Beastorizer (known in Japan and Europe as Bloody Roar: Hyper Beast Duel with the PlayStation release being titled Bloody Roar) is a 3D fighting game developed and released by Eighting/Raizing (in conjunction with Hudson) for arcades on July 7, 1997. It is the first of the Bloody Roar series.
Similar to other 3D fighting games at the time, Beastorizer is unique as players fight as one of eight "zoanthropes", warriors who can transform into powerful animal-human hybrids (similar to werewolves) to gain a temporary edge in battle. The common theme of the story involves Tylon Co., a multinational corporation that seeks to brainwash zoanthropes for a sinister purpose.
The game is better known for its Sony PlayStation port, developed by Hudson and published by SCEA in North America on October 31, 1997 (as Bloody Roar), by Hudson in Japan on October 31, 1997, and by Virgin in Europe on March 1998. This version is known for its numerous unlockable gameplay options (includng the ability to side-step and become super-deformed). This version was digitally re-released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (both via PlayStation Network) on August 20, 2009.
The main attraction of Bloody Roar was the ability to activate the Zoanthrope's transformation abilities and become an anthropomorphic animal of some form. To transform, the player had to fill up their beast-gauge, located underneath the health bar. The beast-gauge would fill up slowly over time, however, it could be filled faster by successfully damaging the opponent. Taking damage from an opponent or hitting a guarded opponent would also increase the beast-gauge, only less so than hitting and damaging the opponent.
The beast-gage had two stages; the blue stage and the flashing multicoloured stage. The player could only transform when the multicoloured gauge was active. To get to the multicoloured stage the blue gauge first had to be filled. When the blue beast-gauge was full it'd then be replaced by the multicoloured beast-gauge and the player could then transform any time, no matter how full the multicoloured gauge was. Filling the multicoloured gauge did have its advantages, though:
- The Zoanthrope could remain transformed for longer as the Beast-gauge is depleted through received damage, and once fully depleted the player would revert to human form.
- Some of the damage that would be taken out of the health is instead taken out of the beast-gage, so having a fuller beast-gauge would effectively increase the player's health.
- Rave mode [a mode accessible after transforming] and its duration were directly linked to how full the beast-gauge was.
The advantages of transforming were more than just aesthetic, the player's character would be harder hitting, gain extra attacking moves via the circle button, access to Rave mode, and would increase in weight. Also, worth noting is that upon transformation a player would regain some health over-time. The health bar was split into three colors; dark blue is the health that has been depleted that round, light blue represents where your health will recover to [over-time] after transforming, and yellow is the actual remaining health.
Rave mode, mentioned earlier, was a boost on top of the transformed shape that would increased the player's speed. The player's speed increase was an all-round speed increase - meaning not only did the player move faster, but also their animations and recovery times between attack-combos were faster. Rave mode drew its power from the beast-gauge and would deplete the gauge over-time. After it is fully emptied the Zoanthrope would remain transformed but would be one hit away from reverting to human form.
The game includes eight playable characters and one unplayable boss, all of whom can transform into their own Beast: