Monday, 4 November 2013

Mame Hidden Gems - G is for... (Pt3)

After a bit of a break here is the penultimate set of games from the letter G, and this time I'm looking at a few quality under-the-radar brawlers.

First up, a sequel, Guardians, known to some as Denjin Makai II. The first Denjin Makai is a decent game, but this sequel goes way beyond 'decent'.

Have you ever wanted to punch a Doberman in the face whilst while wearing nothing but a pair of Heihachi Mishima style clogs and natty cod piece gun holster?

Yeah, me too, Guardians is hear to make your dreams come true!

I think the best way to discuss brawlers is by talking about what stops them being dull. Many games in this genre, most of them in fact, are ruined by repetition.
Without the benefit afforded to shmups of attack patterns brawlers have to mix it up in different ways.

Guardians does this in a number of ways. First of which is by giving you 8 characters to choose from, ranging from the aforementioned gun toting half naked wrester, through a half-bird girl, and on to your usual tough guy out for a decent scrap.
All these characters have there own set of moves which can be mixed up into a vast range of combos.

Beyond this, which would be enough to raise Guardians above the crowd on it's own, the game also adds an almost absurd level of detail and humour to the levels and enemies - something of which I am always a massive fan.

There's not a lot of info around about Guardians, but I have seen it described as the best brawler ever made. Play a few levels and you, like me, will find it hard to disagree.

Gaia Crusaders mixes things up by concentrating on diverse combo and magic systems - and it pays off big style.

The game has everything you want from a brawler; diverse enemies, great bosses, beautiful graphics, and varied characters.

On top of that you can add a combo system that rewards experimentation and a vast range of magic attacks that can are 'stacked' into your bank and accessed one at a time.

It has a more serious tone than Guardians but the two games are otherwise quite similar - in quality as well as content. Not a lot more to say beyond that that really. It's a great game but, like many of the best, you have to play it to appreciate it.
One small thing of note that I really love: The weapons are used in different ways by each protagonist.
For example, the way that M98S, the robot, wields a sword, is entirely different from the way it's handled by the Eddie Gordo style character, Fred Sathal.
This also includes the weapons integration into the combos, which is another great touch to a pretty great game all round.

Ganryu is something a little different, it's not a brawler in the usual 'Final Fight/Streets of Rage' mode.

Apparently derived from the a true story about Musashi Ganryuki a famous swordsman who defeated a foe, Sasaki Ganryu Kojiro, with a sword carved from a boats oar.
Having defeated him Ganryuki left Sasaki to die rather than killing him outright - stating that defeat was the lesson, not death - The games supposition is that Sasaki comes back from the dead to avenge himself.

Which is all a bit high brow really, considering the game involves running either left tor right and killing dudes.

You have a choice of character. As well as Ganryuki you can choose Suzame, his female counterpart who is along for the ride for reasons unknown.
Both characters are pretty dexterous, jumping around the stylishly drawn environment with speed and style. The buildings and other backdrops often go three or four levels up, and indeed down, and the protagonists leap about them with ease.

They are aided in this by a secondary weapon, a retractable claw on a chain that can be used both to attack and to swing on selected trees or posts. There is also a wall jump ability which adds to game earning a certain platformy air.
Ganryu may not be the most original product out there. There's some classic Ninja Gaiden in there and strong shades of Bionic Commando... but (whisper it)... Ganryu is probably better.

Big section this and it rounds off with Gun Master.

I hate this kind of writing but here goes: Gunstar Heroes crossed with Smash Bros.
It's a bit lazy but it really sums up what makes Gun Master so much fun.

It's structured in a way that has each individual section serving as both level and boss battle at the same time.

You bounce around these multi tiered levels as a one of two protagonists and battle both your main foe and their minions simultaneously.

You have a good variety of attacks with which to go about this. Standard punches & kicks are supplemented by special moves, throws, and projectile weapons. All of which can be combined and used either on platforms or hanging from beneath them.

It's a decent hunk of game too - with 12 enemies to defeat and then a boss character - and it's difficulty is set at a level that will ensure you won't be blasting through in one sitting.
A bonus is that, apart from the big boss, you can attack the levels in any order you choose - so those not wishing to coin spam can still see all the levels even if their skills are a little lacking.

#gaming #retrogaming #hidden gems #mame #arcade