Melty Blood (メルティブラッド Meruti Buraddo ), is a visual novel and fighting game, co-developed by dōjin circles Type-Moon and French-Bread, originally released at Comiket on December 2002. It is shortened as simply Merubura (メルブラ).
Based on Type Moon's visual novel game, Tsukihime, it later spawned an arcade version, titled Act Cadenza, that was developed by Ecole Software and has also been ported to the PlayStation 2. Act Cadenza is the first Type-Moon title to receive a console release.
The story of Melty Blood follows one year after Tsukihime. Shiki Tohno hears of a new series of murders in Misaki similar to the ones that took place Tsukihime. Whilst searching for the murderer he meets Sion Eltnam Atlasia who initiates a fight with him, attempting to capture him. After the fight she reveals that her reason for trying to capture him is to get in contact with the "True Ancestor" (referring to Arcueid) so that she may acquire information on the "cure for vampirism". Shiki then decides to help her with this task.
The story moves through a series of fights. Depending on the outcome of the fight the story will branch in one of two ways. Ultimately this corresponds to the ending of the game.
As of Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code Ver. 1.07, there are 31 playable characters.
- Shiki Tohno （遠野志貴, Tōno Shiki）: Kenji Nojima
- Arcueid Brunestud (アルクェイド・ブリュ ンスタッド, Arukueido Buryunsutaddo): Ryōka Yuzuki
- Ciel: (シエル, Shieru) Kumi Sakuma
- Akiha Tohno （遠野秋葉）: Hitomi
- Hisui (翡翠): Miyu Matsuki
- Kohaku (琥珀): Naoko Takano
- Nrvnqsr Chaos: Jōji Nakata
- Miyako Arima （有間都古）: Miwa Kōzuki
- Satsuki Yumiduka （弓塚さつき）: Omi Minami
- Aoko Aozaki （蒼崎青子）: Kotono Mitsuishi
- Michael Roa Valdamjong: Ken Narita
Kagetsu Tohya characters
Kara no Kyoukai characters
- Ryougi Shiki (両儀式, Ryōgi Shiki): Maaya Sakamoto
- Sion Eltnam Atlasia: Rio Natsuki - the main character of 'Melty Blood' series
- The Night of Wallachia (ワラキアの夜 Warakia no Yoru ): Yasunori Masutani
- Mech-Hisui: Miyu Matsuki
- White Len: Kaori Mizuhashi
- Riesbyfe Stridberg (リーズバイフェ・ストリンドヴァリ Rīzubaife Sutorindovari ): Akeno Watanabe
- Dust of Osiris (Boss of Melty Blood: Actress Again and vampiric full form of Sion Eltnam Atlasia): Rio Natsuki - not playable in 'Current Code' 1.07
Alternative/bosses and hidden characters
- Akiha Vermillion (紅赤朱秋葉 Kurenai Sekishu Akiha ) or 赤主秋葉 Sekishu Akiha: Hitomi
- Sion TATARI (吸血鬼シオン Kyūketsuki Shion ): Rio Natsuki
- G-Akiha (G秋葉): Hitomi - not appears in 'CurrentCode' 1.07
- Red Arcueid (暴走アルクェイド Bōsō Arukueido ): Ryōka Yuzuki
- Neco-Arc (猫アルク／ネコアルク Neko Aruku/Neko Aruku ): Ryōka Yuzuki
- Neco-Arc Chaos (ネコアルク・カオス Neko Aruku Kaosu ): Jōji Nakata
- Damien Armies (ダミアン・アーミー Damian Āmī ) - not appears in 'Current Code' 1.07
- Neco Chaos Black G666 (ネコカオス・ブラックG666 Neko Kaosu Burakku G666 ): Jōji Nakata
- Koha(ku) & Mech(Hisui): Naoko Takano & Miyu Matsuki
- Neco(Arc) & Mech(Hisui): Ryōka Yuzuki & Miyu Matsuki
- Seifuku Akiha (制服秋葉|Akiha wearing school uniform): Hitomi
- Archetype:Earth (True Ancestor Arcueid|真祖アルクェイド): Ryōka Yuzuki - playable character and the boss in own route
- Powerd Ciel (Executioner Ciel|完全武装シエル): Kumi Sakuma
In the original Melty Blood, only six (Sion, Arcueid, Ciel, Akiha, Kohaku&Hisui, and Shiki Tohno) of these characters above were available to be played, with eight more being unlockable through story-mode. However, in a later update released for the game (the 'Nero' patch), all the characters are available from the start. The reasons for this are slightly unclear; they appear to be the result of a legal misunderstanding whereby Type-Moon mistakenly thought they would no longer be allowed to produce updates/patches, and thus made a 'last patch' which unlocked the characters as a sort of gift for the fans. Whatever the reason, Type-Moon has left these characters available throughout all subsequent releases. In addition, Aoko and Kouma were both added to the game as of Act Cadenza, although Aoko was an unplayable 'boss character' in previous versions. Act Cadenza also changed the given names of several characters, generally to make identification of the doppelgangers by name easier.
Melty Blood was originally released on December 2002 for the PC. An expansion patch, Re-ACT released two years later in May 2004, and an update, ReACT Final Tuned, released in July 2005. An arcade version of the series, Melty Blood: Act Cadenza, was later developed by Ecole Software and released on March 2005. Later, a PlayStation 2 version of Act Cadenza was released on August 10, 2006. A Windows version, Melty Blood Act Cadenza Ver.B, was also released on July 27, 2007. The series' newest game, Melty Blood: Actress Again, was released on September 19, 2008.
An expansion to the original game, featuring an 'Arcade Mode' whose storyline takes place after the original Melty Blood. The expansion made numerous changes in regards to character balance and to remove many infinite-combo sequences. Also, new movesets were created for the doppelgänger characters, whereas in the original, most of these characters had nearly identical movesets to their counterparts. It also made changes to the game's mechanics and added several new characters, though only two are playable the other 4 NPCs: Ren, Satsuki Yumizuka, Neko-Arc (non-playable character) Executioner Ciel (Ciel holding the Seventh Holy Scripture, non-playable character), White Ren (Sub Boss) and Aoko Aozaki (non-playable boss).
The final update to Re-ACT, Final Tuned, adds several features designed to allow the game to be configured to resemble the gameplay of Melty Blood: Act Cadenza. It also adds a large number of gameplay tweaks and slightly updated animations.
The most notable of the new features are:
- The inclusion of a new, analog-friendly controller setup
- New configuration options that lets players assign multi-button commands to individual buttons
- The ability to alter and adjust many of the game's internal variables (via new interface options)
- Four new colors for each player
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza was the first arcade port of the series and was published by Ecole Software. The visual novel was removed, but the Arcade Mode dialogue featured in Re-ACT returns. It completely revamped Aoko Aozaki's movelist for use as a playable character, and introduced Kouma Kishima into the series, a man who was deeply involved in Shiki Tohno's past. It also introduced the Shielding mechanic (separate from EX-Shielding), as well as included various changes to the properties of characters. This version (as well as the later released Ver. A) can be identified by the Atlasia crest, and the phrase "Through the Looking-Glass, Black Light transparently", both present in the logo.
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza, released for the PlayStation 2, was unique as a port in that it included an option to revert to Version A mechanics, yet introduced significant changes that were later included in ver.B, including an early version of Neco-Arc Chaos as a hidden character. It is sometimes known as Ver. A2.
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza Ver. B is an arcade port of the PS2 game with various changes and upgrades, the most notable of which is the inclusion of White Len as a playable character, with a significantly weakened moveset. It also introduced a fifth button that served as a contextual action depending on the situation and the direction held on the joystick when pressed, such as dodging or throwing. This version can be identified by a dual silhouette of Len and White Len in the logo and the phrase "Through the Looking-Glass, Northern Light transparently".
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza Ver. B2 is a Windows PC port of the arcade Ver. B. It has added features including tag-team mode, a 4-player team battle mode, a programmable dummy for training purposes and a new hidden boss character, Neco-Arc Chaos Black G666(replacing G-Akiha from Melty Blood: Re-ACT). It also included subtle gameplay changes, most notably altered defense ratings for characters and adjustments to the game's input system. It was released on July 27, 2007.
Melty Blood: Actress Again, is the third game in the Melty Blood fighting game series. It was released in the 4Q 2008 on Sega Naomi hardware. Compared to Act Cadenza, the game features three entirely new playable characters, as well as several new alternate versions of existing characters in the PS2 version. All characters now feature three different fighting styles known as Full Moon Style, Crescent Moon Style (most similar to Act Cadenza) and Half Moon Style, which changes not only the way in which life and Magic Circuit meters function but also each characters' basic and special attacks. Actress Again was first announced in the December 2007 issue of Arcadia, a Japanese consumer arcade game magazine published by Enterbrain; most available information to date is derived from translations of the article in this issue.   Additional new artwork and a description of the three styles were introduced in the January 2008 issue of Tougeki Damashii magazine. Also in early 2008, Ecole launched the official Actress Again website. Actress Again was released for the PS2 in Japan on August 20, 2009.
Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code is an arcade port of the PS2 version. The game underwent location testing in Akihabara from December 19–20, 2009. The characters formerly exclusive to the PS2 version of Actress Again are now available for use, and the game runs on Sega's RingWide arcade system, as opposed to NAOMI like Act Cadenza and the original Actress Again.
The game's website was launched February 11, 2010, and after being unveiled officially at Japan's Arcade Operators Union show on February 20, 2010, the game began undergoing another two week round of location testing. Current unverified reports say that the price for the game and RingWide hardware will be ¥230,000 plus ¥100,000 for a RingWide Harness and shipping costs, equaling $3560.83 USD at current exchange rates as of May 13, 2010. Several arcade machine distributors show the game as being pegged for a release on July 29, 2010.
An upgrade for Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code was launched in 18 May 2011, branded as Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code Ver. 1.05 with new changes in Gameplay and add 2 new characters in game, Powered Ciel (Ciel's Executioner Version of Melty Blood ReACT) with her own Story Mode and ending, along with new moves and sprites for her.
A final upgrade for Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code was launched in 14 October 2011, named Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code Ver. 1.07. It includes a complete version of Arche-Type Earth (princess version of Arcueid Brunestud) with new sprites and moves for her and also her own Story Mode and ending. Also added were Story Modes and endings for the Neco & Mech and Kohaku & Mech teams. Riesbyfe Stridberg (as happened with Neco-Arc in the PlayStation 2 version of Melty Blood Actress Again) can gain a new route in Story Mode, showing her as living her new life with Sion Eltnam Atlasia and Satsuki Yumizuka as a member of the Back-Alley Alliance (after the endings of Sion and Satsuki).
Melty Blood makes use of widely used concepts in fighting games such as cancels (canceling a normal attack with a special attack before its animation ends, allowing for more complex and damaging combos) chain combos (normal moves that cancel into other normal moves) and the use of super bars (Magic Circuits). It also introduces Shielding, an advanced defensive technique.
EX-Shielding: A high-risk/reward technique which eliminates the damage and 'block-stun' from an attack. Activated by a button press, it requires exact timing to 'deflect' the opponent's attack, thus exposing them to a reversal. However, if mis-timed, an EX-Shield attempt leaves the player extremely vulnerable. EX-Shielding also carries a damage penalty for subsequent attacks, but grants a small amount of Magic Circuit and disallows the opponent to cancel his/her attack into another one. Finally, in later versions of Melty Blood, EX-Shielding during the Blood Heat state activates a unique attack known as a Last Arc. In Melty Blood: Act Cadenza, a new type of Shielding was introduced which allows the player to hold the Shield button for an extended length of time to defend against multiple attacks. However, this rapidly drains Magic Circuit, and grants fewer retaliatory options upon recovery. In Melty Blood: Actress Again shielding varies depending on which style you pick with Half Moon having the ability of an auto-counter and Full Moon with the same ability except it is manually executed after successfully landing a shield.
Magic Circuit: A system that allows players to store up to 300% meter, for various uses such as EX Attacks (high-powered versions of special techniques) and the Heat and Blood Heat modes. These modes allow players to regenerate a portion of their lifebar, as well as allow access to their character's ultimate attacks, known as Arc-Drives and Last Arcs. All of these techniques consume Magic Circuit, which is accumulated by attacking your opponent, and to a lesser degree, successfully defending against your opponent. Magic Circuit carries over between rounds. Magic Circuit is also required for the Circuit Spark technique.
Clashing: An offensive state where certain attacks or maneuvers impact directly with an opponent's attack, thus resulting in a 'clash.' No damage is taken as a result, and both players are allowed to cancel their attacks as if they had connected successfully.
Aerial Recovery: A defensive measure used after being attacked in mid-air by pressing any button and, optionally, while holding a direction. It grants temporarily invulnerability to the player and allows them to resume action, but may be detrimental in certain circumstances if the attacking player predicts which direction the Aerial Recovery is performed.
Tactical Recovery: After being attacked, performed by pressing any upward direction upon impacting the floor. Doing so allows a player to quickly regain momentum and avoid 'OTG'(On The Ground) combos while utterly defenseless. However, players are not allowed to block during the recovery animation, and thus will expose themselves to punishment if the attacking player predicts the recovery attempt. This is an aspect of the Okizeme meta-game found in many fighting games.
Shield Bunker Canceling: More akin to a glitch than an actual feature, Shield Bunker Canceling (known as Baka Cancel in Japan and Bara Cancel in the US) is a powerful technique where a player, while blocking an attack, can counter-attack with a Shield Bunker, but cancels the beginning animation into an attack of their choice. This is typically an EX Attack with invincibility properties. This can drastically affect how one attacks an opponent. There are several methods to counter this technique, but it remains a feature of high-level play in Melty Blood. As proof that this accidental technique was accepted by the game's designers, this technique was altered to incur an additional 50% Magic Circuit cost to balance out its effectiveness in Version B. As of Melty Blood Actress Again the "Bara Cancel" technique is no longer possible.
Circuit Spark: Used during MAX mode only, a Circuit Spark allows a player, who is either blocking an attack or suffering damage, to 'break out' of the attack with an unblockable, invincible 'aura' that sacrifices all available Magic Circuit. This can only be performed if the character is standing or crouching; if the character is airborne or lying down, this technique is unavailable. In Melty Blood Actress Again it is possible to circuit spark in the air with all three styles.
Reverse Beat: A feature of Melty Blood not found in many other games is the ability to cancel attacks with large amounts of recovery into fast jab attacks, thus negating the disadvantage of using heavy slow attacks against a blocking opponent, however there's an adverse effect of damage decreasing in Reverse Beat combos. This features extremely heavily in high-level play for most of the characters.
The Melty Blood manga, illustrated by Takeru Kirishima was first serialized in Kadokawa Shoten manga magazine Comp Ace in 2006. The series ended in 2011 with eleven bound volumes released in Japan.
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza has been featured at the international fighting game tournament Tougeki in 2006, 2007, and 2008, but was not present at the 2009 Tougeki. Melty Blood Actress Again was featured at the Evolution Championship Series 2010 tournament after winning a poll, beating titles such as Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
- "MELTY BLOOD" (in Japanese). Type-Moon. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "Melty Blood pouring into Japanese arcades". GameSpot. July 15, 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- "Melty Blood soaking PS2s". GameSpot. February 24, 2006. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
- (Japanese) Act Cadenza ver.B PC Site
- "Melty Blood: Actress Again". Arcadia (91). December 2007. pp. 36–37
- "Melty Blood: Actress Again". Tougeki Damashii 8. January 2008
- (Japanese) Ecole Software's Location Test Notice
- http://meltyblood.info/?p=651 (Japanese)
- "MELTY BLOOD X (2)". Kadokawa Shoten. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- Tougeki 2007's Official Site
- Tougeki 2009's Official Site
- "Evo 2010 Players Choice Poll". shoryuken.com. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Melty Blood: Act Cadenza official website (Japanese)
- Melty Blood: Act Cadenza (PlayStation 2 version) official website (Japanese)
- Melty Blood: Act Cadenza (Windows version) official website (Japanese)
- Melty Blood: Actress Again official website (Japanese)
- Type-Moon's official page for Melty Blood (Japanese)
- Sega's official page for Melty Blood: Act Cadenza (Japanese)
- Sega's official page for Melty Blood: Act Cadenza Ver. B (Japanese)
- Melty Blood Games Information and Screens
- Melty Blood at the Visual Novel Database