Tag Archives: Classic Game Room

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson Review


As a game collector, I occasionally stumble into titles. Games I have no prior knowledge of. Or very little knowledge of. Like some of you this will begin online, and end in a storefront. Earlier this year, Mark Bussler over at Classic Game Room did an episode on Senran Kagura: Estival Versus for the PlayStation 4. A very bizarre, over the top hack n’ slash action game with an emphasis on endowed characters. I like to think I know a bit about esoteric games. But I had no idea that this was actually a series.

Imagine my surprise one day when I saw this sequel for the 3DS sitting on a store shelf. “They put a sequel out, on Nintendo’s handheld?” I thought. Well yes. Except this ISN’T the sequel to the PlayStation 4 game. After some research I discovered that the series oddly enough, started on the 3DS in Japan. So this game is the sequel to THAT game, and the one Mark reviewed on his show is actually a spin-off.

PROS: Great graphics, responsive controls, a simple combo system that isn’t mundane.

CONS: Some of the content isn’t for everybody. Can get a bit lowbrow.

COLLECTIBLE: Apparently the print run for this game wasn’t very high in the USA.

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is an arcade style hack n’ slash game. You’ll go through a variety of stages fighting hordes, and hordes of enemies. There are also, of course, bosses. As you play through the campaign you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of characters. Many of whom you will be able to take control of throughout the game.

The controversial gimmick in this series is where some folks may have some reservations about picking one of these games up. When you’re fighting enemies, you’ll find your attacks will rip their clothes to shreds. When they’re just about dead, they’ll be down to their undergarments. Your characters are subject to these rules as well. Take enough damage from opponents, and your clothes will be ripped to pieces. When you’re completely out of health you’ll be down to your underwear as well.


The game plays the gimmick more for laughs, and less for eroticism. Even if the camera angles during transformations are peculiar. But like an R Rated B movie comedy on Cinemax in 1995, it can come off as kind of crass. Of course humor is subjective. Some are going to laugh at how over the top it is. Others are going to be totally confused. While some may even feel a little offended. The game is absolutely unabashed in its presentation. So again, this game is most certainly not for everyone.

Fortunately, there are enough good things about Senran Kagura 2 that action game fans may want to check it out. The fighting system isn’t the most technical, it’s actually fairly simple. But not so simple that things feel mundane. It feels a bit like the Rocksteady Batman Arkham games. You mix up attacks with a weak, and strong button which result in some really awesome combos. They aren’t deep, but the animations are brisk, and smooth. There’s also a nice variety of moves during these sequences as well.


You can also jump, and do air attacks using the jump button with the attack buttons. There’s also a dash you can use. Finally, there’s a transformation sequence you can perform once you earn enough scrolls while playing. These are reminiscent of the transformation scenes from the old Sailor Moon anime. The off-putting difference being where the characters place their scrolls during these sequences. Once transformed you can then perform a super when you have enough of a meter filled. You use these by pressing the L button along with other buttons which do a variety of crazy animations. These are normally the kinds of things you can see in fighting games like Street Fighter V or Marvel Vs. Capcom 3.  There are even tag team combos you can do in some levels where you’re forced to toggle between multiple characters.

Senran Kagura 2 also has a couple of camera options when playing. By default the camera will stay fixed, and you can target enemies with the D-pad if you feel more comfortable locking on to them. If you’re playing on a 3DS (Sorry 2DS or 3DS XL owners) you can also use the optional Circle Pad Pro. This lets you run the camera freeform like a mouse, or a second thumb stick. The newest 3DS can also do this with its built-in Circle Pad Pro replacement. As I own the 2DS I really couldn’t test this option out, but I was able to play fine with the fixed camera.


All of this makes for a hack n’ slash beat ’em up game that feels really good. Again, everything flows smoothly, and quickly. You quickly find yourself going from enemy to enemy seamlessly, and racking up crazy combos. Whether you come from classics like Double Dragon, Streets Of Rage, and Final Fight or modern games like God Of War, Devil May Cry, or Dynasty Warriors you’ll likely enjoy the fighting system here. Tamsoft were also the developers behind Onechanbara. But where that series can sometimes feel mundane, and repetitive this game doesn’t.

I think a major reason it doesn’t is because there is a wide variety of enemies on display, each with a different set of strategies needed to defeat them. There are various monsters, ninjas, soldiers, other students, and storyline characters to go up against. The vast number of playable characters also helps. Each character plays completely different from the rest of the cast. Some characters are faster, with attacks that do minimal damage, but also stun enemies so you can get in more hits. Others are slower with far more powerful attacks. Then you have others that fall somewhere in between. It can again, feel like a fighting game in that regard. You can try using the entire cast, or you can settle on one character you feel most comfortable with. Of course the campaign will make you play with each character as there are scenes that require particular characters for the storyline.


The game has a fairly extensive campaign where you’ll follow the adventures of several stables. These are good, and evil students of Shinobi who rival one another. But as the story goes on you’ll discover that they also have common enemies. I don’t really want to give anything away, but it’s a halfway decent romp. It isn’t the most original story, and there are a lot of events you’ve seen dozens of times in other games. But I will give it credit for at least attempting to give each of the characters some personality beyond being simple eye candy. There are actual motivations, cares, fears, and some moments of genuinely funny dialogue. It has its share of common archetypes mind you. There’s the super serious personality, the hyperactive personality, the one that second guesses themselves constantly, the brash personality. But there are some original takes on them here.


Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to hold up the storytelling in Senran Kagura 2 alongside revered tales told in Portal, Half-Life, Deus EX, or System Shock 2. This is still a very silly, over the top game. But it does at least try to be more than a soft core button masher. That said, some of the extras don’t, like the  game’s costume decorator where you can pick the two outfits for any given character. You get to unlock new ones as you play the game. Some of them are actually pretty cool looking, while others are right out of Bikini Car Wash Company. Rounding out the extra features is the AR photo mode. This mode lets you take any of the player models, and super impose them over a photo you take with the 3DS camera.

Senran Kagura 2 also has a Co-Op mode, where you, and a friend can sync up your 3DS systems, and play the campaign together, or replay individual missions together. Back on the single-player  front, you can go back, and play any previous stage with any character to level them up. At the end of every stage you’re also given a rating. The better you do, the higher your score, and the more unlocks you’ll receive. Senran Kagura 2’s difficulty does start to really ramp up around halfway through the game. So going back, and replaying earlier levels with some of the newer characters you unlock isn’t the worst idea.


In between levels you can also go back to a hub level, which changes between chapters. There are 5 chapters, each with several missions. Senran Kagura 2 is a pretty long game all things considered. The hub level lets you communicate with the characters for some back story dialogue. You can also choose to enter one room to go on missions, one for each of the various modes, as well as the options menu. Here you can change audio, and visual settings. You can also turn off the clothes tearing sequences if you want. You can also use the sub-menu on the touch screen to jump to any of these rather than walk around the hub.


All in all, Senran Kagura 2 is actually a pretty fun, and challenging game if you can get past the exploitation B movie vibe of everything. There’s no full frontal nudity or intercourse on display so this doesn’t get into anything overtly pornographic. But it isn’t embarrassed about its suggestive camera angles, or dirty jokes either. Which is why  it still isn’t something for everyone. If, however you can look past the risqué elements you’ll find a pretty good action game, and R rated comedy underneath it all.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Classic Game Room lives on!

Mark Bussler’s CGR was ended not too long ago. But fear not! Classic Game Room has found new life in a third revision thanks to a lot of generous fans. With a successful Patreon under its belt, the show will live on. There have already been a couple of new reviews. You can check out the latest Q&A video, and episodes on YouTube.

For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a departure from most online shows. Mark goes over pros, and cons while giving a nice blend of humor, and knowledge in a calm demeanor. The show doesn’t go for a overtly cynical character. Nor does it go for a serious tone. It’s a show centered around showing off games, good or bad, and having fun doing it. There are also entertaining fan Q&A episodes, music recommendations, and of course beer.

Here’s hoping the resurrected CGR is successful, and back for years to come.

It’s the end of an era at the intergalactic space arcade.

If you hadn’t heard the news earlier this week, fans of video game themed YouTube shows got a bit of a shock. Classic Game Room is shutting down. Well mostly. Mark Bussler will still be writing, and shooting episodes, but at an unknown pace. On the CGR website forums, he made the announcement that he’s moving into a newer career soon, and subsequently the CGR store, site, and its sister show CGR Undertow are going to be phased out by years end.

On the one hand I, and many fans are certainly happy that Mark has found an opportunity. But on the other hand it’s sad for a  number of reasons, the biggest being that all of the wonderful people who made the channel work behind the scenes need to find work. I hope every one of them does. As someone who has experienced a company closure twice, as well as a layoff during a downsize, it is a tough go of it, even tougher these days. The upside for them is they have enough experience to not only do work elsewhere, but some may be able to transition into doing what they love for themselves. So we may see a new venture composed of CGR talent. One can only hope.

But losing Classic Game Room is a huge void in the realm of YouTube channels. Many people don’t realize it, but Mark Bussler’s review show was actually one of the earliest. It may have even been the first by some accounts. It started online life back in 2008. But it started life even before that; in 1999. Classic Game Room is also unique. The show didn’t try to come off like a games publication. There weren’t scores, or breakdowns. Mark (and later the Undertow crew) would simply talk about how much he enjoyed, or didn’t enjoy a game, or a console, peripheral, or computer. It was also unique in that it didn’t go the route of riffing. Many really good shows took the approach of reliving bad games, and making jokes about them. Over time they added well thought out critiques, and perspectives to the comedy. Classic Game Room didn’t try to jump on trends. That isn’t to say there was never comedy. There were jokes, and references. But like the rest of the show, it was lighthearted. One of the staples over the years was a bit where a game or device would be attempted to be connected to an incompatible console. The show incorporated its own comic books, and recurring characters. The set had a retro kitsch many times, including disco balls, lava lamps, and other items in the background. It was rare an episode was ever more than a few minutes in length. Again, concentrating on the experience, and whether or not it was enjoyable to the host.

The show also had a great soundtrack, from the iconic theme song to the background tunes. Everything had an old school, needle drop quality you’d find before, and after commercials on radio shows back in the day. These were called bumps. Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block has also continued this tradition. But now I’ve begun to ramble. The point is, that Classic Game Room was a great show, and it is going to be missed greatly by a lot of people who love video games. Not only did it cover a lot of the classics, and new releases, it also covered a lot of underrated gems. There are a lot of people who discovered a lot of really great games on that show over the years. It wasn’t only wistful older gamers like me who loved it, but many younger generations interested in what came before. Classic Game Room certainly isn’t the only show that has had that effect, but it is one of the most notable. If you haven’t watched this seminal series, you should really check it out while you still can. As for myself, I’m going to pour one out for the CGR crew, binge watch some reruns, and then fire up some TRUXTON.

Thank you Classic Game Room for years of entertainment, education, and giving us reasons to purchase some craft beer.