Review by Godai-Kun

"At least it's better than DD3!"

ABSTRACT:Technos Japan Corp., the creators of the Kunio-kun series and Double Dragon, made this beat-em-up during the early 1990s. It was done mostly by the same staff that did DD1,2 and Return (including musician Kazunaka Yamane). Combatribes is probably one of Technos' most obscure franchise ever (next to 1993's Shadow Force) and there is a good reason why.

STORYLINE: The Combatribes is a group of three vigilantes (Berserker, Bullova and Blitz) that protects NYC from crime. Their mission is to go after a company called Ground Zero (which controls all the gangs in NYC), capture it's CEO and eventually agaisnt their former comrade, Martha Splatterhead.

GAMEPLAY:In Combatribes, you must travel to six different areas, each with it's own gang and boss. Up to two or three players can play this game. The characters are Berserker (the 'All-Mighty'), Bullova (the strongers) and Blitz (the fastest). There is very little differences in moves between the three main characters. There are only two buttons in the game, Punch and Kick (what?! No jump button?!). While there is only two buttons in the game, there is an assortment of amusing moves like the ability to smash theirs heads on the floor while they are on the ground, jump on them, stomp them, smash two of them together and even twirl them around. You can pick stuff like Pinball machines, Bikes and Go-Carts and throw them agaisnt the enemies. Your character is usually bigger than the regular enemies. The stages are as follows:

Act. I: 'The Motorcycle Nuclear Warheads', just a group of bikers in a street corner. Boss: Fats, a Fatman with a giant piece of log.

Act. II: 'Amusement Park Nightmare', a group of acrobatic clowns in a amusement park called Technos Land. Their boss is a Persian Fire-breather called Salamander.

Act. III: 'The Slash Skate Screamer', a group of skaters with Hockey sticks in a Rollerskating Rink. Their boss is Thrash, a punk with a Sledgehammer.

Act. IV: 'The Stadium Barbarian', a group of knife-wielding punks with Tomahawks in a Baseball Stadium. Boss: Windwalker, a stereotypical Native American chief with a giant axe.

Act. V: 'The Slaughter Troops', a bunch of militians wielding knifes and guns inside a security building. Boss: Swastika, a cyborg general.

Act. VI: 'The Final Battle', fight agaisnt every boss and enemies from the previous Acts in a Docking Pier while trying to chase the boss of Ground Zero. Eventually Martha Splatterhead will kill him for you and then you will fight agaisnt her.

THE GOOD: The Combatribes has really good graphics and excellent music for it's time. The game has good controls and a amusing set of moves. Allowing up to Three players in this game doesn't hurt either.

THE BAD: Compared to the likes of Double Dragon 1&2, Capcom's beat-em-ups (Final Fight, Punisher, ect.) and the Bare Knuckle series, Combatribes is rather shallow in depth. While the graphics are good, the character designs could had been better, especially the main characters (who's heads are huge). Since there is always a bunch of enemies surrounding you, chances are that you will end up exchaning hits, unless you do a Twirl. Most of the bosses are a pain in the @$$ because you're most likely to exchange hits with them. The stages themselves are rather short and only last three screens. Longer stages would had helped as well. Also, more moves, more buttons (a Jum button) and more unique characters (instead of pallete-swapped and slighty modified versions of the same character) would had helped as well.

VERDICT: The Combatribes, while better than Double Dragon 3, could had been much more if it was given more time. Instead, we got a rather shallow beat-em-up with an interesting assorment of moves, but no real depth.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 08/08/00, Updated 08/08/00

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