"Yet another endless battle"

Another fighter? Great...
True, but not exactly. This game has some very good back-story to it. The Battle Arena Toshinden series was three parts on Playstation that were in 3D and this is supposed to be the GameBoy version that's totally in 2D. Now, the story within these games has also spawned a short series of anime games and other such small fan-induced tidbits, but this series has been lost in time, mostly due to an overwhelming flood of half baked fighter games right after the Toshinden series was launched.

Gameplay
8/10
Though I might like this game a lot, the controls are a tad sluggish when you want to execute the slam moves at the right time. Sometimes you're in the middle of a combo and if your finger slips only a tad bit over the A and B buttons at the same time, you initiate a slam that WILL cost you your combo and might cost you your fight, seeing as how the slam attack requires that your character NEEDS to do his intro taunt before striking. For people with long intro taunts like the secret characters, it could give the computer enough time to wipe you out with a combo of its own.
P vs P play is quite well done, even for a GameBoy game. The controls are still the same and you can still use the different play modes on the Super GameBoy with ease.

Story
6/10
For a fighter, the story is quite lacking. This is the time where the PlayStation is already out with wonderful stories for its own fighters and the SNES fighter stories are already evolving beyond the basic "enter a tourney for X reason, usually an invite, revenge, self improvement, power". There is very little back-story given about the characters in this game, even in the instructions manual! Though we must consider that this is a fighting game. That's the only thing keeping me from slamming a 2 on this, because most fighting games of this era still have a poor story compared to adventure or even platformers.

Graphics
9/10
Yeah, this is pretty much a high point for the GameBoy handheld. It's also a game that's been released at the end of the GameBoy's life, when Super GameBoy-compatible games were starting to appear. Well, this game is a Super GameBoy-optimized game. Of course, the grayscale looks on GameBoy are perfectly acceptable, but the graphics improve tenfold when you have color while fighting your enemies. Pair that up with a few ingame codes that allow you to speed up your play and you'll be dashing through the game in no time, still with clear graphics.

Sound
8/10
The SFX are quite good. I won't exactly say that they're the most realistic I've heard on the GameBoy or Super GameBoy, but they're decent enough to make you understand you're fighting an opponent, and that each strike is actually hurting you or your enemy.
The BGM is also quite good. Though most tunes are forgettable, a select few have stuck in my head years after I first played.

Replayability
10-20 hours for every character on every mode
The only real let-down of this game is that the 1 Player mode has every fight planned in the same order, with no secret fighters available as opponents even if you unlock them to use one of them. That would have added some spice to the game's length and replayability, though I won't complain too much since the highest difficulty setting is quite hard to beat if you even slip up once on a combo (see the slam attack in the gameplay section).

Overview

Gameplay: 8/10
Story: 6/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10

Score: 8/10 *Not an average!*


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/14/04


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