Rakugaki Showtime is a brawler developed by Treasure for the PlayStation. In it, players take the role of sprites made to look like roughly colored drawings done in crayon, who duke it out for ultimate supremacy in the arena. This is accomplished predominantly with the use of several types of projectiles, although melee and countering systems are also present. Among Treasure game aficionados, Rakugaki Showtime is infamous for its especially low print run, even by the company's own standards. The reasons for this have never been made explicitly known, although it is believed legal issues of some sort were involved, potentially with the game's publisher, Enix, who Treasure ceased to work with after the release. As a result of the shortage, prices for hard copies of the game have typically been well over $100. This issue was partially resolved, however, after Rakugaki Showtime was quietly rereleased on the PlayStation Network for 600 yen. The game has never seen an international release in any capacity.
Rakugaki Showtime's fighting mechanics are more akin to arena-based free-for-all games such as Super Smash Bros. and Power Stone than to more traditional arcade style fighters. As such, combat in the game takes place within three-dimensional environments that can have multiple elevations, with each player having individual health meters, the depletion of which is the only way to trigger defeat. In addition to moves that the characters can execute with their bare hands with single button presses such as grabs, throws, blocks, and counters, various items strewn about in the environment can also be picked up and tossed at opponents, the targeting of which is automatic depending on which direction the player is holding prior to throwing. Such items range from innocuous red containers that do little damage on impact to bombs that can either explode or cause temporary black holes, sucking everyone and everything nearby into it and preventing escape for a small period of time. The most important of these throwable items, however, is the innocent-looking smiley face. After it has been thrown around and hit characters for a while, it will glow. The first character to grab the smiley face while it is in this state will automatically trigger one of their predefined ultimate attacks, which is chosen at random. Characteristics of the ultimate attacks vary depending on the character, but include everything from Dragon Ball Z-style laser blasts to mobs of smiley faces raining down from the sky to even transforming into obese women with high defense stats. With proper timing, however, other characters can hijack a shining smiley face before the attack has been completely activated and with it, turn the tide of battle in their favor. Characters can also jump along roughly predefined routes depending on the direction they face, although their arcs are mostly predetermined, making it possible to be targeted for attacks by enemies while still in midair.
While the game's multiplayer component is where the most time and attention is supposed to be spent playing the game, thanks in no small part to the ability to change a number of variables for each fight in the preparatory phase, Rakugaki Showtime also includes a single-player campaign mode. Much like most fighting games, this mostly entails winning a string of fights with mostly random opponents and then beating the final boss at the end who, in this game, bares no small resemblance to the Master Hand from the Super Smash Bros. series. Playing the single player portion of the game repeatedly is an integral part of the gameplay experience, however, as it's the only way to unlock additional characters to play and thereby flesh out the accessible roster for multiplayer, although the character unlocks themselves are always random. These consist of mostly Treasure-original creations, although Marina Liteyears from the Nintendo 64 game Mischief Makers does make a prominent cameo as a playable fighter.
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