Or How I Learned to Stop Staring and Start Kicking Ass.
In light to the article "In Defense of Boobies"
I must point out that I completely agree that not every game needs to tone down on the... "sexual allure" of the female body just because it might be in poor taste, or that the game would be "better with it." No, sometimes the mere fact that the game has
sex appeal is enough to warrant interest in it: as much as I dig the side-scrolling beat-'em-up style of Dragon's Crown
, I'd be lying if I said that my interest in the game wasn't increased ten-fold when they unveiled the art of the sexy sorceress that's the center of all the attention (because... well, look at her!).
Speaking of looks, I feel the need to clarify something about myself: back when Mr. Andy Dixon asked us
who our favorite Darkstalkers
character was, I said, to no one's surprise, that it was the lovely Morrigan Aensland. Now, I understand completely how... generic that response may be, but it isn't because of her looks that I chose her, nor is it because she's the only character I knew: while I never played a proper Darkstalkers
game (hence my interest and entry in that contest), I already knew of the cute and sexy kitty Felicia, the jiang shi Hsien-Ko, or the awesome guitar playing zombie that is Lord Raptor. Hell, one of my favorite characters next to Morrigan is the badass B.B. Hood, the Little Red Riding Hood who stocks guns and knives in her hand basket and drops mines down her skirt.
So why did I choose Morrigan Aensland? Well, aside from the fact that I have such a massive crush on her, I also chose her since, because of said crush, she is one of the reasons I started expressing an interest into fighting games in the first place.
Some characters may be clones (Wolverine: Bone or Adamantium; Iron Man or War Machine) while others may useless (Roll and Servbot), but it's still an impressive roster
I remember it like it was yesterday: being avid Dance Dance Revolution
gamers, my friends and I used to head on down to the local arcade in our mall to dance the day away. After pumping not only our quarters but our legs on the machine, we usually like to sample the other offerings at the arcade while we recuperate for our next session with games like Initial D
and Time Crisis
. The one game that I always had to play, despite never really being good at, was a game that took my childhood heroes and sent them against each other in a glorious, seizure-inducing battle: Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
. I loved this game because what other game could not only pit Captain America and Wolverine against the likes of Captain Commando and Felicia, but even team up characters such as Iron-Man and the Blue Bomber himself, Mega Man?
So, because of my nerdiness, seeing the vast character selection screen is like being in a toy store (remember playing with toys?): there's so many things to play with that you couldn't help but want to play with them all! However, since I usually suck at these types of games, I tend to do more watching than I do playing: it's not fun trying to get a couple of rounds of arcade in when an experience gamer comes along, plops down a couple of quarters because he knows he's going to be there a while, and completely stomps you and your team in seconds flat without so much as breaking a sweat. As embarassing as that defeat may be though, since the ass-kicking comes with a light show due to the nature of the game, I never really minded losing and usually ended up watching my ass-kicker kick the CPU's ass.
While I usually stuck to only picking favorites on my team, such as Jill Valentine and Spider-Man, I always liked looking at the characters that other people picked, if not only to quietly glee from seeing other dream team combinations (or to sigh when they instinctively choose Magneto and Sentinel). It was then that I saw someone chose a character that I've never seen before: Morrigan Aensland, as I soon came to know her as, a beautiful woman that enchants me with her looks and impress me with her skills (though that might be from the guy controlling her). Now, as a growing child, I was naturally going to start expressing an interest in the opposite sex, but for some reason I was always attracted to the animated girls than real ones; I think it might be because I used to have a crush on the title character of Cardcaptor Sakura
instead of the girls at my school, which would also explain why I liked girls with magical powers, which is something Morrigan Aensland clearly had.
I got a wand that she can handle... Wait, now that I'm older, that's not cool to say anymore. But I can't help it: look at where that thing pointing at! It's intentionally sexually suggestive!
After knowing her spot on the roster, I started selecting Morrigan Aensland as often as I could to see her as often as I could: after all, the game is hard to find in stores with its limited run and all, and I wasn't going to buy an arcade unit to keep in my bedroom just to see her (bringing a whole new meaning to playing with my joystick... damn that short on Robot Chicken
). Like a shy child who got lucky when his teacher assigned his crush to be his lab partner (too much anime made me something of a romantic :P) I always liked to stare at Morrigan's sprite when she's by my side, my heart fluttering everytime I see her face. Of course, just like how one's grades would suffer from being distracted by the object of their affection, I often paid so much attention to Morrigan that I usually end up neglecting the match, losing out on my quarters and victories.
"Why do you keep picking her?" my usually losing friend asks after he stomped me for the third time in a row, "You're a lot better with Chun-Li; you suck with this new girl."
"No I don't," I said in denial, "I'm just having an off day..."
"Whatever," he shrugs off, "At least I'm kicking your ass this time around..."
He was right though; he was kicking my ass. I wasn't very good playing as Morrigan, and that was on top of not being good at the game in the first place. I didn't have much experience with fighting games, my background limited to time spent with the SNES release of Streetfighter II
, so for me to win against my friend, who admittedly isn't very good at the game either, I would need to start picking my usual mains once again: my ragtag team of Mega Man, Spider-Man, and Strider. Once I started picking them again did I finally start dominating my friends once more. However, every now and then I would still hopelessly choose Morrigan, if only because I wish to be able to use her well, but those were usually the same matches that I end up losing at since I just can't seem to kill anyone without using her Hyper Combo.
You're probably thinking about how the rest of this story goes: eventually, after picking Morrigan Aensland enough times, I would start to get better with her and then use her to stomp my friends into dust. Well, you're somewhat right: that did
eventually happen, but years
You know, as a succubus, they don't really capitalize on her sex appeal; this is a pretty modest pose all things considering, especially since Trish's victory screen teases you with a shot of boobs.
Since it's been a while since my time with MvC2
, I started taking up other fighters as well. Although I got out of my comfort zone of RPGs and shooters, I must admit that, somewhat ashamedly, I only did so for a less than a... pure reason: I really got into Dead or Alive
and Mortal Kombat
not because they were fun fighting games (which they were, don't get me wrong), but because... boobs. Yes, my horny adolesence prompted me to follow the likes of Ayane, Isabelle "Ivy" Valentine, and even Mileena (say what you will about her face, her body got it going on!) back to their respective series. However, since my horny adolesence was the reason I even played those games, boobs were the reason why my skills as a gamer developed over the years; now when I chose character I had a crush on, I was at least able to be decent, if not actually good, with them. I always wanted to return to MvC2
with my new found experience, like returning to a JRPG boss after grinding your ass of, but since the arcade machines broke down, and the disc were hard to track down, I never had a chance to try out Morrigan again.
But then something happened: like most of us who spent our quarters on MvC 2
I was ectastic when they announced that its sequel, Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
, would finally be upon us after so many years. Though some of us lamented the discontinued use of anime-like sprites, the 3D models were damn impressive, really showing off its style in that reveal trailer that pitted all my favorite heroes against one another: in glorious CG did we see Ryu trading blows with Wolverine, Chris taking potshots at the Hulk before avoiding potholes, and Dante and Deadpool shooting up a bar to hit one another. The one character that I hoped to return, after making appearances in games such as the admittedly awesome Tatsunoko vs Capcom
, is, of course, the lovely Morrigan Aensland and, damn did she look good
after all these years (of reusing the same sprite).
Now, while I didn't get the game because of her (again, I must point out that I'm a huge Marvel and Capcom fan), I would be lying if I said that I wasn't looking forward to putting her back on my team, especially since my two mains Mega Man and Strider are no shows (though Strider did reprise an appearance in the re-release). Though it was a great feeling to use Morrigan again, just like how I sucked at MvC2
, I didn't exactly fare much better in MvC3
: most of the lessons I learned in the aforementioned fighting games didn't exactly apply here in an obvious sense. This time around, however, the fighting is a lot more balanced, and with the inclusion of the Team Aerial Combo, even a nub like me could wreck some health bars with virtually any character, including Morrigan; I could finally have her on my team and not have to face a loss!
Hooray for not sucking so much! It's nice to be on the other end of a combo.
With my gal finally someone I can utilize well on my team, this would make this story one with a happy ending, no? Well, the thing is, Team Aerial Combos are by far and large generic: as I said, any character can do them since it's really just mashing the light, medium, heavy, and special buttons in order, which also means that it's just punches and kicks. That means that the animation, while specific to the character, are just as generic: these aren't character-specific combos; these aren't the awesome moves that impressed me when I was younger. Morrigan, from what I saw from other players, had some cool moves and combos to pull off, and being an unskilled gamer, I wasn't able to do them. Yes, there is a Simple Mode to play with, but that's easy mode, and I don't do easy (unless the game calls for it, like Dragon Age: Origins
and the original Mass Effect
where stats means everything).
So with that, I decided to invest in a strategy guide in order to take my game to the next level, and with pages dedicated to each and every character in the game (even the unreleased Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath... I was on to you Capcom), the guide was going to help me use Morrigan like a pro... at least, that's what I thought until I looked at her page and saw these complicated combos and fancy fighting game jargon. In order to make sense of it, the guide had to teach me things about fighting games that I never knew, like OTGs and Super Armor (which seems like an obvious thing now that I know of it), along with game specific mechanics like Delayed Hyper Combos. All the tips they were giving me about Morrigan, from trying to combo in her un-damage-scaling Level 3 Hyper Combo for maximum damage to being able to break Super Armor with her multi-hit Aerial Special attack, really gave me an insight to fighting games; it sort of... "clicked" with me.
With this newfound knowledge, I was able to take my game to the next level by focusing more on the nuances of fighting games such as timing my attacks (like using the Delayed Hyper Combo mechanic effectively so that the enemy can't block between a character's specials) or ultizing OTGs in my combos. Now, considering how much I sucked at MvC3
, saying that I got better doesn't amount to much (I went from a bad player to a not-so-bad one), especially considering that I never did
learn Morrigan's character-specific combos, but it did help me go back to my other fighting games and do better than before: now instead of mashing high kicks in Dead or Alive
to see Kasumi's underwear, I know to do it to launch enemies in the air and actually wait for the moment to do a quick succession of punches instead of acting too early and minimizing damage output (though I'd be lying if I said that I didn't give a quick glance at her white panties... some things never change).
My willingness to learn how to play fighting games effective comes from my crush on Morrigan Aensland, and that crush stemmed from a pretty face and a nice body (boobs) since I knew next to nothing about her. To this day (I wanna say a good 5 or so years later), I still obsess Morrigan Aensland as my crush, even going as far as checking anime posting sites daily for just another new picture of her; I even dropped like 60 bucks importing my favorite doujinshi of her after tracking it down for years (go ahead and laugh, I'll admit it's somewhat sad). But even if the crush fades away, the fact is that crush is what got me into fighting games, and that is the reason why Morrigan Aensland is my favorite Darkstalkers
Though B.B. Hood gives her a run for the money... Don't tell Morrigan I said that though :3
I'm not going to lie, I've written an embarassing amount of fanfiction of me getting drunk at a bar with Morrigan that it haunts my dreams... Wait, did I say haunt? Because I totally mean the opposite of that.