Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 7.5

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Beat-em-ups really didn't hit the "heinously oversaturated" point until about 1991. Combatribes hit just at the right time. The genre was flourishing, sapping quarters into their mighty wooden boxes like never before. Technos produced a classic brawler that stood up not only to those that came before it, but even to some of those that have been released in the past few years (all 4 of 'em).

It's the now standard scenario: Cities overrun by worthless schmucks, group of 3 guys get ticked off and take the law into their hands. Actually, there may be more to it, but it's hardly worth the time to figure it out. Anyway, unlike so many of the other B-E-U's from back in the day, Combatribes levels are generally limited to a few screens. It's almost like your typical 1-on-1 fighter. You're trapped between 2 walls and you're fighting. It's simple, mildy unique, and fun as hell.

The 3 characters have the usual array of attributes (speed, power), but you'll be pretty well off regardless of whom you choose. Each stage (6 in all) has their own array of meanies to smash helping keep the evil that is repetition down. The graphical style is unique as is each stage. Very few games look like Combatribes. That's a good thing.

Animation is plentiful as is your selection of offensive maneuvers. The move list is surprisingly large featuring ground moves (just wait until you bash someone's face into the concrete when they're down!), grabs, kicks, punches, jumping attacks, and few others that you'll surely find by some freak accident. Again, this adds some variety that so many games like this one lack. There's even some blood tossed in for effect.

The soundtrack is one that you probably won't notice when your playing the game, but when your done, you'll embarrassingly find yourself humming it while standing at the urinal at work. The sound of fists-connecting-with-bone has never been better. Arguably, this could be the best sound effect EVER in a B-E-U.

The games stages are relatively short as is the game as a whole, but that's no reason NOT to play this one. It may not be as revered as say, Double Dragon, but this is still one of the better arcade games from the early 90's. It's not exactly Street Fighter II, it's just light years ahead of the countless knock off's that would come later.

Note: Since I'm lazy and don't want to write a separate review, lets take note of the SNES version. Graphically and sound wise, it's perfect. Not just "Oh man, this looks a lot like the arcade game!" It IS the arcade game. There are a few less characters on screen and it's only 2-players, but that's the only gameplay issue (blood is also removed). The stages have been shifted, cut, changed, and deleted. It's only 5 stages, but the 5th stage has been lengthened dramatically. Added are cinemas, passwords, and a versus mode that makes the deletion of the final stage seem meaningless. Check it out if you're not a fan of emulation.


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Last updated: Sunday, January 30, 2005 05:43 PM