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SummaryShockingly Inept Fighter
The GoodThe title screen was passably interesting. And there is a unique "releasing the evil soul" animation sequence following battles in the story mode. Final boss character design is fairly cool. Control is surprisingly sharp.
The BadAmazingly, it is the most simplistic fighting game ever made, there are only 6 characters (and one is a doppelganger), not counting the final boss (who can reportedly only be played with a cheat code). There are two scarce modes, and no options at all, so no setting difficulty, music, sound, etc. The main story mode can only be played with one character--the story's main hero.
Despite the sharpness of the control, it's also laughably pathetic with only a single attack button and a jump button. That's right, you don't press "up" on the D-pad to jump in this one; there's an actual button with jumping assigned. With only one attack button, and approximately a single special move per character, the game is bare-bones at best, and fights almost always boil down to button mashing the one attack button, or doing the one special move repeatedly. Characters also have their own throw/grapple move, which is also extremely easy to spam during gameplay since, as you may have guessed, it uses the single attack button.
Two-player "fights" always take place on the same background/stage. Individual character stages are bland and uninteresting when not outright visually offensive.
The game has a limit of only three continues to get through the story mode, and of course, this can't be changed as there is no options menu.
The computer, in the story mode, can very easily spam that single attack button far better than a gamer can, which results in some annoying gameplay.
Character designs are largely uninteresting. The characters with longer ranged weapons have clear advantages over those with shorter weapons, and since there's no depth to the gameplay, there's an uneven feeling to the gameplay. No life is lost at all from blocking, and there's no difference between high or low blocking.
The Bottom LineOverall, the game feels like a beta or tech demo that somehow was approved for sale as an actual game title. The control is sharp, but moves are extremely limited and depth is non-existent. It's bare minimum game design at best. Playing it for half an hour with or without another person pretty much runs the gamut of the value of the game.
On the SNES, it's clear this game was released during the first "fighting game" silver age, if you will. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and the fifty thousand fighting games SNK was putting out ruled arcades. Even early fighting games, titles that still passed as beat-em-up arcade titles tended to feature more depth in the fighting and gameplay than this game. There's just no excuse for the bare-bones design found here.
To put it another way: My six-year-old son likes pretty much every game I let him play. After a single two-player bout in this title, he was quickly denouncing it as terrible. Even he could tell that a fighting game with just one attack button is stupid.