Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

[Review] Avenging Spirit – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Shinyuden, Ratalaika Games
Published By: Ratalaika Games
Categories: Retro, Platformer
Release Date: 07.29.22

You’re out on a nice, peaceful walk with your girlfriend. Nothing better than that! A crime syndicate interrupts that good time though. Violently, they kidnap your girlfriend and then proceed to shoot you dead. You become a spirit though, one who can posses ones who aren’t stricken with this same misfortune you have. Your girlfriend’s father, a scientist who researches the energy of ghosts however has a plan. For you to use these powers to go and rescue her…As the Avenging Spirit!

In Avenging Spirit, you play as the titular ghost and like I mentioned earlier, you have the power to possess the living. Pretty much any enemy can be possessed. You’ll want to do it ASAP though, as you have an energy bar and it’ll go down slowly the longer you stay out of a body. You are invincible in this form, but you’re almost certainly better off being in a body, it’s a requirement. The bodies you posses also have energy bars, but it goes down when you’re struck by something or one. If all of this seems like a bit much, then you can rest better knowing there are powerups and items to recover energy everywhere.

I mentioned you can possess anything and good lord are there a lot of enemies. You want to control a mean kickboxing cutie? A mobster? A floating stereotype? (it was 1991 and a Japanese game). HOW ABOUT A DRAGON? HE HAS A RED SHIRT AND KHAKIS. Most people are going to be tempted to just grab an enemy with a gun, and I don’t blame them, but I was drawn to the more oddball enemies.

This game is so full of character, I absolutely love it. Be it the silly character designs, the hurt and death animations enemies have, and so on. This sells Avenging Spirit for me. The music is full of bops too. Again, if there’s any reason to play Avenging Spirit, it’s how good it’s presentation is. Though, I’m being told by a friend the music isn’t quite in the right place?

I do have a few issues with Avenging Spirit, though the list is short. First, the stage can be pretty big and your field of vision is rather small. The game is never hard enough to make it seem like thinks sneak up on you, but I wish you could just see a bit more. Second, I dislike how you can’t really freely escape a body to possess a new one, or I’m just missing it.

Ratalaika has a style for ports and this is more or less what you’d expect. It’s good, but…I noticed a few issues. One in particular was how if you have a tendency to rewind often you are going to get some mean audio delay. I never really noticed this, at least to this level in their other releases. It’s distracting and really hampers an otherwise great presentation.

There’s even a cute option whether or not you can play the game more like a console version or like an arcade version, complete with dip switches and credits, of which you can insert…with the loudest noise ever. ALSO, you can play the Japanese version, Phantasm if you want. Both of these are oddly before you get to any menus, but it works.

This as far as I am aware (no, the iOS release from over a decade ago doesn’t count) is the first console port of the original arcade game. We’ve had the Gameboy version ported plenty, and even a reprint VERY recently thanks to LRG. But this arcade version, not really as lucky for some reason. You’d think we’d get it seeing as Jaleco’s catalog is owned by City Connection, who really goes to town with these games, but better late than never. If you’ve ever been interested in this game or loved the Gameboy game, give this a shot. I’m sure those few issues get fixed soon and it’ll definitely be worth your time.

3.5/5

Buy Now: $5.99

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*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review

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