Thursday, 25 September 2014

Big Fight - Big Trouble in the Atlantic Ocean (Arcade)

Probably the best thing about playing obscure games is when you find a game you've never even seen anyone talk about online and it turns out to be an unsung classic of the genre, and that's what i realised had happened shortly after I'd started playing Big Fight - Big Trouble in the Atlantic Ocean.

It's a beat em up, of course, and it's from the early 90s, and though the early 90s was something of a boom period for the genre, that also means there was a lot of pretty terrible cash-in garbage released then, too.  Big Fight is not one of those pieces of garbage. In fact, it's surprising it was released all the way back in 1992, since it's so packed with cool ideas. It even rivals critically acclaimed entries into the genre that came much later, like 1995's Guardians/Denjin Makai II. It's a terrible shame that it was apparently Tatsumi's last ever videogame.

So anyway, as the game starts, it appears to have a pretty typical set up for a beat em up: some bad guys are up to no good on an ocean liner and three heroes go out there to stop them. Those three heroes being, as you'd expect, an average guy (Kevin), a speedy girl (Zill) and a big strong guy (Gear). Straight away, the player can benefit from the game's first gimmick: each character has one or two fighting game-style special moves, the most useful being Zill's leaping, burning knee attack thing, performed by double-tapping forwards and pressing attack. Another thing, the characters seemingly have little or no recovery time for their normal combo attacks, meaning that the player can attack pretty much as quickly as they can press the button.

After you've taken some damage, you'll come across the next of the game's gimmicks: the anger meter. Appearing only when the player is knocked down and a low health, the anger meter is filled by rapidly tapping the attack button before the character gets back on their feet. If it's successfully filled (a knack that shouldn't take long for players to pick up), the character rises to their feet with a special attack (as in the typical beat em up health-draining all-round attack) without the health loss, and for a short time, all their attacks do extra damage and set enemies on fire. It's a nice way of giving ailing players a little help surviving just a little bit longer to the next health power-up.

A little way into the first stage, the game allows the player to choose one of three routes, though I'm pretty sure all the areas get covered eventually, this is still a pretty important choice to make, since ach of the three areas you can choose to tackle first obviously ends in a different boss, and that's where Big Fight's coolest gimmick comes in: at the start of each stage after the first, the player can change their character, with defeated bosses joining the playable roster! The bosses are a pretty varied bunch, too: there's the typical beat em up dominatrix, an offensive Native American stereotype (but offensive racial stereotypes never stopped anyone playing Street Fighter II, did they?), a bizarre pharoah character with long limbs and laser eyes, a cartoonish sumo wrestler, and presumably a few more, since I've not yet been able to complete the game.

Anyway, this game is excellent, and I strongly recommend you go and play it. It's not perfectly emulated in MAME, but there's only a few minor graphical glitches that don't affect gameplay, and don't make the game significantly uglier. Hopefully, it can start to recieve the recognition it should have got a long time ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment