Red Earth (video game)
Official brochure for the game
|Release date(s)||November 21, 1996|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||CP System III|
Red Earth, released in Japan as War-Zard (ウォーザード?), is a fantasy-themed 2D competitive fighting game released by Capcom as a coin-operated video game in 1996. It was the first game for Capcom's CP System III hardware, the same hardware which Street Fighter III and its derivatives ran on. Red Earth is the only CPS III video game which has never been officially ported to home platforms, although its characters have appeared in later Capcom games.
Red Earth features two different game modes: a single-player Quest Mode and a two-player Versus Mode. In Quest Mode, the player chooses from one of the four main characters, and progresses through their character's storyline while fighting against a series of eight computer-controlled adversaries in one-on-one battles (like in the first Street Fighter, gaining experience points during each battle. In Versus Mode, two players fight against each other, each using any of the four main characters (including the same character as the other player). Red Earth uses a password feature that allows the player to play the game later on the same skill level their character reached when it ended the last time. The character is able to acquire new abilities depending on the skill level that has been reached.
The fighting system itself is similar to previous Capcom fighting games such as the Street Fighter series with a few key differences. First of all, the vitality gauge of each computer-controlled opponent fought by the player during Quest mode is displayed across the bottom of the screen, and is much larger than the player's own vitality gauge. Also, as the player lands hits on their opponents, various coins and treasure chests come out. Collecting coins provides experience points, while various items can be found in treasure chests such as orbs (used to perform super moves) and food (which replenishes the player's vitality). These elements make the game very similar to a side-scrolling action game rather than a traditional competitive fighting game.
In addition, Red Earth is one of few Capcom games with fatalities. They include splitting the opponent in half both horizonally or vertically, decapitation, artery rupture, organ removal, limb slicing. The Darkstalkers series is another holding this distinction.
Red Earth takes place on an alternate version of Earth sometime in the 14th century (the Japanese version states a post-apocalyptic 1999 however) where the world did not experience any technological revolutions or Renaissance and was still in a medieval/mythological state. A new country has risen by the evil Scion, who sends out various monsters to take over the world. Four heroes emerge to defend Earth.
- Leo (voiced by Daisuke Gōri) - The King of Savalia (Greedia in War-Zard), who was transformed into a half-lion half-man state when an unknown force invaded his kingdom. The three wise men tried to remove the curse but couldn't. Now Leo uses the curse as his strength to "repay his debt to his countrymen" only to return to Savalia and find a large number of people (civilians and soldiers) have been kidnapped, and the monster Hauzer awaiting him.
- Kenji (Mukuro in War-Zard, voiced by Yukimasa Kishino) - The head of the Ramon family and leader of the Oniwabanshu, an elite ninja squadron who serve the Shogun of Zipang. When an unknown army of invaders attacks his country with flying blackships, the Shogun orders Kenji to assess the situation. Although Kenji secretly distrusts his Shogun and believes that he may be betraying the country, he goes along with everything during his investigation.
- Tessa (Tabasa in War-Zard, voiced by Tomoko Naka) - A female "sorcerologist" who studies the scientific aspects of magic. She lives in Icelarn and excels in the use of magic. When a large series of thunderstorms began occurring in her area, Tessa starts to investigate their cause, believing that they're not natural. When she meets an opponent, she can easily tell everything about him or her, whether the opponent is evil or good.
- Mai-Ling (Tao in War-Zard, voiced by Megumi Urawa) - A young talented martial artist from Gora. She finds her hometown in ruins after returning from a martial arts tournament. Moments later the one responsible for the attack, Lavia, turns up and attacks her. After her fight with the transformed harpy she decides to search the world for those who attack her home and to find the missing children of her village.
- Hauzer - A fossil from Savalia, but resurrected by Scion, that largely resembles a Tyrannosaurus and was sent to attack Savalia (Greedia in Japan), Leo's kingdom and inhabits his stage.
- Kongou (voiced by Daisuke Gōri) - Kongou was once a mere human named Tanuma from Zipang. He was a portly merchant with no fighting ability, but then he met Scion, who bestowed upon him the ability to transform into an oni. Now known as Kongou, he is terrorizing his own homeland, wielding a massive spiked club and reducing those who stand in his way to nothing.
- Ravange (Secmeto in War-Zard) - A cross between an Egyptian sphinx and a Greek chimera. It was created by an Egyptian Priestess, Clara Tantra (Arumana IV in Japan), and fuses the power of the lion, goat, eagle, dragon, and cobra together along with hers. Inhabits the Sangypt stage.(Alanbird in Japan)
- Hydron (Nool in War-Zard, voiced by Osamu Hosoi) - A half ammonite, half kraken mutated squid monster who was given power by Scion. Inhabits the Icelarn stage.
- Lavia (Luan in War-Zard, voiced by Tomoko Naka) - A harpy who was once good before being cursed by Scion and then attacked Gora, Mai Ling's village which she now inhabits.
- Gi Gi (voiced by Osamu Hosoi) - A robotic Chavín statue. Inhabits the Crypt stage. The detail of Gigi's sprite is an example of asymmetrical color schemes. When facing left, the main parts and trimmings of Gigi's body will be red, but when he is facing right, they will be blue. Capcom would later use this advanced technique for Gill from Street Fighter III, but to a much more detailed degree.
- Blade (Originally Jihad in the Japanese earlier versions, voiced by Yukimasa Kishino) - A suit of armor brought to life by Scion. He was once commander of Leo's bodyguards, before being turned into an emerald. Now, He's Scion's second-in command and acts as his enforcer. Also, the battle against him has two phases. In the first phase, he is wearing a red cloak. In the second phase which is activated by him taking enough damage, he discards his cloak. He inhabits the Darminor stage.
- Scion (Valdoll in War-Zard, voiced by Daisuke Gōri) - A wizard and final boss of the game. Claims to be the messiah of the world, and intends to destroy the generation of humans in order to build a new one from its ruins. He inhabits the Darminor castle stage. Scion has dragons who aid him in battle and has an attack similar to Ouke no Sabaki, a move used by Anakaris from the Darkstalker series, in which it changes a character into a miniature version of his/herself. Leo becomes a cub, Kenji becomes a beetle, Tessa becomes a penguin, and Tao becomes a monkey. After he is defeated in the first round, he and his dragons mutate into powerful forms for a second round.
An official soundtrack of the game was released on December 18, 1996, for ¥3200. It was composed by Takayuki Iwai with additional help by Ryoji Yamamoto and Wataru Hachisako. It contains 72 tracks over 2 CDs. Certain tracks were later featured in the 2004 game Capcom Fighting Evolution, although they are downgraded versions and slightly offtune.
Two books about the game were published in Japan. The first one, titled All About War-Zard, is an in depth look at the creation of the game. It contains many pages of concept art and screenshots, details on technical and musical aspects of the game as well as gameplay strategies. The other book, titled Gamest Mook #65: War-Zard, was a similar, although unofficial book. This book also contained a fan art section.
Capcom also released several figurines of the various characters and bosses from the game.
A Darkstalkers/Red Earth manga, entitled "Maleficarum", was published in Japan in 1997. The English edition was made available by UDON in October 2010.
Some of the characters from Red Earth have appeared in other fighting games:
- Tessa appeared as playable in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos and Super Gem Fighter, plus a cameo in Leo's ending in Capcom Fighting Jam. She also appears in Dr. Strange's ending in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.
- Leo appeared as a playable character in Capcom Fighting Jam. He makes a cameo appearance in Hawkeye's ending in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.
- Kenji also appeared as a playable in Capcom Fighting Jam. He makes an appearance as a character card in the "Heroes and Heralds" mode of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.
- Mai-Ling is the only one of the four main characters who hasn't appeared as a playable character in a crossover game, however, she appeared in Pyron and Leo's endings in Capcom Fighting Jam, in Tessa's defenses from Pocket Fighter, and in the background of the Shanghai stage in Capcom vs SNK 2.
- Hauzer not only became playable in Capcom Fighting Jam, but also appeared in Ryu's ending in Pocket Fighter and in Karas and Saki's endings in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.
- Hydron is the remaining playable character in Capcom Fighting Jam.
- Gi Gi appears in PTX-40A's ending in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
- Several of the bosses from Red Earth appear in the background of a Red Earth-themed stage in Capcom Fighting Jam. Gi Gi and Kongou appear in Jedah's ending in this game, and Blade also appeared in Leo's ending.
- Kongou and Ravange also appear in Hsien-Ko's ending in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, along with Marvel's Thor, Hela, Jedah from Darkstalkers, and Orochi from Okami.
- Tessa, Leo, Kenji and Mai-Ling appear as cards in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series.
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