Guilty Gear
:  The Guilty Gear series takes place around the year 2180, in a chaotic, mystical future world. In 2010, mankind discovered an unlimited energy source of incredible power, which was labeled Magic. Despite providing a solution for world energy crisis, wars continued. The power of Magic was combined with humans and other creatures creating living weapons known as Gears. 

Eventually the Gears turned on the human race, beginning a century-long global war known as the Crusades where the Sacred Order of Holy Knights (Seikishidan being the Japanese name), defeated Justice, leader of the Gears. Justice having been locked away in a dimensional prison, all other Gears seemingly ceased to function, bringing end to an age of conflict. Five years after the war's end a Gear called Testament planned to free the leader Justice. In response the United Nations heralded a tournament of fighters capable of defeating the resurgent enemies Testament and Justice. Ultimately, a bounty hunter named Sol Badguy defeated Justice, giving way to another uneasy peace.


The first Guilty Gear game, dubbed "The Missing Link" in Japan, began production a year and a half before its eventual release on PlayStation 1. The project was developed by Team Neo Blood, and Arc System Works production group lead by Daisuke Ishiwatari. The game and characters take inspiration from other 2D fighting games like Street Fighter, manga such as Bastard!!, and Daisuke Ishiwatari's love of 1970's and 1980's heavy metal.

Fighting with your own shadow? Zato is cool.

Guilty Gear introduces 10 stylish fighters, each possessing at least a half-dozen special moves. The game's 6-button layout is similar to Capcom's Street Fighter series but offers something different than what most 2D fighting gamers are used to. Instead of the staple 3 punches & 3 kicks, the 6 buttons are: Punch, Kick, Slash, Heavy Slash, Dust and Respect. The Tension Gauge fills up as characters connect attacks or take damage. Characters become stronger when the Tension Gauge is full and gain access to super moves called Chaos Attacks. In addition to Chaos Attacks and flashy air-combos, each of the dynamic (and slightly odd) characters can pull off "Destroy Attacks"... AKA Instant Kill moves that immediately end the round.

"I can kick higher than your sword! ...errr, almost!"

Guilty Gear's graphics and animation are effectively stylish and overall pretty solid... especially considering the graphical limitations of the original PlayStation. The anime-flavored 2D sprites and stages compliment the fast gameplay, which reward aggressive play-styles. Balance-wise, the game is broken in many aspects, with some characters' abilities, power, and combo potential trumping others. The gameplay, combo system, and general flow / smoothness of the gameplay had much room to grow. The sequel, Guilty Gear X, redefined the gameplay experience, graphics, and brought the Guilty Gear series into the mainstream.


Page Updated: October 26th, 2023
Developer(s): Arc System Works (Team Neo Blood)
Publisher(s): Arc System Works, Atlus , Virgin
Designer(s): Daisuke Ishiwatari
Platform(s): PlayStation, PSP, PSN, PS4, Switch, Steam
Release Date(s): May 14th, 1998            PS1
Oct. 31st, 1998
May 2000                         PS1
May 16th, 2019          PS4, Switch, PC
Characters Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske, Testament, Potemkin, Chipp Zanuff, Eddie, Dr. Baldhead, May, Axl Low, Millia Rage, Kliff Undersn, Justice, Baiken
Related Links March '22: Bill Clinton Immortalized in Guilty Gear -STRIVE-
July '21: Early Guilty Gear 1998 Character Concept Art

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear X Advance, Guilty Gear XX, Guilty Gear X2 #Reload, GGXX Slash, Guilty Gear Isuka, Guilty Gear Judgment, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core, GGXX Accent Core Plus R, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, GGXrd REV 2, Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hokuto No Ken, Sengoku Basara X , Last Blade 2, King of Fighters '98, Pocket Fighter, Marvel Vs. Capcom, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, Tobal No. 1, Tobal 2, TEKKEN 3, Soul Blade, Asura Blade, Groove On Fight

Gameplay Engine  7.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.0 / 10
Animation  7.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  8.0 / 10
Innovation  7.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.5 / 10
Customization  7.0 / 10
Options / Extras  6.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  7.5 / 10

 7.7 / 10

 Review based on PS1 version    


Final Words:

The unorthodox Guilty Gear on PS1 was no doubt ahead of its time. The game seemed to do everything in its power to be "different from the norm" of what you'd expect from any fighting game that came before it. While the visuals and gameplay didn't quite match up with the "best" that the fighting genre had to offer in 1998, Arc System Works made a statement with its unique cast of combatants and different kind of 2D fighting game experience on PS1.

Considering the crazy competition in the 1998 fighting game scene, Guilty Gear could've easily (and understandably) been overlooked... but players who gave the game chance were introduced to out-of-this-world character designs with bizarre movesets and equally wild gameplay. This PS1 gem sparked what would later become one of the flashiest 2D fighting game franchises in history!
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen  

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