Avenging Spirit - (Gameboy) Archive Review

There’s not much that can be said without getting in to the game itself so let’s jump right in. Avenging Spirit was originally an arcade game, ported here to the game boy, with an odd premise-the introduction finds a man being gunned down by a crime syndicate while walking with his girlfriend. The man’s spirit is summoned by a scientist, who reveals that it was his daughter that you were with, and she was kidnapped in an effort to hold her hostage to get their hands on his research about “ghost energy”. He has brought your spirit back to this world in an effort to free his daughter and take down the crime syndicate. With that odd introduction out of the way, let’s get into the truly odd, but rewarding aspect of this game. As a spirit, you are powerless, and your life force is limited. However, you can now possess the bodies of your enemies, and use their abilities against their former cohorts in an adventure across six levels to come face to face with the bossman of the crime syndicate. You start off being given the option to choose between three bodies- a girl with a kick that shoots a projectile(what?), a kangaroo/dog on hind legs(that’s called a lizard in the manual), that breathes fire, and a fedora and trench coated gangster with a gun. Each option has their strengths and weaknesses(the fire-breathing kangadogzard kills enemies quicker, but moves slowly and jumps for crap, the girl is quick but weak, and the guy is average but his bullets have range). As you progress through the game, you are given the ability to dispossess one body and travel into the body of another. Always remember that your life force counts down from the time you go into spirit form, so it’s best to dispossess one body and transfer to another as quickly as possible. Every non-boss enemy in the game can be taken for a ride, and you’ll have to utilize different ones for different reasons throughout your journey. Some have higher jumps, some have greater range on their attacks, some “float” after a jump, others move quickly or take a little more damage. There are power ups to be found throughout the game that refill your energy and give you extra life, and there are also three keys scattered throughout the levels. You get little one or two screen cinematics after beating each level’s boss to let you know that you are moving in the right direction, and if you get all three keys, you get to unlock the good ending. Yes, you heard me right- a game boy game that has multiple endings! The graphics are pretty impressive for the game boy’s limitations, and look even crisper than the arcade original in some parts because of the lack of muddy backgrounds to contend with. The music is pretty catchy and not too repetitive, and the sound effects are very impressive considering what they had to work with. Some of the levels are a little confusing in structure. It’s not always obvious which path you need to take, but the levels aren’t really all that big, so it’s easy enough to find the proper way. While I most recently played this game on my 3DS’s virtual console(only $2.99!), and the restore points are a godsend when becoming acquainted with the game and it’s trial and error energy bar, the game itself only takes about 90 minutes to complete, and can probably be done even quicker once you have played through it a time or two. Avenging Spirit is one of those odd, quirky gems that I would love to see get a rebirth with newer technology to utilize the “take control of any enemy” mechanic, but it seems a bit unlikely given it’s very off the wall premise. A more recent game that people keep bringing up to me when I describe this game is “Geist” for the Gamecube. While I’ve never played that, I am definitely thinking I need to pick it up. Maybe I’ll have to spearhead a petition campaign to bring possession games back to modern age! I would definitely recommend picking it up, as it is also on the iphone app store, and if you can find the original gameboy cartridge on the cheap, pick it up now, as it’s value slowly increases due to it’s relatively limited run.

8 out of 10

Avenging Spirit on eBay

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