CONSOLE REVIEW; Bloody Roar (Virgin) PlayStation

With Tekken 3 at least six months away, beat-'em-up fans need something to keep them off the streets. Well, law-abiding citizens can rest easy, because Virgin have offered up Bloody Roar to fill the void.

There are no surprises in the format; choose one of eight characters and take on the other seven over three rounds of hand-to-hand combat. Alternatively, you can battle it out with a friend in the two-player versus mode. Nothing to write home about so far. But wait, there's more; each of the characters can transform into an animal with superpowers! The menagerie includes a lion, a tiger and, my personal favourite, a gorilla, - each with its own unique special moves.

The raison d'etre of a game like this is to deliver as much fast and furious action in as short a time as possible. Which is exactly what Bloody Roar does. With its colourful 3D characters, slick animation and responsive controls, it is tremendously playable. It's also extremely easy to pick up. All the moves, and the makers claim there are 200 of the blighters, are executed using just four buttons, so you'll be putting together combos before you know it. But herein lies the problem; it's so straightforward that experienced combatants might find it a little too simplistic. Those players who like to have really complicated moves which they can work at for weeks on end will be disappointed.

A good all-rounder, which lacks the long-term appeal to put it up there with the best of the best.

Released end of Feb, pounds 39.99

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