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Guilty Gear Dust Strikers Review

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Developer: ARC System Works Publisher: Majesco
Release Date: April 25, 2006 Also On: None

Since the release of the DS in late 2004, there have been many excellent titles released for it across a wide variety of genres. One genre that has been heavily overlooked thus far, however, is fighting games. Guilty Gear: Dust Strikers has the advantage of coming out when its only competition in America so far as fighting games are concerned is Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, a game that is widely believed by DS owners as being among the worst games on the system, and for good reason. The question remains, however, as to whether it is worth buying regardless of the fact that it is virtually without competition.

Graphically, Guilty Gear isn’t going to be turning heads either for its quality or for its lack thereof. It’s graphics suffice for what it sets out to do and the characters are easily distinguishable on sight. None of the special moves have animations that are over-the-top impressive, but I can’t imagine that they’re meant to. Soundwise, the music is reasonable but unobtrusive, the sound effects are typical fighting game fare for the most part, and the pieces of voice acting when special moves are performed sound okay but can get old if you do the same move over and over for a while.

So far as the gameplay is concerned, Guilty Gear: Dust Strikers lies somewhere between Super Smash Brothers Melee and Digimon Rumble Arena 2 in the strategy to luck ratio, requiring more strategy than Digimon Rumble Arena but less than Super Smash Bros. Melee. The characters each have a wide variety of moves, including weak and strong normal attacks that can be altered depending on direction, generally wide varieties of special moves which also require different directional controls in addition to hitting the special move button. Some special moves are more complicated to pull off than others, but they are generally worth the extra hassle if you have the time to hit the extra buttons. There are also dust strikes which can change what level of the stage your opponents are on if you hit them, knocking them up or down.

Guilty Gear operates across both screens in one big arena, which is something that most gamers will have to get used to, although this isn’t the first game that has done such a thing. Horizontally, you won’t be able to see the entire stage, but enemies that you can’t see are usually too far from you to attack you, so it isn’t a significant problem. With twenty characters, there’s certainly enough that everybody should be able to find a character or two that they like, and it will take a reasonable amount of time to beat story and arcade mode with all of them for those who seek to do so. In addition to all of this is the fact that one of the characters can have his moveset customized based on moves that are unlocked by playing the minigames that are included, thus giving you incentive to play them as well, even if they aren’t the most impressive in the world. I’ll admit that I don’t understand why every third party sees the need to throw half-baked touch-screen minigames into their DS titles, and, in the case of this game, they don’t add much.

In terms of multiplayer, this game doesn’t have nearly as much to offer as it should. Sure, you can play multiplayer with up to four people over local wireless connections, but only if each DS system has a copy of the game. In my opinion, this game should have had Wi-Fi capability, or at least the capability of single-card multiplayer. This lack of multiplayer capability does reduce the replay value of the game slightly. However, for those of you who are desperate for a fighting game on the DS, Guilty Gear is worthy of a look, and not just because of its relative aloneness in its genre on the system. Fans of the Guilty Gear series or of fighting games in general should seriously consider giving it a try.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7
Written by Martin Review Guide