Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer
|Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer|
Cover art by Masami Ōbari
SNK (Neo Geo MVS, Neo Geo CD)
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo-Geo CD, PlayStation|
|Genre(s)||2D Versus fighting|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo (186 Mbit cartridge)|
|Display||Raster, 320 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors|
Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer (超人学園ゴウカイザー Chōjin Gakuen Gōkaizā, "Superhuman Academy Gowcaizer") is a 1995 superhero-themed head-to-head fighting game produced by Technos Japan Corp. for the Neo Geo arcade and home console. It was the company's second attempt at a fighting game, following the Neo Geo fighting game version of Double Dragon. It features character designs by artist Masami Ōbari, who previously worked on the anime adaptations of the Fatal Fury series. Ports of the game were released for the Neo-Geo CD and PlayStation (Japan only).
At the start of the game, the player can select from one of ten playable characters, then select an opponent. If the player wins the battle, he or she is given the opportunity to take one special move from the opponent (this is also possible in multiplayer battles). If the player already has a special move gained from another character, the new special move he or she gets will replace the old one. However, if the player loses a match, should he or she ever continue the game, the player will be allowed access to older weapons earned from past enemies. This game mechanic is similar to the possibility to use other characters' special moves in BloodStorm, another arcade fighting game. One key feature is that if one character has little health remaining, he or she will be able to perform a desperation move to turn the tide of battle. It is also found in The King of Fighters series and Fatal Fury games starting with Fatal Fury 2.
- Gowcaizer (Isato Kaiza) Voiced by: Nobuyuki Hiyama, Ted Lewis (English) - A hotblooded but virtuous teenager, being a skilled martial artist with an enjoyment of the simple things in life, who is the 2016 Japan martial arts champion. Upon the arrival of mysterious men, he is given a curious crystal known as a Kaizer Stone, and is requested to attend the Bernard Institute, a famous worldwide academy also renowned for its mandatory martial arts curriculums. However, catching note of the trouble and the vast amount of crime within the island city of New Tokyo, Isato takes it upon himself with his newfound power as the burning hero Gowcaizer to put a halt to the vice that runs deep in his new home.
- Hellstinger (Kash Gyustan) Voiced by: Hikaru Midorikawa, Wayne Grayson (English) - The son of a famous and praised modern day British classical music composer. Rigorously raised to be his father's successor in the craft since childhood, Kash grew distant and eventually yearning for a life outside of his father's shadow. Upon a mysterious man with a flaming aura about him and giving to him a Kaizer Stone to find its rightful owner, Kash took to heart the stranger's encouragement to leave home and achieve independence. Along his musical expertise placed into his pursuit of rock and roll, and as a student of Bernard, Kash eventually becomes to be known as the dark heavy metal devil hero Hellstinger.
- Karin Son (Sun Hualing) Voiced by: Tomo Sakurai, Apollo Smile (English) - The eldest child of her family raised in a humble remote village in China, Hualing is revealed of her family's secrets, being that they are the descendants of priests and disciples of the legendary Sun Wukong after his great journey with the monk Tang Sanzang to achieve enlightenment. Being the 133rd successor of the arts of the Monkey King, Hualing then takes off on her own pilgrimage to see the world. Having arrived at the Bernard Institute of New Tokyo, her powers to sense evil pick up on what wickedness lies within, and is determined to stop it to prove her worth of the legacy as Karin Son.
- Kyosuke Shigure Voiced by: Ryōtarō Okiayu, Joseph Morgan (English) - A young man with a calamitous past and whose heart is filled with grief, Kyosuke was solely raised by his older sister, who juggled her career as a university student and part-time employment to help make ends meet. At the age of fifteen, his sister then met a man with an odd and threatening air about him; though Kyosuke did not trust him, the man soon manipulated his sister into marrying him, after having noticed something latent within Kyosuke. Sometime after this, upon returning from his part-time job, that man greeted Kyosuke, and promptly murdered his sister in front of his eyes, all to awaken that power deep within him. Having considered that man to have killed the half of himself that yearned and gradually come to learn the meaning of life each day, Kyosuke then learned to harness those strange powers, gaining great spiritual ability. Armed with the Youto Kagura, a spiritually resonant bokken, Kyosuke then embarks on his lone vendetta to avenge his older sister at the hands of the man she loved.
- Shaia Hishizaki (Shaia Shu Silveianu) Voiced by: Yumi Tōma, Deborah Rabbai (English) - A sunny and perky personality, known schoolwide as "Miss Bernard" and a popular idol star throughout the academy, Shaia is in fact an alien policewoman, undercover to find the perpetrator of a Level S Space Crime under the jurisdictions of the Space Federal Direction Control Agency, an extraterrestrial outer space wide policing group to ensure the peace and safety of all known inhabited planets, and kept confidential from Earth's awareness. Although she is a policewoman, she wholeheartedly enjoys the responsibilities, glory and fame her status as an idol has gotten her.
- Brider (Ikki Tachibana) Voiced by: Masami Ōbari, Hideo Ishikawa (OVA) - A young man coming from a family line valuing the tradition of bancho and ouendan, Ikki is renowned as Bernard's hot blood spirited leader of E Block. After practice one day, Ikki rescued a young puppy he named Katamaru, who was in the way of a car. Having shielded the puppy from the impact, however, he then fell unconscious due to his injuries, and woke up later, strapped to a bed. The man he awoke to, having performed heinous experiments on him, requested his allegiance, but Ikki immediately made a daring escape from the facility and that man's strong arms. Under heavy rain, deep sorrow, and having found his new friend Katamaru again, Ikki vowed that day, in the name of justice, that the man who cursed him with his wretched other self shall be righted by him as Brider, the Transformed Bancho.
- Fudohmaru (Ranpou Fudoh) Voiced by: Ryōtarō Okiayu, Hideyuki Hori (OVA), Alex West (English) - A well respected classical literature teacher of Bernard, Ranpou Fudoh is also an undercover ninja of the Fudoh clan, having long been trained in his family's secrets since childhood. With his talents recognized as that of an A Class agent amongst those of the Japanese government with ties still strong to the Tokugawa Shogunate, under the codename Fudohmaru, he is tasked on a mission to infiltrate the ranks of Bernard and eliminate what evils that permeate in its faculty and potentially threaten the country.
- Captain Atlantis (Randy Riggs) Voiced by: Hideo Ishikawa - An academically gifted, bashful, and mild mannered American archeology student of Bernard (as well as self professed comic book fan), Randy Riggs eventually stumbled upon a curious looking ancient mask on his downtime. Upon waking up after a blackout having seen drunk roughhousers harass bystanders on his way home, the TV report the next morning revealed that he became the mighty Captain Atlantis, a long ancient hero dedicated to defending and fighting against evil.
- Marion (DES/CO-P IV "Marionette") Voiced by: Yoshiyuki Kono
- Sheng-Long (Gouichirou Kaiza) Voiced by: Yusaku Yara - Once the celebrated example of divine martial ability at birth of the Enryuji Buddhist sect of Hida Mountain of Gifu, Japan, being those that teach religious enlightenment through the way of the fist, in youth at 15, Gouichirou's praise soon became shame upon him desecrating the temple gates of his vain declaration of him being a supreme being. Expelled from his home due to his arrogance, Gouichirou retreated into the mountains to continue his training. At the age of 26, Gouichirou soon encountered a visitor, being a humble monk who also desired to train with him. For the next two years, the two trained in the craft of Enryuji-ryu, but much to Gouichirou's ire, the guest left after having displayed his mastery over Enryuji's prized techniques. Enraged and in jealousy of what the visitor attained, Gouichirou's madness soon saw him follow a violent and bloody life of crime and vice as the evil murderer Sheng-Long. Upon gaining the whereabouts of the man who succeeded him in the arts of Enryuji-Ryu, Sheng-Long sets his sights to terrorize the city of New Tokyo and draw him into the open. He is the only character in the game to not appear in the OVA.
- Ball Boy Voiced by: Yoshiyuki Kono, Marc Garber (English)
- Platonic Twins (Ryo Asahina & Suzu Asahina) (Sub-boss) Voiced by: Hideo Ishikawa, Bill Timoney (English) and Yūko Nagashima, Rachael Lillis (English)
- Ohga (Shizuru Osaki) (Final boss) Voiced by: Show Hayami, K.B. Nau (English) - The series antagonist, Shizuru Osaki is Bernard Institute's principal and headmaster, who is said to never be seen in public nor on campus. His origins mysterious, he is a man of deep piousness and faith, who desired the power to attain godhood. Though having followed the monastic paths of priesthood throughout the world to attain this goal, his insatiable ambitions eventually discovered a dark ritual known as the Slaughtering of the Self, an inhumane act of blood sacrifice that would ensure the practitioner become a god themselves. Under the guise of Ohga, Shizuru eventually slaughtered thousands by his hand to fulfill this ritual, and his path of carnage would see him begin upon mastering Enryuji-Ryu's arts. As he attains godly power upon the murder of his last victim, Shizuru soon fell into madness; the godly power attained was that of an infernal god, and fell into despair as he could no longer feel as if reality could keep up with him, as if its limits were trapping and suffocating him. As time further came to pass, he soon began to hear the calling of a dark entity claiming itself as the universe that desired the complete destruction of the Earth, and its desire to have Ohga truly see its course. Realizing his fatal mistake and what would possibly eat away at the last remains of his humanity that would end the world, Shizuru makes desperate efforts to find those who can truly put him to rest before the evil god Ohga within becomes unstoppable.
- Necrokaizer (Elphie Elphman) Voiced by: Houko Kuwashima - Introduced in later CD Drama installments and the Anime OVA, Elphie was the reimagined retcon character responsible for giving Isato Kaiza his Kaizer Stone to become Gowcaizer. She is the biological daughter of Shizuru Osaki; though growing up lovingly with her father in childhood, she quickly began to see her father fall from grace upon succeeding the Slaughtering of the Self ritual, and the torment of the powers he gained upon its completion. Unable to bear the pain of seeing him become corrupted from his former self, she takes it upon herself to steal away Kaizer Stones and grant them to individuals possible to bring her father to peace, as the angelic herald Necrokaizer.
A three-episode OVA series based on the game was directed by the game's character designer Masami Ōbari and animated by J.C.Staff. An English adaptation was produced by U.S. Manga Corps and made into an hour-and-a-half film titled Voltage Fighters: Gowcaizer the Movie. Four drama CDs, an image song collection, and a manga were also released. Similarly, Karin Son and Shaia Hishizaki were re-used in Angel Blade as minor antagonists.
The OVA plot goes deeper into Ohga's mysterious motives for granting Kaiser Stones to individuals, in an effort to stop the true evil force controlling him; a mysterious nihilistic entity known as Omni Exist. Other things exclusive to the OVA is Kyosuke being aided by a dog spirit (instead of a monkey one as in the game) called Kubira, having two Braiders make a cameo appearance and a separate armour form for Suzu Asahina.
Reviewing the Neo Geo AES version, GamePro's The Axe Grinder lambasted the unoriginal special moves, clumsy and silly-looking animations, unintelligible voice clips, and mediocre soundtrack. He concluded that the game is "a low for the Neo - and for fighting games in general." A reviewer for Next Generation offered no criticism of the game's quality, but found its complete lack of originality to be unacceptable given that the Neo Geo already had an abundance of 2D fighting games in its library. He scored it two out of five stars.