Tuesday 27 October 2015

Bad Street Brawler (NES review)

Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: Mindscape Inc.
Released: 1987

Bad Street Brawler is a side-scrolling beat-em-up and one of only two games to officially support the Power Glove.

You play the role of Duke Davis and your mission is to protect the city streets from lawbreaking thugs. There's 15 Force Move attacks in the game but only three are randomly assigned to you before each stage. Examples include a Pile Driver and an Aeroplane Spin and they can be activated with the A and B buttons pressed separately or simultaneously. The range of enemies is varied and includes Punk Rockers, Spies and even Gorillas! Although you never gain weapon abilities the bad guys carry items such as bats, knives and guns; if you defeat them and collect these weapons you'll gain bonus points at the end of each stage. The gameplay is unbelievably repetitive with nothing to break up the action and getting through all 15 stages is a test of endurance. The time limit in each level is very short so you'll find yourself rushing through rather than enjoying the beat-em-up action. Using the Power Glove is very unresponsive and your character moves too fast so you can't really pull off precise attacks. It's pretty unusable but thankfully you can plug in a standard controller and things work much better. The attack moves are decent but I would have preferred to pick which ones to use in each stage rather than having them randomised; this would have added more strategy and increase replayability. It would have also stopped the frustration that sets in when you're given useless attacks (i.e. Arm Spin) or moves that take too long to wind-up (i.e. Roundhouse Kick). The music is painfully generic with standard blues riffs and the tracks soon get repetitive and irritating.

Bad Street Brawler is a poor game with little variety and not enough freedom in the attacks. It's a bad first showcase for the Power Glove and while you'll be forced to reach for a standard controller just to make it playable you still find yourself getting bored very quickly.

Random trivia: The game was also released on the Amiga, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS.

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