Shiritsu Justice Gakuen: Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2 — 2Q2015 issue

Rival Schools 1.5 is still fun

We here at GI are strong pro­po­nents of any­thing Japan­ese, fight­ing games and edu­ca­tion. So, you can imag­ine the delight that is a gen­er­ous mix of all three. To that end, it should be obvi­ous by now that we love Rival Schools and its over­all series Project Jus­tice. Despite the fact that it comes from the brain trust known as Cap­com, we’re still entranced by the con­cept of Japan­ese high school stu­dents fight­ing to save themselves.

The mid­dle game in the series, Rival Schools 2, is an inter­est­ing addi­tion to the fam­ily of fight­ing games. It’s nei­ther a true sequel nor a spin-off of the orig­i­nal game. It’s an adden­dum, which Cap­com is noto­ri­ous for push­ing on the gen­eral buy­ing pub­lic. It’s more of the orig­i­nal game — which we love — with some upgrades thrown in to make it worth import­ing. This ver­sion was never released in Amer­ica, thus there are modes that you will never see. That makes import­ing the game worth the time and trouble.

RS2 is your stan­dard fight­ing game, which doesn’t make it unique. How­ever, the inclu­sion of the board game mode and the char­ac­ter cre­ation mode that plays out like an eroge sim­u­la­tion are some of the good­ies that we’re miss­ing out on in the U.S. There’s also the addi­tion of three new char­ac­ters: Ran, a pho­to­jour­nal­ist who uses her cam­era to attack; Nagare, a swim­mer; and, Chairperson/Iinciyo, who leads the charge for Taiyo High School stu­dents to defend them­selves. Other than these gifts, there’s not much dif­fer­ent here than the first game. You’re still fight­ing to defend your cho­sen school, and there’s still fun to be had in a slightly deep fight­ing game sys­tem. There’s not too much dif­fer­ent aesthetics-wise, in that there are a few new stages and new stage themes. The older stages are still here and it’s fun to play against the new­com­ers with older char­ac­ters or a cre­ated character.

I have two caveats with rec­om­mend­ing the game to oth­ers. The first is the fact that it’s in Japan­ese mostly and read­ing is a must to get through the char­ac­ter cre­ation and board game modes. That’s a bit much if you’re not into the lan­guage or know enough to nav­i­gate through menus. The other issue is the fact that, as usual, Cap­com has seen fit to deny Amer­i­can gamers the best of a series, short­chang­ing loyal money-spending fans who would pay a high price for the good­ies of the char­ac­ter cre­ation mode and the board game mode. The dirty truth of it all is Cap­com has never thought highly of its Amer­i­can audi­ence. We’re not going to see some­thing awe­some like either mode because “we just wouldn’t get it any­way.” A fun fact is that both modes were to be included in the first game but were left out in Amer­ica because it would have been too much trou­ble to include them for Amer­i­cans, accord­ing to Cap­com of Japan. But we’re smart enough to make cash grabs off of for mul­ti­ple ver­sion of Street Fighter, though, right?

The moral of this story is that Rival Schools and its fur­ther sequels all deserve to be played by a wider audi­ence. Although it’s a slight rehash of the first game, RS2 was deserv­ing of respect and a proper intro­duc­tion to the Amer­i­can audi­ence. Thank­fully, we were allowed to see the next sequel, Project Jus­tice. Here’s hop­ing for a class reunion.