[Get it, "ADK"? It's bad, I know. -Ed]
ADK has been known to put out some pretty wacky titles on our favorite 24-bit system, and Gan Gan (aka Aggressors of Dark Kombat in the US) is no exception. While many Neo gamers consider ADK games second rate, it's nice to take a break from the same 3 franchises being played time and time again. Gan Gan takes a pinch of your standard fighting game, a teaspoon of a side-scrolling beat-em-up, and a cup of an original grappling system and mixes them together to form a very unique game. Is it a recipe for a great game on our beloved Neo, or a dreaded Christmas fruitcake from your aunt?
Jump button? Grab buttons? You can't use the D button? These things alone are more than enough to make a casual gamer start looking for his Capcom machine. You move around freely along the planes of a 3-D environment [think "Final Fight" -Ed], which is a cool feature but can take some getting used to. Gan Gan offers a unique combo system that even I haven't completely figured out yet. The motions required for special moves aren't your usual qfc either, but odd ones you thought were left behind with the original Fatal Fury. It can be tough at first to nail them down, but when you realize that the game isn't about special moves the fun really begins to kick in! Gan Gan is a grappling game, which is the best I can describe it. You press A+B to grab your opponent, and then you have the option to turn it around, hit/slam your opponent, or just break free of the hold. Every so often during the fight a person in the background walks back and forth innocently before they chuck a deadly weapon into the ring and split. These can range from a spiked club to an exploding glass bottle, which you can either hurl at your foe or perform special moves with. This can add to very odd gameplay, but it is humorous to watch you or your opponent grab their rear (which is searing in flames). You also have a crazy meter, and if your opponent is below red life you can perform a "Gan Gan attack" (called "crazy attack" in English version), which knocks your opponent out. Example: Jo's Gan Gan move has his midget friend run into the playing field, hold the opponent while Jo combs his hair and dashes forward to unleash a load of punches. Each character only has one, and some of the movements are so ridiculous you won't remember them the next day [including Kisarah's legendary "Jealousy Bomber" -Ed].
Jo's "Gan Gan"/Crazy Move
I can't begin to describe how much the music rules in this game. If there's anything music should do in a game, it's offer a great atmosphere. In Gan Gan you have music that starts when the match first starts, but it changes it's pace once you get down to green in your lifebar. The music in Lee's stage is quite beautiful, and goes very well with the waterfall flowing in the background of the dojo. Fuuma's stage gives you that "ninja" feel, especially when you're fighting in the forest. In all cases, except Kisarah, the music only adds to the stage. I don't know what the people were thinking when they composed Kisarah's stage, because it doesn't go well with it at all. The sound effects are well done all over the game, though do we really need somebody puking when they're hit in the stomach? I guess that's what makes this a "realistic 3-D battle action game".
The graphics in this game are dated, even for the time it came out (1994). The animation is sub-par, but it gets the job done. Everything is very colorful and the backgrounds are detailed. The cast isn't all that inspiring, and I feel that's the game's major downfall. Bobby, our midget basketball player, and Sheen, our mullet-wearing wrestler should have been sacked in the early development stages. Kisarah is your typical school girl that looks like no thought was put into her creation either. Fumma makes a special appearance from his normal World Heroes games, only to be butchered on his pregame shots. Jo and Lee are decent characters at best, and Goh looks like a reject from the old arcade game Renegade. Leonhalt is your Spanish-speaking tough guy, and must stand 9 feet. The cast isn't that large either, and makes me wonder what they did with that 178 megs (maybe it went into Jo's midget?). They characters have grown on me the past 8 years though, so they're like my kids.
The Gonad's final thought:
Gan Gan is a very fun and unique game if you give it a serious chance. Many people haven't even heard of this game because people are too busy praising the next King of Fighters. Take a step back, and enjoy some of the games that didn't make it that far. I really wish they made a sequel for this game, because if they made all the necessary improvements it could've been huge. At the end of the day, this game is still a blast to play and will offer entertainment for years to come. Your aunt's fruitcake never tasted this good!