BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (with the title pronounced "bray-blue") is a 2D sci-fi fantasy fighting game developed and released by Arc System Works for arcades (using PC-based Taito Type X² hardware) in Japan on November 19, 2008, with a North American release one day later.
A spiritual successor to the studio's Guilty Gear series of fighting games, BlazBlue is known for its high-definition graphics utilizing hand-drawn anime-style character graphics (which have higher detail than those from "X" and "XX" installments of the Guilty Gear series), 3D backgrounds, and widescreen resolution. It also revamps the fast-paced Guilty Gear gameplay, introducing a utility button (the "Drive" button) for character-specific techniques. The game later received multiple sequels and spin-offs, starting with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift.
Similar to the Guilty Gear series, the BlazBlue universe's lore is set in the future and combines the concepts of "magic" and "technology" into one, this time as the power "Ars Magus" (known in the Japanese version as "Jutsushiki", sometimes known in the English version as "Armagus") which utilize powerful objects (known as "grimoires"). Created in the 22nd century to destroy a monster that threatened humanity's extinction (the "Black Beast"), the grimoires were then governed by the authoritarian organization Novus Orbis Librarium ("World Void Information Control Organization" in the Japanese version). The game is set in December of 2199, the final month of the 22nd century and several years after an attempted rebellion known as the "Ikaruga Civil War", as several military branches of The Librarium were destroyed by the powerful rebel Ragna the Bloodedge. With the highest-paying bounty in history on his head, along with the allure of his grimoire (the "Azure Grimoire", also known as the "BlazBlue"), several vigilantes set out to the 13th Hierarchal City of Kagutsuchi to hunt him down.
The game was later ported to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in Japan (on June 25, 2009), in North America (by Aksys Games on June 30, 2009), and in Europe (by Zen United on April 2, 2010). This version adds a dedicated Story Mode, online multiplayer (with ranked play and a six-player lobby system), the ability to switch between both Japanese and English voice actors, and powerful "Unlimited" versions of characters. The North American and European version also received a "Limited Edition" release with bonus content.
The game was also ported to the PlayStation Portable in Japan (on February 25, 2010), in North America (by Aksys Games on March 10, 2010), and in Europe (by PQube on October 29, 2010). Known outside of Europe as BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable, this version features a unique campaign mode known as "Legion Mode" (where players progress around a map board, recruiting characters and attempting to conquer the board in team battles).
The 360 version was later ported to the PC (as a digital release via Windows Store) worldwide on October 1, 2013 as a Games For Windows - Live title, featuring cross-platform multiplayer compatibility with the 360 version and optional touch controls. It was later re-released via Steam on February 13, 2014, removing GFWL functionality and all online multiplayer. It also includes the 360 version's DLC for free.
The game uses four buttons, with three basic attacks of varying strengths (Light, Middle, and Heavy, also described as A, B, and C) and a utility button known as "Drive" (D).
In the Arcade version, it is shown in a layout reminiscent of the Neo Geo control layout, with two configurations: Type-A (A-B-C-D) and Type-B (D-A-B-C).
The Drive button is for character-specific techniques, such as Ragna's Soul Eater (which allows him to heal on certain attacks) or Rachel's Sylpheed (which summons wind that affects her projectiles and movement).
Some mechanics of the game include:
- The "Gatling Combination" chain combo system of Guilty Gear is now known as Revolver Action, allowing players to link normal attacks of a similar or higher attack into combos. The order is A -> B -> C -> D.
- Most characters can perform a jump in mid-air, and all characters can perform a higher jump off the ground by tapping downwards on the joystick before jumping.
- Players can dash forward and backward by double-tapping the joystick in either direction, even in mid-air. For most characters, the front-facing ground dash can be held into a continuous running motion. Some attacks can be cancelled into a dash.
- Players can perform a mid-air recovery by pressing any basic attack button after being hit, adding momentum by tapping the joystick forward or backward while attempting it. While hitting the ground, they can use the same command while being knocked down to perform a recovery roll (joystick forward or backward), a quick recovery (joystick downward), or a safe recovery (joystick upward or neutral). A safe recovery is slower, but has more invincibility frames.
- Throwing by pressing Middle and Heavy attack buttons simultaneously (B+C). This can be escaped by pressing the same command at the correct time.
- Initiating a Guard just before receiving an attack causes an Instant Block ("Girigiri Guard", or "Barely Guard"), reducing pushback and shortening blockstun.
- In some occasions, both players hitting each-other with close-ranged attacks at the same time causes a Clash, where the attacks are nullified and characters can cancel it into other attacks.
- When players are too over-defensive, performing certain actions continuously (such as back-dashing), they receive a Negative Penalty status. While this status is in effect, a red aura glows around the character and they receive double damage from attacks. It can be removed by being continuously aggressive (moving forward, attacking, or getting hit).
The game's super meter, known as the Heat Gauge, accumulates by landing attacks and guarding against attacks. When the character's health is below 20%, their Heat Gauge begins to fill up automatically. It is used for four techniques: Distortion Drive, Rapid Cancel, Counter Assault, and Astral Heat. Some special moves also require a portion of the Gauge.
- The "Overdrive Attack" system of Guilty Gear is now known as Distortion Drive, allowing the character to perform a powerful super move that consumes 50% of the Heat Gauge (with some of them consuming the whole gauge).
- The "Dead Angle Attack" system of Guilty Gear is now known as Counter Assault, allowing players to cancel guards with a special counterattack. It is activated by pressing forward on the joystick while pressing both Light and Middle attack buttons (forward + A + B) when attacked and consumes 50% of the Heat Gauge.
- The "Roman Cancel" system of Guilty Gear is now known as Rapid Cancel, allowing players to animation cancel out of most attacks for increased combo and pressure opportunities. It is activated by pressing all three basic attack buttons simultaneously (A + B + C) during most attacks and consumes 50% of the Heat Gauge.
Based on the "Instant Kill" mechanic from the Guilty Gear series, the Astral Heat is a powerful finishing move that is used to win the round in a spectacular manner, regardless of the opponent's remaining vitality.
Unlike Instant Kill, Astral Heat can only be performed under a certain condition: the game is in its final round, the player's Heat Gauge is full, and the opponent must have less than 20% vitality remaining. It consumes 100% of the Heat Gauge.
In the Arcade version, only three characters have an Astral Heat: Ragna, Rachel, and Nu-13. In the Console versions, all other characters have an Astral Heat that can be unlocked by completing Arcade Mode with their corresponding character.
Along with regular blocking, players have access to a special technique, known as the Barrier (or "Barrier Guard"). This makes use of a new meter, known as the Barrier Gauge.
Based on the "Faultless Defense" mechanic from the Guilty Gear series, Barrier allows players to form a barrier on their character that negates chip damage and pushes opponents away. This is done by holding Light and Middle attack buttons (A + B) while blocking and can be combined with Instant Guard (for quicker recovery).
Blocking an attack with a Barrier reduces the Barrier Gauge based on the attack's damage. The Gauge is refilled over time and if it empties, players are put into a Danger State where they cannot use Barriers (and receive 50% more damage from attacks) until the Gauge is half-way recovered.
The Burst Gauge can also be used to perform a one-use attack known as the Barrier Burst. Activated by pressing all four buttons simultaneously (A + B + C + D) when not in the Danger State, this technique creates a short-ranged burst of energy that knocks enemies away. It can be used on its own (as an attempted guard crush attack), as a combo breaker (when getting hit by attacks other than throws and certain special moves), or as a pushback (when blocking). Its efficiency (including frames and guard crush amount) is based on the amount in the Barrier Gauge, with three color-coded levels: Blue (<49%), Green (50-99%), and Gold (100%). It cannot be used while attacking, during throws, or during certain Distortion Drives. When activated, it puts the player in the Danger State for the remainder of the round.
The Guard Libra is a unique gauge that is shared between both combatants and serves as an indicator for the "guard crush" mechanic.
As players continuously block attacks (without the use of Barriers), the gauge tips against that player. If it tilts completely on one player's side, that player's character becomes stunned for a short amount of time.
The game includes 12 playable characters, two of which are time-release characters in the Arcade version (which can be unlocked by an arcade operator with a special code).
- Ragna the Bloodedge - A mysterious rebel with the power of the Azure Grimoire ("BlazBlue"), Ragna has ceaselessly fought against the iron rule of the Novus Orbis Librarium (giving him the nickname of "The Grim Reaper"). He ends up labelled a "SS-class" threat and has the highest bounty known to man on his head, only to end up in Kagutsuchi for a mysterious purpose. His Drive, "Soul Eater", allows him to heal by attacking.
- Jin Kisaragi - A major of the Novus Orbis Librarium, considered a genius and a hero during the Ikaruga Civil War. He unexpectedly abandons his post to go to Kagutsuchi in search of Ragna. His Drive, "Frostbite", allows him to freeze his opponents by attacking.
- Noel Vermillion - A lieutenant of the Novus Orbis Librarium and Jin's direct subordinate. She is sent by the Librarium to Kagutsuchi to retrieve Jin (using force if necessary). Her Drive, "Chain Revolver", allows her to enter a separate stance by attacking, changing her normal attacks while giving her access to new special moves.
- Rachel Alucard - The current head of the Alucard vampire family, Rachel leaves her mundane castle life to Kagutsuchi to relieve her boredom (among other, more mysterious, reasons). Her Drive, "Sylpheed", allows her to summon wind gusts (using a separate Gauge) that affects all of her projectiles, movement, and her opponent's position during combos.
- Taokaka - A member of the beast-like Kaka tribe, which resides within the bottom layers of Kagutsuchi. As urban development has covered the sky above her village, Taokaka is sent upwards by the village elders to capture "Rawrgnya" and collect his bounty. Unlike other characters, she can perform a second mid-air jump (or air dash). Her Drive, "Dancing Edge", allows her to launch herself forward like a torpedo with a variety of follow-ups.
- Carl Clover - A talented young vigilante who has brought many criminals to justice with his mysterious doll "Nirvana". He comes to Kagutsuchi to pursue his next target: Ragna. Unlike most characters, he cannot run in his ground forward dash. His Drive, "Automaton", allows him to control the position of Nirvana and make her attack. Nirvana can be hit by opponents and has her own Gauge that drains on her use or her being attacked, which disables her on depletion (causing it to regenerate slowly and reactivate her when its full).
- Litchi Faye Ling - A renowned doctor who works in one of the lower parts of Kagutsuchi (known as Orient Town). She came to Kagutsuchi for a mysterious purpose. Her Drive, "Mantenbou" allows her to set her staff down (either on its own or after an attack) and either fight barehanded (trading range for mix-up opportunities) or launch the staff like a boomerang.
- Arakune - An amorphous monster housing a myriad of insects, lurking in the underbelly of Kagutsuchi. After detecting an immense power, it begins to move out. Rather than dashing, it has a variety of teleportation options. Its Drive, "Crimson", allows it to build up the special Curse Gauge by attacking. Once the Gauge is full, it enters a state where it can summon a variety of bug projectiles from different positions on the screen.
- Iron Tager - Also known as TR-0009 Tager and the "Red Devil", Iron Tager is a former soldier who survived a fatal wound from the Ikaruga Civil War by becoming a cyborg with the help of the scientist Kokonoe. Now a subordinate for the scientist, his current mission seems to be pursuing Ragna (for a mysterious reason). Unlike other characters, he cannot forward dash, air dash, or double jump. His Drive, "Voltic Battler", allows him to magnetize his opponent by attacking. Magnetized opponents can be pulled towards him on certain attacks.
- Bang Shishigami - A ninja of the Ikaruga Federation, forced to flee to Kagutsuchi after the Ikaruga Civil War. While waiting for a chance to restore his homeland, he makes his debut as the self-proclaimed "Vigilante of Justice" and decides to bring the legendary criminal Ragna to justice. Can perform a second mid-air dash and can dash by planting nails in the air. His Drive, "Burning Heart", allow him to perform attacks that can bypass enemy attacks with correct timing.
- Hakumen (sub-boss) - A swordsman and one of the six heroes who defeated the Black Beast, only to lie in wait in the depths of Kagutsuchi for a mysterious purpose. Unlike other characters, he has a unique Heat Gauge that stores each eighth as a separate "stock" (each of which can be used with certain special moves). His Drive, "Zanshin", allows him to project a barrier that counters enemy attacks, which follow up with a counter-attack. In the Arcade version, he is a time-release character.
- Nu-13 (stylized as ν-13 or ν No. 13, final boss) - A mysterious child hidden in the depths of Kagutsuchi. Her Drive, "Sword Summoner", allows her to launch a variety of sword projectiles at different angles. In the Arcade version, she is a time-release character.
In the Console version, four characters have powerful "Unlimited" versions that appear in certain situations: Ragna, Rachel, Hakumen, and Nu-13. Each of them have a variety of upgrades, such as Ragna having a permanent "Blood Kain" effect and Nu-13's Heat Gauge automatically filling up. Players can unlock these versions for their own use either by completing that character's Arcade Mode or as paid DLC (for $1 each).
The game's January 14, 2010 patch added Unlimited versions of all other characters, unlocked by paid DLC (for $5). The European release, along with the PSP and PC versions, have the DLC included.
Character Color DLC
In the Console version, players can purchase an additional set of character colors as paid DLC, either in three packs of four characters (for $2 each) or in one bundle (for $5).
The game's January 14, 2010 patch added two additional sets of character colors, either in six packs of four characters (for $2 each) or in two bundles (for $6 each).
The European release, along with the PSP and PC versions, have the DLC included.
In a time now long past, mankind faced extinction at the hands of the 'Black Beast,' a creature that appeared out of the darkness. The Beast was possessed by an awesome power, and it appeared that the time of man would soon be at an end. It was then, in humanity's darkest hour, that six heroes of unknown origin came forward to defeat the Beast. They brought with them the ancient power of 'magic.' which they freely shared with mankind. Turning their ingenuity to the formation of new, more powerful weapons, humanity discovered a process by which they could infuse their own technology with the power of ancient magic. It was in this way that humanity created the "Armagus' and discovered a power far beyond what magic or technology alone could have given them.
With this new-found power, mankind once again confronted the Beast, with the six heroes fighting alongside them. After many long, blood-soaked battles, the Beast finally fell, ending what would come to be know as 'The First War of Magic.' The heroes who had fought beside human warriors in the First War of Magic were immortalized for their deeds, and through generations came to be known as the 'Six Heroes.'
It was during the First War that an organization was formed to regulate the use of the 'Grimoire Armagus,' the Armagus training texts. Called the 'New World Void Space Cue Administration Bureau,' it was this organization, and the power it wielded through the use of the Grimoire Armagus, that brought about great advances across the spectrum of human technology. These advances threw mankind into a vast and all-encompassing reconstruction.
Decades have passed since the Bureau established itself as a dictatorship and Armagus became the deciding factor in nearly all of humanity's affairs. This has led to a large socioeconomic gap between those who can wield the power of Armagus and those who cannot. Tensions began to flare, and before long a rebel organization calling itself the 'Ikaruga Union' appeared, defying the totalitarian authority of the Bureau, which began referring to itself as the Novus Orbis Librarium Armagus ("The Library"). With the creation of the Ikaruga Union, angry thoughts became open hostilities and 'The Second War of Magic' began. It was this conflict, which also came to be known as 'The Ikaruga Civil War,' that saw humans using the power of Armagus against one another for the first time.
The Second War came to a close with the destruction of the Ikaruga Union. Afraid of further conflict, the Library consummated its subjugation of the populace by issuing the following decree: 'Whosoever chooses to defy the New World Void Space Cue Administration Bureau shall be put to death, without exception.'
Several years after the end of the Second War, a branch of the Library reputed to command a force as powerful as an entire nation's army was suddenly and utterly destroyed. The few survivors spoke in hushed, shaken tones of a single man who had appeared out of nowhere, cutting down all in his path.
His name was Ragna the Bloodedge.
He wages a one-man war against the power of the Bureau, fighting to break its iron grip on humanity's throat. He is a man who has declared war against the world itself.
~A.D. 2199 Dec~
"By the end of the year, most citizens were expecting the beginning of an era of unprecedented development. Unfortunately, 2199 was also the year that the Librarium's greatest foe, the man with the highest single bounty on record, Ragna the Bloodedge, was rumored to have appeared in the 13th Hierarchal City of Kagutsuchi. People gave him the nickname Grim Reaper, and it was said that his goal was the obliteration of the Librarium in its entirety. Following the rumors, people began to make their way to Kagutsuchi-some after the incredible bounty on [Ragna's] head others after the "ultimate power" said to be in his possession... and a few whose only interest was his assassination for the Librarium."
The story has several different plotlines for the various playable characters that intersect with each other in many ways. Canonically, all these story threads are true, but the explanation is that (except for the True Ending) every single one ends with Ragna falling into the Cauldron with v-13, forming the Black Beast. Then a giant laser beam fired by Take-Mikazuchi at that same Cauldron somehow sparks a time loop which turns the clock back almost a century in time with the first appearance of the Black Beast, erasing the events that happened over and over again.
This continues on and on in everyone's story until the loop is finally broken in the True Ending, when Noel saves Ragna from falling into the Cauldron with v-13 and Rachel activates the Tsukiyomi Unit to save Kagutsuchi from destruction. However, it turns out to be part of the evil Terumi's plan all along, who kept manipulating events so the time loop would repeat over and over until events finally conspired to let him acquire the true copy of the Azure Grimoire from Noel. In the end, Terumi escapes to move on to the next part of his evil plan, which involves conscripting Tsubaki Yayoi to hunt down her former classmates Jin and Noel for treason.
The North American 360 and PS3 versions also received a "Limited Edition" release with a two-disc soundtrack and a bonus DVD (Blu-Ray for the PS3 version) with tutorials and game strategies, featuring expert players from websites Dustloop and Shoryuken. The European "Limited Edition" version also received the bonus DVD, along with a 96-page full-color booklet with original art and illustrations.
Minimum System Requirements
- Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7
- Processor : Intel Pentium IV at 3.0 GHz (XP) / Intel Core 2 Duo (Vista / Win 7)
- Video Card : 256 MB VRAM – NVIDIA Geforce 7900 / ATI Radeon X1900
- Memory : 1 GB RAM
- Hard Disk : 10 GB of free Hard Drive space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
- Direct X : 9.0c
- Controls : Keyboard & Mouse
- Installation : DVD-ROM Drive
Recommended System Requirements
- Operating System : Windows Vista / Windows 7
- Processor : Intel Core 2 Quad / Intel Core i5/i7
- Video Card : 512 MB VRAM – NVIDIA Geforce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD3700
- Memory : 2 GB RAM
- Hard Disk : 10 GB of free Hard Drive space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
- Direct X : 9.0c
- Controls : Keyboard & Mouse
- Installation : DVD-ROM Drive
Other Requirements: Multiplayer requires log-in to Games for Windows - LIVE.