Title : Best of the Best: Karate Championship
Publisher : Electro Brain / Loriciel
Genre : Karate
Players : 1 / 2 Player
Release Date : 1992
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $15-$20
There's one thing I think of when I see this game. Ahem....
"You're the best, around! Nothings ever gonna keep you down!!!!!" I could only wish I was Ralph Macchio rocking out to this song while doing some swing kicks in peoples faces. I know, I know. This isn't the Karate Kid, but hey it's got Karate. Not to mention, I'll take my NES martial arts games where I can get em, thank you very much. No matter how bad they are.
This rare game was released at the end of the NES glory days, and it was also put out for the SNES / Genesis and even the Gameboy, but I'm giving the NES version a whirl. Something about 8-bit martial art games that tickle my fancy.
In Best of the Best, you are challenged to become the Karate Champion, battling against a slew of black belt masters. It's your basic fighting game competition, and it was always interesting to see how the NES would pull these type of games off. After all, this system didn't have the fluidity of the 16-bit generations to make fighting games work. They always felt a little stiff and sluggish. Not much you could do considering the technological limitations, but still.
You've got a lot of options to work with right off the bat. You name your fighter, select how your competing (vs computer or vs a player), view your characters stats, select move sets, train before a match, and even preview a match to see how it might play out. But let's skip all that, and just get straight to the goodies and kick some arse.
Visually it's actually pretty interesting how they did the character animations. It reminded me a bit of the OUT OF THIS WORLD game in the way they move. Unfortunately, thanks to the limited NES palette the color choices were obnoxious. Everything is basically purplish, reddish, brown....freaking bizarre.
In terms of the gameplay, as you would expect the fighting is a little bit stiff. While it looks fluid, the fighters don't necessarily move around like their black belt champions. More like constipated ninjas. Landing a hit is almost impossible. You can never tell when you're going to connect against your opponent, and since this is all about "rules", there's a stoppage of the fight every five seconds. It gets really irritating. It's seriously one of the slowest paced fighting games out there.
It really didn't help that I never understood what button did what. This game is an absolute masher.
So if you have the patience to beat all of your opponents and rank up to face the champion, you'll be in for a world of hurt. I could barely get past the first fighter, and the second one just destroyed me. I managed to get halfway through before I just gave up. This game is harder than playing punch out with a blind fold.
Or who knows, maybe I just suck at it. But I sure as hell can't play a fighting game where I don't even know if I'm hitting the guy or not....
And a game that uses spotlights as a life meter...that's just weird.
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time. Keep on gaming!