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While Battle Arena Toshinden and Tekken held the lion's share of the attention in the quickly-stacked fighting genre on PlayStation in its first year, many people overlook the quirky and unique Zero Divide series. While repeated plays now reveal the game to be rather loose in the control department, this digital equivalent of "Rock 'em Sock 'em robots" was in exceedingly innovative at a time when simply being 3D was invention enough. Individual body parts could be targeted on your opponent (robotic forms of wrestler, Akira-type fighters, cat girls, dinosaurs and scorpions, etc.) in order to shatter their exoskeleton. A body "map" in the top corners would indicate which part was in danger of going next, and offensive parts, like arms and legs, would be rendered nearly useless if crippled. Another nice feature was the ring grab that gamers could use to prevent ring-outs. 

It didn't always work mind you, but how much better and exciting of a game would something like Soul Calibur I, II or III be if it had a feature like that? While the quirky and somewhat bizarre cast of characters didn't resonate with the populace at large (nor did the over-the-top announcer), Zero Divide had a small but hardcore following, thanks to developer Zoom stuffing the game full of secrets like the old SNES game Phalanx, a hidden "Neko" (the company's mascot) comic strip, an unlockable Neko playable character and so much more, depending on time played, matches won, and all sorts of other criteria. In practice the game played like a poor man's robotic Virtua Fighter, but on a system with no Virtua Fighter this was, to some, more than enough. 

Graphically the game was surprisingly rich, with a convincingly cybernetic milieu dressing things up, and startlingly competent compared to the Saturn's disappointing Virtua Fighter. Huge spinning cyber-things swiveled in the background while orbiting whatsis floated around. Transparencies, "real-time" shadows and other special-effects meant that if Zero Divide were lacking, it wasn't in the visuals department. Zoom would soon go on to create a Rurouni Kenshin 3D fighting game of little merit, a surprisingly inferior sequel to Zero Divide on PlayStation, and a last-ditch but no-damn-good Saturn title called Zero Divide: The Final Conflict. 

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