Deconstructing the game: Combatribes

Spoiler – The last stage of the game introduces game logic breaking enemies: As a game with obnoxious, short stages that are home to enemies that attack with hand to hand weapons or other attacks, Combatribes can be pretty brutal. The last level the game introduces guns into the fray, breaking any sort of logic that the game ever had. The gun toting enemies make an already tediously frustrating game even worse.

I understand that last stages should be hard, but they shouldn’t start introducing new enemy types that just don’t fit into the whole games scheme from a mechanic standpoint. Or if there are new enemies to deal with, they should at least be fair to attack.

Ignoring the unwritten rules of weapon usage: Ever since Double Dragon and, to a lesser extent, Bad Dudes, for me, I have always known one thing; when enemies die that have weapons, they should drop weapons. This has pretty much become a brawler norm when fighting on the streets of New York or Metro City as a tough guy who only comes equipped with his fists and a bad attitude. Also let’s not forget that Technos’ series Double Dragon and River City Ransom were some of the biggest innovators in that respect.

Combatribes has none of that. Besides not having such genre staples, the whole system of weapons is just broken. Every enemy that walks onto screen with a weapon has it pretty much glued to their hands until you hit them enough for them to drop it… and then the weapon just vanishes.

Weapons seem to exist only for the detriment of the player. The most obnoxious weapon toting enemies, the ones carrying guns and knives, cannot be grabbed and will counter attack to hurt the player. Knife wielding foes can throw an infinite amount of knives, which is fine, but the fact that you can never pick one up and throw it back is like rubbing salt in the wound.

The only real cool thing that is sort of weapon like that Combatribes features is the ability to pick up environmental objects, like motorcycles, and throw them. But if I can lift a fucking chopper, why can’t I get a simple bat? The environmental items just exasperate my problem with the poor decision making process.

Now, onto what I liked about Combatribes:

The idiot savanter of violence: Despite the fighting in Combatribes being fairly limiting, there are some interesting moves that got me to perk up and take notice.

My favorite is the double head smash where the player character grabs two enemies and smashes them head first into each other. This move is always a treat when I manage to pull it off and may have single-handedly kept me playing.