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Brutal: Above the Claw (Sega 32X) artwork

Brutal: Above the Claw (Sega 32X) review

"Haven't I played this before?"

I will state that when I heard of the first Brutal game for consoles including the SEGA CD I was a bit interested being that it featured cartoon animals beating the fur out of each other in an era when fighting games was all the rage and everyone and their grandmother would shell out their own game in hopes to compete against big names like Capcom's Street Fighter II among others. Anything else beyond that there is absolutely no reason as to why anyone would ever bother buying its sequel on the 32X being that its just the same game with a few more characters tossed in and nothing else of interest at all.

I am not kidding either. Somehow GAMETEK decided that its near impossible to muster gameplay in their previous title would be more than enough to leave it intact on its sequel, something that was one of the biggest reasons as to why it was hard for me to even bother playing it besides wanting to quench my curiosity to see if there was any merit into wasting time with such a game. You still need to register a character at the very beginning to keep record of the wins and losses along with moves learned between matches, a ridiculously LONG password system to save said character recorded, and the patience to try and even win ANY match against cheap AI opponents who spam their special moves while everything is played in ludicrous speed making it feel like you are playing a cheap unplayable flash game from newsgrounds. The soundtrack, while being a bit decent, itís just too loud and annoying to bother with the overall gameplay experience. Sound effects and voices are the same for every single character including Foxy Roxy who is a female character.

Other modes of play include practice mode which forces you to add a second player to use it, something that makes no sense if the only thing this mode is used for is to, well, PRACTICE, a versus mode which is the same thing as "practice," and a "head to head" mode where you choose 3 characters to fight against 3 characters selected by the CPU and move them around on a flimsy map until they end up meeting with each other and begin said unplayable fighting matches. Other than that this is just a minor update to the previous Brutal, something that makes it feel like GAMETEK decided to rip off Street Fighter and create a "champion edition" of their own.

The new added characters include the bosses from the previous game plus two more who pretty much make no difference whether you choose them or not knowing that you will have the same type of miserable experience as with any other character thereof. I will admit that Psycho Kitty looks plenty interesting of the lot, but aside from this oddball of a character there really nothing much to this game at all.

If gameplay were to be more refined to at least resemble something you could possibly enjoy then Brutal Above the Claw would had been a novelty of a fighting game, something you would buy and collect just to admire the type of games any company would bother creating and perhaps playing it from time to time for nostalgic reasons. However this would not be the case here. If you had played the first Brutal game then you have played Above the Claw as well, although loading times here are non-existent.

And that is not saying much.

CptRetroBlue's avatar
Community review by CptRetroBlue (September 12, 2020)

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