Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code
Don’t ask why and you’ll love it
Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code is a fascinating game for many, many reasons. First and foremost: that name, right? I have no idea what it means, but I love it. The Steam version of a PC port of a 2008 PS2 fighting game, Melty Blood was a surprisingly solid, if definitely strange experience. There maybe were a few too many maids (more on this later) but overall, I dug it.
As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I love fighting games. So whenever I play a new one, the most important thing for me is how the game feels when you’re playing it. A good fighting game feels like it has a certain flow to it, a bad one feels clunky and unintuitive. So on that scale, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Melty Blood hit that mark wonderfully. The characters feel responsive and you’ll find yourself pulling off a couple cool combos even if you’re button mashing. The fights can be very back and forth, and while my experience against other players was limited, it felt fairly balanced as far as I could tell. It has all your standard fighting game standbys: health bars and block meters, special meters and super moves, and a colorful cast of characters including girl scout police (I swear, more on this later). Since the game isn’t natively in widescreen format, it very helpfully fills out the sides of the screen with the inputs for each chosen character’s special moves, which even as a fighting game veteran was incredibly appreciated.
There were a few cool mechanics unique to the game: the counter button and the styles. Aside from your standard light, medium, and heavy attack buttons, you also have a block/counter button. Press this at the exact moment your hit and you essentially parry the attack, and can follow up with a counter. Mistime it, even a little, and you’re probably in a world of hurt. When you pick your character from the 30+ choices including no less than 5 school girls (seriously guys, we’ll get there) you get to choose your “style,” which determines how they control and even what special moves they have. It’s a degree of choice that opens up lots of different matchups–too many, really, for me to fully wrap my head around–but I love knowing that I could really dig into the different styles in the future.
Okay, I promised we’d talk about the characters, so here we are. If you’re a fan of fighters, you’re no stranger to the fact that there are some really weird casts of characters throughout the genre. This area was another where Melty Blood really took me by surprise and fascinated me. Firstly and hilariously, the character select screen looks like a bunch of almost identical faces next to each other. But upon digging a little deeper, this cast includes a number of school girls (many of whom have some kind of power), vampires, vampire hunters (one of which wields a bladed cello), a cat, a human ghost of a cat, a copy of a human ghost of a cat, and seriously, like at least 4 maids (and two character slots that are each a combination of two of the maids). I’m pretty sure one character is a guy in a suit and glasses, and another one two slots to the right is the same guy, but without glasses.
As far as game modes go, it’s your run-of-the-mill fighting game. You’ve got your arcade/story mode, which is just nine fights, a few of which have little dialogue “story” sequences throughout them. There’s a versus mode, practice mode, and both ranked and casual online play. I was surprised to find that I actually did find someone to play a ranked game against online, and was totally unsurprised to find that they completely destroyed me.
Overall, Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code (or MBAACC, as I’ll never call it) is a decent fighter, and definitely deep enough to dig into if it strikes you. The game is a total trip, and I love it for that. It probably isn’t going to be my default fighter I play, but it absolutely is going in the rotation. Plus, one of the girl scout cops fights by summoning ghosts of other characters. And that’s pretty cool.
David Miller is a TOVG staff contributor, improviser and comedian in Los Angeles. Check him out @millerd!