Dodge Ball Advance Hands-On

Atlus is bringing its Super Dodge Ball series to the Game Boy Advance with Dodge Ball Advance. We had the chance to link up with another player and see what the GBA version of Atlus' classic is all about.

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The Super Dodge Ball series is coming from the NES to the Game Boy Advance with the release of Dodge Ball Advance. A more professional and spectacular version of the popular playground game, Dodge Ball Advance offers simple gameplay and plenty of arcade action. We got to link up with another player to see who owned the court.

Dodge Ball Advance has a very simple premise. Two teams of eight players take to a rectangular court split in the middle. Five players from each team move about in the two opposing sides of the rectangle, while the other three players from each team stand behind and to the sides of the opposing team. A single ball is tossed back and forth and causes damage to any player that it hits. The ball can be passed between players and even tossed to the teammates behind the enemy team for a better angle at the opposing team. When a player takes enough damage, he's eliminated from the court, and the last team standing wins. The gameplay complements the simplicity of the premise. You can toss the ball directly at enemies or pass it to other players. You can also execute a dash move that lets you throw a special-attack-powered ball at your target. The special attack appears to be chosen randomly and can cause massive damage to anyone it hits. You can also jump into the air, flip while in midair, and even call your entire team to charge and jump into the enemy's square. On the defensive side you'll be able to catch the ball by hitting the B button at the precise second the ball hits you, jump in the air to avoid a low shot, or duck to avoid a high shot. These few controls make for some amazingly tense games populated with special attacks, amazing saves, and crazy moves.

The game has two modes--a single-player game and a linked multiplayer battle. In both games you select one of nine different international teams and battle it out. Each of the teams has a funny mascot, and some members from the teams will even dress up like their mascot on the court. The game features more than 50 special attacks, but we only saw about 15 of them. Still, the special attacks are spectacular to watch, and some attacks, like the piston shot or the gravity shot, can be devastating to the opposing team. The game also features a unique create-a-team option that lets you choose your team members and customize their stats.

The multiplayer mode was easily the best mode of the two. It's unknown if the game supports one-cart multiplayer, but at least two players can dish it out via a link cable and two carts. The action in the multiplayer mode was fast and frenzied and only occasionally paused to sync up. The game is intensely addictive, and some of the matches can last up to 15 minutes.

The graphics are simple but nice. The game uses sprites for most of the graphics, and the hand-drawn animations look very good. There are a large variety of characters in the game, and some of the characters are downright hysterical to look at. The game has a good number of backgrounds and features all sorts of indoor and outdoor courts. Additionally, the animations are all very clean and fluid. The special effects are cool to look at, and some of them add a sense of flair to the game. The soundtrack is actually very good and sports a crazy mix of techno, rockabilly, and buttrock jams.

From what we've seen, Dodge Ball Advance looks like the perfect sort of game for a handheld. With fairly short matches and great pick-up-and-play appeal, plus the awesome multiplayer experience, Dodge Ball Advance is looking sharp for its release alongside the US launch of the Game Boy Advance.

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