updated 4/16/2012 3:26:33 PM ET 2012-04-16T19:26:33

With fighting games becoming more sophisticated these days (look at the recent "Mortal Kombat" reboot), it’s good to see that some companies haven’t forgotten about the genre’s 2D roots, back at a time when "Street Fighter II" ruled the arcades.

Among them is Revenge Labs, which, through Autumn Games and Konami, has released "Skullgirls," a quirky, entertaining, animated brawler with lots of personality and punishing attacks.

"Skullgirls" features eight characters in all, each one whacky and over-the-top. Two of the standouts include Double, a disgusting shape-shifter whose “super” attack transforms her into a smiling car; and Peacock, a character inspired by classic cartoons, complete with huge rubbery arms and projectiles that resemble small walking robots.

The game benefits from a superb hand-drawn art style in both the backgrounds and the fantastic-looking characters. It also has a smooth jazz vibe in its soundtrack, complete with a slow-moving ballad during the end credits. The character voices are funny as well, especially Peacock, who has taunts that stem from old-time cartoons like Bugs Bunny: “Ain’t I a stinker?”

If you’re new to fighting games, or aren’t good at "combos" (chaining together successful attacks), the best place to start is in the game’s tutorial mode. Here, you’ll not only learn the basics for fighting, but also more advanced techniques, such as dashing in the air and performing “supers,” concentrated attacks that deliver a lot of damage.

On top of Story and Arcade modes, "Skullgirls" also lets you fight against others online through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. While it’s a little “bare-bones” when it comes to options (only ranked matches against pros and unranked matches against casual players), it runs beautifully, with hardly any noticeable lag between matchups. Just a word of warning — some of these folks fight very well. Make sure you’re ready for it before you log on.

For $15, "Skullgirls" may be a questionable buy for some, especially with its low character count. However, it makes up for its small roster with great gameplay, a strong presentation and opportunities galore to pulverize your friends, both locally and online. Give these girls a go, you won’t be sorry.

RATING: 3 / 4

© 2012 TechNewsDaily


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