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The Ripping Friends: The World's Manliest Men

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: THQ
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Spumco, the creators of the Ren and Stimpy phenomenon, have finally come up with a new idea. Already a hit in Canada and soon to make it's presence in America, The Ripping Friends tells the story of four not so average superheroes with the sort of twists we've come to expect from the Spumco gang.

Ripping Friends: The World's Manliest Men builds from the synopsis of the Ripping Friends TV series and the unique animations that Spumco is known for are accurately recreated for the GBA's tiny screen. Although tiny, the abstract designs prevalent in Spumco cartoons seem to come off nicely.

Mostly seen via a two-dimensional top-down perspective, character animations are a little less than stellar. There just is not much chance for outrageous visuals under the limits of a top-down camera angle. Similarly, although there are numerous 'Boss' enemies, and four main hero types, general enemies all look exactly alike, and provide no differentiation of visuals.

Cut scenes, though not animated are made of full screen images that again emblemize Spumco's original style. A sort of mock jazz/mock action musical score streams throughout the game, which has no effect on the actual game, other than to remind you that these guys are supposed to seem silly and unreal.


Gameplay:

Putting you in the place of Rip, Crag, Slab, or Chunk, the four heroes of Ripping Friends, The World's Manliest Men spans through seven levels of play as you battle the forces of evil in an attempt to dissolve Citracett and his evil plot to destroy R.I.P.C.O.T (Really Impressive Prototype City Of Next Tuesday - The 'Next' is silent). Each level takes the Friends though the tedious task of fighting off zombies, goat ministers, Flathead clones, and a number of other enemies found in the TV series. Finding keys will unlock doors to progress through the levels. And at the end of levels, you can bet there will be a big baddie waiting.

Each of the four Friends has his own special abilities and characteristics, and depending on the level, one character may be more useful than the other. There are three basic attacks, punch, heavy punch, and flying attack, which each hero possesses. Additionally, each friend has his own 'manly power', which unleashes upon filling his respective 'manly gauge.'

Aside from these special abilities, however, The Ripping Friends is fairly repetitive, with each level following the same basic path (beat enemies, find keys, beat enemies, find keys, beat boss, etc). Using a different character for a different scene may make a specific situation easier or harder, but the results are always the same.

A multiplayer version is also available, letting gamers play with up to four others as one of the four 'Friends'.


Difficulty:

Expecting to get through all these stages in one sitting will be something of an achievement. Although Ripping Friends is repetitive, there is a lot of it. Stages are huge, and contain numerous enemies you must defeat. The enemies also seem to lose health as quickly as you lose health, so there will be numerous replays and continues before you can defeat all of the enemies and travel the board in search for a key.

Game Mechanics:

Definitely limited in its functions and operations, The Ripping Friends make use of a fairly simple control scheme. Each action is controlled separately, and since there are only three basic actions and no combination of actions of combos, finding the right knack for a hero comes quickly.

Action gamers will probably enjoy Ripping Friends' repetition of fighting and butt kicking. People who enjoy the Spumco phenomenon might all get some use out of this game, but monotony and aggravation could push gamers away from this title towards better-designed action games.


-==Boy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kyle Prestenback

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