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ups: action, deep controls, art design
downs: framerate, slowdown

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Advance Guardian Heroes: A Little More, A Little Less
game: Advance Guardian Heroes
four star
posted by: RJ Brooks
publisher: Ubi Soft
developer: Treasure
ESRB rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older)
date posted: 09:43 AM Thu Feb 23rd, 2006
last revision: 10:18 AM Thu Feb 23rd, 2006

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Click to read.This is the fifth in a six-part series featuring the work of legendary game developer, Treasure. Click here to read the full series.

Guardian Heroes is the reason I bought and still own a Sega Saturn. When I heard about Advance Guardian Heroes, I was overjoyed. I was not sure how well it would to transfer to the Game Boy Advance platform, but nevertheless, the moment it hit stores in 2004, it was in my hands. Many of the issues that have been raised by other reviewers regarding this sequel are legitimate complaints, but how much those complaints affect the fun and legacy of the series is quite a different story.

Things that have been removed, most notably, are the ability to jump to different plains and get help from the Ancient Warrior. Instead of the plains, you can scroll up/down the screen like classic beat \'em ups Final Fight and Streets of Rage. The Ancient Warrior is not replaced by anyone or anything-- you\'re solo on this mission. There is no multiplayer feature in this version either. The frame rate does have issues and the ability to choose your path has been eliminated as well.

What remains in Advance Guardian Heroes are the combos, character building, and pure unadulterated chaos and action. And like the original, if you care to follow the story, it actually enhances the game experience and makes it more enjoyable.

The most notable new feature is the ability to counter attacks. The counter attacks ability is so vital for this game that it is impossible to imagine playing without it. In fact, it is this feature that helps bounce Advance Guardian Heroes back from the possibility of being a major let down when compared to the original.

So with all that has been eliminated, how could I rate Advance Guardian Heroes so high? Because it is just as compelling as the original. This game is so much fun that every gripe that exists will be forgotten once you are five minutes into the game. Like the original Guardian Heroes, I am happy when this game ran into slow down because there is so much happening on screen that I can\'t keep up, and the slow down allows me to visually catch up with the chaos.

The level of complexity in the control scheme is another aspect that makes Advance Guardian Heroes more than a generic button mashing game. Abilities include jump, attack, block/counter attack and special moves. Combos, magic attacks, throws and other commands are implemented through various button combinations.

Graphically, aside from the framerate issues, Advance Guardian Heroes is beautiful and a joy to behold. The levels very reminiscent of the original-- colorful, anime inspired and varied. Sound effects are not anything spectacular, but they work.

Advance Guardian Heroes is a serious challenge and requires skill to win. Regardless of your skills, let it be known that you will lose a lot-- a whole lot. This game is hard, and after awhile you begin asking yourself when will it all end because it just seems to keep going. You will not ask that question because you want it to end, but because your fingers will need a break, and you will not be able to stop playing until you finish, or your battery dies.

So when it comes to replay value, by the time you finish Advance Guardian Heroes, you are going to have forgotten everything you had played through previously because there are so many different environments. Plus the character building feature is always an incentive to return to the advaneture.

The only thing that prevents me back from giving Advance Guardian Heroes a perfect score are the framerate issues. With that said, you should still do yourself a favor and buy this game. If you do not own a Game Boy Advance, buy one just to play this game. Treasure succeeds in proving once again why they are one of the best game developers out there.

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