Review by LordShibas

Reviewed: 09/08/08

This is Why I Don't Play Fighting Games on Portable Systems

Wow, what happened here? I’ll tell you what, an utter debauchery. When Konami released the Rave Master game for the Gamecube (which I really enjoyed), they decided to make a scaled down port for the GBA as well. Seeing as how the GBA is far inferior to the Gamecube in system capabilities, they chose to make Rave Master: Special Attack Force a simple 2D fighter with half of the options and none of the fun of the Gamecube game.

In this scaled down port, there are no Rave Stones to gather and you will be trying to smack your opponent silly the entire time. You have a jump button, an attack button, and the ability to do critical moves and special moves.

Critical moves go right along with your standard moves, but are a bit more in presentation and take more life away from your opponent. They also require you to have your “Key item” as well. Key items are items you start out with and can be knocked away from you or your opponent when a critical move or special move hits you. If this happens, you will need to run around the battle area and recover it, or you will basically lose half of your moves.

Special moves can be accessed via a gauge at the top which gets filled for various reasons. Once a special move is activated, the game breaks into a mini-game of making you slam on the buttons to finish off your opponent. Yes, you need to do a Special move to finish off your opponent. (More on that later)

The game has many different modes of play. You have story mode, which is like the standard story mode in any fighter, Ranking mode, which is a quasi strategy game/fighting game, Free mode, which is an open mode for fighting any characters you want to, and training mode, which is to learn how to play and practice.

There is also a link mode for multi-player combat, in case you are twisted enough to get other people you know to buy this game.

Graphically the game looks mediocre, the character voices are good for a GBA game, but it all dissipates into a steaming pile when you factor in the horrid gameplay and awful execution.

Graphics 7/10

To be fair to this game, it doesn’t look half bad. Character animations, while sloppy, look pretty good on the GBA. Some of the critical moves will produce some nice on-screen animations, and the special moves will invoke your character’s portrait for a quick little mini game.

The backgrounds are very basic and try to emulate the Gamecube’s background visuals with some similar landscapes, but it’s just not possible on the GBA.

So graphically, the game does initially impress, but there is much more to games than just graphics as we all know.

Sounds and Music 5/10

Typical, grainy GBA music and sound effects are all over this game, but here’s the odd thing about it. The character voices actually sound good, and each character has a wide range of spoken text during moves which is nice. It’s just odd to hear them with such crappy background music and sound effects for the NES days.

Story 1/10

I don’t even know what to say here. I know that fighting games are not supposed to have deep stories and I understand that, but there is no excuse for what this game offers. The story mode allows you to have a quick interaction with the characters that you are going to fight. However, the text is often misspelled and often makes no sense at all. The person that did the translation for this game should be fired. I have not seen Engrish this bad since early Neo Geo games.

The stories never get into anything interesting, and you will simply press the A button repeatedly to go past the text since it has the probability of making you less intelligent.

Okay, onto the gameplay, which is usually king in fighting games. Let’s see how this game does there.

Gameplay 2/10

Oh, that’s not good at all. What happened to this game, seriously. I really like the Gamecube version of this game. Why is this so terrible? Most fighting games have some redeeming quality which can allow you to look past bad graphics or a lack of a combo system, but this game has nothing going in its favor in the gameplay area.

First things first, the control scheme is a mess. Moves have been simplified for the GBA interface, so pressing up and down with each button will allow you to do different moves, but when you are forced to use down to block as well, things get mixed up really fast.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if you had some time to figure things out and learn your move set, but the computer AI will instantly start pounding the tar out of you, even on the easy level. Factor in the inconsistency of blocking, the fact that half of the moves at your disposal are completely worthless, and the fact that you will be running around trying to pick up your key item for half of the fight, you’re better off lighting the game’s manual on fire for entertainment.

The special moves are also laughably stupid. When you press start, your character will start to glow and it will cut to a mini-game where you will need to vehemently slam on all of your buttons to save your life. Whoever slams on their buttons the most wins. If you initiated the attack and you win, the fight is over, no matter what. If you lose, the attack is canceled and the fight goes on. Basically all of the battles hinge on a mindless button slamming fest. Nothing like a little panic attack to go with your GBA playing right?

The game also has crappy hit detection, unbalanced characters, environmental hazards to look out for, and a price of five dollars on Amazon, and now I see why.

This is one of the worst playing fighting games I have ever played, and I have played a lot.

Longevity and Re-playability 2/10

There are a lot of gameplay modes in Rave Master, and there are a few hidden characters to unlock, but I don’t see why anyone would want to play this game for more than 5 minutes. It’s the worst playing game I can ever remember playing. This is really a shame too since I loved the Gamecube game, I really gave this game a chance and wanted to like it, but I might as well go bash my face into a mirror instead.

Seriously though, there are some games out there in the gaming world that just flat out should not have been made, and this is no doubt one of them. There is not a single thing that could exhume this game due to its awful gameplay and terrible combat design.

With fighting games, I tend to stick to consoles, and Rave Master has not changed my ways. I just felt like giving this game a try since I enjoyed the Gamecube version, but playing this game is like torture. I would not recommend this game to anyone, fans of the show or not.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Product Release: Rave Master: Special Attack Force! (US, 03/08/05)

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