Saturday, October 1, 2016

Doomsday Warrior (Super NES, 1992)

Today I'm looking at a particularly strange fighting game for the Super NES. It's going to be painful. This attempt at a hybrid of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat may not have been fun to play, but it's ripe for a look. It's a port of the aptly-named Taiketsu!! Brass Numbers for the Super Famicom.



The main reason for my playing this: Nintendo Power. I stumbled upon this game during a perusal of one of my many NP back issues while puffing a pipe in an armchair. The first thing that caught my eye was the very Legion of Doom esque character on the left. Seriously, that guy is a total LoD ripoff.

Also, pretty sure they accidentally swapped Grimrock and Nuform there. Unless the T-1000's name is "Grimrock" and the ogre's name is "Nuform".

At least the Japanese box art for the game is pretty awesome. You've got a bunch of fairly compelling characters visually (aside from the super-racist Chinese guy) and somebody flipping the bird. I think it's the LoD guy. This picture gets an A+.

The North American box-art is much tamer and fairly unmemorable. I don't think I ever even saw this in a store. It's also terrible at describing the concept of the game, making it look more like a beat-em-up (ala Final Fight) than a fighting game. Why is the main dude fighting two guys at once?

The first sign that the game isn't very good: The title screen spins in from the distant background...for a very long time. This spinning effect takes, no joke, about eight seconds before the title screen appears. Did they just really want to get mileage out of the cool spinning effect they worked on?

Normal Game and Easy Game are the same story path, only the fights are more difficult in Normal obviously. The weird thing is that Normal lets you save between fights while Easy has to be finished all in one go. Because of this, I'm not sure which one actually would be easier for a newbie to finish. 

In any case, the story of this game is simple: An extraterrestrial villain wants to take over Earth, and this nefarious overlord has sent his 7-member Doom Squad to wipe the place out in advance of his arrival. Or something. In any case, one member of the Ginyu Force Doom Squad bails on the group, deciding that obliterating a planet isn't for him or her after all. You play as that character (and choose which one that is) as they fight the rest of the Doom Squad in one-on-one combat.

The characters are the best part of the game. You've got the hero archetype guy, Sledge. He's more than a little bit DBZ-esque.

Also...Sledge? Really? That's the hero guy's name? Sounds more like the name of some beefy villain.

Here's his rival (I think...as a player of this game, you're free to make up your own story), the nefarious Layban. He is described only as "military deserter" so you know he's a bastardly scoundrel and stuff.

Finally, here's the guy from Nintendo Power. While powerful, Amon is big and slow, and probably the second-hardest character to play as.

The hardest, you ask? Why, that's...

 ...P-Lump, the Chinese character. He's essentially a joke. It took decades, but Japan has finally gotten their revenge on China.

 There's one female character. She has...leaves for hair? Also, don't these characters look like Phantasy Star refugees?

Grimrock also has a little bit of a DBZ-esque look to him. This guy is definitely some kind of extraterrestrial.

Finally, we have Nuform, a shameless rip-off of the T-1000 from Terminator 2.

Well, this game isn't very original. So far we've got a T-1000, a Legion of Doom member... and I'm guessing the other characters are all ripped off of Harlan Ellison short stories.

After you choose a character, you can fight the other six in any order. This is one innovation that the game has over other (better) fighting games. Can't remember any others with a stage select... I chose Sledge as my main, so we'll see how that works out.

Weird how Sledge is "Hero of Earth" even though he was a member of the Doom Squad who only just rebelled. Doesn't really make any sense. Maybe whichever character you choose gets the "Hero of Earth" label.

...nope. Okay, dafuq?

Regardless, I get my ass handed to me by the T-1000 and its chest-butt. This thing attacks with all kinds of weird twisty punches.

The best offense seems to be flying kicks, like most fighting games of the era.

Gotta say, Nuform is probably the most interesting character. He can form into giant blades and launch himself at his opponents.

After getting destroyed by Nuform, I try a different foe. I think the shadowy guy is the alien leader. Somehow I doubt he'd just welcome back the guy who betrayed him, even if you say "I'm sorry" really nicely. Maybe if you sing it. IS IT TOO LATE NOW TO SAY SORR-YYY

This time I fight Amon... the Heavy Metal King. He ain't sorry.

Good news is that he's a much easier opponent. Looking at these character models, one could be fooled into thinking one of Capcom's studios designed this game, but that isn't the case.

 Win a fight and you get points to allocate to your stats. This is another cool innovation, but they don't do too much with it. The game doesn't last long enough to really build up your character, and you only have time to maybe max two skills out. Spreading the points out isn't really advised; it's better to put everything into the moves that benefit your playstyle. In my case, I went for Leg Power since I'm relying on kicks.

Side Note: I'd like to hear a William Shatner rendition of "Sorry".

 "Is it...too late? Now...to say...Sorrrr...ee?"

"Cause I'm! Missing more...than just. Your...body!"

Next up is P-Lump, who the game informs us is the "Fat Bomber". At least there are no elderly characters in this game, because then every bit of text pertaining to them would be about telling us they're old.

P-Lump is a fearsome opponent...no, not really. I defeat him with flying kicks and move on. It's worth pointing out that the HP meters in this game also innovate a bit. Your health slowly regenerates over time, but only within the segment that you're on. If you fully lose a segment of health, it won't regenerate. As long as there's still a sliver of health in the segment you're on, you can regen it to full within that segment if you back off and avoid your opponent for a few moments. Since blocking negates 100% of regular attack damage, turtling to heal is a viable strategy.

I max out LEG POWER. Now my kicks do twice the damage they did at the beginning.

And speaking of legs, here's Daisy...the plant.

I wonder what the story is with this background. It's like we're fighting in some kind of futuristic arena near the Great Wall of China. Why wasn't this P-Lump's stage? (...because the backgrounds are totally random)

Daisy is another easy fight, but now things get real as Sledge must contend with Layban: His Vegeta. His Saitou Hajime.

The two are evenly matched for the most part, and the Hero of Earth will make Layban pay for deserting the army! USA! USA!

Throw attacks in this game are actually super-moves that freeze the fight for a moment and add motion-lines as your character unleashes a powerful strike. They're hard to pull off, though, as throws tend to be.

I fire back with my own throw, a super-punch that sends Layban flying.

Here's Grimrock, and he's easily the most difficult of the characters to beat. His tail has a huge reach and he hits hard. Not sure if my opponents are scaling in power along with me, but if so it'd make sense to fight Grimrock a little earlier.

Wasn't sure what to max out next so I went with Vitality. I thought this was a Max HP sorta deal, but it turns out that Vitality is just your regeneration speed. It'll be slow regardless, so points are better spent in Defense (which actually IS your Max HP more or less as it lets you take more damage).

Also, instead of Leg Power, I should have gone with Soul Power. Kicks are good for the first few fights, for sure, but later fights pretty much require that you spam projectile attacks. Soul Power affects special moves. In short, train up Defense first, then Soul Power.

...if you ever play this.

............eh.

Finally, here's my rematch with Nuform. This time I win, but it's still a tricky fight. He and Grimrock are way above the rest of the cast in terms of being difficult to defend against. Nuform's blocking animation covers him in energy rings, which is kinda cool.

 After defeating the Doom Squad, it's time to face the mysterious leader. But first...

...I must battle my mirror image! Yeah, like in Mortal Kombat. Why is this guy the "left hand of evil", though? Why not the right hand? Was the creator of this game a leftie? TRIGGERED!

Forgot to mention earlier: At the beginning of fights, your characters warp in via glowing blue spheres. Yeah, it's like Terminator.

And speaking of things being like other things, how about this background? Talk about a Mortal Kombat ripoff. The robed guy and his beefy multi-armed goon look on as I engage in a mirror match, and the multi-armed goon's pose...

...well, yeah.

In any case, I defeat Noob Saibot (Doomsday Warrior did that one first! THEY GOT YOU, MORTAL KOMBAT) and it's on to...

...Ashura, the RIGHT arm of evil. Are they insinuating that being right-handed is superior to left? TRIGGERED!

Notice how it says "3Set Match" for these. While all of the Doom Squad fights were one round affairs, the boss fights (from the mirror match onward) are best-of-three. This is a substantial step up in challenge. It's also weird and makes no sense.

Here's a sample of the extremely poor collision detection in this game. Sometimes you perform an attack and it just goes right through your opponent's body without registering anything.

Ashura uses a lot of projectile attacks, which are a pretty solid hint on how to win. With all those arms, he can easily deflect a lot of my melee attacks, so...

...I head over to GameFAQs to find out how to throw a fireball. You hold Down, then press Up+Punch. No wonder I couldn't figure it out! Interesting thing is that the longer you hold Down, the further the fireball travels. It also turns out that Sledge is the best ranged fighter, and I should have buffed his special attack stat as noted before.

After blasting Ashura into submission with fireballs, Super Saiyan Sledge finally gets to meet the nefarious bastard behind all the trouble.

And it's... Super Saiyan 3 Paladin Cecil!

...er, Main, which is French for "hand". Which is probably some kind of joke here because his two goons were his right and left hands. I don't know.

Main is pretty awesome, and hovers around the battlefield while swinging an energy sword. Like Ashura, he's really hard to stand-and-bang with, and projectiles are the way to go.

Throw those fireballs, Sledge! EARTH DEPENDS ON YOU!

Main is actually pretty easy until his HP gets down to 25%. At that point he starts throwing aura-cutter type projectiles of his own with such frequency that your projectiles become ineffective, and the key to victory then is to time a few good jump kicks over his blasts.

The fight concludes. It'd probably help if I knew who was talking in any of these cutscenes...

Main declares that Earth is going to pay the price if he can't have it, and flies into the sky to unleash his Gallick Gun. ...or something. Sledge just sorta stands there, and...

 ...credits roll. Maybe on Normal mode there's a better ending. Then again, maybe not.

What a weird game. I will say that it was fun to just pick something out of an old Nintendo Power and go check it out. It'd be a much better game if you could play as Ashura and Main. In particular, Main is sa-weet with the energy sword.

4 comments:

  1. Aptly-named, heh.

    The bird on the cover, amazing.

    No way, Sledge is a heroic name! Like the noble Sledge Hammer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Db-vzfxdEs

    Strange looking lifebar. I wonder if it serves any practical purpose.

    Oh, it does. Still the most creative lifebar I've seen was an optional mode in World Heroes. You share a gigantic lifebar that starts in the middle and then goes one way or the other depending on how well you do. So you could be down to almost no health but still have a chance for an amazing comeback.

    A FLASH KICK MOTION FOR A FIREBALL?!

    ...holy crap, you beat the game and the Earth is destroyed. Crazy.

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  2. I've never heard of this, despite the ultra-manly name. I agree with you the Japanese box art cover is better. The difference between it and the American version is an apt illustration of the differing styles of..illustration at the time. But the bird is definitely the best! ATTITUDE!

    Who would desert the military? Damn you, Layban!

    Sledge is the hero of earth no matter what? Way to lean on the scales!

    "I give up, I'm sorry." Well that is an interesting choice they leave for you to make!

    The stat idea is pretty cool, limited as it is.

    I love the specificity of "Left Hand of Evil", especially since I'm a leftie. The Western connotation is that since your left hand man is below your right hand man you haev another fight before the final boss. We'll have to see how they do it here.

    Grimlock and Nuform seem like the best character ideas. Stuff Street Fighter didn't have.

    Ah so the right IS above the left. Just like in Western culture.

    "Darn you!"

    With Main's appearance this game is becoming about hands like Kick Master is about legs.

    You beat the game and they still destroyed the earth? That's so realistic! Too realistic!

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  3. I used to have this game way, way back in the day. I bought brand new at a discount store and me and my buddy used to play the heck out of it. Sadly I know longer have a SNES collection. I've had to sale it all to take care of bills and stuff but, I still remember the cool characters from this game and how much fun they were to play. If you have the instruction manual with character info in it, I need to know the stats for Amon and Daisy for a project that I'm working on. Stuff like height and weight. I've been scouring the internet and can't find any scans of the manual. BTW, someone out there in the Mugen community ported Sledge, Layban and Daisy to Mugen format. You may find them if you look around hard enough.

    -Dan

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, I don't have the instruction manual, or I'd make with the scans.

      I've sold most of my SNES collection at this point, myself. There are a lot of games that I know I won't ever play again, and when they fetch a good amount, I spring for it.

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