Like fighting games? Well, these games will make you think otherwise! Last week, the Sega Addicts released a list of our Top 10 Best Fighting Games on Sega consoles and it was a time of celebration and joy.
This week is a little different.
Click the jump to find out games that have the potential to break even the most devoted fighting game fans love for the genre.
Mike Kyzivat: Ah yes, Budokan, I remember you well. The fighting game before fighting games were fighting games. no fireballs, no hyper combos, no move cancelling, no resets (unless you count resetting the game because you wanted to play something else.) This is as good as it got back in 1989 for fledgling fighting game fans like myself. There is not much to this game, you can train in one of four dojo’s: Bo staff, Karate, Nunchaku and Kendo (sword fighting with wooden swords so no one looses a limb) Once you entered the respective dojo you can practice different moves for that style by yourself. If you wanted more of a challenge you can go back to the courtyard and walk to the sparing mat were you can spare with an AI or human oponnent. When training you can press the attack button to strike, or you can hold a direction to change your stance and attack in a different way. or if you were feeling especially randy you could perform a more complicated move. Like for instance you could twirl your Nunchaku around your arms just like Bruce lee by pressing down then up and the attack button, and then hold the button to keep twirling them around.
Now you are probably asking yourself: “but Mike this doesn’t sound all that bad” And I will say that in 1989 no it wasn’t so bad, given the only other games were data east’s Karate or the original Street Fighter, but for today it is more then arcane and out dated. Like Kathy Griffith outdated. Because, a lot of the moves were needlessly difficult to pull off. If I remember right Karate had you holding a button to lift your leg and then pressing forward for a front kick and back for a high kick, very impractical in an actual fight. Speaking of complicating things, not only do you have to deal with the crappy controls you also have a ki meter at the bottom of the screen next to your stamina (or life bar) that depletes the more you attack. So the more you attack the less effective your attacks will be until your ki rebuilds. And as your stamina bar depletes it gets harder and harder to get your character to perform the move you want, so now instead of holding down a button and pressing a direction to get a slow kick off, you get nothing because you are too tired to kick, only after the 3rd or 4th try can you get the kick off (and this is in addition to the input lag that plagued fighting games at the time). Vitrua Fighter this is not.
Why are you doing all this training you ask? Well because you are going to enter a martial arts tournament at the Budokan in Japan. Where you face about 12 people in a tournament that for some reason allows bladed weapons. Like a man with a sickle and chain, or a spear. You can choose from your staple weapons: bo, karate, nunchaku, or kendo, but you can only use them a certain number of times during the tournament. This is supposed to add strategy to the battle so you are forced to use weapons sparrinly but the problem is that the AI is pretty dumb and will just stand there as you continue to jump kick them, twirl your nunchaku in front of them, or jump strike them with your bo, which is how I won most of the matches. The entire tournament takes about 10 minutes and your done. And what do you get for getting to the end? One measly win screen and a train ride home back to your dojo.
That’s the entire game, besides the terrible sound effects for each move. I still can’t get that Aiyeee!! sound out of my head. I know this game is meant to be more of a simulation of martial arts, but if I wanted that, I would just learn Karate, it would be easier then dealing with those controls. I guess the only good thing that can be said of it now is that this game invented the training mode which wouldn’t see the light of day again until way after the introduction of Street Fighter 2. (Street Fighter Alpha 1 or 2 was the first to have a training mode, or the first I remember)
9. Heavy Nova
Pat Reddick: Oh good old Heavy Nova: part platformer, part fighter, completely awful. Like the worst of the worst games out there this game lets you know it’s awful right away when you actually start trying to play it. The controls are some of the worst out there (up is jump in the platforming sections, even though you don’t even use the C-button!) and this is coupled with an almost lack of collision detection. Characters are basically invincible when they’re ducking or in the air (what kind of fighting game doesn’t allow for air-combos?). The timer is ridiculous too; each “second” on the counter lasts about 5 real-life seconds. Though this can be seen as a good thing since any given attack does very little damage, so a real 99 second counter would time out long before anyone was close to being defeated. Although, there is some kind of power bar below your health bar and if it drops below two points you cannot physically move anymore. That certainly makes fights go by a little more quickly, but it has got to be one of the stupidest and cheapest things I’ve ever encountered in a video game. The platforming sections are incredibly easy to manouever, but are made difficult by the game’s sluggish, worthless controls. To say this game is unfinished would be an understatement. If it were a hamburger (or rather on it’s way to becoming a hamburger) it would still be somewhere between the slaughterhouse and the butcher shop. It’s not even undercooked ground beef because it hasn’t even been ground yet. No one would eat that, and likewise no one should play this game.
8. Rise of the Robots
Alex Riggen: Rise of the Robots was an extremely over-hyped game before its release. Touting amazing pre-rendered graphics, screenshots of the game looked generations above what most 16-bit games were capable of. Unfortunately, the good traits stop there. The special moves were extremely complicated and hard to pull off and the basic controls were so simple that combat becomes dull and repetitive quite quickly. Then there’s the fact that the cast of fighters are so ridiculously unbalanced that 1 on 1 matches were completely pointless. My recommendation: look at some screenshots online and you’ll have experienced all you need to of Rise of the Robots.
Josh Newey: Clayfighter is one of those games that I inexplicably drooled over as a youngin’. Maybe all that drool was due to the fact that I was apparently an absolute neanderthal. This game is insidiously boring, laughably unfunny (see what I did there?), and just plain ugly. Not-really 3D graphics were a big trend at the time, what with faux realistic-looking games like Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat and Primal Rage taking the spotlight. Clayfighter did it’s best to capture that same magic, but all of the ideas were presented in some of the most unimaginative character designs imaginable. In fact, the only reason I’d ever recommend playing this trashy trash is to experience the depth of crapness to which some of these puns sink. There’s Ickybod Clay (A Headless Horseman parody), Blue Suede Goo (an Elvis character), Blob (a freaking BLOB) and Taffy(…I’ll give you three guesses). To this day, Clayfighter has retained a pretty strong cult following, if only because it stands out as one of the Troll 2s of videogames–It’s so hilariously terrible, with fighting gameplay that’s so frustrating and awkward, that it’s swooped straight by the lowest depths of badness and relocated some semblance of appreciable charm. Then again, that’s with the SNES version. The Genesis version? That one digs right back into the depths of bad.
6. Ballz 3D
John Doherty: It seems redundant to say that a game named Ballz is crappy but that’s how I’d like to start. Ballz is crappy. Ok now that that’s out of the way lets explain why. I have always hated games that used a bunch of balls put together as their art. It didn’t look good then and it sure doesn’t hold up now. I understand that it’s less of a technical burden so they can do some impressive stuff on the side, but it just looks so bad.
Ballz really doesn’t feel like a fighting game, it feels like a “press the button as many times as you can really fast” game. Games are rarely won by skill and simply by which fighter smashed their head the fastest against the controller. Even if you did want to try and use abilities good luck pulling them off, the fighters feel so stiff that putting anything together is a painful experience.
Also the game is very content with being one very childish innuendo. Even down to the marketing. I remember seeing an add for this game growing up that told me to tell my Mom that I wanted Ballz for Christmas. This joke may have been funny in pre production but I have a hard time believing that everyone was still laughing in month 2 of development.
At the end of the day Ballz is a terrible game that was trying to cash in on the fact that it’s a big dirty innuendo. The game feels rushed and the joke feels forced.
5. Sonic the Fighters
Sven Wohl: Sonic the Fighters is bad. It’s not terrible, it’s not mediocre, it’s just bad. The whole concept confuses me to begin with: A fighting game based on the Sonic universe? But Sega decided to roll with it, constructed a story about a new space station from Eggman and the need to collect the chaos emeralds in order to destroy it. Ever enemy character has a chaos emerald and you need to beat them up. Now, I have a question: Why does Sonic need to beat up Tails and Amy in order to get an emerald from them? Are his social skills that low?
Besides the questionable logic of the plot, the games is insultingly simplistic in its mechanic. I burst through it in my first go in nine minutes. I just kept pressing A and won almost every single match. That’s a really bad sign for a fighting game if you ask me. If there is one positive thing to say about this game, it’s that the environments look nice and varied but outside of that, the game is sub-par in every respect. Animations are lackluster, the move set is very limited, AI almost non-present, the music forgettable and the overall design lets me assume this is just a cash-in. Avoid at all cost!
4. Time Killers
Mike Kyzivat: This is not so much a game as it is a shoddy example of capitalism. At the time this game was made Mortal Kombat was at the height of it’s fame. So of course some no name company (turns out it was IT, should have stuck with golden tee) wanted to make money with a video game, but didn’t want to put a lot of unnecessary elements into said game, like playability, creativity, polish, or controls. They were only concerned with the money part, therefore the only thing to be put into Time Killers was gore. And that wasn’t even all that great.
The story reads like a B-movie version of the Eternal Champions game. People plucked from time to battle the grim reaper, blah, blah, blah. all the characters are bland and unoriginal. Generic viking and caveman, lame alien knock off (because every video game ever made after aliens has to reference it), Knight in shining armor, futuristic token black bounty hunter, you get the idea.
The game play is no better. you have five buttons: left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg (does this look familiar MK people?) Oh but here’s the curve ball, there is also a head button, that’s right folks you have a whole button dedicated to your head. The reason for all these buttons is because if your arms or head take enough damage it will be chopped off and you will have to fight with out that part. So you can end up losing both arms and have to fight with just your head and legs, but I would think by that point the least of your worries is finishing the round. Then comes the Tom and Jerry cartoon bull shit where you are restored completely in the next round, even if you get your head cut off. (which is an instant kill) Each character is at least given a weapon so cutting off the limbs makes a little sense, but the fighting is filled with stiff kicks, lame punches, special moves that are not much different then the normal moves, bad animation (I swear to God that no one move is more then 3 frames of animation and most moves are less then that), and horrible graphics And I’m talking about the arcade version of the game, I can’t even begin to think about how bad a GENESIS port would look.
You have been warned.
3. Battle Monsters
Tom Kyzivat: Not enough jump buttons. The amount of jump buttons in a fighting game can obviously make or break it, as so many fallen titles have learned over the years. Unfortuately, Battle Monsters was just another example of a game with too few jump buttons. Three was admirable, but any game worth its medal requires at least five. I can look past the terrible digitized graphics, featuring costumes that looked like cutting room rejects from Mortal Kombat III (yeah, III). I can overlook the horrible gameplay, which felt a little bit like playing Jenga on a trampoline. Hell, I can ever forgive the repetative music that sounded like the throw-away tracks off of one of those cheap Halloween CDs you find at Walmart. All of these things I am willing to let slide, if they had just given the game at least a couple dozen more jump buttons.
Could one argue that the campy, cheesy monster movie appeal makes up for the game’s lack of everything? No, because there aren’t enough jump buttons.
Could one submit that playing the game as a kid has given it a silly, endearing quality that makes it a fun game to this day? No. Your opinions and childhood are wrong, because I need more jump buttons.
Could one propose that the developers probably had a three-day weekend to make the game, and that’s why it’s so bad? No. There is absolutely no excuse for a fighting game to have less than 650 distinct jump buttons. If you argue otherwise, then you are a charlatan, and I say good day.
And now I got sarcasm all over my keyboard. Thanks a lot, Battle Monsters.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
Scott Morrison: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters can be best summed up in one word: lazy. Tournament Fighters seems like a logical idea. The main characters are ninjas so let’s make them fight. But for some reason, the coolest turtles on planet Earth are going to fight clones of themselves instead of their arch nemesis: Shredder. Let’s avoid the epic battle that every turtle fan wants to relive as their favorite mutant. Instead of fighting Shredder, Konami decided to make them fight clones of their friends Casey Jones, April O’neil, and for some random reason, Ray Fillet. By the way, the designer of the games thinks bugs are cool, so they are going to create a mutant scarab character for the heck of it. That last phrase may be a bit of an exaggeration, but Sisyphus was probably the most effort put forth in the Genesis version of Tournament Fighters, which is not saying much. I can officially say I never completed this game without the help of a Game Genie because the computer fighters somehow only used special combos when their health was low and would move significantly faster than my own fighter. Had I earned a victory without any aid I feel I would have continually been annoyed as the game pulled the “I’m not really the last boss” maneuver not once but twice. What’s worse is that the final boss is an even more of a tease as it is Shredder’s “daughter.” After fighting so many “final” bosses, one would think that Shredder was behind everything but he actually was never mentioned in the entire game. My TMNT fan-rage knows no bounds, but this game did everything in its power to determine my limit. If you remotely enjoy the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or fighting games, cover this cartridge in some sort of sludge and throw it down the drain where it belongs. Maybe somehow it will mutate into something stronger, or wiser, or maybe it will just land in sewage.
1. Shaq Fu
Flake: Be honest: You clicked the jump already knowing Shaq Fu would be on the list.
It was a nice day in Japan and Shaquille O’Neal was sightseeing before the big charity game when he found a Kung Fu dojo (Wait, Kung Fu in Japan?) where he was mistaken for a legendary hero. He then went on a journey, fighting total strangers to save some kid who he then beats up before also beating up a mummy wearing the top half of Shredder’s armor from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hey, that’s on the list, too!
Yes, this game is as bad as you have heard. Yes, there is actually a website dedicated to collecting and destroying copies of this game. The music is high pitched, symphonic pain. The graphics are a cross between Mortal Kombat for the Sega Master System and bathroom graffiti in an elementary school. The controls are okay; the only button you need for this game is the power button.
Oh and here’s some irony: You know how sometimes the Sega Genesis got the short of the stick when it came to games shared with the Super Nintendo? Not with Shaq Fu! Shaq Fu for the Sega Genesis offered players secret areas, a full FIVE extra playable fighters, and a longer story line! How about that?