The year 1986 saw some of the worst man-made disasters in world history: the Challenger disaster, the Chernobyl meltdown, the Sumburgh crash, the release of a new Slayer album, Hands Across America and the sudden emergence of awful one-on-one fighting games for the Nintendo.
The world would recover, however, and go on to make 1987 the best year that ever happened!
In Urban Champion, you play one of two apish street brawlers who punch one another for no readily discernible reason. You have two attacks, a weak on that’s quick and a strong one that sends your opponent tumbling like an extra in one of West Side Story’s musical numbers.
I have heard it said that tragedy is when I stub my toe and comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die. If this is indeed the case, then Urban Champion has one of the funniest endings of all time!
John’s Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0. It’s a fun game for a very short period of time, but it lacks replayability, primarily because if you lose at this game, you probably just suck at video games.
I’ve long held that pro wrestling games would be more realistic if instead of inputting attack combos, each player had to input a “cooperation combo” to perform the moves in such a way that it looks realistic and no one gets seriously hurt. Sure it might not be quite as entertaining as a frantic button-mashing fest, but it would more accurately mirror real professional wrestling. In the case of this game, however, such a system would almost certainly be more entertaining. Frankly, it would be hard-pressed to be less entertaining.
The game has one game mechanic – you punch your opponent. Then, you input a direction and your wrestleman does a move based on that. Back and forth like this until someone can pin someone. There is nothing more to this game, and nothing interesting happens the entire time.
John’s Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0. This entire game – 100% of it – boils down to who punches who first. Positioning is largely irrelevant. The presence of a tag partner in no way changes the dynamic. Moves don’t have different chances of success or allow varied escapes. It’s just punch, lock, lather, rinse, repeat.
Year: 1986 Genre: Platform – Static Publisher: Nintendo
As you should be well aware, Miyamoto made Donkey Kong in 1981 because Nintendo couldn’t get the contract to do a Popeye game even though they had already designed it. Shortly thereafter (1982) Nintendo got the rights to do Popeye. In other words, if they had waited just one year to publish, one of two things would happen: either one (or even two) of Nintendo’s most popular franchises would have never existed, or Popeye would now be a character in the newest Super Smash Bros. game.
This is a game wherein you are a sailor with superpowers, the source of which is eating his veggies. Your ham-fisted foe is Bluto, an engine of pure hatred so mean he had a dream he beat himself up, and if you get that reference, I’m very, very sorry. Anyway, apart from Bluto, and the occasional aggressive bird, the only thing that can kill you is not picking up absolutely everything that your stringbeany girlfriend Olive Oyl drops from the sky onto you, be it hearts (representing, I dunno, blood for a life-saving transfusion), musical notes (her magnum opus, no doubt) or letters to the word HELP (which can be caught in any order and are used to build some sort of metaphysical ladder of assistance).
John’s Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0. There’s no variety in the enemies, and the same basic patterns handily confuse the hell out of poor, stupid Bluto time and time again. There’s no challenge and nothing to look forward to except the same endless pattern of three levels. And before the obvious argument is made, please try to remember that Donkey Kong at least had little bonus bits your could pick up, more than one variety of enemy and more than one way to beat the levels. That warrants at least a one point boost.
Before I do a review of a game with “ninja” in the title, I just want to clear the air. I’ve already been pretty critical about a martial arts title for the NES, so let me just state the following: ninjas are awesome, especially in video games. Having said that, the 80’s were a different time. You know how everything is about zombies now, and how for every excellent zombie movie or game, there are about three hundred utterly forgettable crap movies and games that no one will ever watch or play a second time on purpose? That’s how ninjas were in the 80’s. What I’m really trying to say is, when I came to this game, I knew I had played it before, but simply could not remember which ninja game it had been.