The title is one of the most terrible ever, but Revengers of Vengeance is actually an interesting game. Not really a *good* game per se, but at least has interesting ideas and is unique. Unfortunately those ideas aren't executed all that well and you end up with something not really worth playing, but some points for trying, I guess.

It's primarily a Street Fighter-esque fighting game, but sub-SF2 in quality ... Eternal Champions is a closer comparison but I think it's even a little bit worse than that. You've got three major modes of play. First up is Tournament Mode, which is pretty straightforward ... pick one of the game's characters and beat down all the others one after the other. Even on Easy difficulty in this mode, however, the CPU is like fighting an SNK last boss, just auto-executing a perfect counter to your move as soon as you've pressed the buttons. The only way through is that the computer has a loophole in its AI about not blocking certain projectile attacks very often, so you can spam your way to victory. At least until you get to this jackoff sub-boss Jado, some trollface who absorbs health from every move he successfully blocks. And of course he turtles like a motherfucker. So that mode kinda sucks.

The meat of the game is Quest Mode, and this is where it gets inventive and somewhat interesting. Last boss Venum is going to revive and destroy the world in 200 days, and you have that amount of time to level up and get ready to fight him. You're in a tiny little town that looks kinda like Phantasy Star, and your character has an overall level and various stats to be raised - offensive power, defense, movement speed, jumping ability and etc. To get EXP and money, you can go out into the world map to certain other places to fight the game's other characters. There's no permanent death, but losing nets you a lot less money and EXP than winning does.

The other way to get EXP and money is the interesting and unexpected bit - there's a Guild in town that you can take quests from (for an upfront fee of 1000 or 2000 bucks), and these are in the form of a top-down shooter! Your character has a rapid-fire pea shooter beam and can charge up a charged power shot as well. None of these are any great shakes but they're actually competently designed and kind of fun. They start out a little too easy but they seem to go up in difficulty gradually as your character powers up, by the last few game days they're some fiendish bullet hell challenge, but also seem to grant more EXP. There's no perma-death here either, dying means you're out the fee you paid to go on the quest, but you still get a decent cut of EXP depending on how far you made it in the level before you croaked.

There's a few other ways to raise stats in town. There's a gym where you can take various classes for either 3 or 7 days at a time. You have to be careful though, because each class raises one stat but lowers another one, and doesn't warn you about the one that will be lowered. There's three different shops that also carry various items, most raise stats temporarily, but there's one that sells more expensive stuff that raises stats permanently. As with the gym though, some of these have unmarked lowering effects on other stats.

This isn't a bad concept at all but the problem is that it's repetitive and way too easy. 200 days is a super generous amount of time to get ready, and you can easily max the most important stats well before that between levelling up and buying items. The shooter levels are a little too easy for most of the game (though they eventually get brutal), and once you have an exploit going for the enemy AI you can easily win all the fights on the map as well.

Eventually you have to take on Venum though this part isn't explained at all and takes some experimenting to figure out. There's a castle in the bottom corner of the map you initially can't get to. If you chug like 20 colas in a row at the Pub, though, the guy eventually tells you that you need a magic book to break the castle seal. If you go to the town fortune teller (who raises your levels when you have enough EXP), and get your fortune told, she'll describe the backdrop of a random area. Go to that area immediately and beat that character and you'll get one of the books. Then use it as an item and you can access the castle from then on. At first, though, that dick Jado is occupying it. I stumbled across a way to beat him, however, just spam projectiles until one catches him, then immediately hold down and back. For some reason he'll just calmly sit on the floor with you until time runs out and you win the decision. I'm not sure whether or not you ever need to beat him, he might be optional. Eventually, either when your level is high enough or when it's just a few days from Venum's revival, the fortune teller will start saying something like "Your power already exceeds Venum, act now" or something like that. At that point, if you go to the castle, you fight Venum instead of Jado, and he has much higher stats but doesn't have that bullshit health absorb block thing. You actually get a decent ending cinematic for each character.

The final mode of play is called Arena, and I thought that it was the game's two-player mode based on the picture of two goofy Genesises duking it out ... but apparently it's actually some sort of weird managerial sim. You create a character by picking an existing character and adjusting sliders for their battle behavior. You can save like 8 or 10 of them, then turn them loose on each other in a computer AI battle to see who comes out on top. No real point to this other than for laughs, I guess.

This concept with a better fighting engine and a more interesting hub town might have actually made for a good game. What we got seems like it was either rushed, handled by a lack of experienced staff, or both. The little shooter Quests are a fun bonus but the core of the game is the fighting engine, and that's fairly rubbishy. Too bad.
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