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14 December 2008

Super Dodgeball Brawlers [DS]

Plot Synopsis: 8/10
Super Dodgeball Brawlers is the latest in the cult classic Super Dodgeball series, which dates all the way back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System. All in all, the appeal to the Super Dodgeball franchise is simply beating the hell out of your opponents, and watching each player's little angel float up to the heavens as you pummel their team senselessly. Luckily, in updating the game, Aksys didn't bother getting too involved with concepts like "story". This series never had much of a story to begin with, and what little story was there was never the main draw of the game, anyway.
I give the "story" to this game an 8 out of 10. There's not much to it, but there doesn't need to be. And really, why mess with a set-up that has worked just fine for at least 20 years now?

Game Play: 9/10
The basic set-up is the same. You can play a tournament consisting of one match after another until you beat a set number of teams for the championship, or you can play individual games against another player. One new feature in Brawlers is the (up to) 8 player Brawl mode, which uses the DS's wireless multiplayer feature. Another new feature is the ability to pick and choose abilities to create your own team, which is nice for players like myself, who have favorites on each country's team. The biggest problem I have with the game is the lack of WiFi. I think being able to take the Versus mode or Brawl mode online would have made this the ultimate Super Dodgeball title, but oh well.
I give the game play a 9 out of 10. Aksys kept the basic controls the same, and added some nice new features that long-time fans of the franchise can really appreciate. The only thing that could make this better would be the ability to take the multiplayer aspects online.

Graphics: 5/10
The graphics are only slightly updated from the original NES game. Now, they look like the game would be right at home on the SNES. However, the overall graphic style of the game is very cartoony, and doesn't really need to be much more elaborate. The style works just fine for the franchise. I don't really see anywhere they could improve without compromising the style that fans of the franchise have come to know and love.
Now, admittedly, as much as I am a fan of the franchise, the graphics have always been a tender topic for me. I think that the style lends itself well to some of the more comical details of the game, such as when a player is low on energy, and has to stand there recovering from a hit before he can play again. But, unfortunately, sometimes, the characters are a bit too stylized, and don't really read well.
I give the graphics a 5 out of 10. They're what I expect of the franchise, but I think they can be problematic at times.

Overall Score: 7.33/10
If the series had just started with a better style for the graphics, this latest update would be great. The game play is a lot of fun, and Aksys added some great features. The graphics, though, are a real weak point for not just Brawlers, but the whole series. Unfortunately, it's too late to turn back now.

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