Wednesday, 4 March 2015

SEGA Master System Brawl (Mega Drive)

So, this is a homebrew, by a guy named Bonaf on the SMSPower forums. It's pretty good, too. The concept is that it takes characters from a bunch of the Master System's most iconic games, and puts them in a one-on-one fighting game, using only the abilities they have in their original games. (If I remember rightly, there was a similar fangame made for PC by a Japanese developer years ago, but with Famicom characters).

The roster is surprisingly big, and contains most of the characters you'd think of first when you think of the Master System, from SEGA's big names like Alex Kidd, Opa Opa, Joe Musashi and Sonic down to lesser-known heroes like Psycho Fox and Master of Darkness' Dr. Social. The only quibbles I have with the roster are that the absence of any characters from Masters of Combat or Virtua Fighter The Animation seems a bit odd, and that Bonaf has used Riki from Black Belt, rather than Kenshiro from Hokuto no Ken. (Though there are some little nods to HnK in Riki's pre-fight quote and winpose).

The presentation is pretty good. Obviously, the music and most of the graphics are taken from various Master System games, so though they won't meet the usual high MD standards, they're still colourful and charming. There are some original graphics, though: each character has a winpose, and though I'm not 100% certain on this, in think they're all-new.

Now for the most important part: how the game actually plays. The controls are simple: there's a jump button, an attack button and a "special" button. The special button only seems to be used by one character though: Psycho Fox uses it to change between forms. Obviously, every character's movements and attacks are different, since they've all been taken from different games and even different genres, and as a result, the balance isn't really that great. Certain characters (Sonic, Opa Opa, and Steve (of My Hero fame) in particular) totally dominate against almost any opponents, while others (Bean, Dr. Social, Wang) can struggle to land a single hit on their opponents.

What I don't want you to take from this is that SMS Brawl is a bad game, because it's not. Despite the balance issues, it's a ton of fun to play, and a great love letter to a system that doesn't get the love it deserves, especially on the NES-worshipping internet, and I totally recommend that you go get it and play it.


  1. Hey,
    thanks for the review, I'm glad you like the game ! (and yes I do have a google alert on my game, that's why I found your blog)
    I just wanted to add that the game isn't finished yet, and in the final version the special button will be used for (almost) every character. The special attacks will also help a little to level the balance issues.

    1. Hello! Thanks for the info~! I'll make a new post when the finished game is released then, I guess!