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The Fallen Angels (Arcade)

Daraku Tenshi: The Fallen Angels Arcade Machine
Genre: Action
Perspective: Side view
Visual: 2D scrolling
Gameplay: Arcade, Fighting
Published by: Psikyo
Developed by: The Steel Hearts
Released: 1998
Platform: Arcade Machine

The arcade machine powered by Psikyo SH-2 equipment is primarily well known to the arcade gaming community for its amazing "flying shooters" such as the Strikers 1945 and Gunbird series. However, among the few games released for this hardware, there is something interesting for fans of fighting games. The only representative of the genre on this arcade slot machine is the beautiful name Daraku Tenshi, which, translated into a language more understandable to us, sounds like The Fallen Angels.

Plot and characters

The storyline is very short and all the information that we are given about the game is as follows: a large city suffered from a strong earthquake and as the situation worsened, its inhabitants more and more sank into the abyss of crime and depravity. This, in fact, is the whole story, because even after beating the game, no traditional endings are expected - you will be shown the final credits against the backdrop of game concept art. So, with regret, we will have to admit that the plot in the game, as such, is not observed, and the introduction is present solely for the sake of tradition and does not have any influence in the future.

Let's move on to the characters. There are eight of these fighters in the game. On the one hand, this is a plus - the fewer people, the easier it is to balance the game, but on the other hand, this is not the smallest minus, since there are games with a much larger number of fighters and at the same time keeping their balance within the limits of decency. But enough about the sad, we begin the description directly. Yes, at the very beginning I would like to mention such an important fact as the realism of the game. No, no one will lose from a single kick in the heel, I mean the total absence of super / hyper / multi jumps, remote attacks like fireball, crazy combos for 20+ hits and similar attributes of such crazy things as, for example, Marvel vs Capcom or Guilty Gear X. Whether it's good or bad, let everyone decide for themselves, but I would say that this is a good idea - such fighting games have not appeared on the market for a long time and a certain gaming audience has already yearned for them.

I'll start with the most, perhaps, the traditional character of fighting games, namely the local "karateka" named Torao. Unlike other similar concepts, he is quite slow, although he is strong, and, moreover, he does not have either a hadoken or a shoryuken. And what kind of "karateka" is he without these attacks? Yes, and his appearance does not cause any special aesthetic joys - a somewhat rumpled uncle in a kimono, over which flies constantly hover. Cool - a sort of clone of Guile from the legendary Street Fighter - is controlled exactly the same and differs from him only in appearance. If Guile is a brave warrior in khaki pants, a green T-shirt and a haircut that is not according to the charter, then the local version of him is wrapped in black leather and keeps a crow as a pet. One of the few characters that can use ranged attacks is Harry Ness, a Marine Corps captain. On his hand he has a kind of mini-rocket launcher (a year later Maxima got the same one, KoF'99), which he uses with success. Attention - unlike other similar attacks, no one will be able to continue the keep away tactics for a long time. The rocket launcher is limited to only 6 shots, which really made me happy. The character himself did not arouse much enthusiasm in me and I can only say that in terms of the cruelty of the attacks, he did not go far from Roche, a professional killer at the age of 16. If the first takes rather by force, then the second relies solely on the speed of attacks and it looks quite impressive, only there would be more variety ... However, this is the trouble of the whole game, and not specific characters, so the local versions of Jackie Chan did not escape this fate either . Yes, yes, your eyes do not deceive you, it was him, in fact, the period of films with him like Police Story or Armor of God. Or The Young Master. Now very few people from the younger generation know him like that, but once upon a time ... However, I digress. So, brother and sister, Yuiran and Yuiren look damn similar, besides, the brother looks like a girl, but she, on the contrary, looks like a guy ... Why is this so, and not otherwise, I leave to fantasize by myself, to the best of my depravity and I will focus only on the playing qualities that really resemble the Young Master. Both are quite fast and the way they move, as well as the structure of their bodies, is very reminiscent of Jackie, with the only difference being that Yuiran specializes more in grappling than, in fact, in fast punches. By the way, she is the only girl in the game, which hints at the participation of Americans in the creation of the game. These are almost all game characters, with the rest I give you the opportunity to figure it out yourself, otherwise it will not be interesting to play.

Combat system

The game control is four-button. The layout of the keys brings to mind pleasant memories of Neo*Geo - that is, two gradations of impact force for arms and legs. Pressing both versions of the kick attack at the same time allows you to change the combat stance, which will increase the attack power (a sort of KoF-ovsky CD), but will not allow you to defend yourself. Well, with a combination of light punch and light kick, we will tease the enemy and reduce his power gauge. Finally, pressing both punches allows you to dodge enemy attacks. Quite a simple system, but, as time has shown, quite practical and not satisfactory. The “super” scale is filled in the standard way for the genre - we ourselves attack or are attacked. The game also has the ability to accumulate it, remembered from the early King of Fighters (or fighting games of the Dragon Ball Z series - editor's note) - for this you need to hold down both buttons responsible for strong versions of punches and kicks. It is spent on the well-known "desperate moves", and if you also have "life" flashing red, then you get a slightly enhanced version of it. By the way, once a red bar is dialed, it immediately begins to decrease in size with terrible force, which forces the player to adhere to an aggressive demeanor. The Guard Meter present in the game, better known from Street Fighter Alpha 3 and working according to the same principle, forces one to adhere to the same tactics - each hit removes a certain number of "strength points" from the block, and when this number drops to zero, a guard crush occurs, with all ensuing consequences. ^^ The controls seemed pretty rough to me, although the abundance of animation frames somewhat smoothes this moment. The speed of the game I would describe as below average, closer to 3D fighting games than to 2D genre gatherings. But this game is perfect for beginners - there are really a lot of animation frames here, and this allows you to buffer attacks much easier than in Vampire Savior or Kabuki Klash.

Graphics and sound

The graphic design of the game makes a double impression on me. On the one hand - a very good work on the movements of the characters - this is again closer to three-dimensional fighting games, but in a good sense of the word. On the other hand, the game art, which is very unimpressive to me, consists in a rather peculiar, gloomy character design, closer to American comics of the 50s than to the style of images adopted in anime / manga. The fact that this is far from the work of the aforementioned Mrs. Kaori is not worth talking about. But - this is at least original - in our time it is very difficult to meet a fighting game with "non-anime" faces, if it's not Mortal Kombat of course - almost all games of the genre are produced in a country that is recognized as an authority among fighter players (i.e. Japan), and this leaves a peculiar imprint on, at least, the appearance of the characters. So if for some reason you don't like anime, you can play this game without fear of encountering "Chinese pornography".

As for gaming locations, most of them do not stand out in any way, but here are two of them worthy of being mentioned separately. The first of them is a kind of bar and the characters are fighting half hidden by tables and chairs... But after a few seconds you notice that these interior details are amazingly interactive - at the slightest kick they scatter in different directions, including the face of the player! A very good reworking of the idea of destructible arenas from Samurai Spirits. On the second of these locations, you have to fight on the airfield, where at some distance from the fighters there is a crashed and still burning helicopter. The flame is very coolly done, and although the location does not reach the “burning house” from Last Blade 2 in terms of atmosphere, it surpasses it in terms of the beauty of the flame.

But the musical accompaniment is not happy. As well as special effects. It seems as if the game was made not for arcades, but for the PC, and the authors were sharply constrained in their means ... Some mournful tracks, which did not inspire in any way to accomplish feats. Especially when compared to the strongest tunes from Sol Divide or any of the parts of Strikers 1945... The situation is no better with the sounds of blows. During the successful connection of the attacking limb with the enemy, something very reminiscent of the sound ... of a raw egg being crushed comes from the speakers. Particularly picky letter-eaters can try to crush this product themselves, but I have already had the opportunity to hear it in person (and in three times the size), so I will still remain in my opinion.