Konami isn’t known for fighting games so I was on the fence about picking up Sunday x Magazine Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen. The game got such a warm welcome here so I caved and got it. I actually wanted to write this a week ago, but it took longer than I expected to unlock characters and their moves.
When you unseal the game 12 fighters out of a possible 30 can be used. Since only ad-hoc versus is available you’re probably not going to play with others much, but Konami should have made at least half, if not 2/3rds of the cast immediately playable. The frustrating issue is you unlock new Weekly Shonen and Shonen Sunday icons s…l..o..w..l..y. I unlocked some when I fought them in arcade mode and others from the Double Dragon-like quest mode. We’ll get to that in a bit.
At its core, Sunday x Magazine Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen is a simplistic 2D fighting game. Beginners can use the simple control scheme which shortens special move commands to a single triangle or circle press and assigns a short three hit combo to square. The tradeoff is simple mode doesn’t let players control the strength of special moves and you have a limited selection of basic moves like punches. In technical mode weak, medium, and strong attacks are assigned to square, triangle, and circle respectively. You have more freedom and more attacks, but don’t expect a Street Fighter IV size move list. Sunday x Magazine Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen only gives you one weak, one medium, and one strong attack when standing. Both modes let you call a partner a limited number of times (a la Marvel vs. Capcom) and execute a super move when the power meter fills up.
Your most powerful move? Don’t laugh, it’s your dodge roll. Hit circle and you can roll through any attack without taking damage. Tiny Kaoru can slide right through one of Ippo’s deadly uppercuts unscathed and launch a counterattack. There isn’t any complicated timing either. The funniest thing about the evasion system is you can roll into an attack and you won’t take damage while you’re getting up. Fights really come down to roll, roll, counterattack, roll, roll, roll…
Within the limited system Konami made some creative characters like Yoshimori who sets mine-like traps and Mechazawa who shocks characters with lightning blasts.
Arcade mode is only half of Sunday x Magazine Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen. If you want to find more support characters and unlock new moves you need to grind through quest mode. This 2D brawler uses the same engine as the fighting game, but replaces a barely competent (the dodge strategy is invincible) computer controlled opponent with inept aliens. Smash these and you earn green orbs which you spend on new moves. If you’re lucky you’ll find a treasure chest which might contain a support character. Quest mode doesn’t give players complicated goals. You just tap L to warp into a portal, button mash your way to the end, rinse and repeat a thousand times to farm orbs.
Orbs are spent in My Room, a mode that lets players customize fighters by setting support characters and learning new moves. Special moves are learned on a branching grid of linked spheres. You only get a new move if you fill the giant sphere on the right, but grids are designed with enough kinks its easier to master the second move than the first. Since you can only bring three techniques and one super to a fight you have to switch out old attacks out to use new ones. The customization system is deeper than I expected, but why customize when you start with your strongest attack… the dodge roll of counterattacking death.
Food for thought:
1.) This is one of the most import friendly PSP games out there. Voice acting is in English, fighters names are in English, and the menus are in katakana. Since the fighting system is easy to grasp the only issue importers have to wrestle with is in My Room where characters are customized.
2.) Simple mode is useful when harvesting orbs. It’s the easiest way to spam special attacks.
3.) Konami unnecessarily dragged Sunday x Magazine Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen’s single player mode out with tedious tasks. A story mode like Jump Ultimate Stars would have been much better than quest mode.