Gekido Advance

Game Boy Advance

Review by Matt Paprocki

DSI Games


Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 4

Gekido was originally an overlooked PlayStation title, a nice update to the stagnent beat-em-up genre. This direct Game Boy sequel takes the game back into the 2-D arena with some Saturn quality graphics, but the developers completely missed the boat on the gameplay. Insane traps and ridiculous jumping segments flatten this one even before level two begins.

Picking up one year after the first game, Tetsuo is once again called into action to combat some evil entities in a small farming village. The setting is quite different than the futuristic cityscapes that filled the first game, but the developers obviously felt this was appropriate. The multi-player aspect has been removed entirely.

Each stage features numerous RPG-like story elements and the ability to speak with people in the town. Instead of the usual "walk left and kill" monotony that most B-E-U's fall into, this game has players going down underground, skipping across rooftops, and backtracking to reach the final destination. Keys will be needed to open specific gates/doors and you'll occasionally be called upon to locate a specific item.

Everything is presented in a wonderful 2-D style that mimics the classic style of the beloved Sega Saturn. The animation is superb and amount of combos included here is insane. Juggles are simple to perform and the overall presentation can't be beat. In fact, this is some of the best animation to be found anywhere on the console. The incredible combat system only serves to enhance what was nearly a perfect beat-em-up.

As much as one can appreciate the finer details of blasting zombies in the jaw with a stiff right hand, no one could possibly enjoy the inane traps and jumping issues. Rolling balls of spikes, slamming presses, and bottomless pits litter the game at a ridiculous pace. Worse yet, the underground sequences are obscured by a small circular light which obscures your view to a meager few feet in front of you. Pits appear out of nowhere. Though they won't kill you, they take off quite a large portion of your life bar and with only a few lives to spare, none can be wasted.

As if all this wasn't bad enough, passwords are only available at the end of each stage. Dying sends you all the way back, dooming players to repeat the infuriating segments they barely made it through the first time. The music does help to calm players down and keep them involved, but the same battle theme repeats itself every time contact is made with an enemy.

It must be unbearable to be a game tester trying to suffer through this game. Completing the second stage is a near impossibility for anyone without the patience of a saint. Tossing your $100 Game Boy Advance will not help the situation either. If this was a simple, straight forward beat-em-up, this would be a must own game. Shame the developers tried to be different.


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Last updated: Sunday, September 25, 2005 11:53 AM