Note 1: The SNES version of The Combatribes was played on an original model SNES console that has been modified to output in component video. It was connected to a 32-inch HD tv that is capable of outputting the 240p component signal required for the game to display properly. *Upon looking at my SNES pictures, you may think, “That’s component video output? It doesn’t look that great, especially compared to the HD output of the other game.” You’re right, and it’s odd – I have a toploader NES component modded – it looks awesome, as good if not better than any HDMI modded NES. I have a Turbografx-16 component modded – the picture looks absolutely spectacular. But for some reason, this component modded SNES just doesn’t look that great. Maybe it’s the tv, maybe it’s the mod. My S-video cable honestly makes the picture look way better than my component video cables, which shouldn’t be the case, but is. So, the moral of the story is, invest in an S-video cable for your original model SNES (if your tv accepts it), rather than having it component modded (my experience only, mind you!), or, wait for an HDMI-modded SNES console that runs original cartridges, as I’m sure we’ll see in the near future. **Starting with the Stage 4 SNES pictures, I swapped back to S-video cables, and I think that improved the picture.
Note 2: The arcade version of this game was played on the Retro-bit Retrocade system. The Retrocade contains 90 arcade and console roms, including The Combatribes. The console was connected to a 32-inch HD tv through HDMI. As noted in my ‘About’ section, I don’t typically play through emulation; however, I loved The Combatribes for the SNES, and I wanted to see how it differed from the arcade version.
Note 3: This ‘review’ will be much less of a review than what I typically write. My brief ‘review’ is just below. This will, moreover, be a comparison between the SNES version and the arcade version, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. So far, these are only some of the differences from the first 3 stages of the game, and I just did it for fun for anyone who might be interested. Enjoy!
The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade of both the SNES and the arcade versions of The Combatribes B+ This is one excellent, underrated Beat ‘Em Up. I suppose it’s relatively obscure, as far as name recognition. Double Dragon? Final Fight? Most have heard of them, but I wasn’t familiar with The Combatribes until recently. The action is a bit slow, but the stages are short, the sound effects are awesome in terms of feeling like you’re really pummeling someone, and the sprites are huge. A gem among Beat ‘Em Ups.
Contrasts between the two versions
General: In the arcade version, your health is represented by a score that decreases as you take damage. In the SNES version, you have a standard ‘life bar.’ Also, the arcade version has no story whatsoever. It’s unclear why you’re beating up all of these gangs. The SNES version welcomingly adds a story, where (in short) you’re a cyborg tasked with discovering why the gangs of New York have united, and to take them out. There is blood in the arcade version when you slam a punk’s head into the pavement or bash two punks’ heads together. Blood was removed from the SNES version. The arcade version has a few additional moves that the SNES cut – kicking your opponent while he’s down (you can still do the ‘backbreaker’ jumping stomp in the SNES version though), walking around with a bad guy before you throw him, and, when a bad guy grabs you around the waste, dropping elbow smashes on his back to get him off.
STAGE 1: In the arcade version, you can lift and throw various objects at enemies (motorcycles, go-carts, pinball machines). These are removed from the SNES version.
STAGE 1: In the SNES version, you can’t throw bad guys down the nearby stairwell, try though you may. Also note, there are less bad guys to pummel in the SNES version, with one generic punk missing altogether, and check out how the name of the restaurant was altered for the SNES release.
STAGE 1: In the arcade version, you’ll have no trouble sending the motorcycle gang members head first down the stairs. They won’t be coming back, either.
STAGE 1: This occurs before and after all boss battles, but the SNES version has cutscenes to give this Beat ‘Em Up a story.
STAGE 1: The arcade version simply gives you the screen below.
STAGE 2: The barrier on the left side of the screen prevents you from walking any further left, making this stage much more confined (the game in general has stages that take place in confined areas, at least as compared to other Beat ‘Em Ups).
STAGE 2: In the arcade version, there is no barrier, and you’ll get to pursue the boss up some scaffolding before you fight him. In the SNES version, you just fight him on the screen you see above.
STAGE 2: In the arcade version, in the background, you’ll see a cart with three dancing cats.
STAGE 2: In the SNES version, you’ll see the cart with 3 Kunio-things dancing. This is a nod to Technos’ beloved Kunio-kun character.
STAGE 3: The arcade version has two areas – the first one, seen below, is not present at all in the SNES version. After beating all the punks on the top floor, your character descends a set of stairs to the second area in the arcade. The SNES version simply starts in the second area. Perhaps one reason why the first area was removed was because of the bar that is pictured in the arcade version would violate the SNES standards of ‘no alcohol references.’
STAGE 3: In the SNES version, Stage 3, as mentioned, starts off in the area you see below. The background screen alternates between stars and the Technos logo.
STAGE 3: The arcade version has the same screens, but they alternate between a creepy looking woman and another odd image, before finally the boss’ face appears right before he shows up. None of these are present in the SNES version.
STAGE 4: The Native American boss of stage 4, in the arcade, does a jumping elbow drop once you disarm him of his tomahawk. He does not do this move in the SNES version, and is subsequently easier to beat.
STAGE 5: The name of Stage 5 is ‘The Demolition Troops’ in the SNES version, and ‘The Slaughter Troops’ in the arcade. The layout of the stage is the same – you fight bad guys on several floors while intermittently hopping on an elevator to move on to the next floor – but in the SNES version, you will fight all of the previous bosses (and a few punks) in a boss rush until you get to the roof for ‘Stage 6 – The Final Battle’ with Martha Splatterhead, whom you’ve already discovered (from a cutscene) is the ‘big boss’ who united all the gangs.
STAGE 5: In the arcade, Stage 5 is a normal stage with a new gang of soldiers with guns and knives (you’ll fight just a couple of these enemy types on the last floor in the SNES version, and only the ones with guns). In the arcade, you’ll encounter a man in a suit whom you assume is the ‘big boss,’ but he flees in a helicopter before you fight ‘Master Blaster,’ the Stage 5 boss. In the SNES version, you fought Master Blaster on the last floor BEFORE heading up to the roof for ‘Stage 6.’
STAGE 6: As mentioned, Stage 6 in the SNES version is simply the rooftop battle with Martha Splatterhead. In the arcade, however, you battle on a dock with NYC in the background. This stage is the boss rush – you’ll fight all the previous bosses before approaching the man in the suit. Before you can fight him, however, he looks behind him into his limo, and suddenly is eviscerated from behind! Out of the limo steps a woman (or TWO women if you’re playing with two players – this is not the case in the SNES version). There is no explanation whatsoever as to who this woman is, unlike in the SNES version. But evidently she is some type of associate of the suit guy and decided it was time for him to go. You’ll fight her on the dock, just like the other bosses you just defeated.
ENDING: In the arcade, you just leave Martha Splatterhead on the dock, and that’s it. The SNES version actually has a slightly drawn out ending, where the Combatribes won’t leave her behind, since she is a fellow cyborg.
So, which version is better? It would be great if you could combine the ‘life bar’ and story elements of the SNES version with the slightly longer stages, additional moves, blood, and weapons of the arcade. The addition of the story is an awesome addition for the console version. It’s really an apples and oranges comparison, however, because obviously the SNES is not as powerful as an arcade. Based purely on the graphics, the arcade has a slight edge. The SNES version is also easier than the arcade. It’s not ‘easy,’ mind you, just easier than the arcade. The SNES game will take you less time to beat than the arcade version. There are less bad guys, and generally speaking, they’re not quite as aggressive in the SNES version – except Martha Splatterhead – she’s relentless in both versions. You can’t lose with either version, but I’d stick with the SNES version if I had to choose.