Sex sells and SNK knows it. The over-sexualisation of the female fighters in SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy is said to be deliberate and tied to the story. That story being about 20 minutes long about a pervert that has kidnapped these fierce females with plans to turn them into sculptures for his “collection”. It’s all a bit much really, and there’s even a female version of Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard, you know just in case you ever wondered what that would be like. It may just be me, but it feels like SNK really are clutching to justify these revealing outfits and breast jiggling physics. It feels like sexualisation is the driving force of this instalment, from the character models to the insanely creepy story mode and I just don’t think I’m here for it.
Scantily clad fighters aside, this game is a simple yet fun fighter. There are no long lists of special abilities to learn, instead, you have a few simple attack buttons for weak and strong attacks as well as a special attack button and a button for your dream finish, your character’s finishing move. What adds depth to this system is your tag support system, the use of items during fights and the timing of your dodges and blocks. The game plays host to a great tutorial system for first-time players which covers everything from the basics to the more advanced skills.
What makes these bouts different from other tag team fighters is the tag support system. You have a health bar along with your special meter. This bar depletes as you execute special moves and you will need a fair wad of it to execute your finisher. The only way to replenish it is by tagging in your partner who will transfer their special meter to your current meter to replenish it. The fighter out of the bout will now replenish a special meter over time that will be used to top up again and vice versa. It’s all about keeping that meter topped up so that you can execute killer combos and destroy your opponent with a devastating finishing move. Did I mention you share a health bar too? There’s no tagging out to save your characters skin this time, and there’s a lot of skin on show…
Fights will go on until you or your opponent weakens the other and is able to land a Dream Finish. Think Mortal Kombat’s fatalities but instead of having to remember a whole sequence of buttons you simply press R1. Of course, the difference between these games is that if you mess up a fatality in MK you will probably just punch them dead but in SNK Heroines the fight will continue as normal until that dream finish can be landed. Skilled players can learn to dodge these finishers making for intense back and forward bouts.
All the characters in Heroines are customisable and all have a collection of unlockable costumes and accessories, some more revealing than others. The replayability aspect comes from wanting to unlock all of these however, I found after a couple of playthroughs of the extremely short story mode that I had seen everything that I needed to see, and it quickly became very tedious. I played through the story at least 6 or 7 times and the only difference was some dialogue between the different character that I chose to play on that occasion. The only modes other than the story is online, survival and versus.
I understand that SNK wanted to make a much lighter-hearted and simpler game, so I can forgive them for the lacklustre story and concentrate on the game as a fighting game. It’s a fun game to play with friends and at parties, as it doesn’t require a whole lot of practice to get to grip with its mechanics and it has just enough depth to encourage strategic play. It’s just a shame there wasn’t a bit more to it. A fully fleshed out story would have added enough depth had each character had their own place in it.
SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy is an overly sexualised take on traditional fighting games. The decision to dress down even characters that aren’t usually portrayed in this manner tells me that the intention wasn’t to simply tie it to the perverse story, but to use it as a marketing tool. As I said, sex sells. It is genuinely a shame that this overshadows what is a fun fighting game. Yes, it is basic and lacking in a lot of departments however the fighting itself feels well thought out and there is just enough strategy contained within it to be accessible to both new and skilled players. Now I’m off for a shower because I feel unclean…
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*
SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy£39.99
- Simplistic fighting mechanics makes this easy to pick up for anyone
- In-depth tutorial makes things easier to pick up
- The over sexualisation casts a shadow over what would be a fun game
- Extremely short story mode which is repetitive even with different characters
- A lack of other modes – there just isn’t much in it