G.G Series: SUPER HERO OGRE
DSiWare | Genterprise / SUZAK | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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28th January 2011; By KnucklesSonic8
At its core, SUPER HERO OGRE is an arcade-style action title that's simple to learn but difficult to master. In each level, you'll have to defeat sets of enemies that range in intelligence and strength. Blue samurais are the standard enemy of choice who use a pretty weak punch attack. Things do get trickier, though, when you find yourself cornered by two or more of them. Aside from those, there are also samurais dressed in green, pink and brown outfits. Each of them will send a different message to you when they come onto the scene, like "Don't get too close" or "Time it right".
After successfully butting heads with a handful of enemies, a boss will arrive on the scene to test your skills. All the bosses in the game are tough to beat, especially for the first time you play. Because you're still trying to learn the right strategy of approaching each boss, a lot of mistakes are made along the way. The computer-controlled bosses try to exploit this by saving their own special attacks for when you're very vulnerable. They especially like to do this after you've made a lot of hits on them; one false move and they'll make you pay. The degree to which they make the game more difficult all depends on how quick you are to react in a given situation. Again, learning the weakness of each boss and knowing when not to attack are both essential keys to progressing in the game. With repeated plays, you may be surprised to see your skills improve, later prompting you to view them as petty rivals.
Unlike other handheld fighters, I found the controls were very easy to get accustomed to. You use the D-Pad to move left and right, with a double press being used to perform a quick dash in a given direction. The Up button is used for jumping straight up into the air once or twice in one take-off, depending on how many times the button is pressed. You can even jump diagonally by holding Left or Right while pressing Up. It may seem tricky at first, but you do get used to it rather quick.
Thankfully, simple controls aren't synonymous with a weak system. In fact, SUPER HERO OGRE's battle system is very pleasing. The X Button is used for basic punches and aerial kicks that can perform a combo when strung together one after the other. However, the more you play the game, the more you'll find yourself straying away from these primitive attacks. After all, the Hero Attacks are really the focus of the game. Using the A Button, you can make use of one of the special abilities available in this moveset. They basically boil down to a souped-up Punch (preceded by a pull-back motion), a High Kick (by holding down as you press A), and an Aerial Kick (pressing A right whilst in mid-air).
Using Hero Attacks to damage and defeat enemies will build energy in the Hero Meter at the very top of the Touch Screen. This meter contains three storage tanks that, when filled, can be used in exchange for a Hero Special Attacks. The special moves you have at your disposal are 'Ogre Blade' (activated by pressing Down on the D-Pad twice, followed by the A Button), 'Ogre Kick' (quickly press Left, Right, A or Right, Left and A), and 'Ogre Blast' (just press the B Button). In making use of these abilities, not only will a green glow appear but an orange starburst will come into the foreground to emphasize the combo.
These are easily the most powerful moves in the game, not to mention they're also pretty cool to watch. It's crucial to know when to use them so you can aim for maximum effectiveness. For instance, a swiftly-dealt sword uppercut can be very effective for a short-range attack, while the Ogre Kick move is great for long range. And finally, wise use of the Ogre Blast move can recover lost health and even push enemies off into the distance. These moves are not only fun to use, but they also add a lot of flair to an otherwise pretty average game.
Overall, I thought the controls in this game were well mapped. Before long, they become second nature, and after spending a combined total of 20 minutes or more with this game, you'll notice your skills improve significantly. One of the highlights of the game is being able to string powerful combos together that will devastate even the most meddlesome bosses you come in contact with. By endeavouring to make use of both aerial and ground moves, you can really pull off some impressive combos in the game. Add in the experience you'll gain from playing the game repeatedly, and you have an action game that can become relatively quick-paced.
It's also nice to see that the game looks pretty good for a $2 title. The visuals are inoffensive and have a measure of quality to them, as do the nicely detailed character models. The setting for the game doesn't change very often, sadly, but since you're so focused on gameplay, you don't really have much chance to develop a dislike towards it. The entire setup of how the two DS screens are used is also pretty good. On the top screen, you have a menu that flaunts your high score, the highest combo string you've ever linked together, and the highest level you've reached. There's also a digital time display that reflects the current time as per the DSi's internal clock. In terms of audio, I noticed there were a total of three different music tracks which isn't that much, but it's certainly better than just having one.
SUPER HERO OGRE is one of those games that work well as something you can just pick up and play very quickly. It's not meant to be played for extended periods of time, but having said that, I couldn't help myself from having 10- or even 20-minute sessions at times. This can be attributed to my personal progression in the game; once I got into it, the game became quite exciting especially with the challenging boss fights.
If you successfully beat the first three levels and their respective bosses, you'll get to face off against the Samurai Leader. Before you do that, though, you'll have to beat all three of the bosses you already encountered. Only then will you prove yourself worthy enough to challenge the master. Having to beat four hard enemies in one sitting with no mid-way save is a bit much. But if you make it this far, likely you won't want to quit and pass up the opportunity to beat the Leader.
A reasonable long-term goal players can set for themselves in this game would be to defeat this difficult enemy. Even afterwards, you can still try to make it to that big confrontation without ever using a Continue. And along that same line of thought, having your best records displayed on the top screen at all times certainly encourages you a fair deal to keep working at improving your skills. It would've been nice if there was an additional mode, though - like perhaps multiplayer, or a survival mode of some sort. Still, one should feel confident that this game is listed at the right price.
G.G Series: SUPER HERO OGRE is a good quick pick-up title that will please those who enjoy games of a certain higher calibre or standard of play. Once you get used to the system and start execution combos efficiently, the game becomes even more fun to play. Thankfully, the controls have been mapped well enough that this will happen to most sooner rather than later. The good quality presentation is complemented nicely by the Hero Special Attacks, giving the package flair and enticing appeal. Unlike recent DSiWare titles that have been devoid of challenge, the difficult nature of this game will keep you coming back to this for a good while. Although there may not be a lot to strive for in the grand scheme of things, it's still a pretty good buy for only $2.
22/30 - Good
Gameplay 8/10 - Great battle system especially with the Super Hero attacks, controls are easy to get used to, bosses take practice to defeat
Presentation 7/10 - Looks good for a $2 game, setting doesn't change often, few audio tracks, starbursts emphasize combo attacks, some really nice flair
Enjoyment 4/5 - Stringing together sequences of attacks is a lot of fun, cool very challenging to play but you do get better the more you play
Extra Content 3/5 - Uses an arcade approach where you feel very motivated to beat your records, great value but could've used another mode
Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)