Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage (SNES) Review

Received: February 3rd, 2011 / Written: March 17th-25th, 2016
Published on: March 26th, 2016
Alternate Title: Bakkusu Banī Hachamecha Daibōken [|O|]
Year: 1993 | Developed by: Viacom New Media | Published by: Sunsoft

Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit.  Who didn't love watching Looney Tunes growing up, what with the funny slapstick and comedic writing not to mention the colorful cast of characters, and still likes them now?  =D  No character was more synonymous with this series than the one and only Bugs Bunny.
Images from Wikipedia
Although he originally made his first (prototype) appearance in the 1938 short "Porky's Hare Hunt" (as Happy Rabbit), it wasn't until 1940's "A Wild Hare" with Elmer Fudd as the hunter in the Merrie Melodie series that the sly, conniving Bugs would officially make his debut courtesy of the late animator Tex Avery (voiced by the late Mel Blanc).  The gist of this character is that he sneakily and cleverly had a knack at fooling, tricking, and/or manipulating those unfortunate enough to cross his path (the sole exception being the tortoise in the Tortoise and the Hare-themed shorts).  Basically Bugs was an animated equivalent of a troll... which I know does not exactly sound like a positive trait in the off-chance you've never seen a Bugs Bunny short before, but in the context of these episodes he's actually a sorta likable kind of troll (a rare exception) and quite funny.  =D  =|  I'm not really selling this to the uninitiated, am I?
Images from Wikipedia
Since his official inception he has become one of the most iconic animated characters of all time, appearing in various franchises, video games, merchandising, cameos (one memorable one opposite Mickey Mouse in Who Framed Roger Rabbit), TV shows and spin-offs, and Bugs Bunny even got his Hollywood Walk of Fame star.  Movie-wise he (and the rest of the Looney Tunes cast) appeared in Joe Dytka's second (and final) theatrical film Space Jam starring alongside Michael Jordan (as himself in live action) in 1996 (becoming the highest grossing basketball movie of all time) and in Joe Dante's box office flop Looney Tunes: Back in Action in 2003 (with Brendan Fraser and Steve Martin).  While neither film was a hit with critics, both have garnered a bit of a following after the fact.

Looney Tunes distributor Warner Bros. had hoped that if the latter film did really good that they would begin a "revitalized franchise of Looney Tunes media and products".  Things did not go that way, for instead the studio planned to retcon the series in the form of Loonatics Unleashed (which I'm not familiar with), the polarizing The Looney Tunes Show (which The Weekenders creator Doug Langdale was involved as a writer for an episode, among other writers), and very recently
Image from Wikipedia
... *sigh*  -_-  So I know that comedy is a very subjective matter, and personal opinions are subjective regarding everything, but the flash animated Wabbit for me is a misguided mess; why?  I don't exactly fault the premise so much as the execution; it basically tries to be too modern with overreliance on technology (let's have a GPS guide/misguide us in one episode; let's go over features in what is clearly an iPhone that most people should be familiar with; let's make a statement saying that all the bank money goes to the internet... yeah, that's not going to age the show at all).

The biggest problem, however, is Bugs Bunny himself.  His logic, reasoning, and methods to getting things done is so far removed from his Looney Tunes glory days that it's not funny (I don't fault the voice actor, just his script); he's not as hilarious or charming like he was in the past, he's just grating and annoying (he even looks annoyed a lot of the time)--right down to those groan-inducing puns and one-liners of his ("Hey, it's tree against one!" as he's being beaten up by a large tree's branches; "Oh wow, a royal flush!" followed soon by Bugs taking Squeaks' burly cousin to the restroom, placing him inside a toilet, and literally flushes him... after Bugs force-fed said cousin a blender-full of chopped up playing cards; "Ninjas?  Look more like 'singes' to me", you get the idea; et al).  Is it bad that I wish his rogues gallery would take him out because of this?  Or that I honestly think the best episode is the one where there's absolutely no talking (the one with the snowman and the carrot)?

Worse, post-2015 Bugs Bunny is a colossally unlikable dick, not just to his foes like we expect him to but to his closest companions as well; he literally yanks out Squeaks' teeth, he refuses to give a tip to a delivery snail, he tells Squeaks that he "got the wrong bag" which the squirrel worked hard to get only followed by a "just kidding" to an annoyed Squeaks like a smug a-hole, he tricks a night bird into entering a shack which unbeknownst to him has a cat lady with cats surrounding him, he's responsible for this security robot that goes overboard in the park, he makes his close neighbor sick to his stomach,...  D=>  B-B-But that's not the Bugs I grew up with, who is this impostor?  That's not Bugs Bunny!  He even at one point plays a banjo... maybe it hasn't occurred to you but YOU'RE NOT WANDER!!!  >O<

One positive is that its flash animation (give or take a few questionable grungy hues and shades) is really good and so detailed, which makes watching it all the more frustrating because I wish the studio put as much effort into the writing and comedy; but on the bright side they're all five minutes short.  I'll say this much: I would rather watch Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! (a funny show, awkward Family Guy look aside), but at least it's not patronizingly childish and pointless like the awkwardly French 3D animated The Garfield Show.  If there are people that like it, fair enough, more power to you, but as an official 75-year anniversary tribute to Bugs Bunny, I expected a whole lot better.  =|

I'm sorry, I just wanted to maintain a promise I made weeks ago at the end of my SFC Garō Densetsu Shukumei no Tatakai review (I need to stop making promises I struggle to keep, it's not good for my health).  <=(  We're not here for Wabbit though, we're here for Viacom New Media's Bakkusu Banī Hachamecha Daibōken (which translates to "Bugs Bunny's Insane Great Adventure") which came out in Japan in June 1993, or as it got known as when released in February 1994 and September 1994 in North America and Europe respectively: Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage.
Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage was one of several Nintendo 16-bit Looney Tunes licenses made under the Sunsoft name during the early half of the '90s (before the company struggled from bankruptcy).  This platformer (or its subtitle, anyway) is loosely based on the 1955 "Rabbit Rampage" short where the theme was literally animator versus creation, the creation being Bugs whom the antagonistic animator has got at his mercy, which means plenty of comedic possibilities.  And the game follows a similar theme, but with a few key differences (the animator is not Elmer Fudd this time).  Of note on the cover is that it tells you plain and clear that it is 12 MegaBits; this disclaimer was so important
that they copy-pasted the whole cover art on to the NTSC cart.  I don't get it, was 12 MegaBits really that big of a deal over 16?  o_O  And I just realized that it's been over two months since I've last reviewed a platformer, and the last time I talked about one (Xandra no Daibōken: Valkyrie to no Deai) I... kinda
I used to have eleven, now I have eight
lost and/or alienated three of my followers; I didn't mean to.  I just wanted to expressly apologize to a game I had felt bad for being unjustly hard on years ago caused by unfortunate circumstances but had learned to give a chance when 2016 started and ended up liking a lot.  I'm sure every reviewer's had a moment or two like that before... no?  Just me?  ...okay...  =(

"What's up, Doc?"
So after the title appears you get to see a visual representation of what your controls are and what buttons you need to use to utilize them.  Bugs Bunny can move around, duck, slide down thin platforms or holes by holding down and pressing B, jump with the B button (altitude depends on how lightly or hard you push the button), pounce on enemies and bounce off items by pressing B while in midair, throwing a regular pie at enemies with the Y button, kicking enemies with the X button, and every now and then you'll stumble across Acme items you can use to aid you and/or hinder your foes with the A button (some items have a high throw, low throw, or a normal throw) which you can toggle between with the left and right shoulder buttons (and like Contra III: The Alien Wars you can even do that while the game is paused, which is very convenient).

♫ You spin my head right round right round when
you go down, when you go down down ♪
There is also a twirl maneuver which will render you invincible towards all who dare approach you by just holding down the Y and X buttons together as you move left and right--the downside is that the longer you do it your carroty health slowly gets drained in the process, so only do this sparingly or as a last resort.  When you press Select at the title screen you're brought to the options screen where you can adjust your controls, enter the training screen to accommodate yourself with the controls, turn the music on or off, as well as set your life count between anywhere from one to ten; I highly suggest that any time you start the game you begin with ten lives.  Trust me; the continues are few and far between.

Why the hell is Bugs' post-2015 show even called Wabbit
anyway?  Did Elmer Fudd make the deciding vote?  o,O
Despite not even appearing in the damn thing?
Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage is largely an open-ended platformer (with only a handful of stages being straightforward and/or just plain small) where the main objective is to reach the goal of the stage, mostly culminating in a boss fight.  Obviously getting to that point will not be so simple as your path will be full of obstacles comprising of the Goofy Gophers, hunting dogs that box, cowboys and Indians, Marvin the Martian and his alien cronies, robots, and a legion of black cats among others.

The "pies" have it!
Luckily along the way you'll come across a slew of Acme products which Bugs can use against his enemies or use for his benefit.  Each stage has got items that exclusively pertain to those stages alone (white paint for the penultimate stage, anvils for the third stage, toy tanks for the seventh stage, et al), but the common ones you'll more likely come across are pies, sticks of dynamite, bullseyes for which will make something bad happen to the unfortunate enemy who steps into it, and of course checkpoints which you can place during any part of the stage so that way you'll resume progress from that portion of the stage when you lose a life.  Along the way are also small carrots that will replenish a bit of your health, which helps while you still have the opportunity (I'll elaborate on that soon).  =)

Yes, game, I know I have yet to talk about
Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, don't remind me  -_-
Bugs Buggy's Nintendo 16-bit foray looks absolutely spectacular, as Viacom New Media have spectacularly managed to replicate the look and feel of the Looney Tunes source material; kudos!  =D  The game cleverly begins with the landscapes and backgrounds being painted by brush strokes, and on the whole its snowy landscape is gorgeous (with layers of mountains in the backdrop; this game is perfect for Winter fare).  The sixth stage with the Tazmanian Devil has got great foliage, and the fifth stage that takes place in space looks mesmerizing with the constantly moving planet in the background.  Its sense of detail is cool, and there are numerous instances of parallax scrolling; some obvious (the mountains of the first stage, the craters of the fifth stages, and green leaves of the sixth stage) and others much more subtle (the floor of the second stage and the ground of the third stage) which augments Rabbit Rampage's sense of depth.  =)  And it's awfully nice to see cameos from various Looney Tunes alumni (sometimes in the audience and sometimes battling against you).

Squawks!  You have a mohawk on you... and
look more two-dimensional somehow  o.o
Bugs Bunny and gang look as good in their Nintendo 16-bit format as they did in the original Looney Tunes, and that's a good thing.  =)  Bugs has got solid jumping and ducking animation, as well as fluid walking animation; when he's in his idle position he's got some personality, and any time he gets hit, squished, shrunk, transformed, or even gets defeated he does so with an incredulous reaction.  There's something darkly funny about seeing the main character literally being erased when he bites it on the ground.  XD  The rest of the cast has got solid animation and for the most part have a fitting color palette; Elmer Fudd looks and animates greatly, Yosemite Sam riding on a giant dragon looks cool, Toro is imposing when he charges after you (but looks stunned when smashing against an anvil or wall), Witch Hazel's brief appearances are a joy to behold as she whizzes by on broomstick, and the Tazmanian Devil animates solidly.  Most of the enemies you face have got incredulous reactions upon being defeated and or hit, and they are glorious.  =D

Ducking down helps here
The music in Rabbit Rampage is very well-composed and at times very catchy; not only do they suitably blend in to their respective backgrounds, but they sound like they would fit perfectly in a Looney Tunes short.  =)  A couple of familiar themes are used (the cue from the beginning of the shorts playing appropriately enough during the title and the "That's All Folks!" cue playing after you either got a game over or beat the game proper), but everything else is brand new.  Some really good examples are the fun saloon theme, the laidback and playful dark forest theme, the fittingly operatic space theme (with a brief "Also Sprach Zarathustra" interlude at the start), and the very bouncy and jazzy theme during the penultimate stage.  Each stage starts off with a brief interlude that is only heard the moment you start that stage, meaning that any time you die (on the ground) the music will start again from the meaty portion of it all; but if you lose a life by falling offscreen the music will just keep on playing, which I'm okay with.  =)  What I'm less okay with is the fact that this is not only one of those games where the music just stops the moment you pause it... but it's also one of those games where after you unpause it the music starts all over again!  >_<

"Here's a drink, on the house!"
"Thanks!"  =D
This is also a big problem on account of the fact that if you stick around the stage long enough you'll notice that the songs are actually a lot longer than you initially believe them to be, which is absolutely infuriating as an audiophile.  So you mean to tell me that in-game I have to basically stay alive and/or do nothing in order to hear the whole song before it loops again?  Freakin' A, Viacom New Media; you didn't have the decency to add a sound test to this, only have the option to turn the music on or off?  D=<  *sigh*  Thank God for YouTube.  The sound effects are well-chosen and have that Looney Tunes spirit, such as the splat of the pie sound and the exaggerated squishing sound, and it's pretty cool how there are soundbytes from the show; namely Bugs Bunny's trademark "What's up, Doc?" and "Yipe!", Elmer Fudd's laugh, and even Marvin the Martian's "BOOM!" at certain points.  =)

Sooo much spatial depth
Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage is a bit on the challenging side as far as its one and only difficulty is concerned; it's not a one hit and you die affair like Xandra no Daibōken is, but regardless there is a lot of challenge to overcome here.  So when you start each stage you have the opportunity to get all these Acme products that would help you on your way as well as small bits of carrots that would replenish your health... the catch is that should you lose a life and replay from where you started or from the last checkpoint and you went to the exact spots where the items were, they'll no longer be there.  Basically once you get these items in a particular stage that's the only time you ever do so in the same playthrough; tough love.  Basically when you find these items you should use them (the important ones, anyway) wisely (if you want to, anyway), namely the checkpoint arrow.

Lord Hater and Emperor Awesome aren't the
bad neighbors, post-2015 Bugs and snooty silver
eyebrowed tech savvy Wile E. Coyote are!  D=
Yep, that's a thing
There are various ways to deal in enemies; whether it be by kicking them, throwing the normal pie at them, pouncing on them, twirling towards them, or even executing an Acme product against them.  It is best to exercise caution for if you're not careful you are going to die, especially since the moment you touch these carrots you won't do so a second time; there's no timer, so you can take as much time as you want.  That said, even if you are at your most careful a lot of the time it's hard to get by without receiving some damage once or twice due to the way the game was structured (especially by the Tazmanian Devil), but it is possible to get by with a little perseverance.  At the end of each stage you're treated to something you should not be subject to in a game like this: a freakin' rating system!  -_-  Why are these necessary?  Is reducing one's self-confidence that big a goal for the developers, considering that a lot of the time you'll receive bad ratings here such as "Southern Fried Rabbit" (unless you somehow beat any stage in a single life)?  This condescension is further exacerbated by an equally condescending cue that plays during this screen, and to add insult to injury it also plays during the credits.  Yeah, that was worth the experience, thanks!  =P

Oh, that Taz, falling for someone who's not his wife  =D
The major goal when it comes to most boss fights is to hit them as many times as needed until they bite it; in most platformers if you lose during the boss battle you have to start said battle from the start.  Here in Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage it's a strange case as... okay, say that you were battling the tall lumbering cowpoke during the second stage and only needed three hits to take him down, but you died; you go back all the way to the boss fight after the fact (preferably from a nearby checkpoint you set up), and he's over with after having dished the three remaining hits to him.  This both benefits and damages the game as a result: it benefits it in that it reduces a bit of challenge and frustration from it, but at the same time it damages it as it ends up cheapening the experience somewhat.  On the other hand, I'm grateful there's some form of leniency, otherwise the frustration factor would've been immensely higher than it already is and the game would've been less manageable.  The main exceptions are the bosses during the third, eighth, and final stages as they essentially are one big boss fight.

You're in deep ice now!
Yeah, from what you've read you're probably guessing that Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage is a very flawed platformer, and it is by all counts.  But that in no way necessarily means that it's a bad game; sure, it can often be frustrating but when you've got control of it then it can be plenty of fun too.  =)  It's got solid enough controls when you've got a hold of them, and it looks and feels like an interactive episode of the Looney Tunes (right down to that quirky charm), which I don't think was an easy task for Viacom New Media, but they did it!  I found out about this game several years ago online and remember being curious about it (not just on account that it was a Bugs Bunny game on the SNES, but also on account that I still loved the character at the time), and I didn't think of ordering it on eBay until very early 2011; it was a very cold February day when I picked it up in CIB condition in the mail (I can still feel the cold chills around me).  Personally on the whole I think it's good, not great; I didn't expect much but to have fun with it, and I felt that Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage delivered in that regard quite decently.  =)

"Yipe!"  8{
Something I applaud Viacom New Media for is the neat way they preserved the shorts' humor and transitioned them to video game format, with the impeccable comedic timing and funny facial reactions from both Bugs and his enemies (especially when Bugs gawks at the towering figure before him in the second stage).  XD  It's also brimming with charm and personality; the stages each have titles that make sense in the context of the stage but in the outset is deliberately inconsistent.  For example: the first stage is called "Level 1.1", and once you're finished with that you get to the second stage, as "Level 1.2" humorously switches up and becomes "Level 2.1".  =D  The fifth stage that takes place in outer space is called "Level 2001" (is it not obvious why?), and the penultimate stage with all the black cats (including Sylvester) is christened "Level 13" (why do people always presume thirteen to be an unlucky number?).  The best part is the final stage where its title is formatted in such an unceremonious way compared to the titles of all its preceding areas that I can't help but find funny!  I love it!  XD

Most gamers would probably clamor Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! as the superior bunny-centric Nintendo 16-bit platformer, and I'll concede that Konami's fun licensed game is more polished in terms of structure and is less frustrating to play, but I personally felt that Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage has the edge over that game... if only 'cause this game has ten stages and Buster Busts Loose! has only six, not to mention that this is one of several Looney Tunes platformers on the system while the aforementioned game is the only Tiny Toon Adventures platformer available on the SFC/SNES.  Doesn't mean I don't like it, just wish there was more.  <=)
I'll say this much: Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage was more fun and satisfying for me as someone who loved watching Looney Tunes growing up than Riedel Software Production's Tom and Jerry on the SNES, which was a disappointingly dull and underwhelmingly boring mediocre not to mention sorry excuse of a license lacking any of the humor and charm of the cat and mouse series I loved watching growing up (and still largely enjoy today... the good ones, anyway).  ={
And since I'm bringing up rodent-starring platformers: Ocean's Euro platformer Mr. Nutz is so awesomely underrated, and genuinely awesome, and so much fun, and one of my favorite Nintendo 16-bit platformers of all time!!!  =D  ...it really needs more love.

How rude of Bugs to interrupt the Goofy Gophers'
"You Like/I Like" music video  =P
If you're a fan of platformers on the Nintendo 16-bit console then Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage will decently fit that bill as it's largely fun to play.  If you're a fan of Looney Tunes (or Bugs Bunny in general) you'll be very satisfied with Viacom New Media's game as it does the license justice.  If you're looking for the best game in the genre you'll have to look elsewhere, but if you're looking for a challenging platformer then you're looking in the right direction; it's just going to be frustrating sometimes.  It's admittedly not quite as accessible or as polished as Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! or Mr. Nutz and it's not for everyone, but on its own merits Bugs Bunny's 16-bit foray on the SFC/SNES is good (at times frustrating) fifty-sixty minute fun while it lasts.  =)

My Personal Score: 7.5/10
<( ^o^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^ )>
P.S. Bunny-centric entertainment I felt was infinitely better than Wabbit:
Images from Wikipedia
Bunnicula (even though I currently have only seen one episode) and Zootopia (even though she's one of two main protagonists); I found both to be charming, entertaining, and to be a lot of fun; and in the latter's case, so incredibly in-depth and smart and near flawless.  =)  I want to see it again!
 
P.S. 2 I recently saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the first time, and I thought it was fun John Hughes fare (I just wish it wasn't shot in CinemaScope, because CinemaScope + TV = pan-and-scan, and I hate pan-and-scan; which is why I watched it on a widescreen DVD).  =)  That museum scene was amazing, and Jeffrey Jones was hilarious!
 
P.S. 3 My birthday's in less than two weeks and I haven't even started my 2016 video game birthday review yet.  '__'  *sigh*
 
P.S. 4 Often times I question if I'm a good reviewer.  I wish I knew.  T_T
 
Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  Happy Easter and take care!  =)
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Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage may be flawed, but at least it's not Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions flawed.
"You're despicable!"

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Garō Densetsu Shukumei no Tatakai (SFC) Review

Received: December 25th, 2015 / Written: March 6th-12th, 2016
Alternate Title: Fatal Fury: King of Fighters
Year: 1991, 1992 | Developed and Published by: Takara
Licensed by: SNK | [|O|]

Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit.  The year 1991 (yay, my birthyear) saw the release of a one-on-one fighting game that would take the world by storm in arcades, and that game was Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, courtesy of Capcom.  Although its 1987 predecessor was not that well regarded or even popular for that matter (yeah, remember that one?  Not aged well one bit), Capcom decided to focus on crafting fighting games and beat'em ups after their 1989 coin-op Final Fight was a smash hit.  So, kudos for that!  =)  It also ended being the most successful fighting game at the time, and as a result it ended up sparking a movement that resulted in more games of the genre.

That November SNK created and released their first fighting game for the arcades and a month later for the expensive Neo Geo console, Garō Densetsu Shukumei no Tatakai (which translates to "Legend of the Hungry Wolf: The Battle of Destiny"), or as people would more likely identify as Fatal Fury: King of Fighters.  This actually also ties itself to the first Street Fighter, as its creator Takashi Nishiyama considers today's game to be a spiritual successor to said 1987 game (given he made that one as well); and it was made at around the same time as Street Fighter II--unfortunately no one outside development knew that in its initial run as people branded Garō Densetsu to be a Street Fighter II clone.  Thankfully the record has been settled since then and many consider it to be good fun in its own right (and I'll explain why that was).

Since both games were successful at arcades naturally this meant that there would home conversions, namely on the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo.  Street Fighter II came out first during the Summer of '92 while Garō Densetsu followed suit in November 1992 in Japan (and 1993 for the West as Fatal Fury).  While Capcom converted their own fighting game to the Nintendo 16-bit, SNK's take on the genre got ported by Takara;... and while the former conversion was still good on its own merits something went very wrong with the latter conversion.  =(

In the fictional American city of South Town a "King of Fighters" tournament is being held by and sponsored by the crime boss Geese Howard.  Ten years preceding these events he killed martial artist Jeff Bogard, and avenging the loss of their father is incentive enough for Bogard's two sons Terry and Andy as well as their childhood friend Joe Higashi to partake in these fights and make Geese pay for what he's done.

Kick to the knee
In Garō Densetsu you only take control of Terry, his brother Andy Bogard, or Joe Higashi.  There are only eight stages in each playthrough, but at the start you're given a chance to choose which one of the first four you want to be in first; everything that follows will be randomly chosen.  There are three main controls here and those are punching (Y), kicking (B), and throwing (A), while jumping is accomplished by just holding the up button while going to either the left or right or just staying in the same position.  You can also walk forward or backward, and if your foe is to launch a projectile attack or try to hit you then you can block it with your defense stance as you hold the direction button behind you (left if you're facing right and vice versa), and duck by holding down.

Tornado punch
Each member of the trio has their own combo moves which will deal in a good amount of damage to your foes; unfortunately not all of them got translated to the Nintendo 16-bit conversion.  What survived were Terry's Burning Knuckle (down, down-back, back+Y) and Fire Wave (down, down-front, front+Y) attacks; Andy's power blast (back, down-back, down+Y); and Joe's tornado blast (back, down-back, down+Y), from what I could accomplish anyway.  The catch in this port is that the reaction time for these combos is a tad slow as they don't do it for or at least take a second after you performed your combo on the controller which can leave you at a big disadvantage if your opponent is right next to you (or if they pull a combo on you).
After every second stage in SFC Garō Densetsu you're brought to a bonus stage at the beach where the goal is to kick as many runaway tires as you can in the allotted twenty seconds; and it is actually the easiest part of the game as you can just stay right in the middle and do the normal kick maneuver to take them out.  It is possible to get all of them to get a "perfect" status, but I found that on several occasions if I missed one tire I still got the "perfect" status (which I should not have).  '_'  Did no one playtest this prior to release?

"Whoa, back up, guy!"  <=O
One thing that made the original arcade edition of Garō Densetsu stand out from other fighting games at the time (before having become a franchise a year later) was the fact that if you played with two people it would be a two-on-one match and occasionally when battling your opponent there were two planes: foreground plane and background plane.  Of course in the first game you had no control of it, only when the enemy was on the opposite plane, but it was unique.  This Nintendo 16-bit rendition, however, instead opted to be a one-on-one fighting game set on a singular plane.  You just went from doing something different to being like every 2D fighting game out there.  I know its original SNK incarnation was super powerful and some things would obviously be lost in transition when it came to porting it, but did Takara not have a grasp at how to incorporate Garō Densetsu's trademark two-plane fighting system the first time around?  o_O  As a result this Nintendo 16-bit edition feels less like Garō Densetsu and more like Street Fighter II (which does not help).

If you look real carefully in the background you'll
spot cameos by Axel and Blaze from Streets of Rage
Another game that turns twenty-five this year!
This wouldn't be an issue if the end result was still fun like the original arcade version or at the very least decent, but sadly that is not the case here.  =(  There is a sense of balance that more often than not is missing, and a lot of that comes from the delayed combo attacks and controls that don't always feel responsive for your end.  It is possible to pull through to the next round(s) and stages if you play your cards right, but this Nintendo 16-bit edition feels like it relies more on luck (and being extra careful) than it does skill; which is the worst thing you could do for a post-1991 fighting game.

Jump-kicking foes at the beach
One thing Nintendo 16-bit Garō Densetsu has got going for it is that it looks really good.  The amount of detail is really good, especially in the backdrop as for the most part there are crowds that are raising their arms or other stuff like crashing waves.  The main characters' and opponents designs and animations are solid; such as Terry's Burning Knuckle and Tung Fu Rue transforming himself to a hulking beast or being reverted to a martial artist.  One thing that's thankfully been kept intact in this conversion is how each round changes the time of day (the first round being set in the day, the second round being set during midday, and the third round being set at night... except for the Dream Amusement Park); and it's cool how the second and third rounds of the Howard Arena have got nice rain effects.  Too bad every time you cut to story mode you'd always see Geese in his same profile even long before fighting him (whereas in the arcade original there was more than that, obviously).

Power blast
The music in the original SNK arcade version of this game was really good and catchy, but the Nintendo 16-bit music... umm, wow.  The SFC/SNES is known for having really good (or even outright outstanding) music, but Takara has chosen some very questionable sound samples and weak composition for this conversion.  Hwa Jai, Richard Myer, and Geese Howard's themes are unexciting to name some examples, and the player select music is not as cool-sounding as it once was.  Right after you defeat the penultimate opponent there is a weirdly upbeat and triumphant cue with a trumpet and some garbled instruments playing in the background as you talk with Geese prior to fighting him, to which I find myself thinking: "What da-hell am I listening to??"  O_o  The sound effects sound slightly better than the music, and it's cool that some soundbytes were retained (such as when Terry and Andy use their combos), though it is disappointingly lazy that everyone's KO (including Geese's) all have that same echoic sound when they bite it.

Kick to the face
So you know how in my previous reviews since the start of the year I've continuously brought up how I received a Super Famiconsole along with five Super Famicarts on Christmas '15?  Well, Takara's port of SNK's Garō Densetsu was one of those five.  Now I have had experience with Fatal Fury: King of Fighters before (on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console and on the awkwardly titled SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1) and found it to be fun several years ago, but since I knew the Nintendo 16-bit treatment was not well-regarded I knew it wasn't going to be as good as the arcade original.  I mean, how bad could it be, right?  Well,... it's not good, I'll concede that much, but its unresponsiveness at times and relying on luck over skill (not too much straying far from the intended play control) does not exactly make the port redeemable.  Although personally, I can't find myself getting mad at it; I mean yeah, it's bad but I did get it for Christmas and it was interesting to see firsthand what the fuss was about as far as this Nintendo 16-bit port were concerned.  Also, that Christmas I also got the SFC port of its direct sequel too (my first time playing the second Garō Densetsu in any format), which helps!  =)

"Fire Wave"
Of course pretty much everyone during the early '90s (long before video game compilations became a thing) and afterwards either admonished or just came out heavily disappointed in Takara's effort to translate SNK's arcade/Neo Geo classic to Nintendo's 16-bit power machine.  As a result Nintendo 16-bit Garō Densetsu came under a lot of heavy fire and became a prime example of how not to port a fighting game to a home console; so much so, that my favorite online video game reviewer RVGFanatic declined to review SNES Fatal Fury and opted to talk about SNES Fatal Fury 2 instead, which after having tried both ports myself (albeit on the SFC) I find that decision to be both very reasonable and highly understandable... actually, I think most anyone would rather do that.  I do genuinely feel bad for people who expected the Nintendo 16-bit port to be solid only to discover that it was anything but; there's nothing worse than to be disappointed in an iteration or a port of a game (series) that you like.  =(

*punch*
I keep bringing up Takara's effort as a port but haven't said how it is on its own merits as its own game.  The thing is if that even if you didn't play the original arcade/Neo Geo version prior to its Nintendo 16-bit port it still would not work regardless; frankly, it works neither as a port nor as a game.  I'm not sure what happened here; was porting SNK's hit fighting game too tall an order for Takara?  o_O  Or for that matter, was there no time to polish up its controls and make them responsive and more convenient by the time of release?  Was Garō Densetsu Shukumei no Tatakai's port rushed into production?  It's hard to tell, but it doesn't matter because this does not feel like its source material.  There are eight difficulty settings, and the full ending (and credits) is not seen until after you beat it at Game Level 4 (sans watching Geese Howard's comeuppance).

If I may offer better alternatives in lieu of SFC Garō Densetsu on the SFC/SNES, may I recommend:
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior: the smash Capcom hit that sparked the one-on-one fighting craze, it's got a good sense of polish and balance, immersive parallax scrolling environments, a good cast of characters, great controls with special moves that are sometimes difficult to master, and a whole lot of fun to offer.  =)
Shōnen Ashibe: this too adorable for its own good Japan-exclusive platforming effort by Takara may lack in challenge and depth, but at its core it is lighthearted fun and solid feel-good entertainment while it lasts.  <=)
Garō Densetsu 2 Aratanaru Tatakai (Fatal Fury 2 in the West): a huge improvement over its predecessor on all counts, Takara redeemed themselves in their 1993 port of the 1992 SNK arcade follow-up with the highly augmented character count (matching that of Street Fighter II's at eight), two planes which can be shifted towards any time to your heart's desire, improved and highly polished (not to mention responsive) controls with added combos, and is very entertaining to play (and is the best Takara game I played on the SFC as far as I played).  =)

Or better yet, 90% of the Nintendo 16-bit library (regardless of the region you're in and/or are importing from).

Muh
If you were curious to know what the original Garō Densetsu/Fatal Fury arcade game was like and wanted to play it (without resorting to shelling out tons of money for a Neo Geo console) it is available on SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and the Nintendo Wii; or if you wanted to play more than just the original arcade and experience its first three sequels as well then I suggest you look for Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Vol. 1 on the PlayStation 2 (or backwards compatible PlayStation 3, whichever option works for you).  Those are good introductions for the first in this revered SNK series; Takara's port on the Nintendo 16-bit, not so much.  If you do decide to play this version (for whatever reason), be forewarned that you will miss the very element that made it (and its subsequent follow-ups) discernible from the rest of the fighting genre and that it may not be as responsive or fun as you'd like.

My Personal SFC Garō Densetsu Score: 3.5/10
<( v-v)>TO EACH THEIR OWN<(v-v )>
P.S. I just want to say that if you were disappointed by this review (on account of how small-scale it was compared to the bulk of my SFC/SNES reviews or if you didn't feel it was informative enough) then I am sorry.  If that was indeed the case I promise my next review will be sufficient StarBlog reading material.  But then, I don't normally review fighting games...

P.S. 2 So I have a question to ask?  Ummm,... is Andy Bogard Jewish?  Because his profile after each win shows he has a big nose.  But then why would Terry's nose be smaller, then?  o.O  Maybe I'm just looking too much into his profile design...

P.S. 3 So I'm at a loss at the recent announcement that Wander Over Yonder is getting cancelled.  That show is awesome, and its latest episodes were making the show even greater than it already is; I can't believe it's coming to an end (it may be the last good Disney animated show I'll ever see, I feel).  =(  I don't want it to end, but I guess all good things must come to that point eventually.

P.S. 4 On the bright side: judging by Disney's recent string of theatrical animated outings, there's always something to look forward to.  =D  Between Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, and their latest effort, Zootopia (having seen it last week on 3/5/16) may just be the best out of all of them.  Brilliantly entertaining and intelligently in-depth movie!  =)  I say bring on Moana this November... though considering the near unanimous praise Zootopia got, I predict that the newest Ron Clements/John Musker animated feature will be a hard act to follow.  Eh, none of their movies disappointed me yet, I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun.  =)  *crosses fingers* Please be good!

P.S. 5 Arrrgh!!!  >O<  Twice!  Two Saturdays in a row (including this one) I tried to DVR an episode of Bunnicula to catch up on the series, but instead it only showed its credits and recorded Wabbit instead!  >X(  I'm starting to have a growing enmity towards post-2015 Bugs Bunny's show, which I'll fully address when I review Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage... on March 26th!  I don't like that Bunnicula is only playing on Saturday mornings.  =(

Happy 25h Anniversary, Garō Densetsu!  =D
(The Arcade/Neo Geo original, that is)

Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  I hope you have a great Winter day, take care!