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Forums > Contributor Zone > The Beat 'em Up Contest 2 - RESULTS!

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Author: drella
Posted: September 29, 2008 (07:03 AM)
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Toxic Crusaders by Overdrive

Think about what you're saying: if in your introduction you say you want to come across as an authority on a game, and three paragraphs later you say you "can't be bothered to remember the characters' names," you come across as a smug asshole reviewer. No lie. And this is ignoring the fact all those paragraphs in between seem largely extemporaneous (especially compared to the size of the rest of the review). Poor start. After that, it's just your surface level impression of the first two levels with a lot of overplayed gimmicks (you'll have the "pleasure" of doing platforming segments). Sorry, but I'm not buying a reviewer mocking the creativity of a game when he uses the word "stuff" to describe things four times. This is not how you want to come across in a review.

Double Dragon II by Overdrive

While certainly better than Toxic Crusaders, I can't say I enjoyed this one either. The introduction is meandering thoughts about the NES version which even you admit doesn't carry a great deal of weight (even though you actually say the opposite because of sloppiness). There's horrible progression from there. "First let's look at the plot" is a lead-in you should be above by now. The story sounds ridiculous, but not necessarily a sign of shoddiness, and I think that argument's lacking. Then there's the patented "moves" paragraph where... you're complaining about the tiny handful of moves of a GameBoy beat 'em up. Which still manages to be not so feeble because of the uppercut and knee drop. Though I see how this all gets fairly repetitive, I don't see how you could act surprised or incredulous or even disappointed. "And it's not just the fighting that's repetitive, it's also the graphics." Are you really using these kind of transitions?


Burning Fight by darketernal

Hohum. This isn't a great review; it too obviously comes across as an assignment and that the writer isn't particularly avid of the genre. Which is fine, I suppose, but you've still got to build a convincing case. Burning Fight is a bad beat 'em up. Even I know this. But I'm not convinced at all because too many of the major complaints here are often true of the best in the genre as well. It's easy to die in Final Fight and Undercover Cops. There are limited moves in Streets of Rage and Cadillacs & Dinosaurs. There's shaky collision detection in Altered Beast. These complaints are simply not enough to deter people that know the genre; you've also got to illustrate why they're worse or intolerable here. Another point: proofread your work. It's than, not then. Don't change tense mid-sentence (Bikers trying while dockworkers will try). Too many sentences get bogged down by extra commas or ideas that feel tacked on at the end of a train of thought. This shoddiness is untypical of your work, so it's really disappointing.

Battle Circuit by pickhut

A quick and dirty review of Battle Circuit. The recaps of a lot of the particular scenes could have been a lot more captivating; be descriptive and creative and over-the-top. Plain summaries of crazy happenings don't hit with the same impact as intense summaries of crazy happenings. And try and get some opinion or enthusiasm in there as well; the best parts here are where that starts to creep through. These reviews are also a bit better with some analysis of why this goofy stuff works (Knuckle Bash is crazier than C&D, but no one would put them on the same level). Really poor conclusion at the end. Just laziness there. This has the makings of a good review, but currently reads like a bunch of notes rattled off in a row.

BAD DUDES by wolfqueen

This would be a solid review except for the fact Bad Dudes sucks. Kidding aside, I like the descriptions here a lot. They're entertaining and enthusiastic and well-written. But this assortment of random descriptions isn't tied together very well since whatever the point was of a lot of these paragraphs, it goes unsaid. I get what the point is of a lot of them, but I think the review needs to be a little more analytical, which is a strange thing to say about a beat 'em up review but I feel it would stress some of the points (weapons are needed, jumping is tough) better. Also, "impregnating women by looking at them" and "punching kittens" are tired! See EmP writing about tile-grouting man. Creativeness goes a long way. And also, really, Bad Dudes does suck.


Robo Army by pickhut

Maybe I like this review because I already trashed a robot-based brawler and I see eye to eye with you trashing another one, but regardless, I like this review. More than Battle Circuit. It's a bit jumpy in some paragraphs and seems to grab its ideas out of the air; the pink buggy in the first, the "dash back" in the penultimate. Those kind of things give the impression this was written quick and without much care. But still, I think the core points of this review are very believable, and that's the main place I've been finding fault with a lot of reviews thus far. Too generic complaints like a lack of variety or limited moves don't work without specific examples... mentioning the disappointment of not being the pink buggy for longer, or the specific attack soldier are invulnerable too, the limited health meter, the boss rush... these are the convincing details a lot of the other reviews were lacking. All that's missing is a more polished presentation here.

Crystal Crashers by espiga

Simple and elegant come to mind. Which should be fitting, because this sounds like a different breed of beat 'em up even though its roots are still firmly in the genre. There's certainly enough covered here to pique my interest in Castle Crashers. Its leveling system sounds like that of The King of Dragons, except not completely superfluous, which would be really cool. But the truth is, I don't think this review covers enough material for me to want to purchase it. Just in general, I'd like to know more about the combat besides the boss battles, and maybe a few more examples of the game's sense of humor... they can't all be that bad. This is a great read, but maybe a little incomplete. But when the best advice is simply "add more" you're certainly on the right track here.

Mutation Nation by Janus

Well I'm glad at least the first two levels of my recommendation won you over! This is a quality review that takes a subtle look at the high points and the low points of a beat 'em up, and probably one that covers a major fault of a lot of these games: too many aren't designed with beyond the third level in mind. Still though, I don't think the review illustrates just how tedious this game gets, especially for knocking it down so much after the terrific beginning. I get the feeling you found it pretty bad later on. But I'm not -exactly- sure why besides the fact the enemies don't change a ton (which is a fair point, but keep in mind, even Final Fight blew it's load early). Encountering just a couple new enemies seems like more the norm than the extreme to me. Then again, the intro makes it clear you're a Streets of Rage guy....


Nightmare Circus by EmP

Great review. This is what I wanted this competition to be. A short, goofy stupid game. Creative and imaginative descriptions (the sort of guy who takes you upstairs and shows you his bathroom tile... nice). A fun approach. A solid closing summary that ties together why it doesn't work at all. This is how you tackle a beat 'em up. Moreover, the game is called NIGHTMARE CIRCUS. About a guy who goes to beat up CIRCUS ZOMBIES and FLYING BIRTHDAY CAKES. Do your homework people! Awesome game choice.


Final Fight by bluberry

The complete opposite of what I expected from another Final Fight review. It's calm. It's witty. It's self-referencing (smash up your car with pipes... HA!). Yet it comes across with the same hard-hitting attitude that characterizes Final Fight. It shows how strategy makes the game cooler (kicking Rolento out of the sky). And most importantly, I love the general, prevalent theme. This is not repetitive. Shmups have the same enemies over and over. Run and gunners have the same enemies over and over. But beat 'em ups, far too often, taken the brunt of the complaints here when too many others were just as guilty. Somehow, even I never argued that before, and I think it works well here. This review is as bold as Final Fight. It's one of those reviews that you can only write if you've -really- spent too much time with a game. Maybe you didn't think this one was coming together well, but it did.

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Author: darketernal
Posted: September 29, 2008 (07:08 AM)
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Thanks for the comments though I don't agree. I am actually quite a fan of the genre since I played all of those games. You mention said problems crossed all over the various beat'em ups and I agree. The thing is, Burning Fight has all of them packed in the same game.

As for proofreading, that will go on Emp's head. I need to whip him back into shape.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: September 29, 2008 (09:34 AM)
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When essentially in a pure RPG frame of mind, churning out two brawler-type reviews in quick succession for a contest almost as an afterthought just to participate in said contest might not have been the best of moves.

I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle

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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: September 29, 2008 (10:37 AM)
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Huh. I guess for once in his life, EmP was wrong.

Well, thanks for the comments anyway. I honestly wasn't expecting this to do well. That's why the RotW surprised me so much.

I kind of get what you're saying with it not flowing together or whatever, and I agree that I would have done better to try and transition the stuff better instead of being all over the place, but I really did write that to be kind of random and silly.

I also Tried taking EmP's advice to just write as you go with it, which produces pieces like this I guess. Only with me, half of it follows that advice and the other follows my usual style, so that probably didn't help any.

I guess the review's just one of those things that works for some people but not others. Most (if not all) of the people I talked to seemed to like it, anyway, and Jason liked it enough to award me that victory, so I guess it's worth something.

I'll be honest, though; I haven't exactly read (or played) that many beat-em-up reviews, so as far as my "lack of creativity" goes, I didn't really realize those things were overused.

Guess I'll try harder next time.... Or something.

Thanks again.

Congrats to EmP and boo for being favorites again. EmP's resally did read better after editing twice (you're welcome), and boo's was pretty much good from the start.

[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: September 29, 2008 (01:37 PM)
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Apologies on my fumbles with DE. I did write three reviews of my own in about 24 hours, so was word-blind by then. That's my excuse and I'm sticking ot it.

Thanks for the placement and the kind words, I appreciate the time you took to read and comment on the review. Congrats to Boo who was convinced he'd be picking up the wooden spoon here and kudos to everyone who showed.

For us. For them. For you.

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Author: pickhut
Posted: September 29, 2008 (02:10 PM)
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Ha, blu really believed he was gonna place last in this contest. Bet he'll be surprised once he sees this topic.

Thanks for the comments you provided for both of my reviews. I thought Battle Circuit was the better of the two reviews I wrote, but maybe I should read through both again. Congrats to blu and emp, and good job to the rest for trying their best.

I head spaceshit noises.

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Author: JANUS2
Posted: September 29, 2008 (03:04 PM)
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well done bluberry.

thanks for the comments, drella. I think perhaps I didn't do enough to explain why Mutation Nation is repetitive in a bad way (generic character with ordinary attacks, boring stage design, no new ideas after stage 2) as opposed to Final Fight which is repetitive in a good way. Or something. Maybe I'll revise it.

"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad

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Author: bluberry
Posted: September 29, 2008 (07:49 PM)
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but cool, thanks man. good to hear it went over well. maybe I'll move that over to my (now) main account, but pick's right, I had no confidence in that review.

good job to everyone else too.

and thanks for judging/organizing this, too.

edit: "I still call it great" was probably the most inspired moment in the review even if nobody else will get it.

Oh no, it's a Goomba!

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Author: Halon
Posted: October 01, 2008 (10:04 PM)
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I added this contest to the archive page. The link to it is in my blog.

Also congrats to Bluberry and everyone else and thanks to Leroux for judging this. I knew I couldn't write anything decent for River City Ransom or Double Dragon and didn't want to half-ass another contest.


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