Digimon Rumble Arena is one of the few games I own for the Playstation, and it is one of my favorite fighting games. Compared to the other ones I own it is a bit blocky and primitive in terms of graphics, but not in any way that actually detracts from the experience. Similarly, the combat itself is also fairly simple, but no less fun for it.
        There isn’t much for attacks, really. An up attack, down attack, and a simple three hit combo for each character, and a throw. But every character has two special moves. For instance, Agumon has Pepper Breath, shooting out a small fireball, and Claw Attack, where he does a different three hit combo involving leaping in the direction he is facing. Most of the moves are like that- one projectile, one melee attack, but not all.
        There is also a Digivolution meter above the player’s health that fills up as you take damage, deal out damage, and so on. What it does actually depends on the character. There are ‘basic’ Digimon characters, to put it simply, which at first are all you can use, and then transformed ones. All of the basic characters are at the Rookie level, basically the child-like phase of their growth, and all the transformed ones, while their actual level varies in one particular case, they are all more adult like in general form. One of them, Stingmon, is a Champion level, still a step up, while all the others are Megas, the very highest level. However, for gameplay purposes they can fight on equal footing.
        Anyway, when the meter is filled, Rookie Digimon can transform into their stronger form until the meter runs out. These new forms always have stronger attacks, entirely new special moves, and they’re generally larger, which does mean they can potentally get hit by attacks that would have otherwise flown over their heads, but the advantages far outweigh that rather small risk. In addition, they can use a third super move that does far more damage.
        For instance, Agumon turns into Wargreymon and gains the special moves Great Tornado, where he spins and quickly moves in any direction you point, and Mega Claw, an attack with less range than Pepper Breath, but it acts as a much bigger wave, allowing it more of a chance to actually hit since it cannot be jumped over. His super move, however, is Terra Force, where he creates a giant orb of energy and flings it at the enemy. However, using this super move will revert him back to Agumon. However, if you are playing as a Mega to start with, they stay in that form, but they in turn have to build the meter up to full to use their super move, rather than at any time.
        That’s the differences between the two. To play the Arcade mode, which is how you unlock new characters, you at first have to play as the Rookies already unlocked. Beating it with Agumon will unlock Wargreymon as a normal playable character, but the transformations aren’t available for use in Arcade. However, there are a number of secret characters unlocked by beating the game with specific characters. Beating the game with Agumon and Gabumon will unlock Omnimon, the fusion of their Mega forms. Since this isn’t a transformation in the game, you can use Omnimon in any mode.
        However, there are two actual bosses in the game, and both can be unlocked in your first play through. First I’ll cover the bonus boss, BlackWargreymon. Being a bonus boss, you normally won’t face him, and the only way to do so is to meet the right condition. However, it is a fairly easy one- just play through Arcade mode up to the semi-final battle without losing a match. You can lose a round, but you can’t lose the actual match to your enemy. If you can manage that, the semi-final battle will be interrupted, and Blackwargreymon will face you in the place of your previous foe.
        Being a Mega, he can hit a lot harder than normal, and as his name will imply, he has similar attacks to Wargreymon. Nearly exactly the same, in fact. One of the more notible differences is their throws- Wargreymon will grab an enemy, lift them up into the air, and toss them down, but Blackwargreymon will grab them and just punt them away with his foot.
        His Dragon Slayer is pretty much identical to Mega Claw, and Black Tornado is the same as Great Tornado, except, well, black. However, I should not that his Dragon Slayer will stop other projectiles if he uses it in time, meaning it acts as a shield and an attack all at once. His Black Tornado, as said above, can go in pretty much any direction, but it can also activate in midair, giving this boss much more maneuverability than you likely have.
        His Terra Destroyer, however, does work a little differently from Terra Force. When Wargreymon uses it, he always jumps up into the air and throws the energy ball at a 45 degree angle downward. Blackwargreymon, on the other hand, will throw it from his standing position forward, or, if he is in the air, do it the way Wargreymon does it. This gives his version two ways to attack.
        In any case, if you fail to defeat him, you will have to play through arcade mode again to try again, but if you win, you can play as Blackwargreymon in any mode. Moving on past him, we have the final boss, Reapermon. No matter who you play as, he will always be there to greet you at the end in his unique and rather bizarre stage. Most of the game has a lot of similarities to Super Smash Bros. in that there are items around the stage, obstacles that appear, and you can even fall off the stage, though in this game that doesn’t mean you die, but instead just lose some health and reappear.
        Reapermon’s stage has nothing except the background and himself. Kind of like Final Destination, except with Final Destination you can still fall off the stage or be knocked out of bounds and lose. Here, no such thing is possible, and it’s just a battle to the end with the final boss, with no distractions. Reapermon himself is a Mega character, and a very deadly opponent even if you go at him with a Mega character of your own.
        His first move, Grim Slasher, has him slash twice and dash across the ground. On other stages this may have some issues with falling off the platforms, but here there is no such risk. If he hits you with the first slash you are almost certainly going to be hit by the rest, and he almost always follows it up with his second move, Bone Duster, which makes a large flame right in front of him, or right where you will be after a Grim Slasher.
Being hit by both will always be sure to stun you, leaving your vulnerable to more attacks for a time, unable to move, potentially for him to set that combo up once more. It’s a very simple combo, but very effective. Bone Duster can also work to block projectiles and stop the opponent in their tracks.
        His super move is Bone Cyclone, which produces a giant flaming tornado around him, with himself in the middle. It will attempt to pull you in, forcing you to flee from Reapermon, and if you get pulled in, it may actually push you out of the tornado, then back in a second time, and has a high chance of stunning you. Like the rest of the super moves, there is a small point where you can hit him before the move starts, allowing you to cancel it out, but this isn’t very likely, and running is simply the best strategy.
        However, if you can dodge his Bone Slasher, you can attack him from behind during or after that attack, when he will be vulnerable, and it is possible to block his attacks, though I do not advise you to block the entire combo, as that could be bad for your health and he may be smart enough to do a down attack to break your guard by knocking you off your feet. However, provided you can press the attack and dodge that combo, you can defeat Reapermon, and unlock him.
        He’s just as dangerous to your foes as he was to you- they did nothing to boost him except put him on a favorable stage, meaning he can very well rip through your foes with ease. I enjoyed playing as him as much as I did facing him, and I would recommend this game to any Digimon fan, or anyone just looking for a simple fighter.

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