Sunday, May 12, 2013

Martial Champion

Super CD-ROM

Like most other fighting games of its day, Martial Champion shamelessly imitates Street Fighter II in matters of mechanics and aspects of presentation. Unfortunately, its scufflers are far less agile and know far fewer moves than their SF2 counterparts. Some of them, however, are proficient with weaponry: a swashbuckling ruffian charges headlong with a scimitar, an oddball mystic pokes about with a polearm, and a kooky kabuki performer flails away with a fan. The novel aspect of the affair is that instruments such as the aforementioned ones can be taken from and utilized against their respective owners. Sadly, this "hook" fails to make the action any more engaging than it would be sans sword-or-staff swiping.

While it has a very unrefined feel about it, MC isn't at all difficult. Your computer-controlled opponents typically put up such little resistance that you shouldn't have any trouble repeatedly grabbing them and slamming them to the ground or simply hacking them up when you have a weapon in hand. Revving the difficulty all the way up does serve to make the beleaguered battlers a bit more respectable, but even then, using a speedy character will enable you to butcher your way through the ranks sans much hardship.

But while the fighters here are hardly the most talented combatants you'll ever come across, they're likably eclectic in design, and their championship runs typically conclude in amusing fashion.

And while MC fails to deliver visuals at the level of, say, Fatal Fury 2's, it does feature bright, nice-looking backdrops.

I don't hate Martial Champion, but there are quite a few fighting games for the PCE that are far superior to it. Flash Hiders has a comparably wacky cast and flaunts a similar visual style but plays a great deal better. Konami might've produced a winner in MC had they polished up its gameplay, made it more difficult, and provided more moves for players to make use of. Sadly, the designers failed to do right by the fine characters they came up with.

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