If a game like Last Bronx had been released nowadays instead of in 1997 it would undoubtedly be, in one way or another, connected with some hip hop artist. It would feature some crappy music by horrific - but commercial successfully - artists like 50 Cent, Ludacris, Pharrell or Missy Elliot. But in those days video games and hip hop weren't as closely intertwined as they are today ... which is a pity actually, since Mobb Deep still made decent music back then, and the Wu-Tang Clan was at the peak of their musical career. Maybe some of their music could have saved Last Bronx from being a run-of-the-mill 3D fighter. (Then again, maybe not - the 3D fighter Wu-Tang Shaolin Style, which was released some years later on the PlayStation, turned out to be one of the biggest pieces of garbage ever.)
I kind of feel bad for saying that Last Bronx isn't a good game. They tried so hard to make 'the best Saturn 3D fighter', but unfortunately it failed. But let's start with the positive. Last Bronx is probably the fastest 3D fighter you can get on your Saturn. The animations are very fluid and the jumps are so fast they look a bit unnatural, especially when you are accustomed to the Virtua Fighter series. It looks great when the characters hit each other with their weapons: it shows some kind of collision spark without any sign of slowdown. Last Bronx even surpasses Fighters Megamix in the degree of speed.
But that doesn't mean it is better than Fighters Megamix, or Virtua Fighter 2 for that matter. The biggest problem of Last Bronx is its unoriginality which makes the game dull as ditchwater. Out of the characters I only found one - a man with a purple suit and a stick named Toru Kurosawa - that was interesting, the rest of them, with their hard-to-remember Japanse names, are all a bunch of boring assholes who don't add anything special to the world of 3D fighting.
While the game moves fluid and the animations are excellent, it still doesn't look as good as Virtua Fighter 2. The characters aren't as beautifully rendered as in that game, and they all look a bit boring, with many dull colored clothing choices. The backdrops are nicely done, but it is the same thing here: it is all too boring. When I think about it now, this game bored the hell out of me. I never really had a problem not liking a game for its unoriginality - since most games are a bit alike - but it happened here.
The control handles fine, but it isn't very inspired either - most of the moves are replicas from Virtua Fighter 2 characters. The music and sound effects are well done, but I didn't feel they were anything out of the extraordinary either. As I said, there is no classic hip hop, but you got some cheesy Japanese singing on the title screen.
Last Bronx could have been an excellent game if we pretended that Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighters Megamix never happened. Now the lack of trying anything new or different defines the game mediocrity. I felt it was one of the most superfluous 3D fighters I played. It may be the fastest Saturn 3D fighter, but Virtua Fighter 2 still is the best looking and Fighters Megamix still is the most fun out of them all. If you are a lunatic who wants to play every fighter available you can pick it up, but otherwise I recommend you to check out those two other titles first.