When it comes to rescuing things from the past, all kinds of games have appeared around here, many good ones, some masterpieces, others bad as sins... but with some kind of interesting memory. That is, either good or bad. What if a title appears that in more than a few cases left more indifference than anything else? Not mine, of course. But yes among many players, with a lack of charisma and something that stood out. Sometimes that can bring more forgetfulness than good or bad quality. Well today I want to dedicate this retro to a firewood distribution game surely known, but not especially valued, Rival Turf!
From the hands of a Japanese veteran, Jaleco, born as Japan Leisure Company in 1974. And ended in 2014. Just forty years of history as a developer and distributor of games, arcade furniture... and products for aquariums. This time I do not extend much: in her work as a developer she has to her credit things like The Astyanax of NES, Earth Defense Force in Snes, or Battle Unit Zeoth for Game Boy. They are not powerful names, right? Already as a distributor her work was very extensive, ranging from Ultimate Play games from Game, to things like the Maniac Mansion of NES, Jurassic Park and King Arthur’s World in Snes, or Q * Bert for Game Boy. Without a doubt these will already sound much more to the reader. Some will walk through this section, of course.
But we must also talk about CAPCOM -again- and its mythological Final Fight. When something succeeds powerfully it creates a school, and precisely the world of ‘me against the neighborhood’ has had an enormous number of members of forgotten name. Cody, Guy and Haggar's game was a volcano in 1989, and this Rival Turf! He was not a particularly outstanding disciple, which is why it is easy to ignore him, or remember him without much feeling. The truth is that it is their thing, it is one of the hundreds of thousands of titles of a certain quality that cannot be differentiated.
Super Nintendo in 1992, made thousands of kids who were starting to have faces full of pimples, dream or dream, or it would be shortly. There we could get to know this game, in a fleeting visual moment. Enough for me. Because if a genre has taken the twenty-five pesetas coins from me in the arcades it is the 'me against the neighborhood'. And be it in them, or in simple cafes or street bars, I have seen games of this genre appear that decades later I do not even remember the name. Games that came and went, with less durability than the classics that anyone who comes to a retro section like this does not need to be remembered.
In this video there was a resultative-looking shooters, the one mentioned above, Earth Defense Force. A genre that, like the brawler, has enormous amounts of very little-known but equally satisfying and fun representatives who have failed to stand out or differentiate themselves. Look, two lesser known or considered Jaleco titles are no coincidence.
The game in Japan was called Rushing Beat, the American cover was more… limited, as well as the European, which you just saw. That is the point, a game that is far from bad, in fact, it is good and fun, but more bland. But I also say, What difference does it make?
If anything went wrong and we were pretty disappointed with the Final Fight conversion from Super Nintendo it's that it didn't have two simultaneous players. It is almost heretical within the genre, once it crystallized in Renegade and Double Dragon. Those nameless beat’em up in my memory had that option, that's why they took our money so easily. The passion of being a hero based on punches and kicks, is joined by being a hero with another friend by your side. And Rival Turf! He had that ‘2 players’, with the grateful option of deactivating the spanking by accident <or not….> to our partner.
Well, the game has less to explain than everything you've been reading: they kidnap the protagonist's girlfriend, Jack Flak, for I don't know what moves he has evidence against the evil criminal empire on duty. The horny thing is that the girl does not appear throughout the game, nor in the final sequence. If you do it in the Japanese version, with a greater number and length of scenes, with more dialogues and explanations. Bah, we didn't need any. We just needed to know that the bad guys had to be harassed, and that we had another character on our side, the cop ‘Oozie’ Nelson.
Playing alone we could choose any of the two characters, being Jack more agile and Oozie more forceful, but thanking not having a Haggar that works better accompanied. Both work perfectly on their own, but the good times we've had with this game are fighting side by side.
So the game is to fight in the familiar ways and modes that Final Fight established. But this also extends to aesthetics even, with those kinkis with pints of those that nobody would wear even at carnival, in some cases. The control of the characters follows this line, although we can run, make a low blow, and we have a rage mode that, after receiving firewood, makes us invincible for a short period of time. Then we have to move around the world to fulfill our mission... literal.
If the gameplay and visual identity do not stand out for their inspiration, at least the adventure offers some moments... mmmm, curious. We have six phases, and three of them are taking place on the west coast of the United States. Well, the next three move us from the Pacific to the Atlantic in South America. Shocking for a Streets of Fire story, but were we wondering when we ran into a bloody temple at the end of Double Dragon? Maybe yes, but they never needed an answer, and neither here.
Come on, that at the end of the first phase there was a guy who looked like Sinbad the Sailor! I mean, we beat around a neighborhood, and at the gates of the state of Los Angeles we get a guy like that with a damn classic sword. The game has its touches although they are not especially differentiating.
And that playing in The Brain of the Beast made it possible to have great fluidity, color, size of sprites, digitized voices and music that sounded recreational. No, here I am not going to kill myself to gloss technical aspects, that the same music was not one of those that left my mark. It happens that nothing was bad, everything worked, as it happened in those cafeterias with those two-week games. Only here we played at home and with friends.
The leader of the second phase even carried the ‘parrot’ youth radio cassette player on his shoulder. The one in the third made us a comb before his powerful attack. In the fourth, we were fighting in a jungle and favelas. And we come to the final boss and Viva la Pepa! Because the head of such an international criminal syndicate was wearing a martial arts suit and using chi punches and throwing ‘hadokens’ out of his mouth!
Something like that gif was what Hobby's VHS taught us, and Jaleco got the pass, and something else playing doubles. In fact, this game is the first of the so-called Rushing Beat Trilogy, following Brawl Brothers and The Peace Keepers. Well, that will be other stories.
Here I stop at one of those games that I am happy to remember for its pure fun, in the face of its shortcomings and lack of identity. That's why we like video games, right? Because we seek to have fun with them, especially in the simplest and most direct times past.