The Vault №45
Not many people know that JiG originally started as a tournament conceived by mysterious businessman J. Bibson, in the attempt to find the world's most powerful game reviewer. Participants came from all over the world in the search of everlasting fame: Chiktionar-Li, Australian kick-boxing champion and ASIS agent searching for her mentor's killer... Dorag, Canadian Muay Thai practitioner and Bibson's right-hand-woman... myself, Tryu-Kee, wandering ronin, always searching for a new challenge... not to mention a score of others, some requiring exceedingly complicated codes to unlock. We were all set to start the first round at the JiG docks... but then a new Eyezmaze game came out, we all got distracted, and decided to start a website instead. And so, we peer into archives of said website as the JayIsGames Vault features some highly-ranked casual fighting games this week.
- Etherena Beta - Etherena Beta might only have two characters to fight with, but they're original, their move-sets are varied, and it's still a step up in variety from Fox Only, Final Destination. This Smash Brothers-inspired brawler has very little to distract from the punching and the combo-ing and the Hadouken-ing. Still, the insane number of arenas, challenges to complete, and fighting modes to unlock will keep you playing for quite a while. Increases in processor speed have made the game a bit more frenetic than it was, but it remains one of the few online game that's worth cramming in a second human player at your keyboard. The world of Etherena may never get out of Beta, but it matters not since Arayah has made something darn near perfect as it is.
- Rose & Camellia - A game about aristocratic women executing complicated slapping maneuvers? And it's from Japan? I never would have guessed. Even without that dose of WJT-ness, though, Rose & Camellia would still be incredibly unique: A flash fighting game that's (1.) mouse-driven with (2.) an entirely female cast who (3.) stay completely clothed and (4.) actually become slightly-unpretty if they lose? Madness! Rose & Camellia is willing to confront the tropes of fighting games head-on, and it makes for a combination that's hilarious and a little disturbing, brutal and silly, simple and complicated, goofy and serious. The plot, the graphics, and the music create an off-kilter world of nobility that's wonderful to spend some time in. Nigoro has crafted some fine games in its time, but this is definitely my favorite.
- XiaoXiao 9: Fight Man - I'm not sure what's more impressive: that Zhu Zhiqiang made this Final Fight-styled stickman beat-em-up back in 2002, or that it holds up so well to this day. The XiaoXiao series was and is a revolution in flash animation, with Zhu managing to give his stick-figures a sense of fluid movement that may have since been equaled, but never surpassed. Even with the flash community having years of stickman-innovation behind it, Fight Man still ranks near the top. Perhaps a little minimalist by modern standards (Xiao-Xiao literally translates as "Small-Small", after all), it is still incredibly fun to have Stick-Guy punch, kick, throw and bash its way across the desktop to the final confrontation with the Big Pink Boss. While playing, notice the computer screen in the background: that's a screen-shot from XiaoXiao 3. Any young 'uns out there who haven't watched it are really doing themselves a disservice. Zhu has since disappeared from the web, and we miss him. Even nine years later, I still hold out hope for XiaoXiao 10...
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!