Multiplayergames’ Digital Dojo: Battle High

This month’s Digital Dojo explores martial arts knowledge in the Indie game world with Battle High.  Developed by PointFiveProjects, this 2D fighter became available for download on February 8th, 2011 on Xbox Live.  The game follows a gang of super powered youths who battle routinely at San Bruno High School (kind of like the movie Skyhigh).  When Multiplayergames recently spoke with the creators of the game, we inquired about specific styles they may have had in mind for these fighters.  Apparently only two, Khai and Heavyweight, were designed with a certain style in mind, so these are the characters we will examine to see how well the team did.

We will begin with Khai and his style of kickboxing.   By judging the accuracy of Khai strikes, it looks like this game fairly accurately demonstrates Muay Thai.  Moving in a nice guard stance, Khai delivers varied strikes from the eight limb fighting art incorporating hands, elbows, knees, and legs.  Where credit should be given here is to the fact the developer left out a side kick, which is a tempting kick to put into a fighting game.  However, if that kick had been added to Khai’s arsenal he would have fallen into the American kickboxing territory.  While technically by name that still would have been what DeLucas said he had in mind, many see American kickboxing as more of a mixed martial art.

As for Heavyweight or H.W. , not surprisingly enough, he uses boxing.  This should be an easy style to mimic, but the sweet science is not so great in this game.  There are only three really accurate punches for the character which are the jab, cross, and a back hand body hook.  I can’t help but wonder why a front hand hook, which is very basic in boxing, would have been left out in favor of a back arm overhand right if you were trying to represent a proper boxing style.  Don’t get me wrong, boxers throw over hand rights, but over hand punches tend not to be as strong since they are tough to drive body weight behind as they move outside the frame of the torso. They are also less likely to hit since the human eye responds to peripheral vision quicker than straight forward motions, and also because there is a seriously telegraphing pull back before the punch in this game.

I am glad an uppercut was issued to H.W. , but perplexed as to why the character must squat before he throws it, again a terrible telegraph.  Heavyweight also received some inventive striking with a two handed over hand clobber, and two foot sweeps from the crouched position.  Boxers obviously don’t use their legs, so there should have been more punching options from the crouch to keep opponents back.

One out of two styles, the accuracy hit is pretty good I would say for an indie game,  especially when you take into account the tougher of the two styles is the one the developer nailed.

Here ends the lesson.