Review by FAddict
"Prelude to fall of Technos"
For a company made by 3 of former Deco employees in some one room apartment, Technos had grown into rather big name within gaming industry, and Technos Japan had created excellent fighting games during mid 80's. Starting from Nekketsu-Kouha Kunio-kun (which was name of Technos' president by the way), to ever famous Double Dragon series, Technos was king of fighting game up until it was taken its position by Capcom with their Street Fighter II. One factor that made Technos' fighting game appealing was their unique system. Though it was action games, both Renegade and Double Dragon had feature that enabled you to attack in two directions regardless of either way you were facing. This added little reality in its game play and also added ease and fun in facing greater numbers of oppositions. With that being said, let's start review of this game.
The Combatribes was quarter-view fighter made by Technos in 1990. It's just your average fighter where you are hero who go beat up evil gangs who terrorize NYC. Coming from Technos, I personally figured it'd be your usual Double Dragon clone, but I was totally wrong. It put shame to name of Technos. This was insanely bad game. Everything that made DD a fun game was totally taken out, but they managed to leave everything that was bad about DD.
First, you'll be stuck with large headed heroes who that I wish didn't have to play with. Unlike most of fighting games that you may pick characters voluntary, in this game, 3 characters that you can pick are corresponded to each players (like 1p, 2p, and 3p.) Since all 3 characters possess different abilities, (1p Berserker=average, 2p Bullova=power oriented, 3p Blitz=speed oriented) you'd think they'd give you option to choose, but instead, you have to put your tokens in designated player to play designated character whom you might like to play with.
The worst part must be absence of Technos trade mark of ''two way fighting system.'' And without it, I realized Technos' fighting game was as unreasonable as that of Konami's shooters' ''once you are dead, it's pretty much over'' kind of thing. (If you've played Gradius III or Parodius of sort, you'd know what I am talking about.) You just don't have enough time to be fighting enemy on your one side while enemy on other side constantly smacking you. In previous games, you had ways to compensate that. Not in this one though. And that simple fact made this game a total screw-ball. Cause, although your characters didn't inherit generous fighting abilities from its predecessor, your enemies surely did. They'll move faster than you (as always), they are always conveniently out of your attacking axis (as always), their range of attack is always larger than that of yours (as always), they won't fall unless you can successfully give them 3 or more consecutive attacks (as always), and they will swarm you with ease (as always), etc.... Playing this game almost made me think, ''algorithm of enemies in this game can match that of SNK fighters'!!''
Game being hard isn't necessary a bad thing. That's what gives you a challenge and wanting you to come back to it more. But everything has limit. Harmful substance used in processed foods shouldn't exceed that of allotted amount by government, and driving without any license shouldn't be allowed either. Because when things exceed that limit, result is always a mess. This game is one of examples. It is a pattern game after all (just like any other Technos game), and it's not too bad once you get used to it. Still, I just don't see anybody clearing this game with one coin. (My best was 3 coins using Blitz. 2 coins at last stage alone. Last Boss, Martha Splatterhead, is just too too strong. While there is pattern, one misjudgment in you and her alignment and it's all over. Probably as strong as Shao Kahn via MK II or Achiless at 2nd loop via Trojan.) And when you set up game this bad, ain't nobody gonna put their token in, and it won't have good earning ratio. And as I anticipated, this game just came and went in most of the arcade I know....
All in all, it was hard to believe this game was product of Technos. It increased in area of brutality, graphic, etc, in order to compete with other games in market, but took back step in most important part, game play itself. In comparison to game like DD, it almost make me think as if this game was made before DD. On game flyer, it was said that ''This is fighting evolution!'' but to me, it seemed nothing but retrogression, thus started fall of mighty Technos.....(Amen)
Bad. Very bad. Your character moves around just too too slow. All of your enemies moves faster than you do. Methods of attacking took severe cut back compare to game like Double Dragon. No variety whatsoever, you can only punch and kick. Third blow usually comes out as heavy blow, but range of these moves are too short and you often miss your opponents if they were too far. If your opponent is in stunned position, you automatically grab him and throw him in close range and do heavy blow in far range. But those will never hit your opponent and some opponent will retaliate if you grab them, so these are pretty much useless moves. It almost exist only as if to give your com opponent chance to exploit you. You also have dash attack, (tap your lever twice to desired direction or press two buttons same time.) but this makes you incredibly vulnerable. Since you can knock your opponents with just dashing alone, it has no use except for get hit by your opponent on purpose. Ground attacks are replete quite bit, you can kick 'em, you can stump 'em, bush their head to ground from mount position, quite brutal. But since standing attacks have higher priority than ground ones, when there are standing opponents around downed one, you can pretty much do nothing. Makes you wonder what developer of this game was thinking. Where is the game balance in this stinking game!?
As good as you expect from Technos. Sprite resolution might be better than their older games and dots graphic might have gotten better, but in comparison to other game company, it's not outstandingly good or nothing. Judgement in character frames are too poorly made. You might miss your opponent even though your punch and kick are connecting to your opponent, while your opponents' hits will never miss you even though they may not be contacting you at all.
Only, and only thing I liked about this game. Little sound effect at beginning of each stage (like motorcycle sounds at 1st stage, amusement-park sounds in 2nd), to same old hitting sounds from DD, I especially liked VGM at last stage. Helped its tensing atmosphere.
Overall and Repalyability:
I don't normally criticize games too harshly. Because no matter how terrible it may be, I'd think about time and effort some people took to ''create'' game. But there are standard that I uphold, and unfortunately, this game passed all the qualification for being stupid game. Incredibly improper control, outrageously poor game balance, unbelievably troublesome difficulty, and it doesn't entertain its players rather it only frustrates them. I hate to talk about deceased, but what were Technos staffs thinking when they made this game!? I just can't believe this is product of Technos, and its release date was 1990!!!
May be, instead of spending so much money in creation of B-rated Hollywood movie or construction of ''Technos Nakano Building'', they should have put more effort in game developing itself. (Those are two of major reasons why Technos went bankrupt. Direct reasons were failure of Double Dragon and Gowcaizer in NeoGeo MSV.) Since they were doing fair in Nintendo format with their Kunio-kun series, may be they should have stayed over there instead of coming back to arcade market. May be then, Technos could be still holding their office in Technos Nakano Builing. (While this infamous building still exists in Tokyo, bearer of its name, Technos is nowhere to be seen....)
As for playing this, well, I think they had Snes conversion of this game which was very loyal to arcade version, so try them. I doubt you'll like it though. As for game-board for this one, since Technos is gone, whats left in market is all you got. Probably hard to find, and I wouldn't recommend this game anyway. If you just wanna play it, go get Snes version, much cheaper. If you are collector of Technos, or wants to get it for it might be worth something since it is game of company gone, you're welcome to invest in it but remember that I said I wouldn't.
Some people might think I'm anti-Technos or something reading whats written above. On contrary, Technos was one of my favorite game maker. Think back on my youth, most of games that I spend my money were games made by Technos. ''Mysterious Stone'' was first game I got taste of competing for score, I still prefer ''Mat Mania'' over any wrestling games in market. Off games like ''Shusse Ohzumou'' and ''Campionship Valley Ball'' were always among my favorite as well. But I can't cloud my judgement for what's white and what's black. In my opinion, Combatribes was one of worst fighter I ever played, and I reviewed it as I felt. I wrote this so people won't think that I'm biased or nothing.
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 06/09/01, Updated 06/09/01
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