Nettou Toushinden

Toushinden
Game Boy Nintendo

Nettou Toushinden

AKA: Battle Arena Toshinden || 熱闘闘神伝 || Takara 1996
Original Post Date: September 13, 2019

Toushinden could easily be considered the black sheep of the Dead Heat Fighters series – it is the only game adapted for the format to not originate on Neo Geo hardware, instead drawing influence from an unlikely source: a 3-D weapons-based fighter that served as one of the earliest of its kind on Sony’s PlayStation. Here, of course, it has been given the 2-D chibi treatment, to glorious success.

With only eight initially playable characters, in addition to two boss characters, the roster size will appear to be scaled back when compared to the series’ previous outings. But for what it may lack in quantity, it makes up for tenfold in terms of sheer quality, boasting one of the smoothest, quickest, and most responsive fighting systems to ever grace a handheld.

The fighting engine includes a number of quirks that tie it into its 3-D roots – by double-tapping down on the D-pad, your character will quickly evade into the background, which can be a smart option for baiting attacks, or for safely bypassing projectiles. More interestingly, Toushinden features a ring-out system, a feature seldom seen in 2-D fighters. At the bottom of the display, each fighter will have their own set of points which will decrease when pushed against the corner of the (relatively small) stages.

When these are fully depleted, the next hit landed against the corner will send the unfortunate punching bag flying to its doom, losing the round. This means that it’s very possible for rounds to be over in a matter of seconds, even if there are no devastating supers or giant combos landed.

But rest assured, there is plenty of combo potential found in Toushinden. Moves chain together more effortlessly than in any of its predecessors, allowing for impressive combos into Special and Super attacks alike. The desperation attack system is retained, so you may continuously perform Supers when your health bar is low enough to flash.

Even after the handheld masterpiece that was World Heroes 2 Jet, the Nettou series managed to outdo itself with this unlikely installment. A silky smooth fighter that’s not to be missed.

Rating: 9/10

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