The Great Battle II – Last Fighter Twin

I both love and hate the Great Battle Cyber.  This late era Famicom release had everything going for it, from graphics to engaging gameplay.  But it completely fell apart in its latter half due to ridiculously unfair platforming that wasn’t necessary.  The Great Battle II: Last Fighter Twin completely ditches all that for some street brawling action.  The change in genre is a noticeable improvement but also brings some problems of its own.  While it can be frustrating I still like it a great deal. 

The Side 3 space colony has malfunctioned and with it a group of powerful enemies attack them are at their weakest.  To save the SD nation four heroes come together to bring peace back to the world: Gundam F-91, Kamen Rider RX, Ultraman Powered, and newcomer Fighter Roa.  They are tasked with finding the Gashapon capsules spread throughout the galaxy which can grant any wish once they are gathered together. 

Bandai’s Compati Hero series was a crossover between Kamen Rider, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Ultraman.  It utilizes super deformed (SD) graphics so that the large Gundams don’t look out of place next to their human sized compatriots.  The games have a long history that continues to today on modern platforms and hit its stride with the Super Famicom.  There were no less than 16 (!) games for the SF counting spinoffs that cover nearly every genre.  The Great Battle II – Last Fighter Twin is the second for the platform.  It differs from the rest as a side scrolling beat em up and while decent falls short of greatness.  At the very least however it set the tone for the later fantastic entries in the series.

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All four heroes are playable and can be switched at any time.  It’s a cool idea in theory but in practice it makes very little difference as they share identical move sets.  You have a small complement of moves such as numerous kick and punch combos, a slide attack and a throw.  The requisite super move that uses a little bit of health is also present but needs to be charged first.  The only real difference between heroes comes in their special attacks.  By collecting E-capsules a meter fills that grants access to one of three unique special attacks per character.  These are all screen clearing and pretty cool to see in action.  What makes it better is that you can manually select attack level.  This comes in handy if you need a little breathing room or want to conserve energy for the bosses.

The game moves at an incredibly slow pace which isn’t necessarily bad if not for a few things.  Enemies always attack in groups of three or four and your slow attack speed makes progress in the short levels a laborious process.  It isn’t helped any further by the fact that your SD limbs are short meaning you’ll practically have to kiss your opponents to actually hit them.  The enemies don’t suffer this same restriction and can pummel you easily and counterattack to break your combo string. 

This is what makes the game tedious since you’ll have to use cheap hit and run tactics to even survive.  That is more pronounced against the bosses, who fall down after a single hit.  If your attack range were longer or your hits did more damage this would have been more palatable.  As it is as much as the game grew on me I can see how many will become bored and quit long before reaching the end.

Overall the Great Battle II is a bit simple but can still be pretty difficult.  Because of your short limbs you will suffer lots of damage from counterattacks and such.  And of course like every brawler the bosses can decimate your life bar with just a few hits.  With a mere two credits you won’t see the end of the game immediately but it never feels insanely cheap.  I do think the game could have been better balanced but this is far more playable than some of the tripe I’ve suffered through in the genre.

The Great Battle II is a solid game that could have been great with just a few small tweaks.  With just a little more differentiation between heroes and better game balance this could have been one of the better brawlers for the system.  What’s here is enjoyable, especially in coop but I would still recommend the later games in the series first. 

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