Everybody likes a decent beat ’em up, racking up a 5 hit combo on a bunch of nobody enemies, and then kicking them off the screen. Now, imagine a story-driven beat ’em up that starred three anime girls, with dialog choices in a language you don’t understand that was released in 1998. That is Rapid Angel for the PSN PSone imports.
You play as one of three girls. Each has their own unique fighting style, defense stats, and attack stats. The style is that of a side scrolling beat ’em up. You can dash, attack, jump and use smart bombs to attack all enemies on the screen. There are a few platforming parts in some levels. Luckily, there is a double jump, and the controls are fluid enough to make most leaps. Even if you miss a jump, you don’t die. You will lose a little health and start form the last platform you were on. There is a time limit for each level. If the time runs out, it’s game over. Game overs will happen when you die or when the time runs out. All is not lost, though, as you can use continues to start over from the beginning of the level you were on.
The game is almost completely driven by score. You get pickups that increase your score, and you will be ranked on how well you did in each level by remaining health, how many combos you pulled off and the remaining time.
There is multiplayer in the game that allows player one to control one of the girls like single player, and player two to control an angel that can fire energy beams at enemies and use a shield.
One bad thing is there are a ton of cut scenes. I had no idea of what was going on in the story due to it all being in Japanese. There are even a good amount of dialog choices in the game. I noticed that some choices will change up the game play a little. You may not fight a certain enemy or the enemy may call for reinforcements depending on what you choose. I wish I understood what I was choosing or what exactly was going on in the story.
Truth be told, the game is not that difficult. You can probably trek through it in about an hour with one character. Of course, the game is different when playing as a different girl and choosing different dialog options. So, there is incentive to play it multiple times. The game play is solid. The combat is simple enough to understand, and the platforming, while challenging at times, never gets frustrating. If you understand Japanese, you may get more out of it than I did. If you’re looking to experience a game that was never released in the US, and don’t mind not knowing the story, you could do worse. When it boils down to it, it’s actually a rather enjoyable side scrolling beat em up.
Review copy provided by publisher.