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Released in 2001, this game seems like any other regular Final Fight clone. However, it was modern style 2D side scrilling beat-em-up, and thus it has some unique features. The game can be played with two players, and you can pick any of the four default characters to start the game.
The unique fact about this game is two attack buttons; one for a hand to hand attack and one for weapon attack. The third button is used for jumping and the fourth button is used for throwing projectiles. All these battle options make this game tactically different then similar side scrolling titles like Final Fight, Captain Commando, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, etc.
Comboing is a crucial factor for success in this game. The combos can be done through different combinations of jump attacks, free hand attacks and weapon attacks. Executing successful combos fills your spirit meter, which you can use to unleash three devastating attacks. All characters have two regular special attacks and an ultimate attack. You can stock three spirit bars and each can be used to unleash an ultimate attack.
Occasionally, enemies will drop projectiles like bombs, knives and shurikens. These can be picked up and stored. Interestingly, you can stack up to 9 of these projectiles of the same type, but if in the course of action you pick a different type, the earlier weapon just falls out and can be picked up again.
There are no additional weapons in the game as all characters already have a weapon. After beating the first two boss charactes, they become playable. Afterwards most boss characters are undead versions of feudal age Japanese warrior stereotypes. The regular minions are also the same.
A unique aspect about the "goons" in this game is that none of them are pushovers. If you don't initiate the combos and time them properly, even a regular joe can beat you in seconds. It's a very challenging game, and the boss battles can be over very soon with you witnessing the continue screen very fast. Usage of the special moves and combos is very effective; blind button mashing will take you nowhere.
There's not much difference in the characters, but Falcon and Byakki seems the fastest, and thus the most effective fighters. Falcon has the highest reach, which comes very handy against minions. For some reason, the female characters Kurenai and Okuni seem heavily underpower, and they are just not good picks.
The game gets exponentially hard in the later stages and playing with a friend is probably the best idea to get the most out of this game.