Sunday, March 28, 2021

Rival Turf (Super NES, 1992)

Wrapping up Brawler Week with a game that looks totally rad to the max: Rival Turf, known as Rushing Beat in Japan where it had a bit more of an audience. I have no idea what I'm getting into here. Is this one of Nintendo's earlier attempts to be young and hip like Sega? Who are these guys? Are they in the game?

Jaleco, even the name of the company is like "we're rad to the max"

We get a choice of two characters for this one. The lack of stats is really apparent after playing the SOR series. No clue what the difference between these two guys is, except that one of them is qualified to get $500 a month from the city of Oakland and the other isn't.

The game begins with quite possibly the fugliest world map I've ever borne witness to.

I chose Jack ::checks notes:: Flak. He's a super-generic guy. The only thing keeping him from being Cody or Axel is the fact that he's wearing a red jacket. Yeah, I guess he IS supposed to be the guy from the cover.

Weird how the red jacket is so short though. That only looks cool when Aerith does it, sir.

The game just went up a couple points in my book: You can German Suplex foes! Hell yeah, this is really fulfilling.

Far as I can tell, this game is about as generic of a beat 'em up as humanly possible. You walk from left to right and beat people up. These tall crackhead beanpole guys (seen on the right here) are the biggest threat because they can combo like an entire life meter off of you. No difficulty levels in this game, which is of course a mistake. It could definitely be a bit easier / have an easier setting, and it could also use a harder setting because I imagine this would get old fast after you get through it.

The first boss is this guy called "Genie" who wears...a genie outfit. Did I step into the Aladdin game?

I've gotta say, as generic as this game is, the music is pretty good, especially this first stage theme. It sounds very "1992 SNES", much like the SOR soundtracks sound very Genesis. I can hear a lot of instrumentation here that I could hear in other games from the era. It actually has a bit in common with Secret of Mana of all things. Unfortunately, no other tracks in the game reach the soaring heights of this first stage, but it isn't a bad soundtrack either.

Stage 2 is the Stadium Stampede, as our hero fights goons in a stadium. I don't know what's goin' on.

The jump kicks look and feel snappy, and he puts his arms way out while doing them as is tradition.

Next boss: A yellow guy.

We get the requisite beat 'em up elevator section...except there are no enemies. This is pretty weird because it definitely feels like something is supposed to happen here.

The next boss is Slasher, this total PITA who dodges a lot. The character sprites look kind of uneven, like the torso / upper half doesn't go with their lower halves sometimes.

After finishing the first 3 stages, you fly to Brazil for the last 3. Most beat 'em ups that have you take on drug kingpins have you doing that locally. It's wild to see a game actually send you to the home country of a villain to take them on.

Little do our heroes know...they're actually flying right into a trap, as the Predator has arrived and it's hunting season.

I'm just kidding, no aliens here. Around this point I switch characters to see what the other guy has to offer. Alright, this dude isn't the other guy from the box...and he doesn't even look like the other guy from the character select. He seems like he might be based off of Macho Man Randy Savage a little bit.

He does wrestling moves like powerbombs, which is cool. Other than that, he's pretty terrible. He moves really slow compared to the other guy. In theory, he does more damage, but it doesn't seem like it when he's spending most of his time getting wailed on. Characters like Max and Haggar worked because not only did they hit harder, they also had more reach. This guy doesn't, so he ends up being a punching-bag.

The next boss, seen here tickling Nelson. NOT THE RIBS!

Yeah, this guy makes the game like 5x harder to play. I'll need to switch back on the next game over. It's too bad. Like, I want to like the game but it's clearly outclassed by a mile by the other beat 'em ups of this era from Capcom and Sega.

In the second-to-last level I finally find some weapons I can use that aren't one-shot throwing items, so that's cool. Gotta say though, this game gets legitimately boring by Stage 5 or so. The enemies become damage-sponges while still doing the same attack patterns they've done all game, so you end up doing these really drawn-out fights over and over again. It feels very unpolished.

Switched characters back just in time to fight the next boss, famed Lucha sensation Ice Man.

The 6th and final stage pits you against repeats of several bosses. Not all of the bosses, just 3 out of 5 of them.

Here's the final boss, ::checks notes:: "Big Al". He's apparently a Judo guy because he spends a lot of time throwing you around.

Here he is apparently going in for a tickle. "GIMME THOSE RIBS" he says.

This is a strange drug cartel.

He also does this Psycho Crusher / Rayden's "Eye-o-bob-o-lay" attack instead of a flying kick.

I defeat him with lots and lots of jump kicks. They do very little damage but it seems like the CPU has a tough time with them.

::checks notes:: Big Al is defeated, but he vows to recruit more young people into his drug cartel and rebuild it. A solid teaser for Rival Turf II, which will no doubt be getting a Nintendo Switch release soon by popular demand.

Alright, so there actually was a Rival Turf II, sort of. Brawl Brothers for the SNES (Rushing Beat II in Japan) is a sequel to this game. Legend says that it's better than this one. Let's hope so, because this one was pretty mediocre.

The heroes aren't gonna let ::scrolls up:: Big Al get away with any of this, and presumably kill him after unleashing this terrible line. Wait a minute, the other main character is a white guy? Did someone inform the character select artists about this? I'm so confused. And did they copy M. Bison's design?

That concludes Brawler Week. It had some highs (the Streets of Rage series), and some lows (everything else).


  1. Wow, it's been a while since I've heard this stage theme.

    Stage 5 is likely around as far as I ever made it in this one.

    Big Al? That's it?

    Never played Brawl Brothers. If I ever saw it at the stores I would had no idea it was this game's sequel.

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