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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

Import Review 

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by Capcom

Ups: Same old great fighting game; cool graphics; 2 player tag team; PocketStation support.

Downs: More of an update or add-on than a sequel.

System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation capable of playing imports.

You know, I really did enjoy the first Rival Schools game. I mean it was fancy, the graphics were superb, the game play seemed less fluid than chaotic, but still easy to grip and not very involved like other fighters out there. And the coolest thing that RS had were the double-team combos and the ability to switch to the other character at the end of each round. Enough nostalgia, if this is what you loved and enjoyed in Rival Schools, then you’ll enjoy this sequel.

From what I gather, Rival Schools 2 takes you on the same mission the first one had you on: going against the other school, meaning its teachers and students. And, like its predecessor, RS2 is tough once you start climbing the ranks, but not as tough as other fighters out there, like Ehrgeiz or Tekken 3. I would have to put RS2 along the lines as a game targeted more toward people who are first starting into the fighting ring, before they graduate into the ranks of Tekken 3 or others.

Let’s talk about new characters. There’s barely any. I noticed that there’s a photographer and a swimmer. By the way, the swimmer is one of the best to use during combat. He has some of the most creative moves that run the same line as the other sport-oriented characters of the game like the volleyball and baseball player. The photographer is unique in the sense that she uses her camera to attack the other characters and, as is expected, most of her special moves revolve around this fact.

The control just isn’t there. As mentioned above, the characters don’t move as fluid as one would hope in a sequel. When I first sat down to play RS2 I was hoping that it would improve on the first edition with respect to how easy it is to control the characters. It didn’t. My main gripe is the fact that you can easy beat the computer or someone else by repeatedly tapping one of the special move buttons. Now, I understand that this was one of the key features of the first, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t improve on it or drop it all together for a more sensible system of combining certain keys to achieve the special moves. I just don’t like one button wonders.

Again, like the first, the graphics are an eye-popping romp into highly imaginative anime. I learned more about the game during the cut scenes between battles, than I did through the Japanese. No kidding, you say? What attracts me to RS2 are the group pictures and the creative character profiles that occasionally pop up. And the intro song is nothing to shrug off. It’s your classic Japanese pop.

You might want to wait to buy this game (that is if you want this game) when and if it hits U.S. shores. The menu structure is completely in Japanese (go figure, it’s an import), so you are mostly guessing at what you’re selecting—and there are a lot of selections. You have your standards: campaign mode, where you get to select two characters, preferably from the same school; and versus mode, which is exactly like the one from Rival Schools. One interesting note about the menu system is that I did notice the ability to work with a pocket Playstation, so this might be interesting to play with when the U.S. version hits our shores. RS2 does have some playability issues in the fact that it feels like I’m missing most of what is there.

The only distinguishing feature between Rival Schools 2 and its predecessor is the numeral 2. I really didn’t notice too much of a difference in game play, style or character evolution. The graphics run along the same line; it’s a very cartoony game, filled with enough sketches and working designs to teach one how to develop characters for their own games. I found the game at times boring, yet reminiscent of the previous edition.

I’m eager to see some of the new things that I wasn’t really able to access in Rival Schools 2. There seems to be a section where you must answer questions, much like a quiz show. RS2 is loaded with things to do, but as an import it lets me down. The language factor is hard to get around. If you’re strictly into this game for the action, then you’ll do fine, but if you wish to invest in a game that’ll give you everything, then wait for the U.S. release. Still, it’s going to be a questionable purchase when it does hit. We’ll just have to wait and see.

--Matt Baldwin