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Go Go Ackman 1, 2, and 3

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Go Go Ackman Go Go Ackman 2
Go Go Ackman 3

      Akira Toriyama and Banpresto have two things in common. One is the tendency to take a great concept and screw it up beyond recognition after the first couple dozen installments of the franchise (the legend of the monkey king and SD games, respectively). The second is the Go Go Ackman series, a comical game whose protagonist is an evil looking SD kid. He and his demon sidekick constantly fight against an SD angel who builds huge Wil E. Coyote-like contraptions to stop them from stealing souls for Satan. Sounds good, at least when you don't factor in the creators. And there's three games in the series! It had to be good if they kept selling sequels, right? Well, not exactly.

Go Go Ackman

As you probably have already noticed, Toriyama didn't spend too much time on character design; Ackman looks more like a pissed off version of Trunks than anything else.       The first installation in the series. The second you start playing this game, you'll notice that gameplay is a clumsy mix between Mario and Megaman, and not nearly as good as either. The car level is just too damn reminiscent of Battletoads for comfort; the level requires you to memorize a series of obstacles, and then use pure memory, with little or no skill, to win. 1-ups are useless, as you go back the same distance when you die regardless if you have any lives or not. Which is too bad, as you're forced to go back a long ways after you die (you can keep weapons if you die, but not if you get a game over; however, the weapons fire too slowly to make them preferable to even being unarmed). But the most glaring problem is simply the dullness of the game. Apparently, Banpresto thought that the whole Ackman concept would fly as long as they kept to their strategy for marketing it (It's like any other game... but YOU'RE THE BAD GUY! And, uh, you get to fight angels and stuff!) But even the Toriyama-Banpresto team knew that the game needed something extra... unfortunately, when they added that something, it turned out to be a high-ranking, Louis XIV-type, tights-wearing pansy of an angel as the last boss. Which, needless to say, didn't add much to the overall value of the game. The aforementioned contraption-building SD angel, Tenshi, is way too predictable to help out the game either. He only seems to know how to build one thing: flying machines built with those world-destroying laser beams that take forever to charge (remember, this is based on an Akira Toriyama manga.)
Rating: 2.1 out of 5

Go Go Ackman 2

Intro to one of Ackman's many poorly done boss fights. And, as levels in Ackman 2 are a lot shorter than the levels in the other games, you'll be seeing a lot of them.       Ackman's at it again, this time going up against the monsters of Christian rock. More specifically, an all-angel band of stereotypes ranging from a fat Elvis impersonator to an afro-wearing rastafarian drummer. The sequel gives Ackman a number of new moves to use, including upgradeable weapons, a throwing attack, the ability to jump higher by pressing up, and a strange, hard to pull off move that consists of him charging forward and then flipping backwards (it's actually not that complicated to do - just a quarter circle forward - but the controls are somehow less responsive in 2 than in the other games). Only problem is that there's hardly any reason to use them. Throwing is only needed for one boss, and the charging attack is completely useless. Jumping higher is necessary, but there is no point in the game when you need to make a small jump (to avoid spikes on the ceiling, for instance), making jumping needlessly complicated. But nothing in the game is as useless as the upgradeable weapons system. You have a sword unless you pick up a powerup for a boomerang or a gun, but the boomerang is much too slow to be of any use, and the gun is weak and lacks the ability to attack low enemies, forcing Ackman to resort to a slow-recovering break dancing spin-kick attack. Weapons start at level 1 and can go up to level 3 by collecting power-ups, but they go down a level if you're hit, and they're too few and far between to make them of much use. The end result of all this is a game that tries desperately to not be like it's predecessor, but falls short. Much, much too short.
Rating: 1.8 out of 5

Go Go Ackman 3

Who wears short shorts?       The third installment of Ackman is by far the best. So much better, in fact, it's even worth playing. The storyline is what you'd expect from the series; the entire angel police force is out to get Ackman and Tenshi. Sounds pretty normal, but the designers decided to put an odd twist to the whole thing. To put it bluntly, the chief of police happens to be gay. And very much so, at that. Not to mention that he seems to have a crush on our hero.
      The physics and controls in Ackman 3 are very similar to Ackman 2, but there is a notable difference in the overall gameplay. The level and boss designs in #3 suit the game much better than those of its predecessors. While the game isn't exactly easier, many of the areas give you less of a margin of error, as opposed to the "memorize every single enemy position" take on some of the levels of the previous two games. In other words, the game isn't nearly as frustrating as you would expect. The level in which you play as Tenshi is particularly good (although it's pretty short). It consists of sneaking past guards without being seen or heard, and although this kind of thing has been done before, the area is very well done and gives the player more variety in the game.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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