Melty Blood

Creators: French Bread & Type-Moon
Genre: Fighting

I'm on a bit of a fighting game kick as of late, so I thought I'd revisit the genre again today, this time with the doujin classic Melty Blood. This game is of particular note because it is easily one of the best examples ever of both doujin soft and manga achieving a large level of success not only in Japan, but internationally. The game itself was developed by the popular circle French Bread, and was based on a visual novel by a manga-based doujin circle called Type Moon, both of which turned professional as their creations became more and more popular.

By and large, Melty Blood is a fairly traditional fighting game with the usual mix of chain combos, cancels, and a powerbar that can be filled for unloading super powerful attacks. There are also abilities such as mid-air recoveries, something called Magic Circuit that is required for a number of special attacks and can help regenerate health, and clashing (two attacks strike each other cancelling both out). The most important feature that the game brought to the table, though, was shielding. It would block an opponent's attack and leave them open to a vicious reversal afterward. However, attempting a thing was always risky, because if the timing was off it would leave the player open to attack instead.

Seeing as Melty Blood was originally a visual novel, the game had a very extensive story mode that changed depending on how players did in battle. It was an interesting approach compared to a lot of other fighting games that had a far more static, rigid approach to storytelling. The game had six characters to choose from at the beginning with more being unlockable as players progressed. Over time more were added to the series as patches were released for the game. Initially Melty Blood was introduced back in 2002 during that year's Comiket. Since that time the game has made its way both to the arcades as well as the PS2.

There aren't many doujin softs that have reached the level of commercial success achieved by Melty Blood, but it shouldn't come as a surprise given the quality of the game. It's an excellent fighter, has very nice sprite based 2D graphics, and has received constant support from its creators over the years. The series is well worth tracking down, with most import shops having at least the PS2 iterations in their inventory.

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