|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Million / Arc System||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Aksys||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 27, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Speaking of damage, and who doesn't like to speak of damage, the brawling aspect of the game allows you to get down-and-dirty, employing cheap and dirty tactics. You can run into the other team's court and deliver some choice kicks and punches. By doing so, you can cause the other team to lose control of the ball, which is always a good thing since that would mean you won't be on the defense.
Being on the defense means there's no chance of you scoring any points, but instead face the prospect of being eliminated. The brawling tactics do deplete your opponent's health, but it only chips away at it, whereas a good solid hit with the ball takes a huge chunk of stamina away. Besides throwing the dodgeball, a variety of objects will appear onscreen, that can also be lobbed at the opposing team including baseballs, chains, hand grenades, and soda machines.
With one cartridge, up to eight players can take part in the Brawl mode. It's a free-for all, and despite the small screen, it's easy to keep track of your character and what he or she is doing. There are times when it tends to degenerate into a big mess, especially when most of your team crowds into one area. You do have the option of playing a straight game of dodgeball without any combat or weapons. That only serves to show you how weak the actual gameplay is without the added brawling elements.
The speed of the game varies due to the increase in difficulty, and for the most part it suits your abilities. The problem is that regardless of how slow the ball is moving, it can be quite a task to grab hold of it. The controls are not consistently accurate. At times, the ball may be to the side of you and picking it up is as easy as pressing a button. Other times, the ball can be right in front of you and you'll miss it, even though you had it dead to rights. It's frustrating to lose the ball due to a faulty control system. Fortunately, the control layout is intuitive and responsive for the most part.
As updated as this version claims to be, it wears its old school heritage on its sleeve. Graphically, the court looks flat, the players look squat, and the animation is stiff. This is pure vintage arcade all the way, including the cheesy 80's style synthesizer patches that percolate and buzz the melodies in front of a bed of retro techno rhythms.
Super Dodgeball Brawlers is little more than a nostalgia trip, but it's a short trip, so there's no reason to pack your bags.
CCC Senior Writer