PSP Game Projects Vol.08 : Ougon Kishi Garo Project

So, apart from that one Garo game on the PS2, how else could one make a good Garo game. I had already said that some categories of fighting would fit Garo and even made a post about…yet, ultimately, the perfect way to represent Garo in the gaming world is via a very certain combination of PS2 games that perhaps nobody had thought of before.

Combine this :

RGG

with the battle system of this game :

Bujingai

And you got a match made in heaven. Compared to the other ideas I presented, this one is based on a premise that goes a bit beyond that of an “adaption game” but rather that of a “game based on license”, a type of game where one can go crazy if they desire. Some of those types of games include the crossover title Banpresto makes or even the Lego Batman games as weird as that sounds. Instead of having this game basically tell an existing story like usual, a great idea would be to use this opportunity and tell a brand new story from scratch in that world, with a new Garo, maybe from Japan, maybe from another country, another time period, who knows, the possibillities of that universe are pretty vast for. That way there is also the draw of a player being able to experience his own Garo story, which is a big draw in this licensed games.

This may be part of my bias towards the idea though, but instead of CG scenes, I’d rather have the story be shown in the style of the Kurohyo spin-offs of RGG, where manga panels tell the story with extremely stylised art and voice overs.

On to gameplay!

Basically, by combining the open world aspect of the Ryu Ga Gotoku series, by having the player freely roam a certain small city that has an abundance of places to go and visit, even interact with, such as karaoke, super markets, massage parlours and even casinos to name a few along with the way of random encounters on the map by having enemies spot you and run up to the character and challenge him

with the combat aspect of Bujingai, a game where floaty kung-fu / wu xia is the norm and awesomely stylish combat is the main dish and pits characters against a very small number of weak yet very competent enemies before the main boss. All that with a really simple control scheme as well.

Specifically, when the character encounters an enemy, the character and the enemy or enemy group, are transfered in a (usualy) very wide and open arena based on the area they are near, to duke it out for both story(the fights between the Makai Knights and Horrors must never be seen) and to create an environment that allows for both good, smart AI and constant action but also better graphics in a confined place with good constant 60 fps, something that could not be done if one had the entire city to run around and constantly generate its citizens and locals. Also, to mask between loading times of loading the characters and arena and the transitions back to town. 🙂 Something that Kurohyo did very smartly. The way encounters work in the game are a mix of the RGG series and that of Gachitora, either somebody runs up to you and challenges you to a fight or you can talk to some suspicious individuals and should they speak about something suspicious, the player can press R when someone speaks a “red phrase” in a speach bubble he will light up the Makai Lighter to see if the individual is a horror or not. One has to be sure of it though, too many misuses out of the blue might make the police suspicious or something.

As shown in the video below, the tutorial of Bujingai, the control scheme should be simple but flexible, with some minor adjustments, it could very well fit into the Garo gameplay.

Compared to Bujingai though, Garo will feature a “transformation” system like in the series, with the character donning his armour and enhancing his abilities. One has to remember that the rules for the Armour are that one is allowed to remain in the armour at most for 99.9 seconds and that it takes 5 minutes for the timer to recharge fully(and that applies to game time as well). Also, one can don the armour only if the timer is fully recharged at 99.9, whether the recharging happens inside or outside of battle, it doesn’t matter. During the Knight form, the player is unable to receive any sort of damage but hits from Bosses or Boss-like enemies in the game can reduce a special gauge that counts as the “endurance” of the armour, resulting in quicker and forceful disengages of the armour always reseting the timer to 00.0 and sometimes magic attacks completely knock the player out of the armour as well. There is one way to restore the timer quicker though and that is through Horror Blood but more on that later. The timer can also be stopped by having the player disengage manually the armour in which case the timer stops at the time the armour is fully disengaged, to fill up faster for the next encounter.

So here are the control configuration on both the normal and Knight state :

Controls in battle

Normal

D-pad or Analog Nub – Movement
Analog Nub or D-pad – Camera movement and target switching in Lock-on
X – Jump
Square – Martial Arts attacks
Triangle – Weapon Attacks
Circle – Grab
R Trigger – Lock-On when held down, Camera Centering when tapped
L Trigger – Centering the camera and Guard when held(Needs Sword Gauge to guard)
Start – Pause
Select – Don the Makai Armour
Square during a grab – Martial Arts attack
Triangle during a grab – Weapon attack
Circle during a grab – Throw
X during a grab – Special Attack(needs Sword Gauge)
L Trigger when a physical attack is about to hit – Stagger Parry
L Trigger while in Lock-On – Receival(Needs Sword Gauge)
X during Receival – Evade
Triangle During Receival – Swordplay
L Trigger + R Trigger – Chiburi

Knight

D-pad or Analog Nub – Movement
Analog Nub or D-pad – Camera movement and target switching in Lock-on
X – Jump
Square – Martial Arts attacks
Triangle – Weapon Attacks
Circle – Magic Attack(Needs Sword Gauge)
R Trigger – Lock-On when held down, Camera Centering when tapped
L Trigger – Centering the camera and Guard when held
Start – Pause
Select – Dismantle the Makai Armour
R Trigger held down while an enemy attacks – Auto-Receival(Needs Sword Gauge)
L Trigger while in Lock-On – Receival
X during Receival – Evade
Triangle During Receival – Swordplay

Of course thing like wall running, comboing, free-flowing combos and all those awesome things still exist but one might have noticed the “Sword Gauge” I keep mentioning. The Sword gauge in essence is a bar below the Health bar that is used to perform several actions and recharges either very slowly over time or faster with attacks and combos. Just like the Swordplay petals of Bujingai, they act in similar fashion to give off this feeling of “dancing” martial arts while actually having depth in battle.

Finally, the finishing touches of gameplay I’d put would be the ability to have multiple fighting styles and having them level up unlock new styles of battle, combos and even magic, like in Kurohyo. Something that could be carried over to the Knight form as well, with the player putting two different styles for both the normal and Knight form for varied gameplay.

And those are the basics of it, so we may as well move to the more advance stuff and even to how things are in combat from both sides.

When entering a random encounter, the player doesn’t know what the enemy will be nor if it will be a single battle for most of the time but generally the types of battles met in random encounters are like this :

a.)It’s just a mob of small-time horrors that pose no threat.

b.)It’s a mob of small-time horrors with a somewhat competent horror managing it and jumping in the fray when either all the small fries are killed or when the player is showing openings.

c.)It’s two or three competent horrors tag-teaming the player.

d.)This is unlocked after the first boss : a small wave of horrors with somewhat competent horrors acting as generals in the fight and a previous Boss Horror that is recoloured and perhaps have some attacks slightly changed(like the monsters in Monster Hunter or more specifically God Eater Burst) and appears after all of the small fries and other Horrors are defeated. It’s a very rare encounter but it is kinda common in encounters via the Makai Lighter. These recoloured Boss horrors act exactly like they did in their boss battles and even have the same stats as well, so the players are in for a great fight.

If a player encounters a Horror via the Makai Lighter method(aka interogation and having the Lighter expose the Horror) then the possibilities of a d.) are pretty high but some b.) can occur at times. Apart from Boss horrors and their recolours and the small fry Horrors(which in the shows at least don’t seem to have any sort of variations) the competent and mini-boss Horrors are randomly generated like the thugs of Kurohyo, never resulting in the exact same type of enemy.

Horror

Inside of combat, the general “rules” in terms of Horror abilities and A.I. is this :

1.)Small fry Horrors usually come in large numbers and are stupidly dumb but always aggressive.

2.)Competent Horrors are found at most in numbers of threes and usually direct the pack of small fries and sometimes join them when the player shows openings. They are the standard enemy type. The Competent Horrors are always randomly generated humans but they can “shed their skin” and “evolve” into Mini-Boss Horrors.

3.)Mini-Boss Horrors come into play either to assist one Competent Horror or to directly face the player. These Horrors have their own health bar and can be tough to deal with since they utilise techniques of the player as well. They can also “evolve” from a Competent Horror, which in the process will restore their health and at times the player may even face two at the same time. These enemies are horribly aggressive and pretty smart, giving the player a rough time but not rough enough to summon the Armour.

4.)Boss Horror come into play when all the other Horrors are cleared, if they are part of the pack / attack / encounter. These Horrors, depending on the Boss type have their own unique status, appearances, elements, attacks, magic, size and even A.I. ranging wildly from one another. These Horror can have variational recolours that the player can face in the open world / town, after that type of boss is defeated in the story though. The Armour summoning is a neccessity to defeat them.

For the intricaties of the player’s character, there are two basic things to know before moving to the Armour and its details. Like i the video above, the Makai Knights employ a wide array of martial arts moves and weapon moves(in Garo’s case, sword moves) and the two have different functions :

Martial arts moves are blunt attacks, usually are long even looping or unending streak of combos, extremely agile, all surrounding and very flexible combos that can hold off Horrors. They are extremely effective against Competent Horrors and can lower their aggression levels so that they don’t transform into Mini-Boss Horrors. When the character dons the Armour, the martial arts moves become as lethal as the weapon moves despite still being blunt moves.

Weapon moves on the other hand are purely cutting attacks, they have a sole focus, hit extremely heavy and can always inflict damage to all horrors. Cmpared to the martial arts moves though, the cuts from the weapon moves either sprays Horror Blood or just leaves the blade bloodied. This has a merit and a disadvantage. As the blade becomes bloodier, it looses its edge, attacking power and even its cutting properties, resulting in blunt strikes but blood can dry out quickly though if the player uses martial moves to keep Horrors at bay. The huge merit it has is that the blood on the blade can be used to restore the timer of the Armour in battle, but having the player perform a Chiburi or “blood cleansing”.

Just like in the Oneechanbara games and the modern Ninja Gaidens, the player has the ability to instantly clean up his sword, by executing blood cleasing manually(even during the middle of a combo) or simply having the weapon out after a weapon attack and just stand perfectly still after that. The character will then use the Madou Tool he has to wipe the sword clean and depending on how much blood the Madou Tool absorbs, the more the timer is restored. The player mustnot be disturbed during that time, otherwise the blood will be removed from the sword but it will go to waste and won’t speed up the timer’s recovery. The ranks of Horror Blood pretty much go like this :

I.)Small Fries almost never spurt Horror Blood, due to mostly themselves not having any, it’s often after the player finishes them off with the sword that they drop some blood. The quality is really poor and barely affects the timer.

II.)Competent Horrors almost never drop Horror Blood due to their human disguises but if they are killed by a sword they can drop some blood. Their blood is of good quality but the drops aren’t that common.

III.)Mini-bosses drop blood if attacked with a sword and they are not guarding. Their blood is of good quality and the quantity can be good for recharging.

IV.)Boss Horrors either drop tons of blood of excellent quality with the sword to force the player to go into Armour Form, due to having no other means to really damage the boss or they require a special gimmick to splurt blood which is usually tied to how damage is dealt. An example of a gimmick boss would be the Clown Horror from the first season of Garo that absorbed melee attacks and sword hits bounced off of it at times, requiring strategy to properly damage it. Boss blood is meant to be given so much to make the player use the armour.

The game will have special battles and special bosses, only accessible in the story, like mounted Boss Battles on Gouten with the huge Broadsword, Flying enemies with the Golden Arnament or anything new Amemiya may cook up. Some of these forms and weapons these forms have can be equiped in battle but they burn the timer far quicker, so far the only thing that can do that would be the GreatSword. The rest can be unlocked post game, as bonuses due to plot, at least for the first round of the story.

Apart from Horrors though, the player can face off against prominent Makai Knights as well in the form of a tournament or sparring / training. These fights always restore both parties involved to full health and timer and never end in Game Overs if the player loses. The Makai Knights often have to do with the story and are usually treated as bosses, somethimes even more difficult that the Boss Horrors themselves. They are never faced as random encounters and each and every one of them has unique A.I. settings to match their behaviour and character. Some of them, if beaten, can teach a style to the character.

Finally, there is an upgrade system in place. The way it works is that it runs on money, earned by missions(side-quests, those that involve re-fighting a Boss Horror or a certain Horror can be done at infinitum and still count as completed), winning encoutners with Horrors(as bounties in terms of story) and depending on the type of enemies you run into the money reflects that, winning a fight against a Makai Knight or by finishing a story chapter. Money is used to purchase moves(dashing, double jumping etc), styles(only basic ones, not mixed ones) and train(upgrades health). The other currency used is souls, earned only by defeating Mini-Boss Horrors and Boss Horrors, acting like the Proud Souls from Devil May Cry 4. These are used to upgrade the endurance gauge of the armour during Knight Form, the magic spells that the Knight Form uses and to level them up along with the number of times the Knight Form can use spells.

I know it won’t happen but I really hope this could happen or even be thought of…SEGA and Banpresto, what are you doing, get to it. 😀

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