Vanguard Princess is a 2D fighting game that pits a cast of eccentric "moe" doujin characters against one another in tournament-style combat; featuring gorgeous hand-drawn animation and an deceptively deep combo system, the game features both arcade and 1-on-1 modes. Several unofficial programs exist that also allow Internet play.
from 11 ratings
Date of Release:
2D Fighter Maker
|Also try:||Streets of Rage Remake, Sumotori Dreams|
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As the title suggests, the game sports an all-female roster of eight characters (nine, counting the boss) and four adorable ‘support’ characters (five, again counting a miniature version of the boss), hence the game’s ‘2-on-2 fighting game’ moniker. By modern standards, this is a rather small selection, but it soon becomes apparent that each of these characters – and supports – plays drastically differently. For example, Saki Mitonoya, the traditional well-rounded character, relies on quick sword combos and stun-heavy specials to win fights. In contrast, Luna Himeki’s weak melee capabilities are complemented by a pair of ranged pistols, which operate using a unique reloading mechanic; most strangely, Haruka Kutuna’s magic techniques even implement a simple rhythm mini-game to execute specials. Each of these characters are so appreciably different that the game never begins to stagnate, though more advanced players may discover minor imbalances.
Yet such depth is not at all a barrier to entry; the game still operates by traditional heavy-normal-light attack philosophy, and for all their glamorous effects, supers and specials are surprisingly easy to use (no button combos or z-motions here), typically consisting of simple ‘stick rotation+single button’ commands – even commanding the assist partner. The game’s pause menu and character select screen even provide movelists in the sidebar. Instead, Vanguard Princess’s combat centers around timing, with precise reflect and parry mechanics that will feel familiar to frame-counting Street Fighter veterans, making it a great game for novice and skilled players alike.
The game’s most outstanding feature, of course, is its visuals. A rare case of understatement, screenshots of Vanguard Princess truly fail to do the game’s fidelity justice; characters and backgrounds are not only beautifully designed, but meticulously animated, as well, considering the game’s high resolution – each attack, taunt and victory animation is filled with personality, often using television animation techniques over traditional game sprites. Granted, the oft-exaggerated proportions and visual effects can make it difficult to calculate invincibility, stun and open frames, but it’s a welcome upgrade from the blocky sprite rips of most other doujin fighters.
Vanguard Princess is truly the result of not only a passion, but a thorough understanding of fighting game design and 2D animation, something that inclines me to trust Suge9’s origins with Capcom. It’s certainly friendly to beginners, but that belies its depth and (partially realized) potential for hardcore competition, and possibly spin-off games or anime, as well…if its utter moe-ness doesn’t frighten off mainstream audiences first.