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Battle Arena Toshinden 2
Battle Arena Toshinden 2 Cover Art

North American cover showing Gaia and Sofia engaging in battle

Developer Tamsoft
Publisher Arcade: Capcom - PlayStation: (Japan) Takara / (NA) Playmates Interactive Entertainment - PC: THQ
Platform Arcade, PlayStation, Windows '95, Sega Saturn,
Release date Arcade: November 24, 1995 - PlayStation: (Japan) December 29, 1995 / (World) May 23, 1996 - Windows '95: 1996 - Saturn: September 27, 1996
Genre Fighting
Mode Single player, multiplayer
Rating ESRB: Teen
Media CD-ROM

Battle Arena Toshinden 2 is a weapon based 3D fighting game developed by Tamsoft. It was released for the arcades by Capcom, followed by ports to the PlayStation and PC. It is the sequel to Battle Arena Toshinden, and was a departure in that it was developed for the arcades first, whereas the original had been console exclusive.

Battle Arena Toshinden URA (full title Ultimate Revenge Attack) is a Sega Saturn specific sequel to Toshinden Remix (aka Toshinden S).

GameplayEdit

The core gameplay remains unchanged from the original Battle Arena Toshinden, but the game does include a simple combo system. The 3D movement was also altered to create slightly better balance in battle; differentiating from the first game, dodge rolling will no longer make the character temporarily immune to the opponent's attack (in the first game, it was possible for a character to dodge straight through even the most deadly attacks). As in the first game, a player falling out of the ring will result in a ring out, only this time, if both players fall out of the ring at the same time, the one who falls out last will be declared the winner.

PlotEdit

Battle Arena Toshinden 2Edit

Following the discovery of his treachery, Gaia has been branded a traitor and marked for death by Uranus and Master, the leaders of the Secret Society, who hold another Battle Arena Toshinden tournament in order to lure him out so that he can be swiftly eliminated by them and their loyal forces. In a complete state of personal desperation, Gaia turns to the previous tournament's fighters for help in having to overthrow his former allies, unaware that the entire situation is a deadly trap/scheme orchestrated by Uranus as she personally seeks to eliminate all who stands in her ambitious way of overthrowing Master and taking the Secret Society for herself.

As in the previous tournament, Eiji Shinjo advances to the finals and manages to defeat both Uranus and Master in battle, and even though he is still unable to locate his long-lost older brother Sho, a series of clues are left behind that may lead Eiji to Sho from within the near future. With the deaths of both Uranus and Master, it seems that the Secret Society has been crushed once and for all. However, unbeknownst to the participants, the tournament has secretly been observed through the eyes of the mysterious Vermilion, an agent for the Secret Society's long-time rival criminal group, the Organization, who start to put their own plan for the fighters in motion.

Toshinden URAEdit

Sometime after the events of the first Toshinden game, a police scientist named Ronron creates an android fighter intended for law enforcement, its name being the Replicant. To make the android as strong as possible, its fighting abilities are patterned off the world’s greatest fighter, Sho Shinjo. However, the prototype is stolen just before it can be fully completed. Within time, someone begins murdering famous fighters around the world in a surprising yet shocking manner. With no evidence as to who is behind these murders, the Toshinden fighters grow suspicious of each other. Meanwhile, a mysterious man, known only as Ripper, is seeking Sho Shinjo as his sister (believed to have been Cupido) has disappeared without a trace and Ripper himself believes that Sho may have killed her from within the past. However, every lead Ripper finds takes him to the scene of one of these mysterious murders, leading to him becoming the prime suspect in a shrouded conspiracy that seems to be surrounding him and the rest of the Toshinden fighters.

CharactersEdit

Returning characters: 

  • Gaia (absent from URA)

New characters:

  • Tracy - A notorious New York police officer who likes to fight against criminals with a reckless manner. She is assigned to look into the activities of the Secret Society.
  • Chaos (absent from URA) - An executive of the Secret Society who unexpectedly lost his memories and went completely insane. He is given the orders to eliminate the organization's traitor Gaia.
  • Ripper (URA only) - A mysterious traveler who happens to be the brother of Cupido. He seeks to find the whereabouts of his missing sister.
  • Ronron (URA only) - A Chinese scientist/teacher who is responsible for the creation of the Repli prototype android. She seeks to find and deactivate her creation.

Unlockable characters:

  • Uranus (absent from URA) - A beautiful angel-esque woman who happens to be the second-in-command of the Secret Society. She seeks to overthrow the organization's current leader so that she can take total and absolute control of the Secret Society. She is a sub-boss in the PlayStation version.
  • Master (absent from URA) - The final boss in the Arcade, PlayStation and PC versions of Battle Arena Toshinden 2. She is a powerful psychic who leads the Secret Society and seeks to destroy anything that stands in the organization's way of world domination.
  • Replicant (URA only) - A prototype android created by Ronron. Its original purpose was to be a huge step in the progression of law enforcement, but it was later stolen and reprogrammed by Wolf in order to help assist him from within his own evil schemes. It is the sub-boss of Toshinden URA.
  • Wolf (URA only) - Ronron's superior, who steals her prototype android Replicant and reprograms it in order to use it for his own evil schemes. He is the final boss of Toshinden URA.
  • Vermilion - An unknown gunfighter who infiltrates the tournament for a shrouded agenda. He is a secret boss in both Battle Arena Toshinden 2 and Toshinden URA.

ReleaseEdit

Though based on the original version of Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Battle Arena Toshinden URA has altered gameplay, making it feel notably different. It also has all new arenas, a new story, a different CG intro and four exclusive new characters (Ripper, Ronron, Replicant and Wolf) that replace four of the original version's characters (Gaia, Chaos, Uranus and Master). Though within the game "URA" is an abbreviation, the word "Ura" also has combat connotations in Japanese.

A special edition of Toshinden 2, named Battle Arena Toshinden 2 Plus was later released only in Japan for the PlayStation on The Best range (equivalent to the Greatest Hits and Platinum ranges in North America and Europe). It features enhanced graphics, improved control and tweaked CPU AI. It also makes some balancing tweaks to the characters' attacks. An option to save results, option settings and unlocked characters to a memory card was also added.

Toshinden 2 was ported to the PC. It is a Windows port of the PlayStation version with arcade graphical fidelity, the ability to play the game in higher resolutions and some additional options, such as the ability to remap all the controls (the PlayStation version only allows the remapping of the shoulder buttons). Unlike the original PlayStation port, it also saves unlocked characters, settings and results. However, the introductory movie was removed.

ReceptionEdit

In reviews for Battle Arena Toshinden 2, critics generally commented that the game is good but shows little improvement over its predecessor and fails to measure up to marketplace competitors like Virtua Fighter 2 and Tekken 2. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly had a more positive reaction than most, praising the graphics and the new character Vermillion, though they did remark that the game was not as good as Virtua Fighter 2. A reviewer for Next Generation similarly said that though Battle Arena Toshinden 2 addresses many of the complaints made about the original game and has impressive light-sourcing effects, backgrounds, and overdrive super moves, it still fails to measure up to Virtua Fighter 2: "The depth of gameplay and complexity of the strategy isn't there, and the speed and smoothness of VF2 far outweighs Toshinden 2's light-sourcing and moving backgrounds. ... The initial 'wow' of the first Toshinden ... is gone and what's left is a fighting game that isn't deep, fast, or balanced enough to compete with the best." The magazine's later review of the arcade version was still less enthusiastic. The reviewer contended that the Toshinden series is not well-suited to the arcade environment, and criticized the fact that the arcade version is near-identical to the PlayStation version, since standards are higher in arcades.

Maximum's Rich Leadbetter argued that the changes from the original game, particularly the new characters Chaos and Vermillion, made the game better, but also felt that they were insufficient, particularly in light of the graphical advances PlayStation games had made since the original Toshinden was released. He concluded by advising PlayStation owners to wait for Tekken 2 instead. Major Mike of GamePro similarly described the game as "more of the same." While he stated the graphics are better than the first game, he derided the game's lack of intelligent fighting technique, particularly that combos are very limited and the fights essentially boil down to trading special attacks. IGN stated that the game's animations were not very smooth and the camera made gameplay challenging. Final comments on the game stated that although the game wasn't necessarily bad, it wasn't exactly outstanding either.

Battle Arena Toshinden URA, however, met with overwhelmingly negative reviews. Critics remarked that despite the game running in high resolution, the enhanced textures over the PlayStation game cause URA to suffer from a generally muddy and choppy appearance. Several reviewers called the new character Ronron one of the worst fighting game characters ever created. Many critics also began to find serious problems in the basic Toshinden gameplay with this installment; Jeff Gerstmann stated in GameSpot that "Though URA has the most features of any Toshinden release to date, it's still like playing the previous Toshinden games. That is to say, the control is sluggish, the combo system is weak, and the special moves are dull." Dan Hsu similarly wrote in Electronic Gaming Monthly, "I look at these games as a novelty now, because it's more flash than technique. The fighters do not have a lot of moves available, and the ones they do have are pretty boring." A reviewer for Next Generation commented, "Any time you can beat the entire game on the hardest difficulty by mashing on one button - with your eyes closed - there's something very wrong." GamePro's Major Mike found it very similar to the previous Saturn entry in the series, Battle Arena Toshinden Remix, and concluded, "Simply put, URA is just more of a bad thing." He gave it a 3.0 out of 5 or lower in every category, including a 0.5 for Fun Factor. Lee Nutter noted in Sega Saturn Magazine that the game had been given an unusually high level of PAL optimization, but concluded that the mediocre graphics and lack of depth in the gameplay made it a poor buy, particularly with Fighters Megamix soon to be released in PAL regions.