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Combatribes is one of the most underrated SNES games from Technos, most famous for their Kunio-kun series and Double Dragon games. Similar to other 2D side-scrolling beat 'em ups, the plot is quite negligible: you and two friends must free New York City from a mad cyborg who has taken control. Up to two players can play the game simultaneously in this very entertaining beat 'em up that sets itself apart from other games in the genre in many ways.

Like other Technos classics, Combatribes is simply fun to play. It's also a very faithful translation of the original arcade version. The graphics are excellent (although people are too "blocky" for my taste), and there is a good variety of enemies (i.e. different gangs) for you to fight. The best thing about the game is the variety of attack combos and weapons you can use - much more diverse than in Double Dragon games. You can do combination kicks, punching, running attacks, head bashing into the pavement, and even swinging your opponent and throwing him at others. My favorite is the "double-head butt" which lets you bang two gangsters' heads together, if you can press the right button at the right time. Brutal, but all in the spirit of good fun of course ;)

Die-hard action fans may complain that the levels are a bit too short, but I think the interesting enemies, very detailed stage backgrounds, and a good variety of attacks/weapons more than make up for that. The game even has good replayability, since it gives you a password to unlock secret characters in the VS. mode every time you beat a level. Even with a thin plot, the game even has some nice cut-scenes that advance the story and lead to the next stage. Overall, Combatribes is a superb beat 'em up game that has sadly been overlooked by many. If you enjoy beat 'em ups, you will definitely enjoy this old game and wish it would last a little longer.

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Combatribes screenshot
Combatribes screenshot

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