Written: 3.30.07 Acquired: 1.20.06 Status: Cart only Price: $5
If I gave you 10 guesses to give me the correct answer, I doubt anyone would guess correctly
[Er, what was the question? -Ed.]
Name the SNES game that possessed me to rent 7 times, spanning a 6 year period and 5 different rental stores. I could give you 100 tries, and The Combatribes probably would never come up
"CYBORGS AIN'T LADIES!"
Why the obsession? Well, let me take you back... WAY BACK
*RUBS CHIN, DREAMY SEQUENCE FADE-IN*
December 1992. That's when it all started. After I rented my first import ever, Power Moves, my brother was fascinated that a store would carry import games. Thus, the very next weekend HE came along with me. It was on that fateful day that we spotted The Combatribes on the top shelf. For the rest of that weekend we played the game to death. And from it, a love budded
As the years went on, I would rent Combatribes six more times. Half of them were on account of my brother's request. The other half -- I had a freebie and somehow always came back to it
I can't remember the reason exactly why we never bought the game
But I do remember the last time I rented it...
July 1997. It was Saturday night and I was feeling nostalgic. An insatiable urge to visit my old home town wrapped itself around me much like an anaconda with its prey. That night my dad and I made the trek. It was just like ole times. Near our old house there was a mom and pop that we used to frequent. For one last time, we entered Video Mart. (See Memories of Renting for more). The old shopkeeper dropped everything he was doing when he saw me. He asked me where I'd been -- that he hadn't seen me in nearly two years. He used to hold a lot of video tapes for me in the early-mid 90s. Many nights he'd make a house call
In fact, I remember the last conversation we had. It was some time in '95...
"Steve, Leprechaun 2 just came back in. It'll be here waiting for you"
I paused. I was looking forward to rent it, being the 4th person on the waiting list or so, but for whatever reasons I had a change of heart
"Um, sorry, I changed my mind. You can give it to the next person in line"
"Oh OK, I see"
And that was the last time we spoke
As I stood there that night, I could hear his tiny, accent-filled voice ringing in my head again. Of course, he was speaking to me in the flesh then and there, y'see
"Wow! Where have you been?"
Before I could answer, DING DING. I glanced over my shoulder and saw my dad stepping in the small dimly-lit store. The two of them greeted as though they were long lost friends
We caught up for a while before I made my way to the corner in the store where he had all the wrestling and horror tapes. Right beside that -- a small wooden shelf of SNES boxes. A flood of memories swept over me like a star streaking through the night sky
My brother couldn't believe I came home that night with The Combatribes in tow. After all, it was '97 and we were quite thick and heavy into the PlayStation and N64. But for that weekend, we turned back the clock. We beat the game three times before my dad and I headed back the very next night to return it. The shop keeper smiled at me warmly, and wished me the best of luck in high school coming up later that Fall of '97
He also told me to please come back and visit
High school happened
And life happened
When I finally stopped by again in the late '90s.... Video Mart was gone
*DREAMY SEQUENCE FADE-OUT*
Alright, enough of that mushy crap, eh. Let's get to the actual bloody game!
An intro of head scratching proportions!
Some of you may recall the one page comic ad that ran for The Combatribes in early '93 in US magazines. In case you missed it, or somehow forgot about it (and how could you) here it is once more....
Damn these blokes are tall!
As you might guess, Berzerker is the all-rounder. His swing has 2 revolutions
Speed: ** Strength: **
His charging attack is the ole trusy high knee
What a silly name, but nobody is foolish enough to mock him for it... he is the powerhouse of the group!
While slow as hell, his swing has an unprecedented 4 revolutions!
Speed: * Strength: ***
Look at the bulging muscles. Bullova packs a wallop!
There's no token female, but then again....
His swing only gets 1 revolution
Speed: *** Strength: *
Nice jumping kick though
And here's the arcade shot. Why they altered slightly the spelling of Berserker in the SNES port, in addition to the characters' size, who knows?
I've always been a Bullova guy. My bro, Berk. No one liked Blitz, the git
THE MOVES OF DOOM
There are quite a few offensive maneuvers that border on the edge of dark humor. Take a closer look why don't cha....
The swing cuts through the competition like a mighty sword in a foliage-filled jungle!
"C'mon now guys, can't we all just get along?"
Now THAT'S what I call a meeting of the minds!
Not in the mood to swing the bad guys silly by their heels? Then crack their back with a bone-crunching spine-crusher!
This pic is half-way disturbing...
And if all else fails, try this technique. Results guaranteed
For major damage, jump on their back and immediately go for the face-crusher move. That'll show 'em!
There are 6 stages in all
1. THE MOTORCYCLE NUCLEAR WARHEADS
Things don't start out so hot for Bullova. A Randy Savage wannabe cuts him with the broken end of his beer bottle
Then again, I spoke too soon
"GET THE HELL OFF ME!!"
Fats' wooden plank can do a number on you in a hurry. Due to his bulk he cannot be thrown, not even by the ox-like strength of Bullova
His hair flings up nicely when he attacks. Pretty good stuff there
2. THE DEMON CLOWNS
Great, now you gotta deal with a bunch of circus rejects! Check out the bowling pins the fat clowns carry
Later on, some clowns will drop from the sky
Salamander can be a tough customer. You can't be hurt when swinging an enemy by his heels. Use this to your advantage
3. THE SLASH SKATE SCREAMERS
To the roller-disco! It's wild and it's frenetic! Swing those lowlife bums under the bright Lexington disco lights! Make 'em taste the hot psychedelic dance stage! YEEEEAH!
[I ain't messin' wit this foo -Ed.]
Trash is one of the hardest bosses around. He'll eat up a continue or two. Carrying what looks like a huge croquet mallet (!), he is light on his feet and will rearrange your furniture in the blink of an eye
4. THE STADIUM BARBARIANS
Ah yes, there's nothing like being at the ole ball park...
Windwalker is easier than he looks, but still a tough cookie to crack
5. THE DEMOLITION TROOPS
Before you can confront the final boss, surprise surprise, you gotta run the gauntlet!
Check out the lovely detail on Fats' stick... ace 'init?
Perhaps even better, the look on his face when you kick him upside his bald dome. Nobody messes with my Bullova!
"I told ya, nobody but nobody! Right in front of yer boys too! Send my regards to Martha you fat piece of ****!"
After each boss, you enter an elevator and each time, your health meter gets a fresh start. Of course, while you're making the trip up the skyscraper, two bald thugs come in looking for a fight. What ensues is one of the best moments in beat em up history....
Bald Guy 1: You got him!
Bald Guy 2: EAT THIS!
Bullova: Ha! In reality it is I who has you!
BG 2: Ooof!
BG 1: You're wrong, for it is actually I who has got YOU!
Bullova: Ah! Son of a ...
Bullova: Thats it, y'all done piss me off now
Back to the "regular bits" we go, then
These freaks return. You're practically beating up Joker and Karnov. How they didn't get sued over this ....
Ugh, not this foo again
At long last, you reach the top floor. Where is that witch Martha hiding? But first, more goons to trash, including deadly snipers!
It'd be nice if you could throw the table at them, or even throw 'em out the window...
Snipers' gunshots sail harmlessly past you when you're swinging
Finally, we meet Martha's final line of defense...
He's got the lot, the git
It's just not right...
6. THE FINAL BATTLE
Martha Splatterhead... in all her splendor
She's lightning quick, cheap and triple tough. GOOD LUCK!
STREET FIGHTER II MODE? WHAT?
Yes, exclusive to the SNES port is a "special" 1-on-1 street fighting mode. By inputting a code, you can select from any of the game's entire roster. Best 2 out of 3 wins the match
Yeah, great, I sure could have used this in the regular game. Bastards
1st stage periodically lights up in flames
Oh fack. Fats is so screwed here
Insulted he's being called a mad man, Fish takes out his frustrations on Jok, er, G. Terror
"WHO YOU CALLING MAD?! HUH!?" -Randy Savage
"LEMME TELL YOU SUMTHIN, BRUTHA!"
This 1-on-1 mode is nothing but a novelty. You can block, exclusive to this mode, but to call it even a severely dying homeless man's Street Fighter II would be insulting. It's fun to mess with on the pit stage, but this mode seems like a huge afterthought if anything. But hey, at least it's there.... right?
IT DON'T MEAN A THING IF YOU AIN'T GOT THAT SWING
Bullova's the best at swinging. He gets 4 revolutions. The others only 2 and 1 (HA!)
ARCADE VS. SNES
[As if they can't tell -Ed.]
The SNES version made a roster cut. Pink-shirt dudes were axed
You could chuck motorcycles in the 'cade
Here, sadly, you can only admire them. It's too bad. But looks-wise, judge for yourself. Not shabby in the translation, all things considered, eh?
Ooooh! Red ketchup
Of course, nada here. Well at least they didn't insult us with lame sweat coming out
I vaguely recall playing the arcade. What was removed or changed: blood, weapon tossing, some minor enemies and minor to significant stage design. For example, in the arcade the last level takes place on a dock. The SNES port has you scaling a building, with the final battle on the rooftop. I'd take that over the dock any day of the week!
Not impossible to beat, but it can be tough. So here ya go:
On controller 2, hold X, A, and L and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. 10 Credits
On controller 2, Hold L , R and Select and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. 30 Credits
On controller 2, hold X + Y on it, and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. 5 Round Match in vs Mode
Hold L, R, and Up on controller 2 then reset the game. Double your life
On controller 2, hold A + B on it, and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. One Round Match in Vs. Mode
On controller 2, hold A+B+L+R and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. Super Difficulty Level
9207 The password to enable all fighters
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID...
Didn't do so well...
GameFan:48, 56, 69, 69
But on the net it has a decent fan following (arcade and SNES versions alike)
STOP THE PRESS!!
You know, the pictures you've seen above really don't do the graphics of this game justice. In the conversion process a lot of color was lost or washed out. The graphics are really nice, with bold and bright colors... back in late '92 this was extremely impressive stuff, and just screamed SUPER NINTENDO
June 26, 2007 I've added the below that captures the beautiful essence of THE COMBATRIBES
Ooooh, admire the color, the seedy street and flashy stores
"I'M SICK OF CLOWNING AROUND!"
Take out the garbage over an atmospheric dance floor backdrop
Look at the shading which creates a nice sense of depth
Arcade-like graphics, wouldn't you agree? Impressive of the ole SNES
There's nothing like the rush of clearing house!
A great backdrop oversees this fight, gawk at those city lights!
I could say something really inappropriate here...
When I got back into the SNES I made sure this was one of the first games I bought. Playing it today brings back a wave of good memories. My brother's friend told us the first time we rented it, way back toward the tail end of '92, that the best strategy to start any stage was to madly double tap the control pad and come rushing out of the gates with a charging attack. To this day I can still hear him pontificating on why this technique works so well, along with his trademark mannerisms -- the shifty eyes, the imitating hand gestures, the enthusiasm in his voice as the 3 of us were huddled around the monitor, trying to restore peace to New York City. I do indeed have a lot of fond memories. Over the years I've beaten this game probably 50 times. In my last go-round, it wasn't QUITE as awesome as I remember it being, but I still had one hell of a time. The biggest complaint this game gets is that the levels are too small. It scrolls 3 screens, has only 7, 8 baddies and then it's the boss. It's too short
I, on the other hand, always saw this as one of the game's main appeals. It only takes half an hour to wade through. And, if you don't mind me digressing a little bit (which I do quite a bit of regardless), I always saw this game as being more realistic than its breathen. Finally, a beat 'em up that has small gangs controlling a SMALL portion of a city, rather than 6 states or even countries! The levels are more "intimate" because of how small they are. And because you only tackle 10 goons per stage, rather than 50, it feels like you're really jousting with a gang on their turf. Bloody hell, it might just be me, but I dig this "small town feel" -- always have, always will!
Graphically, there's good detail in the stages. From the flashing strobe Lexington Disco lights to the various stores you can see on the seedy streets of the first stage, there's a great deal of color and life. The characters look and are animated well, with good use of shadow giving the game a perception of depth. I'm a big fan of the game's music as well. Its techno rock pumps me up. Give the tune that plays during the option a listen some time. It's creepy in a subtle way...
The gameplay isn't perfect or "excellent" by a longshot. No weapons, no jump button, etc. But damn if it isn't fun while it lasts. Put simply, it's a short and sweet beat 'em up that's loads of fun with two. In fact, more fun with two than most others of this genre in my experience
And who could ever forget the infamous words of....