I ♥ Tracy
Oh, poor Battle Arena Toshinden. One of the
first 3D fighting games, and the first 3D fighting game with weapon-based
combat, it was popular for like two weeks until Tekken pushed it off the map.
It's a true shame, as although it was nothing spectacular, it had... okay, I
know nothing about the series. I played it, like, once. I really only knew of it
because of Earthworm Jim appearing in the PC version and because the horrible boxart could be consistently seen on the shelves of Electronics Boutique during
the 90s. It's no surprise I didn't really seek out the series given how I'm
terrible at fighting games, but even from just a few glimpses, one
character immediately captured my attention, and my heart.
Tracy... it's like two patches of fabric to constitute a top and shorts, and
then the rest of her outfit consists of belts, straps and protective gear. But
somehow, thanks to a simplistic palette (two colours is still a palette, right?) and some
inexplicably cool-looking goggles and a bandana, I'd almost dare say it looks
stylish. She doesn't really look like she has a proper theme, mind you - if
I had to guess, she looks a promoter of cycling protection equipment, but even that's a stretch.
One thing that's interesting about Battle Arena Toshinden 3 is that every character has a clone; they play similarly, but have a few changes to make them subtly distinct from the original, and are portrayed as different characters rather than just cloned recolours or whatever. Tracy's clone is Rachael, apparently a sibling who was separated at birth and grew to hate her sister and she works for the bad guys and... something. In all honesty, it sounds terrible. What little I know of the plot (nothing, really) is pretty silly as it is, but evil twins or separated at birth plots are just easy streets on the path to frustrating me.
I've yet to see anything with evil twins or the separated at birth concept that that isn't terrible, and to drop that scourge upon Tracy, an otherwise fine character who works well alone, just irks me, y'know. Also, no hat. Half the appeal of Tracy is the ridiculous mandatory usage of a baseball cap to indicate just how American she is, and a mere headband just doesn't cut it, buster.
If I were to be so bold, I would say Tracy is deserving of her own game; one to truly call her own, as the highlighted protagonist. Her attitude is already video game-supporting material as it is - encountering people, determining whether or not they're hostile, and then ignoring that and beating them up anyway. Heck, take any game, replace the main character with my favourite psychotic impractically-clothed police officer and it'd be better.
Gumshoe? Make anything she bumps into get pummelled to death (which means the game effectively plays itself). Dynasty Warriors? Earn bonus points for police brutality (which is all the time). Funky Fighter? Just throw her in there, it'd be just as manly as ever. I'm certain you could shoehorn her into something like Bejeweled and the game would become fifty times more awesome and needlessly violent. Seriously, she's the universal video game character.
And yet her sole appearances are in games that aren't very good.
There ain't no justice.
Many thanks to kyo_obscure of the Battle Arena Toshinden LiveJournal group for having such fabulous artwork scanned and available!