Battle Fantasia

Publisher: 505 Games Price: �29.99 Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3) Age rating: 12+ AS charming as anything we have ever played, Battle Fantasia offers an eccentric take on the fighting game genre. Chock-full of memorable characters, outlandish moves and

Publisher: 505 Games

Price: �29.99

Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3)

Age rating: 12+


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AS charming as anything we have ever played, Battle Fantasia offers an eccentric take on the fighting game genre.

Chock-full of memorable characters, outlandish moves and cracking visual effects, it is a crazy melting pot of ideas that is as bonkers to play as it is to look at.

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While other fighting games are almost impenetrable to newcomers - yes, we are talking about you Virtua Fighter! - Battle Fantasia is a much more welcoming experience. Its five-button strike system is easy to pick up and means even the most inexperienced player can start brawling straight away.

Of course, it is the game's wonderful characters that really steal the show. While a dozen fighters can not compete with the massive rosters available in other beat-'em-ups, each one is so stylishly drawn and capable of such stupendous moves that you are willing to forgive any shortcomings. Looking like refugees from a book of fairytales, fighters range from a hook-handed pirate and a pot-bellied Viking to a masked vigilante and a two-foot-tall rabbit called Watson who wears a magician's hat.

Fights take place over 12 different stages with 3D characters moving across a two-dimensional plane. Each fighter has a collection of standard attacks as well as a small number of super moves. Watson, for example, has a bear trap he can use on an adversary, Princess Olivia can call up an army of doves while masked marvel Face gets a chance to fire his six-shooters.

A lot of effort has gone into balancing each fighter's capabilities with the emphasis on outsmarting your opponent rather than bludgeoning them into submission. It is a sensible move and means a cute little bunny rabbit can beat the snot out of an eight-foot-tall Viking simply by timing his punches rather than relying on brute strength.

As a one or two player game Battle Fantasia is fully capable of giving Street Fighter IV a bloody nose. While it might lack some of the tactical depth of a heavyweight fighter like Soul Calibur or Dead or Alive, its daft sense of humour and finely balanced combat more than make amends.

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