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PSP Video Game Review: Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen (サンデー VS マガジン 集結! 頂上大決戦)

In an unprecedented move, both Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magazine have joined forces with Konami in a fighting game featuring characters from popular series within the last 50-years. “Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen” may not be the ultimate fighting game but it’s still one heck of an enjoyable and exciting fighting game worth owning, especially now that you can buy it cheap online!

TITLE: Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen

PUBLISHED BY: KONAMI

CONSOLE: Sony PSP

RELEASE DATE: March 2009

On March 17, 1959, two shonen (a term which means “boy”) manga magazines were released in Japan.

One was Weekly Shonen Magazine published by Kodansha and the other was Weekly Shonen Sunday published by Kodansha. The former which were known for its mature titles that targeted high school and college students and the latter which targeted various ages.

But for over 50-years, these two publications have entertained generations of Japanese.

For Weekly Shonen Magazine, they had hits such as “GeGeGe no Kitaro”, “Cyborg 009”, “Hajime no Ippo”, “Eightman”, “Violence Jack”, “Boys Be…”, “Harlem Beat”, “Rave Master”, “Ashita no Joe”, “Tiger Mask”, “Devil Man”, “Kamen Rider”, “GTO”, “Love Hina”, “GetBackers”, “Samurai Deeper Kyo”, “Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle”, “Cross OVer”, “School Rumble”, “Over Drive” to name a few.

While Weekly Shonen Sunday had hits such as “Meitantei Conan”, “InuYasha”, “Major”, “Submarine 707”, “The Legend of Kamui”, “Ultraman Taro”, “Urusei Yatsura”, “Cyborg 009”, “Touch”, “Mai, the Psychic Girl”, “Tenchi Muyo”, “Ranma 1/2”, “Mobile Police Patlabor”, “Ushio and Tora”, “Ghost Sweeper Mikami”, “H2”, “Flame of Recca”, “ARMS”, “Konjiki no Gash!” to name a few.

And in an unprecedented move in Japan, both publications would combine their March 29, 2008 issue to celebrate their 50th year anniversary and also do a commemorative event including merchandise and manga crossovers.

And sure enough, that included a video game released titled “Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen”, a fighting video game featuring 30 playable characters from both publications plus over a 100 support characters.

Needless to say, to have characters from both rival publications in one video game is exciting and while it was amazing to see all Shonen Jump characters in the “Jump Superstars” videogames for the Nintendo DS, needless to say, many people have grown up with both Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magazine publications and to see characters from the last 50 years in a video game is unheard of.

Granted, you’re not going to see characters from Rumiko Takahashi’s popular “Urusei Yatsura” or “Ranma 1/2” but you will see characters from “InuYasha”. You’re not going to see the Ultraman or the Kamen Rider characters, “Patlabor”, “Tenchi Muyo”, “Ghost Sweeper Mikami” series as well and frankly, I’m sure that the licensing for these characters for this game must have been challenging and possibly costly. But for those who do want those major characters, there was a trading card battle pack released in conjunction with this anniversary, but suffice to say, for various gamers of different generations, the characters will appeal to many people.

For “Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen”, you do get the following 30 playable characters:

Shonen Sunday:

  • Hayate Ayasaki (Hayate no Gotoku)
  • Kaoru Akashi (Zettai Karen Children)
  • Yoshimori Sumimura (Kekkaishi)
  • Tokine Yukimura (Kekkaishi)
  • Kenichi Shirahama (History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi)
  • Miu Furinji (History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi)
  • InuYasha (InuYasha)
  • Kosuke Ueki (The Law of Ueki)
  • Recca Hanabishi (Flame of Recca)
  • Ryo Takatsuki (Project ARMS)
  • Aotsuki Ushio and Tora (Ushio and Tora)
  • Yaiba Kurogane (Legend of the Swordmaster Yaiba)
  • R. Tanaka Ichiro (Kyukyoku Chojin R)
  • Noboru Takizawa (Blazing Transfer Student)

Shonen Magazine

  • Ippo Makunouchi (Hajime no Ippo)
  • Mamoru Takamura (Hajime no Ippo)
  • Natsu Dragneel (Fairy Tail)
  • Lucy Heartfilia (Fairty Tail)
  • Negi Springfield (Negima! Magister Negi Magi)
  • Itsuki Minami (Air Gear)
  • Croissant Mask (Air Gear)
  • Shinichi Mechazawa (Cromartie High School)
  • Ban Mido (GetBackers)
  • Demon Eyes Kyo (Samurai Deeper Kyo)
  • Koutarou Shindou (Kotaro Makaritoru)
  • Devilman (Devilman)
  • Joe Yabuki (Ashita no Joe)
  • Tiger Mask (Tiger Mask)
  • Cyborg 009 (Cyborg 009)

Others:

  • Boss (specially made for this game)

GAMEPLAY:

“Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen” is a fighting game, featuring one-on-one battles but also quest mode included. The various modes in this game are:

  • Arcade Mode – One-on-One 2D battles and you can select from simple mode (for those who find fighting games difficult) and technical mode (for those who like to string combos). Each time you beat the arcade mode with a character, you open up new characters in the game. (Note: For more moves for a character, you will need to play Quest Mode to earn points in order to purchase and unlock moves and assign support characters, special moves to buttons, etc.). There are no stories for these battles.
  • Quest Mode – Quest Mode features a player (or you and a few friends) on a 2-D fighting game in which you fight against various alien-like characters, warping from various stages and trying to beat challenging levels within a time-limit. This mode is essential to earning orbs for unlocking a characters super and ultra moves and more support characters.
  • Free Battle – Fight against the computer or versus a friend via Ad Hoc.
  • My Room – This allows you to learn about your character, information on the series and data for the game and what orbs/sections can still be opened up for characters/move sets.
  • Options – Options to change rounds, difficulty, audio settings, etc.

CONTROLS:

Controls were fairly responsive. For me, I had no problems controlling the characters (as I’m used to fighting games on the Sony PSP) but it’s important to note that I did use a PSP 3000 version versus my 1000 version which made the characters slightly faster as I have read some people having sluggish problems on the older PSP system. There was a sense of a little lagging, so it’s not as fluid compared to a “Street Fighter”, “King of Fighters” or “Tekken” game. The fight mechanics are OK nothing great that you can do hardcore combos. So, this is not exactly type of game to expect so much fight-wise compared to the heavyweight fighting games but compared to anime-related fighting games, it’s actually pretty fun and if you know how to utilize the technical moves of the game, you can do some really cool combos, including aerial combos as hitting L and R can initiate a burst mode sending some characters to the air.

Especially once you open the fighting moves for each character, some of those moves are devastating and fantastic to see. For example, I was using Ippo Makunouchi (of “Hajime no Ippo”) and he seemed sluggish at first as I had to use a lot of defense to move him in and out to land a blow because at times he seemed slow until I activated a support which gave him a bit more speed. But once you unlock his special moves, he starts going crazy with combos and he is much quicker. This happens to a lot of characters. Once you play them in arcade, play them again once you open their moves and they are totally different and much more fun to play.

GRAPHICS:

Character animation is pretty good on the PSP. The characters are similar to their animated counterparts and presented in that manner instead of 3D. Colors are vibrant and the backgrounds for the matches are done well.

AUDIO:

Audio is as expected from this game in terms of in-game fighting with the grunts, occasional yelling of words and sound effects from hits but there is no spoken dialogue and there is no story mode in this game. But for the most part, audio is fine for this game.

IS IT USER-FRIENDLY FOR NON-JAPANESE READING PLAYERS

Very user friendly. There really is no reading to be done unless you want to read about their character histories and information in the “My Room” section. But for the main part of the game and Quest Mode, there is no need to know Japanese. You’ll be able to figure this game out with ease.

When it comes to fighting video games, “Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen” was exciting for me, in a fan service kind of way, because you get so many characters from the last 50 years from two rival publications in a fighting game. How cool is that? And there is a lot of replayability if you want to utilize the various support characters in the game. And as for support characters, there are over a hundred of them to use.

With that being said, this is not a game where one should think technical fighting in the sense of “Street Fighter”, “King of Fighters”, “Tekken”, “BlazBlue Calamity Trigger”, “Guilty Gear”, etc. Those games had years and years of upgrades, tests with gamers who look to these games for competitive fighting (Granted moreso on the console and arcade rather than portable) but by no means is “Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen” a bad fighting game because it’s not.

The thing is, your moves are not available from the start, you’re going to have to play a quest mode that is a bit tedious and challenging in order to get points to purchase these moves and then the fun really starts for the game. This is where you can really pull off some fun combos, aerial moves and see these characters fight crazy. And this is where a lot of people probably dismiss the game because they start off on arcade mode and realize how simplistic the moves are and they button mash thinking that the moves are limited without opening the characters full set of moves.

I will say that if there is one bummer about this game is that the speed can get a bit cumbersome with its lag at times and while it’s not as bad when you have a bad signal during an online matchup, for some people, lag is lag and it’s bad. But for me, it wasn’t that bad at all but it’s there. Bare in mind, I tried this on my PSP 3000 and not on the 1000 to see how slow it would be.

And I think another bummer for some players, including myself, is that not all your favorite characters will be on this game? Heck, I would love to play Lum (Urusei Yatsura) or Ranma Saotome (Ranma 1/2) with an Akane or Ryoga support but still, you do get a good balance of characters (30 playable characters) and then with over a hundred support characters, it makes the game worthwhile.

And because its sheer amount of characters, there is no connection to the gameplay of “Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen” with “Jump All Stars” as they are two different games but I will say that if they did share something in common, it’s the fact that you can assign support characters and that is about it.

Overall, I can’t help but think of how cool it is to have characters from 50 years in a fighting video game. Who would have thought you would see some of these characters in a video game at all…especially from competing two rival publications. Again, it’s definitely a rare situation to see this happen and the fact that they joined forces for their 50th anniversary is quite unprecedented.

While “Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen” may not be the ultimate fighting game nor it be close to being a great fighting game, it’s still a fun and exciting fighting game with characters that you will probably never ever see again together in a video game. This is a one-shot deal and if you are a manga or anime fan who have familiarity with these characters, then you know how special this game is.

And the fact that you can get this game quite cheap online (I paid $18.99) makes this game worth owning!


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