Much like their quality Sonic Adventure DX review, Gamespot
has gone out of its way to make a good game look bad once again.
Brushing aside the "5.2" out of 10 rating for a moment, I'd like to
focus on one of the revelant gameplay comments:
"Well, let us answer that question. No, you don't really want to unlock
every single character, because most of them are almost identical. There are
some speed differences, and some are more powerful than others, but with the
exception of a few unlockable bosses, your combo strategy remains the same.
The game's combo attack asks you to rise to the challenge to somehow hit the
X button six times in a row. "
I'd say that he must have been playing the game on the "unlockable"
easy setting, if I didn't know that setting doesn't have the gameplay he describes
either. He partially describes the gameplay fairly accurately. Yes, the game
only comments on your move if you complete a six string combo. However, you're
rewarded in different, yet much more meaningful, ways for discovering each character's
unique moves, and becoming practiced at using those moves in the appropriate
For example, you have a special attack which attacks all enemies around you,
if you try to defeat a boss by saving these up and using them all you will most
likely lose. Some bosses require you to grapple with them more than straight
on attack them, some will counter you if you attempt to grapple but don't attack
quickly enough. Within the grapple itself you have a straightforward button
masher attack, the possibility to attack and throw, the option (at any time)
to cycle around behind and do a throw or a jumping throw, or a special throw
attack which damages other enemies. There are also a wide variety of combinations
to be made by switching back and forth between the regular and charge attacks,
and each character has differing moves dependant on each. Doing only the basic
combo attack will not actually get you as far as it would in the Streets of
Rage games. Which is to say, you might fumble your way through, but you're missing
the real fun.
Yes, each character controls similarly, but each character also has enough changes
to their moves to require an adjustment in strategy to avoid unnecessary damage.
Yes, the basic enemy can't do all that much to you, without a large group cornering
you. What were the greatest beat-em ups in the genre like? Just like that.
Spikeout is lacking, by modern standards only, in presentation and gameplay
length if the player is an instant master at the game. I have not covered in
detail the gameplay complexities, I've only pointed out most of what I use each
time I play the game. I've already played the game more than 1 hour, and I have
yet to finish the game, though I think I'll go ahead and do that tonight just
to test Gamespot's claim of 2hrs.
I played DMC 1+3 with less strategy than I have_to with Spikeout. One difference
between the two games is that DMC had cutscenes that made your character look
a *lot* stronger than he actually was. DMC also had random "cinematic"
moments where you could die instantly. DMC had boss fights where the *only*
way to win was to lose enough times to memorize the boss pattern. DMC also had
a hell of a lot more "atmosphere" and "hollywood" going
for it than any of the best beat-em ups ever did.
My question is, what do cinematics have to do with gaming, really? It is
cinematics, that are the only thing seriously lacking in Spikeout, which the
reviewer relegates as "presentation". He also falsifies how rewarding
the gameplay depth really is, and how well it can really compare to the beat-em
ups of old. On top of that, he seems to suppose that Final Fight is better
than Streets of Rage, as a series, and Final Fight *never* had more complexity
in gameplay than even SOR1 did.