ギア戦士電童 || Natsume / Bandai 2001
Original Post Date: August 30, 2019
Based on a relatively short-lived mech anime from the early 2000s, Gear Senshi Dendoh is a masterful blend of 2-D single-plane beat ‘em up action, and 3-D fighting game combat.
Containing a total of nine levels, most stages present a simple formula. You’ll fight your way through waves of enemies, with the screen unlocking after the current wave is dispatched.
Eventually, you’ll meet with that stage’s mini-boss, after which the game will switch to its other mode of gameplay for a full-on 3-D robot battle.
What makes Gear Senshi Dendoh so exceptional is the staggering variety in attacks you’re equipped with, allowing the player to apply a bit of creativity when pulverizing foes.
You have your standard beat ‘em up melee attacks, but by executing Street Fighter-style directional inputs, you can unleash a number of additional attacks, including a rising hurricane, and a thunder blast.
Like most beat ‘em ups, you can grab enemies while up close, at which point you’re given numerous ways of following up, like taking to the air for a power-bomb, or throwing an enemy upwards for a juggle combo.
By holding the attack button, you can block, while moving forwards will trigger a powerful dash attack, which’ll slowly drain the battery meter found below your health bar. Refills are dropped by nearly every enemy killed, however, so you can essentially use it whenever desired.
Stages are typically simple and linear in design, with most of the fun deriving from the immense depth of combat. Nonetheless, the environments do an adequate job of mixing things up, offering plenty of unique weapons to find and pick up, as well as the occasional hazard or two.
There are also a pair of flying auto-scroller levels late into the game, which make for some variety, although they’re hardly the game’s shining moments.
Not only is Gear Senshi Dendoh my favorite game on the original Playstation, it is a worthy addition to Natsume’s irreproachable line-up of action titles dating back to the 8-bit era.
Its only noticeable downside is its lack of a harder difficulty option. Perhaps Natsume is saving that for Gear Senshi Dendoh Reloaded.