While the Nintendo DS has a lot of games, it seems like it is better suited for specific genres. The DS is crowded with puzzle games and RPGs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and even though the DS has had several unique gameplay experiences that cater to the strengths of the system, there are some genres that are woefully underrepresented. Sure, it can be fun to level up your party or solve the next puzzle, but there are times when you want to beat the crap out of everyone. That’s where Tokyo Beat Down comes in.
In Tokyo Beat Down (TBD) you follow the exploits of the Beast Cops. These are the guys (and gal) that get called into the most intense situations. When your regular beat cops won’t do, the Beast Cops are there to clean up the scum and make sure that they know they are defeated.
Most of the time you play as Lewis Cannon, who strongly resembles Mel Gibson from his Lethal Weapon days. He is the troublemaker of the Beast Cops. When he interrogates a criminal, he likes to let his hands do the talking. He is the most well-balanced fighter. Then there is Takeshi Bando, the Captain of the squad. He’s fearless, but he’s a bit slower than Lewis. He packs a bigger punch though. Rika Hyodo is the mandatory
The actual gameplay consists of moving to the right and attacking the enemies. If you’ve ever played Final Fight or Double Dragon, then you have a pretty good idea what you are dealing with here. There are the occasional vending machines to destroy and get extra health. You have punches and kicks that subdue the opponents, but if you miss you open yourself up to getting hit.
Graphically, TBD doesn’t look that great. Everything is modeled in 3D, which is not a strength of the DS. The character models look blocky, which really makes you appreciate the graphics of the 2D brawlers of yesteryear. This wouldn’t be so bad if the character animations were fluid, but the characters are as stiff as a two by four. When you or an enemy gets knocked back, you go tumbling so far that you look like Shawn Johnson. It’s almost comical, especially when you get stuck along the edge of the screen, rolling in a stationary spot. There aren’t that many character models either. Several of them are the same model with just different colors, but that’s not anything new in this genre.
The music sounds upbeat, like the music found on most television cop shows. You can tell that it is there, but it never overpowers. There isn’t any real voice acting in the game, other than the occasional grunt when someone gets hit. However, it does offer some comedy gold when you get dialogue from The inclusion of guns into the beat-’em-up genre could have made TBD feel inventive. While other games have used items like clubs and metal pipes, guns could have given the game an entirely new strategy. Instead, the guns are too slow to take out and fire. This makes their inclusion trivial and a waste of resources.
It doesn’t help that the controls feel a bit sluggish. Eventually you get a feel for the combos, but there are times when you want to attack but can’t because you are waiting for your character to stand up completely. This can leave you open to attack. When you get enemies on both sides of you, that can cause you to lose a lot of life as you can’t turn left and right very quickly while being attacked, the slow turn even hods true after an attack is finished. The end result are more deaths due to bad controls and slow turning.
The pace of TBD is actually fairly consistent. You go through the stage and defeat the enemies that appear on the screen, move to the right, continue on, occasionally talking with a bystander to get information, until you get to the end of the stage. There were a couple of stages though where all you do is talk to the people standing on the street for information. This didn’t make any sense and really dragged out these sections. It was kind of funny when you got to the end of the stage and you got the