Rapid Angel Draws Swords, Bombs, Magic, and Tough Girls - Review

By Rich Shivener in Reviews
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Angels on the battlefield
The world of beat-em-up video games has a lot of dudes kicking asses level after level, boss after boss. Rapid Angel shows us that chicks are just as tough.

With an anime overlay, the Japanese PSOne import on the PSN, released stateside by Monkey Paw, depicts three young girls chasing after what seems like an evil cohort of scientists. It's a quick game that unravels in 14 time-sensitive, side-scrolling levels, loaded with fantastical and technological environments, bad people and creatures. Each heroine has a unique set of combat skills that make them effective against select enemies and almost useless against others, including magical bombs.

Found out which were the toughest after the jump.
The game opens with a brief manga-flavored sequence that introduces the three heroines and the beginnings of their quests. Natsumi is the martial artist. Ayane is the swordswoman. Haruna is the sorceress. As the pictures indicate (because I can't read Japanese), their ass-kicking quests start in the countryside, ending in some hotshot's apartment. Honestly, I was expecting the story to be told through animated cutscenes instead of still frames with captions. Think Mega Man 8.

Rapid swords are deadly
I played as each heroine, and my fave among them was Ayane, though her battlefield cry is pretty obnoxious. Her sword attacks drain life bars faster than the others, and she has a running kick just like Natsumi's. Using fists and feet, Natsumi is the fastest of the three, but her reach is limited and many baddies have, say, long swords or rockets. Her jump kick was unstoppable, though.

And then there's Haruna, the slowest of the three. I found her useless. She can cast a force field, effect a paralyzing spell, set fire to the ground and summon a blue demon. They're appealing combat skills, but they require impeccable timing and distance. Several enemies like to run at the heroine, lessening Haruna's chances of casting a spell (pressing L2 and then Square, for instance) before she gets hurt.

In my game, Haruna died well before the quest was complete because she couldn't handle the variety of characters -- whether they were fast, slow, big, small, powerful or weak. Earlier on, you fight guys with swords, floating jellyfish, green roaches and some dude that looks like Hulk Hogan with a battle axe. Then the fun really starts. You take down a giant robot with fire and lasers, a dude with a thrusting lobster hand, a ninja nun with invisibility and the power to summon a giant cross, hadouken-throwing girls in spandex, a spear-wielding dragon, and a weird red demon with colonial hair. It's a trippy mix.

For a classic beat-'em-up, Rapid Angel has a surprisingly diverse amount of enemies and environments. It takes cues from fantasy and the future, illustrating a dreamy mix of Sailor Moon and Captain Commando.

The Official Verdict: 4 out of 5

This review is based on PSN code provided by the publisher.

Want to play Rapid Angel? Win a copy right here!

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