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Spikeout: Battle Street Xbox

Published by SEGA
Developed by SEGA
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Spikeout: Battle Street, an introduction.

Spikeout: Battle Street is a beat-'em up game for fans of the arcade games of yesteryear. As per usual for games of this type the story is a paper thin one (it's one of those genres where a story is not really necessary to be honest). The game is set 10 years after Team Spike took out Team Inferno from the streets of Diesel Town. Ten years may have passed but revenge is still sought. Michael, the big boss, returns with new recruits for Team Inferno and goes about exacting revenge for their defeat 10 years before. As Spike, the leader of Team Spike is missing the call goes out for his son, Spike Jr. to come to Team Spike's aid and once again sort out Team Inferno.

What's the game about?

To put it simply the game is a story based beat-'em up action game. There is a Story mode, for the single player which basically offers the routine of taking out a few villains, defeating a rather lacklustre area boss then breaking the gate and moving on to the next section where you'll do exactly the same thing. For a while the challenge is pathetic but slowly you'll get more challenging enemies until finally you'll face the stage boss. Should you be finished off before completing the stage you'll have to do the whole thing again as there is no continue. Battle Street mode allows you to pick a character and play through the same stages that are in Story mode. You won't have any of the rather wooden cutscenes here though and you can use continues if you wish. You can also be joined by 3 friends, either online or offline (and via System Link) in Battle Street mode. There are 12 characters in all although only 4 are initially available with the rest being unlocked via the Story mode.

What's good about the game?

I daresay most will suggest the Xbox Live play is the highlight of Spikeout: Battle Street and I would probably agree with this. However, with Xbox Live not supporting text chat this makes the whole thing rather redundant for deaf gamers. The combat model in the game isn't the best I've seen to date but I like the charged attacks (you have to charge a meter by holding down the right trigger) and the co-operative attack which can be performed during a multiplayer game. The combo system is quite good too and there's a fair amount of combo moves on offer. It could also be argued that having a decent selection of characters to unlock will encourage further play for the Story mode but it's not an entertaining mode, by any stretch of the imagination, and it's unlikely many would play through more than once.

What's not so good about the game?

Unfortunately there are too many areas of the game that simply are not up to scratch. The Story mode is tedious and only a few hours long (the length may be a blessing in disguise). There are no continues in Story mode but given its miniscule length this was probably to prevent gamers going through it too quickly. The graphics are very disappointing and don't do the Xbox any justice at all. In fact in all too many areas this game falls short and it's difficult to recommend as a result.

How does it look?

I hate to rubbish the graphical qualities of a game as I am not one who thinks this is the most important aspect of a game. However, even I have to admit I was disappointed by the look of Spikeout. The game looks like it was ported from an earlier console such as the Dreamcast. The character models look basic and the levels look primitive when compared with other Xbox titles in this genre. The cutscenes also look like they came from a game 5 or so years ago. Character animations aren't as smooth as they could be either which adds to the general rough feeling that the game has.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

You'll have no problems with Spikeout: Battle Street as the cutscenes and dialogue are subtitled in the Story mode. Important comments made by your character and others are shown in text and the text is clear and easy to read. Messages such as 'Break the Gate', 'level up' and others are shown in text too which is good to see. Occasionally a voice will boom 'Cool!' or something such like but this isn't subtitled, although it's hardly a problem. The game manual contains around 19 pages of English text and fills you in on the basics as well as listing the moves so there's nothing to complain about here.

Final thoughts.

There's no getting around the fact that Spikeout: Battle Street is one of the worst Xbox titles we've seen in quite a while. It's mundane and repetitive and doesn't have any redeeming features that justify the £29.99 price tag. The story mode that only lasts a few hours is just horrible. Some will point to the 4-player co-operative play and the Xbox Live support but these features do very little to raise the quality of the game although I can understand that some will appreciate these inclusions, but with Xbox Live only supporting voice chat it's not an option that many deaf gamers will use. Graphically it's an embarrassment for the Xbox and it has to be one of the poorest looking games we've seen on the console. On a positive note there's plenty here to unlock but even with this bonus, the game still has to be of a certain quality in order to encourage you to play. Sadly Spikeout: Battle Street is not of sufficient quality and it has to be classified as a major disappointment.

 

Overall Game Rating: 4.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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Spikeout: Battle Street is easily the worst Xbox game we've seen this year. Whilst it may have some value when played co-operatively online for hearing gamers, who can make use of the voice communications, for deaf gamers it's probably not worth it.