The Average Gamer

Retroreflection: SNES Scrolling Beat-’em-ups

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Retro games, eh? A lot of love out there for them, from the casual to the collectors. Here at The Average Gamer, we love games from all eras, and I’m pretty safe in saying that all of you have a favourite retro game, and maybe even still play it. Welcome to a new fortnightly feature in which I round up what retro titles I have been exploring, some for the very first time.

My problem is that I have a lot of old favourites, having started console gaming with the NES right through to today’s Wii U, Sega Master System through to Dreamcast, Xbox, Playstation and so on. It’s a welcome distraction from the constant wave of new game info and a chance, in some cases, to relive childhood moments.

Finalfight2-2This month, I’ve been hands on with a genre that is now almost extinct: the scrolling beat-’em-up. 8 and 16-bit consoles were home to the best, including my 2 picks today. Final Fight 2, an exclusive to Nintendo SNES and Virtual Console platforms, was out to right the wrongs of the port of the arcade original; only 2 playable characters to choose from (no Guy), multiplayer was omitted entirely, as was the industrial level, no screen transitions, and no more than 3 enemies on screen at once! Did I mention no Guy? Ridiculous! Final Fight 2 however rectified those problems; 3 playable characters (still no Guy?!), actual multiplayer, enemies all over the place. Marvellous!

FF2 also proved to be quite difficult on single player. In fact, I failed at the first attempt on Normal, and settled for Easy, which meant no ending. Even then Rolento (also omitted from the first port) was still a bitch. This was the Final Fight SNES fans deserved after a somewhat hollow conversion of the original, particularly the lack of multiplayer (and NO GUY.). Final Fight 2 more than makes up for it, and is up there with the likes of Streets of Rage 2 also.

My favourite scrolling beat em up is Teenage Mutant Ninja (sorry – Hero) Turtles: Turtles in Time for the SNES. ‘Hero’ due to the censorship of TMNT in the UK from the start of the franchise’s initial popularity, due to the fears of children using Nunchaku and searching local sewers to find their new heroes. Despite that censorship, Michaelangelo’s Nunchaku are present in the game, a game you spend the best part of an hour kicking the shit out of everything that comes near you. Although a port of the arcade with the same title, TiT was a title that wasn’t just thinking ‘how do we port this?’, but also ‘what can we do different, or better?

turtles-in-time2The answer to that question came in the form of Konami’s use of the Mode 7 graphic capability; allowing you to throw an enemy at the screen, plus also the creation of an F-Zero style level towards the end. It was an important feature as throwing an enemy into the screen was the most efficient way of dispatching the numerous Foot Soldiers coming from all sides, plus 1 boss relies on this technique to progress. Plus it’s fun and easy to perform. Turtles in Time showed that in 1992 developers were starting to use the home platforms to their strengths. It’s just a shame that 1) it was for a genre that ultimately would have no future in the 21st century and 2) due to the long-expired Konami license, the only way to enjoy this perfect piece of nostalgia is via emulation or hunting down the original cart.

You can get the Final Fight series Wii U Virtual Console, each title priced at £5.49. Good luck haggling for a copy of Turtles in Time.