Goooooood morning! (Sorry, I've been playing a lot of Danganronpa, and you should, too)
Last week, I wrote about this goofy PS2 beat-em-up that also happens to be Clover Studio's swan song.
Today, I replayed a PS1 oldie that seems to have faded into obscure status.
Ehrgeiz (that's pronounced "AIR-guys") came out in 1999 in the U.S. It's a 3D fighter wherein you...
Well. You can play as characters from Final Fantasy VII.
That's all! See ya next week!
Oh, ok, fine. Ehrgeiz plays mostly like Dreamcast-favorite Power Stone. It's a fighter, but one where you can move freely in three dimensions. In place of complex, timing-heavy combos, the focus is on position and the occasional special move.
There was a lot of emphasis on grapples, and simple two-hit and three-hit combos. One of my favorite parts of the fighting system was the use of a special meter, which decreased as you used special moves, like Godhand's gun-arm or Cloud's sword. You couldn't use specials when the bar was empty, and it drained pretty fast. True, it's pretty strange that Cloud or Sephiroth couldn't use their swords after a while, but it does help balance the game a bit.
The stages were also interactive, at least a little. Occasionally, you'd find things like crates, pipes, and knives to hurl at your opponent. Some stages had higher/lower parts too, allowing you to stay out of range and plan some sort of crazy leaping attack.
The cast was pretty varied, if derivative. You had a character who had a gun-hand, a martial artist with a robotic leg-that shot missiles, there was a girl that used a yo-yo as a weapon...and so on. I found myself enjoying the roster, even if the boilerplate ninja, wrestler, and two other martial artists are a bit dull.
But the main attraction here was, of course, the FF7 characters. Let's all be honest here: if you bought Ehrgeiz back in the day, it's because ol' Cloud was on the cover. Hell, that's why I bought it. That's why everyone bought it. Cloud, Sephiroth, and Tifa round out the cast. There's also Zack, Yuffie, and Vincent, but they're just (admittedly more enjoyable) clones of existing characters.
But what was perhaps most surprising regarding Ehrgeiz was how much there was to do.
In addition to the expected Arcade Mode (sadly, the FF7 characters don't have endings) there was Quest Mode, which used some of the fighting mechanics from the "main" game, but was otherwise completely different. Here, you played as explorer Koji Matsuda and his assistant Clair Andrews as they delve into a massive, randomly-generated dungeon. There's a heavy use of RPG mechanics, and it can get surprisingly difficult/annoying. But it's pretty cool that a fighting game would include something like this as, at the very least, a curiosity. Like Tekken's Tekken Force mode, for example.
There was also a small selection of minigames to goof around with. Besides the expected Survival Mode, there's a couple of racing modes you can play. Not karts or anything, mind you, but footraces. To this day, it's still hysterical seeing Cloud and Sephiroth settle their differences once and for all with a 100-meter dash at the beach. The other racing mode has you running around a loop, attacking your enemy and picking up power-ups. It can get very manic. Oh, and there's Reversi (or Othello, if you prefer). Except you're both "on the board" as your chosen characters at the same time. So it's more like Speed Reversi. You can tackle your opponent here, and it's hilarious.
While Ehrgeiz is basically an antique by today's standards, there really hasn't been much like it since. It was a lot of goofy, nostalgic fun revisiting this weird gem. I used to play the hell out of it, so for me it was like going back 14 years, to a time when games didn't really need a strong narrative, or an engaging battle system. They just needed to be fun.
Oh, wait. Sephiroth. They needed Sephiroth, too.
Thanks for reading! I wanna hear your questions and comments! And future article suggestions as well!
And follow me on Twitter here: @WingZero351
I also have a new guitar cover up on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OZ6JB... (Won't post the vid here because Kinja)
Next week-The Blue Bomber goes somewhere nobody expected him to go-the 3rd dimension.