Vanguard Princess is a freeware fighting game created by a single programmer and illustrator named Tomoaki Sugeno--who also goes by the nickname Suge9--using Enterbrain's Fighter Maker engine. The game was distinct in that it was of a comparatively higher quality than many of the games made using the Fighter Maker engine, boasting visuals akin to those of a full-price commercial release. The game was released for download in Japan for free via the creator Tomoaki Sugeno's website. The game's modes are limited to Story and local 2-Player Versus, however, dedicated fans have consistently worked on their own netplay program for the game. Since the game's initial release on June 26, 2009, Vanguard Princess has seen a number of version updates. Many of these updates include significant changes to character balance and move properties. The current version of the game is 1.05b. Recent blog posts by creator Tomoaki Sugeno suggest work on more significant updates--primarily character additions--and the possibility of a "new" version of the game altogether.
An English version of Vanguard Princess was released by eigoMANGA on October 15, 2012 which included several visual and gameplay updates. eigoMANGA's release is not freeware like the original Japanese release but a portion of every purchase is donated to recovery efforts of the 2011 Earthquake in Japan.
While Vanguard Princess sports more a more modern style anime look to it's visuals, the fighting system is reminiscent of more traditional 2D fighters such as Street Fighter 2 , as opposed to combo-heavy games like Guilty Gear.
The Battle Screen
Displays your current health. The health bar decreases as your character takes damage. When this bar is entirely depleted, your character dies and the opponent is awarded a round. By default, victory is achieved when someone wins two out of the three rounds.
The special meter dictates when you can perform a Liberty Art, Vanguard Princess' name for the character's "Super Move". When the meter is full, the Liberty Art can be performed. The meter is filled by attacking your opponent, and also fills less significantly when you receive damage. Performing a successful reflect also fills the special bar by a significant amount.
The assist meter indicates the current level for the support character. The assist meter gradually recovers itself throughout the battle, with the speed of the recovery varying depending on the character you are using. Using support attacks will cause the meter to drain, with different support characters' moves costing more meter than others. The meter will also be depleted if any attacks are blocked. If the Assist Meter becomes "broken", the support character will be temporarily unable to perform any actions. The Assist Meter is broken if you take damage during your support character's attack or if your guard is broken.
This indicates whether or not you can execute a grab. When the Grab Indicator is flashing, grabs will not connect.
Calcium Break & Stun Meter
The stun meter shows your character's current stun condition. Getting attacked causes the stun meter to rise at different rates depending on the character. When your character is close to becoming stunned, the meter will begin to flash red. If your character is hit when the stun meter is flashing red, your character enters a stunned state. When in a stunned state, your character is completely vulnerable to attacks and cannot use assists. The stun meter recovers over time. The Calcium Break serves as a guard meter indication. Blocking attacks will cause the meter to rise, and like the stun meter, it will flash red when your guard is close to being broken. Different attacks will cause the meter to rise at different rates. When your guard is fully broken, your character is put into the Calcium Break state, in which your character is sent spinning and left completely vulnerable to attack. Any attack taken when your character is in a Calcium Break state is counted as a counter hit. Having your guard broken also results in your Assist meter being broken temporarily.
Vanguard princess controls much like most standard 2-dimensional fighting games. The assigned directional buttons (keyboard or otherwise) are tasked with character movement. Blocking is performed by holding the direction opposite your opponent, as with most 2D fighters, with the added ability of an air-guard. The game also allows users to perform a backstep by double-tapping back. Double-tapping forward will cause the character to perform either a hop/dash forward or a run, depending on the character being used. The directions are commonly referred to using number notation, a notation that assigns a particular number to each specific direction. This serves to eliminate the need for full words when explaining directional inputs, such as "foward, down, down-foward" for the typical dragon punch motion. The numbers are assigned based on their placement on a standard keyboard's numpad, like so:
7 8 9
4 5 6
1 2 3
The corresponding directions for Vanguard Princess are:
7: Backward Jump/Air Guard
9: Forward Jump
4: Move Forward/Advance
1: Crouching Guard
4: Move Backward/Retreat
Attacking in vanguard princess is performed using one of the four assigned attack buttons, A, B, C, and D.
Button commands for specific character actions include:
A: Weak Attack - A light normal attack, typically faster, less damaging and easier to chain together.
B: Medium Attack - As the name implies, a middle-ground normal attack, a medium between weak and strong attacks.
C: Strong Attack - A harder-hitting normal attack. Strong attacks are expectedly slower than weak or medium attacks, and cause more damage.
D: Support Attack - Your partner/assist character attacks the opponent. Different attacks are performed depending on the particular directional input during the pressing of the button. These attacks drain the Assist meter.
4/6 C: Throw the opponent. The throw will only execute if you are near the opponent.
A B: Reflect - Parry the incoming attack. This must be properly timed and executed at the moment an attack would hit. Builds meter, nullifies the incoming attack, and places you in an advantageous position to counter-attack
Your assist characters perform different moves depending on what direction is used. Certain moves require the Assist Meter to be at a certain level before they can be used. The attacks performed by each of the different assist characters are unique, and the properties of the moves and their cost vary depending on the chosen assist character.
D: Weak Attack - Usable at Level 1.
6 D: Medium Attack - Usable at Level 1
3 D: Strong Attack - Usable at Level 2
2 D: Ultra Attack - Usable at Level 2
4 D: Proxy Guard- Usable at Level 1
Liberty Arts: The Vanguard Princess version of "Super Moves". Consumes the entire Special Gauge.
Support Counter: Occurs when the character is attacked while the assist character is performing a move. The assist character finishes the move, however, the Assist Meter is drained and becomes temporarily unusable.
Throw Overtake: A throw escape. Use 4/6 C just before a throw.
Vanguard princess features 10 playable characters to choose from and an 11th boss character, made playable only in versus mode by modifying some game files prior to playing. Four assist characters are immediately selectable, with a hidden assist version of the boss character being selectable only by chance while using random select.
Kanae, while she makes use of many powerful unblockable moves, is a rather costly choice of assist. She is more useful when paired with characters who fight primarily at long rage. Due to the high cost of some of her moves, she is better off left to a character with a faster recharge rate on the assist meter.
Slower than most of the other assist characters, Shiera proves useful in her ability to deal damage and through her versatility. Many of her moves serve to provide cover and allow for combo opportunities, along with covering large distances and lasting for significant amounts of time. Her wide range makes her a reputable assist character when paired with a character who relies on space control to get in.
Eko does not provide much with regards to raw damage, but what she lacks in power she makes up for in flexibility and variety. She is rather simplistic compared to the other assists, but many of her attacks prove valuable in a wide assortment of situations. Eko also has the greatest stun dealing potential out of all of the assist characters. She is a fairly well balanced assist character that complements almost any character, with many moves useful for stun loops and combo extensions. Her low cost makes her a logical choice, even for characters with a poor assist gauge recharge rate.
Juliet has very poor speed, instead relying on power and strength. Her lack of speed leads to a particular reliance on the point character for her to actually land her hits. Her strong attacks, however, help add substance and hard-hits, allowing for more variety during combos. As an assist character, Juliet is less versatile and flexible than the others, but useful in particular approaches due to her power.
The assist version of the boss character of the same name. This assist character is only selectable in versus mode. However, selecting her is no easy task, as it based solely on luck, requiring you to choose your assist character via random select and hope that she is selected. Her moves, while they provide great combo potential and cover, are not very damaging. She provides moves that are easy to combo with when using melee characters, along with having relatively cheap moves.
Yui fights using a large sword named Sakuya. She is the 107th generation successor to the Kutsuna-musou school of swordplay, and is searching for her missing older sister.
Sister to Yui, she fights using primarily magic attacks, despite having grown up being taught the art of the sword. Shortly after developing an interest in magic, she was abducted into a government research facility to have her magical abilities amplified. She enters the fight to save an old friend.
A child of Satan who made her way up from the underworld. She claims to be the direct descendant of Satan, despite everyone's doubts. She joins the battle to help prove her lofty claims. Lilith fights like the bastard child of Zangeif, employing an alarming amount grappling attacks and pile-drivers for a girl her size.
Luna is a member of Blade Noa, sent to deal with the "Executive Overseer" at the request of her boss, along with the tast of finding and eliminating Katsumi Eri. Also, she has no panties. One of the more unique characters in Vanguard Princess with regards to gameplay, Luna fights using dual-wielded guns, with each of her weapon attacks being executed using predefined stances. Particular moves lead to different stances, in which different moves are possible. Also, she has no panties.
A surviving plane crash victim, she appeared in the wreckage of the crash with no idea what happened. She makes up for what she lacks in pure fighting skill with her infinite potential in hidden power. Kurumi, while she lacks hard-hitting special moves like many of the other characters, has faster normals than most characters and fills her assist gauge faster, allowing her to take better advantage of the assists with more frequent uses.
Saki fights using a sword named "Hitohira", a sword created using the sword Kamitsurugi as a prototype. Saki is the captain of her kendo team, and is in line to be come the president of her school's student council. She enters the fight in search of the current wielder of Kamitsurugi. Saki is a fairly balanced well-rounded character with a versatile moveset.
An assassin and an amnesiac, Kaede has no memory of her past. She enters the battle to fulfill a request for an assassination sent to her from the government. Kaede, while not incredibly slow, makes up for what she lacks in speed with significant power. She is a primarily offensive character.
A soldier of unknown origin, Natalia is very religious and obedient. She is an intelligence officer who joins the fight in search of information on the numerous disappearances caused by a new weapon. Natalia fights using a huge pilebunker. Natalia is a hard-hitting power character who isn't afraid to consider her butt as a viable weapon when in battle.
Eri is an escaped supersoilder created by blade Noa. She is a girl of great physical endurance and strength. She escaped from the Blade Noa research facilities in search of freedom, and is now being pursued by Luna Himeki on Blade Noa's orders. Eri fights using tonfas and the martial art of cheerleading.
Ayane is a user of Ikuse-style archery, ayane lost an eye during her training. She joins the fight to challenge her childhood friend and rival, Kutuna Yui. Ayane fights using a bow and arrows. She is considered a fairly easy character to use, employing a a variety of useful moves at close, medium, and long range.
Hilda Rize is the boss character of Vanguard Princess.