Monday, April 5, 2021

Brawl Brothers (Super NES, 1993)

This is the sequel to Rival Turf that I didn't know existed...and neither did anyone else. They should have said something on the box.

...wait, they did, but only on non-U.S. versions, which have "Rival Turf! 2" on there. And I just realized I've been spelling the name of Rival Turf! wrong this whole time.

"Brawl Brothers"...Jaleco should sue Nintendo over that whole "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" thing. Nintendo was capitalizing off the respected name of BRAWL BROTHERS.

At least this game gives you difficulty levels, unlike the first one. Though the enemies are damage-sponges that take forever to beat, even on Easy. What's Angry Mode? ...I don't know.

The two guys from the first game (3rd and 5th) return, plus 3 new characters. I go with the female pro wrestler because that isn't something you see very often in these games.

You have to choose two characters, and have the option to switch between them when you run out of lives. This is interesting, because the three characters you don't pick end up becoming bosses in the game. You have to defeat them to get them to join the team (aka be selectable). Not sure if this is because of mind control or what. The game explains NONE of its story.

This is a pretty standard beat 'em up, though the controls are a bit more fluid than the usual (you can move around while striking). Rumor had it that this was a significant improvement over its predecessor so let's find out.

Unfortunately the screen dims during pauses. I do like the comic-style exclamations when you hit foes. Fun stuff.

Being a pro wrestler, Wendy has moves like the powerbomb and piledriver.

There are only four levels, but all four of them are REALLY long. The second half of the first level is this sewer that actually repeats endlessly if you don't take the right set of doors. The game gives you no indication which doors are the right ones.

The diving drop-kick looks pretty sweet. Unfortunately this game isn't sweet! Who thought it was a good idea to put an endlessly-repeating maze in the first level?

I actually burned through like a third of my total lives just getting through level 1, because I was doing the same areas over and over again trying to figure out how to get to the end of this level. At first I thought the level was just super-long, then I realized I was seeing some rooms repeating. Eventually I had to check a guide. Why'd they put this newbie-trap here? How many kids tapped out on this game on LEVEL ONE because it was designed like this? It isn't like Nintendo Power covered this game so you couldn't go there for help. And did it have to be a sewer?

The first boss is that ninja guy from the character select. Immediately I realize that boss life meters are excessively long in this game. Much like the stages themselves, it's like the developers didn't make too much content so they just elongated everything they did make.

The next stage is the jungle, where you fight contras. So, this takes you to South America like the previous game did, interesting.

The gimmick that lames up stage 2: There are mines all over the ground that you have to watch out for. Sometimes enemies will step on them, at least.

We get the requisite elevator ride, and unlike the previous game, it's got enemies on it. Specifically, these guys that grab you and hold onto you a lot despite your efforts to break free. Good to see Andrew Cuomo made it into a video game.

For weapons you've got standard melee weapons, but more importantly, this shotgun. It actually sets enemies ablaze for some reason, and has unlimited shots (until you get hit and lose it). Unfortunately you have to be PRECISELY lined-up with a foe or it'll miss. As seen here. How did this miss?

At the end of stage 2, you battle the hero of the first game in a SOLID STEEL CAGE. Though if you chose him for your party, you fight a different character here.

Hack - as he is now known - is rescued, and joins the team. That blond guy didn't do anything!
The text scrolls suuuuuper-slow, so here there's a moment where you think it's actually going to say "kick some ass"

I bet that's why they made the text scroll slow. Just so players would think that. The kids will love it!

Stage 3 takes us to a high-rise construction site, of course. No brawler is complete without one.


Next is another really ill-advised maze section. Yep, Stage 3 brings back Stage 1's mechanic of not knowing WTF you're supposed to be doing. There are a bunch of elevators and each one gives you multiple choices of which room to go to next, so it's purely trial and error whether you get through the stage without exhausting all of your remaining lives.

After an excessively-long stage 3 (seriously, the stages in this game go on for WAY too long) we battle the other main character from the previous game, now called Slash. ...Hack and Slash, huh?

He has appropriated Dhalsim's YOGA FLAME~! and uses it to good effect.

He says...the same thing as the other guy. And he may have Dhalsim's moves, but he's a total M. Bison clone. They also can't decide whether he's a black dude or not. In the game he is, in the character select he is, in cutscenes he isn't, in the ending he isn't, on the international box cover of the first game he isn't.

For the final stage I change things up a bit and play as Hack. This stage has you fighting across an airplane. I'm going in at a severe disadvantage for the final stage because of all the lives I lost wandering around in the sewer stage at the beginning while it looped endlessly.

Aside from lives starting to get low at this point, attrition is setting in otherwise: This game just isn't fun. The extreme length of the stages makes for a tiring journey, and the fights get very redundant very fast. So by this point you're just ready for the game to be over and instead you're fighting through one last ultra-long stage while your lives dwindle to nothingness.

The last few rooms have the most aggressive foes in the game and they're complete damage-sponges. I mean these fights just go ON AND ON.

Mostly the enemies just like to grab you. They grab you and just sorta...hold on. And every time you fall down, it takes ages for your character to get to their feet. Pretty much every negative about the game is becoming extremely noticeable at this point, much like a relationship where the couple involved are tired of each other and now noticing every little thing they don't like about the other.

The final boss is...this guy. I think he's supposed to be Ice Man from the first game. What happened to ::checks notes:: Big Al?

Yeah, that's Ice Man, except he's gone from Muay Thai to staff-fighting.

Here he is from the previous game. Did they mistranslate Hack as "Flak"?

Well, considering Brawl Brothers is supposed to be a superior sequel, I have to say I had more fun with the previous game. The sheer length of the stages and damage-spongeyness of the enemies in the second game is unreal.

This guy is pretty tough until I discover his weakness: Spamming Hack's special attack. It can semi-stunlock him, and it does more damage to him than it does to Hack.

And the game is mercifully over. It isn't often that I regret playing something, but around halfway through this game I definitely began to regret my choices.

Why are several of the main characters all beaten up? They didn't do anything!


  1. One kinda cool thing about this game was that a specific button combination turns this game into it's much, much, much superior Japanese version. Why it's in there is anybody's guess, but it's there.

  2. It sounds like they added a number of things... and not all of them were great additions.

    Take that Dieter! You and your mazes!