Guilty Gear's environments borrow from every spin-off of the Street Fighter series, from the goth, velvet-laced castles of Darkstalkers to the fallen Statue of Liberty from the Marvel game. The combatants are all archetypes as well: Hair-whipping femme fatales take on sword-wielding knights. In short, you'll find nothing new here, but, luckily, everything has been expertly ripped off. The frame rate and animation are much tighter than, say, Capcom's PlayStation port of X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and there's no slowdown even after hours of play.
GG's blitzkrieg visuals are accompanied by a slamming soundtrack, replete with thrashing sound effects and a pounding score. The awkward controls stumble, however, because they're in the wrong game: Some of the special moves require multiple rolls of the Directional-pad to execute, a nigh impossibility against anything but a paraplegic opponent. Otherwise, the characters are very responsive, which is good, because you must learn combos or face some serious wrath.
Out of Gear
Ultimately, Guilty Gear stumbles by not demanding depth and replayability from its engine. With the exception of a training mode, Guilty Gear offers nothing but a solo tournament or one-on-one face-offs. You even have to find a secret code to unlock the difficulty control (default difficulty increases with each fighter).
Yet Guilty Gear succeeds as an arcade-style experience alone. Each character is unique with distinct looks and strategies, while the action is suitably engaging. Hey, if nothing else, it's got one of the silliest titles ever put to a pixel!