Nothing makes sense anymore. We've spent years going on about how we desperately want a Street Fighter collection without attracting the attention of so much as a fly, then suddenly Capcom go and release not just one but two of the greats in what has to rate as one of the best value packages out there. Keeping the old boy in check comes Guilty Gear, back on our screens for old time's sake and providing the perfect antidote to SF's lethal, martial arts based combat with magic, special effects, attacks using only your hair and the craziest selection of characters you can imagine. Or rather, can't. You won't believe it until you see 'em but it appears that characters like Faust, a spear equipped monkey kung-fu warrior replete with a paper bag on his head, do exist.
The gameplay itself is a mixture of the classic and the flashy. Fighting unfolds in the freeze frame style of yesteryear; an intentionally disjointed style of movement that pauses the game for a few milliseconds every time a hit is landed. Not only does this give you ample opportunity to counter or escape, but it really helps you step back and appreciate the scale of the combos that can be built up here, rather than missing them in a whirlwind of lighting fast curves (step forward, DOA3). It's highly accessible but the depth is all there.
All this would be meaningless were it not for stylised old school animation and the lashings of imagination that have gone into character design and special moves. It's just a shame that the game's so grounded in retro that there's no innovation in terms of fresh gameplay angles or arena interaction. Fun, then, but no classic.
Guilty Gear X2 is out for Xbox on 26 November and will be released for PS2 on 10 December