Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
Developer: Probe Software
Release Date: 09/1993
Also Available On
This is my favorite video game of all time. Hands down. While later games in the series are better and have more depth, the first game is just so raw and visceral. It had a weight to the fighting that other games didn’t have while still feeling fluid and well-balanced. This was translated well to home consoles on the Genesis, SNES, and even MS-DOS despite their own flaws. Even the Game Gear version did well. However, I don’t know what I’m seeing on the Game Boy. I don’t think it’s the lack of power in the system as the Master System and Game Gear versions are 8-bit and still play really well. The Game Boy version is just so bad. I can look past the visuals. They look pretty okay despite being a monochrome color. What isn’t excusable is the cut character. Johnny Cage isn’t present at all. Why bother if you can’t include the already small roster?
That’s not the worst part. The controls are also forgivable as the Game Gear and Master System also only have two buttons to work with and they manage. Holding away or towards plus the punch or kick button will do things like roundhouse kicks or sweeps. The special moves are also intact including the fatalities. There are also many cut stages. We only get The Pit, The Courtyard, and Goro’s Lair. All of the stages could have been included I’m sure. This is only a 256kb game which is unacceptable when 8MB cartridges were available. They could have put all of the content on here. But, again that’s not the worst part about the game.
It’s just downright unplayable. The characters feel like they’re fighting in molasses, animations take 2-3 seconds to complete, and there’s just a serious delay in everything. The health bars are terribly done, there’s no blood, no gore, and no Test-Your-Might either. The game is severely butchered and cut back for no reason. The manual is more interesting than the game itself. It’s written in the form of a comic book with great illustrations. That’s pretty sad.
There’s almost no redeeming value in this game other than for collectors. There are much better versions let alone 8-bit versions out there. This is by far the worst version of the game ever made, and I feel bad for anyone who paid full price for this game in the day. Maybe a Game Boy Color version could have come around and done better, but it never happened. While the game looks the part, and the character sprites are decent, the sluggish and unresponsive gameplay just doesn’t work. It’s too bad because the control layout works fine and is used on other 8-bit systems as well. I can only recommend this is pure curiosity and nothing more.