Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Little Pony: Bareknuckle Sparkle

Hopefully you've all read my opinion of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the newest incarnation of the popular My Little Pony franchise. If you haven't, go check it out, because you won't feel right reading this article until you've done that. That's even more important if you're a guy, because without the reassurance I provided for you all back in May, you might be concerned about your balls falling off or shriveling into a pair of ovaries or something.

To put it in a nice, neat little package for you: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has an enormous number of young adult, male viewers, who go by the collective name of "bronies." The bronies are a large lot, and I suspect many of them only leave the closet when they sign into their virtual sanction. However, the old phrase "don't knock it 'til you try it" is very true where ponies are concerned, because this generation they're kicking ass.

Lots, and lots of ass.
Yes, in that very arcade-fighter-esque screenshot up there, you are seeing Twilight Sparkle blast Applejack's soul into a million heart shaped pieces of hell. A fangame developed by a team who call themselves Mane6 is in the works, and looking at just the alpha (essentially, the first draft) material is giving me all sorts of warm, pleasured, "I need new pants" feelings.

The game, which has both a tech demo and a rather lengthy recorded feed, takes a lot of influence from arcade classics such as Street Fighter II, King of Fighters, and of course: Marvel vs Capcom 2. A life meter and a special meter are both present, as well as some form of active combo system, because that image is definitely keeping track of just how badly Applejack is going to need a stretcher.

Pretty damn badly.
Titled My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic, Mane6 promises that the game will contain a roster of at least the core six ponies: Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity (whore.) In addition to the main six (if you missed that one) the developers have promised us a completed roster of seventeen playable ponies, but the other eleven will be released individually as DLC after the initial release.

Not to worry though, because the original game, and all of its subsequent DLC, will cost nothing but a few clicks of the mouse and whatever hidden bandwidth cap your ISP has decided to implement last month. In an attempt to give back to the community (and not get the thunderous thumb of copyright infringement forced upon them), Mane6 has stated that MLP:FiM will be totally free. Which is incredible, because they've also stated that everything going into the magic is being designed from scratch, including the wonderful soundtrack we've already gotten a sweet, sweet taste of.

You hear that beautiful background music? That isn't even completed yet, it's only a WIP. If that's what the WIP sounds like, can you imagine what our ears will be caressed with once they've ironed out the almost non-existent kinks? It's hard to believe that anybody could compose a song like this, that perfectly blends the hardcore, nit and grit needed for any real fighter soundtrack with the upbeat, overzealous cheer of the MLP universe, and not forgetting that we're kicking ass on a farm to boot!

But it isn't just the music that makes this game so delicious. The sprites and their animation are all great, and extremely fluid. Everything is so vibrant and full of life. The background is rendered pixel perfect, and really sets the tone for the environment. The characters all appear to be clearly and individually expressive, and the moves we've seen so far really do a good job reflecting their personalities. While it's been stated that some of the animations and moves currently being used are mere placeholders, I really hope they don't change too much. Particularly when I see how Applejack is going to play:

The one part of this game that wasn't handmade happens to be the core engine. Surprisingly, the development team turned away from the seemingly obvious choice that is MUGEN, and have instead elected to build the game using Fighter Maker 2002. What does this mean fore game play? Well, actually, it means this game is going to have one very important feature that a lot of other fangames never even consider a real possibility: online multiplayer.

Fluttershy, beautiful music, glorious artwork, and the ability to horsekick my friends without actually having to see them? What more could a guy ask for? What's that? Balance? You're giving us that, too?!

That's right. There's a reason the dev. team has decided not to rush all seventeen members of the game's final roster, and that's so they can have a good chunk of time to iron out all of those pesky infinity combos that Capcom is just so damned fond of. Mane6 claims to be full of fighting game junkies, and they all seem to know what aspects of what games made them fun and which ones didn't, and more importantly, how to give everyone a fair shot at success with their favorite ponies. There won't be any asshole tournaments filled with thousands of Fox McClouds or Sheiks. This game promises to be perfectly well rounded.

And absolutely none of this shit.
In general, My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic seems to be one of the few games everyone should really be keeping an eye on, even if you're all gamer and no brony, you should really be watching out for this one, because it looks like it's going to be a ton of fun.

Don't forget to check out Mane6 and their developer's blog for updates:

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