It’s 2019 everybody, and you better believe there are still FM2nd/2K games being made. “Time and Stopper” Is the latest work from the team that brought you “TPC VS HAY: Second Alive” and “Requiem Final”, both games having been worked on periodically for over ten years! Dubbed the “Masters of MS Paint”, their games stood out from other poverty fighters for their relatively crude but relatively well-animated characters that have been jokingly called “MS Paint Worthy”, but beyond the strange (if not somewhat unique) visuals were games with relatively sound mechanics, more technical gameplay, great soundtracks and huge character rosters — it’s worth noting that Requiem has more or less finished production and sits at a roster of 49 characters that are fully voiced and ready to rumble, though Negesoft (the creators) might just add one or two more for laughs. What’s no joke is that they spent many years trying to balance their games and they are, without question, a labor of love.
Time and Stopper (Seen as TIME AND STOPPER) looks to continue their trend of huge rosters and layered systems; though it is currently VERY early in development, Negesoft has already created a storyboard for the characters and settings a few years back and the game is supposed to take place a few hundred years after Requiem and the game already features over a dozen playable characters. While there isn’t too much plot in the games themselves, you can download various texts (called novels) for TAS and Requiem to read about their relationship. The game is still rough as far as visual accents, sound balance and things of that nature go.
With that out of the way, I should say that TAS might be a little too technical for its own good. Requiem was already a rather technical fighter where combos required precise timing and an often complex string of inputs, special meter was precious and had to be used sparingly, and you were lucky if you could pull off a max level special towards the end of a five match gauntlet, but this game takes many of the things you’ve come to know about fighting games and makes it even more complex. You see, TAS adds mini-gauges on top of regular gauges (that only certain characters use) and puts a bit of a sports veneer over the usual trappings… baseball to be precise. Characters have “Strike Moves” “Down Manuevers” and “Outs”. Strike Moves give your character a Strike Orb if they connect successfully, and three strikes nets you an Out Orb. Sweeps and attacks that knock the character down give your opponent Down Orbs (Ball) and vice versa. Get enough Down Orbs, and you’ll take bases. Sounds simple enough right?
Cool. So what does any of this stuff do? Depending on how many Strikes, Downs and Outs you have (or a combination thereof) lets you activate your Offensive System / Break Buster, Defense System / Spark Squeeze or Throw Start System / Reinforced Break Buster. Break Busters essentially help you chase and extend combos while a Spark Squeeze knocks opponents back and restores your Guard Gauge if the field connects. These can be used in conjunction with “Time Stopper” skills which are unique abilities that can be used standalone but have added properties when used in a combo and consume one gauge. A thorough understanding of all the mechanics will give you the edge, but most fights are about footsies and back-and-forth 3-4 hit combos until you can exploit one fatal opening on your opponent to unleash a lethal combo. Even turtling is made more difficult as some games have an all-inclusive block, but not TAS; Standing guard blocks mid-to-high while crouching blocks mid-to-low — a good example of this is from 7:23 to about 7:40 (an exchange of frame attacks and counters).
The enemy A.I. is garbage right now, so the only real fun comes from fighting others, but Requiem looks and plays better right now — it’s the superior game, which should come as no surprise since it spent a good ten years in development. With time, I’d like to think TAS will stand on its own as an interesting Doujin fighter. As is, this is a video of the game in action showing a few matches and small segments of the other characters illustrating various skills and basic combos (the combos can be extremely long if you’ve got the timing and spacing perfect). You can get the latest version of this game at:
NOTE: The password to the download is “tas”.
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