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Advance Guardian Heroes Package Art
†GENRE
††Action
†DEVELOPER
††Treasure
†PUBLISHER
††Ubisoft
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-4
†CONNECTIVITY
††No
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Advance Guardian Heroes

Treasure, the development house behind Ikaruga and Mischief Makers as well as others, have already proven themselves in the handheld market twice over with the release of Astro Boy: Omega Factor. As the release of the follow-up to the SEGA Saturn classic, Advance Guardian Heroes approached, many gamers couldnít wait to see what else Treasure was working on. Turns out the gold up in them there hills was only for fools. With a handful of visual problems, the game is simply rendered as a frustratingly ugly beat-em-up that manages to capture very little of the originalís fantasy-based charm.

visuals

The main problem that Advance Guardian Heroes has going for it is the slow down. Granted, they seem to have that same problem in almost anything they develop, but throughout most of the game there is a significant drop in frame rate. This turns up when the game throws multiple enemies at you while the background is still running at a significant rate of speed. This can be a problem because this is how the action is supposed to be executed throughout most of the game. It doesnít help that the sprite-based visuals are limited to the number of animations. It can become rather bothersome when your game slows down to a crawl and you only have a few frames of animation to go through in most cases. The overall style is great, however, but is hardly inspired from the original. The character design is centered around a heavy anime influence which the original followed as well, but with much more grown-up undertones.

audio

Although much in the game managed to disappoint, Treasure is always good at audio production. The sound effects match with the ďfast-pacedĒ action and are usually fairly clear given the fact that so much is happening. The music is high tempo, but it isnít anything thatíll make you excited to fight. The sound production is high in value, but it certainly isnít one of the best reasons to purchase this game.

gameplay

The play mechanics in Advance Guardian Heroes mimic your typical brawler. There are a few RPG elements thrown in for good measure. You can upgrade your stats at the end of each level, for instance. Other than that, this is a beat-em-up through and through. This isnít necessarily a bad thing, though, considering Treasureís signature ďcharmĒ is eminent throughout the game. You can either chain your combos together or go for the power and slam your enemies across the screen, dealing more damage as they crash into their buddies.

Keep in mind, it isnít completely mindless. You have the option to block, but most importantly, you have the option to counterattack. Counterattacks are probably the most important feature in the combat system. Later into the game, or even simply three levels into it, youíll need to learn to time your blocking just right in order to pull off one of these maneuvers. It is not optional, but yet required to actually advance. If you happen to keel over, youíll have the option to continue for six more minutes with unlimited health and magic or simply return to the main menu. The ďDemon ModeĒ is rather pointless, though, but can offer a bit of fun if you prefer the juggernaut style of gameplay.

There are also plenty of magical attacks to perform, if your character has the ability to cast them. Magic points are hard to come by, though, so your character will have to work on filling his or her anger gauge. This is done by simply taking or giving hits. Once the character has achieved a state of anger, their stats will boost considerably and their magic points will rapidly increase. Or, you can simply practice those counterattacks. The latter isnít the best option when youíre surrounded by enemies, though.

multiplayer

One of the saving graces of Advance Guardian Heroes is the two-player co-op mode. Itís been scientifically proven that any game that includes a cooperative multiplayer mode is nearly ten times better than it could have been. The same could be said here. The existence of a second character neither helps nor hinders the framerate, but itís still nice to have a friend around. Thereís also a brawler mode for four-players and with twenty available characters to choose from, which can offer a bit more on the replay value.

overall

Advance Guardian Heroes is a step in the wrong direction not only for the series, but also for the development house. With a rough translation alongside a bevy of ridiculous technical problems, itís hard to recommend this game. However, the overall style and multiplayer aspects got the better of me. If you enjoy brawlers, you may want to check this game out. If you were a fan of the first, go into this one with a little bit of caution though.

final score 6.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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