Fine old-school beat-em-up action. Try it, you might like it too.

User Rating: 7.5 | Spyborgs WII
I've been doing a little research lately, trying to find out if the stigma about the Wii is true--that most 3rd-party games on the console suck. So I've been using my Gamefly account to test the waters and try some games that most gamers would probably ignore because a couple of review sites gave them a middling score. I'm a firm believer that review scores can't tell the entire story of a game, and neither can a single review.

That being said, my game of choice for now is, of course, Spyborgs by Capcom and Bionic Games. The beat-em-up genre seems to be all but dead except for downloadable games and what's available on handhelds, so when I heard about this title, I was interested. In summary, I think the game is worthy of attention. It's not the best game on Wii by a long shot or even the best 3rd party game on the system, but it's competent and functional, and fun.

Spyborgs is a 3D beat-em-up with out-there humanoid/machine hybrid characters and robots to bash up. You can play as one of three characters that fall into the standard beat-em-up criteria: Stinger, the hero with average stats; Bouncer, the hulking brute who's slow but strong; and Clandestine, the nimble girl who's fast but weak (my personal choice). You proceed through various areas, either with an AI partner or a human player (who can drop in and out at will) beating up different kinds of enemy robots with varied attacks. If you play alone, you can switch between the two characters you've chosen at will, which can be helpful if your AI partner isn't performing as well as you'd like.

Your characters are capable of fighting using combos and team attacks. The move set is a bit limited, but the game remains fun because the moves aren't needlessly complicated (for the most part). You have a light and strong attack button, the ability to jump, guard and attack in the air, and eventually you will gain the ability to execute evasive rolls and dash attacks. The highlight of the battle system is your characters' ability to execute instant-kill team attacks on most enemies in the game when one of their super gauges is full. These kills are quick-time events that take place in a special blue field and involve motion controls or button presses. They can be repetitive, but they happen infrequently enough that they add to the combat and help fight the game's naturally repetitive nature.

As you beat up enemies and destroy crates littered around the areas, you receive various glowing sparks that provide benefits; blue restores life, orange boosts your characters' super gauges, green gives you a short-lived power boost, and red is currency, used for character upgrades. Between areas, you are able to spend the red sparks you've acquired to boost your characters' skills, including attack power, health and moves. The great thing is that the sparks are shared (for example, if one player breaks a crate that releases blue sparks but already has full life, the sparks immediately fly to the other player if he/she is in need of health).

The game is extremely user-friendly. The controls use the Nunchuk and Wii Remote combo, but you can change everything in the options whenever you want. You can adjust difficulty at any time and turn motion controls on or off whenever you'd like. However, the buttons cannot be remapped. It features plenty of unlockables such as hidden tapes that give story background, and even has a trophy/achievement-like system that rewards the player for completing certain tasks (such as defeating three enemies with an explosion, for example).

Graphics are effective. The character designs are funky but functional, and the animation is solid. All kinds of sparks and light bursts litter the playing field during game play. The music is largely forgettable, but the game is loaded with voice work, and while the voice acting isn't amazing, it's not RE1-bad either.

My overall impression of Spyborgs is that it is very entertaining and somewhat addictive the first time you play. The game is reasonably long and there are enough breaks between stages to keep the action from feeling too repetitive. If you like classic-style beat-em-ups like Final Fight or Streets of Rage, this game isn't quite as good, but Spyborgs evokes the feel of those games and yet has enough features to make it feel like a current-gen title. I believe if you're looking for a fun, easy to get into beat-em-up and you have a Wii, you'll be entertained by Spyborgs.

Rent or buy: Buy. It only costs $20 at Gamestop. But you might see all you care to see with it in the time it takes for your rental period to run out too. Tastes vary, but at the cheap price, I say why not buy it?

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