Showing posts with label fighting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fighting. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Abobo's Big Adventure

I have been dimly aware of Abobo's Big Adventure for several months, despite the fact that it's apparently been in production for a decade or so - and as soon as I discovered the concept, I knew I had to play the thing. Consequently, I've been checking the Newgrounds 'Countdown to Abobo' almost every day.

Today is the day. Today is Abobo. And Abobo... dear god, Abobo is awesome. Awesome enough that I'm doing two reviews in one day, just because I couldn't resist.


Unless you know your Nintendo lore, you probably don't even know Abobo. He was, originally, a beefy boss from Double Dragon who had the distinction of appearing in several games, even managing to go up against the Battletoads at one point. His unusual appearance, coupled by his debatable handlebar mustache, made him a noteworthy, if minor, NES character.

What you DON'T know is that Abobo actually has a son, Aboboy, who for reasons unknown - probably because this is based on an NES game, and NES games love this stuff - has been kidnapped. Abobo needs to get him back, and he'll do it in the only way he understands: trashing anybody who gets between him and his progeny. On with the adventure!

The story for Abobo's Big Adventure is silly as hell. It's MEANT to be silly as hell, because this is a game that crosses genre boundaries between levels. Literally. You're playing a different NES game in each new venture, whether you're roaming the streets old school Abobo-style, swimming the seas like Mario, plundering the lasery depths of Quick Man's stage ala Mega Man or engaging in a good 'ol Balloon Fight. The game play changes with each stage, so being good at one does not mean you'll be so hot at the next - a challenge that most retro gamers should relish.


As mentioned above, each level has Abobo trying something new. You'll walk, you'll punch, you'll swim, you'll fly... consequently, the controls change all the time, even though you're still using the old Nintendo scheme of directional arrows coupled with two buttons (not A and B, in this one, but A and S).

Overall, the controls in Abobo's Big Adventure are pretty solid, though in many cases they're only as good as the game from which they come. For example, most players will probably find Balloon Fight to be a big pain in the ass, because the original game worked that way as well. Can't blame the programmers for sticking to the classics. I only had issues in the Mega Man stage when it came to controls, in that they weren't as responsive as the original game.

So I died. A lot. In one particular spot. You'll know which.


Oh. Good. Lord. Abobo's Big Adventure is more NES games sewn together than I care to consider, and so the package in its entirety is a giant, glorious, pixelated orgy. The visuals are so wonderfully creative - especially in the bosses and the cut scenes - that you'll want to replay Abobo's Big Adventure several times, just to catch all of the references.

What really dragged me into the game, however, was the attention paid to Abobo himself. He's already damn cool on his own, but the game goes to great lengths to make him even cooler, giving him a series of little transformations to suit each level while remaining staple Abobo. I can't show you every change, 'cause that would spoil much of the game's ending, but they're all awesome - especially when Abobo uses his crazy Rage moves to wipe out every enemy on the screen.


Abobo's Big Adventure, as far as I can tell, relies almost entirely on the soundtracks of other games. If you liked the original NES titles, you'll enjoy Abobo's soundtrack. I also liked the attention to the little sounds beyond the background music, right down to the digitized cheering during cage matches. Bravo.

Challenge Rating

Hard, but not terribly hard. Abobo's Big Adventure is made for NES gamers; everyone else will have a little difficulty getting into the game play, especially since it changes all the time. Some levels are a lot harder than others, and even reshuffling the order wouldn't change this very much.

That said, Abobo's Big Adventure doesn't go out of its way to be too difficult. The game is relatively forgiving in the amount of extra lives, and when you die you can restart at the beginning of the level rather than having to start the entire game over. Abobo's lengthy health meter (fitting for a boss character) and his Rage moves will help pull you through the beefier challenges.

Just, uh, limber up your hands before you start. There's a lot of button tapping in this sucker.


Before I finish off, I will mention one recurring bug: the game froze on me twice. This isn't a huge issue since, cache allowing, you can refresh the page and still have all the unlocked levels at the ready, but the freezing is frustrating as hell if you're almost at the end of a difficult section and have to start over.

Right. Rare negative side over. Ready for the explosion?

YOU. MUST. PLAY. THIS. GAME. If you harbour any sort of love for the NES, you have no choice but to play Abobo's Big Adventure. Sure, you might not give a damn about Abobo himself, but there are so many references jammed into this game that anyone who's so much as touched a Nintendo system will get a few chuckles.

And the ending? Epic. Worth the long wait.

Ready? Then it's time to go. Saddle up, Abobo.

Damn right.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Flash programmers have, for several years now, been struggling with fitting every gaming niche into the frame of a browser, and from what I've seen fighting games usually prove the most problematic. There's just something about frantic one-on-one combat that doesn't translate well to a browser game.

FvF is another such game to make this dangerous foray. Has it succeeded? Er... probably not in the way that was intended.


FvF has, as far as I can tell, no story. The premise pits two furries (hence FvF, I'd imagine) against each other in mortal combat. Beat the critter on the opposite side of the screen into pulp and you can move on to another. If you've ever played Street Fighter or King of Fighters or any such game, you'll understand what's happening here in an instant.

The fact that there's no discernible story hurts FvF. Granted, most fighting games are ABOUT fighting, but there's usually at least a token amount of lore behind the characters. Given the colourful cast of interesting characters you'd think FvF might have SOMETHING, but... oh well?


FvF is much more complex than the average browser game in terms of control, and understandably so - just hitting the attack button over and over would get pretty tiresome. Consequently you can execute a series of rather crazy combo attacks and defensive measures with a fairly small number of buttons, which is much appreciated. The tutorial piles a few too many moves on top from the get-go, though practice will help you learn 'em all eventually.

So, yes, the controls are good. The PROBLEM stems from this game's laggy nature. Unless you have a fairly powerful computer - which, given my laptop, I don't - the controls will seem both incredibly unresponsive and, with enough input, self-powering. At one point I sat and watched my character run through about two dozen moves without any input from myself, because the game was still catching up to my commands. (Fortunately, the end result was a victory. Somehow.)


FvF's graphics are by far its strongest aspect. The screenshots don't look BAD, but they also don't do the game justice. You need to see FvF in motion to understand the true art behind this game, as the characters are incredibly fluid in their movements and really fun to watch in action, even if they are slowed by lag. I especially liked the energy weapons.

That said, I think the intense visuals play a big part in making FvF laggy. There's too much going on in each scene for Flash to properly process unless you're using a strong computer.


FvF's music is kinda shunted to the background, the result of which is a soundtrack you'll probably ignore. It's not bad - some rocking battle tunes, stringed together throughout the levels - but it's hardly memorable.


Yep, you can do two player combat on FvF. I didn't have a second player, so I couldn't test this mode, but I can see a big problem: neither player is allowed to use the arrow keys to control their character. Two players using only the letter keys to run around and attack is gonna get damn cramped in a hurry, regardless of the size of your keyboard. (Good luck on my tiny little Mac.)

Challenge Rating

FvF isn't that difficult a fighting game, even on higher difficulty levels. The ability to dash makes avoiding attacks fairly easy, especially if your machine lags, and it's quite easy to catch enemies with devastating attacks that can drain a lot of energy in a hurry. It's a good fighting game for beginners who want to cut their teeth on the genre.

The REAL challenge of FvF, for those of us using not-so-great laptops or PCs, is putting up with the lag. This game is just too much for Flash to handle. Consequently...


... FvF shouldn't BE a browser game.

There's a lot of potential in FvF. It can be a REALLY fun title, given the proper platform. Flash, however, isn't the way to run this game, and will just give it a black eye before it has a chance to properly prove itself.

My recommendation? Turn it into a downloadable title. The Xbox, Wii and PS3 could all do FvF proper justice, as could an independent executable engine. That way the programmer could expand the combat options and earn FvF some well-deserved money.

I probably won't play FvF again as it is. Watching my character fight without hitting any buttons is really frustrating. Port this sucker to a different platform, though, and I'll be happy to partake.