Friday, October 5, 2012

Nekketsu Koukou Dodgeball-bu PC Soccer-hen

Naxat Soft / Technos Japan

With years of beaning and brawling already under their belts, the River City boys decided to put away their dodgeballs and brass knuckles and engage rival gangs in a fresh brand of warfare: soccer. As is the case with every other activity these no-necked fellows participate in, this version of soccer is marked by roughhousing and wackiness; it's a Hit the Ice-type take on the sport. In a case of innovation gone awry, a participant in a one-player tournament has direct control over only a single member of the club (though commands can be barked at bumbling teammates). Play time is largely spent scuffling for the ball, and matches quickly degenerate into shallow, special-shot-dominated affairs, leaving little to appeal to those not enamored of the "adorable" character designs.

The key to succeeding on offense is executing bicycle kicks and special head shots that most computer-controlled goaltenders have little hope of deflecting.

Of course, your opponents can perform their own distinct types of nigh-unstoppable shots. A simple nudge by these cretins can turn a mere soccer ball into a zigzagging comet or an electrically charged orb of destruction.

The "rumbles" take place on a variety of playing fields. You can stub your toe on rock-littered turf and extend your slides on icy surfaces, but ultimately, the environmental factors play very minor roles.

While they're hardly uproarious, the humorous start-up and intermission bits do add some charm to the proceedings.

If you can't read Japanese, do a bit of web scouring to figure out what's what on the "strategy" screen. If you'd rather not bother, rest assured you can get by just fine with the default settings.

Once you've settled on a game plan, you'll have to go up against thirteen rival gangs, among which are such notorious crime factions as the fishing gang and the mining gang.

Be forewarned that you'll receive little reward for running the whole gauntlet.

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