Bloody Roar 3 for the PS2
How’s it going, readers?
In keeping up with my Bloody Roar reboot as posted July 23 and December 12 this past year, I find it only prudent to post this third in the miniseries article (interestingly enough, too, on what we Americans know as Groundhog Day) to describe how I’d reboot the story of the third installment of the BR video game series, Bloody Roar 3. Released in 2001 during the franchise’s peak, BR 3 is the game that many fans consider to be the best in the series overall. However, it is also the game where some of the most damaging elements of the series’ overall story came into play—namely, anything and everything that had a supernatural flavor to it (the “Unborn” and the “Spurious,” the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts, the Stone Seal, etc.). The game was also the first to exhibit traits about the franchise as a whole that I at least personally found to be nothing short of irritating and counterproductive, such as Hudson Soft lazily copying and pasting the roster from the previous game into the next (i.e., BR 2 to BR 3 and BR 3 to BR Extreme/Primal Fury and BR 4) with little attention paid to how each character, new or preexisting, fit in with the rest of the given game’s plot. The latter aspect of this particular trend especially held true in regards to the instances where once-prominent characters within the game’s storyline (e.g., Alice and Busuzima) began to take on less and less prominent roles within the plots of later games in the series while newer additions to the cast—most notably Xion, Ryoho and Mana, and Nagi—became more or less central to those very plots. The purpose of this particular part of the reboot, therefore, will dedicate itself to two trends that will remain active throughout the course of the miniseries from here on out. The first trend will be the reconstitution of the preexisting supernatural elements found throughout the course of the BR games so that they fit more acutely within the light science fiction theme that had been previously established in the first two Bloody Roar titles. The second trend will be a more gradual introduction of each new character into the plot so as to keep them relevant within each story within which they belong without making them overshadow those characters who’d come before them, lest doing so is an absolute necessity. Without further ado, then, on with the reconstruction of Bloody Roar 3!
The XGC, Beast Crests, and the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts
So…how did the Bloody Roar 3 story all begin originally?
The original story for Bloody Roar 3 was a relatively simple one and not too much of a diversion from the plot that was established from the first two BR titles…at least at first notice. True, it only made a passing joint reference to both the Tylon Corporation and the Zoanthrope Liberation Front and to the events surrounding each of these nefarious organizations up until their respective downfalls, but it still picked up where BR 2 had left off, more or less, and presented itself well enough to help newcomers to the series understand the plot without requiring too much backstory from the previous two games. To summarize, the whole premise was that after a full year since the fall of the ZLF, the non-profit organization (or “non-government” organization, as it was called in the game) called the World of Coexistence came into power as a coalition whose members, human and zoanthrope alike, pledged to help establish stronger, more peaceful connections between baseline humans and their more genetically blessed/enhanced brethren. Unfortunately, while the WOC has been successful in its initial dealings thus far, concern has soon spread far and wide about the manifestation of what is known as the X-Genome Code—concern that soon escalates into sheer panic as those zoanthropes known to be carriers of the XGC begin dying left and right, regardless of whatever abilities they may have received individually from the Code prior to their respective demises. Sadly, the game never provided a deep explanation on what the XGC really was, although I strongly believe that had Hudson Soft taken the same approach they had with BR 3’s story and implemented a Story Mode that functioned at least similarly—if not, in fact, identically—to the one they’d included in Bloody Roar 2, then hopefully, such wouldn’t have been the case. Unfortunately, they made no such gesture, and many fans—those who cared about the story of BR, leastways, and found themselves caring that much more about each game in the series on account of it—were left to wonder as to just what the Code was. I can’t say I blame any of them, though, for the way that Hudson Soft’s writers portrayed the XGC made it sound almost as if it were a virus that zoanthropes had found themselves the recipients of at random, particularly in the instance of the game’s main characters, most of whom contracted the Code for the sake of plot convenience. In contrast, the very name of the X-Genome Code implied that it was simply a matter of genetic evolution amongst zoanthropekind that some zoanthropes were able to adapt to and make the most of while others weren’t as fortunate. This was the very plot gap that Zeromaster of the River City Gamers had pointed out in his review of BR 3 (See between 1:32 and 5:05 in particular, especially 4:12 to 4:23).
Uriko’s Crest from Bloody Roar 3
In addition to the X-Genome Code was the notion of each XGC-carrying zoanthrope bearing a Crest (otherwise known to some as a “Mark of the Beast”) on his or her body—a mystic “tattoo” of sorts that roughly resembles the animal into which the wearer can transform and, when activated, provided his or her recipient with power that exceeded his or her natural limits. Often enough, however, unlocking the power within his or her Crest would result in the subject’s death, which naturally—as explained earlier—strikes fear and suspicion into the entire world’s zoanthropic populace. Unfortunately, even the Crest issue wasn’t presented as thoroughly or even as consistently as it could have been, considering that these Crests were never shown on their recipients’ bodies within the game, save for in Busuzima’s case…much to the chagrin of River City Gamer SCXCR, as one can see in his own review of Bloody Roar 3 between 8:33 and 9:38. Apparently, each zoanthrope’s Crest only appears on his or her body when he or she is in beast form, which—as just noted with Busuzima—is inaccurate, considering how Naochika “Caramel Mama” Morishita clearly illustrated Busuzima in the game as bearing his Crest while in human form square on his…*ahem*…“southern hemisphere,” of all places. Furthermore, while actually playing the game, one will notice for oneself that no, being identified as a bearer of a Crest doesn’t automatically make a given zoanthrope stronger than an opponent who either doesn’t or is not known to have a Crest, which further illustrates the lack of consistency in presenting these marks as plot devices within the story. Then again, so does the on-screen appearance of a Crest for certain characters of this latter category when, again, they aren’t supposed to have one, which only further points out the errors of Hudson Soft’s writing for this game. Yes, I completely understand that BR 3 focused more on its action than on its story, but in my eyes, at least, it seems as though the game’s creative team simply threw said story together without bothering themselves to work out all the miscellaneous odds and ends for the sake of coherence.
The Tabula of a Thousand Beasts
Finally, there’s the matter of the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts, which I’d briefly mentioned in my second installment of this miniseries, but I’ll happily talk about here again, seeing as Bloody Roar 3 was the game where it’d made its debut. To sum things up, the Tabula is, according to the original BR 3, an ancient stone disc that can bestow absolute power to any zoanthrope who chances to bear a Crest and be able to contain its power within his or her own body. Having been sealed away for Heaven knows how long in order to prevent all hell from breaking loose upon it dispersing all its power into its chosen host, the Tabula is also considered to be a prison for the Unborn—an entire race of creatures that, according to theory, either became extinct from Earth as we know it or never had a chance to exist at all and have since merged together into shapeless beings who are in and of themselves everything and nothing all at once. Upon their becoming creatures of pure chaos that exist outside the material realm as we know it, their mission has become simple: to break free from limbo and reconstruct our world in their image, wiping out such recognizable abstracts as love and hate, right and wrong, war and peace, and so forth as well as the laws that govern them in the process of amalgamating everything into one seamless mass of sundered absolutes and consequential nothingness. They have an operative, too, in Xion—the character from the BR saga who made his official debut in this game as well—upon whom they’ve bestowed the supernatural power to transform into a demonic insectoid creature that vaguely resembles a cross between a cockroach and a praying mantis and takes advantage of the blades on its back, wrists, and heels with a rather unique fighting style that is comprised of many a sweeping motion of Xion’s arms and legs. At his core, though, Xion isn’t so much a true villain, as one can determine from each of his endings in all three of the Bloody Roar games he’s in (BR 3, BR Extreme/Primal Fury, and BR 4), but rather a tortured soul who wishes to know about the origins of his powers and his dangerously dual nature while trying desperately to keep his “Jekyll & Hyde complex” under control. Nonetheless, he makes for a solid antagonist in the BR series, even though critics might be quick to dismiss him as being “emo” on account of his chaotic and wildly shifting emotions. Also, even though his origins are strongly supernatural in the original BR 3, by no means will it be impossible to incorporate him into my reboot of the entire Bloody Roar franchise.
Making Sense of It All in My Version of Bloody Roar 3
Long Standing over the unconscious body of his XGC-carrying sister figure Lanfa in his BR 3 story
Okay…now it’s time to reintroducing all of the elements I’ve just now talked about into my own version of Bloody Roar 3. For starters, I’d make the X-Genome Code out to be just as its name implies: another stepping stone along the path of biological evolution that allows zoanthropes to further tap into their bestial natures and become stronger, faster, more durable, and so forth than they otherwise would become upon beastorizing regularly. The code would be activated, too, when the brain is stimulated by the host’s adrenaline in such a way so as to produce even more “Factor B” than usual (as referenced in the first part of this reboot) to interact with a portion of its host’s DNA that would otherwise remain untouched during the regular beastorization process. However, true to the Code’s clandestine nature, its stimulation—while intentionally beneficial to those zoanthropes who possess it—can also kill them on account of its numerous side effects, which include (though are not 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, and schizophrenia. This last element would particularly help to characterize Long’s difficulties in coming to terms with his own beast powers by making a reference back to when he’d inadvertently killed his mother and his sister Lin Li prior to the main story of the first BR. Yes, I’m well aware that on July 23, when I’d posted my first installment of this miniseries, I’d made the reference that I wasn’t so sure what it was that had killed these two women. However, after actually researching the mater and taking a closer look at it, I discovered that it was pretty well documented that it was indeed Long who’d caused those two deaths, which he obviously feels much remorse for, considering his brooding nature in the first couple of games in the series. On that note, then, it’d be quite easy to associate his two losses with him being an XGC carrier, even with the two occurrences taking place well before the XGC was as hot a topic as it is in the story of BR 3, seeing as he could have found himself giving in to the Code’s influence back when he was younger and hence killing his two family members during a haphazard beastorization of his. This arc would further add to his motivation to quest for a cure for his new mentor’s daughter Lanfa, who falls ill to complications from her own strand of the Code and reminds him enough of his own sister to make him seek further redemption for the loss of Lin Li by means of said quest.
Because only a sicko would WANT to see Busuzima’s “butt Crest.”
Secondly, rather than have each XGC-bearing zoanthrope receive his or her Crest via the supernatural powers of the Tabula—which, for the record, I would only imply for the sake of adding a sense of mystery to the whole story—I originally planned for it to be so that each Crest would be bestowed upon its bearer as the result of being “branded” by rays emitted from spy satellites that had been created and deployed by zoanthrope-fearing governments during the upheaval that had taken place back in the days of Bloody Roar 2. However, a reader of mine named Dan Kayur was kind enough to leave me some feedback on my original draft of this article and remarked that this initial idea of mine came off as being very forced. Though it’s been a good three years plus since I’d originally posted this article, I did take a moment to look over what I’d written here in the first place, and after reading about my explanation for the Crests, I can see just what he was talking about. As such, I’ve recently decided instead to have the Crests just be a side effect of the XGC—a series of lesions that appear upon the subject’s skin when he or she is in human form (as to remain consistent with the example provided in the original BR 3 with Busizima, as you can see above) and vaguely represent the animal into which the subject can transform. Moreover, these lesions bear a striking resemblance to the engravings that the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts bares, thus convincing certain zoanthropes and baseline humans alike of its legend and urging them to get their hands on it in order to discover the truth, as is the case with Xion. Furthermore, even in the instance in which a zoanthrope’s Crest remains on the subject’s skin after he or she has beastorized, the Crest remains faint and mostly unrecognizable until the bearer’s “Factor B” triggers his or her strand of the Code, which in turn sets the Crest aglow (as well as the rest of the subject’s body, as demonstrated in the game itself) and thus enables the host to utilize the Code’s powers however he or she can within the present situation…albeit for a short period of time.
Stun finds out the truth of the Tabula…the HARD way…
Finally, there’s the nature of the Tabula, which, as per my reboot of Bloody Roar 2 and my proposed sub-sequel, Bloody Roar Beast Corps, is actually a substance-draining device that is only based on an ancient artifact and is presently in the hands of the main villains of my version of BR 3. The way it works is simple: The arch-villain mobilizes a cabal of assassins (Xion being one of them, naturally) to hunt down and slay innocent zoanthropes who have been marked with a Crest and collect blood samples from their victims, which they promptly return to their master with and use to fuel the Tabula. The Tabula then reads the XGC-laced DNA of said blood samples, which in turn is distributed into the body of its intended recipient: a potential zoanthropic superweapon a la Uranus. This is more or less how I’d had the Tabula work in BRBC, although I’m loathe to explain who would be the recipient of that version of the Tabula’s harnessed power, for fear of giving away a spoiler to that game’s plot and, in a sense, insulting the intelligence of anyone who’s read the second part of this reboot and can probably guess who that might be.
The Who’s Who in My Version of Bloody Roar 3
Now we move on to whom I’d include in my reboot of Bloody Roar 3. This section should be pretty self-explanatory, seeing as I’ve divided it into two smaller sections, one for those characters who originally participated in the original BR 3 and those whom I’ll be adding to this one. Did your favorite zoanthrope make the final cut? Read on to find out!
Yugo Ogami: From professional boxer to the leader of the World of Coexistence
Just like in the original Bloody Roar 3, Yugo has become the leader of the World of Coexistence and is currently in charge of the investigation of the X-Genome Code. Being a carrier of the Code himself only increases the urgency of his investigation for fear that if the XGC “outbreak” gets any worse than it already has, then not only would it cost his own life, but the lives of those he cares about as well. In short, his story stays true to its original form.
What awaits Alice in this reboot of Bloody Roar 3?
Similarly speaking, Alice is continuing her duties at the hospital as a nurse, a job at which she has been working especially long hours at on account of so many XGC-carrying patients being admitted for the symptoms of their complications. One particular patient, however, catches her attention out of all of them: Greg Humain, who has been working overseas in Japan during his own investigation of the XGC crisis. With his symptoms being especially serious, Alice feels herself conflicted between her duties at the hospital and her sudden sense of responsibility towards Yugo and the rest of the WOC in their investigation of the Code’s presence. In the end, she finally makes the decision to join Yugo and company in their search, hoping that she and the others will sure enough discover enough clues that will lead to a correction in what has so far proven to be a particularly lethal stepping stone along the trail of genetic evolution. In short, this story of Alice’s is similar—though admittedly not identical—to the one she had in the original BR 3, although for the sake of making her a more integral part of the storyline of my reboot of Bloody Roar 4, I also plan on introducing Nagi Kirishima from that game into the BR 3 plot as well. To put it simply, Nagi would be a human member of the WOC who happens to be an old family friend of Yugo’s and who, sadly, runs into Xion during the course of the story and ends up becoming one of his victims during his rampage. Additionally, though Alice is chiefly interested in looking into the XGC matter, she can’t help at first but feel suspicious about Nagi as a potential object of Yugo’s affection. However, following Nagi’s fateful run-in with Xion, Alice learns to put her anxieties behind her, focus fully on the matter at hand, and as a result of that, doing her part in putting the villains in their place and an end to the XGC matter. Yes, I know that this is shamefully shoehorning in the whole Yugo-Alice relationship angle and makes Alice more or less come off like Mashiro from Maruyama Tomowo’s obscure two-book BR manga, Bloody Roar: The Fang, but trust me when I say that this whole notion of my doing this is more or less a necessary evil in terms of maintaining Alice’s status as a key player in the BR plot by giving her some character development from which she can benefit in the long run. Also, it would help to explain her rather…ahem…less-than-demure choice of outfit from the original BR 3, the likes of which she had never been known to wear prior to that game, save for maybe her secret schoolgirl outfit from the first BR (as shown here in this YouTube video by animevideogamesfan37).
Gado wants answers to the XGC problem, and he wants them NOW!!
Meanwhile, Gado is France’s United Nations commissioner who has built up quite a reputation for himself as an advocate for peaceful relations between zoanthropes and baseline humans. However, even he has been at a loss for answers regarding the XGC threat—that is, of course, until he finds out that he himself is also a carrier of the X-Genome Code. Naturally fearful of what might happen if the XGC matter remains unresolved, yet knowing all too well of his own mortality, he vows to become the first to challenge the fate of zoanthropekind by investigating the matter himself. Needless to say, then, his story remains identical to that which Hudson Soft had given him in the original game.
Long’s also ready to take a stand against the forces of evil responsible for the XGC crisis.
As for Long, I’ve already made a brief reference to his story earlier in this article, but for the sake of recapping, Long’s story is identical to that which he’d received in the original game, too, save for whatever edits I’d mentioned. Basically, he becomes a wandering scholar following the events of Bloody Roar 2 until he crosses paths with an older martial arts master and stays with him as a live-in student for some time until the old man’s daughter Lanfa falls prey to complications from her own strand of the X-Genome Code, thus spurring Long on his own quest for answers, as discussed earlier.
Kenji “Bakuryu” Ogami: Once again adopting a mantle from his past to see to a brighter future for zoanthropekind
Much like with Alice, Kenji’s story will be a little different than what it originally was—not so much in terms of him helping Yugo in his investigation of the XGC concern as a means of paying him back for taking him in and letting him learn to experience the security of a conventional life, but more so in terms of him learning about and discovering a certain thread from his past, which he’d much rather forget about. You see, while doing his part in the WOC’s search for answers, Kenji notices that the corpses of several recently deceased XGC-carrying zoanthropes seem as though the victims had been murdered rather than had died on account of any particular medical complication. In fact, a good portion of them bear slashes and gashes along their bodies that look all too familiar to him—almost as if they’d been killed outright by a fellow mole zoanthrope. As he rearranges the facts of certain XGC cases inside his head, he wonders if he is somehow the killer, seeing as he, too, has been marked with a Crest and seeing as how so many cases concerning “Coded” zoanthropes involve the subject suffering from bouts of amnesia and other mental disorders. Feeling a need to come to terms with his past in his quest to find out that which he needs to know (regardless of whether or not he particularly wants to find them out) for the sake of the safety and prosperity of everyone for whom he cares, Kenji adopts his former alter ego, Bakuryu, and set out on his own, hoping to uncover the truth one way or another.
For those of you who HATED Uriko acting this childish on BR 3, fear not; she’ll do nothing of the sort in this retelling of the story.
Uriko will also experience an upgrade to her story within my reboot, as there have been complaints about whether she mentally ages in reverse throughout the course of the entire series’ core plot based on how increasingly childish she’s been noted to become following the events of Bloody Roar 2. As mentioned in my first entry in this miniseries, I’d seen to it that Uriko’s father had been a pharmacist prior to his abduction by Tylon at the very beginning of my reboot. Unfortunately, unlike her, he’d never been rescued from the corporation’s clutches. As such, she has learned to live without him, although she can never stop herself from wondering exactly where he is and how he’s faring—assuming, of course, that he’s still alive to begin with. After all, if not for Long having taught her how to fight and joining her in her quest to rescue her mother from the ZLF a mere year earlier, she would technically have been left without a family, save for Alice. As such, Uriko finds herself one day leafing through some old research notes that her father had once made long ago, and oddly enough, they just happen to be about the X-Genome Code. Sure enough, she starts to wonder to herself as to whether or not the notes she’s reading could hold the key to unraveling the XGC mystery, so she sets off to share her findings with Alice, Yugo, and the others in hopes of helping them in their own search for answers.
Jane “Shina” Gado: Contemplating her fate and the collective fate of all other Code-carrying zoanthropes before heading off to battle once more
Next comes Shina, who continues with her career as a mercenary by accepting an invitation to join the “Eye and Claw”/”Klaw and Fang” coalition, whose members have been brought together by the Staff Headquarters of a powerful nation (which, at least to my knowledge, has never been divulged) to locate the source of the XGC “outbreak.” Seeing as she herself has been marked with a Crest, she’s not the slightest bit hesitant, either, in setting out to find such answers. In other words, her story here starts off identically in comparison to how it did in the original BR 3.
Busuzima carries on in his quest for the truth behind the “Ultimate Life Object” while Stun fights for his own survival.
In the same boat as Shina is Busuzima, whose research in finding/creating the “Ultimate Life Object” has come to a standstill…until, of course, he, too, comes to discover the nature of the X-Genome Code. Wondering as to how he can unlock its power to produce the results he desires, he sets off on his own mission.
Of course, with Busuzima out on the prowl in the name of science, we also have Stun getting into the mix as well, hoping in vain to put an end to the process that is deteriorating his mutated form once and for all. After all, life as a blood-sucking vigilante hasn’t been as kind to him as he would have otherwise liked, what with the sharp drop in his home city’s crime rate and whatnot. Not only that, but as he’s also discovered, he’s yet another carrier of the X-Genome Code, which—though it bestows him with even greater strength than before—nonetheless wreaks havoc with his already unstable form on account of the amount of power that now flows through him. In fact, there have been moments when the sharp pains he feels on account of the Code’s power have driven him out of control mentally, oftentimes sending him into a comatose state. Not wanting to devolve any further into a monster than he already has, the former Dr. Steven Goldberg thus sets off on a mission to find a cure for his ailing form.
Jenny Burtory: Contemplating how she would benefit from attaining the Tabula’s power and if she could survive having so much XGC in her body once she does
Jenny is the next Bloody Roar 3 cast member to have her story examined. Originally, her whole deal was that according to her, no zoanthrope other than her and the man responsible for the XGC matter should bear the “Sign of the Beast,” for in the end, only one person can have the power of the Tabula. In other words, she wanted the Tabula’s power all to herself and really couldn’t have cared two cents about all the panic concerning the Code and its victims. Sadly, I felt that this story was so poorly narrated in that it never gave fans (or, at the very least, me) any indication of why she would want to be the sole carrier of the X-Genome Code, save for an apparent lust for its power—especially considering the fact that surely, being a well-informed spy and all, she’d know just how lethal the Code can be to those who carry it. Therefore, I would expand her story in such a way as to incorporate her alleged immortality into the mix, suggesting that she would find it quite interesting to see how the apparent experiments that had resulted in her existence (See Jenny’s section of my second installment of this miniseries for more information on that story arc.) would handle her absorbing a large quantity of genetic material that has proven to be lethal in other zoanthropes. Would she be blessed with the powers that one might expect from so much XGC and in effect become the equivalent of fellow BR alumnus Uranus, or would her long and frustratingly boring life suddenly come to an end on account of even her body not being a strong enough vessel for so much genetically encoded power? There’s only one way to find out, as far as she’d be concerned…although to be fair to the original plot, I’d leave in the whole aspect of her being hired by outside forces (i.e., “Sinclair” from her original ending) to retrieve the tabula for them to research.
Shenlong, back from the dead and prepared for yet another bloodbath…albeit at the request of those who’d brought him back to life. What a drag…
Additionally, though he’d presumably taken his own life at the end of Bloody Roar 2, Shenlong is, believe it or not, back to dish out some more damage in this story. Having been reproduced within a secret laboratory by the true villain behind the XGC scare, Shenlong has absolutely no memory of the events from BR 2. In fact, as far as he’s concerned, the ZLF is naught but hearsay, and he’s never even met his original creator, Dr. Hajime Busuzima, much less hold any particular grudge against him for using him as a puppet to distract the heroes of BR 2 from his experiments. Then again, neither has he met Long, the very man from whom he was cloned. All he really knows is the present, meaning the fact that he’s now been recruited to retrieve the XGC-laced blood of several zoanthrope targets to fuel his new creator’s own experiment. No longer the rebellious loner with a mean streak that he was in the original BR 3, Shenlong—while yet again a pawn in another man’s game—nonetheless retains not only the cruel pride that had made him such a beloved villain in BR 2, but also a copy of the strand of XGC that flows through Long’s veins, which only further adds to his whole preoccupation with the current moment and dismissal of the future, as was the case in the original BR 3. Only time will tell, however, when he has finally had enough of being pushed around by his current employer and strikes back, thus leading to him heading down his own path.
So…who IS Xion, anyway?
Xion is up next, and while I have made reference to him earlier in this article, it’ll be here where I fully disclose his backstory as I would rewrite it. To put it simply, the whole matter of him being a vessel for a formless, “Legion”-esque supernatural creature would be exchanged for a more science fiction-based origin. To be more specific, Xion will be yet another Tylon test subject whose body has been used in an experiment known as “Project Unborn,” where the corporation’s scientists have been trying to more or less create the ultimate genetic weapon. Xion in particular has been the recipient of experiments similar in nature to those that Busuzima had once conducted on his former colleague Steven Goldberg. The difference between the two ordeals, though, concerns the manipulation of each subject’s DNA, which was what resulted in Dr. Goldberg’s mutation into Stun. Thankfully for Xion, then, his DNA had only been slightly tampered with prior to having his brain stimulated to produce “Factor B,” thus enabling him to transform into the part-mantis, part-cockroach creature better known by Bloody Roar fans as the Unborn. The brainwashing procedure he undergoes as part of his artificial evolution is relatively unique, too, in that it isn’t simple hypnosis where he is constantly under his manipulators’ control, albeit for a short period of time; rather, he has lapses where sometimes he’s fully in control of what he’s doing and other times he’s little more than a puppet of whoever’s pulling his strings. This helps to explain his Jekyll/Hyde nature, which is in many respects akin to the traditional mental pattern that most people have come to associate with werebeasts, specifically the werebeasts that were under the control of Hashiba in Bloody Roar: The Fang. In fact, I can even take this portion of Xion’s story one step further by making his unique brain patterns a byproduct of both Tylon’s brainwashing and the pre-experimental depression he experiences after his sister—a canine zoanthrope, according to TVWiki.tv—dies on account of her own complications from the XGC in her DNA. Yes, this would rule out Xion’s original desire to start the world over for the Unborn’s sake and completely dismiss the theory that Uranus is his alleged sister. However, as mentioned before, my proposed reboot would wipe out the original concept for the Unborn anyway, and as anyone who has played as Xion in the official BR 3 would notice in Arcade mode, his sister is already lying on the ground at his feet in the very first panel of his adventure, making the sibling connection between Xion and Uranus impossible.
Kohryu vs. Uranus: Find out who belongs more in this reboot of BR 3 and why.
Finally, we have Kohryu, whose backstory remains the same as it was presented in the original Bloody Roar 3 (i.e., a product of Yun Chi Manufacturing, Inc. which was once part of Tylon and is still active even after Tylon’s demise), only this time he’ll be more than just an Easter egg character. Rather, he has a full-fledged role in this reboot—namely, that of one of the assassins currently involved in collecting XGC-laced DNA for the Tabula. Needless to say, he’s the one whose claw marks Kenji notices on many of the XGC victims’ corpses he comes across, and it will be he whom Kenji, as Bakuryu, needs to defeat in order to clear his name. Will the feud between the current Bakuryu and the mechanized “ghost” of his grandfather figure, the original Bakuryu Kato Ryuzo, carry on beyond this installment of my rebooted BR series? I’m afraid you’ll all have to wait and see, unfortunately.
Sorry, Uranus. Better luck next time…but hey, don’t worry; there’s always Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury.
Now, for those of you who are wondering where Uranus is in this reboot…well…I’ll put it to you like this: She’s absent here and won’t be inserted into the Bloody Roar story until my reboot of BR Extreme/Primal Fury. It is my belief that she’ll fit in more accurately with BR E/PF’s plot, what with the whole notion of secret experiments taking place behind the scenes of the Kingdom of Zoanthropes and the whole fighting tournament they’re hosting. It will be in this later installment that she will serve as the ultimate weapon of the KoZ as well as a key element in identifying the party responsible for founding the Kingdom in the first place, which should come as no surprise to folks who are up on their BR history. Besides, I don’t want to thicken the overall plot too much in this chapter of the BR saga and leave other installments of this reboot completely empty, as doing so would be sloppy storytelling on my part. Therefore, for those of you who might be wondering just who shall receive the power stored within the Tabula to serve as the ultimate obstacle for the heroes, stick around and read the next section to find out for yourselves.
Mitsuko Nonomura: Fighting mad that she was left out of BR 3 and ready to get revenge in this reboot
Mitsuko, at least in my opinion, definitely has a place in Bloody Roar 3’s story as a playable character, what with how protective she is of her two daughters, Uriko and Alice. Needless to say, her motivation for taking part in this installment is to find Uriko, who has left home on account of wanting to track down Alice and Yugo in hopes of sharing with them the information she has discovered about the X-Genome Code from her father’s notes. To add to this, Mitsuko is a carrier of the Code herself, and though she struggles to keep her complications under control during her search, she nonetheless finds her symptoms acting up on her and getting in the way of her mission to once again reunite her family. Will she manage to survive her condition, or will her strand of the XGC get to her in the end before she has the chance of bringing Uriko home? Only time will tell…
Hans Taubemann: From pit fighter extraordinaire to Tylon assassin to vengeance-seeking bodyguard in this retelling of BR 3
Secondly, Hans will be making a comeback as well. His story will be pretty simple, too, in that following the events of my reboot of Bloody Roar 2, he takes on a new career and becomes a bodyguard in an effort to teach himself the value of caring for others and as such move on from his seedy past as a pit fighter and an assassin. Sadly, in a rather tragic turn of events, his most recent benefactor—an ambassador for the United Nations who, like Gado, happens to be a fellow zoanthrope of his—ends up succumbing to the complications of his own strand of the X-Genome Code and suffers a mental breakdown of sorts, thus leading to a horrible death that he suffers at his own hands. At first, Hans blames himself for essentially failing to save the man from himself, but it is upon learning further details about the mental illnesses that the ambassador was suffering prior to his suicide that he becomes all the more alarmed about the XGC threat, what with his own psychological history. The fact that he, too, is an XGC carrier only makes him worry all the more that he might become the next victim of the Code’s complications. Therefore, he, too, sets off to find out how he can correct the mess that the XGC has been causing and soon finds himself caught up in a plot that seems all too familiar to him somehow.
I’d also reintroduce Annette from BRBC as a playable character in an effort to seal the continuity gap between Bloody Roar Beast Corps and this alternate version of BR 3. Her objective is just as straightforward as most of the other characters’ in that she, too, wants to find out more about the X-Genome Code in hopes of helping her father Rupert, whose complications have stricken him in a manner similar to Greg and Lanfa’s present cases. Not only that, but many members of her father’s animal rights activist group have also contracted the Code and, worse yet, have fallen prey to the murderous wrath of Kohryu, thus giving Annette an additional reason to find out the truth behind the madness and putting her at odds with Kenji/Bakuryu upon their initial meeting on account of her suspicion that he might be the one responsible for her fellow activists’ deaths. The question remains, though, as to whether or not she’ll be ready for what awaits her when she finds out the truth behind her coworkers’ untimely collective demise.
Dr. Herman Maxwell: Contemplating a return to action as an active player in the rebooted Bloody Roar 3 story
Another character from Bloody Roar Beast Corps whom I’d bring back for BR 3 would be Dr. Herman Maxwell, who—though he would have been “silenced” towards the end of BRBC—would be brought back to life in a manner not much unlike Shenlong and conscripted to serve the villains responsible for the XGC scare as an assassin. He’s even been brainwashed to ensure that he will be fully subordinate to his recruiters, although the chances of him breaking free from his brainwashing will still exist to the same degree that they did for Kenji/Bakuryu back in BR 2. The question thus remains as to whether or not Maxwell will indeed be able to do just that, especially with the likes of Annette and his former subordinate Stun in on the action, and—more importantly—what will happen with him once he is able to overcome his hypnosis.
Reiji Takigawa: An underrated Bloody Roar villain who will get his time to shine in this retelling of BR 3
Additionally, I believe that my reboot of Bloody Roar 3 will be a good a time as any to introduce BR 4 character Reiji Takigawa into the mix. His backstory won’t be changed too much, either, save for me making a minor tweak here or there to make him fit more closely to my particular story. Basically, his family will still belong to a small clan of Japanese civilians who secretly belong the Yatagarasu, a clan of mountain-dwelling fighting monks who regard zoanthropy as a sacred blessing and who only share the secrets of this power with their own kind and only when a given individual is considered a worthy adult. However, for the sake of consistency with the whole science fiction theme of this reboot, I’ll be reserving the whole “Stone Seal” motif of BR 4 as a strictly symbolic of the bestowment of this power or, rather, the permission of a given clan member to manifest his or her inherent zoanthropic abilities and be regarded as an adult by the rest of the Yatagarasu. Also of note is the significance of this practice as it relates to the story in BR 3, which involves Reiji being a recipient of the XGC himself. It is his discovery that awakens the ambitious yet destructive tendencies that he has long held deep within himself and gives him reason to prematurely awaken his inner beast, kill his father—who has long warned him about the dangers of not controlling his zoanthropy and instead letting it control him—and flee the Yatagarasu temple in search of powerful opponents on whom to test his newly discovered power. Needless to say, not only does he have the rest of the Yatagarasu on his tail (no pun intended), but he also becomes recruited by the true villains behind the XGC mystery and serves them as an assassin alongside Xion, Kohryu, Shenlong, and Maxwell. Likewise, I would also include in my BR 3 reboot a storyline between Reiji and Kenji/Bakuryu that involves Reiji’s ex-compatriots and current pursuers having once feuded with Kenji’s former ninja clan for reasons that have become long forgotten over time by all but a small handful of people. Reiji will happen to be one of these people, which will help to explain his murderous tendencies, and in a similar fashion, it would be this feud that had once prompted Kato, the original Bakuryu, to become the most powerful zoanthrope of all during the course of BR 1. Granted, this feud will only be touched upon in small doses within this particular chapter of my BR reboot—particularly when the current Bakuryu, Kenji, crosses paths with Reiji—but as my reboot advances with each new installment, I’ll be sure to expand upon it, significance, history, and all, so as to solidify the inclusion of this underrated Bloody Roar villain within the franchise.
Next comes yet another original character of mine, Mei Lin Tsang, a viper zoanthrope bounty hunter who has been hired by Yun Chi Manufacturing, Inc. to retrieve Kohryu before his reign of destruction becomes even more widely known than it already has and draws more attention to Yun Chi’s experiments in robotics. A former Tylon assassin herself from the days of BR 1, Mei Lin is all too aware of Yun Chi’s ties to Tylon and has long been trying to let go of the memories she has of serving the corrupt organization. All the same, her present financial situation gives her reason enough to accept the assignment, as does her own battle with the X-Genome Code and the complications she’s suffering on account of the strand of it she herself possesses, seeing as how all of Kohryu’s victims were once possessors of the XGC themselves. What will occur, though, once she realizes just who has been behind (or, at the very least, played a part in) Kohryu’s murder spree? That my friends, would be up to the gamer to realize upon playing the game.
Trust me, folks–including Nagi in this retelling of Bloody Roar 3, no matter how much BR 4’s detractors hate her, only makes more sense than simply disposing her altogether.
Finally, we come to Nagi, and yes, I know that I said I would write the story so as to make Nagi one of Xion’s victims as per the original BR story. However, her being spared by “Gaia” and acquiring her powers by having the hypothetical goddess copy Xion’s powers and bestowing the results unto her would be much too far-fetched for my reboot. Rather, I would rewrite matters so as to give Xion the ability to “infect” her with a venom that would secrete from his claws and enter her bloodstream upon him slicing her, which would work in a fashion similar to how mosquitoes infect larger organisms with diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika fever, malaria, chikungunya, dengue, filiariasis, yellow fever, and various forms of encephalitis. This venom would then provide Nagi with a limited form of zoanthropy in which she could mimic Xion’s “Unborn” beast powers, albeit to a limited degree and while under a form of mind control that makes her loyal to him in a fashion similar to how certain “lesser” vampires are loyal to the more powerful vampire who sucked their blood when they were mortal. From that point, Nagi would serve as yet another assassin for the plot’s archvillain, and it would be up to Yugo and company to bring her back to her senses in their attempt to bring the organization as a whole down. This turn of events also helps to maintain her segue into my reboot of Bloody Roar 4, although I can’t say that she’ll automatically be reintroduced into the reboot come BR Extreme/Primal Fury.
Bloody Roar Beast Corps 2: Characters and Plot
As was the case with my BR 2 reboot, I’ll be having a B-plot to my BR 3 reboot by including a scenario for the Bloody Roar Beast Corps. After all, with something as serious as the XGC incident going on as well as rumors spreading left and right about the existence of the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts, you know all too well that the WOC will have its hands full and can do with some backup in setting things straight. The storyline for Bloody Roar Beast Corps 2 is a relatively simple one, too, in that it sees our original four heroes from the first game—Paul, Sonja, Mireille, and Yao—deployed to contain an outbreak of XGC-carrying zoanthropes who have fallen prey to its psychological effects and as such are rampaging across the globe. Additionally, there is a growing number of XGC-related deaths taking place that the team ends up investigating, thus leading them into a plot that crosses over with the same leader of the assassination ring from my rebooted version of BR 3. Thankfully, however, these four mercenaries have allies who will gladly lend them the hand they need to put these murderers in their place.
One such ally is Nathan Humain, the son of BR veteran Greg Humain. As explained before, Greg might be out of commission for the time being on account of the complications he’s suffering from his strand of the Code, but his son will thankfully be involved here as a replacement. In a nutshell, Nathan—whose beast form is that of an orangutan—used to spend his time teaching capoeira at the local youth center in his hometown until just recently when his father fell prey to the XGC’s influence. Since then, however, he’s been filling in his father’s shoes and carrying out his investigation of the XGC case with the help of another new character named Akakios, a self-professed scholar in archaeology who uses his knowledge of the Tabula to help Nathan in his search for answers. During the course of his investigation, though, he and Akakios become separated from one another, and it is while searching for him that Nathan happens to cross paths with the Beast Corps, whom he ends up explaining his story to and allying himself with in an effort to track down Akakios and those whom he believe have abducted him.
Two additional characters I would include to this installment are BR: The Fang’s Yuuga “Fang” Tsukigami and Mashiro Toba. Throughout the course of the manga, Fang and Mashiro find themselves engaged in many misadventures centered around fellow zoanthropes, noble and wicked alike, and even though the manga makes no reference at all to the XGC, who’s to say that they can’t find themselves caught up in such a plot? After all, the arch-villain of the manga, Hashima, just happens to be one of Tylon’s scientists, which should be enough of a tie to the original BR universe to merit their inclusion. Not only that, but Fang uses a pair of gloves called the “Wolfgang Silver” to knock hostile zoanthropes back into human form, and the latter half of the series sees him and Mashiro venturing forth to search for the remnant body parts of a dark beast of legend named Oagito no Magami. That being said, artifacts of zoanthrope mythology are far from foreign material to them, which means that the inclusion of the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts wouldn’t be that farfetched an idea. Granted, such a thing might compromise the narration of the manga, but then again, a bonus chapter to the manga does exist in the form of a short bonus comic from the Bloody Roar Extreme V-Jump Book, as explained by SCXCR in his discussion of Bloody Roar: The Fang from 2013. It is in this comic that Fang and Mashiro head off to the Kingdom of Zoanthropes from Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury and come across Yugo, Prince Cronos, and Ganesha—proof enough to show that it is possible for the characters of both BR continuities to coexist, no matter how awkward such coexistence may be. Regardless, giving this duo a chance to join in on the action and help Nathan and the Beast Corps put an end to the whole mess would definitely give them both some much-needed longevity as BR characters.
Finally, there’s the true arch-villain of BRBC 2: Akakios Stavros, the archaeologist who had been helping Nathan in his investigation into the whole XGC/Tabula prior to his disappearance. A former apprentice to Zacharia Faust from the first BRBC game, Stavros plots on continuing Zacharia’s research with the Tabula of a Thousand Beasts in hopes of creating the ultimate zoanthrope killing machine and is only “aiding” Nathan in his investigation until he can conveniently ditch him and leave him at the mercy of his minions. He manages to successfully complete his task, too, by using Nagi’s body as a host for the blood of the XGC-ridden zoanthropes whom he’s had his assassins dispatch, then employing her to fend off anyone who might try to put an end to whatever other mad scheme he plans on executing afterwards. Then again, despite his success in evading Yugo, Long, Shina, and all the other heroes of my reboot of BR 3, he unfortunately runs head-first into the BRBC and their allies, who’ve already dispatched of a number of his henchmen and end up standing toe-to-toe against him. Luckily for him, he does have a few tricks up his sleeve to ensure that his fight against them will be a rather challenging one, such as an oh-so convenient martial arts background and whatever XCG-laced DNA remains inside the Tabula after his experiment on Nagi for his own benefit.
And there you have it, folks—my reboot of Bloody Roar 3. I hope everyone who’s been following this series has been enjoying it so far, and in case you’re wondering if I’ll be introducing a second part of the Bloody Roar Beast Corps plot into the mix to take place between BR 3 and BR E/PF, I’ll say this: I hope to. Quite frankly, I wanted to include one in this article, but considering how long it is already…yeah, enough said. I do, however, plan on releasing an article in this miniseries discussing how I’d reboot Bloody Roar Extreme/Primal Fury as well as the much-despised Bloody Roar 4. Any suggestions you folks might have for a reboot of either of those games will be welcome, as will be any and all constructive criticisms you might have for any of the three reboot articles I’ve already written. Bloody Roar: The Fang, however, is a whole other topic, seeing as that story is of a completely different continuity from the default BR franchise. Then again, I will again mention that if you’re interested in learning more about that, please visit SCXCR’s discussion of it on the River City Gamers’ WordPress page here. Aside from all that, though, please stick around for the remaining two future installments to this miniseries, and thank you all for reading. Also, be sure to check out my author page at Smashwords.com and my Author Central pages at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and to stop by for future installments in my “In Relation to My Work” segment at later dates. Until next time, then, happy reading!
Dustin M. Weber
PS: For the sake of convenience, here are the links to the other parts of this miniseries:
Part 1: July 23, 2012
Part 2: December 12, 2012
Part 4: February 7, 2015
Part 5: August 23, 2015
Bloody Roar (c) 1997-2012 Hudson Soft Co., Ltd./2012-2013 Konami Digital Entertainment. All visuals used in this article hail from the following sources:
Bloody Roar 3 story intros and outros (and Bloody Roar 2 Stories – Stun) as posted by LightningBS of YouTube
The Bloody Roar Retrospective: Bloody Roar 3 by SCXCR of the River City Gamers (RiverCityGamers.wordpress.com)
Bloody Roar 3 Game Sample – Playstation 2 by Vysethedetermined2 of YouTube
GameFAQs.com (Bloody Roar 3 cover)
(MAX) Bloody Roar 3 Kohryu Acrade Mode Part 2 by Shenlong 919 of YouTube
All opinions expressed within the above article, however, are solely those of the author.