For this time, I won’t talk about indie games, but a game from my childhood instead. It’s made by Capcom and it was so freakin’ cool in its era. It was realease in ’97 as an arcade game, and ’98 for PS console. It’s a fighting game called Rival School.
In about ’99 or 2000, I got PS console and Rival School is one game that I play often. It takes theme of Japanese high school and has really thick Japanese culture on it. Like anything that you’ll see in school life anime. The main story is about several high school students who tries to solve problems of kidnapping and attacking that are taking victims of their friends. This lead to the unity of several high schools in Aoharu City (where the game takes place) to unite, hence the first installment of the series is ‘United by Fate’.
The first series’ logo.
*P.S. : There’s the 2nd installement of the franchise which is called ‘Shiritsu Justice Gakuen: Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2‘ and as some of you may have thought just by looking at the title, the game was only released in Japan and didn’t have English translation copies. I played it but don’t understand a thing. It’s considered as an expansion pack and all I know is they have several new characters and mini games.
In Rival School you’ll be introduced to several characters with each’ unique appearance, combos, special skills, talents, and unique move sets. Each characters take different roles from what a high school community could have. There are 5 different high schools in the area..
- Taiyou High School : more like a private school. Representing this high school you’ll have a transfer student (the main character), his riend and also 1st year student, another 1st year student belongs to the school discipline comitee, a photographer and journalist (only available in the expansion pack), and a PE teacher carrying a kendo stick.
- Gorin High School : this one is a all-about-sports school. Gorin produced extraordinarily talented athletes aiming for national competition. From this school you’ll have a vollyball player, a baseball player, a mixed-race goalkeeper, and a swimmer (this one only available in the expansion pack).
- Pacific High School : a high school full of transfer students from the United States. A transfer students is sent here to investigate the school incident. From Pacific High School you’ll have a female cheerleader, a ‘battle priest’ (not really a priest, but has belief like true priest but was built like an unbeatable fighter), and a younger version-ish of Terry Bogard from SNK (seriously..)
- Gedo High School : this one is where my favorite character comes from. It’s the school of the delinquents, but once a high-standard school. From this high school you’ll get a gang leader (a.k.a big boss), his younger sister, a heavy-set students with sumo style battle technique, and a slick-as-snake yankee (my fave one)
- Justice High School : the elite school with the hardest studying regime you can ever imagine. Everything is set by strict rule and studying time is planned to create the highest quality of the students. From this academy, you’ll get the principal himself, his nephew, a school nurse, and a Japanese literature teacher (who also possess 9th dan in karate).
Which all characters are presented, you as the player can choose your own style and favorite since each characters bring their own style and plus & minus. For the battle scene, take a look at this picture.
Battle of Shoma (the baseball player) and Natsu (the volleyball player)
Both belong to Gorin High School
See, the graphic might not be the best of all fighting games at that time, but Rival School was one of a few games offering 3D free-movement battle style (along with Tekken series and Bloody Roar series). The graphics wasn’t that bad, IMO. If you zoom in, you might see the rough detail since the models are based with polygonal 3D blocks, but, meh.., the game’s still awesome nonetheless.
Each characters can release vigor attacks that consume one bar of skill (bottom left and right of the screen for P1 and P2 respectively). By pressing L1 or L2 by default setting, you could strike vigor attacks and each characters have 2 different skills. Every battle is basically 2 v 2 but the characters could not be used together. It’s a tag mode battle, so the tag is after each round is finished. Being you have 2 characters in your side, Rival School give tag skill feature. Equipping different characters will be resulting in different skill attacks. There are 3 types of tag skill effects : give damage, give health, and give skill meter. Executing vigor attack consume 1 skill meter, while tag skill consume 2.
Rival School filled some parts of my childhood being a fighting game that I play most along with Tekken 3 and Bloody Roar 2. Its theme that had Japanese daily life and not so warrior-like style (instead, they’re just bunch of kids and their teachers) are that intrigued me most. Just different nuance to distinguish this game with the other fighting games. Next time I’ll be back to review indie games, this one’s just an intermezzo. Leave a like if you enjoy reading this post, pour some comments if you have ideas, opinions, or recommendations, and see you on the next stories.
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