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E3 2003

By Dojo Master

Once again E3 has made its way to Los Angeles, bringing hundreds of Japanese businessmen, traffic, long lines, increased security requiring a ridiculous "two forms of company credentials" requirement and $40 parking.  But in the midst of this havoc, there was good news.  Plenty of it.  Enough to last all year.

Beatemups are back in season!  They've even made the transition to 3D thanks to a little help from Konami.  Double Dragon, River City Ransom and Ninja Turtles are back in full swing.  It's almost overwhelming to be a fighting-game fan right now.  So scroll down to read before you pass out.  Oh, and sorry for the low quality pictures.  But then again, I'm not a photographer.

Just like Double Dragon Advance, River City Ransom EX was not on display.  Once again the logo and basic information were released for this enhanced port of the NES game.

"With its unique character building system and customization, River City Ransom EX truly is the 'RPG of side-scrolling fighting games,'" said Akibo Shieh, Project Lead, Atlus U.S.A., Inc. "We are bringing to life a videogame classic to the Game Boy Advance and we look forward to developing other titles based on this awesome franchise."


Features two different game modes: Story Mode (story-driven, one or two player cooperative mode); two-player Battle Mode (Take your customized character against another player)

Buy items to increase your stats and learn powerful techniques.

Dynamic story mode allows events to take place as you progress through the game, allowing you to gather clues, make or break friendships, earn items/techniques and much more!

Special link mode allows you to use one Game Boy Advance for actual gameplay and another to display the status screen and watch how your NPCs are doing.

Depending on the things you do when playing the story mode, or how your friend plays against you in battle mode, you can save the gameplay style and create a computer-controlled AI character.  By exchanging data, you can fight against another player's custom AI character.

Customize the game any way you want!  Change your character status, techniques, background music. Save your customized data and exchange it with another person.

Story: Panic strikes River City!

"To the citizens of River City: I hold your high school captive!  With my gangs of students and vicious bosses roaming the streets, nobody can stop me now!  Meet my demands - or else!"

Slick, the meanest, most powerful gang lord in River City, has issued this ultimatum - and the entire town is powerless in a grip of fear!

Fortunately, Alex and Ryan weren't in school the day Slick took it over.  But now, their fellow students are prisoners - including Ryan's girlfriend!  It's up to our two young heroes to battle their way past several dangerous city gangs, then defeat the gang lord to free the students of River City High and restore peace to the panic-stricken populace!

Konami came out with both guns blazing.  A nicely sized Ninja Turtles castle featuring the new cartoon logo held several terminals for drooling fans.  The game will be released on all current home consoles: GCN, XBox, PS2 and GBA.  The GBA version features a 2D beatemup style reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden.  Fans will find that climbing walls plays a more important role in level progression.  The other versions brilliantly display the beatemup genre in 3D.  The game features beautiful cell shaded animation based on the cartoon.  It appears that only a maximum of two players can play at one time, but there's no shortage of enemies.

Nintendo displayed a fun but simple booth this year.  The biggest attraction?  Possibly Mario Kart Double Dash for the GCN featuring a completely new LAN feature.  For those of you who are confused, the LAN feature hooks up a maximum of eight GCNs and TVs directly for play in the same household (doesn't use internet).  Nintendo had this set up wonderfully with a line that required a 45 minute wait to play.  Nintendo offered a little incentive by giving away free shirts and GBA SP cases to fans who answered the annoying hostess's questions correctly.  I placed third in the race.  I would have finished first, but... while I was in second the first place guy fell off and the computer placed him directly in front of me and I rammed him into the goal.  Really.  No, really.  It's true.

If there's one good thing that Microsoft has in its pocket other than Halo, it would have to be Rare.  The company debuted its long-awaited sequel to Conker's Bad Fur Day.  It looked to be very similar to the N64 original.  There is an online feature as well.  Sure to keep me busy if I ever play it online.