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Burning Fight (NeoGeo) artwork

Burning Fight (NeoGeo) review

"I've long enjoyed the art of combat. I get my kicks by travelling through thug-infested streets with naught but my own body to defend me, or a trusty iron pipe to bash in the skulls of bikers, hippies, lawyers and various other sorts of human refuse. "

I've long enjoyed the art of combat. I get my kicks by travelling through thug-infested streets with naught but my own body to defend me, or a trusty iron pipe to bash in the skulls of bikers, hippies, lawyers and various other sorts of human refuse.

Just imagine the possibilities given to us, even if we use these games as nothing more than a vent for all our frustrations. The characters filled with personality, be it that of a manly ex-wrestler turned mayor or a young black kid on roller skates, you'll find some joy in playing at least one of the stereotypical characters in their romp through the cities filled with crime.

Thus, I dove into Burning Fight with an equally burning passion, adamant to teach the hooligans who not to mess with. Here, we're told that two of New York's finest officers took a case leading them to Japan to discover the activities of the Yakuza, be it in their drug deals, murders or simple vandalism. There, they meet with a police officer who, because the Japanese people are known for their kindness, offers his assistance without even being asked. Naturally, again, like all Japanese people, he is a master of the ancient fighting arts. From these three I had to choose a stalwart champion that represents me as I fight my way through legions of enemies, and here is where the first problem starts.

All of these characters suck.

I am aware that this is a fighting game, and I don't expect JRPG depth in my brawler's cast, but shallow or paper thin personality is still better then none at all. First you have Duke, the basic middle-ground between power and speed who deals with enemies in a flurry of fists and feet before finishing them off with a familiar (if not patented) twirling uppercut. Second is the Japanese police officer, appropriately named Ryu, whose main power is speed, enabling him to hit and evade faster then the others at the expense of being as weak as a newborn child. Third is Billy, a hulking mass of a man who depends on strong, although extremely slow, attacks mixed with lumbering football tackles.

After choosing Billy as my avatar, the crusade started and immediately I learned the bitter truth and that is that it misses everything that was supposed to be fun in beat 'em up games. All of your characters have only two basic attacks. One with their hands and the other with their feet. There are no combinations or variations to the style, you simply punch or kick. Certainly, there's a hyper move unique to each character which will destroy everything around you at the expense of your health, but aside for that, everything you ever thought could impress, amuse, or, at the very least interest you, is non-existent.

As you travel, you find the usual assortment of thugs. Bikers trying to mow you down on their metallic horses, tubby dockworkers squashing you flat with gravity-defying jumping-arse-attacks. Speaking of jumping, by far the most annoying enemies are these fellows who carry iron chains and jump around like monkeys whipping rapidly in all directions. They have low health to handicap their high speed and acrobatics, but the thing is, you will feel extremely lucky every time you manage to land a blow on them. I remember that Billy managed to hit them once every tenth attempt. This might seem fair if you could accredit this to their speed alone. The hit detection system is so flawed that sometimes you'll land a perfect punch and watch as your arm goes through them if they were in the middle of undertaking any sort of action against you. They, however, do not miss. Ever. In the end, the only way how I could deal with them was by utilising my special move which took them down, but did the same to my health bar.

You'll need all the health you can get; dying is depressingly easy. Once an enemy lands a single blow, it's very possible he'll launch into and unblockable combination of attacks that are more than enough to kill you with, leaving you nothing to do but hopelessly watch your energy bar dwindle into nothingness.

The only good part is a few bosses that you will meet along the way, and by good I mean that they're not completely generic. You'll face a concubine with a dagger fetish, a retarded version of Hulk Hogan who tries -- and often succeeds -- to knock you out with elbow lunges, clotheslines and dropkicks, and, of course, the obligatory martial artist boss who will parry the majority of your attacks, glow red, and counter attack effortlessly, dealing massive damage with a single blow.

And when you are finally done with everything? When you manage to travel through every single part of Japan, dying countless times just to see all your work rewarded? After you kill the final boss, you would expect some sort of conclusion, right?

Well, nothing of the sort happens. Your character just flexes his manly biceps before a «stage clear» sign and that's it. Alas, we will never know if Duke and Billy got that promotion or if Ryu utilised his potential and became a famous martial artist like his namesake from Capcom.

Take on the Mad Gear gang once more in Final Fight, or find your missing buddy yet again in Streets of Rage. Pick a random gang and cave in their skulls. Odds are, it will be more fulfilling than the trudge through Burning Fight

darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (September 24, 2008)

Occasional reviewer of random stuff.

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