Growing up, I loved Digimon. Digimon, or “Digital Monsters”, was a fun little series about kids getting trapped in the Digital World. There, they befriend cute critters called Digimon, and battles and friendship ensue. Y’know, the standard anime fare. I won’t bore you with the details.
Digimon actually started out as a series of tamagotchi-like digital pets. Before long, there was an animated series… which, for most people, was their introduction to the franchise. The series was a huge hit, spawning toys, a card game, terrifying erotic fanart, and of course, video games. Many of these games fell into the RPG genre, but there were exceptions… like the Rumble Arena series.
Well maybe “series” is exaggerating a bit, since there were sadly only two games. Boasting a fairly sizable roster and gameplay similar to Super Smash Bros., Digimon Rumble Arena 2 was a must-have for fans of the franchise, and a fun little diversion for others. So let’s take a look! I picked Tentomon this time, because he’s adorable.
So the gameplay is pretty simple. You’ve got regular attacks, special attacks, and throws. Of course, you can jump and block, and there’s also a button for Digivolution, but more on that in a bit. Unlike Super Smash Bros., where the goal is to knock your opponents out of the arena, here all players have a life bar. Certain levels have pits, but others don’t.
Hitting an opponent makes them drop orbs, which fill up your digivolution meter when collected. When it’s full, you can digivolve to your next form… Kabuterimon, in this case. Digimon can digivolve once more after that. When in their final form, having a full meter will allow them to perform an ultra attack.
In single player mode, you choose your path through the game. Paths toward the bottom are easier, while paths toward the top are harder. Which path you take also effect which of the final bosses you can choose to fight.
There’s items, too. Some are buffs, like increased damage or invincibility. Others, like Phantomon, can just as easily fuck you over. Phantomon flies around the stage and will attack any digimon he comes across, killing them instantly.
The AI is pretty bad, but it’s that special kind of bad that makes the enemy a real pain in the ass to deal with. Often the CPU will completely ignore eachother and focus on you, and will employ cheap tactics against you. That’s why it’s important to learn how to counter their bullshit. For example, on this annoying stage, get on the swinging platform immediately and stay there. Then blast them with a special whenever they get close.
Pretty much all of the bosses are tough as hell, having very powerful attacks that they’ll use constantly. Meanwhile, your attacks won’t do a whole lot of damage to them, at least until you digivolve.
Hooray! So that’s about it for Digimon Rumble Arena 2. It’s a fun game, if a bit simplistic. I do wish that there were a wider variety of Digimon in the game… quite a few major characters were ignored completely. Some even appeared in the first game! At any rate, if you are or were a fan of Digimon, you should enjoy this. It’s a fun little blast from the past.