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Rumble Roses XX

Score: 89%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Sports (Wrestling)/ Fighting

Graphics & Sound:

For those of you who are familiar with Rumble Roses, you already know that the original was a bit, um, gratuitous. Interactions between the fighters seemed a bit campy, belonging somewhere between a B-movie, a pron-flick or a badly translated anime... and with the same sexual tension, I might add - that "we might actually see something we shouldn't in the next scene" sort of thing.

Rumble Roses XX takes the lessons learned from the first game and puts them into practice. Rumble Roses XX takes gratuity as far as possible without actually showing you tips.

The Locker Room feature is back, with the ability to choose an outfit (or fraction thereof) for your fighter. The costume selection is greater than before, with customizable colors and more costume and accessory selections. In Rumble Roses, this was one of the sexiest parts, with realistic motion as the girls worked out. In Rumble Roses XX, you can do better; just try one of the humiliation bouts.

Humiliation bouts are an interesting type of fight which seem to be gratuitous pandering from beginning to end, literally. The beginning of these fights features an extended intro where the girls prance or slink their way towards the ring, then back to where they started from and, finally, back to the ring to provide enough time for the camera to get every possible curve from every possible angle. Then, of course, there's the fight itself, followed by the loser having to perform a pre-selected humiliating activity, which can be anything from playing limbo to writing out the alphabet with your hips. The whole time this is going on, the player has control of the camera, which they may be trying to negotiate with only one hand. Pick two of your favorite "Roses" for this fight and you can't lose; even when you lose you "win".

With the improvement in the appearance of the character models and the increase in the power of the game console (going to a next generation system, the Xbox 360), you would think that the graphics would be purely, "all good". I do have to report some rather strange issue with the way that the menus work, however. The menus in Rumble Roses XX use the models to display your character when you are selecting her, but they don't load the models until you select one and, even then, the load time is quite noticeable. This is not a game breaker, but it is more than a little aggravating and seems totally unreasonable for a Xbox 360 title.

On the other hand, in the game itself (and the character intros and the Photo Shoots, etc.) the character models look great. Rumble Roses XX features a bevy of beauties who are as unique as they are stereotypical. There are good girls, bad girls, school girls and teachers... even a hot, buxom Texas cowgirl. If there's a straight man's fantasy, she's either in the game as a character, or you might have to purchase a new costume first. While this may sound sexist, believe me the game is. However, the graphics do a great job of portraying what they set out to portray.

I have to mention this, as it surprised me quite a bit. When taking some pics in the Photo Shoot mode, I noticed that a shoe clipped through into the canvas at one point. This amazed me, as this is the most controlled circumstances a game developer could ask for. The characters weren't even under player control - it's a scripted animation loop, but it doesn't successfully avoid clipping errors.

The music is kind of cheesy, and will be familiar to anyone who played Rumble Roses. The songs are up-tempo and do a good job of giving the same type of feel that televised wrestling does, but I don't think anyone would rush out to buy the soundtrack.


Gameplay:

While the graphics in XX are improved over previous Rumble Roses games, the gameplay is a bit hampered by a complex control scheme. It's been a while since I played Rumble Roses, but the control scheme for that was not as hard to pick up as this one.

The menu is handled in a "map" style, where areas on the map represent different modes of gameplay or other selectable actions, such as the Locker Room, the Museum or the Store.

Each of the different areas/modes is unique in some aspect. The Skyscraper area will be different types of fights at different times - sometimes tag team, sometimes two on one, you name it - but it also is the location that you will be able to collect special rewards at from time to time. If a special reward is available for completion of a match, there will be a green circle around it that says REWARD on it.

Red Valley is a single match location, and if you're looking for some extra goodies to use as weapons, you'll find some in the corners of the fence outside of the ring. The Arena has a different look, but is essentially the same as Red Valley.

Exhibition appears as a location on the map, but in actuality, from inside Exhibition, you can select from any of the other locations. Exhibition also allows you to choose the type of fight you want to play as well as what characters to use - even allowing the same character twice. This is a great mode to simply play around without having to worry about messing with your popularity ratings or anything.

Other Fighting venues include the Street Fight and Island Resort. The Street Fight is essentially a cage match, where you can't leave the "ring", but you can use the walls against your opponent... or should I say use your opponent against the walls. You also get a new move in the Street Fight - by rushing towards your opponent and striking, you can knock your opponent into the air, allowing you a chance to strike them again when they fall down to land.

The Island Resort is the location of the "Queen's Match" - which features a longer intro for the characters and a humiliation challenge for the loser after the fight.

Finally - and I do mean finally - there is the Online Mode. I say, "Finally" because you'll want to try all of the other Modes and get familiar with the controls before venturing into the Online Mode. While the game supports unranked Online gameplay, I found that the only available games were in the Ranked Games... and then I watched my character get tossed about the screen for a few minutes. You'll want to be more prepared than I was when you try out the Online Mode.

Also on the map are the Shop, where you can buy new outfits, and access to the Photo Shoot and Sound Test Modes, the Locker Room, where you can change characters, modify characters and use the Photo Shoot and Sound Test Modes, the Tutorial - which gives a text description of something followed by a video of that thing in action, and the Museum - where you can view any artwork you purchase from the Shop.

As you play Rumble Roses XX, you'll want to select a single character and play with that one for a while. The gameplay seems to point you in this direction. Each girl's moves are different from the next and increases in body potential, Popularity and available purchased wardrobe apply only to the character that earned them. These are sort of RPG elements that tend to suggest the strategy of staying with one character for a while.

Another element that supports sticking with a given character is the dynamic Ability Parameters. After a fight, your actions in that fight will affect your Ability Parameters, which can affect your strength, speed, flexibility and proficiency at certain types of attacks. You can actually choose a favorite move (simply by performing it often) and you will perfect it, making it a more powerful move and even a finishing move. This is a really cool aspect, but tends to keep one from wanting to jump around and play with different characters before finishing the game with their current one.


Difficulty:

Rumble Roses XX's control scheme is a bit hard to get used to. There are two main buttons used when fighting: one for striking and one for grappling. What type of strike or grapple is determined by how you point the left analog stick. Furthermore, each girl has her own moves, so you'll have to practice with a character to learn her specific moves.

It may sound like this control scheme is ridiculously easy, but in fact, it isn't. In addition to striking and grappling, you'll need to block. Also, by blocking and indicating the type of attack (strike or grapple) you are expecting, you can break and counter the attack. As a special power bar increases, you will be able to pull off special "Killer" or "Lethal Moves". However, it is possible to counter a "Killer Move". There are also Humiliation Moves, which can be performed when you're opponent has been humiliated enough (by successfully attacking your opponent and avoiding their attacks). There's also weapons in the corners of some areas, special moves that can be performed if you're on the ropes, jumps off of the top rope... it can get rather complicated.

So, what can you do if this is all a bit complicated for you? Play in the Street Fight mode. There are no Pin Falls or Tap Outs in the Street Fight mode. You simply attack your opponent until one of you runs out of health. This is the fight with "no rules" and, as such, the rules are much simpler. This works much like Street Fighter or Tekken or pretty much any other Fighting game you'd think of. I found that this mode provided a nice way to practice my moves while still being able to actually win some fights. Once you get a hang of the controls a bit and get familiar with a character, you can move on to some of the other areas and types of fights.


Game Mechanics:

The control scheme is a bit weird - especially when you add in the Lethal Moves, Killer Moves, XX Moves and Humiliation Moves. If you can put in the time to get used to the controls and you're looking for some scantily-clad lovelies that you can make go at each other, then by all means, get Rumble Roses XX. This is not, however, a game to play around your little brother, your mom or your girlfriend.

Mind you, to truly "learn" the controls, you'll need to learn the moves for each individual "Rose" that you want to play as; each girl's moves are different, and each move has its pros and cons. Some moves are quicker, but deal less damage, while others are slow and powerful. You'll need to learn which moves do what for any character you want to play as and then build a strategy around how to combine these moves and how to respond to opponents' attacks.

One interesting dynamic of Rumble Roses XX is that the characters' strengths and appearance can actually change as the game progresses. Your performance in the ring will determine how much your body potential increases, and then you can go into the Customize Character screen (available from the Locker Room) and increase your muscle tone and other parameters based on your newly increased potential. These changes affect both your appearance and your fighting ability.

Another dynamic aspect of the game is the "Superstar" outfits; when you finish most bouts, there will be some effect on your Popularity. When your Popularity increases beyond a certain level, you will have the option of selecting that character and choosing "Superstar" instead of "Normal". This allows you to use a special (and extra "flashy") costume that is specific to that character - and available in four colors.

If you're into gratuitous flesh-flashing, Rumble Roses XX serves it up hot on a dish. You can even try your hand at "Glamour" photography in the Photo Shoot mode, selecting the girls, outfits, locations and poses in the closest thing you can get to playing dress-up or paper-dolls while remaining inarguably and inexplicably male-chauvinist. If the girls weren't undulating for your pleasure, I'd have to question your sexual preference. However, as it is, if you continue to play this game beyond a couple of bouts, you'd have to be attracted to the female body to some reasonable degree.

Overall, Rumble Roses XX does a good job of delivering what it's set out to. Mind you, it hasn't left anywhere to go with a sequel but to where it appears that the naming convention is heading anyway - Rumble Roses XXX. Perhaps that one will offer some, um, relief to the teasing that this one offers.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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