reviews\ Feb 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Acceleration of Suguri X Edition Review


For fighting game enthusiasts, the infinite possibilities that a fisticuffs match can bring when two players square off on hallowed stage ground is everything. They block high and low, wield weapons of all types, and unleash endless combinations of attacks in the race to deal the winning blow. Every second counts, and for shoot-’em-up players, every bullet, dodge, and cancel can make all the difference.

Sony Online Entertainment, publisher of such games as EverQuest, Untold Legends, and more recently DC Universe Online, understands that the two genres are fundamentally connected, and the company realizes the potential of blending them in their new downloadable title for PSN, Acceleration of Suguri X Edition.

Suguri X Edition originated with Suguri, a side-scrolling shooter created first by doujin game developer Orange_Juice and now co-handled by independent publisher Rockin’ Android. The sequel sets players within a circular arena, where they must outsmart their opponent by evading lasers and bullet patterns and by choosing the best attack option in the midst of a chaotic showdown. Players can alternate between regular and special modified attacks anytime, a smart option for those who find they dislike a particular character style. Suguri X Edition challenges players to simultaneously implement both fighting game and shoot-’em-up strategies, and the end result is as interesting as it is addictive.

Players can beat wave upon wave in the endless Arcade mode, but those looking for an introduction to the characters can investigate the two story modes, Falling Wonder and Pudding Deity. Falling Wonder seems to be the lesser of the two, with long-winded dialogue and weaker humor. However, Falling Wonder offers the harder boss battle, which comes in two forms: an android and a giant robotic killing machine. Pudding Deity lacks a satisfying final fight but succeeds in other ways, most notably a clever little parody of RPG conventions that compares a friendly fight over pudding to a battle of heroes, with only one worthy enough to devour the weapon of ultimate sweetness and save the world from chocolaty doom.

Both story modes last about an hour, a disappointing turnout considering how enjoyable the parodies are. Falling Wonder, for example, pits your group of friends against a party-crashing android called “No Name,” another tongue-in-cheek nudge at RPGs and their amnesia prone characters. If the developers had spent more time on story modes, players could have walked away with a much more substantial experience.

The game feels regrettably light on content, and with all its innovation and potential, SOE and Rockin’ Android could have had a real winner on their hands. The continuous Arcade mode, local and online versus, techno soundtrack, in-game Youtube recording, and the visible difference in difficulty modes all give Suguri X Edition the boost it needs, especially for its shockingly low price of $5.99. The game even teases players by allowing them to try out Hime, arguably one of the most fun and capable characters in the game, and then yanking her away as an unlockable.

There are downsides to the game, of course. The sprites that appear during dialogue scenes aren’t rendered with nearly as much polish as their larger and more colorful counterparts, which liven the start screen and each opening battle scene. The two story modes are mismatched in quality, and the battle camera has a nasty habit of zooming in much too close, interfering with a player’s attempt to put room between him and the enemy, let alone to distinguish bullets from sprites.

Players will have to figure out the game’s controls for themselves, with only a simple button map as guidance, but they'll soon find the learning curve bends in their favor, and and gamers will quickly accelerate from petty rankings to the top charts—at least until a higher difficulty knocks their confidence out of whack.


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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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