An exceptional game because of an innovative competition-based stamina system and 'simple fun' mechanics

User Rating: 8 | Groove Adventure Rave: Hikari to Yami no Daikessen 2 GBA
Here we are with a beautiful classic originally released in 2002 in Japan that carries with it innovation and the greatest fun I have ever had for a game of its time period and mechanics. In Rave Master: Special Attack Force--dubbed as 'Groove Adventure Rave: Hikari to Yami no Daikessen 2' in Japan, literally meaning "a fight between light and darkness 2", is comprised of a traditional story mode, a ranking battle mode, free battle, link battle, and training.

There are fourteen playable characters: Haru, Elie, Musica, Let, Celia, Ruby, Griffon & Plue, Sieghart, Reina, Gale, King, Lucia, Ogre, and Doryu, while two characters had been exempted for the sequal: Shuda and M. Prison, the latter being a dark-bring merged version of King.

In Story Mode each of the fourteen playable characters are accessible and carry with them their own individual, yet short, dialogue-based introduction following a standard prelude that briefly speaks about the very basics of Rave Master's storyline. Unfortunately the storyline is more contingent on fighting opponents than for their to be reason behind fighting them, but there will be a few unique cutscenes intermediately that make up for it.

As for Ranking Battle Mode you create your own original team with its own original name, which can consist of up to five characters. You will be ranked as the holder of the 50th seat and work your way up from that point. The fighting interface consists of a grid that your characters move across, but you are only able to see the shadow of your opponents characters, and that is when it is their turn to move across the board. When one of your characters runs into a character prescribed by your opponent a standard battle will begin. More than one character can fight another at each time, the maximum limit begin two per opponent.

As for the link battle and versus mode, four players are able to fight simultaneously in any one of eight levels in the game.

Now for the fighting mechanics in Rave Master: A is for jumping while B consists of a four-to-five hit combo by tapping B the corresponding number of times. Pressing B to the right and left is the first individual attack from B; pressing B up or pressing B down are also unique in their own respect, but none of them are combo-based, making them the converse of simply tapping B. You then have a power-up that can only be activated when your stamina meter is at a certain level; this is activated by pressing the left trigger. And your right trigger has the same application as the B button aside from a combo, leaving the up, down, or right and left inputs with their own unique attack, which can only be initiated when you have your character's corresponding equip-item.

Now the fighting interface of Rave Master is much more original than this as each character theoretically has unlimited stamina, the reason for this is that there are--based on the team color of your character--either two to four separate colors. When one of these colors fills a certain level of the meter it will begin to flash; this is the time you are meant to initiate your special attack, which can only be activated by holding down the left and right triggers. One activated the special sequence then requires you to repeatedly press down on A and B as well as the direction of the d-pad shown on the screen. Your opponent competes with you in this directive as well.

As for the music there are a few melodies, each of which are original to this game and not from the anime. Unfortunately the in-game voice acting is very limited but each character has approximately three to four grunts, one or two of which will be dialogue.

Overall there isn't really that much more to expect from a GBA release to be honest and that is the reason why I rated Rave Master as high as I had. The innovative competition-based stamina element is what I favor the most in this title, and though it may be pointless to promote this game so long after its release date it is still one of those hidden legends of the system that deserves to be told about when you are knowledgeable of its originality and quality. The mechanics could have been deeper but this game still comes out solid. 8/10 is my rating.