Review by Whelk
Reviewed: 01/03/03 | Updated: 01/03/03
Great carnage and fun multiplayer action!
Rave: The Groove Adventure. One of my personal favorite mangas, and a total keychain bonanza in UFO catchers in Japan. But how does it fare on the GBA? If Konami's success with other GBA franchises is any indication, I thought as a turned on the game, I should be in for a treat. I was surely right. Let's break it down. Get your hat, if you've got nothing better to do.
Gameplay - 8/10 (multiplayer 10/10)
Here's how it works: up to 4 players fight at once in any possible team combination (3 on 1, 2 on 2, 2 on 1, free for all, etc) and share a single life bar - that is, your life increases by causing damage to another player, and there is only a certain amount of life total on the board at any time. A strong blow knocks the enemy's power item away, and unless they recover it, the next one will leave them winded. Once your team has a certain amount of the life bar you can perform a finisher, which is not always successful but properly executed will usually win you the match. Lots of characters to unlock (5 have slots shows from beginning, i believe there are 10 more after that but i havent unlocked them all yet so i cant know for sure.) and a lot of personality in the characters, Especially if you are familiar with the manga. Also, there's a lot of moves outside the standard ones to be discovered, and the computer uses them all the time but I don't know the button combinations for them :( It's a shame there's no command list, but a faq would fix that right up.
There's a lot of team dynamics which are possible, and the computer players on my team continually surprise me with their intelligence. For example, the computer notices that every time i do a certain running punch, I like to perform a launcher right after it. Soon, it learns to jump up above me and get ready to combo the enemy in the air each time I perform the running punch! This sort of thing makes me think the game is much more complicated than it seems.
Sound - 7/10
The sound is pretty nice, and the jingling of power items on the floor is well timed, crisp, and satisfying. All said though, it's pretty standard sound effects, which, I think, is what they were going for. This way, you can know what is happening offscreen easily by the sounds.
Graphics - 8/10
The pixelated characters represent their comic counterparts really well, though the animations are a bit choppy. I guess, since this is from a comic strip, where the animation is REALLY choppy (hah) that is to be expected, and maybe even intended. My only gripe here is that two of the playfields are done lazily and are super boring to play in. The other ones are sweet.
Control - 8/10
I don't like the standard controls, and this would have gotten a lower score if you couldn't change them. But thankfully, you can. I feel a tiny twinge of need to complain about the controls anyway though, since some of the attacks don't really chain in a responsive manner. You have to have really good timing to pull off the best combos, but I guess that is appropriate. Also, as i have mentioned, the great majority of the ''cool'' attacks have commands which aren't known to the player. The fact that the block is so well done boosted the control points to 8 here. I really, really like it.
Take this game home, if you can find it in your heart to import it. It's a sharp title with a lot of hidden substance, as are many of the Groove Adventure games. I'm going to be playing this one on the bus to work for many months to come.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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