So far this month we've reviewed fake follow-ups and games starring strong women. So what's next? Second their fighting games, of course. It's a week of fighters that don't quite match up with Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Best of all, all five of the games reviewed this week are for the Sega Genesis. Join us as we try to wrap our minds around A Week of Second Tier Fighting Games!
CONTEST: Can you guess what games I'm reviewing? Below you will find clues for to all five games I'm reviewing. Tweet me @DefunctGames with your guesses for a chance to win a download codes and other valuable prizes. The person that gets the most right before Friday wins!
Accolade had the right idea. Sensing that Sega's Virtua Fighter was the future, the California-based publisher decided to set out to make their own 3D fighting game. Unfortunately, they decided to do this with the limited hardware of current 16-bit consoles. Their solution was Ballz, a clever workaround that successfully mimics the sensation of 3D fighting on an outdated system. That's all well and good, but I wish they could have figured out how to mimic good gameplay.
From a technical level, Ballz is something to behold. The idea is admittedly innovative, tricking the system and our brains into thinking that it's a real 3D experience. Each fighter is made up of a collection of multi-sized balls, all shaded to give off a three-dimensional look. The balls use cartoon physics, bouncing around when they get hit and snapping back into place as if they are connected by elastic. It's a unique visual that was borne out of dealing with outdated hardware.
Coming off a string of popular 2D brawlers, this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fighting game feels like the logical next step. With a cast of colorful characters and a whole arsenal of diverse weapons, the Turtles are a perfect fit in a Street Fighter II clone. And the good news is that it mostly works. It may not be able to stand up to the competition, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters is a solid first stab at the genre.
All things being equal, the Sega Genesis got a raw deal. Compared to the Super NES game (also called Tournament Fighters), this 512 color version is lacking. It tells a completely different story and offers a new batch of characters. What's more, this Genesis game only uses two buttons, half of what was available on Nintendo's 16-bitter.
As far as generic fighting game titles go, Deadly Moves is one of the worst. It sounds more like a cheesy Steven Seagal film than a proper Street Fighter II rip-off. And if that wasn't enough, it's actually the third name Kaneko came up with. On the Super NES, Deadly Moves is known by the slightly less violent Power Moves. And both are based on the innocent sounding Power Athlete. Who knew that one game could have so many bad titles?
You play Joe. That's right, Joe. This isn't one of those fighting games where you choose between eight unique characters. On no, this is a role-playing game, of sorts. You play the role of Joe, who levels up his strength, speed and endurance by defeating bad guys inspired by Capcom's Street Fighter series. It's an interesting gimmick that ultimately works against it in the long run.
Shaq Fu [ System: Genesis | Pub: EA | Release: 1994 | Score: B- ]
In a sane world, Shaq Fu is a game that shouldn't exist. What kind of lunatic thinks it's a good idea to make an overgrown basketball player the star of his own fighting game? It's a crazy idea that is ripe for mockery. For years I've seen people list this as one of the worst fighting games of all time, even going as far as to destroy cartridges in protest. I guess I must be going mental, because I had a really good time with this unorthodox fighter.
Before you light the torches and dust off the pitchforks, I beg you to hear me out. I realize that Shaq Fu isn't a great fighting game. It's certainly not on the level of Street Fighter II or Samurai Shodown. I also realize that it's a goofy concept that seems even more ludicrous two decades later. But that doesn't keep it from being an enjoyable adventure full of interesting characters and good looking backgrounds.
Primal Rage [ System: Genesis | Pub: Time Warner | Release: 1995 | Score: D+ ]
Ever since I first saw Jurassic Park on the big screen, I wondered what it would be like to play a dinosaur fighting game. Forget tiny humans, I wanted to take a Tyrannosaurus Rex into battle and literally chew on my enemies. It's an idea that practically writes itself, what could possibly go wrong? Primal Rage is proof that sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for.
Based on the 1994 novelty arcade fighting game, Primal Rage pits monstrous dinosaurs against each other in order to win worshippers. Think of it as Mortal Kombat meets Jurassic Park. In fact, Probe is the same company that brought Liu Kang, Raiden and the whole gang of Mortal Kombatants to the Genesis.