story Mode as a gameplay option doesn’t help, either, in that doing so has cheated BR fans of the opportunity to further immerse themselves within the franchise’s tale on a per-character basis and delve deeper into the lore of their beloved franchise. Before I get much further ahead of myself than I probably already am, though, let’s examine BR 3’s story and see where it takes the tale that we’ve come to know so far.
A year has passed since the fall of the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, and in the wake of the terrorist cabal’s demise, Yugo Ogami—with the help of his younger foster brother Kenji and his close friend Alice Tsukagami—founds the World of Co-Existence, a non-government organization dedicated to helping restore and maintaining peace and order among zoanthropes and mundane humans. During this time, various zoanthropes from around the world begin to show signs of what seems to be a two-sided condition amongst them known as the X-Genome Code. Appearing on the skin of an affected zoanthrope’s human form in the shape of a “crest” that roughly resembles the host’s beast form, the XGC, on one hand, grants its carrier tremendous power, enhancing his/her physical prowess beyond his/her usual limits and ergo making him/her an even deadlier combatant than if he/she were to beastorize regularly. However, activating the Code comes at the price of the host’s life expectancy, and many a carrier of the XGC has fallen ill shortly after showing signs of bearing this condition. The cause of this mark, known as “the Sign of the Beast” among the particularly superstitious, proves to be a mystery to those concerned with its existence, which prompts several interested parties from the WOC to the United Nations (particularly recently appointed UN Commissioner Alan Gado) and beyond to investigate the situation. Some of these parties wish to find the Code’s source and apprehend it for their own personal use in hopes of harnessing the XGC’s power. Others, in contrast, wish to bring an end to the upheaval by finding a cure for this disturbing ailment. This in mind, only one thing is for sure: The fight for the sake of zoanthropekind—and, quite frankly, the recently restored tranquility between zoanthropes and regular humans—is very much at stake.
As the global investigation into the XGC matter progresses, it is revealed that the Code is a curse that has fully manifested upon the unearthing of the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts. An ancient stone disc with an outer rim that boasts several glyphs that bear an uncanny resemblance to the common XGC-carrying zoanthrope’s crest, this artifact is said to serve as the prison of the Unborn: an extradimensional, quasi-demonic entity that is allegedly comprised of the souls of all the life forms that a) have yet to be born on Earth and b) could not evolve on Earth on account of natural selection. It is this very entity that exerts its control over a man known only as Xion, upon whom it bestows an “Unborn” beast form so that he may more easily unleash it from the Tabula’s confines by slaying every zoanthrope he comes across who happens to bear a crest—the first of whom happens to be his own older sister. Then, upon absorbing the power of Xion’s victims, the Unborn can be free to wreak havoc upon the world and reshape it to its liking with the power of raw chaotic energy.
Yeah…I don’t know about any of you folks, but the more I think about this story, the more I feel it’s a little too fantastic for its own good—“fantastic,” that is, as in “of or pertaining to fantasy” and not necessarily “great” or “excellent.” I’m sorry, but after two solid plots of clandestine zoanthrope experimentation by a multinational corporation and the ensuing civil unrest between regular humanity and zoanthropekind, this is the plot that Hudson Soft chose for the third game in their series—especially considering that by the year 2001, the BR franchise had reached the height of its active popularity? Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but wouldn’t this plot feel more suitable for a run-of-the-mill fantasy RPG than for a phrenetic and ferocious biology-centered sci-fi fighting game centered around human-animal hybrids in the late 20th/early 21st century AD? Granted, one can argue that Hudson had presented this plot well enough to draw in newcomers to the franchise and help them understand what’s going on without making them digest two entire games’ worth of backstory, as I, too, had argued initially back in the day. Likewise, the X-Genome Code finally coming out into the open as a driving force behind the narrative is a great idea, even if for no reason other than bringing back Bloody Roar 1’s Rave mechanic in the form of Hyperbeast Mode and hence introducing a connection between BRs 1 and 3. However, as I’d mentioned in my first article in this series, tying the XGC in with the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts and the Unborn doesn’t exactly do it any favors. Think about it this way: The world has finally pulled itself back together roughly a year after the racial upheaval between zoanthropes and ordinary humans, thanks to the WOC’s foundation and relatively swift rise to prominence, and yet, along comes what sounds to be a new development in zoanthrope evolution that allows zoanthropes to become stronger, faster, more resilient, and all-in-all deadlier than before when they’re in their beast forms, even at the risk of their own health. Did Hudson mean to tell us that with news like this, there wouldn’t be even one anti-zoanthrope coalition, great or small, mainstream or underground, rearing its ugly head to reignite the war against zoanthropekind in the name of defending humanity from its more genetically gifted neighbors? Do any of you honestly believe that with this discovery coming to the masses’ attention from every possible corner of the globe that baseline humans are simply going to shrug their shoulders, turn their backs on the whole ordeal, and go back to watching Real Housewives of Wherever-the-Hell—particularly with the memories of the violence between their kind and zoanthropes still fresh in their minds? Because I don’t. Rather, I’m more willing to believe that the humans within the BR universe would react to the news with the same militant paranoia that they did at the beginning of BR 2 and start persecuting zoanthropes all over again, and perhaps even harder than before at that. Come to think of it, where are the humans in this story—particularly Nagi Kirishima, that one (by this point) seventeen-year-old girl whom Yugo apparently knew prior to the events of her official debut in BR 4 and whom Xion ended up killing on account of her trying to stop his rampage for reasons that Hudson never specifically gave? One would think, after all, that with this challenge to the WOC’s efforts to neutralize the human-zoanthrope friction coming to pass that there’d be members of the former of these two species playing some part in the whole affair. Unfortunately, their presence within this neck of the narrative is so miniscule that it’s negligible. Then again, so is any mention of the Tylon Corporation or even the ZLF, as both factions receive only a mere mention at best before the story carries on to concern itself with a mystic relic of indeterminate age, the shadowy Legion-esque spirit that resides within it, and said being’s silver-haired minion who—despite sounding like a promising new antagonist for the BR series to incorporate—ends up stealing the spotlight and being the only antagonist to receive any kind of committed character development. Really, now, it’s bad enough that creepy-turned-bumbling mad scientist Busuzima and apparent suicide survivor Shenlong both come back in BR 3 to begin their respective descents into obscurity among the rest of the Bloody Roar cast, but then you have Kohryu and Uranus—two new antagonists whose roots go all the way back to BR 1, yet neither of them gets any character development at all. Don’t ask me what kind of sense that’s supposed to make, either, because as far as I’m concerned, it makes none in the slightest.
Please forgive my complaining, folks. I’m not trying to be as much of a downer as I’m surely coming off as being, nor am I necessarily suggesting that Bloody Roar can’t have any fantastic elements added to its storyline. What I am saying is that the fantastic elements that Hudson introduced in BR 3 came in too much, too soon and almost completely shifted the narrative’s genre away from the light sci-fi roots from which the first two games had thoroughly and successfully sprouted. As such, BR 3’s plot conveniently ignores key aspects of the franchise’s overall narrative in favor of this new flavor they’ve taken on, which in turn throws the main story itself out of whack. Obviously, judging from what I’ve learned about BR 1’s mentioning of “Gaia” from The-Bloody-Roar.Fandom.com, this was Hudson’s initial attempt to insert the Gaia hypothesis as the ultimate driving force behind every little thing that goes on within the BR universe, especially the very existence of zoanthropes in the first place. To be fair, it was a noble attempt on the company’s part, but considering that neither of the previous games really went into that much (if any) detail with that aspect of the plot, the whole notion of “Gaia’s” presence within the world of BR only becomes even more jarring. Keep in mind, too, that I haven’t mentioned how little sense it makes to designate only certain characters on the BR 3 roster as carriers of the X-Genome Code, and yet, everyone has a crest, which the writers outright designated as being the “Sign of the Beast.” That, and everyone behaves similarly while under the influence of his or her crest (i.e., entering Hyperbeast Mode) in BR 3 on account of Ability Plus not being a thing until BR Primal Fury/Extreme, thus making it even vaguer as to what exactly the Code truly is. If anything, given all this information, it seems to be little more than a mark that appears on a given zoanthrope’s human form’s skin that forces its host to fight for his/her life—figuratively at the very least and literally as well in the case of our heroes—or die one way or another for the sake of the Unborn so that it can take over and reshape the world.
In short, the moral here is that when you’re trying to carry on a multi-installment story that has managed to captivate a sizable audience, there are two rules you owe it to yourself to remember and closely follow:
- Know what your main story is about and make sure that your latest installment doesn’t betray the rules by which your setting operates.
- Have a thorough understanding of what elements you’re adding to the mix and how they function in a way that makes sense within the narrative framework you’ve established.
Additionally, don’t leave out Story Mode when something as big and as open to examination as the X-Genome Code becomes a key plot point in the story you’re trying to tell via your game—especially when Story Mode proved to be one of the best-loved modes in your last game on account on how it explained the lore of the campaign you’re sharing with the world and allowed your audience an even greater chance to immerse itself within the tale you’ve been telling. After all, any chance you take to expand upon the way your setting’s universal mechanics is also one you owe to yourself to take when illustrating just how your setting operates with the new expansion added to the mix. Consider it the equivalent of running a tabletop RPG campaign that uses a system like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder as a ruleset and introducing to your players a new method of magic or similarly preternatural powers into your setting such as psionics, incarnum, chaos manipulation, or anything else of that nature. You’re introducing a foreign or previously unexamined element into the scene and trying to make it feel natural to your audience and thus seem like it fits within the grand order of things that you’ve already established. That’s precisely the kind of treatment that the XGC deserved when Hudson introduced it in BR 3. It should have been more than just a thing; it should have been the thing and, as I’ve said earlier, completely independent of both the Tabula and the Unborn. Sure, Hudson could still have introduced these latter two elements in later installments within the BR saga, but imagine the doors the company could have opened, had it made the Code the central focus of BR 3—and, if necessary, the next game or two down the line. Think of all the questions they could have answered (and probably should have asked themselves before introducing the XGC in the first place) concerning the Code and how it functions. What exactly is it? How does it affect zoanthropes? What conditions must be met for a zoanthrope to become an XGC carrier? How long has it been a factor in zoanthropy? What’s the cost of being an XGC carrier? Can ordinary humans contract it, too, and if so, how? Is it indeed the thing that can grant zoanthropes superpowers beyond those already tied to beastorization? Can a zoanthrope live a perfectly normal life—give or take the occasional instance of beastorization, of course—while carrying the Code? I could go on, but you get the point: The introduction of the XGC was a big deal and should have been treated as such, which is exactly what I plan to do with my reboot of Bloody Roar 3.
On that note, then, enough jabbering away! As was the case in my previous two articles, this one will have spoilers for this specific iteration of the Bloody Roar story. Consider yourselves warned, then, if you don’t want me ruining the plot for you. Aside from that, though, let’s get down to business!
Bloody Roar 3: Sign of the Beast
My reboot of Bloody Roar 3 begins simply enough with the Zoanthrope Liberation Front’s collapse and the World of Co-Existence emerging to establish and maintain cooperative relations between zoanthropekind and ordinary humanity. Just as soon as things are starting to look up for the fresh new NGO and its mission, however, along come the reports of scientists having discovered a new development in zoanthrope evolution: the X-Genome Code. According to these scientists’ findings, the XGC is a condition that affects a select portion of the world’s zoanthrope population and allows its carriers to further tap into their bestial natures to increase their strength, reflexes, regenerative capabilities, and the like beyond what they would otherwise be if they were to shift into their beast forms ordinarily. Carriers of the Code, otherwise known as “Coded” zoanthropes, also enjoy traits specifically linked to their beast forms (i.e., Ability Plus) such as an extra-thick hide (“Super Armor”), invisibility (“Invisible Effect”), sharper claws (“Kezuri A”/“Kezuri B”), the ability to regain lost vitality from a struck adversary (“Energy Drain”), and so forth. To acquire such benefits, a “Coded” zoanthrope’s adrenaline would have to be intense enough to stimulate his/her Lycaonian gland to the point of coaxing it into producing even more Factor B than usual to interact with a portion of his/her DNA that would usually remain untouched during the regular beastorization process. Sadly, activating the Code puts quite a strain upon a host’s endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, muscular, nervous, and immune systems on account of so much Factor B flowing through his/her body at that given moment that he/she runs the risk of suffering numerous physical side effects that include (though aren’t limited to) muscle spasms, heart failure, hyperventilation and other respiratory problems, stroke, and an exhausted immune system. Some cases have even been known to produce severe mental disorders such as (but, again, not limited to) amnesia, multiple personality disorder, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, chronic paranoia, severe psychosis (hallucinations and delusions), and schizophrenia. This psychological element would particularly help to illustrate Long’s difficulties in mastering his beast powers when he was younger, specifically when he’d inadvertently killed his mother and younger sister, and in turn lead into his quest in BR 3 for a cure for his newfound mentor’s daughter Lanfa—or Lanhua, as I’ve learned her name is supposed to be—who falls ill due to complications from her own strand of the Code and reminds Long enough of Lin Li to make him seek further redemption for his sister’s demise. At any rate, it’s because of these side effects that a zoanthrope can only remain in Hyperbeast Mode for so long (twelve seconds, according to the original BR 3 and BR PF/E) before he/she must revert to human form immediately or risk falling prey to these physical and mental debilitations. Alas, time all too swiftly flies by during the heat of battle—or whatever other dire situation has prompted a given zoanthrope’s adrenaline to reach high enough levels to stimulate his/her strand of the XGC—and many a zoanthrope has already fallen ill on account of complications from the Code’s power affecting his/her body. As such, “Coded” zoanthropes owe it to themselves to pay close attention to when their bodies fall under the influence of the XGC and find a way to calm themselves down before their strand completely takes over their system and afflicts them with an ailment with which they can’t afford to cope.
The Sicyonian Society
Secondly, while Xion will still have a role to play in this installment of my reboot, his beast form will be renamed on account of the Unborn being absent from this neck of the reboot. On that note, then, we’ll obviously be needing a new adversarial force for the heroes to combat, and what better antagonists than a band of beast hunters to throw a wrench onto the protagonists’ investigation? After all, with human-zoanthrope relations once again being tested, it only makes sense to shed some light on humanity’s side of the struggle by highlighting what would be the most dangerous congregation of beast hunters in my take of the BR world: the Sicyonian Society. In a nutshell, the Society is the Bloody Roar equivalent of the Upstarts from X-Men lore. For a more elaborate explanation, however, here you go:
Formed shortly after the announced discovery of the X-Genome Code, the Society is a secret coalition of beast hunters whose members find common ground in keeping what they perceive to be the zoanthrope threat in check by means of engaging in beast hunts. Many are the reasons, too, for why these beast hunters would want to unite with one another after all the human-versus-zoanthrope turmoil from the past five to six years and the WOC’s efforts in establishing a peaceful relationship between the two species. Some members have had friends and/or family members who’d lost their lives at the hands of zoanthropes, whether said killers were ZLF operatives or Tylon-controlled assassins or had simply lost control over their beast forms on account of “blacking out” during an involuntary beastorization—particularly one in which the XGC played a part in taking over the host’s body and mind during the grim affair. Others are convinced that zoanthropes are strictly the creations of the Tylon Corporation and are therefore little more than the products of mad science—shells of their former human selves completely at their inner beasts’ mercy who therefore must meet a violent end for their own sake as well as humanity’s as a whole. Some may even be shellshocked ex-employees of Tylon who haven’t yet coped with their involvement with the conglomerate, even within the six years that have followed its alleged fall, who are convinced that the only way they can atone for their “sins” is by undoing the corporation’s evil deeds and wiping out the very creatures it supposedly created, not believing for one second that zoanthropes can indeed be naturally born with their aptitude for transformation. Rumor has it, too, that the Sicyonian Society even accepts applicants who happen to be either repentant ex-zoanthropes who underwent the removal or disintegration of their Lycaonian gland or present zoanthropes who wish to undergo such treatment, be the source of their zoanthropy a natural gift or the product of an unfortunate experiment. In either case, these individuals particularly have come to see their zoanthropy as evil to the point of wishing to rid the world of the curse that either has or had made them and are arguably the most zealous and hence dangerous members of the coalition, whom the Society recruits on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis to protect their identity from their more mundane compatriots. Regardless of their personal motivations, Sicyonians are united in their cause to keep zoanthropekind in check following the news of the XGC’s discovery, convinced that the Code only makes zoanthropes more of a hazard to baseline humanity’s survival than they were before.
Keeping in line with their mentality toward XGC-based sensitivities, the Sicyonian Society specifically targets its beast hunts on those zoanthropes whom they perceive to be humanity’s greatest threat, whether said zoanthropes truly have proven to pose a risk upon the world at large via their actions or are simply in a position of great power and influence that they could easily abuse in the name of their own kind. In fact, the higher a given zoanthrope’s profile is based on his/her behavior against or influence over the global public, the more concern he/she poses against the Society’s ideal of humanity’s safety and the higher the bounty it places on his/her head. Its doing so in turn encourages its members to compete against each other as either individuals or as small, tightly knit squadrons to see who among its ranks can hunt down the biggest menaces against humanity and thus the deadliest game amongst the world’s zoanthrope population. Even baseline humans who support zoanthropes’ rights aren’t safe from the Society’s wrath and often find themselves in the coalition’s line of fire right alongside the very zoanthropes with whom they sympathize. The competition between beast hunters is quite fierce, too, with the member who earns the most points for the zoanthropes he/she manages to capture and/or kill within a given year earning the title of Chief Huntsman/Chief Huntswoman for his/her excellence in the field as well as bragging rights for that year until the next, when the next “hunting season” begins. Said member also wins for himself/herself a handsome complimentary cash bonus as well as a special “grand prize,” the nature of which remains an enigma to everyone but the Society’s founder himself/herself, the Hunt Organizer, and his/her right-hand man, Lodge Keeper Dr. Grant Maxwell. As far as these two administrators are concerned, the Hunt Organizer is naturally the faceless entity responsible for the Sicyonians’ very existence who keeps his/her identity and motives hidden beneath a veil of secrecy as he/she discovers and determines potential targets for his/her underlings to apprehend and/or eliminate and arranges said targets’ bounties based on the threat each one poses upon his/her true agenda. Who precisely this Hunt Organizer is I intend to keep a secret until the very end of my retelling of the Bloody Roar story. As for Dr. Grant Maxwell, though, there’s a reason as to why I’ve assigned him to be the face of his/her operation and the Lodge Keeper of the Sicyonian Society. You see, while Hudson Soft never openly gave Dr. Maxwell a name other than…well…Dr. Maxwell, the record stands that this former Tylon scientist was the man responsible for serving as Dr. Steven Goldberg’s mentor within Tylon’s Pharmaceutical Research Division according to The-Bloody-Roar.Fandom.com. That was, of course, until Steven reported his discovery of Busuzima’s secret lab to him and the unethical experiments his former friend was conducting within it upon unwilling human and zoanthrope subjects, after which Maxwell betrayed Steven to Busuzima for discovering that which the poor guy wasn’t supposed to know about, thus leading to his metamorphosis into Stun. Predictably enough, then, Maxwell very much serves a role in my version of Bloody Roar 3 as Busuzima did in both the original and my version of BR 2, save for the fact that he’s a little bit more out in the open as the Society’s Lodge Keeper than Busuzima was as the ZLF’s founder and secret leader. Either way, both men are scientists who once worked for the Tylon Corporation when it was active, yet each man managed to find his way back into the thick of things by taking part in a radical organization that’s been wreaking havoc upon the global status quo and as such preventing the world’s populace of achieving peace between zoanthropes and regular humans. It’s because of both men’s status as former Tylon employees, too, that the allegedly defunct corporation still has a presence within the BR narrative and therefore could very well have a hand, even in “death,” in this whole mess that’s been plaguing our heroes and the world they’re all trying to preserve. As such, the seeds of Tylon’s conspiracy are only being further planted here in my version of BR 3 as they were in BR 2, and it shouldn’t be too much longer before they start bearing fruit.
One last aspect about the Sicyonian Society that I’d like to bring up is their arsenal of choice when hunting zoanthropes, and quite frankly, since the whole theme of the Bloody Roar franchise is based on combatants who can metamorphosize into human-animal hybrids, why not give the Society’s hunters power suits that they can summon forth on a whim and don instantaneously? After all, many a BR fan has remarked that Xion’s beast form looks like Hudson’s character designers had garnered some inspiration for it from The Guyver, and in that case, it only makes sense for me to in turn borrow another popular concept from the time-honored manga in the form of battle armor that functions similarly to that which original series protagonist Shō Fukamachi acquires that leads him into his feud with the evil Cronos Corporation. In the case of the Society’s hunters, however, each suit of armor, which I’ll refer to as a cyberthrope suit from here on out, is designed to represent a given animal—either present or extinct—to better fit the whole “Unleash the Beast Within/Fight Like an Animal” motif around which BR revolves as well as to allow its wearer to utilize numerous abilities akin to those of the beast into which it allows its wearer to transform. For example, while a cyberthrope suit fashioned after a praying mantis may be equipped with raptorial forelegs on the arms and two pairs of wings to allow its wearer to fly, a suit fashioned after a tree frog will more readily possess powerful legs; suction cup-like fingers and toes; and a long, sticky, semi-prehensile tongue. Meanwhile, a suit based off the electric eel can generate powerful electrical currents through its exoskeleton while one based off the cone snail has an extra-durable shell with which to ward off attacks to which the rest of the suit is vulnerable as well as a venomous harpoon based off the snail’s toxoglossan radula that can stun or even kill unarmored targets. I could go on, but you get the idea, although I would like to add that the manufacturer of these cyberthrope suits, predictably enough, is Yun Chi Manufacturing, Inc.—the same manufacturing firm that once served as a department of Tylon, even after its demise in the original BR canon, and was responsible for Kohryu’s production. In fact, the only difference between Kohryu and the cyberthrope suits is that Kohryu is a full-fledged robot with its own erratic, almost self-serving consciousness rather than a hollow suit of armor that’s completely under its possessor’s control. In either case, though, both cyberthrope suits and YCM-manufactured robots are programmed to contain a special code of their own: a program that activates upon the suit wearer or robot’s will either by voice recognition or by bodily gesture that mimics the X-Genome Code in that it allows the robot or suit wearer in question the ability to kick-start two additional traits that otherwise remain dormant when the suit activates or the robot assumes its beast form regularly. These two abilities operate in a fashion that is identical to how Ability Plus works in the game, and considering that each robot’s exoskeleton and each cyberthrope suit is made from a particularly strong iron alloy, one of the abilities more times than not happens to be “Super Armor” with the remaining ability usually mimicking the creature after which the creators modeled the suit or the robot’s beast form. Also, because very few are the zoanthropes whose beast forms are as durable as the typical cyberthrope-suited Society hunter or YCM robot, the latter tends to take significantly less damage in-game than the average zoanthrope, yet also regenerate less lost health for the sake of gameplay balance.
Crests: The Sign of the Beast
Finally, what about the crests that appear upon the bodies of those zoanthropes who possess the X-Genome Code? Well, believe it or not, they’d still be a thing. In fact, out of all the mystical elements from the original Bloody Roar 3, the crests would be the only such aspect that would remain constant. Initially, not much is known about these disturbingly curious lesions that appear upon the skin of “Coded” zoanthropes’ human forms other than the fact that each crest roughly represents the beast form into which its host can transform. Even in the rare case that a given crest appears on the flesh of a beastorized zoanthrope, it remains faint and mostly unrecognizable until the bearer’s Factor B triggers his/her strand of the XGC. Only in that case does the crest glow (as well as the rest of the host’s body, as the game itself demonstrates) and thus enables the bearer to utilize whatever additional powers his/her strand of the Code grants him/her however he/she can within the present situation. Then again, that’s pretty much all anyone within my incarnation of the Bloody Roar world knows for sure by this point in the story, as even the scientists responsible for discovering the Code can only guess as to why “Coded” zoanthropes bear such markings on their bodies. Even cosmetic surgery isn’t enough to remove these unfortunate “blemishes” from a “Coded” zoanthrope’s epidermis. Only the removal or disintegration of one’s Lycaonian gland—and hence one’s zoanthropy—is enough to make these crests disappear, thus leading experts to believe that they’re little more than non-malignant side effects of possessing the XGC and that the Code itself is strictly a condition that zoanthropes can possess. Of course, considering that even the most educated experts presently only have the vaguest idea of how the X-Genome Code came into existence, how long it’s existed, or what conditions must be met in order for a zoanthrope to carry the XGC in his/her system, the case behind the “Sign of the Beast” remains a tough one to crack, therefore making it all the more urgent for the protagonists of this story to do just that.
For the sake of consistency, however, I will say plain as day right here that every character on my active Bloody Roar 3 roster who happens to be a zoanthrope will be a carrier of the X-Genome Code. Trust me folks…it would make no sense if it weren’t the case, seeing as every zoanthrope from the original BR 3 possessed a “Sign of the Beast,” whether they were said to carry the Code or not, and that Hyperbeast Mode—which had become a staple of the BR franchise from BR 3 onward—is supposed to reflect one’s possession and activation of the XGC.
The Initial Twelve
Yugo Ogami Home Country: Japan Age: 23 Fighting Style: Shoot Boxing Beast Form: Wolf
Original Backstory: As the president of the World of Co-Existence, Yugo ensures that he and the rest of the WOC work hard in establishing a more cooperative relationship between zoanthropes and regular humans for the sake of building a brighter future for the world at large. However, news of the X-Genome Code breaks out, and sure enough, he discovers that he himself has been marked for death until he can track down the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts—the rumored source of this deadly mark—and destroy it.
Reboot Backstory: This backstory will remain mostly the same in my reboot, but because I’ve decided to leave the Tabula out of the equation, I’ll have Yugo instead investigate a series of murders in which the victims just happened to be “Coded” zoanthropes. The murderers themselves? Beast hunters from the Sicyonian Society, of course, whom Yugo eventually tracks down through a series of clues and interrogations along the way in a manner akin to how he found the Zoanthrope Liberation Front’s headquarters in the previous game. Several Sicyonians will also happen to be hunting him down, too, considering his position as the WOC’s founder and president. Speaking of Bloody Roar 2, though, as was true then with the ZLF, it’s only through the crumbling of the Society that the beast hunts come to an end and this chapter of the BR narrative closes in turn.
Alice Tsukakami Home Country: Japan Age: 23 Fighting Style: Gymnastics-inspired Jeet Kune Do Beast Form: Rabbit
Original Backstory: Having resigned from her duties as a nurse to work alongside Yugo within the WOC, Alice becomes nervous when Yugo goes out on his own to discover the origins of the XGC and decides to follow him in his investigation—especially when she discovers that she, too, is Coded and thus runs the risk of falling prey to the Code’s terminal side effects.
Reboot Backstory: Remember from my first article in this series how I suggested that Alice had lost her mother prior to the events of BR 1 due to complications from her strand of the XGC? Well, now’s the time to bring that part of Alice’s backstory out into the open, for as Alice in my reboot of BR 3 finds out about the Code’s side effects, she realizes just what she and the rest of the protagonists are dealing with. This makes her even more concerned about Yugo, seeing as he’s a carrier of the XGC—as is she, lest we forget—and thus prone to falling prey to the same kind of illness that claimed her mother’s life. Plus, she’s sure that her discovery of what the Code is will be quite beneficial to his investigation, especially as it relates to the Sicyonian Society and its choice of prey.
Alan Gado Home Country: France Age: 49 Fighting Style: Military Martial Arts (Power Attacks) Beast Form: Lion
Original Backstory: Former mercenary Alan Gado has earned himself the seat of United Nations Commissioner and has made it his personal mission to bring reconciliation between zoanthropes and ordinary humans. Though many has been the international negotiation that he’s made work in favor of his goal, he continues to struggle in finding a solution to the XGC panic. Worse yet, the “Sign of the Beast” has appeared on his body recently, thus making him a carrier of the X-Genome Code and concerned about leaving something behind for future generations to look back on with inspired reverence. He therefore decides to step away from his UN duties for a spell to return to the battlefield once more and lead a battle against fate.
Reboot Backstory: Gado’s efforts as UN Commissioner will stay the same for sure, even in the wake of the XGC panic, as will his status as a “Coded” zoanthrope. However, rather than have him fight out of frustration for his inability to find a solution to the XGC drama, I’d have him learn through the grape vine about the Sicyonian Society and its mission in hunting down and executing (“Coded”) zoanthropes who’ve attained “too much” power and influence over their own kind, himself being one such individual. Naturally, then, to prevent an assassination attempt on him as well as to fight for justice for his fellow zoanthropes, Gado will decide to take the fight directly to the Sicyonians and bring an end to their little operation—even at the expense of his own UN seat and, more importantly, his own life.
Long Shin Home Country: China Age: 32 Fighting Style: Xin Yi Quan/Kenpo Beast Form: Tiger
Original Backstory: Still unable to cope with his zoanthrope blood and the dark past he’s lived in no small part because of it, Long lives the life of a vagrant until he takes up residence within the home of an old martial arts master and his daughter Lanhua. News of the X-Genome Code reaches his ears, however, and his concerns soon manifest in full when Lanhua collapses one day due to complications she suffers from her own strand of the Code. If she receives no treatment soon, Long’s host may surely lose what little is left of his family in Lanhua, which reminds Long all too much of him losing his own sister Lin Li, who lost her life on account of the “unbridled power of the beast.” Such a reminder is all that he needs to venture out to find and stop the source of the XGC outbreak.
Reboot Backstory: No major changes, save for perhaps my reboot making more mention of Long’s strand of the XGC and him learning how to cope with it—especially since it was in no small part responsible for driving him to lose control of his beast form all those years ago and inadvertently kill his mother and sister. As such, his success at the end of this game could very well result in him coming to terms with that chapter in his life and as such taking a long stride (no pun intended) along his path of redemption.
Bakuryu (a.k.a. Kenji [Kakeru] Ogami) Home Country: Japan Age: 15 Fighting Style: Ninjitsu (Kato School) Beast Form: Mole
Original Backstory: Having chosen to leave behind the past he’d lived as the second Bakuryu as per the whims of a mad scientist, Kenji Ogami focuses on his studies and on helping his older foster brother Yugo in managing the World of Co-Existence and its mission of interracial peace between humans and zoanthropes. However, the “Sign of the Beast” appears upon him one day and, upon him learning what it means for him and his newfound family and friends, sets out to find the source of the outbreak and put an end to it.
Reboot Backstory: Pretty much the same…except that I’d also involve Kohryu in Kenji’s story so that he can receive the characterization that Hudson Soft should have given him in the original BR 3. Simply put, many a zoanthrope, “Coded” and “Code-free” alike, has fallen prey to a mysterious killer who’s left some rather incriminating claw marks on his/her body—claw marks that resemble those that Kenji’s own beast form would leave behind. Feeling it necessary to clear his name of any wrongdoing as well as bring an end (if possible) to the XGC panic, Kenji adopts the name Bakuryu once more to confront Kohryu, the perpetrator of these murders and the intended sentient tool of the Sicyonian Society in their ongoing beast hunts.
Uriko Nonomura Home Country: Japan Age: 15 Fighting Style: Xin Yi Quan/Kenpo Beast Form: Half-Beast ([Tabby] Cat)
Original Backstory: After having rescued her mother from the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, Uriko soon goes back to living a tranquil life…much to her boredom. Disappointed that Kenji has no more free time to spend with her on account of his responsibilities with the WOC, Uriko sure enough turns her attention to what her foster sister Alice is doing alongside Yugo—namely, investigating the source of the XGC outbreak. Seeing the mystery as worthy of occupying herself with, Uriko joins in on the investigation herself.
Reboot Backstory: Pardon me for sounding patronizing towards Hudson Soft, but they could have come up with a much better story than this by putting in some genuine effort towards developing Uriko’s character and not making her succumb to what trope identifiers refer to as Flanderization. Allow me to lay out this girl’s history over the first three BR games to illustrate my point.
Bloody Roar 1: Naturally born nine-year-old zoanthrope girl who prematurely shows signs of the beast within her and falls prey to a kidnapping attempt by a corrupt multinational organization whose scientists exploit her zoanthropy, brainwash her, and ultimately transform her into a seemingly emotionless monster of a supersoldier. She eventually loses in battle to her own mother and a former fellow prisoner, which in turn brings her back to her senses and returns her to what she once was.
Bloody Roar 2: A bubbly fourteen-year-old student who comes home from school one day to see a stranger in stereotypical kung-fu practitioner garb beat up her mother and have his fatigue-clad goons abduct her. She immediately beastorizes upon witnessing this outcome, only to take on a much weaker form than what she remembers transforming into during her younger days, and hence sets off to learn Xin Yi Quan/Kenpo so that she can more readily rescue her mom from the terrorists who’ve taken her hostage.
Bloody Roar 3: A bubbly fifteen-year-old student who happens to be a zoanthrope and who decides to join in on her foster sister and her foster sister’s childhood friend and co-worker on their investigation into the XGC matter simply because she’s bored.
Granted, Uriko does improve a little bit in BR PF/E when she protects Cronos from the collapsing lab in her ending and the writers tease the possibility of her once again being able to transform into her chimera beast form without any explicit reason how or why, but aside from that, the writing team still portrays her as being a childish goofball with the mental capacity of a kindergartener. Don’t even get me started, either, with her portrayal in BR 4, where she rescues Mana in her fox form from a bunch of mischievous children and decides to take her home as her newfound pet dog “Pakupon”. That said, I find it safe to say that Uriko’s growth as a character in the BR franchise pretty much stops after BR 2 and barely (if at all) progresses beyond the series’ second game. All the reason more, then, for me to insist that her father become a part of the story as I’d suggested in my first article—maybe not directly at this point, necessarily, but should he be a pharmacist who was under the employment of Tylon before the events of BR 1, as per my suggestion at the time, maybe there could be some old notes lying around his vacant office/study within the Nonomura household that Uriko could come across one day. Then, maybe after reading said notes and seeing that they describe either the X-Genome Code or (at the very least) something like it, she feels compelled enough to join Alice and Yugo in their own investigation into the XGC affair. Who knows? Maybe she’ll even start wondering about whether the Code will allow her to regain her full beast form, be it the tabby cat she was originally meant to be or the chimera that Tylon had made from her when they used her as the prototype for Project Uranus. This would be especially relevant, seeing as she in this case (as I’ve explained before) will bear a crest upon her body and hence discover that she, too, is an XGC carrier. At any rate, she’ll want to find out more about the X-Genome Code and what it’s about, and the only way she believes she’ll find any answers to her inquiries is if she tags along with Alice and Yugo and discovers alongside them the truth.
Jane “Shina” Gado Home Country: France Age: 20 Fighting Style: Military Martial Arts (Single & Continuous Attacks) Beast Form: Leopard
Original Backstory: The “Fighting Marvel” Jane “Shina” Gado has made a name for herself as a mercenary beyond her legendary father’s reputation and has thus drawn the attention of a powerful, nameless organization whose figureheads have invited her personally to participate in the “Klaw and Fang” coalition to discover the source of the XGC outbreak. Having recently discovered that she, too, is a carrier of the Code, she doesn’t hesitate in her discovery of the truth.
Reboot Backstory: Instead of being suckered into joining the “Klaw and Fang” coalition by an unnamed faction that simply wants to procure a dangerous artifact for its own (no doubt selfish) purposes, I’d just have Shina crack down on the Sicyonian Society. Simple as that. Granted, there wouldn’t be as much of an opportunity for her to question her mercenary lifestyle and whether it’s really worth living if all she was going to do was get all tied up with potentially corrupt employers, but then again, considering that her story in BR 4 is fundamentally similar to the one she has in BR 3 and thus shows that she hadn’t learned her lesson after the earlier game, what was the point? Then again, that’s not to say that she and her father can’t cross paths at some point during her adventure and clash over his inability to move forward from his own mercenary days with her ultimately proving to him that he hadn’t wasted his teachings on her and that he can trust her and zoanthropes just like her to carry on the literal fight for peace and racial balance while he carries on the war from a figurative standpoint as UN Commissioner. All the better to illustrate their complex father-daughter relationship, I say.
Jennifer “Jenny” Burtory Home Country: England/Great Britain Age: Unknown Fighting Style: Tae Kwon Do (“Lower Body”) Beast Form: Bat
Original Backstory: Having returned to her cover occupation as one of Europe’s top beauty queens, Jenny is soon called back into action by a client named Sinclair who wants her to investigate the XGC crisis and uncover its source. Believing that nobody else should carry the “Sign of the Beast” besides her and the man behind the crisis, she concludes that only one person can have the power of the Tabula.
Reboot Backstory: Remember when I said in my second article in this series about how fractured Jenny’s story was overall in the BR franchise? Her backstory here alone should prove that to a T, even if for no reason other than her motivation behind wanting to acquire the Tabula and the power within it being as vague as vague can be. Think about it: What does she hope to accomplish from attaining the Tabula? To absorb the Unborn into her body and put an end to the joyless immortality she’s apparently been living since the experiment she’d allegedly endured that provided her with an incomplete beastorization process? If so, then why not just come out and say so? I know Jenny’s a woman of mystery in more ways than one and that her contractual obligations to Gado during the whole ZLF episode don’t automatically make her a full-fledged heroine, but for the sake of storyline consistency (i.e., addressing and continuing plot points that had come up earlier within the narrative), sometimes things need to be more thoroughly presented and capitalized upon. Otherwise, you’re going to force your audience into playing a guessing game for the sole sake of filling in the blanks of your story rather than kindly sitting back and letting it soak into their minds. I’m not saying hold the audience’s hand and spoon-feed it every single little detail like it’s made entirely of idiots. Rather, simply take the whole aspect of the experimentation that Jenny supposedly went through and use it as the foundation upon which to build the rest of her story. Heck, even I know better than to just add layer on top of layer, trait on top of trait, factor on top of factor to define a character without any thought of how each layer, trait, factor, or whatever other term you want to use connects with the others to illustrate who said character is within the story. That’s how Hans turned out in the original BR 1, after all (lest we forget), and anyone who’s read my first of these articles knows just how empty, hollow, lazy, shallow, and ultimately thoughtless I found his crossdressing gimmick to ultimately be. All this in mind, then, let’s try this narrative for Jenny on for size:
After the ZLF becomes little more than a memory within global society’s collective consciousness, Jennifer Burtory carries on with her career as one of Europe’s top fashion models until she is summoned to the office of an entity going only by the name of Qílín, who informs her of the growing activity and influence of the Sicyonian Society upon a world riddled in paranoia over the X-Genome Code. According to the intelligence Qílín has received from his other operatives, this secret society of beast hunters might be using their anti-zoanthrope ideology and XGC-centered paranoia to hide their true agenda for hunting “Coded” zoanthropes: the harvest of their XGC-laced DNA to create a zoanthrope supersoldier that threatens to be even more powerful than the Tylon Corporation’s own original Project Uranus. As she listens to the details of the news Qílín is both showing and telling her, her eyes suddenly fall upon a computer screenshot that features the glowering, bulldog-like face of the Society’s reported Lodge Keeper, Dr. Grant Maxwell—a face she finds all too familiar for her liking. Indeed, the man’s soulless dark brown eyes alone all too readily stir up within her mind memories of being strapped to a fixed table within a darkness-shrouded laboratory, the cold steel of the table upon the bare skin of her back sending chills up her spine that bear a shocking contrast to the scalding rush of warm fluid that flowed unfettered into her arm at the time via a thin rubber tube that had been inserted into her arm at that moment. Just then, as Jenny shakes her head violently to clear the sinister visions from her mind, she finds herself errantly gazing at the palm of her hand and the faint yet nevertheless noticeable pink lesions on it that roughly resemble the membranous wings and fanged jaws of a bat. Sure enough, she can take it no longer, and before Qílín can even finish his debriefing, Jenny has bolted from his inner sanctum and crashed out his window, gliding on leathery wings towards where she hopes to find the cruel yet stoic bastard who stole her humanity.
Mitsuko Nonomura Home Country: Japan Age: 41 (originally 45) Fighting Style: Wrestling (Japanese Strong Style) Beast Form: Wild Sow
Original Backstory: None. Hudson Soft had discontinued Mitsuko’s presence within the Bloody Roar franchise following BR 1.
Reboot Backstory: A year has passed since Mitsuko had overcome the brainwashing she’d suffered at the hands of the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, whom her daughter Uriko had rescued her from, and since the Front’s collapse, she’s managed to return to managing her family shop without incident. That is, of course, until the news of the X-Genome Code breaks out and the panic over it ensues. It’s bad enough when the reports come in of numerous “Coded” zoanthropes turning up dead, either on account of complications from their respective strands of the XGC or from losing their lives to assailants whose identities have yet to be revealed. However, when Mitsuko finds the “Sign of the Beast” on her body one day, she begins to worry about not only her fate, but Uriko’s as well. Her concern only intensifies when she discovers Uriko missing one evening and her long-estranged husband Nezumi’s study in disarray. Fearing the worst, she heads off once more to find her daughter before she ends up in a situation that her fighting skills and zoanthropy alone can’t help her out of.
Hans Taubemann Home Country: Germany Age: 28 Fighting Style: Koppojutsu Beast Form: Fox
Original Backstory: None. Hudson Soft had discontinued Hans’s presence within the Bloody Roar franchise following BR 1.
Reboot Backstory: After having played his part in the fall of the ZLF and earning his freedom from the asylum where he’d stayed prior, Hans has acquired for himself a position as UN Commissioner Alan Gado’s bodyguard—a far yet refreshing cry from the assassin he was while Tylon had him on its payroll. However, while serving as Gado’s right-hand man has indeed taught him more than he could begin to say about human relations outside of the gritty, unforgiving slums within which he’d spent much of his youth, that doesn’t always mean that relations have always been easy. Not only has the peaceful coexistence between humans and zoanthropes only just begun following the fall of the ZLF and many similarly radical racial groups as well as the rise of the WOC, but the highly publicized discovery of the X-Genome Code has begun to strain the hard-established tranquility between the two species. Granted, the fact that many “Coded” zoanthropes have died on account of XGC-related complications hasn’t made the drama any easier to swallow. Even so, the number of beast hunter brigades on the prowl to keep zoanthropes, “Coded” and “Code-free” alike, “in check” has left Gado, the rest of the UN, and in turn Hans quite vexed. Worst of all is the Sicyonian Society, whose members—from what Hans has made of from the reports he’s read—set their sights specifically on those zoanthropes who carry the X-Genome Code and are of significant enough importance amongst zoanthropekind for them to consider a threat to baseline humanity. This leads him to show concern for his employer’s safety, particularly when accounting for Gado’s insistence on leading by example and taking his would-be murderers head-on himself. As such, Hans finds it in his best interest to set forth and take care of business himself by tracking down the Society’s headquarters and bringing their leader to justice just as he and his fellow heroes of the ZLF incident tried to do when it came to toppling the Zoanthrope Liberation Front. Besides, considering that Hans himself carries the X-Genome Code and could very well fall prey to its oft-lethal complications with or without pursuing the Society, what precisely does a former mental patient and professional murderer like him have to lose?
By the way, not to spoil this roster too much, but you’ll quite easily note (if you haven’t already) that I’ve included Reiji in my BR 3 reboot as well, and in case you’re wondering, yes…he and Hans will indeed cross paths and begin a rivalry with each other starting from this very chapter in my take of the BR saga. Hey, why not? Both men have a history in the official BR canon as being bloodthirsty killers who take delight in the pain and suffering they cause, so why not have the redeemed old guard of my story try to turn the Yatagarasu fugitive back to the light and show him the errors of shedding familial blood for the sake of satisfying one’s violent impulses?
Gregory “Greg” Humain Home Country: United States of America Age: 45 (originally 41) Fighting Style: Wrestling (Freestyle Catch Wrestling) Beast Form: Gorilla
Original Backstory: None. Hudson Soft had discontinued Greg’s presence within the Bloody Roar franchise following BR 1.
Reboot Backstory: Having brought most of the key members of the Zoanthrope Liberation Front to justice the previous year, agent Gregory Humain had been hoping to earn some well-deserved rest and relaxation from his oft-harrowing duties on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sadly, the discovery of the X-Genome Code and the consequential panic that has come to follow have brought those hopes to a screeching halt, and much to his exasperation, the Bureau has sent him back into the field. Worse yet, four of the key members of the ZLF whom he’d arrested—including former Tylon Corporation scientist Dr. Hajime Busuzima, who used the tricks of his trade to establish the Front in the first place—have managed to escape prison, meaning that it’s now up to him to throw them back into the slammer before they further complicate the chaos that has already started to rear its ugly head. Thankfully, his fellow agents have uncovered some leads for him to follow in tracking down the escaped Front agents, one of which happens to lead him to the operations of the Sicyonian Society, a radical racial coalition whose members dedicate their efforts to wiping out particularly powerful and influential zoanthropes who happen to carry the “Sign of the Beast” upon them. It is with this specific lead in mind that Greg hopes to recapture the escapees, believing that at least one of them—particularly that despicable little lab lizard Busuzima—will surely get himself or herself mixed up in the Sicyonians’ operations or otherwise turn up to cause some serious mayhem of his or her own accord. Even if none of the four are involved with the Society’s business, at least Greg will have the satisfaction of bringing justice back into this violent and hate-riddled world once again, should he happen to bring the Sicyonians’ beast hints to a halt. That’s assuming, of course, that he doesn’t succumb to the side effects of his own strand of the Code in the process.
Wayne [Wanahton] Farland Home Country: United States of America Age: 29 Fighting Style: Judo Beast Form: Bull
Original Backstory: None. Wanahton is based on an unused character concept as showcased in BR 1’s in-game gallery upon being unlocked.
Reboot Backstory: After infiltrating and helping to topple the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, Wanahton has received an honorable discharge from the North American Security Corps and gone on to accept a position at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he’s become the protégé of fellow zoanthrope and hero of the ZLF incident Gregory “Greg” Humain. His first assignment under Greg’s mentorship is simple: Investigate a series of zoanthrope murders in which the corpses of the slain zoanthropes bear incriminating claw marks on their bodies. Fearing the worst, he follows his leads and heads off to Japan to investigate prime suspect Kenji Ogami, hoping that he’s wrong about the former ZLF hitman being responsible for the deaths of his own kind. After all, even the most benevolent zoanthrope can fall prey to the X-Genome Code’s mentally and physically debilitating effects, which can transform any host under its control into a mindless organic killing machine, and the junior vice president of the World of Co-Existence is no exception. Come to think of it, neither is Wanahton, who’s recently discovered that he, too, has the “Sign of the Beast” branded upon his skin and must take special precautions himself to keep his zoanthropy in check before it clouds his judgment in his investigation and has him claiming not only innocent lives, but also the lives of potential allies in his ongoing search for justice.
The Unlockable Fourteen
Xion (a.k.a. Johan Rosenberg) Home Country: Sweden Age: 22 Fighting Style: Savate Beast Form: Cockroach (originally “Unborn”)
Original Backstory: The “Sign of the Beast” gives zoanthropes the power to possess the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts, which has been sealed away to prevent its prisoner, the Unborn, from breaking free and gathering into one being. A young Swedish man known only as Xion (no doubt a reference to Zion, a citadel/Jebusite fortress that was once the center of Jerusalem, if not Jerusalem itself or even Heaven), under the command of the Unborn, seeks to release his master from the Tabula by finding and slaying “Coded” zoanthropes so that the seal on the Tabula is weakened to where the Unborn can break free and reshape the world in its image. He has already slain his sister, whose heart was tied to the “trivial world,” which he sees as being a useless waste that must be eliminated so that the Unborn can create a new, “better” world in its place. There’s no telling how much further he’ll go, either, to fulfill his master’s wishes unless he’s stopped soon.
Reboot Story: First off, as you all have probably gathered, the Unborn in my version of Bloody Roar wouldn’t be quite the same being as it was in the original continuity, nor would it play a part in my version of BR 3. On that note, then, Xion’s beast form wouldn’t so much be the Unborn itself or even a fraction of what the entity was meant to be but rather the kind of creature that the form itself most closely represents. Now, I know that in my original reboot of BR 3, I’d proposed that Xion resembled a cross between a cockroach and a praying mantis upon beastorizing. Upon taking a closer look at it, however, I’ve concluded that he looks more like the former of the two insects than the latter, what with his square (as opposed to beak-shaped) jaw and bladed ankles and back-appendages. Sure, he doesn’t have the wings or carapace that most cockroach breeds have, nor does he have any mandibles in front of his decidedly sub-humanoid, sub-reptilian mouth, but hey…that’s nothing that a subtle redesign couldn’t fix. Truth be told, I also toyed with the idea of reshaping Xion’s beast form to resemble that of a locust, complete with wings that would allow him full-fledged flight and with his forearm blades still intact to resemble the very tools with which farmers harvest their field crops. After all, many is the historical/religious text—including the Bible itself—that attests to locusts’ propensity for ravaging crops and causing famines, and considering the Biblical influences that the designers had already poured into the guy—his name, the names of at least one of his Beast Drives (“Ascension to Heaven”), and even the Legion-esque (“For We Are Many”) nature of the creature he’s supposed to represent, the redesign—in my opinion, leastways—would have fit him quite well thematically. On the other hand, Xion’s already quite a monster of an opponent in more ways than one in the BR games as matters stand, and although I’d still add wings to his redesign to complete his appearance so that his beast form more closely resembles a German cockroach (which has, in the real world, become the most prevalent cockroach species in all of Xion’s home country of Sweden), such wings would be more ornamental than anything else. After all, entomologists have time and again stated that German cockroaches, even upon reaching full adulthood, either a) rarely fly or b) do not fly at all, although gliding from higher locations to lower ones isn’t necessarily out of the question. Not only that, but while cockroaches have nowhere near the Biblical reputation of locusts, they are nevertheless reviled amongst fellow parasites for both their infamous hardiness and their reproduction rates as well as their tendency to carry pathogens and microorganisms that can infect humans with such diseases as gastroenteritis (complete with diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting), dysentery, cholera, leprosy, typhoid fever, poliomyelitis, salmonellosis, and even plague. Roaches’ saliva, feces, and shedding body parts can also exacerbate asthma and allergies, according to CallNorthwest.com, and German cockroaches in particular even produce a protein that can trigger certain allergic reactions in people (about 26% of the U.S. population, according to some studies). This further complements the name of Xion’s other Beast Drive (“Outbreak”) and justifies a redesign of his beast form to be that of a full-fledged cockroach.
As for Xion’s backstory in my reboot, he used to be Johan Rosenberg, the son of a very pious Swedish minister named Abraham Rosenberg who’d turned his church into a haven for zoanthropes from beast hunters during the events of Bloody Roar 2 until the corrupt members of the European Security Corps stormed the premises and gunned down him, his wife Maria, their refugees, and their staff, leaving the couple’s two children, Eva and Johan, orphans on the run from the very men who were supposed to maintain the peace within the European continent. Eventually, they in turn found refuge within the care of Dr. Grant Maxwell, who promised them sanctuary from all beast hunters, the ESC included, and—for the most part—kept his word. That was, of course, until he brought the pair of them into a secret laboratory where he subjected them to some cruel and extreme experiments and transformed each of them into a zoanthrope. In Johan’s case, Maxwell transformed him into the first successful insect zoanthrope, having learned from the error that Busuzima had made in his metamorphosis of Dr. Steven Goldberg into Stun and filling in the DNA gap between human and insect DNA that the younger scientist had neglected to account for. As such, Johan had converted into a veritable killing machine, complete with bladed appendages with which to slice his victims and a lightweight exoskeleton to offer him protection from the claws, jaws, and other natural weapons of those whose XGC-riddled DNA he would collect on his master’s behalf. Furthermore, Maxwell had renamed Johan “Xion” in “honor” of his religious upbringing and brainwashed him in such a way that his young charge would accept his commands as the word of God Himself or face retribution for his insubordination. As for Eva…well…Johan has yet to find out what had happened to his older sister. Then again, maybe the two will eventually cross paths along the way during this installment of my Bloody Roar reboot. You never know. 😉
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Yugo.
Otrera (a.k.a. Haruna Morimoto) Home Country: Japan Age: 36 Fighting Style: Jeet Kune Do Beast Form: Iron Rabbit
Original Backstory: None. Otrera is an entirely new character I personally created for my reboot of BR 3 as based on a discarded concept for the game’s original version that Kenji Fukuya had conjured up concerning a mechanized beast form for Alice that would have come fully equipped with flight and hovering capabilities. For more information, feel free to check out this interview with him as preserved by the website Shmuplations.com.
Reboot Story: A gifted electronics engineer who’d lost her brother-in-law to the Zoanthrope Liberation Front during their reign of terror against humanity, Haruna Morimoto has been dedicating her craft to Yun Chi Manufacturing, Inc.’s robotics department ever since to develop not only the cyberthrope suits with which the Sicyonian Society equips its hunters, but also Project Iron Mole (Kohryu) and—if the results of its latest test run prove to be successful—additional zoanthropic robots just like it. She likewise shares a tight bond with her grieving sister and feels a deep sense of familial obligation to her that fuels her desire to seek revenge against every last remaining member of the ZLF, a coalition she swears is still at large despite many of its members having been killed or incarcerated following the Front’s fall. Her hatred for the ZLF has similarly convinced her to believe that Alan Gado—arguably one of the highest profiled zoanthropes in the world and an adamant advocate for zoanthropes’ rights—was indeed the leader of the Front and has thus gotten away with murder upon his ascension to United Nations Commissioner, hence why she’s particularly set her sights on his assassination.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Alice.
Aristaeus (a.k.a. Gavriil Stavros) Home Country: Greece Age: 30 Fighting Style: Pammachon Beast Form: Iron Bee
Original Backstory: None. Aristaeus is an entirely originally character I personally created for my reboot of BR 3.
Reboot Story: As a proud and respected officer of the Hellenic Army, Lieutenant Gavriil Stavros once belonged to a squadron of soldiers who were stationed within the rural outskirts of Thessaloniki when the Army mobilized them to put down a rogue unit of zoanthrope mercenaries who were assaulting a coal-operated electrical plant within the area. Sadly, the squadron fell short in its objective and suffered heavy casualties during the clash, driving the surviving members back to base in horror and shame. Despite being fortunate enough to survive the battle himself, Gavriil has suffered many a nightmare from the ordeal, unable to shake himself free from the anguished screams of his comrades that even now echo inside his head or the images of their pain- and terror-wracked visages that have practically tattooed themselves into his subconsciousness. He had done all he could to live the experience down and live as productive and successful a military career as he could up until the Army transferred him to the European Security Corps, where he led a small but loyal unit of fellow soldiers in hunting down and killing off many a zoanthrope, believing wholeheartedly that his squadron’s victims were threats to humanity’s welfare despite any evidence to the contrary. Eventually, however, his posse’s deeds caught up to them, and then-ESC Captain Alan Gado had him and his followers sequestered from the rest of the troops for their final night of service before being brought before the United Nations to be court-martialed, only to have one of the nurses break into their cells and kill the lot of them in their sleep. Gavriil himself, however, had managed to escape by the skin of his teeth and was able to find sanctuary in the custody of Dr. Grant Maxwell, a former Tylon Corporation researcher who was recruiting participants for a project he called the Sicyonian Society. With a reserved demeanor and a considerate ear, Maxwell took to heart Gavriil’s plight and had made for him a suit of cybernetic armor that would more readily enable him to effectively combat any zoanthrope with whom he would cross paths. In exchange, all he’d asked for from the former soldier was his dedication to the extermination of those zoanthropes who would prove to be humanity’s biggest threat. Since then, Gavriil—better known to his fellow Sicyonians as Aristaeus—has committed himself to vanquishing the zoanthrope menace and securing not only the safety and prosperity of the global public but also revenge for himself against the kindred of those who’d slain his brothers in arms all those years ago.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Gado.
Shenlong Home Country: None (predecessor from China) Age: 32 Fighting Style: Bajiquan/Kenpo Beast Form: Tiger
Original Backstory: Having lost his precious ZLF and learning that he is indeed the clone of former Tylon assassin Long Shin, Shenlong has survived a grief-driven suicide attempt and vanished into anonymity, trying to create a new identity for himself out of the shadow of the man whose DNA his creator derived him from. With no past of his own from which to grow, only the present matters to him—especially considering that he, as he’s learned, carries the “Sign of the Beast” and thus likely hasn’t that much time to live anyway. His goal, then, is simple: Kill anyone he doesn’t like and drink himself to death with the people he does.
Reboot Story: In my retelling of the Bloody Roar narrative, Shenlong’s suicide attempt at the end of his playthrough in Story Mode would end up being canon, hence why he was able to evade incarceration for leading the ZLF in BR 2. To keep him within the story, however, I’d have Dr. Maxwell clone Long’s DNA for a second time to recreate Shenlong and draft him into serving the Society as one of its hunters. From that point forward, Shenlong slowly but surely evolves from a blank slate of a man into a proud yet bloodthirsty zoanthrope who can’t stand the weakness of those who’d rather keep their powers under control and hidden from a world that, according to him, deserves to feel the wrath of the genetically gifted for holding them down and preventing them from taking their natural place at the top of the food chain. This latter half of his personal philosophy would slowly but surely build as he acted out on his martial pride and vanquished those whose names happened to be on the Sicyonians’ hitlist and eventually come to a head towards the end of his story when he discovers his purpose in Maxwell’s plan, turns on him, and attempts to use the Sicyonians’ resources to start up his own agenda…perhaps even revive the Zoanthrope Liberation Front, and in his own image to boot. Also, to keep up his rivalry with the very man from whom Maxwell had cloned him for the second time, Shenlong would have a run-in with Long along the way after finding out the truth behind his past and perhaps even offering Long a chance to join him in “taking the world back” from baseline humanity. Who knows? Maybe he’d even recruit his original creator Busuzima to join his fold as well and lend the Front his talents in the field of science…with a stiff caveat in place to keep him in line, of course, should the scheming little lab lizard grow the wild hair to use the Front as a front for his own specific agenda as had the first time.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Long.
Kohryu (a.k.a. Development No. β-0389) Home Country: None (manufactured in China) Age: 26 days off the production line Fighting Style: Ninjitsu (Kato School) Beast Form: Mole
Original Backstory: Kohryu is a product of Yun Chi Manufacturing, Inc., a robotics manufacturing firm that was once a department of the long-defunct Tylon Corporation yet remains active even today in the six-year-long wake of its parent corporation’s public fall. Modeling their robot after deceased Tylon hitman Ryuzo “Bakuryu” Kato and producing it on a trial basis, YCM’s engineers have programmed their creation with Kato’s battle data, which they’d analyzed and collected from the mass of green cellular sludge that the assassin had melted into around the time of Tylon’s alleged collapse. Alas, they’ve lost control of Kohryu during a trial run, and the robot—apparently having developed a consciousness of its own—has gone on a killing spree, murdering every zoanthrope it comes across.
Reboot Story: No major changes. However, as is true to its—or, rather, his—relationship with Kenji according to The-Bloody-Roar.Fandom.com, Kohryu has an axe to grind with his former self’s successor for abandoning his duties as a Tylon assassin as well as an inflated sense of pride in his skills as a ninja warrior. So strong are the emotions he’s tied into these two thoughts, in fact, that they have the tendency to send his internal mechanisms into overdrive in a manner akin to adrenaline in organic bodies. After all, aside from possessing the memories of the man he used to be, Kohryu also has the cellular material from his former self’s liquified original body fueling his present mechanical form and flowing through his system like blood, thanks to an artificial heart installed inside his chest and tubes that run through him like blood veins. Naturally, then, this sludge carries his DNA and, coincidentally enough, a strand of the X-Genome Code that activates every bit as naturally as it would as if Kohryu was still an organic being, granting him “Any Cancel A” and “Super Armor” as his two Abilities Plus. It’s a rather intricate system, to be sure, which is why the Society has scientists monitoring Kohryu from behind the scenes to make sure he stays in line, commits himself to the directives that the Society administers into his consciousness, and doesn’t let his violent memories flare up and take him over. Otherwise, there’d be no telling the chaos his apparent memories would lead him to do and how they would expose the organization and its deeds.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Bakuryu.
Arachne (a.k.a. Nagi Kirishima) Home Country: Japan Age: 17 Fighting Style: Goju-Ryu Karate Beast Form: Iron Spider
Original Backstory: Nagi didn’t debut until Bloody Roar 4, but as with Reiji, I’ll say here that she has gone out of her way to stop Xion’s killing spree and has received a mortal wound for her troubles. Rather than outright dying, however, Nagi has received from Gaia a copy of the Unborn’s powers, which in turn has made her a zoanthropic creature known as the Spurious. Naturally, then, this power has allowed her to survive Xion’s attack, although it’s now presently dormant on account of Yugo (whom she knows personally…although how has never officially been explained) and the other protagonists putting an end to Xion’s rampage and the XGC outbreak.
Reboot Story: Seventeen-year-old Nagi Kirishima is your average Japanese high school student who’s on the verge of graduating with high honors from her school and planning to enlist in the Asian Security Corps in honor of her father, an ASC soldier who’d lost his life in combat against the ZLF the previous year. Sympathetic with her plight, her aunt Haruna Morimoto has invited her to enlist in the Sicyonian Society to learn about zoanthropy and how to protect the civilian public from out-of-control zoanthropes as a means of gaining some pre-enlistment combat training before officially joining the ASC’s ranks. Nagi agrees, and it isn’t long at all before she proves her skill and determination to Lodge Keeper Dr. Grant Maxwell and earns for herself a spot among the Sicyonians and the codename “Arachne.” Specializing in the capture and paralysis of “Coded” zoanthropes, Nagi vows to make her native Japan and eventually the entire world safe for baseline humanity in the wake of the ever-growing threat that zoanthropekind poses upon it, blissfully unaware all the while of the Society’s true intentions and the zoanthrope beast hunters who lurk among its ranks.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Uriko.
Drakon (a.k.a. Ganzorig Purev) Home Country: Mongolia Age: 22 Fighting Style: Hung Gar Beast Form: Iron Deinonychus
Original Backstory: None. Drakon is an entirely originally character I personally created for my reboot of BR 3.
Reboot Story: During his teenage years, mining mogul’s son Ganzorig Purev had suffered many a blackout during which he transformed into a ferocious beast who ran amok among various mining operations that his father’s conglomerate was managing at the time and slew every human being he came across. Why he committed such carnage, he could only guess—especially considering that he didn’t even recognize most of his victims, much less had a reason to harm them. Worse yet, whenever he came to from these blackouts of his, he would find his hands, feet, clothes, and even mouth coated with blood for reasons that he couldn’t explain. At a loss for what he could do to put an end to his gruesome quandary, he turned himself in to the authorities, who promptly admitted him to the mental hospital where he’s served his time for the murders he’d committed and received treatment for his condition, which ultimately proved to be zoanthropy. Not knowing or even caring how he became a zoanthrope, he opted to have his Lycaonian gland completely removed, wishing to forever rid himself of the beast within him, although he knew all too well even then that his surgery was only the first step in atoning for the senseless slaughtering he’d committed. Naturally, then, when a representative from the Sicyonian Society visits him in the asylum where he’s being held and relates to him the recent news about the X-Genome Code and its effects upon zoanthropes’ minds and bodies, he immediately accepts the representative’s invitation to join become a Sicyonian himself, hoping to redeem himself for the human lives he once mindlessly ended by protecting those that remain against the threat of the zoanthrope menace. Alas, though he serves the Society unquestioningly, he can’t help but feel a stomach-churning sense of familiarity with the beast form of the cyberthrope suit the Society has assigned him, hence his reluctance to activate it even when the going gets tough for him out in the field.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Shina.
Stun (a.k.a. Dr. Steven Goldberg) Home Country: United States of America Age: 36 Fighting Style: Professional Wrestling Beast Form: Beetle (originally just “Insect”)
Original Backstory: A year prior, Stun confronted Busuzima for the experiment he’d performed on him many years before but couldn’t bring himself to finish off his former friend and fulfill his desire for revenge. He therefore disappeared into the shadows following the ZLF’s fall and has since been carrying on with his life by becoming a vigilante and maintaining his decaying mind and body’s stability by sucking the blood of criminals. Recently, the “Sign of the Beast” has appeared on his “human” form’s carapace, and the XGC that now flows through him has been overloading his body and producing sharp pains that occasionally render him uncontrollable or unconscious. Knowing deep down inside that he’ll become a complete monster if he doesn’t find a cure for his condition soon, he ends up receiving a visit from Jenny, and old friend, who tells him that the power surging through him is the fault of the power of other dominant (i.e., “Coded”) zoanthropes like him, and unless he personally defeats them, he’d lose all sense of reason. According to Jenny, then, he shouldn’t hesitate if he wants to retain his pride as a man.
Reboot Story: While I’ll gladly keep Stun’s mental and physical deterioration a part of his story, I’d scrap the whole idea of his “old friend” Jenny leading him into slaughtering fellow “Coded” zoanthropes for the sake of retaining “his pride as a man.” Not only does it further paint Jenny as an antagonist following the events of Bloody Roar 2 in the same way as her own backstory does, but more importantly, the only notions we’re given of Stun and Jenny being “friends” in the official BR canon are their chance meeting in Stun’s Story Mode playthrough in BR 2, where she blurts out to him about the experiment she’d supposedly undergone, and in her ending in Arcade Mode in BR PF/E, where Stun bursts into the lab where Jenny and Gado are confronting each other and attacks Jenny, much to her dismay. Even in the case of the former scene, there’s no indication of the two of them having ever met each other, considering that Jenny, being a spy working for Gado, is already thoroughly informed of who her employer’s old acquaintances and potential allies are. Heck, even Gado knows who and where Stun is at the very beginning of the latter’s story, and neither man considers the other to be any kind of friend, old or otherwise. Feel free to watch Stun’s Story Mode for yourself, too, to see if he recognizes Jenny at all from when the two first meet.
On that note, I’d simply have Stun recognize that he bears the “Sign of the Beast” and, as such, the X-Genome Code and understand what he needs to do to retain his sanity and physical stability. I’d also have him constantly on the run from the Sicyonian Society, who recognize him as an XGC carrier and—according to the files of their organization’s Lodge Keeper and Stun’s own former mentor, Dr. Grant Maxwell—a significant threat to humanity whose execution is a grave necessity. So frequently will the Sicyonians bombard Stun with their attacks, in fact, that the poor guy won’t know whom to trust and, between that and his progressively rotting mind, finds himself plunging further and further into madness until he happens to stumble across the Society’s lodge and Dr. Maxwell himself, whom he’ll have one final battle with before ultimately succumbing to his condition and passing away. Heck, throw in a fight with his old ex-friend Busuzima for good measure to keep that feud fresh as well as a chance meeting from Jenny so that she can help steer him on the proper path against the common enemy they share, and as far as I’m concerned, this story here is good to go.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Jenny.
Trueno Rodante (a.k.a. Domingo Reyes) Home Country: Mexico Age: 24 Fighting Style: Lucha Libre Beast Form: Armadillo
Original Backstory: None. Trueno Rodante is an entirely original character I personally created for my reboot of BR 3.
Reboot Story: A proud wrestler from Mexico who also happens to be a natural-born zoanthrope, Domingo Reyes—better known by his in-ring persona, Trueno Rodante (“Rolling Thunder”)—used to long resent the fact that much of the world outside of the pro wrestling industry has always seemed to turn its nose up at the art and constantly refer to it as “fake fighting,” “homoerotic,” a sport for “rednecks” and other unsavory types, and so forth. Why such people fail to understand the athleticism that’s involved in it and how hard he and his fellow wrestlers—specifically his fellow luchadores—must train to become as talented practitioners of their craft as well as beloved characters for their fans to cherish for years upon years to come grated on his nerves like nobody else’s business. Sure, pro wrestling may not be a full-fledged sport or combat style of any kind, but those who engage in it are still expected to have some degree of athleticism, and not everyone who aspires to become a professional wrestler manages to become one. That, and pro wrestling is every bit a legitimate form of entertainment as stage play, teledrama, cinema, video games, and any other form of fictional entertainment one can name, even if its popularity has waxed and waned with the times. Really, now, if it was just a venue for perverts or other such deviants, why would so many children come to look up to so many wrestlers as role models of some sort over the years, and why would parents have bothered taking their children to see their favorite pro wrestling superstars battle against their nemeses time and again and buy their merchandise? All this in mind, nothing would’ve made Domingo happier than to prove to naysayers the planet over how wrong they were to disparage an art that he loved as a kid and an industry that he’d trained day in, day out to become a legend in.
Then came the evening of his in-ring debut for the largest lucha libre promotion in all of Mexico. It was the company’s biggest show of the season, and tens of thousands of fans were in attendance while millions more who’d ordered the event on pay-per-view were watching from the comfort of their homes him in the second match of the night taking on a fellow newcomer on the roster named Latigazo (“Whiplash”). Funny thing, too, was how the hombre apparently couldn’t resist succumbing to his own machismo, judging from the liberties he was taking with their match and all the stiff shots he snuck in on him that the referee all too readily allowed. Domingo could even see the smug meathead smirk beneath his brown leather mask and chuckle after having dealt him several hard blows, which made his blood pressure rise at the very notion of the pompous jackanape’s toying with him the way he was against what the bookers had scripted in their match. He tried his damnedest to keep his cool, too, knowing all too well the interracial turmoil between his kind and regular humans and thus the dangers of him beastorizing in the middle of what was supposed to be a worked fight. Sadly, his adrenaline had gotten the better of him in the end, and one smack too many from good ol’ Latigazo led to Domingo beastorizing before the audience’s eyes. His presently brown, fur-covered hide flashed a sinister yellow hue as he stared down his terror-stricken opponent, and the next thing he knew, he thrashed the poor slob wildly with his claws before finally snagging him, leaping high into the air with his body, somersaulting several times over, and crashing down upon the canvas with a sit-out powerbomb that led to Latigazo landing square on the back of his head, snapping his neck and killing him on impact. Once he returned to his human form and had shaken his mind clear, he stood there staring at the bloodied, battered corpse of the man who’d been tormenting him only seconds earlier, then at his own sanguine hands and did the only thing that he could think about doing right then and there: flee the premises. Before he could so much as reach the stadium parking lot, however, he suffered a sharp prick in his neck that felt as though someone had struck him with a dart and a terrible headache only seconds later that dulled his sight and made his surroundings appear as little more than a blur, and before he knew it, he found himself passing out on the cold, hard pavement, unable to wake up.
That night has already been quite some time ago, however, and all that Trueno Rodante knows now is that the streets have since become riddled with people who want him dead for killing Latigazo, not caring in the slightest that he acted out of self-defense and only wanted to slap the fool right back and put him back in his place. Alas, all these new assailants of his want is to return the favor by beastorizing themselves and tearing him limb from limb for doing what they, too, would surely have done if they were only in his boots at that moment. In that case, then, so be it! He’ll gladly shred them before they do him, in that case. Heck, he’ll even take pieces of them as little trophies for causing him such grief—all the more to prove to the world that nobody messes with Trueno Rodante and gets away with it scot-free.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Mitsuko.
Reiji Takigawa Home Country: Japan Age: 18 Fighting Style: Kyokushin Karate (otherwise listed as Ninjitsu) Beast Form: Crow
Original Backstory: Reiji didn’t debut until Bloody Roar 4, but I’ll mention here for posterity’s sake that he hails from a four-clan collective community of fighting monks known as the Yatagarasu, who make their homes within the mountains of Japan and who make a ceremony out of passing the power of beastorization down from one generation to the next. This beasorization process remains sealed, however, until the predecessor judges the inheritor to be an adult. Alas, the Tabula’s unearthing has led to Reiji’s seal breaking prematurely before his coming-of-age ceremony, fueling the destructive tendencies he’s harbored deep down inside of himself with great power, which he has just used to kill his father. Having now fled the Yatagarasu’s temple, Reiji is now on the run from his people, seeking along the way strong zoanthropes against whom he can test his strength and whose fatal defeats give him a sadistic sense of pleasure.
Reboot Story: No major changes, save for eliminating the unearthing of the Tabula as being the cause of Reiji snapping and killing his dad and exchanging it for him simply succumbing to the psychological effects of his strand of the XGC. That, and I’d rewrite him in my BR 3 reboot in such a way that he ends up joining the Sicyonian Society for the sake of finding strong zoanthropes to fight and kill only to become prey himself for his own fellow Sicyonians by being a “Coded” zoanthrope of noticeable import and having to fight his way out of the mess he’d foolishly flew into shortly after fleeing the Yatagarasu. Furthermore, as I’d said earlier in my entry for Hans, he and the former Tylon assassin would cross paths with one another and begin a rivalry that would carry on for two to three games straight with Hans trying to convince Reiji to dispose of his violent urges before they completely take him over and make him even more of a monster—and more of a pawn for Tylon—than he’s already become. This would especially be true if Reiji’s strand of the XGC played a role in his savage tendencies, seeing as the Code has (at least according to me) psychological side effects as well as physical ones. By establishing this rivalry, I hope to not only offer Hans some character growth that would help prolong his longevity within the BR franchise, but also further flesh out Reiji as a character and give him some depth beyond just being a brash, rude, hot-blooded killing machine who lives solely to take his penchant for murder and mayhem out on the people (i.e., fellow zoanthropes) he meets along the sanguine path he’s carving for himself. After all, having more villains within the Bloody Roar series is nice and especially welcome in the wake of the franchise having as many protagonists as it does, but trust me when I say that the more each of BR’s villains—or, for that matter, each of the villains in any series—is diversified from the rest of the pack, the more interesting and memorable he or she is.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Hans.
Dr. Hajime Busuzima Home Country: Japan Age: 36 Fighting Style: Zuì Quán, a.k.a. Drunken Boxing (“Deception”) Beast Form: Chameleon
Original Backstory: Having escaped capture by the authorities for his role in creating the ZLF, Busuzima has been continuing his Ultimate Life Object project for the past year but with little to no success. He is hence left in despair until news about the X-Genome Code becomes public, and from what he learns, he surmises that the Code just might carry the power he’s been looking for. He therefore sets out to discover the true power of the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts and become his own hero.
Reboot Story: Busuzima had created the Zoanthrope Liberation Front to intensify the friction between humans and zoanthropes for the sake of Tylon’s masterplan in exchange for the chance to continue working on his “Ultimate Life Object” project, only to have the protagonists of BR 2 bring the ZLF crashing down upon itself. This ergo leaves him without a lab within which to further conduct his experiments—not that it would matter, of course, seeing as the authorities additionally manage to arrest him and several of the Front’s top operatives for their crimes against both mundane humanity and their own fellow zoanthropes. This latter half of the situation would also explain why Gláucia, Nikolai, and Ethwasa won’t be returning for this third part of my Bloody Roar reboot. At any rate, Busuzima’s up the creek without a paddle for the next year as far as his research is concerned…until, of course, he takes advantage of his beast form’s ability to turn invisible to escape prison—which is sadly ill-equipped for containing zoanthropes of his power level—only to eventually cross paths with a small cadre of beast hunters from the Sicyonian Society. Try though he might to fend off the combined prowess and weaponry of his adversaries, they nevertheless manage to subdue him and bring him before their Lodge Keeper, Dr. Grant Maxwell. Luckily for Busuzima, Maxwell recognizes him immediately and orders his beast hunters to let him go, then invites him to lend him a hand in his own research behind the scenes of the Society and their beast hunts in exchange for a chance to use the Society’s laboratory to conduct the research he needs to at last discover the secrets of immortality. After all, the reality behind Maxwell sending the Sicyonians after “Coded” zoanthropes is so that he can amass as much XGC-laced DNA as he can to create a zoanthrope supersoldier so powerful that its might would eclipse Uriko’s when she served as the prototype for Project Uranus. Who knows? Perhaps this new supersoldier would ultimately become the Ultimate Life Object that Busuzima has long been determined to create. Then again, should things go south for him and Maxwell, who’s to say that the latter wouldn’t swiftly desert the former and have him take the fall for the whole “Sicyonian Society” charade? After all, lest we forget, the Society is pretty much the pro-humanity, anti-zoanthrope equivalent of what the ZLF had been a year prior: a glorified veil for Tylon’s ultimate agenda. As such, Busuzima could very well learn the hard way about just how expendable he is to his employers in the long run and that in the end, it isn’t he who matters to them…only the fruits of his scientific labors.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Greg.
Asterion (a.k.a. Dr. Zacharias Vouvalis) Home Country: Greece Age: 35 Fighting Style: Pankration Beast Form: Iron Bull
Original Backstory: None. Asterion is an entirely originally character I personally created for my reboot of BR 3.
Reboot Story: A professor of ancient history and mythology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Dr. Zacharias Vouvalis has taken keen interest in the “Sign of the Beast” and has noted the similarities to each of the crests he’s seen on the human flesh of “Coded” zoanthropes to those that he’s read about in the texts from which he teaches and has seen on several artifacts that he’s uncovered during many an archaeological exploration. According to the legends he’s read, the crests are the brandings that Gaia herself has placed upon a new breed of sentient creature that she has elected to evolve and inherit the world from humanity. Having planted a special genetic code within select members of the human race, Gaia has bred these beings—whom the legends refer to as “Anthropoi Thirion” (“Beast People”)—to survive the apocalypse that humans themselves have unwittingly initiated through their centuries-long neglect and abuse of their environment, from polluting and wiping out the natural habitats of various plant and non-human animal species to mindlessly reaping numerous non-renewable resources from fuel minerals to precious metals and gemstones. The fact that humanity as a species has continued to grow more and more populous over the years with more advanced and oftentimes environmentally hazardous technology with which to accomplish the expansion of their civilizations has sadly only made matters direr. Henceforth, to punish the “weaker” and “more corrupt” half of humankind for its crimes against the earth and bestow the planet unto those whom she feels will take better care of it, Gaia has awakened zoanthropekind and over time has made them stronger and more capable of taking back the world in her name as well as more hostile against those who refuse to surrender Earth to them.
Though a skeptical man at heart with more faith in the tangible sciences of the world than in the myths that constitute a large portion of his very teachings, even Zacharias cannot overlook the coincidental parallels between these specific legends and the reality he and the rest of humanity face in the wake of the progressively violent rise of those called “zoanthropes.” The revelation of their existence alone may have been an eyeopener, but the discovery of the X-Genome Code and its effects upon its carriers’ minds and bodies has only escalated the situation. Therefore, guided by both his curiosity in the matter and his anxious hope for humanity’s survival against seemingly unfavorable odds, Zacharias has joined the Sicyonian Society to help quell zoanthropekinds’ violence against their baseline brethren and study the XGC and those who possess it to see how he and his fellow humans can better tame the zoanthrope threat.
How to Unlock: Beat Story Mode with Wanahton.
Dr. Grant Maxwell (a.k.a. Proteus Alpha, formerly Ryuzo Kato) Home Country: Scotland (In-Game Version: Japan) Age: 52 (In-Game Version: 71) Fighting Style: None (In-Game Version: Ninjitsu (Kato School)) Beast Form: None (In-Game Version: Amoeba)
Original Backstory: Not much of one. Essentially, Hudson Soft had given Dr. Maxwell little more character development than being Steven Goldberg’s mentor within Tylon prior to betraying him to Busuzima and allowing him to transform Steven into Stun.
Reboot Story: An accomplished pharmacist from Scotland even before the Tylon Corporation had recruited him into its fold, Dr. Grant Maxwell specialized in the manipulation of human DNA to mimic that of nonhuman animal species, thus making him a natural when it came to studying and manufacturing zoanthropes. His knowledge of DNA manipulation especially proved to be useful for Tylon when it came to creating zoanthrope soldiers who could transform into beasts that most other zoanthropes couldn’t, particularly invertebrates (e.g., insects and other arthropods) and compound creatures (e.g., Project Uranus). However, after Tylon’s public collapse roughly six years ago, the organization had to restructure its Pharmaceutical Research Division and place Maxwell in charge of one of its latest projects, the Sicyonian Society. It is by serving as the Society’s Lodge Keeper and assigning its hunters to track down and either capture or kill various “Coded” zoanthropes that Maxwell hopes to collect enough strands of the X-Genome Code with which to forge the conglomerate’s latest supersoldier, Uranus Gamma.
As far as his personality goes, Dr. Maxwell is a strict, hard-nosed man who has so thoroughly dedicated himself to science that he gives little to no thought of maintaining any kind of relationship outside of the one he has with the Tylon Corporation. To him, nothing matters but scientific progress and the outcome of whatever experiments he performs, either those that Tylon has assigned him to complete or those that he performs of his own free will. Such would explain why he betrayed his own apprentice Steven Goldberg leading into the latter man’s capture by Busuzima and subsequent metamorphosis into Stun. Likewise, his relationship with Busuzima would more likely than not be put up on the rocks once Maxwell leaves him high and dry with the blame for the Sicyonian Society’s activities while escaping capture himself with whatever XGC samples, experiment data, and so on he can get his hands on that would benefit Tylon’s post-“death” operation. As such, one would not be wrong to suggest that Grant Maxwell’s attitude and behavior have dehumanized him and made him transform into the personification of Tylon itself: an uncaring entity so obsessed with progress that the welfare of those whom it hurts is one of the last things on its mind. So numb is he in this regard, too, that he might very well neglect to understand that he is every bit as expendable to his employers as Busuzima is and that should he ever produce results from which the corporation cannot benefit, he as well will find himself destined to traverse a very cold, lonely, miserable road. On the other hand, it could be that Maxwell understands this principle all too well and secretly fears for his occupation and his life despite his usually stone-faced demeanor and is willing to preserve both at any cost—even that of whatever friendships he’s made with his fellow scientists along the way, which could just as easily lead him head-on towards a grim fate.
One last thing to note is that while the real Dr. Grant Maxwell is a natural-born human with no combat training whatsoever, the version whom players will confront directly in the game is an amoeba zoanthrope who’s well-versed in the Kato School of Ninjitsu. That’s because, as you’ve probably already guessed, this latter version is none other than the liquified remnants of Ryuzo Kato brought back to life—complete with further genetic alteration and a complete brainwash—to serve as Maxwell’s clone/bodyguard under the codename “Proteus Alpha.” Don’t be too surprised, either, to find more advanced models of this specific character in later installments of my Bloody Roar reboot, either, as he/it is key to me bringing certain other familiar elements back into the BR narrative, albeit in ways more conducive to the whole “Tylon = Illuminati” storyline I have in mind.
How to Unlock: Beat Stage 9 in Arcade Mode with any character without using continues. You need not defeat Uranus in Stage 10 afterwards to unlock Maxwell.
Uranus (a.k.a. Uranus Gamma, formerly Eva Rosenberg) Home Country: Sweden Age: 25 Fighting Style: Superpowered Hybrid Beast Form: Chimera
Original Backstory: Sparse at best. All that Hudson Soft’s writers themselves had ever given about Uranus is that she’s the third in a line of supersoldiers that Tylon had created via Project Uranus with the DNA and battle data they’d gathered from Uranus Alpha, which was the creature they’d made Uriko into during the events of Bloody Roar 1. Even today, the question remains as to whether Uranus was a direct clone of Uriko’s post-experimental DNA (just as Shenlong is a direct clone of Long), an ordinary human whom Tylon had enrolled as a test subject into Project Uranus post-Uriko, or even a version of Uriko from the future. There were also rumors that came out shortly after the release of the original BR 3 that she was the older sister Xion had murdered at the beginning of his story—the sibling whose heart was attached to the “trivial world” and who, according to Long’s playthrough in BR 3’s Arcade Mode, returned as the evil spirit responsible for controlling Xion’s actions in the name of the Unborn. These rumors, however, proved to be based on incorrect information, seeing as the very beginning of Xion’s Arcade Mode playthrough distinctly shows him standing over the corpse of a zoanthrope with a brown hide whom he specifically refers to as “Sister.” On a similarly interesting note, this same zoanthrope bore an oddly similar (though not identical) resemblance to Mitsuko’s beast form, which also led plenty of BR fans to assume that Xion had killed Mitsuko at the beginning of BR 3 as well.
Reboot Story: Even though the rumors behind Uranus and Xion being siblings turned out to be false, I still find the idea to be food for thought, considering that both characters were at least apparently Caucasian; had unusually colored, almost metallic-looking hair; made their series debut in BR 3; had beast forms that were supposed to be more fantastic in comparison to those of the other fighters; and had Beast Drives whose names bore either a noticeably doom-and-gloom (i.e., “1B8 ‘Apocalypse’” and “Outbreak”) or a strictly Biblical flare (i.e., “1B5 ‘Baptism’” and “Ascension to Heaven”) to them. That being said, my reboot would feature the duo as siblings with Eva, the older sister, managing to escape persecution from beast hunters alongside her younger brother Johan and falling into the custody of Dr. Maxwell. From there, both siblings undergo experimentation at the hands of Maxwell and his fellow Tylon scientists to become Xion and Uranus Gamma, respectively. However, while Maxwell has cleared Xion for activation as a zoanthropic beast hunter for the Sicyonian Society, he’s kept Eva catatonic for a spell while the Society’s hunters gather enough XGC from their prey to fuel her system. It is only when the hunters finally collect enough Code-laced DNA for Uranus Gamma to be fully functional by Maxwell’s standards that he allows her to act, and even then, her actions are limited to a number of test runs against captured zoanthropes to determine the efficacy of the strands of XGC flowing through her veins and the superpowers that those strands have given her. Additionally, as was the case with Uriko six years ago, Maxwell has completely brainwashed Eva—all the better for her to remain at his mercy until Johan comes back to his senses and finds out for himself the hard way what his and his sister’s master have truly done.
How to Unlock: Reach Stage 10 in Arcade Mode without using continues and beat Uranus. You only have one chance to defeat her, else you’ll have to start all over again.
This hereby concludes my reboot of Bloody Roar 3. Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave feedback on what you’ve just read. Also, be sure to check out my author pages at Smashwords.com, Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk, and feel free to subscribe to this blog, if you haven’t done so already. Be sure to come on back in the not-too-distant future, too, for my fourth installment in my revised Bloody Roar reboot and for whatever other content I’ll have in store, and until we meet again, thank you for your support.
Dustin M. Weber
Bloody Roar (c) 1997-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./2022 Konami Digital Entertainment. The above article, however, is the author’s own.