"And that brings me to this point: the single-player replay value stinks! After your first two or three championships, you will find that the game just isn't any fun anymore. Even at the highest difficulty setting it is still way too easy..."
On the NES, there was a game called Super Dodge Ball. It was a decent game, with decent graphics, decent (yet absolutely horrible) sound, and overall decensy. But nonetheless, the game returns years later as a Game Boy Advance launch title, in Super Dodge Ball Advance.
In SDBA, you control a team of youngsters vying for the Dodge Ball World Championship. It takes place on Earth in the not-so-distant future, where dodge ball has become the most popular sport in the world. A nifty idea, but the result is that there isn't any plot whatsoever, just ball-chuckin', nose-breakin', cryin'-kid fun, and although it probably doesn't have the same level of fun as a real game of dodge ball, it simulates it nicely.
During a match, the two 5-player teams square off on a two-side court (the 1st player is always on the left) and prepare to duke it out with a big leather ball. What makes it a little more interesting, though, is that there are three players of the opponent's team on your side (so really, it's 8-on-8), and can hit you and hurt you, but you cannot hurt them. This adds a little bit of strategy to the game, and is a very nice touch. While you can throw the ball with the B button and pass with the A button, both buttons must be pressed simultaneously to jump, which feels a little awkward.
Special moves are performed by ''dashing'', which is just simply running across the court by tapping the d-pad twice. After that, you can throw it for a ground super move, or jump and throw it (right at the peak of your jump - this requires excellent timing) and do an air attack; I find the air one to be easier, and more effective. Every character has his/her own unique super moves, and mastering them all is the key to success.
The R button causes an offensive player to jump into the opponent's side to set up an attack, and is only useful for trick plays. During a multiplayer match, it is incredibly hard to jump and keep your finger in a natural position on the R button, in order to not hint that you're going to perform the move. Against the computer, however, it is fine.
And that brings me to this point: the single-player replay value stinks! After your first two or three championships, you will find that the game just isn't any fun anymore. Even at the highest difficulty setting it is still way too easy, and the only challenge is beating the team you're trying to unlock by winning at number one; and even then, you're allowed to bump it down to the easiest level and beat them easily, regardless of how tough they are. Very, very poor replay value is this title's biggest downfall. However, nothing beats a good game of dodge ball against your friends. That is, if you both have a GBA and a copy of SDBA on hand.
You can customize your positions and the court surface - try 'em all...some are really whacky! - before a match, which adds another level of strategy. Having a good gameplan is essential, and you generally want to protect your key players, 'cause otherwise, you're doomed.
The graphics are good for a first-generation GBA title, but nowhere near as good as Castlevania or even Chu-Chu Rocket! Nothing stands out as excellent, and everything maintains a cartoony feel, despite the fast violent action.
The sound is rather cheesy also. Sound effects are basically the super moves, and the ball hitting a player. The music is good, but you can't hear much unless you have headphones on. Again, nothing is excellent.
Overall, Super Dodge Ball Advance is definitely not a must-have, but should be considered for a rental. Definitely not the best GBA launch title, as some thought it would be, and with many more quality GBA games out right now, it could easily be overlooked.
Staff review by Zack M (Date unavailable)
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