Even after Sega officially stopped production of the Dreamcast system, the console continued to sell steadily, used Dreamcasts quickly being gobbled up from second-hand store shelves. It became, for a short time, the gaming equivalent of Latin: a dead interface that would never see any new works, but the beauty of it and the quality of its existing library drew gaming aficionados to it.
As I contemplated reviewing this particular title, I wondered if this manga-based port might be one of the ill-fated console's many hidden gems. Only one way to find out, of course.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a Street Fighter-era 2D brawler with a cast of characters that, excepting the chihuahua, seems no more bizarre than any other fighting game of its time. The fighting system seems fairly typical at first, with various types of punches, kicks, and projectile attacks, depending on the character. What sets this title apart is the "Stand" ability – a second fighter – possessed by each character.
A sort of inner spirit or projection of the fighter, both the appearance and behaviour of this second self vary wildly from character to character. Some will hang back and let their Stand do the work, allowing the player to control it directly. Others manifest the stand as a shadow that mirrors their movements, allowing every attack to, potentially, hit twice.
Others are in-between. Jotaro, for example, can send his Stand forward as a type of projectile attack. A certain attack calls up the Stand to rush forward and let off a flurry of punches before fading away. One useful strategy therefore is to have the Stand perform its one-off as either an opener or a distraction, while simultaneously diving in after it with a follow-up attack.
The strategic possibilities of this tag-team style fighting are intriguing, though they're also very different from character to character and Stand to Stand. And, of course, there's a defensive side as well. A character takes damage either from direct attack or attacks on his Stand.