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Monday, April 28, 2008

Aggressors of Dark Kombat


Let's face it: you can't confront a game called Aggressors of Dark Kombat and remain uninterested of it at the same time. Developer of the piece ADK was a division of SNK back in the days when VS Type Fighters and Beat'em Ups were massively popular, thus a quite fortunate suspicion arose that a hybrid of the two genres could prove to be a highly effective output in all aspects consensus might conceive. Aggressors of Dark Kombat or Tsuukai Gangan Kohshinkyoku in Japan now reigns in well deserved cultdome via the extremely cheesy entertainment appeals it contains and steadily delivers, conforming nicely to the absolute best and absolute "worst" a B-action movie from the early '90s could offer.

Enjoy and Read on!

Hopefully it was a nice way to put it, as one could argue if B-flicks from the early '90s could offer anything good at all except how bad they were, and how GOOD they turned up as via being so - bad. Strange are the standards of B-entertainment indeed, yet it had quite beneficiary metamorphosis whenever got presented in an interactive fashion, coming to life via animated sprites. Aggressors of Dark Kombat is focal, somewhat overlooked representative of such exquisitely sweet outputs. As an effort to hit arcades in 1994 just to remain relatively unnoticed with its descent yet not particularly stunning presentation, the piece now solidifies as proprietor of quite a unique position as far as its buildup.

The game delivers a street brawl feel conforming nicely to the mood summoned by such classic titles as Final Fight and related entertainment. A unique twist in the gameplay concerns the ability to move around in the environments exactly the way you would do that in a Beat'em Up, while the number of rounds is reduced to one with a multi-layered lifeline to keep/destruct. Each character has three row of energy and successful attacks do replenish health in the current bar the energy level is at, though once you lost a layer completely, then there is no way regaining it saved an extra credit and a restart.

Surroundings do offer occasional novelty items similar you would find in Beat'em Ups: shovels, clubs, Molotov cocktails are given tools to form special opportunities of, though only the hot liquid seems worth grabbing and tossing at the enemy as the possible aftermath - crazy animation with the opposition's ass on fire - grants a nice, cozy, comfy free shot for you.

The feel and pace of the gameplay is pretty unique: the piece relies on a Punch and a Kick with a third button assigned to jump. Tap the attack keys once to utilize a weak form of the respective function and hold it down to summon the strong variant. The game heavily relies on grabs and consecutive throws, these are executed by moving close to the enemy's front and pressing the forward direction plus both attack buttons simultaneously- a minigame then ensues in which you either have the fortunate chance to decide what kind of throw you want to execute or the opposition will counter-grab you and it is your turn to either counter-grab or pray that she/he will execute a somewhat gentler throw on you. This hardly happens. Pray happens, gentler throw: hardly happens, that is.

Special moves are nicely balanced and there are even "Crazy" ones among them, one for each character. These "Gangan" specialties can be utilized once your lifeline informs you of this. In case you can unleash your Gangan move successfully in the rather brief yet reasonable period you allowed to, you can be sure that the W is yours.

There are some oddities to surround the game, most specifically: the names of the characters are hardly included anywhere in the output, let alone some immensely idiotic aspirants such as Bobby, who, even worse: is INCLUDED in the effort. Probably the most annoying, simultaneously most faceless figure I ever saw in a fighting game. Anyone ever selected Bobby to play in Aggressors of Dark Kombat, please defend your hero, I do beg for you. The absence of the names is quite big of an issue to regard it as one worth addressing, therefore we address that herein, indeed:

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Aggressors of Dark Kombat Character Roster - from left to right:

Kisarh, Fuuma, Goh, Leonhalt, Horst "Derrick" Tappert, Sheen, Joe, Lee, Bobby

The pace has a consistent flow to it with a nice way of enforcing you to utilize a multitude of attack forms thanks to the possibility of quick, wide position changes and the considerate difficulty to sell out the same attack method on consecutive occasions. Some welcomely complex special algorhythms are present to enrich each character, for example Sheen has massive potential to grab charging enemies from the air just to slam them to the ground, while Joe might punish airborne attacks with a nice counter-special consisting of crazy-ass kicks seemingly tailored to such situations. Characters do vary considerably through such key aspects as movement speed and power, though not all of them exhibit convincing design power and related originality. Bobby, anyone?

With its unique structure to combine elementary Beat'em Up appeals with the charm and beauty of the VS genre, Aggressors of Dark Kombat delivers a rather special taste of classic arcade gaming to ruthlessly, welcomely exploit the hilarious atmosphere your everyday average '90s B-flicks are notorious of. At the end of the day, the output delivers blatantly bad oneliners, relies on sober, traditional gameplay mechanics and gives us nice realization of a rather complex grappling system. Through its charming, acceptably executed presentational values Aggressors of Dark Kombat weighs in as an effort which had the courage to fuse popular elements, and, amazingly: still has.

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related recommendation:
Aggressors of Dark Kombat Moves


Frankie 1337 said...

Great review man! Good to see some love given to AoDK - such an excellent game. I guess it just never really caught on since it's not enough of a fighter for the fighting scene, and not enough of a b'mup for the brawler scene

It's awesome to see a fellow blogger doing MAME games, especially ones as in-depth as yours. Mine are quickies, more about talking a little about a large number of games as opposed to you, who gets real down and dirty with each one, so it's cool to have some diversity ^_^



GyZ said...

Thanks for the comment, Frankie! Feel free to post a link to your blog next time. Given the immense, even EMENCE selection Mame has, it would be nice to see what directions others explore. See you around!

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