Written by Paul Monopoli
System: Super Famicom / Nintendo
If you’ve never heard of the “SD The Great Battle” series, it’s basically a collection of games featuring SD (Super Deformed) versions of Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Gundam & Roa. Different versions of these characters appear throughout the series, but I believe Roa was specifically created just for the SD The Great Battle series.
The games are very tongue-in-cheek affairs & no two are the same. Number 3 in the series is a bit of a hybrid Golden Axe, Knights of the Round, King of Dragons parody. In medieval times the 4 warriors must do battle… why I don’t really know. The manual & game are all in Japanese. There is an animated intro which I will attempt to interpret. Firstly the gang are happily flying through space:
When their ship is hit by an asteroid which sends our heroes flying through space:
They land on what appears to be a medieval planet only to be captured by soldiers:
They are then bought before the king:
Who kits them up with weapons & armour which leads into the first battle:
You start off as the Gundam, but using Select you can switch between the other 3 characters. Each has their own strengths & weaknesses, though not being able to read the manual I couldn’t tell you what they are as they all feel pretty much the same to be honest. Ultraman is a little slower than the rest, Kamen Rider’s spear throws enemies overhead. They’re the differences I’ve managed to identify.
As I mentioned earlier, the story starts off in a village where you must fight a boss battle straight away in what looks like an arena. After proving yourself you go on your quest. A map will appear to show you here you are in the world & then you’ll jump into the level.
If you like a good side scrolling beat em up then you’ll enjoy this. The genre did develop a bit of a bad name with the main problem being the repetitive nature of play. Well this game isn’t any different, so if you’re not a fan steer clear. If you like these types of games well this is one of the better ones.
The controls are solid with attack, jump, block & use item buttons on the face of the controller with L & R cycling through items. Your character can double jump which proves quite handy though you need to time your aerial attacks well or you’ll just get knocked out of the air. You can also dash by pushing to the side twice in quick succession. I do wonder about the block button… how many people actually use block buttons in fighting games? I’d be interested to know, because I know I rarely do.
Each character has their own special move. Hold down the fire button until they start flashing & release to perform the special move. It’s a little tricky as an enemy may already be on you before you get a chance to pull off the move, but that’s the risk you have to take.
The graphics are bright & colourful & a lot of detail has gone into the characters. The medieval look really suits them & everything just seems to work in this strange little game. Little in jokes are presented such as the coins having the Banpresto logo on them.
& if you leave the characters standing around doing nothing they don’t just stand there. For example leave Ultraman standing in one spot & his helmet drops over his eyes, then he flips it back up. It’s only a small thing, but it’s a nice touch which shows a bit of care was taken with the game.
You use the coins in the shops that are placed throughout the game. Various items are available, though I don’t know what most of them do as their descriptions are in Japanese.
After each stage a password is given to allow you to continue play. The passwords are quite long… infact I would go as far as to say they are unnecessarily long. At least the option exists to continue play, which can only be a good thing.
The music has that medieval side scrolling fighter music. If you’ve played Knights of the round, King of Dragons, or the Capcom Dungeons & Dragon you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s nothing special really. The sound effects are your typical beat em up hit effects with the jumps being accompanied by bleeps. Typical platformer/beat em up affair really.
At the end the day, it’s not the greatest game in the world & if you’re not a beat em up fan this isn’t going to convert you. If you are a beat em up fan you’re not going to be blown away by anything new & revolutionary. That being said it’s a fun little romp that’s worth spending a few hours with. I give it 75%