Your Review Sucks (SuperOld): Advance Guardian Heroes (IGN)

(NOTE: This is reposted from my VERY VERY OLD website “Fruity Jell-O Gaming”)

Original Review Source :

Hoo boy, IGN. My main inspiration for this section once again proves their incompetence with a review of the excellent “Advance Guardian Heroes” that is at LEAST 25% made up shit. I think it’s good to point out that the IGN rating is a 6/10 while the reader average is 8.5/10. Hmm…

Well let’s give credit where credit is due and get on with this here horrible review!

It’s only been a short few weeks since Treasure unleashed one of its finest 2D efforts on the Game Boy Advance: Astro Boy: Omega Factor.

While this is just personal opinion, I’d say that Astro Boy was one of their more mediocre efforts. Mediocre for Treasure of course meaning mind blowingly excellent but still…

Since then, the team’s been hard at work duplicating that gaming success by continuing one of the company’s properties it brought to life on the Sega Saturn: Guardian Heroes, a fantasy action game that pushed the Double Dragon-style of gameplay into new and exciting directions. The follow-up, entitled Advance Guardian Heroes, brings back the original Saturn game’s style of gameplay, but its unbelievably irritating technical problems and underwhelming art style doesn’t bring back the magic fans might be expecting.

Err…technical problems? There’s alittle slowdown here and there and some sprites are alittle small but that’s not much. And underwhelming art style?! It’s the same as the Saturn’s art! …oh boy, THIS is off to a good start.

With only one save slot, players can’t have multiple games going with different characters, and that limits the appeal of discovering what one character does over another — to do this, you’ll have to erase the game in progress and start anew. Some might find that this encourages multiple plays through. I just find it irritating that Treasure couldn’t find a way to squeeze in multiple save blocks in SRAM.

Define “nit-pick”

The action is certainly promising, and in a handful of places its a very enjoyable GBA experience. But then, the problem…and it’s a doozy: just like Astro Boy: Omega Factor before it, Advance Guardian Heroes has a habit of slowing down during the action when the screen gets a little too cluttered.

GASP AND SHOCK! When more stuff than a system can handle is happening on screen at once it slows down?! THAT’S ABSURD!

But where it was “on occasion” in Astro Boy, it’s more like half of the experience in Advance Guardian Heroes. The slowdown is downright severe in this game, almost to the point where you wonder if the game’s defective. It absolutely ruins the timing necessary to pull off the integral counterattacks, so players are left hammering down on the block button hoping that a random button press will trigger it during the bogged-down action.

That’s odd. I never had any problem with it except when I tried to run it on an emulator. HECK! When I tried emulating the dumb this the slowdown increased 3 times and the game got so buggy is I left frameskipping on that the first enemy actually killed me in one hit…hey wait a second. Could IGN be playing this on an emulator? Hmm…

Treasure seemed more concerned throwing as much special effects at the GBA processor on top of tossing in as many as ten on-screen enemies at once; do we really need to see the non-interactive background woosh around like the streets in Outrun when we’re being overwhelmed by character attacks from every direction? The game needs a much better balance between “ooh, neat” effects and basic level design.

Now you see, this game pushes the GBA to it’s limits. It is easily one of the most impressive GBA games this side of Dragon Quest Slime Mori-Mori and DEFINATELY uses far more special effects than Mori-Mori ever did. Some of the level design in this game is absolutely genious, as one would expect from Treasure. Of course the fine folks at IGN seem to have played this thing on something that wasn’t a GBA and it seems to have caused them some troubles. Hmm…

Even though Advance Guardian Heroes uses the namesake of the classic Saturn title, the GBA version, a “sequel” of sorts, is really its own game. The namesake is more used for the style of game than it is to reprise past character’s roles and situations.

…umm, the ending to Guardian Heroes, complete with the original cast, is the intro to this game.

“In fact, the Game Boy Advance game throws out the Saturn version’s confident character and monster style in favor of a more cartoony theme — the main characters share more in common with a lanky Ichabod Crane than they do a bold, heroic knight.

…dude it’s the same artist and same art style. Heck! 90% of the cast was sprite ripped straight off the Saturn and into the GBA version!

Anyone favoring the Saturn game may be disappointed in the art direction of Advance Guardian Heroes, and if the character poses don’t do it, the weak, choppy animation of these guys certainly will. In its defense, a Game Boy Advance cartridge holds far, far less data than a Saturn CD, and the fact that there are more than 20 controllable characters and even more enemy sprites to store, the amount of animation frames for each being in the game definitely had to be limited

What?! The game animates pretty damn smoothly from what I’ve seen! It’s no Shantae or Slime Mori-Mori, but it is FAR from choppy…unless you have frameskip on in your emulator…hmm…

And when players encounter specific people in the single player battle, defeating them will add those characters to the multiplayer rosters

…actually that’s not exactly how it works. You donate gems to unlock characters.

Just because it’s a Treasure game doesn’t automatically make it a fantastic gaming experience, and Advance Guardian Heroes proves that the development team isn’t this group of infallible game designers. The core design element is certainly sound, and when the action retains its full pace it’s actually a lot of fun. But the processor slowdown is downright unbearable in places, and it’s far too frequent to be “acceptable.” It’s rare when the game keeps up to its intended speed, which makes it next to impossible to do specific moves that are important to succeed through the game’s levels.

…okay, now I am positive you played this on an emulator. Just ‘cuz it says it’s running at 100% speed doesn’t mean it actually is. Play the actual cart. It’s worth it.

6.0 Graphics

Definitely a downgrade from Astro Boy, AGH has choppy character animation and a weird art style. While the technical background stuff is cool to watch, it feeds the unbearable slowdown.

Weird art style? Dude I’m telling you it’s the same as the previous Guardian Heroes, Gunstar, and even Mischeif Makers! It’s the same damn artist. Personally I say this looks BETTER than Astro Boy in action.

5.0 Gameplay

The score here takes a dive simply because the game can’t stay at the speed it was intended. Timing is completely screwed up due to enormous amounts of slowdown.

No, timing is completely screwed up by running it on an emulator and having frameskipping on.

Well so ends yet another classic IGN reviewing blunder. See you next time.

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