Advance Guardian Heroes

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“In the current state of the industry, popular characters or licences are more then ever the key for publishers. That is one of the main reasons for the choice of Guardian Heroes. If you go original, it is really hard to have your project accepted. We would like to go original but it is not always possible.” -Treasure Rep, September ’04 Issue of Edge Magazine

This statement was a relief to all fans of Gunstar Heroes and Guardian Heroes. It’s also a great thing for us portable gamers because the newest sequel in this line of games just happens to be on the Gameboy Advance. While the game is superb when compared to other GBA beat ’em ups, many fans of the last game have complained that this isn’t all that they were hoping it would be. Reguardless, Treasure and Ubisoft have brought us a great game on one of the greatest portable systems.

Graphically, Advance Guardian Heroes (AGH) isn’t the prettiest piece of work on the GBA. Sprites are repeated and color-swapped as is the case in most games of this irk; however, the low-res character sprites could have been better. The Mode-7 backgrounds used in some of the stages don’t look that great, but the style that they’re used do add a lot to the dramatic feel that Treasure likes to add to their games. The backgrounds that are used throughout the game are brightly colored with great detail that adds to the game’s great flavor.

The game is slightly marred by the lack of sound – more specifically, the volume. The level of volume in which they decided to keep the game is hard to hear on a packed bus even with headphones. Aside from that, the music is as you would expect from Treasure and their ‘Heroes’ line of games. Voice clips such as the laughs are crisp but sound slightly computerized. When you can actually hear the sound, you’re in for an aural treat as the music and sound effects both add to the game as a whole.

Action is the key element Treasure has been known to offer and this game is no slouch in that department. The stages are designed perfectly to break up the usual hum-drum repeatative gameplay that comprise most games in this genre. Weather it’s by effortlessly leaping from missle to missle or using the game’s unique counter technique to base a stage around, you rarely get bored. Likewise, the difficulty in this game is anywhere from easy to downright frustrating. Unlike most games that feature a troublesome allotment of frustrating gameplay, this game offers up just the right ammount. Everytime you fight a different boss, you’ll get a little further until you eventually master it. Simply brilliant.

There are plenty of things you can do other than simply jamming on the attack button. In fact, if that’s all you do, you won’t get very far even on the easiest difficulty. Pressing the attack button repeatedly will land you a string combo for most characters while others don’t always have such elaborate combos. Hitting a direction and the attack button will do various moves. Down does a defensive knock away move and up will usually launch your character into the air with a kick or uppercut. Forward will do a power move, knocking enemies across the screen. In addition to these basic attacks, there are more difficult manuvers such as throws and a move that pulls enemies towards you. What really makes the game different from most beat ’em up-style games is the ability to block and counter – both of which are performed with the R button. Countering is something Treasure wanted to stress in this game and you’ll see why durring the first boss fight. Also, you can use special attacks by holding down the R button and hitting attack. Depending on the character, you’ll have anywhere from 1 to 5 special attacks to choose from (by hitting the L button).

The battle system isn’t the only place this game offers up variety as there are approximatly 20 unlockable characters to go through the game with. Yes, this includes all of the enemies you come across throughout the story mode. In addition to unlockable characters, you can unlock Time Attack mode where you go through the stages trying to beat your own times. The ammount of unlockables this game offers is phenomenal and actually adds to the replayability. The only downside I can see is that there’s only one save slot.

In addition to all this, you can actually play in a versus mode with friends who own a GBA and a copy of AGH. This isn’t the finest aspect of the game, but it does add to the overall package and deserves mention.

-Originally Posted by Bloodspoor

(I am very sorry, but the remainder of this review was lost. I will search for the file on my old laptop hard drive as soon as I extract it, but until then, I hope this will suffice until then.)

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