Rave Master: Special Attack Force is the fighting equivalent of a kart racer. It's based on yet another Saturday morning anime show which none of us here have hear of. If the show is anything like this game then I'll be sure to never hear of it again. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to look for it. I'm sure it's like Sailor Moon for little boys.

There aren't many fighters on the GBA and considering how well some of the 2D fighters have turned out on the PS2 that's surprising. Then again, seeing how bad some of them turn out, like Rave Master, it's not that surprising.

As a fighter, Rave Master just doesn't have enough depth. The moves are basic and every confrontation is reduced to button mashing. Special Attacks are the prime focus of each match. These are finishing moves that you use when your opponent is out of juice. If you time the attack just right you win the entire match. There are no more rounds. The developers have placed too much importance on this special move. It's just not satisfying enough to win a match with these special attacks. It feels so anticlimactic.

Punching, kicking, weapons and combos can all be used to combat your opponent. You can unleash what at first seems like a tight cluster of combos but the game automatically puts a stop to your beating fest when the CPU determines your opponent has had enough by rendering them invincible. Sure it may be a godsend to less-skilled players but how are they ever going to learn if they don't get the crap beat out of them each time they falter.

While blocking is a great defensive move there is no meter or gauge to tell you if you've done it correctly. You're forced to button mash blindly when your opponent has the upper-hand in a combo situation. The only gauge you will use is the Tension Gauge which you can't miss as it takes up a third of the screen space. Once if fills up this is where you can unleash a series of combos, battle cries and special attacks.

There are plenty of arenas in which up to four players can battle it out. Some of the environments have multi-tiered levels so that you can, in a sense, get a leg up on your opponent. In the Ranking Mode you will purchase fighters for your team and place them on a grid where the battles will take place. It's slow going at first as the only moves you'll have available will be kicks and punches.

There are different background stories on all of the characters including the hero, Haru who becomes the Rave Master to collect the Rave Stones and stop the evil Shadow Guards. The story mode tries to go deeper but there are some translation problems that make the whole thing hard to understand. I suppose if you watch the show you'll know what's going on but it really doesn't make the game play any better. The only thrill anyone will get from this game is the novelty of seeing their favorite TV characters star in a videogame.

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System: GBA
Dev: Konami
Pub: Konami
Release: Feb 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Dameia