Chapter One: Introduction
I received a free copy of this game. . . as a birthday present!
My man wrote, “Having your birthday late eheh – wished you to review this, have fun )”.
To experience the full version of the game, the adult patch must be installed.
For the purposes of this review, the patch has been installed. It took me about an hour to reach a single ending; a competent player could probably do the same in about forty minutes. With eight characters to choose from, I suspect the game offers about four hours of content.
I couldn’t be bothered to unlock any more endings, I hated the game. Sorry buddy.
Chapter Two: Gameplay (2/5★)
Section One: Overview
No doubt taking inspiration from the original Street Fighter games, Strip Fighter ZERO is a pixelated throwback for arcade gaming. After choosing a character, players may either battle the character roster in “STORY” mode or try their skill online with “VS” mode.
To be honest, I didn’t bother with VS mode — spoiler alert, I didn’t like this game.
Each character brings a unique move set to the table, making each each fight an engaging match up. Everybody deals damage in a different way, encouraging players to play around their opponents capabilities and leverage their own move sets to lay down the pain.
Section Two: Combat
Strip Fighter ZERO is the s l o w e s t fighting game I’ve ever played. I thought my computer was fucking around and lagging to all hell. Once I ruled out my hardware I realized I’d have to come to terms with the speed of slug. But once you get used to to it, the game can be satisfying to learn.
Unlike modern fighting games with what are seemingly pages of moves to learn, learning a character is Strip Fighter ZERO doesn’t take long. Owing partly to the slow paced gameplay, I was able to respond to my opponents with combos within an hour! I even learned how to manage “Strip Rush” and “Strip Combos”.
Strip Rush automatically regenerates, allowing players to “cancel” (or negate) attacks while active. Strip Rush combos nicely with Strip Combos (go figure), powerful attacks which deal massive damage. . . as long as they aren’t blocked or canceled (by say, a Strip Rush).
In the following video, I demonstrate one, complete battle.
Section Three: Balance
It’s clear Strip Fighter ZERO wasn’t play tested extensively. The playable cast have restricted move sets, which owe to unique — but unbalanced characters.
For example, characters with ranged attacks can sit back and comfortably stun-lock opponents. Suirei is especially annoying to go up against; she basically turns the floor into lava.
Some characters have overtly-efficient air control. Yuki can perform a sort of unblockable “screw attack” (similar to Samus Aran from Nintendo’s Metroid); and Succubus is has an attack which deals damage in all directions, allowing her to counter virtually all but ranged attacks with a single move.
In the following clip, I demonstrate Amada’s most frustrating attack. Pay attention to my health bar (left); despite being unblockable and consuming no “Strip Combo”, it’s a devastating blow. Had I grappled simultaneously, the attack would have been deflected. But as you can see, there is no cue.
Section Four: Controls
To note, I played this game on keyboard. It’s recommended to use a controller for this genre.
I’d describe the default keyboard controls as “pain and suffering”. I had no idea how to perform basic gameplay operation. Normally, directional or movement keys are relegated to arrow or “WASD” keys. Interestingly, Strip Fighter ZERO opted for a “TFVG” configuration — maybe they make keyboards different in Japan, but “TFVG” is not an comfortable configuration to navigate.
Fortunately, keys can be remapped via the application’s cryptic “game” drop-down menu.
Once I remapped my movement keys as something more sensible, I was prepared to actually play the game. Even with ideal controls, Strip Fighter ZERO still controls like ass (in this context, “ass” is bad). As long as you take it slow, the game sort of controls fine. If you don’t give the game enough time to “catch up”, one of two things will happen; either the controls will “lag” and play one after another or they just won’t register.
Typically, the game simply ignores your button presses. . . great.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (2/5★)
Section One: Content
To note, genitalia is heavily censored via mosaics.
The female cast are raped, enslaved, and forced to consume bodily fluids (including urine). Players that choose Succubus will get to enjoy some tentacle rape as well, but nothing as detailed as S’. . . endings.
Section Two: Implementation
Two of eight characters have “Lewd Finishers”, optional sexual “grapples” which can be played after defeating a character. Alternatively, completing the “STORY” mode will unlock a piece of artwork and voiced dialogue.
In the following clip, I demonstrate Succubus’ Lewd Finisher on Jerry.
Section Three: Interactivity
Assuming you’re playing as S or Succubus, after performing a Lewd Finisher you may toggle between positions and speeds.
When a character is “KO’d”, their clothes will be “tattered”. Interestingly (and rather unfortunately) clothes are not torn during battle. Clothes-breaking is a part of every lewd fighting game I’ve played to date! I don’t understand why StudioS would be so stingy with such a staple lewd mechanic.
Section Four: Quality
The artwork, dialogue and animation are wonderfully made, but there isn’t much to see; each “ending” is but one static image with variations, and each animation is a simple loop. But it takes a lot of work to reach any of the sexual content in this game, and I can safely say it’s not worth the trouble.
Below, I showcase Mikan’s ending.
Chapter Four: Story (1/5★)
Section One: Overview
Searching for “potent lust” to feast upon, the “Archsuccubuss [sic] . . . created a tournament” to gather “top pray [sic]”. Everybody has their own reason for attending, but one man has darker desires than even the succubus (sorry, “succubuss“). Searching for “bodies” to twist and wrench, nobody finds what they’re looking for in the succubus’ competition. Well, except for S of course.
Section Two: Plot
The game doesn’t actually have a coherent story; I only learned about the story because I happened to pick Succubus first, offering some context on the plot.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any form of plot progression in the game.
Section Three: Characters
Every character has their own reasons for joining the tournament (except for Succubus, considering she made the competition). But at the end of the day, the cast is defined by no more than a single sentence.
Section Three: Writing
Awkward English and spelling errors can be found here and there, but what little writing can be found in this game is reasonably competent. It’s hard to complain when there isn’t a plot to follow.
Chapter Five: Sound (4/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
The game has great music, but it doesn’t take long to get on your nerves. If the fights were over much, much quicker, I wouldn’t feel so bad about hearing the same music on repeat. It’s really only suited for a few minutes of gameplay at a time, not for the slow ass combat Strip Fighter ZERO is all about.
Section Two: Sound Effects
The sound effects in this game are great! They’re both confirming and easy on the ears. Combat is a delight whenever the game decides registers your button inputs!
Section Two: Voice Acting
I wholly understand Strip Fighter ZERO is going for a “retro” vibe with limited voice acting, but it can get annoying when opponents reuse the same attack. Ryu’s hadukin will always be iconic — Suirui’s “HO-YU-KIN” makes me want to crawl in a hole and die.
In the following clip, I try to demonstrate voice acting can be repetitive in this game.
Chapter Six: Visuals (2/5★)
Section One: Title Screen
The title screen harkens back to a time I was barely alive; when arcade cabinets and their shoddy ports dominated the gaming scene. From the bold colors, vertical bars (reminiscent of old CRT monitors) and the cheesy narration (– Strip Fighter. . . ZERO!), the presentation is spot-on.
Section Two: User Configuration
There is no in-game “options” or “settings” menu. User preferences are instead adjusted via a set of drop-down menus which can only be accessed when the application is windowed. Most of the text is in Japanese, limiting my understanding to the mercy of Google Translate.
I’m. . . I’m still learning how to read Japanese.
From what I could gather, audio and key bindings are adjustable. There’s also an option for adjusting the speed of gameplay, but whenever I tried to speed up battle the game broke (“KO” screens would infinitely loop, preventing progression). I didn’t bother seeing if slowing gameplay would have the same results (believe me, the last thing the game needs is to be even s l o w e r !)
Section Two: Navigation
Learning how to control the application is a guessing game. The “Pause” menu is devoid of functionality and graphical aid; the least it could do is tell players how to exit into the main-menu. I had to mash keys until by accident I learned how to switch gameplay modes without rebooting the application.
Also by chance, I learned a move list exists in the game! You’d think it’d be a part of the “pause” screen, but I guess StudioS thought it’d be better if players had to mash “E” and “D” during battle to bring it up.
Thanks assholes — but I’m not done yet!
When starting a new round of “STORY” mode, a generic move-list is shown for all characters (explaining assorted “Strip” moves and abailities). For some reason, this move list can’t be brought up — even though a move from that list is mandatory for progression. I don’t see why the moves shown couldn’t be a part of the cryptic “move list” (or again, the fucking “pause” screen).
Section Two: Graphics
It’s a shame the user-interface sucks so hard, because graphically Strip Fighter ZERO is beautiful! The levels and characters are wonderfully animated. . . mostly, anyhow.
When characters are knocked down, instead of pushing themselves back up they just sort of float back into position as the falling animation is replayed in reverse (boo!) Some of the backgrounds sport gradients, which stick out like a sore thumb given the otherwise simplistic shading used everywhere else in the game.
Most games that I play with pixel art are inconsistently scaled, resulting in sprites with disproportionately large pixels when compared side by side. It appears Strip Fighter ZERO utilizes the same resolution throughout the game. As a result, the visuals in this game are nice and crisp!
Chapter Seven: Verdict (2/5★)
Strip Fighter ZERO? Yeah, this game is worth ZERO alright.
The only players that might enjoy Strip Fighter ZERO are going to be fighting game enthusiasts looking for something bad and novel. This game is a poor choice for casual players and anyone interested in nudity or sexual content (which, as the name suggests, is kind of its main selling point of this game.) Sexual content is limited and there isn’t even a “gallery” to review unlocked scenes. I can’t understate how s l o w this game is — I thought my PC was melting down because of how little frames this application puts out.
If this game is on your wish list, do yourself a favor and ZERO it out.