Melty Blood (メルティブラッド Meruti Buraddo?), is a visual novel and fighting game, co-developed by dōjin circles Type-Moon and French-Bread, originally released at Comiket on December 2002. It is shortened as simply Merubura (メルブラ?).
Based on Type Moon's visual novel game, Tsukihime, it later spawned an arcade version, titled Act Cadenza, that was developed by Ecole Software and has also been ported to the PlayStation 2. Act Cadenza is the first Type-Moon title to receive a PlayStation 2 port.
Melty Blood was originally released on December 2002 for the PC, with an expansion patch, Re-ACT, released two years later in May 2004, and an update, ReACT Final Tuned, released in July 2005. An arcade version of the series, Melty Blood: Act Cadenza, was later developed by Ecole Software and released on March 2005. Later, a PlayStation 2 version of Act Cadenza was released on August 10, 2006. A Windows version, Melty Blood Act Cadenza Ver.B, was also released on July 27, 2007. The series' newest game, Melty Blood: Actress Again, was released on September 19, 2008.
An expansion to the original game, featuring an 'Arcade Mode' whose storyline takes place after the original Melty Blood. The expansion made numerous changes in regards to character balance and to remove many infinite-combo sequences. Also, new movesets were created for the doppelgänger characters, whereas in the original, most of these characters had nearly identical movesets to their counterparts. It also made changes to the game's mechanics and added several new characters, though only two are playable the other 4 NPCs:
- Satsuki Yumizuka
- Neko-Arc (non-playable character)
- Executioner Ciel (Ciel holding the Seventh Holy Scripture, non-playable character)
- White Len (Sub Boss)
- Aoko Aozaki (non-playable boss)
The final update to Re-ACT, Final Tuned, adds several features designed to allow the game to be configured to resemble the gameplay of Melty Blood: Act Cadenza. It also adds a large number of gameplay tweaks and slightly updated animations.
The most notable of the new features are:
- The inclusion of a new, analog-friendly controller setup
- New configuration options that lets players assign multi-button commands to individual buttons
- The ability to alter and adjust many of the game's internal variables (via new interface options)
- Four new colors for each player
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza Ver. A was the first arcade port of the series and was published by Ecole Software. It eliminated the Story Mode visual-novel game to focus more on the fighting game engine. It completely revamped Aoko Aozaki's movelist for use as a playable character, and introduced Kouma Kishima into the series, a man who was deeply involved in Shiki Tohno's past. It also introduced the Shielding mechanic (separate from EX-Shielding), as well as included various changes to the properties of characters. Storylines from Re-ACT's Arcade Mode were left intact. The logo for ver.A is notable for the Atlasia crest worn on the attire of Sion Eltnam Atlasia.
Act Cadenza PS2
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza, released for the PlayStation 2, was unique as a port in that it included an option to revert to ver.A mechanics, yet introduced significant changes that were later included in ver.B, including an early version of Neco-Arc Chaos as a hidden character. However, it is still considered a variant of ver.A due to its logo featuring the Atlasia crest and its lack of a playable version of White Len.
Act Cadenza Ver. B
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza Ver. B is an arcade port of the PS2 game with various changes and upgrades, the most notable of which is the inclusion of 'White Len' as a playable character, with a significantly weakened moveset. It also introduced a new, fifth button to the layout that served as a contextual action depending on the situation and the direction held on the joystick when pressed, such as dodging or throwing. The logo for ver.B is notable for the silhouettes of Len and White Len.
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza ver.B2 is an updated edition of the series which corrects several errors and glitches from Melty Blood: Act Cadenza ver.B released in March 20, 2007.
Act Cadenza Ver. B Windows
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza ver.B is a Windows PC port of the arcade ver.B2. It has added features including tag-team mode, a 4-player team battle mode, a programmable dummy for training purposes and a new hidden boss character, Neco-Arc Chaos Black G666(replacing G-Akiha from Melty Blood: Re-ACT). It also included subtle gameplay changes, most notably altered defense ratings for characters and adjustments to the game's input system. Because of this, it is not considered an arcade-perfect version of B2. It was released on July 27, 2007.
Melty Blood: Actress Again, is the third game in the Melty Blood fighting game series. It was released in the 4Q 2008 on Sega Naomi hardware. Two new characters have been confirmed and all characters now feature 3 different fighting styles known as, Full Moon Style (Power), Crescent Moon Style (Speed) and Half Moon Style (Simple). More announcements and improvements have yet to be revealed.
The following changes have been confirmed:
- Three different versions/styles of each character, including new moves for each (Half Moon, Crescent Moon and Full Moon)
- Larger stages, including both new and alternate versions of stages from Act Cadenza
- A Guard meter which depletes upon blocked attacks and results in a 'Guard Crash' vulnerability state upon depletion
- Aerial Circuit Spark
- Instant Heat (available in Full Moon only)
- EX-Guarding which restores a bit of the Guard Meter akin to Just Defend
- More mobile options such as air dodge, super vertical jump, and a more reliable Super double jump
- Throw Breaks and air throws now have startup and a whiff animation
- A new play style game exclusive to the console version (Eclipse Style)
Playable characters introduced in Actress Again are:
- Riesbyfe Stridberg (Vampire Hunter of the Church and a colleague of Sion - whom she gave her life to when both fought Wallachia)
- Michael Roa Valdamjong (Near-Side version)
- Ryougi Shiki (exclusive character for Playstation 2 version of Melty Blood: Actress Again)
- Seifuku Akiha (exclusive character for Playstation 2 version of Melty Blood: Actress Again)
- Shinsō Arcueid "Archetype:Earth" (exclusive secret character for Playstation 2 version of Melty Blood: Actress Again)
Actress Again was first announced in the December 2007 issue of Arcadia, a Japanese consumer arcade game magazine published by Enterbrain; most available information to date is derived from translations of the article in this issue.   Additional new artwork and a description of the three styles were introduced in the January 2008 issue of Tougeki Damashii magazine. Also in early 2008, Ecole launched the official Actress Again website. Actress Again has been ported to the PS2 as of August 20 of 2009.
Actress Again Current Code
Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code is presumed to be an arcade port of the PS2 version. The game underwent location testing in Akihabara from December 19-20, 2009. Little is known of the game's changes from Actress Again at press time, except that the characters formerly exclusive to the PS2 version of Actress Again are now available for use, and that the game runs on Sega's RingWide arcade system, as opposed to NAOMI like Act Cadenza and the original Actress Again.
The game's website was launched February 11, 2010, and after being unveiled officially at Japan's Arcade Operators Union show on February 20, 2010, the game began undergoing another two week round of location testing.
Current unverified reports say that the price for the game and RingWide hardware will be ¥230,000 plus ¥100,000 for a RingWide Harness and shipping costs, equaling $3560.83 USD at current exchange rates as of May 13, 2010. Several arcade machine distributors show the game as being pegged for a release in July 29, 2010.
As of Melty Blood: Actress Again, there are 30 playable characters.
- Shiki Tohno: Kenji Nojima
- Arcueid Brunestud: Ryōka Yuzuki
- Ciel: Kumi Sakuma
- Akiha Tohno: Hitomi
- Hisui & Kohaku
- Hisui: Miyu Matsuki
- Kohaku: Naoko Takano
- Nrvnqsr Chaos: Jōji Nakata
- Miyako Arima: Miwa Kōzuki
- Satsuki Yumizuka: Omi Minami
- Aoko Aozaki: Kotono Mitsuishi
- Michael Roa Valdamjong: Ken Narita
Kagetsu Tohya characters
Kara no Kyoukai characters
- Ryougi Shiki (両儀式 ,Ryōgi Shiki): Maaya Sakamoto
- Sion Eltnam Atlasia: Rio Natsuki
- The Night of Wallachia (ワラキアの夜 Warakia no Yoru?): Yasunori Masutani
- Mech-Hisui: Miyu Matsuki
- White Len: Kaori Mizuhashi
- Riesbyfe Stridberg (リーズバイフェ・ストリンドヴァリ Rīzubaife Sutorindovari?): Akeno Watanabe
- Dust of Osiris (Boss of Melty Blood: Actress Again and vampiric full form of Sion Eltnam Atlasia): Rio Natsuki
- Akiha Vermillion (紅赤朱秋葉 Kurenai Sekishu Akiha?) or 赤主秋葉 Sekishu Akiha: Hitomi
- Sion TATARI (吸血鬼シオン Kyūketsuki Shion?): Rio Natsuki
- G-Akiha (G秋葉?)
- Red Arcueid (暴走アルクェイド Bōsō Arukueido?): Ryōka Yuzuki
- Neco-Arc (猫アルク／ネコアルク Neko Aruku/Neko Aruku?)
- Neco-Arc Chaos (ネコアルク・カオス Neko Aruku Kaosu?): Jōji Nakata
- Damien Armies (ダミアン・アーミー Damian Āmī?)
- Neco Chaos Black G666 (ネコカオス・ブラックG666 Neko Kaosu Burakku G666?)
- Koha & Mech
- Neco & Mech
- Seifuku Akiha
- Archetype:Earth (True Ancestor Arcueid)
In the original Melty Blood, only six of these characters were available to be played, with eight more being unlockable through story-mode. However, in a later update released for the game (the 'Nero' patch), all the characters are available from the start. The reasons for this are slightly unclear; they appear to be the result of a legal misunderstanding whereby Type-Moon mistakenly thought they would no longer be allowed to produce updates/patches, and thus made a 'last patch' which unlocked the characters as a sort of gift for the fans. Whatever the reason, Type-Moon has left these characters available throughout all subsequent releases. In addition, Aoko and Kouma were both added to the game as of Act Cadenza, although Aoko was an unplayable 'boss character' in previous versions. Act Cadenza also changed the given names of several characters, generally to make identification of the doppelgangers by name easier.
Melty Blood makes use of widely used concepts in fighting games such as cancels (canceling a normal attack with a special attack before its animation ends, allowing for more complex and damaging combos) chain combos (normal moves that cancel into other normal moves) and the use of power bars (Magic Circuits). It also introduces Shielding, an advanced defensive technique.
EX-Shielding: A high-risk/reward technique which eliminates the damage and 'block-stun' from an attack. Activated by a button press, it requires exact timing to 'deflect' the opponent's attack, thus exposing them to a reversal. However, if mis-timed, an EX-Shield attempt leaves the player extremely vulnerable. EX-Shielding also carries a damage penalty for subsequent attacks, but grants a small amount of Magic Circuit and disallows the opponent to cancel his/her attack into another one. Finally, in later versions of Melty Blood, EX-Shielding during the Blood Heat state activates a unique attack known as a Last Arc. In Melty Blood: Act Cadenza, a new type of Shielding was introduced which allows the player to hold the Shield button for an extended length of time to defend against multiple attacks. However, this rapidly drains Magic Circuit, and grants fewer retaliatory options upon recovery. In Melty Blood: Actress Again shielding varies depending on which style you pick with Half Moon having the ability of a auto-counter and Full Moon with the same ability except it is manually executed after successfully landing a shield.
Magic Circuit: A system that allows players to store up to 300% meter, for various uses such as EX Attacks (high-powered versions of special techniques) and the Heat and Blood Heat modes. These modes allow players to regenerate a portion of their lifebar, as well as allow access to their character's ultimate attacks, known as Arc-Drives and Last Arcs. All of these techniques consume Magic Circuit, which is accumulated by attacking your opponent, and to a lesser degree, successfully defending against your opponent. Magic Circuit carries over between rounds. Magic Circuit is also required for the Circuit Spark technique.
Clashing: An offensive state where certain attacks or maneuvers impact directly with an opponent's attack, thus resulting in a 'clash.' No damage is taken as a result, and both players are allowed to cancel their attacks as if they had connected successfully.
Aerial Recovery: A defensive measure used after being attacked in mid-air by pressing any button and, optionally, while holding a direction. It grants temporarily invulnerability to the player and allows them to resume action, but may be detrimental in certain circumstances if the attacking player predicts which direction the Aerial Recovery is performed.
Tactical Recovery: After being attacked, performed by pressing any upward direction upon impacting the floor. Doing so allows a player to quickly regain momentum and avoid 'OTG'(On The Ground) combos while utterly defenseless. However, players are not allowed to block during the recovery animation, and thus will expose themselves to punishment if the attacking player predicts the recovery attempt. This is an aspect of the Okizeme meta-game found in many fighting games.
Shield Bunker Canceling: More akin to a glitch than an actual feature, Shield Bunker Canceling (known as Baka Cancel in Japan and Bara Cancel in the US) is a powerful technique where a player, while blocking an attack, can counter-attack with a Shield Bunker, but cancels the beginning animation into an attack of their choice. This is typically an EX Attack with invincibility properties. This can drastically affect how one attacks an opponent. There are several methods to counter this technique, but it remains a feature of high-level play in Melty Blood. As proof that this accidental technique was accepted by the game's designers, this technique was altered to incur an additional 50% Magic Circuit cost to balance out its effectiveness in Version B. As of Melty Blood Actress Again the "Bara Cancel" technique is no longer possible.
Circuit Spark: Used during MAX mode only, a Circuit Spark allows a player, who is either blocking an attack or suffering damage, to 'break out' of the attack with an unblockable, invincible 'aura' that sacrifices all available Magic Circuit. This can only be performed if the character is standing or crouching; if the character is airborne or lying down, this technique is unavailable. In Melty Blood Actress Again it is possible to circuit spark in the air with all three styles.
Reverse Beat: A feature of Melty Blood not found in many other games is the ability to cancel attacks with large amounts of recovery into fast jab attacks, thus negating the disadvantage of using heavy slow attacks against a blocking opponent, however there's an adverse effect of damage decreasing in Reverse Beat combos. This features extremely heavily in high-level play for most of the characters.
Melty Blood: Act Cadenza has been featured at the international fighting game tournament Tougeki  in 2006, 2007, and 2008, but was not present at the 2009 Tougeki. Melty Blood Actress Again will be featured at the Evolution Championship Series 2010 tournament after winning a poll, beating highly competitive titles, including Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and Street Fighter III 3rd Strike.
- Melty Blood: Act Cadenza official website (Japanese)
- Melty Blood: Act Cadenza (PlayStation 2 version) official website (Japanese)
- Melty Blood: Act Cadenza (Windows version) official website (Japanese)
- Melty Blood: Actress Again official website (Japanese)
- Melty Blood: Actress Again (PlayStation 2 version) official website (Japanese)
- Type-Moon's official page for Melty Blood (Japanese)
- Sega's official page for Melty Blood: Act Cadenza (Japanese)
- Sega's official page for Melty Blood: Act Cadenza Ver. B (Japanese)
- Melty Blood Games Information and Screens (English)