What the Hell is Going On In Combatribes?

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Generally speaking, beat-em ups usually start off by offering some form of motivation for walking around and beating people up. At the beginning of Bad Dudes, you are told that President Ronnie has been kidnapped by the ninjas. Before you first start playing Double Dragon, you are shown a woman getting carried away by punks and then you chase them. In Combatribes, this doesn’t happen.The game begins with you walking up to a group of bikers, and then you start throwing punches.

Upon seeing this, I had to wonder – what exactly was this game about, anyway?

The first thing I tried was let the game run by itself without starting it, hoping it would show me an intro the way some other games like Final Fight do. This didn’t happen. There also wasn’t any explanation of the story printed onto the arcade machine itself. At this point, I decided the best way to figure out what was going on would be to play through the game, and try to piece together the story from what was happening as I played.

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Just like every tough biker gang, they have members with bandannas, dudes with leather vests, and, of course, frowning guys in purple shirts with Don Henley haircuts.

Unfortunately, this is where things get crazy. Over the course of the game, you hit the streets to fight gangs of bikers, take on military dudes as you make your way through a skyscraper, go to a stadium and battle crazed sports fans, fight roller hockey players in a weird disco/roller rink, and… well, in the 2nd stage of this game you go to a carnival and start beating on clowns and mimes.

Yes, you are seeing this correctly. Your character is smashing the face of a clown into the pavement while 2 horrified mimes look on, unable to scream. Note the look of disgust on the other guy, who was probably here with his kids. The dancing kittens in the background just add a sad twist of irony to the whole situation.

There is no plot that could make that even remotely logical. But that didn’t stop me from trying to come up with one. Listed below are three theories I had about the game’s story, and the evidence that either supports or disproves it.

Theory #1: This is one of those “We’re going to clean up the town by beating up all the criminals” games.

Popular Example: Streets of Rage

Likelihood: Unlikely

The main problem with this theory is the stage where you beat up the clowns. This is a very difficult thing to explain. Does the game take place in some insane East European country where a Clown Mob runs the drug trade? The first stage is bikers, and the next is clowns, so do the bikers work for the clowns? Or do the bikers just want you to think that?

Sometimes it’s not the gangs so much as the bosses that matter. So beating up roller hockey players and mimes still makes sense if you’re beating them up to get to a boss that is a big criminal kingpin. The boss of the bikers is, logically, a biker. The boss of the clowns is the fire-eating man from the circus. The boss of the roller hockey guys is a punk rocker with a huge sledgehammer (because punk rockers like to hang out at the roller disco and play hockey, I guess). The boss at the baseball stadium is an Indian Warrior that attacks you with a huge tomahawk (and people thought the Cleveland Indians mascot was racist). After making your way through the skyscraper, you fight a cop. The final boss is some guy in a suit. So the bosses are a circus performer, a punk, a businessman, a biker, a cop, and an Indian. Unless the crime in this city is being controlled by a Village People tribute band that got half of the members wrong, this theory doesn’t seem too likely.

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The game’s bosses or the Village People?(clockwise from top left)
A cop, businessman, Indian, biker, circus performer and a punk.

Theory #2:You’re trying to rescue someone who has been kidnapped.

Popular Examples: Final Fight, Double Dragon, Bad Dudes

Likelihood: Extremely Unlikely

The biggest problem with this theory is that the game never shows or mentions an abductee. That already makes this an unlikely scenario and it’s made even more unlikely when you try to construct some kind of narrative out of the places you travel to in the game.

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Is that guy trying to hit you with a wrench? What is he, the stadium groundskeeper? Why the hell are you beating up the groundskeeper?

Following this logic, the story could be that bikers kidnapped your girlfriend, and sold her to the carnival, but then she was so good at hockey that she got drafted to play on the punk rocker’s team. Now the Indian boss at the baseball stadium might… um… ok, this idea is already falling apart and we haven’t even gotten to the office building full of soldiers yet.

Theory #3: Your character likes to fight.

Popular Examples: Ryu (Street Fighter II), Boston Red Sox fans (real life)

Likelihood: Likely

The actions taken by your character seem to indicate that he is the aggressor in many cases, which could indicate that he is simply fighting for the fun of it. Actually, that’s understating it a bit. If you walk up to a gang of bikers and start fighting them, it’s safe to say that you like to fight. If you walk up to a bunch of clowns and start pounding on them, you’re psychotic.

tribe5Wait a second… the long blonde hair, the pastel colors on the uniform, the short, curved hockey stick… Those aren’t roller hockey punks – they’re a girl’s field hockey team!!! You’re beating up teenage girls!

Perhaps the best evidence to support this theory is the overwhelming amount of violence your character is capable of. While other titles have you knocking your foes to the ground to defeat them, this game says “Why stop there?” and lets you knock an opponent down, then get on his back and start smashing his face into the ground. You can also jump onto the back of a fallen enemy. This may seem tame compared to the head-smashing, but it becomes pretty brutal once you have a line of foes on the ground and can turn it into the world’s most sadistic game of hopscotch. Also, instead of picking up tame weapons such as knives or bats, Combatribes lets you throw motorcycles and pinball machines at people.

Conclusion: After careful consideration, I would have to say that the “likes to fight” theory seems to be the most plausible. There’s almost nothing within the game that would indicate that your character doesn’t like to fight, and it’s the only one of the three ideas that could possibly explain why you would fight clowns. Without any official word from the people who made the game, we can never know for sure, but I would say this is the most likely explanation for the events that take place in Combatribes.

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After fighting all those clowns and maintenance men, its time for the final boss. The businessman is killed before you can fight him by this lady who is dressed like its still 1987. Then you fight her.

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Growl

While many games tend to remain solidly in the world of fiction, and the ones that do take place in the real world generally stay within safe, familiar confines (there’s not going to be much controversy about a game where the object is to win the Super Bowl), there have always been a few games that aren’t afraid to draw attention to the crisis of our times.  Ecco the Dolphin showed us the threats that giant blue glyphs posed to our fragile oceans.  Bad Dudes made us painfully aware of how completely unprepared the country was to deal with the potential kidnapping of our beloved President Ronnie by “the ninjas”.  And Revolution X gave us a glimpse of a horrifying future dystopia where people still thought Aerosmith was cool.

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Much like those games, Growl also tries to make us aware of an ongoing crisis in the world… I think.  The story is a little hard to follow.  It starts by telling us that in the early part of the 20th century, a group of evil poachers hunted animals nearly to extinction.  Suddenly, we’re transported to modern times, where a ranger answers a phone call and vows to whoever called to defeat the evil poachers.  While he’s on the phone, a man and a woman walk into the bar that apparently doubles as a ranger station, throw a grenade inside, and flee.  The ranger dives for cover, the grenade goes off, and the game begins.

So the plot is a little unclear as to whether the poachers have been warring with the rangers for the past century, or if they’ve returned after 100 years, or if they’ve finished killing animals and have moved onto hunting the most dangerous game of all (who says an unpopular blog about 20 year old video games can’t be literary?).  Sadly, I didn’t have much time to ponder these questions because the flaming remains of the ranger station/tavern was immediately invaded by no fewer than seven identical white guys all dressed like Huggy Bear.  You might need to stop for a second and let that last part sink in, because most people’s brains are predisposed to immediately skip over anything so overwhelmingly insane.

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Normally, when I come across a guy whipping a lion in the middle of the street, my first inclination is to run away as fast as I can and not stop until I reach a safe place to watching the kickass mauling that’s about to happen.

If you really think about it, though, this is a pretty effective way to ambush somebody.  Set off a bomb without warning, and then rush into the building with a team of white Huggy Bears to take out the survivors.  There’s no better way to sow confusion and disorder in your enemies – they’re already confused from the explosion, and then all of a sudden, it looks like a Two Wild and Crazy guys fan convention has spontaneously erupted around them.  They’ll be dead before they have any idea what hit ’em.  I’d like to think that the haphazard storytelling, sneak attack, and bizarre enemies were all done intentionally to throw the player off guard and reflect the sudden bewilderment that his own character would be feeling, but I think I’m probably giving the design team WAY too much credit here.

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At one point, I got ahold of a whip, which I used to waste several evil poachers, and one businesswoman who, luckily, also turned out to be an evil poacher.

One thing that worth pointing out about Growl – the people who made it have no qualms about you killing women.  Most beat-em-ups feature the occasional female enemy, but they’re usually encountered pretty infrequently, and sometimes your most brutal moves don’t work against them.  Final Fight even went as far as to point out that their female enemies were actually men dressed as women, and then changed them into men dressed as effeminate men for the home version of the game.  Growl doesn’t pull any crap like that – there are women for you to beat up everywhere, and you can pummel them just as mercilessly as you do the men.

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Did those rhinos you killed beg for mercy?  Did you give them any?

Speaking of which – Growl lets you unleash catastrophic beatdowns on your enemies.  The rocket launcher reduces its victims into piles of flying limbs, and unlike most games, when you shoot somebody in Growl, it really looks like you just murdered them.  You’re no less deadly unarmed, either.  In fact, your character’s favorite way of greeting someone appears to be grabbing them by the arm and then ragdolling them over his head and into the ground repeatedly.  And just because somebody is on the ground, that’s no reason to let up.  I know it would seem pretty hard to justify walking up to a woman who’s already on her knees begging for mercy, and then grabbing her by the hair and kicking her in the fucking face until she dies, but try to remember – she might have killed animals at some point.  You’ve totally got the moral high ground on this one.  It’s like playing as the world’s most badass vegan.  I mean, besides Georges Laraque.

Growl002The rocket launcher is admittedly over the top, but at least it kinda makes sense.  But what the hell is a broadsword doing there?

As for the game itself, it’s not really that good.  You only get a few attacks, the stop-and-go pacing feels kind of uneven, and the ridiculous number of enemies you generally have to fight at once usually forces you to stand in place and mash one button until everyone’s dead.  That’s not the kind of engrossing gameplay that would hold anyone’s attention engaged for more ten minutes or so of beating on color-swapped Huggy Bears.

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*          *          *

So that’s it – the final entry for this portion of our little project.  Using the process of elimination, we started with a list of about 700 Sega Genesis games and narrowed that list down to the 100 best titles.   What next?  Well, a Top 100 list is generally more interesting when the things on it are ranked by quality as opposed to, say, alphabetically, so don’t think we’re done here.  Tune in next week for an announcement regarding the Top 100, as well as other upcoming features.

Cyborg Justice

Cyborg Justice is a fairly typical side-scrolling beat-em-up with one interesting gimmick – the game allows you to rip the limbs off of your enemies and use them to replace your own. I suppose at this point its worth mentioning that, as the title suggests, all the characters in the game are robots – this isn’t some kind of ultra-gory Frankenstein simulator.  Still, it’s a novel concept, or at least it would be have been, if the overly complicated control scheme didn’t make that maneuver exceedingly difficult to pull off (no pun intended).  Instead, you’ll spend more of your time fighting your controller than you will robots.  While never a good thing, this is particularly problematic for a game like this because, as we all know, any game that fails to maximize the amount of time you spend fighting robots is inherently flawed.  Just look at Mass Effect – one of the best games to come out in the past few years, and all you do is fly around the galaxy kicking metallic ass.

There’s one other problem with this feature – at the beginning of the game, you get to build your own robot, and virtually all of the possible arm/torso/leg combinations are available right from the get-go.  So it’s hard to imagine any point where you would want to switch them with a stolen appendage for any reason other than to add variety.  Which I guess is kind of appropriate, because it’s also kind of hard to imagine why anyone would play this over Streets of Rage or Golden Axe, except maybe for a change of pace.  You know, if you got sick of playing good games for some reason and decided to shake things up by playing a mediocre one instead.

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Great.  Thanks, Cyborg Justice, but if I had wanted a laser arm, I would have picked one on the character select screen.

With the whole limb-swapping thing being both difficult to accomplish and not all that useful, it doesn’t take long before you stop bothering with it altogether.  At which point you’re left with a pretty underwhelming game in an already overcrowded genre.  Decent, but not quite worthy of a Seal of Quality.

Fighting Masters

Console:  Sega Genesis

Grade:  D-

Publisher:  Treco

Year:  1992

Genre:  Elephant Bellydancer

Fighting Masters is a pretty damn horrible fighting game from 1992.  The game has unbalanced characters, subpar music and graphics, and the gameplay seems almost entirely focused on landing cheap attacks and exploiting glitches with the collision detection.  And while it deserves some credit for being one of the few fighting games on the system not to require a 6-button controller, this is kind of countered by the fact that it basically only uses one button for attacks.  Another is used to jump (which could have just as easily been done by pressing up on the d-pad), and the third button, with the exception of one or two characters, isn’t used at all.  As a result, the gameplay revolves around doing the same move over and over in the hope of stunning your opponent, then throwing him into a wall, for this game’s sad version of a “combo”.

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Needless to say, while it’s easy to heap scorn upon such meager gameplay, crafting comedy out of it isn’t quite as easy.  And the bare bones story about an intergalactic fighting tournament where the winning planet is saved from extinction doesn’t give us much to work with, either.  Which is why we decided to spend the rest of this update profiling the game’s twelve characters.

Fighting Masters010Name: Dirk

Race: Human

Brad: Meet the last hope for mankind.  His name is Dirk.  I have to admit that seeing Earth being represented by Dirk doesn’t exactly inspire me with confidence for the survival of our species.  I don’t know, maybe I was just hoping the savior of mankind would be a little taller or you know, wore pants.

Stryker: Does it say somewhere in the rules that we have to send one of our own to represent our planet?  ‘Cause I’d like our chances a lot better if we could send a bear.  It just doesn’t seem fair that all the civilizations are made up of scary monsters and we’re regular guys.

Fighting Masters011Name: Mastodon

Race: Elephant Exotic Dancer

Brad: Shit, as if fighting against an elephant isn’t scary enough, this one’s dressed up like a bellydancer.  I don’t know why, but that’s even more terrifying.

Stryker: How could there be a planet where the dominant species is a bunch of elephant dudes?  Did some Earth elephants get abducted by other aliens and put on another planet until they evolved into this?  Or are our elephants descended from some of these guys who landed on our planet?  Either way, they’re going to be pissed when they see what we’ve done to their relatives over the last few centuries.  Poor Dirk – this isn’t going to end well for him at all.

Fighting Masters013Name: Equus

Race: Horsey

Brad: Oh good, I always wanted a fighting game where I could play as the old Denver Broncos logo.  I should do fine as long as none of my opponents has a gigantic “D” that I’ll feel obligated to rear up through.

Stryker: Equus doesn’t normally wear boots, but he had to for this because there’s rules against braining your opponent with a horseshoe.

Fighting Masters025Name: Morin

Race: Hot Woman

Brad: I love Morin’s fashion sense, pairing an armored bikini with some kind of cape that starts at her waist.  Oh sure, just about everything else is out on display, but there’s no way anyone’s getting a glimpse of her butt.  I’d say the outfit objectifies women, but since Dirk’s showing more ass than she is, I guess everything’s ok.

Stryker: I just like that they let her use tonfas.  It’s like they put her in the game specifically so there’d be a female character to balance things out, but then since she’s a weak little girl, they had to let her use a weapon to make it fair for her.  That’s ok – I kinda doubt that getting a female character equal treatment in Fighting Masters was a big priority for the Women’s Rights Movement anyway.

Fighting Masters100Name: Grinder

Race: Breakdancing Robot

Brad: Grinder is kind of like the Terminator scenario brought to its conclusion.  Think about it – if a robot is representing its home planet in a tournament like this, it means the machines must have wiped out their creators.  The awesome thing in this case is that they did it not with guns, but with Freddy Krueger claws.

Stryker: I hate to spoil the ending, but I think the main purpose of Grinder is so that they would have a robot breakdancing throughout the ending credits.  Otherwise, he’s a pretty crappy character.  Oddly enough, while dancing, he doesn’t even do the robot.  Some might call that ironic, but I like to think that maybe his creators programmed him with a concept of dignity.

Fighting Masters777Name: Goldrock

Race: Vertically Challenged Rock Monster

Brad: The thing I love about Goldrock is that after he throws his opponent, he gets a big, smug grin and holds his arms up in victory.  He’s the only character in the game who does anything like that.  It’s like the designers decided they only had time to give one character a personality, and out of all the fighters, this was their choice.

Stryker: What’s even better is the fact that they decided to make him be kind of a dick.  Every time I think about this, I can’t help but imagine the development team in a brainstorming session, sitting around a table when one guy shouts out “How about an arrogant rock monster” and everybody else is like “YES!!!  That’s our best idea yet!”  Then they all give each other high fives and watch Roadhouse to celebrate.

Fighting Masters042Name: Phoenix

Race: Uh… Flying Rat Thingy?

Brad: Well here we go – this game will finally settle the debate of who would win a fight between a belly-dancing elephant and a … whatever the hell this is.

Stryker: Since a Phoenix is a big, flame-colored bird, and this thing clearly isn’t one of those, we’re left to assume that he’s from the planet Phoenix.  Didn’t know about the planet Phoenix?  Well, astronomers like to name planets they don’t really know much about after cities with no distinguishing characteristics whatsoever.  That way the name is familiar but nobody gets any false preconceptions of what the planet might be like until they actually find out more about it.  The planet Phoenix is in the same solar system as Syracuse, San Jose, and Tallahassee.

Fighting Masters002Name: Zygrunt

Race: Lobster or Insect

Brad: Hey, look who’s not winning this tournament!  Poor Zygrunt.  We’re not even sure if he’s is supposed to be a giant bug or a giant lobster. And considering how confused he looks, we’re not sure he really knows either.  That’s ok – for all practical purposes, aren’t lobsters really just big, delicious insects that live underwater anyway?

Stryker: Thanks Zygrunt, at least Dirk won’t come in last place now.  Goldrock probably took one look at this guy and then ran to the store to buy a really big pot and a lot of butter.  Cocky bastard.

Fighting Masters005Name: Rotundo

Race: Fat Blue Guy

Brad: What’s this?  Did E. Honda get sick of having his ass handed to him by everyone in Street Fighter and decided to sneak into a different fighting game with easier competition?

Stryker: Or maybe just more edible competition.

Name: Dio

Race: Plant

Brad: Ok, I don’t get this.  Most of the other names made sense – Rotundo was fat, Goldrock was a Gold Rock.  But this guy looks nothing like Dio.  This was made even more frustrating by the fact that after every match his health bar would fill back up, and it sort of looked like I was charging up my “Dio Meter”.  I kept hoping that if I filled it up all the way I’d be able to do his finishing move – the Holy Diver! – but this was not to be.


Stryker: Well, I like Dio, if only because he’s the character that I finally beat this godforsaken game with.  I used the tried and true method of not moving or pressing any buttons until my opponent walked into me, then I threw him.  Worked every time.  Yeah, this game’s not very good.

Fighting Masters006Name: Xenon

Race: Freaking Dragon

Brad: Damn.  Do you suppose once all the other fighters saw this guy, they were like “Well, our planet’s doomed”?  I mean, Xenon can fly and breathe fire and if all else, just bite your damn head off.  Dirk couldn’t even remember to wear pants.  Sorry, non-dragon participants, maybe next year.  It’s like going to a Pee-Wee football tournament, and finding out the Dallas Cowboys are playing in it.

Stryker: Well, if he really is like the Dallas Cowboys, there might still be some hope – you could always hold off and wait for Xenon to implode on himself.  Maybe his various limbs will start fighting with each other, or he’ll start dating a pop star who’ll become a huge distraction while his coach stands around cluelessly and looking depressed.  Or maybe he’ll just accidentally fly into the scoreboard and break his neck.

Fighting Masters008Name: Uppercut

Race: Boxing Cyclops

Brad: Uppercut is kind of hard to buy into on a psychological level.  First of all, the idea that a planet other than Earth would independently develop the sport of boxing, right down to the gloves and everything, seems kind of hard to believe.  But for the sake of argument, lets assume that Uppercut’s home planet received some transmissions of boxing matches or something and became familiar with the sport.  Here’s the second problem – Cyclopses would suck at it.  They just would.  Boxing is a sport in which depth perception and field of vision are key aspects, and both of those things are greatly enhanced by binocular vision.  Besides, one punch in his gigantic eye and he’s done.  The sport never would have caught on in the first place, thus denying Uppercut a chance to ever get good at it.

Stryker: Uppercut plays kind of like Balrog from Street Fighter 2, but unlike Balrog, he’s far from worst character in the game.  That gives you an idea of just awesome the fighters on Earth must be – Street Fighter managed to give us 11 brawlers who are all better than Balrog.  The entire rest of the galaxy came up with maybe 6 or 7.

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Comix Zone

Brad: This game is kind of like the old professional wrestler Brutus the Barber Beefcake – once you got past the cool gimmick, you’d notice pretty quickly that he was a really, really below average performer.  Comix Zone has a pretty interesting concept in that its being played out on the pages of a comic book, complete with word bubbles and the hero moving from panel to panel.  But once you get used to that (which only takes about 5 minutes) there isn’t much to get excited about – it the same ol’ beat-em-up gameplay we’ve seen in dozens of other games, except not as well executed here as most of the others.

Oh, and one other thing – you know what might have been a cool idea for a game like this?  Put some comic book heroes in it.  Jesus, how many times have Spiderman or the X-Men starred in Genesis games, and nobody thought to give them a call for this one?

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What’s this?  A game where the protagonist is a comic book artist with a long blond ponytail and lots of attitude?  Goddammit, I fucking hate the 90s.

Stryker: A side-scrolling brawler with the depth of a 2D fighting game probably sounds like a good idea on paper (or at least it might to game nerds – to a normal person that description probably sounds like it was written in secret code).  In practice however, it ends up kind of playing like a really limited version of Street Fighter where you can only do a few moves and have to fight the same guy over and over.  It’s more accurate to describe Comix Zone as Streets of Rage except you fight most of the guys one at a time and they block a lot.

True Lies

Brad: Hey, I know this is supposed to be a secret mission and I should keep a low profile, but I’m just going to walk around this fancy party with my gun drawn.  None of the waiters seem to mind.  Actually, security doesn’t even seem to notice as long as I don’t shoot anyone – what is this, Texas?

True Lies000Go on in, Mr. Guy With the .45 Magnum

Stryker: Hey, can I get one of those guns with the magic non-civilian hurting bullets that the enemies all seem to have?  It would come in really handy on some of these levels.  I imagine it’s just another way for the bad guys to make us look bad, though.  “What the hell’s wrong with you, Harry? You killed three innocent people in the mall yesterday!  Three!  And don’t tell me it’s because the place was crowded – the bad guys didn’t kill any civilians and they’re terrorists!”

Mr. Do!: Sadly, this game doesn’t let you re-enact the only part from the movie I’d ever really want to do in real life anyway – kneeing Tom Arnold in the balls.

Eternal Champions

Brad: The fighting game craze was in full effect by 1993, and Sega knew they had to cash in.  So they came up with Eternal Champions – an entirely new fighting game of their own, with interesting characters, a decent backstory, good-looking graphics, and a few subtle innovations to help advance the genre.  You may have had to have played as many bad Genesis fighting games as I have to really appreciate what an accomplishment that is, so let me just tell you – that’s actually pretty impressive.  But in typical mid-90s Sega fashion, they had to screw it up somehow.  So here’s the thing – the game requires six buttons.  The standard Genesis controller only had three.  For those of you who are bad at math, that means if you ever go out for lunch with a Sega executive, make sure to get separate checks.

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Beware the devastating banana peel attack.

Eternal Champions007Stryker: Would it have been the end of the world if Eternal Champions used only 3 buttons instead of 6?  Would anyone out there have been upset if their character could only do a fast, weak punch without also being able to do a fast, weak kick, or vice versa?  I hate to keep coming back to this point every time we discuss a fighting game, but it bears repeating – Soul Calibur, the game that’s kind of the standard for fighting games right now, plays just fine with three attack buttons.

Mr. Do!: You made a pretty nice game here, Sega.  But maybe next time try making one for the system people actually own, instead of the imaginary one you made up in your head.

Eternal Champions

Brad:  The fighting game craze was in full effect by 1993, and Sega knew they had to cash in.  So they came with Eternal Champions – an entirely new fighting game of their own, with interesting characters, a decent backstory, good-looking graphics, and a few subtle innovations to help advance the genre.  It was actually pretty impressive, but in typical mid-90s Sega fashion, they had to screw it up somehow.  So here’s the thing – the game requires six buttons.  The standard Genesis controller only had three.  For those of you who are bad at math, that means if you ever go out for lunch with a Sega executive, make sure to get separate checks.

Stryker:  Would it have been the end of the world if Eternal Champions used only 3 buttons instead of 6?  Would anyone out there have been upset if their character could only do a fast, weak punch without also being able to do a fast, weak kick, or vice versa?  I hate to keep coming back to this point every time we discuss a fighting game, but it bears repeating – Soul Calibur, the game that’s kind of the standard for fighting games right now, plays just fine with three attack buttons.

Mr. Do!:  You made a pretty nice game here, Sega.  But maybe next time try making one for the system people actually own, instead of the imaginary one you made up in your head.