The success of the triptych Tsukihime, PLUS-DISC and Kagetsu Tohya, although unexpected, was undoubtedly modest but this did not stop Piglet and Takeuchi from trying to expand their creation as much as possible through the profit it had generated.

The idea for the spin-offs

At the suggestion of Nobuya Narita, Studio Manager of the then Watanabe Seisakusho (who from 2003 onwards will be known as French-Bread), Nasu and Takeuchi produced, respectively, scenario and character design to be entrusted to Narita and her company for the production of a spin-off video game. The aim was to expand the Tsukihime franchise by leveraging the success of Visual Novel and the recently released Kagetsu Tohya. The project represented a challenge for both Type-Moon and Watanabe Seisakusho's guys, who until then had only produced parody-style titles, now grappling with the tones and atmospheres explicitly requested by Nasu.

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The arrival of Melty Blood

On 8 October 2001 at the Tsukihime Matsuri Himehajime, convention exclusively dedicated to the Nasuverse Visual Novel, Melty Blood is therefore announced, a 2D fighting game with animations and sprites able to rival the exceptional Steet Fighter III and destined to be released in December of the following year.

With 14 characters available, only 6 of which are available from the start and the remaining cast members to unlock as you progress through the game, Melty Blood uses concepts common to traditional fighting games. To these he adds some advanced defense techniques and the feature (also brought in the future Under Night In-birth of French-Bread) of the Reverse Beat. The mechanics that allows you to cancel the animations of slow attacks with faster attacks at the expense of the damage of your combos, which will scale more disadvantageously compared to the "Regular Beat" (which sees cancelles scaling from faster attacks to slower attacks) .

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The story of Melty Blood

Melty Blood proposes a narrative similar to that of a Novel, placing its own plot a few days after the events of Kagetsu Tohya. Set a year after the events of Tsukihime, following the events of the Satsuki route cut from the original Visual Novel, the work in no way disturbs the continuity of Tsukihime and introduces players to the new content.

Shiki is the protagonist of the story again as a witness to a series of murders at Misaki that turn out to be extremely similar to those that took place in Tsukihime, which pushes him to investigate to find out if the danger of vampires is upon us again.

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The importance of Sion Eltnam Atlasia

During his research he makes the meeting with Sion Eltnam Atlasia, main hero of the title, who faces him openly in an attempt to capture him.

At the end of the confrontation, the girl reveals the real reason behind her attempt to capture Shiki: contact Arcueid Brunestud so that she can obtain information to cure vampirism, convincing the boy, once again, to actively enter the course of events.

This premise acts as a starting point and pretext for all subsequent clashes that will make up the sequence of events in the plot, which will take different directions depending on their outcome leading to different endings.

Welcome and future of Melty Blood

The critical success of Melty Blood was very positive, so much so that it was considered one of the most refined products of its kind despite the extremely narrow niche to which it addressed.

An extended and updated version of Melty Blood, bearing the subtitle Re-ACT, was released two years after the original version was released. It includes an Arcade mode placed after the events of the original Melty Blood, new movesets for some characters, numerous changes in the balance of the title, changes to some mechanics and the addition of new characters.

The latest patch of Re-ACT also adds several features that allow the game to be configured to get closer to the gameplay of its successor, updates various animations and includes control configurations dedicated to the use of the gamepad.

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The Arcade's decision

Ecole Software continued the development of Re-ACT by creating an arcade porting entitled Melty Blood Act Cadenza, devoid of the story mode of the original but which keeps the Arcade mode intact.

Additional characters are added to the roster, bringing the total to 20, also introducing new game mechanics.

This version of Melty Blood was the first to land on consoles (Playstation 2) in the form of a port known as Ver. B, which sees in the inclusion of White Len as a playable character its major note change, in addition to the option that allows you to switch from Ver. B gameplay to Ver. A gameplay based on the player's will.

Ver. B was also released in 2007 for PC together with a tag-team mode, the possibility of playing up to 4 players, a programmable dummy for the practical mode and a new hidden boss.

Act Cadenza acts as the definitive version of the original Melty Blood, having been part of the titles of the Tougeki international fighting game from 2006 to 2008, as well as the EVO 2010 chosen via survey, even beating the popular Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.

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An unexpected sequel for Melty Blood

Surprisingly, in December 2007, Melty Blood: Actress Again is announced: a real sequel to Melty Blood scheduled for 2008.

In addition to a substantial increase in the roster (including Shiki Ryōgi, the protagonist of Kara no Kyōkai), the title offers three different versions for each character in the form of a different fighting style: Luna Crescente, similar to the versions of Act Cadenza, calibrated on the use of one's magical energy in combat; Half Moon, a simplified version of the Act Cadenza-style characters with simple but basically weaker combos and, finally, Full Moon, which tends to give the characters a completely new moveset and a style of play with more powerful physical attacks at the expense of some game mechanics, disabled in this style, such as the Reverse Beat and the Dodge.

The scenarios are wider, including those taken from previous games, as well as a new soundtrack with some old tracks rearranged specifically for Actress Again and new game mechanics that can sometimes only be used by a specific style.

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New year, new history

The events of Melty Blood: Actress Again take place one year after the canonical ending of Melty Blood, with the addition of some events caused by White Len and Aoko Aozaki in Re.Act and Act Cadenza.

All the characters involved in the main story of Misaki's events find themselves suffering from a strange sensation of amnesia, as if they had forgotten the existence of a person known to them (specifically Sion Eltnam Atlasia). In addition to this strange event, the phenomena caused by Night of Wallachia the previous year reverberate as if it had never happened.

In addition to this, several rivals of the protagonists, previously eliminated, make their return, including Riesbyfe Stridberg, nemesis of Zion, and Michael Roa Valdamjong, responsible for several events in Tsukihime.

On the other hand, this "deja vu" phenomenon affects only those directly involved in the first Melty Blood, while those who have not been part of it have their memories completely unchanged: they notice a new enemy hidden in the shadows, responsible for the strange phenomenon ongoing and who wants to replicate the events of the first Melty Blood with the intent to eliminate all life on Earth through a forbidden ritual.

Misaki will therefore become the scene of conflicts of different nature: if on the one hand those with unaltered memories try to solve the new mystery and defeat the mysterious entity behind the anomalous phenomenon, those affected by it will struggle and reinterpret their original roles in an attempt to recover their lost memories as the evil entities returned from the dead take their second chance to take revenge on those responsible for their departure.

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Technical aspect of Melty Blood: Actress Again

Actress Again, originally released on the Arcade machine, got a porting for Playstation 2 in 2009, with some minor gameplay refinements that can be disabled from the game options.

The completion of the Arcade mode with some characters allows you to unlock new ones already appeared in the last editions of Melty Blood but never playable, although unusable in single player game mode as they lack a story.

In addition to the classic modes, the title features a Boss Rush mode with its own story, placed after the events of the main plot, starring Shiki Tōhno, in which the player will have to face an original version of all the final bosses of all the Melty Blood titles. , called Eclypse Style.

Once the Boss Rush has been defeated it is possible to face ArcheType Earth, a princess version of Arcueid that acts as a secret boss and can be unlocked as a playable character characterized by not having the three styles present for all the characters but only the Eclipse Style typical of the Bosses .

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Melty Blood: Current Code

Between the end of 2009 and 2010, a latest version of Melty Blood: Actress Again is released, subtitled Current Code, which removes ArcheType Earth from the game for balancing reasons but adds Powered Ciel as a playable character with its own story mode, in addition that to marginal changes of gameplay and an unpublished version of air intake that can be made outside the combos.

In October 2011 Current Code is patched for the last time to version 1.07: some characters get new moves and improvements to those already present, characters without story mode get one, Riesbyfe gets a new alternative route and ArcheType Earth is reintroduced , this time with their own animations, new moves and the three Styles common to all characters and their own story mode.

In December 2011 version 1.07 is released on PC with all 31 characters available from the beginning, online functionality and numerous bug fixes from previous versions. However, some extra modes of the PS2 version are absent, in particular the Survival mode and the Boss Rush. This version of the game is currently the only one available since it was released on Steam on April 19, 2016.

A stalled path

The release path of the Tsukihime franchise, therefore, has only recently stopped through its spin-offs, pending the remake of the original Visual Novel, successfully making its way into the restricted but difficult to satisfy audience of the fighting games.

While Watanabe Seisakusho / French-Bread paved the way for this secondary series, however, in 2004, in parallel with the release of Melty Blood Re-ACT, Type-Moon brought to the public the first title of its most renumerative franchise, a last bet that the software house unexpectedly launched the huge momentum that would give the whole narrative universe.