By some quirk of fate, Ocean has given this compilation of fight games a sensible name. Tch. Somebody’s head will roll for this, no doubt. I’ll tell you what – you could ring up Ocean and ask to speak to their Head of Creative Titling, and I’ll just bet they’re ‘unavailable’. Ho ho, eh? Yes, quite.
The point of this infamous coin-op conversion is dubious in the extreme. Pitfighting is basically illegal boxing for money, and the game strives to be realistic in its portrayal of the violence, (Hence the digitised graphics in the arcade original.) Whenever you hit someone there’s a massive splash of blood, and at the end of a round you get ‘brutality bonuses’ for being particularly violent. Even the excited spectators get in on the act, flailing away at you if you get too close. In a word, ugh. Yet! I don’t mind games like, say, Target; Renegade (where you do even more horrible things like bash people up with snooker cues) because of the obviously cartoony graphics and plot. Psychologically revealing, eh?
It doesn’t help if you concentrate on the actual gameplay. The graphics change size as you move in and out of the screen area, which looks clever but makes distinguishing the players ve-e-ery tricky. As with so many other games, you’re reduced to hitting every key at random because you can’t quite see what’s going on. The dodgy response times don’t help, and neither do the exceptionally aggressive opponents. Basically, you haven’t got a chance. Two-player mode improves things a little – you can double-team the baddies – but not enough to make you want to play the game more than twice. Awful.
Well, Steve rather neatly summed this one up just over there, thus cheating me out of about £25. (But only freelancers get paid by the word. Ed) Rats. I forgot. Ah, how I remember those happy freelancing days. Getting up at midday, writing a review in about an hour then going back to bed. (So not much different from now then. Ed) Ha blimmin’ ha. (What’s this about Jonathan working only an hour a day? Colin) (But Colin, that was only a – Ed) (Right, we’ll replace him. Colin) Help! Linda – do something! (So who were you thinking of replacing him with then? Ed) What? Oh no! Who can possibly save me now? (Fear not, trembly mortal! I, Super Bracket Man, will protect you. Be off, impertinent publisher! Take that, uncouth editor! Super Bracket Man) (Aarghh… uggghhh… etc. Colin and Linda) (Another job well done. No thanks necessary, little man – your happy face is enough reward. Farewell! Super Bracket Man) (Long pause.) Well. WWF. As I said, Steve’s summed it up rather well. All I’ve got to add is (a) I was even more irritated by the multiload than Mr Laundry, (b) it was written by Dave Box of Pixy the Microdot fame and (c) for me, the game quickly got repetitive because of ALL THAT WAGGLING. Good fun to start with, but no staying power at all.
Okay, Final Fight’s graphics are big. Very big, in fact. But they move with all the grace and fluidity of Mr Bean. In a daring snap of the fingers at physics, characters leap across the screen at you without seeming to pass through the points in between. And when two or more baddies attack at once, the mess of pixels on screen becomes completely impenetrable. You may as well play hiding under the duvet. In fact, I think I’ll give that a go right now. (Sounds of someone pulling a duvet over their head.) Right, now I’ll hold down fire and hit all the direction keys at random. Come back in a few minutes and see how I got on. (Intermission, with light music.) Oh, hello again. Well, I ploughed through the first three levels without doing anything remotely approaching playing a computer game. Even the end-of-level baddies with their incredibly long energy bars proved no problem. In fact, the only compliment I can pay Final Fight is that when the hero jumps, his leg grows quite a bit. Oh, and there’s a two-player mode, but to be frank I’d rather challenge a friend to a game of Trivial Pursuit. No, that’s a lie.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. When Ocean announced they were pulling out of the Speccy market, at least they went out on a high note with The Addams Family. Returning with this atrocious compilation does nobody any favours. Super Fighter just goes to show what’s wrong with licences – the names may be big, but by golly, the games are preposterously bad. And why 128K only? All three games are multiloads. Only WWF offers any kind of gameplay, and even that’s not as good as the £4 Tag Team Wrestling. If you received a letter tomorrow, put together using words from old newspapers and saying that if you didn’t buy Super Fighter your entire family, including Jacob, your cousin from Compton Dando whom you thought dead but who was in fact living under an assumed name to escape his debtors, would be killed, I’d recommend you buy the compilation. Otherwise, do anything – even detour through the Country Music section – to avoid it. (Hello! I’ve just the strangest dream. I was asking Colin something and all of a sudden some loony in tights started chucking us around. Then he hit me with some sort of memory-dissolving ray, and after that it’s just a blank. Ed) No, really? How odd.