The 'Ripping' part of this title is about beating people up. The
'Friends' part is about four guys from a television show who are beating
people up. The 'The' part means this is a licensed game about four guys
from a television show who are beating people up. However, upon playing
the game without actually watching the show, I'm not sure if the game
makes the show look bad or this is just a dreadfully poor translation of
a good television show. Regardless of the above, this is a poorly
constructed title that seems like a "rip-off" more than anything else.
You select one of four protagonists from The Ripping Friends cast and
push or prod them along screen after screen beating up bad guys. I'm
reminded by a Jackie Chan exposť on the different epochs of martial arts
movies. This is one where people surround your protagonist as you
gleefully pound each one into submission. Then after they fall down,
they sometimes get back up as if the game ran out of graphical space to
render new ones.
This happens ad infinitum, or more accurately, ad absurdum. Not only
does this fighting title have poor controls, it also has simplistic
controls. Now, if you think about it, how can a game have simple
controls but also manage to be poorly implemented? That's because
despite the game being simple in punching people (not more than a button
or two), it has problems registering taps on the Game Boy Advance
buttons. We're talking about one or two buttons together, like moving
diagonally with a four-way direction pad. Let's not even talk about
executing your one and only special move.
Throughout The Ripping Friends, you'll also find a few power-up weapons.
Using a gun, for example, renders much of the game simpler but it also
makes you more vulnerable as you're less agile toting a weapon. If you
manage to avoid moving yourself into a crowd, though, you're well on
your way to clearing this title in record time.
With only seven stages going, the developers are certainly pushing it
when it comes to quantity of content. I wouldn't call any of it depth
of content. That's where the mindless horde of enemies comes in. They
effectively eat away time, prolong the levels and generally try to make
your life difficult by testing your patience, rather than testing your
eye-hand coordination skills. That they also keel over and spring back
up is a plus for prolonging the game.
Understandably, many people will chastise me for being ostentatious
about my expectations and demands from The Ripping Friends. They will
say, for $29.99 US, you won't get much value out of a title. THQ has
pushed out impressive titles before. They have a wonderful Sega license
that they used to their advantage this past year. I'm just not sure why
this was included in the lineup, because all things considered, it is a
The Ripping Friends could have worked if the television's humor actually
made its way into the game. As it stands now, it sheds no light on what
the television show is about. Of course, since I haven't ever seen the
television show, maybe it was so vapid it actually had no substance.
But in that case, why impose it on a game that is so utterly deficient,
it needs that subject material to offset its insipidness.
People tend to treat handheld titles as timewasters. In the case of The
Ripping Friends, it is a very good timewaster because not only does it
waste my time, it also wastes yours, your friends if you choose to play
multiplayer, and the developer and publisher as well. In retrospect, I
find it is good at one thing. It's good at wasting time. After
my critique, let me sincerely hope it won't be wasting yours.