In late August, the North American DSiWare service saw the release of Genterprise's G.G Series: Ninja Karakuri Den, the first title in its G.G Series of games to make it across the ocean from Japan. Now, two months later, the second instalment in the series of inexplicably titled games has made it stateside as G.G Series: Super Hero Ogre. Drawing influence directly from 2D fighters and side-scrolling brawlers such as Street Fighter and Altered Beast, this game really feels like a blast from the past. In this case, however, it might not be a genre that you'll want to revisit.
G.G Series: Super Hero Ogre has absolutely no storyline. Players are immediately dropped into the game as the hero (who, by the way, is in no way ogreish), and will have to fight off hordes of enemy ninjas. The stages are small, about the size of one found is a 2D fighter, and are completely flat. Different types of enemies will come from the left and right sides of the screen. While all of the enemies look exactly the same, they are wearing different coloured clothing to differentiate between them. Some coloured enemies will jump-kick at you while others will simply run at you and try to punch you out. After disposing about 15 of these peons, a boss character will appear; the game follows this same grunt to boss formula for three levels, then you have to face a sort of boss rush stage on level four. After defeating the three previous bosses again in level four, you will be pitted against a new and stronger boss. After this, the game recycles its levels with stronger enemies and a slightly changed background image; the lack of variety becomes apparent after a very short period of time.
Besides the actual gameplay, the game itself also provides no variety or extra features. There is no multiplayer mode, online functionality, or online leaderboards. If you're looking to get the high score then brag to all of your best internet friends, you're going to be sorely disappointed.
A major offense that G.G Series: Super Hero Ogre commits is that it is unforgivingly difficult. There's only one difficulty setting, so players who have trouble getting past the first level have no choice but to play until they either figure out all of the enemy patterns, or until they smash their DSi against a wall. In the same sense, once you do figure out how all of the ridiculously difficult bosses fight and how to properly kill them, then it just becomes repetitive and easy. Though this sounds like a matter of improving your skills, it actually takes away from the fun of the game by making it more infuriating than anything.
The controls are simple and straightforward: you move your character with the D-Pad, do quick attacks with the X button, and strong or HERO attacks with the A button. The more HERO attacks you land, the fuller your HERO meter will become. Once completely full, you will be able to perform three SUPER HERO moves. The first of these is a healing shield that is activated by pressing B; if this attack lands, you will regenerate health depending on how many enemies you hit with it. The two other SUPER HERO moves are a sliding kick that can be performed either on the ground or in the air, and a short ranged yet powerful blade attack. The latter two moves are performed by particular directional inputs followed by the A button, not unlike combo moves from previous 2D fighters. Oddly enough, you do not have the ability to duck, block, or dodge, making it very overwhelming when there are three enemies all punching and kicking you at once.
All of the action takes place on the bottom screen. Also displayed here are your health bar, HERO bar, level time remaining, and the level number. The top screen displays your high score, highest attack combo, highest level reached, your current score, and the current time. The G.G Series is supposed to be modeled after classic arcade type games, and constantly having your high score displayed is a great way to egg players on and encourage them to do better.
The best that can be said about G.G Series: Super Hero Ogre is that the audio and visual presentation is top-notch, especially for a budget game. The characters are detailed and the colours are vibrant, on par with what you would expect from a similar SNES title. The background images are incredibly detailed, but for some reason they decided to keep using the same one, progressively darkening it with each passing level. Rather than creating different locations, they recycled the same one and used different colours to create a time passing effect. After showing off how much it's capable of, it's a shame that Genterprise didn't focus more on different settings to add some variety to the otherwise monotonous game.
G.G Series: Super Hero Ogre is difficult, repetitive, stripped-down and unforgiving, but the important thing is whether or not it's fun to play: it's not. While some players may enjoy it for its nostalgia, this title is definitely not for everyone – it's a very appealing game both visually and audibly, but besides that, the charm wears off pretty quickly. At 200 Points it is an inexpensive adventure with retro appeal, but unless you enjoy games that get old fast and are frustratingly rage-inducing, you might want to consider saving your Nintendo Points for something else.