Review by TheSAMMIES

Reviewed: 01/30/13 | Updated: 08/19/13

Who needs clothes?

Action movies, particularly kung fu movies, love to do this thing where the hero will tear his shirt off during a big fight. Does it actually affect anything? According to movie logic, yes, fighting half-naked will make the hero stronger somehow. But according to real life, it probably won’t have too much of an effect on any fighting performance. Might Battle Skin Panic doesn’t just pay tribute to this concept of “topless hero = stronger fighter”, but turns it into a whole game. Developed by Gainax, the same company behind the cute and addictive Princess Maker games, comes Mighty Battle Skin Panic, a game about girls who can tear off their clothes to become stronger fighters.

Huge warning. This game is full of cartoon nudity. There isn’t any actual sex, but you do get to see uncensored naughty bits. If you’re offended by cartoon boobs and cartoon female genitalia, then you’ll want to stay away from this game. I’m serious. Cartoon nudity is so prevalent in this game that it’s a gameplay mechanic and some fights will actually require you to fight already naked girls. If you don’t think you can handle it or if you’re too young to play a game with such themes, then stay away from this game.

Story- The Story is ludicrous and all over the place. It starts where you name your main character. I called him the Japanese approximation of AAAAA. You’re a guy in high school and you meet a new girl, Mimi, and quickly become best friends with her. Mimi happens to be a master of martial arts and has an amazing superpower where she can become stronger by taking off her clothes. Mimi is not alone with this power, though. There are evil women super villains with this power that are after Mimi.

What I described up there is explained in the first five minutes of the game. Most of the story is in Japanese, but everything comes with pictures, so it’s easy to figure out what’s going on even if you don't know any Japanese. As the story unfolds, the plot visits Mimi’s mysterious origins, political intrigue that reaches The White House, ancient insect monster goddesses that want to take over the world, and many other strange and hilarious places. All of it is done in a comedic light and it’s all very funny. I couldn’t stop laughing during some parts. Don’t miss out on the final boss. It’s one of the game’s strong points and easily one of the best parts of the game. Also, the ending is wonderful and fits the tone of the game perfectly.

Presentation- Mighty Battle Skin Panic does not actually look all that great. In the beginning of the game, you fight a wide variety of opponents and see many different locations. As the game goes, you reach a “maze” which isn’t really a maze because mazes aren’t in the shape of straight liens. This is mostly an excuse to reuse the same pictures over and over again. You even fight the same enemy around eight times for crying out loud! I could almost smell it, the moment they ran out of money and had to reuse art and content for filler.

The music consists mostly of simple 8-bit tunes that always sound either fun and cheery or dark and mysterious. There are only two battle themes, but both of them are good and never get repetitive.

Gameplay- Mighty Battle Skin Panic is a card battle game with Japanese adventure game elements tacked on. Let’s talk about the cards first because they consist of the bulk of the game.

You and your opponent are dealt five cards every round and you pick one to use each turn. You also have to manage four numbers at the bottom of the screen, Health, Attack, Shame, and Defense. Health is pretty obvious. If it runs out, then you lose. Shame accumulates by either tearing off your clothes or by your opponent taunting you. If shame reaches 125, then you turn into a naked, crying, chibi version of yourself and lose. Attack dictates how much damage you do and defense dictates how much damage you take from enemy attacks.

Cards have different colors and numbers on them to show what they do and how good they are at doing it. Red cards are attack cards. Blue cards are defense cards that raise your defense levels. Yellow cards restore health. Pink cards shame your opponent, but only if they’ve removed at least one article of clothing. Otherwise, they do nothing. There are also special cards. Giant pink cards are strip cards. Those ones remove an article of clothing, raise your attack and shame, and lower your defense. Giant yellow cards remove shame. Giant blue cards restore all of your health. Lastly, jokers do a completely random effect. Sometimes it will give you a crushing advantage, but other times they will actually help your enemy. It’s very frustrating when all a joker does is raise your opponent’s attack damage instead of helping you.

Sadly, the card battle parts of this game aren’t the best designed. Pink cards put shame on enemies, which is cool alternate way to win. It’s just that later on, your pink cards are all worthless because some enemies have no shame. No, seriously, they simply do not understand that being naked in public is generally frowned upon in society. One boss even gets angry if you use pink cards on her and it raises her attack damage instead of her shame. I think this was a poor idea on Gainax’s part. Sometimes the enemy will build up an insurmountable defense and shame really will be the only option to defeat an opponent, but in cases where you can’t because the enemy can’t feel shame, then it kind of destroys the purpose of having shame cards in the first place.

Other than my gripe about how ineffective shame cards are later on in the game, the card battle system is actually a lot of fun. Analyzing statistics and thinking about which one to raise, when the time is right to attack, when the time is right to strip, and all that other stuff lends the game some fairly deep strategic elements. It helps that the actual combat is fast and a little addictive too.

The adventure game elements are handled well. You go to a screen and have four options at all times. They are Move, Look, Talk, and Save. Since I can’t read Japanese, most of these segments boiled down to “Guess which one to use over and over until it’s time to move”. It mostly consists of talk, but every so often you have to look at something first before talking. Save simply lets you save the game. Be sure to save often, by the way. The game offers to let you save after every fight too, and losing only to be bumped back seven fights can make things frustrating.

The adventure game parts of the game tend to have the most amount of storyline in them. There is story in the battle portions, but most of it is told in the adventure game parts. There is a linear “maze”, which you don’t actually have to navigate near the end. Just hit the “move” button over and over again until you advance to the next battle. I was a bit disappointed with the maze. I thought I would have to actually go through it and find stuff.

Cool Fact- The game over screen has Mimi’s master looking directly at you, with an angry face, giving you the middle finger. This is one of the best game over screens I have ever seen.

Also Try- SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighter’s Clash on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. It’s similar to this, but with more emphasis on collecting and deck building and less on girls taking off their clothes.

Rating: 9

Product Release: Mighty Battle Skin Panic (JP, 12/31/93)

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