reviews\ Sep 26, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Dual Blades - GBA - Review

In the quest for immortality, warriors are gathered for a brutal battle. One shall survive to face the greatest warrior of all. Should he or she prevail, the power of the Dual Blades will belong to them.

Dual Blades, a Game Boy Advance release from Metro3D and Vivid Image, is combat intensive gaming against a comic book backdrop. The graphics of this game are lush and bright, and the animation is solid. The game boasts a unique cast of characters, all looking to battle past the others for a confrontation with Alperen, an immortal Hun warrior from 150 B.C.

GameZone got a look at Dual Blades, which is slated for release October 7.

The game does have a storyline, which leads naturally to the combat of the game. Alperen was once challenged to combat, and though the battle was fierce and long, he prevailed. But what first appeared as a blessing quickly became a curse. He had inherited the Immortality of the Dual Blades, and had won many great victories, but the strain of his new fate was overpowering. He hungered to die, but can only do so at the hands of a mighty warrior. For 2,000 years he has searched for a warrior capable of defeating him.

It was then he discovered another facet of the Dual Blades. He could opened portals to different times and eras, and thus could assemble a group of mighty warriors who would then battle it out in a tournament. For the losers, there is only death. For the winner, a chance to battle Alperen and inherit the power of the Dual Blades.

There are several ways to play this game. You can take on the Arcade Mode (you fight computer opponents); the Vs. mode (Game Link to another human player); Battle Mode (time attack or survival in which you try to defeat as many foes as possible within certain parameters); or Training. The game also has a series of options, which can be turned on or off ­ including rage and healing.

What sets this game apart are the warriors summoned to take part in the tourney. They include Efe (from the Ottoman Empire); Kanae, the daughter of a sword master from 1750 Japan; Brandon, a modern-day sword fighter; Shin, found in front of a Goblin Lair, who is aided by crows; Duke, a knight from a besieged city; Jaman, a beast-like humanoid from the Underworld; Nagasapa, an old woman and sorcerer from middle Asia; and Rungard, a black magic master from middle Europe.

Each character has a unique look and special powers, which can be unleashed against his or her foe.

Controls of the game will take time to learn, so taking the training is one of the best ways to understand them. For example, Rungard can summon a meteor to hit his opponent. To perform the power move (and there are four special moves, but players can only choose two of them prior to a match), you have to hit the down and left on the D-pad and the R button.

The look of Dual Blades permeates fun. The animation looks like a comic book come to life with poses at the end of moves. Jaman may use his claws in a kind of overhead slash to his opponent. Lines of movement arc off the claws while Jaman poses at the end of the move for a heartbeat.

The sound of the game is typical of the console system.

Dual Blades is an enjoyable romp through tournament fighting. The effects are well done, the animation is solid and though the scope of the game may be limited, the challenge is definitely there.

This game will be rated for Mature players.


Gameplay: 8.3
Once you begin a combat, it is the best of three rounds. Should a warrior fall in two straight, dismemberment is usually the result ­ hence the game rating. From the beginning of a fight to its end, the game flows smoothly. Load times seem a touch long, and the countdown to the actual beginning of the fight also seems drawn out a touch.

Graphics: 8.5
The characters are overdrawn in a superhero comic-book style that fits this game well. The environments are nicely done, but you can lose health bar readings in the background. This is a two-dimensional game with limited horizontal scrolling.

Sound: 7
There is little here that one would not expect. This aspect of the game is average, and typical of games for this platform.

Difficulty: Medium
The control elements are tough to master, especially the power moves. This is a game where the outcome can happen quickly, depending on the number of hard blows your avatar takes. This is the type of game that will challenge anyone.

Concept: 8.3
The tournament combat game is not really new to the platform, but Dual Blades manages to combine a storyline with a terrific cast of characters and a unique look.

Multiplayer: N/A
When released this game will feature a versus-mode with two players hooked up through a Game Link cable.

Overall: 8.5
Dual Blades looks good and plays well. This game has the appeal of a comic book come to life. It is fresh and a whole lot of fun to play.


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