Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu gets the Great rating with a caveat - it is great if you have two to four players to consistently play with. As a single-player game, it gets tiresome pretty fast and the computer AI is extremely annoying.

This one is part of the Kunio-kun series, which began with the crap arcade game Renegade but is likely best known for the NES classic River City Ransom. This time out, Riki and Kunio get an invitation to a mysterious fighting tournament held by some luchador dudes in tiger masks. Teams of two battle it out in a variety of arenas, many of which are filled with traps like spike pits and electrified walls. The first team to win fifteen matches (without losing five beforehand) goes on to fight the Tiger Brothers for the ultimate fighting championship or whatever. In multi-player mode, you can also just have an all-out brawl with every man for himself for up to four people.

When playing with other people the game is a total blast. You get the playability of River City Ransom, plus a few added moves. There's a few different character types and each has slightly different movesets and throws. Teams of two can also link up to do super moves, such as throwing your partner as a ball or whirling around in some elemental Whirlwind Technique.

The only thing that really drags the game down is the computer AI, but it is a real bummer for single player mode. The first main problem is that your partner is an idiot. You can hit your teammates in this one, and your partner will happily blast right through you on the way to attack the enemy you are already punching. They also like to walk right in the middle of your attacks on the enemy, and sometimes they just inexplicably hang out at the edge of the screen and do nothing. The other problem is that the "tandem moves" are cheap, because you can basically just keep doing them one after another, and while this isn't a problem if human players agree not to spam them, the computer has no such compunctions. You have to hurry to keep the computer teams away from each other, because if they get next to each other they will just spam the invincible elemental attack over and over again. As it takes off about 1/4 of your health each time it lands and can't be countered at all once it gets going, it is a really shitty attack and breaks the game.

Single players also suffer from the matches getting repetitive (the computer's stats get better, but so do yours if you keep winning matches, and it never gets any smarter - you also keep fighting the same limited roster of guys over and over again). The ending is also completely lame as well, and you don't unlock anything, so there's little point to even go all the way through.

Still, though, the game is a hoot if you have a bunch of people to play with consistently, enough so that it overcomes the limitations of the single player mode. Just look at single player as "training mode" for the real thing and you'll be OK.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video