Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Power Quest

With the powerful handhelds we have to day it's easy to forget that there was a much simpler time, a time when portable gaming consisted of two buttons and an 8-bit processor. You're not going to find a deep fighting game on the Game Boy Color, but there is Power Quest.

Power Quest is primarily a fighting game, but tries to do more and throws in an overworld and story. Kids all over town are swept up by the remote-controlled model battling craze, and you want to join in but can't afford one. Luckily, you're a contest winner and are able to redeem the model of your choice from the model shop. The first issue I have with the game is its lack of playable characters. You have a measly five models to choose from. First there's Max, an all-around decent fighter focused on punch attacks. The lone female model, Speed, is the quickest of the bunch with powerful kick attacks but not much range. Lon focuses on martial arts and has some weird, quick attacks but is somewhat difficult to use effectively. Axe is an all-around decent fighter with high attack, and Gong is a slow powerhouse with high-priority attacks. I've read that there's an additional model you can unlock but I can't confirm that as I didn't play through the entire game.

After you get your model you're not given any idea as to what you're supposed to be doing. There are four different areas around town you can fight in, each with varying difficulty levels. You can switch your model any time in the parts shop, as well as use credits to buy new attacks and upgrade existing ones. If you enter the tournament building, the announcer will tell you the tournament's beginning soon, so naturally you want to find out how to trigger this event. You'll go around town, battling different fighters trying to trigger story events, not sure if you're missing something and wasting your time. The tournament director will hunt you down once in a while to put you in your place. For me, these fights lasted ten seconds. He just annihilates you.

Some of the more difficult CPUs fight at a level seemingly impossible for a mere human to reach, countering instantly and pulling off super moves with ease. Each character has your standard punches and/or kicks, as well as three unique moves and two super moves. I tried many times to execute a super attack, but no matter how many times I hit the correct sequence of buttons I couldn't pull it off. Don't let that be a reflection of the game though, I probably just suck at it. Overall the fighting feels pretty solid and combos are possible.

After a while a gang will appear in town. Defeat them and they'll retreat. Now if you visit the playground they'll be there, along with their leaders. You can fight them again, but they gimp your model with a radio device which disables your attacks and reverses your movement. The model shop owner will paint your model with a special liquid, enabling you to fight back. Defeat them and they run off. At this point you can battle the creator of the device in his house, which was previously empty. He's insanely powered up and will kill you in about five hits. You can defeat him (and most other fights) by using an attack that knocks the opponent down, timing it correctly so it hits them as soon as they get up, and so on. If you lose, you lose credits and he tells you to get lost. If you win, he mocks you for thinking you could beat him and gives you ten credits. I made it further back when this game was first released, but I couldn't stomach it this time around. Playing through the story feels like a chore. Passwords are used to record your progress and you can skip right to the tournament if you'd like. There are plenty of codes online. The game also supports multiplayer, which is probably the most fun you can have with it if you miraculously know someone with a copy of their own.

It wasn't bad for its time, but there are plenty of superior fighting games available on handhelds these days. I think it would have been a much better game if they cut out the overworld and included more characters and an arcade mode. With that said, it's not a bad game by any means and might entertain you for a little while.

Released: 1999-12-31
Publisher: Sunsoft
Developer:  Sunsoft


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