Recently, I've gotten fed up with the prices of Super Nintendo games. I've instead have been trying to buy Japanese imports instead, so long as it's easy to play without knowing Japanese. They're usually a fraction of the price, and usually not much more to get them complete with the box and manual. I've been getting a few of the more expensive SNES games on SFC, like Castlevania: Dracula X, but I'm always trying to find a few games that never saw a release here in the west. While looking for good Super Famicom beat 'em ups, I've stumbled upon The Great Battle series. A crossover beat 'em up with Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Gundam and an original character that actually looks cool, all in super deformed style? Yeah, I'm sold.
While researching The Great Battle games, I found that it's a part of a pretty expansive Banpresto-developed series, called the Campati Hero Series, which ranges in different genres, to RPGs, sports, and of course, beat 'em ups. I couldn't find a lot on the games themselves, other than a few gameplay videos here and there. I ended up buying one of the cheaper games on ebay on a whim. I was pretty excited to get it, but I wasn't expecting much in the way of quality when it came to this game. Banpresto is a huge hit or miss in my opinion, especially with their licensed crossovers, but at the same time, they're mixing three of my favorite shows together!
When I popped the game in I was kind of surprised by what I was playing. The game can be played with either one player, or two players. I've only had a chance to play in one player mode so far, and well... it's pretty different than what I was expecting. In most beat 'em ups, there's a weak attack, a strong attack that usually damages you when you use it, a jump button and a limited number of screen-clearing super special attack. In this game, there's a punch button, a kick button and a jump button. The placement of the buttons is a little different. A is punch, B is kick, and Y is the jump button. That takes a bit to get used to, but after that, it works pretty well. In one player mode, you can change through the four characters with the select button, but quite unexpectedly, all four share the same health, so there's no strategy to changing characters, especially since they are just as strong and fast as each other. It's just an asthetic opinion.
The game is actually quite difficult, which I mostly blame on the fact that your character is short and squat, having not much of a reach. While the enemies are the same way, a few have projectile weapons and can be really fast, so some can be annoying. Speaking of enemies, it seems that most, if not all are from Gundam, Kamen Rider and Ultraman, which is pretty cool. Most of the basic enemies are well, basic enemies in the shows, like Vagans and Shocker Grunts. Bosses in the game look really great, with their huge, animated sprites, but the actual fights are pretty lacklucter. Every single boss that I got to, I beat with just smashing the punch button. I've actually got hurt way more by single Shocker Grunts than I have by any boss in the game so far, but I haven't beaten the game so that might be why. Graphically, the game is alright. The sprites are AWESOME. They all have a lot of personality, but the backgrounds are pretty lackluster. I guess the sprite work makes up for it.
The music is pretty bland, nothing really stands out, but that's alright. I kind of wish they used music from the shows, but oh well. Banpresto doesn't really seem to like doing that. All in all, it's a petty fun game, minus some complaints. If you're looking for an amazing, groundbreaking Japanese exclusive game, this isn't it, but if you want a fun beat 'em up that's pretty cheap and you like Tokusatsu and Gundam, it's worth getting.