Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII (Mega Drive)

There are a lot of unlicenced fighting games. There was a fairly lengthy article/review
round up of a bunch of NES ones on the old insertcredit site. As a subgenre, it doesn't have
a great track record. With the exception on Kart Fighter on the NES, most of the ones I've
played have been practically unplayable. Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII shuns this long held
tradition, though, by actually being fairly fun.
You know it's going to be good when you see the intro (or, if like me, you are impatient and
skipped theintro, when you see the character select screen): The roster is made up of
characters from 6 different games, plus real life! Really! The whole roster is Ryu (Street
Fighter), Geese Howard (Fatal Fury), Kyo Kusanagi (King of Fighters), Goku (Dragonball Z),
Ryo Sakazaki (Art of Fighting), Cyclops (X-Men) and real life human beings Michael Jordan
and Mohammed Ali! I don't know if there's any last boss or endings or anything, because I'm
rubbish and can only win 2 or 3 fights. I'm going to assume there aren't any, though.
All the fictional characters are ripped straight from their respective games, while the two
sportsmen are semi-original sprites. Semi-original as while they are obviously newly drawn
for this game, all their animations are just traced over Lucky Glauber and Heavy-D from King
of Fighters 94's American Sports team.
Some of the stages look familiar too, though I can't tell if they're all stolen or just some
of them. Or if they're ripped directly from their original games or just copied by sight.
One or two also have a similar graphical style to backgrounds seen in other Chinese Mega
Drive games, like Shui Hu Feng Zhuan for example. Some of them are animated though, which is
a nice bit of quality for a bootleg game.
As for how the game plays, it's alright. The game only uses one punch and one kick button,
the characters all have both specials and supers (which is extra cool, since most official
fighting games on the mega drive didn't have supers!).
The specials and supers don't always work when you want them to, though. And sometimes they'll just happen of their own accord, too. I hate to lower my standards for a certain
kind of game, but in this case, i'm going to say it works well enough for what it is.
Even with its flaws, it's still leagues ahead of your typical unlicenced fighting game, plus
the gimmick of having a bunch of heroes, a villain and two sportsmen in the same game is a
nice novelty too.
As for sound, it's pretty good. No horrible tortures of the MD's sound chip to make your
ears bleed, and a fair bit of speech, too. The one that sticks out most being cyclops'
famous "OPTIC BLAST!". Amusingly (and inexplicably), the music for Ryu's stage is the Mighty
Morph'n Power Rangers theme.
One last thing: If you want to play this, you'll probably have to resort to a rom. There was
a guy selling actual cartridges of this and a bunch of other unlicenced Mega Drive games on
ebay, but he got shut down, proving yet again that copyright lawyers are nothing more than
that robot putting up the "NO FUN ALLOWED" sign from that old Sonic comic.

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