Approximate Release Date: March 1, 1993
Developer: Technos Japan
Publisher: American Technos
Much of The Combatribes feels antiquated by even 1993’s standards.
First of all, you can’t jump in The Combatribes. At all. You’re limited to a punch and a kick. On one hand, this means the game is easily grasped and isn’t very complicated. The downside to that is that the game is super simple. There’s little depth here that fans of the genre might be accustomed to, even with three characters to play as with very slight differences between them. Even the stages are basic, one-room affairs that are much shorter than what you’d expect.
The simplicity turns frustrating when you face enemies that have either range or mobility on their side. The first annoying part of The Combatribes was the second boss. He comes equipped with what amounts to a long-range flamethrower. Without being able to jump, finding ways to actually hit him without being lit up was a nightmare. Players can run by double-tapping the D-pad, but only in a straight line. I had to slowly zig-zag my way to him just for a chance to get a few hits in.
In the third stage, all the enemies are on roller skates. Ugh.
Why do the bad guys get to do cool stuff? Why do the most basic enemies get weapons? Why do the bosses get power moves like spin kicks? Why can’t the player get fun tools to play around with? The Combatribes doesn’t offer a good answer for any of those questions. There’s nothing here that a Final Fight or Sonic Blast Man didn’t do more competently and more interestingly.
Play The Combatribes only if you miss the simplicity of NES-era two-button brawlers and have mastered Double Dragon.
Tomorrow: Do a barrel roll in Star Fox!