Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 8

One of Taito's entries into the massively overcrowded arcade favorite beat-em-up genre took a slightly different approach. No, the gameplay is pretty much the same as it is in every other brawler of the era. This time however, your not saving any idiotic chick who has been kidnapped for umpteenth time. No, your saving the animals from the evil clutches of poachers. Unique? Certainly.

Up to 3 players can join in the fray at once. It's odd that there are 4 selectable characters yet you can only use 3 at once, but at least there is some choice this way. The characters only differ in stats and look. They all share the same move set so any difference is truly negligible. Still, the game throws up to 15 enemies on screen at once and once things gets heavy, this little issue hardly matters.

Once animals are rescued, they'll generally lend a helping hand and the results are priceless. Human enemies will get trampled and splattered all over the ground in a display of violence that wouldn't be matched until Mortal Kombat showed up. Though blood is minimal, you can easily identify the limbs strewn about. It's not only the animals that lend a helping hand either. You can easily knock weapons out of enemy hands. These range from whips to rocket launchers, each giving the desired result.

Though you won't be blown away by the games look or sound, it's more than satisfactory. The explosions (accompanied by a comic book style Sha-boom!) are massive and there's also a ton of things going on. You'll never notice any slowdown or flicker. The voice acting is absolutely priceless at times with southern accents that simply have to heard. The music is great, in the vein of other classic 16-bit titles.

If anything is wrong with this game, it's the ending (Yes, spoilers are ahead). Instead of being controlled by some evil corporate leader, it turns out it is an alien causing the humans to entrap the animals. In other words, you've just murdered thousands of innocent people who didn't know any better. Genius move by the writers, really genius.

There are better beat-em-up's out there, but this is a solid entry that seemed to get overlooked. There's a decent Genesis version (and a review is available right here on the site...written by yours truly!) but it lacks the multi-player features which will most likely turn off many fans. This is a more than worthy arcade game that fans of the genre probably overlooked. Check it out. MAME has no trouble handling this one.

Also check out the review of Growl for the Sega Genesis HERE.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:25 PM