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Old 12-13-2004, 12:38 AM   #219
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,144
Black Belt
Sega Master System

Sega was the king of box
art during the 8-bit days!

Now this is a cool 1 meg Master System game. In Japan, the game is known as "Hakuto No Ken" which is about the anime "Fist of the North Star". If you have a ponytail and are male, you probably know all about this and many, many, many, many other animes. Please lose the ponytail. Anyway in the Japanese Hakuto No Ken, you were a dude that fought a whole bunch of little dudes and then fought a big dude. Then you did that again and again. Sega decided to change just about every asthetic of the game when bringing it over from Japan, especially since Fist of the North Star sucks sweaty, hairy balls. They gave it new graphics, new music, but kept the same gameplay for the most part. They also renamed it to "Black Belt". Now you are a dude who's after his girlfriend. Black Belt is MUCH better than Hakuto No Ken. Oh, and did I mention that Yuji Naka of Sonic Team fame worked on this game? No? Well he sho' did!

Fight E. Honda's brother E. Gonta!

Graphics: 8/10
Hey these graphics are pretty darned good considering the system, the memory constraints, and the year it was made (1925). As you walk to the right, there is a very convincing 3D scrolling effect on the ground, similar to Choplifter only a bit better. This varies in effect from level to level. The characters are small and there are a ton of them onscreen trying to murder you for no reason at all. Get past all of these dudes and you get to a very special dude who is a mid boss. The mid boss usually has some special skill and needs to be smacked 4 times before he explodes. Some levels have up to 4 mid bosses where others have only 1. Get past all of this and suddenly you are fighting the level boss in a Street Fighter style match. Suddenly your sprite is much larger. There is a little bit of flicker in this game but never any slowdown. The graphics are tremendously improved over the Japanese version of this game. It was difficult to even look at that one.

Even bald eagles try to destroy you.
You must kick them into pieces!

Sound: 7/10
The sound is also tremendously improved over the Japanese version, or at least the music is. Some of the music remains the same, but the crappy music has been replaced. You now have invincibility music which blends into and out of the main theme fairly seamlessly when you acquire invincibility. And the music when you fight the bosses is superb... it has an epic "Eye of the Tiger" feel to it. You know you are fighting for all you're worth during these matches. Not too much in the way of the sound effects, except that of your enemies exploding. Surprisingly it sounds just like real people exploding. I conducted many experiments and recorded the sound of people exploding and compared them to this game, and there is very little difference. Bravo!

Your enemies EXPLODE when you defeat
them, which adds realism to the game.

Gameplay: 7/10
If you don't like repetitive kung-fu games, then don't apply here. But just hopping all around and learning the boss's weaknesses is more than enough to keep me playing. It's pretty tough and only losers who need to get a life will be able to beat it, and there are no continues. New in the US version are items that occasionally float across the top of the screen, and you can get them by high jumping. These are either invincibility icons or sushi which will restore your life. This really helps the game. The boss fights are really cool. Most bosses can only be finished by a particular kick or punch. You don't have any fireballs or fatalities or moronic things like that, but when you finally land the winning blow you really give it to your enemy by unleashing a super-rapid fire melee of attacks on his or her sorry ass. Control is pretty good with your basic punch and kick. In order to jump you simply press UP and if you want to high jump you must press DOWN and then UP. There are no special moves or 90-button combos to get in the way of having a simple good time.

The first boss can be one of the toughest.
He's pissed that you are wearing white after Labor Day.

Wrap up:
Way better than Kung-Fu for the NES. Way better than the Japanese Hakuto No Ken. And yes, it is better than Final Fantasy 7.

Last edited by Joe Redifer; 12-13-2004 at 09:46 AM.
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