Friday, 7 August 2015

Bullfight (Arcade)

The first thing I should mention here is that the title of this game isn't any kind of metaphor, it's literally about bulfighting, and it's pretty grisly, so if you that might upset you, you should probably skip this post. It's a top-down single screen game, it's pretty fun, atmospheric enough, but also quite flawed.

You play as a torero in the bullring, and the controls comprise a joystick and two buttons. Obviously, the joystick moves you around, while the buttons are for cape moving and stabbing, respectively. You score points for leading the bull with your cape, stabbing the bull, leading it into a wall, opening a wound on its back and killing it. Upon killing the bull, you go onto the next stage, with progressively fiercer bulls, and eventually, a second bull gets added to the mix.

The bull can trample you, which temporarily immobilises you, he can knock your sword out of your hand and even sometimes break it (if this happens a guy at ringside will throw another one into the ring after a couple of seconds) and he can gore you with his horns, resulting in a lost life. Since your torero wears a different-coloured outfit for each life, does that mean that they're literally being killed in the ring and it's a different guy each time? Who knows?

As for the flaws, there are two main ones. The first is that cape movement is kind of awkward and stiff. I think the direction in which the cape rotates is determined by the relative positions and movements of you and the bull, but I'm not entirely sure about that. The second is that the bull's movement can sometimes feels erratic and random, even when you're leading it with your cape. I guess this adds a little realism, since a bull is a huge, angry wild animal and should be a little unpredictable, but it can also make the game feel unfair.

If you can stomach it, though, I do think bullfight is a fun game, despite its flaws and the fact that it's pretty shallow in the long run. Interesting that other than this, the only other videogames based on real-life bloodsports that I can think of are those Cabela rifle animal hunting arcade games. I guess that's because of the unpleasant subject matter and the inherent unfairness in favour of the human participants that most of these sports hold. I'd also like to point out before I finish that I am totally against bloodsports of all kinds in real life.


  1. Interestingly, this is one of a handful of games that run on the hardware inside of my Flicky cabinet (a Bally-Midway 6-pack) and I really should try playing them all through emulation just to see if I should get any ROM chips/boards featuring the other games.

    1. so you can play any of these games? i know my hero/seishun scandal is pretty good

  2. Here's the list.