Mmmm-mm-mmm... summer is almost here! Don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to a little (consistently) warm weather. All the amazing events lined up don't hurt, either. Anyways, we got some craziness to get into before all that.
Before getting into this month's Character Battle proper, I have a short story to tell you. After everything wrapped up with Combo Breaker this year, I was just chilling in the hotel room with KPB|Elky Dori. It was late and we both had flights to catch in the morning, but that 'combat high' from the event hadn't subsided yet for either of us. While watching Liam Neeson gingerly murder his way through Paris in "Taken", a joyously rambling conversation started that covered everything from the Famke Jensen's unfortunate typecasting to censorship that missed its intended mark by friggin' light-years. One such topic will be our focus today.
Brothers & sisters, it's time get downright cretaceous up in here! I want you to take a good look at that picture. Look at it again, while remembering that almost all of my writing on this site centers around characters from various fighting games. Look at it a third time and accept the fact that I have two honest-to-goodness dinosaurs staring each other down. Now, while the eight-year-old in me who wanted to be a paleontologist when he grew would absolutely love to, this isn't going to be a "survival of the fittest" showdown. Ohhhh no... I want to take my time today to determine which specimen was the most ridiculous budgetary decision.
Look, I understand that there's a given suspense of disbelief that comes with buying into any game's canon, but the idea that some trillion dollar multinational corporation would dump (what I can only assume has to be) just hundreds of millions of dollars into genetically engineering a weaponized Vincent D'onofrio fantasy baffles me. What could those board meetings have possibly been like?! Sheer morbid curiosity compels me to contemplate such utter lunacy. Although, if I'm being frank, the intense crazy makes my job that much more enjoyable. Seriously, who else gets to swing for the fences with stuff like this?
Anyways, first up is Killer Instinct's Riptor. She's an example of the latest military developments that Ultratech has been working on. No puns intended, but Riptor brings all of natural velociraptor instincts to battle. I mean, let's call a cretaceous killing machine a cretaceous killing machine here... these beautiful creatures are great at doing one thing: vicious dismemberment. To add insult to injury (in every sense of that phrase), Ultratech decided to equip her with plasma claws, cybernetic tail extensions & a goddamn flamethrower in her mouth. There was just one small issue: since none of the Riptor specimens were ever properly raised, all they were bringing to the table was the nature and none of the nurture. That being said, I could only imagine that a few people overlooking the project never got the see it through. Lesson learned, eh?
Then there's Alex originally from Tekken 2 and, later, Tekken Tag Tournament 1 & 2. His path to becoming a weapon was slightly more... nonsensical. Alex wasn't retrofitted with any weapons or enhancements. No, all him & Roger got were boxing gloves. You see, the plan was to splice his DNA with that of the best fighters on the planet. (Points for creativity, I'll give 'em that.) What flat out amazes me about all this is his flair for the theatrical. For the love of all that's holy, he's a dinosaur brought into existence by the manipulation of kangaroo DNA that wears boxing gloves. That is mere seconds away from being the premise to a zany 90's cartoon. To make matters even weirder, Alex was stolen from the Mishima Zaibatsu. How does one even go about fleecing a dinosaur? Madness, I tell you... madness.
Alright, so let's weigh our options here. To find the answer I'm looking for, I have to set my sights a little higher up the corporate food chain. As the current CEO of Ultratech, the artificial superintelligence ARIA has either been making most the decisions in the company or, at the very least, signing off on them. As such, I imagine her logical & objective mind is what led to the enhancements for Riptor. On the flip side, Kazuya Mishima hated the idea while he was in the charge of the Zaibatsu and actually wanted to kill Alex. Which means that, in all of his megalomaniacal fervor, Heihachi has to be the one to give that item on the annual budget that green light. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during that board meeting.
Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.