SNES Reviews
SNES Sanctuary
Obscure SFC Hub
Planet SEGA Saturn
Magazine MADNESS
Retro Fire

Written: 3.30.07
Acquired: 1.20.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $5

Pub: TechnosMarch '93
Dev: Technos12 MEGS

If I gave you 10 guesses to give me the correct answer, I doubt anyone would guess correctly

[Er, what was the question? -Ed.]

Name the SNES game that possessed me to rent 7 times, spanning a 6 year period and 5 different rental stores. I could give you 100 tries, and The Combatribes probably would never come up


Why the obsession?  Well, let me take you back... WAY BACK


                                          December 1992. That's
                                          when it all started. After
                                          I rented my first import
                                          ever, Power Moves, my
                                          brother was fascinated
                                          that a store would carry
                                          import games. Thus, the
                                          very next weekend HE
                                          came along with me.
                                          It was on that fateful day
                                          that we spotted The
on the top
                                          shelf. For the rest of that
                                          weekend we played the
                                          game to death. And from
                                          it, a love budded

As the years went on, I would rent Combatribes six more times. Half of them were on account
of my brother's request. The other half -- I had a freebie and somehow always came back to it

I can't remember the reason exactly why we never bought the game

But I do remember the last time I rented it...

July 1997. It was Saturday night and I was feeling nostalgic. An insatiable urge to visit my old home town wrapped itself around me much like an anaconda with its prey. That night my dad and I made the trek. It was just like ole times. Near our old house there was a mom and pop that we used to frequent. For one last time, we entered Video Mart. (See Memories of Renting for more). The old shopkeeper dropped everything he was doing when he saw me. He asked me where I'd been -- that he hadn't seen me in nearly two years. He used to hold a lot of video tapes for me in the early-mid 90s. Many nights he'd make a house call

In fact, I remember the last conversation we had. It was some time in '95...

"Steve, Leprechaun 2 just
came back in. It'll be here
waiting for you"

I paused. I was looking
forward to rent it, being
the 4th person on the
waiting list or so, but for
whatever reasons I had
a change of heart

"Um, sorry, I changed my
mind. You can give it to
the next person in line"

"Oh OK, I see"


And that was the last time we spoke

As I stood there that night, I could hear his tiny, accent-filled voice ringing in my head again. Of course, he was speaking to me in the flesh then and there, y'see

"Wow! Where have you been?"

Before I could answer, DING DING. I glanced over my shoulder and saw my dad stepping in the small dimly-lit store. The two of them greeted as though they were long lost friends

We caught up for a while before I made my way to the corner in the store where he had all the wrestling and horror tapes. Right beside that -- a small wooden shelf of SNES boxes. A flood of memories swept over me like a star streaking through the night sky

My brother couldn't believe I came home that night with The Combatribes in tow. After all, it was '97 and we were quite thick and heavy into the PlayStation and N64. But for that weekend, we turned back the clock. We beat the game three times before my dad and I headed back the very next night to return it. The shop keeper smiled at me warmly, and wished me the best of luck in high school coming up later that Fall of '97

He also told me to please come back and visit


High school happened

And life happened

When I finally stopped by again in the late '90s.... Video Mart was gone


Alright, enough of that mushy crap, eh. Let's get to the actual bloody game!

An intro of head scratching proportions!


Some of you may recall the one page comic ad that ran for The Combatribes in early '93 in US magazines. In case you missed it, or somehow forgot about it (and how could you) here it is once more....


Damn these blokes are tall!

As you might guess, Berzerker
is the all-rounder. His swing has
2 revolutions 

Speed: **
Strength: **

                                                   His charging attack is
                                                   the ole trusy high knee

What a silly name, but nobody
is foolish enough to mock him
for it... he is the powerhouse
of the group!

While slow as hell, his swing has
an unprecedented 4 revolutions!

Speed: *
Strength: ***

                                      Look at the bulging
                                      muscles. Bullova
                                      packs a wallop!

There's no token
female, but then

His swing only
gets 1 revolution

Speed: ***
Strength: *

                                                              Nice jumping
                                                              kick though

And here's the arcade
shot. Why they altered
slightly the spelling of
Berserker in the SNES
port, in addition to the
characters' size, who

I've always been a Bullova guy. My bro, Berk. No one liked Blitz, the git


There are quite a few offensive maneuvers that border on the edge of dark humor. Take a closer look why don't cha....

The swing cuts through the competition like a mighty sword in a foliage-filled jungle!

"C'mon now guys, can't we all just get along?"

Now THAT'S what I call a meeting of the minds!

                          Not in the mood to swing
                          the bad guys silly by their
                          heels?  Then crack their
                          back with a bone-crunching

                                                                                This pic is half-way disturbing...

And if all else fails,
try this technique.
Results guaranteed

For major damage, jump on their back and immediately go for the face-crusher move. That'll show 'em!

There are 6 stages in all


Things don't start out so hot
for Bullova. A Randy Savage
wannabe cuts him with the
broken end of his beer bottle

                                                Then again, I
                                                spoke too soon

                                                                                    "GET THE HELL OFF ME!!"

Fats' wooden plank can
do a number on you in
a hurry. Due to his bulk
he cannot be thrown,
not even by the ox-like
strength of Bullova

His hair flings up nicely
when he attacks. Pretty
good stuff there


Great, now you gotta
deal with a bunch of
circus rejects! Check
out the bowling pins
the fat clowns carry

Later on, some clowns
will drop from the sky

                                      Salamander can be a
                                      tough customer. You
                                      can't be hurt when  
                                      swinging an enemy by
                                      his heels. Use this to
                                      your advantage


To the roller-disco!  It's wild and
it's frenetic!  Swing those lowlife
bums under the bright Lexington
disco lights!  Make 'em taste the
hot psychedelic dance stage!

[I ain't messin' wit this foo -Ed.]

                             Trash is one of the hardest
                             bosses around. He'll eat up
                             a continue or two. Carrying
                             what looks like a huge
                             croquet mallet (!), he is light
                             on his feet and will rearrange
                             your furniture in the blink of
                             an eye


Ah yes, there's nothing like being at the ole ball park...

                                 Windwalker is easier than
                                 he looks, but still a tough
                                 cookie to crack


Before you can confront the
final boss, surprise surprise,
you gotta run the gauntlet!

Check out the lovely detail
on Fats' stick... ace 'init?

                                Perhaps even better, the
                                look on his face when you
                                kick him upside his bald
                                dome. Nobody messes
                                with my Bullova!

"I told ya, nobody but
nobody! Right in front
of yer boys too! Send
my regards to Martha
you fat piece of ****!"

After each boss, you enter an elevator and each time, your health meter gets a fresh start. Of course, while you're making the trip up the skyscraper, two bald thugs come in looking for a fight. What ensues is one of the best moments in beat em up history....

Bald Guy 1: You got him!

Bald Guy 2: EAT THIS!

                                       Bullova: Ha! In reality
                                       it is I who has you!

                                       BG 2: Ooof!


BG 1: You're wrong, for it is
actually I who has got YOU!

Bullova: Ah!  Son of a ...

                                       Bullova: Thats it, y'all
                                       done piss me off now

Back to the "regular bits" we go, then

These freaks return. You're
practically beating up Joker
and Karnov. How they didn't
get sued over this ....

                                     Ugh, not this foo again

                                     Goodbye, continue(s)


At long last, you reach the top floor. Where is that witch Martha hiding? But first, more goons to trash, including deadly snipers!

It'd be nice if you could throw the table at them, or even throw 'em out the window...

Snipers' gunshots sail
harmlessly past you
when you're swinging

Finally, we meet Martha's final line of defense...

             M. BLASTER!

He's got the lot, the git

                                            It's just not right...


Martha Splatterhead... in all her splendor

She's lightning quick, cheap and triple tough. GOOD LUCK!


Yes, exclusive to the SNES port is a "special" 1-on-1 street fighting mode. By inputting a code, you can select from any of the game's entire roster. Best 2 out of 3 wins the match

Yeah, great, I sure could have used this in the regular game. Bastards

1st stage periodically
lights up in flames

                                              Oh fack. Fats is
                                              so screwed here

Insulted he's being
called a mad man,
Fish takes out his
frustrations on Jok,
er, G. Terror

                               "WHO YOU CALLING
                               MAD?! HUH!?"

                                                                        "LEMME TELL YOU SUMTHIN, BRUTHA!"

This 1-on-1 mode is nothing but a novelty. You can block, exclusive to this mode, but to call it even a severely dying homeless man's Street Fighter II would be insulting. It's fun to mess with on the pit stage, but this mode seems like a huge afterthought if anything. But hey, at least it's there.... right?


Bullova's the best at swinging. He gets 4 revolutions. The others only 2 and 1 (HA!)



[As if they can't tell -Ed.]


The SNES version
made a roster cut.
Pink-shirt dudes
were axed

                              You could chuck
                              motorcycles in
                              the 'cade

Here, sadly, you can
only admire them. It's
too bad. But looks-wise,
judge for yourself. Not
shabby in the translation,
all things considered, eh? 

                        Ooooh! Red ketchup

Of course,
nada here.
Well at least
they didn't
insult us with
lame sweat
coming out

I vaguely recall playing the arcade. What was removed or changed: blood, weapon tossing, some minor enemies and minor to significant stage design. For example, in the arcade the last level takes place on a dock. The SNES port has you scaling a building, with the final battle on the rooftop. I'd take that over the dock any day of the week!


Not impossible to beat, but it can be tough. So here ya go:

  • On controller 2, hold X, A, and L and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. 10 Credits
  • On controller 2, Hold L , R and Select and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. 30 Credits
  • On controller 2, hold X + Y on it, and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. 5 Round Match in vs Mode
  • Hold L, R, and Up on controller 2 then reset the game. Double your life
  • On controller 2, hold A + B on it, and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. One Round Match in Vs. Mode
  • On controller 2, hold A+B+L+R and reset the game, and release the buttons when the title screen appears. Super Difficulty Level
  • 9207 The password to enable all fighters


Didn't do so well...

  • GameFan: 48, 56, 69, 69
  • Super Play: 57%

But on the net it has a decent fan following (arcade and SNES versions alike)


You know, the pictures you've seen above really don't do the graphics of this game justice. In the conversion process a lot of color was lost or washed out. The graphics are really nice, with bold and bright colors... back in late '92 this was extremely impressive stuff, and just screamed SUPER NINTENDO

June 26, 2007 I've added the below that captures the beautiful essence of THE COMBATRIBES

Ooooh, admire the color, the seedy street and flashy stores

                                                            "I'M SICK OF CLOWNING AROUND!"

Take out the garbage over an atmospheric dance floor backdrop

                                             Look at the shading which creates a nice sense of depth

Arcade-like graphics, wouldn't you agree? Impressive of the ole SNES

                                                     There's nothing like the rush of clearing house!

A great backdrop oversees this fight, gawk at those city lights!

                                                    I could say something really inappropriate here...


When I got back into the SNES I made sure this was one of the first games I bought. Playing it today brings back a wave of good memories. My brother's friend told us the first time we rented it, way back toward the tail end of '92, that the best strategy to start any stage was to madly double tap the control pad and come rushing out of the gates with a charging attack. To this day I can still hear him pontificating on why this technique works so well, along with his trademark mannerisms -- the shifty eyes, the imitating hand gestures, the enthusiasm in his voice as the 3 of us were huddled around the monitor, trying to restore peace to New York City. I do indeed have a lot of fond memories. Over the years I've beaten this game probably 50 times. In my last go-round, it wasn't QUITE as awesome as I remember it being, but I still had one hell of a time. The biggest complaint this game gets is that the levels are too small. It scrolls 3 screens, has only 7, 8 baddies and then it's the boss. It's too short

I, on the other hand, always saw this as one of the game's main appeals. It only takes half an hour to wade through. And, if you don't mind me digressing a little bit (which I do quite a bit of regardless), I always saw this game as being more realistic than its breathen. Finally, a beat 'em up that has small gangs controlling a SMALL portion of a city, rather than 6 states or even countries! The levels are more "intimate" because of how small they are. And because you only tackle 10 goons per stage, rather than 50, it feels like you're really jousting with a gang on their turf. Bloody hell, it might just be me, but I dig this "small town feel" -- always have, always will!

Graphically, there's good detail in the stages. From the flashing strobe Lexington Disco lights to the various stores you can see on the seedy streets of the first stage, there's a great deal of color and life. The characters look and are animated well, with good use of shadow giving the game a perception of depth. I'm a big fan of the game's music as well. Its techno rock pumps me up. Give the tune that plays during the option a listen some time. It's creepy in a subtle way...

The gameplay isn't perfect or "excellent" by a longshot. No weapons, no jump button, etc. But damn if it isn't fun while it lasts. Put simply, it's a short and sweet beat 'em up that's loads of fun with two. In fact, more fun with two than most others of this genre in my experience

And who could ever forget the infamous words of....

Ahhhh... thanks for all the memories...

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 7
Longevity: 8

Overall: 8.0

Silver Award