Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Spikers Battle (Arcade)

The Dreamcast, despite being, in most respects, an incredible machine for people who wanted to bring the arcade home, had only two beat em ups released for it (as far as I can remember, at least). And one of them was Soul Fighter. The strange thing about this is that SEGA had a series of beat em ups in arcades at around that time, the Spikeout series, and two of them even ran on Naomi hardware: the fantasy-themed Slashout, and this one, Spikers Battle. They would have made great additions to the DC library, but I guess it's all just more evidence of SEGA being the Paul Heyman of the videogames world: unmatched in terms of creativity and talent, completely terrible when it comes to making money.

Anyway, Spikers Battle is a strange case, in that it's a beat em up that thinks its a fighting game. It controls like a beat em up, has weapons strewn about the place like a beat em up, and most of the stages see you fighting a boss and some goons, like a beat em up. If you were to compare it to any other game, the most apt would probably be the original Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun/Renegade, with its small stages and gang warfare setting. But on top of all of this, it has a strange fighting-game rounds system in place of lives, whereby to advance past a stage, you have to finish it twice, and to get a game over, you have to fail the same stage twice.

I haven't been able to find any information on how multiplayer modes work, but I'll assume it's like the other Spikeout games, and has multiple cabinets linked together, so maybe the rounds thing makes more sense in that context? Anyway, it's pretty much the only problem I have with this game, and it's not a big one. It's fun to play, looks really cool, everything's fine except for that one thing.

Obviously, if you're brave enough to tangle with Naomi emulation, or rich enough to tangle with Naomi ownership, Spikers Battle is one of the games I recommend you look into. It's a lot less brutal in terms of difficulty than some of its stablemates, too (I'm mainly talking about Slashout here, which is a very difficult game).

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