Recently, I’ve been watching Tokyo Encounter while eating and I saw the game “Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer” pop up…made me remember a lot of things about it.
Chojin Gakuen Gokaiza(Superhuman Academy Gokaizer) or Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer was a 2D fighting that came out in 1995 for the Arcades of SNK and later got ported to the Neo Geo and Playstation consoles. Surprisingly, this title was not developed by SNK’s fighting team but rather by Technos Japan Corp, the company responsible for birthing the Beat’em Up genre(it’s modern form at least if you wanna debate about Kung Fu etc) with the Double Dragon series. Yes, they were making fighting games as well and bloody well too. This was their second fighting game (the first being the Double Dragon game for the Neo Geo with a great fighting system) and unfortunately…their last. Technos closed in 1995, the same year Gokaizer and Double Dragon were released.
A shame, since Gokaizer was kind of a hit in Japan, with Obari Masami doing the artwork for both the game and the OVA that came out…which he directed…which would explain why people in the west only remember Gokaizer for the boobs, the outfits and lady parts. Ironic, since in Japan the game was far more well received by both male and female audiences since the game featured both hourglass-figured pretty girls with some striperiffic tendencies and well-tonned poretty boys with some striperiffic tendencies…if it wasn’t obvious! And it was a really good fighter for it’s time as well.
Of course, as I mentioned, it came over to the west, but only in the US and only for the Neo Geo, leaving out the Playstation port that would boost sales, since the Neo Geo console wasn’t that popular in the US. Despite these faillings in worldwide sales, the japanese releases of the game and its side-products was met very positively with the arcades going crazy…as usual…it is Japan, they love their arcades, especially the old SNK fighters.
The story…wasn’t something spectacular, but the familiarity with the Henshin Hero themes and their shout-outs and parodies were very well received and made the game’s story much better than the average fighter. Not to mention that the characters would often recognise the tropes, shout-outs and parodies and point them out one way or another, while being completely serious and down-to-earth…yup, gotta love the japanese style of 4rth wall breaking.
As usual, these types of games focus on the individual characters as they struggle and fight around the world they love, while meeting up with each other but not really affect individual storylines, a staple for fighting game storylines back then, before Guilty Gear came along. The main character is Kaiza Isato, the titular Gokaizer, a name that comes of as a play on words from his name (Kaiza is also the japanese pronounciation of kaizer…and his Henshin line is “Kaiza Go!”).
The gameplay was unlike Double Dragon’s 4 attack buttons of varying strength and speed, this one opted to go for the more basic light punch & kick and heavy punch & kick 4 attack buttons instead. The characters followed the King of Fighters early rules of trying their best to have different notions for doing special attacks for the most part, making each of them different in playstyle from the rest…yeah, like they needed that with the characters they had in there, these are among the most unique characters that would take more than 10 years to re-appear in fighters as ideas. Still, it helped. The game’s special feature however though, was the “Skill Take” system , system that allowed the player to choose whether to take the signature move of the opponent he just defeated or not. This system was inspired by BloodStorm’s skill system, but offered much more varied and balanced gameplay options.
The gameplay was quick(er than the fighter of that age), enjoyable and challenging. A very nice experience with the craze of Henshin Heroes and Obari Masami’s crazy anime antics influencing the designs, giving it an exploding flavour of awesomeness. It’s been 18 years since it came out, as of now.
A sequel is out of the question, not to mention, it would spoil the endings but! A remaster or even better a remake would be very welcome. A very simple solution would be to have it be released in either an SNK collection or as a download title, but we can do much more with it.
A good idea would be to have it be remastered, up the graphics and sound to modern levels, with crisp-clear,smooth,updates sprites and music along with top notch sound effect, while bringing new music,re-recorded lines by the voice actors and new characters perhaps(the game already has the bosses ready to be playables). Always with the option to have switch to the originals, for nostalgias sake. While on that…a little more balancing would be appreciated, if only to reach Guilty Gear levels. It could very well be an SNK and Arc Systems Works joint project for the 20th aniversary of the game’s release.
Now, I’ll admit I don’t know if the “Choujin Gakuen Gokaiza” trademark has been registered again by SNK in Japan, or is out for sale so…here is the remake scenario :
Some random publisher gets the Gokaiza trademark and wants to remake the game. The ideal would be to call Arc System Works, but if it’s not a simple job like a remaster and update, I’d rule them out completely…gotta finish Blazblue and put out Guilty Gear Xrd, pronto. SNK…if they would remake it, they would have done it by now.
Yup, I’d have Eighting do the remake job. Now, while Eighting doesn’t have the most excellent track record in fighting games, they did make the Tatsunoko Vs Capcom games,Bleach Heat the Soul games and the Fate / Unlimited Codes game, not to mention they co-created Bloody Roar with Hudson. So they know how to make good fighters.
The game would be a mix between Bleach Heat the Soul (BHTS) and Tatsunoko Vs Capcom : Ultimate All Stars (TVCUAS) : the game would have BHTS gameplay system of free movement with a jump button and two attack buttons, melee / light and weapon / heavy attacks. With a little tweak, they should have a light and heavy attack button and a special attack button, that does a special move where the player switches over to his “weapon” moveset, a guard button and a throw button.
The super and ultimate / Desperation attacks however, should be done the good old way, with tricky movement commands + attack buttons, to bring in a different dimension to the gameplay than just the directional combos HTS has. Not to mention that things like, counters, Aerial Raves, super and ultimates being nigh-all-cancellers and cancelable with other supers are bound to be included. Not to mention options that would include nostalgia for the old schoolers, like old screenshots, voice samples etc
In an even more hypothetical scenario though…if Square Enix gets the trademark by some random chance…and wants to use it…I’d say to go for the Dissidia system and adapt the “Skill Take” system there as well. It would fit.