Back in the days when kids frequented the local video arcade and every growing boy's bedroom sported an NES game console, SUPER DODGE BALL was one of the hottest games around. Made by the same design team responsible for DOUBLE DRAGON, SUPER DODGE BALL was a cult-hit on the NES. Now several years later, Atlus has acquired the rights to the game and ported this classic to Nintendo's newest handheld.
SUPER DODGE BALL ADVANCE is a bit different from the dodge ball you may have played in high school. Rather than multiple balls flying across your screen, the action is limited to one ball. However, teams of youngsters still smack each other down in their quest to become the best dodge ball team in the world. The standard formula gets a shake-up, though, as there are tons of special throws that can be executed -- many with drawn out combo moves similar in style toSTREET FIGHTER.
Gameplay is simple, however. Each side has a certain number of players on the field. There are also extra players around the edge of your opponent's field, making for some interesting pass-throw combos that keep the game fresh after you've mastered its basic set of moves. The controls are simple to learn, but difficult to master.
The game has a fairly decent one-player mode, while its learning curve is just about right for the standard beginner (you'll have to master some of the combos to make it through to the end). However, the downside to the one-player mode is how long a game can last once you reach the higher levels. There is no set time limit, so either side can hold the ball for as long as your game system's batteries will last. This quickly becomes fatiguing and frustrating.
As the game progresses, you'll determine the individual strengths and weaknesses of each player on your team, adjusting your formation on the fly. As such, you'll be adding a degree of depth to the game in terms of strategy.
However, two-player is the best way to enjoy SUPER DODGE BALL ADVANCE. It moves a bit faster (especially when using an honor system on how long you can hold the ball) than the one-player mode and is more challenging. But in order to partake in this style of game play, both players must own a separate game cartridge. Ultimately, its worth the extra expense, making for a great experience for you and a friend.
Speaking of great, the game utilizes amazing graphics. They're colorful and the animation mirrors the look of the older games (if my memory serves correctly). The ball flies around the screen at a blinding speed and the Super Nintendo version of SUPER DODGE BALL is the same as the GBA version.
Unfortunately, there's not much to discuss in the sound department. A few sound effects here and there and some annoying music. It's not terrible, but I have heard better on the Game Boy Advance.
SUPER DODGE BALL ADVANCE is the return of a forgotten classic. The gameplay remains true to the original and the two-player mode is a blast. While there are some glitches with the multiplayer and the one-player mode is lackluster, the game still remains an arcade classic. If you enjoyed the older versions, this is a must-buy. Otherwise, rent it first.
Platform: Game Boy Advance
USBR Rating: Everyone
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Fun Factor: A
Reviewer's Wild Card: A