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Rival Turf


Well what do we have here?  The Rival Turf trilogy of games overall were pretty decent.  While they didn’t reinvent the genre they still provided awesome beat em up action in the same vein as Final Fight or Streets of Rage.  The first in the series, however, is not a good game.   I mean Christ, look at that box art:

Are those really supposed to be the main characters?  They look nothing like them!  And unfortunately it’s all downhill from there.

Rival Turf was released by Jaleco in 1992.  A US localization of Rushing Beat, it is actually the first in a trilogy although all ties between the three games were removed in the trip overseas.  Jack Flak and Oozie Nelson (holy shit!) are officers of the police force tasked with cleaning up the streets of Los Angeles and then taking the fight to the gang’s base in South America.  While the premise isn’t original Rival Turf provides decent action but is let down by a host of problems that make the entire experience boring.

I really don’t want to know what’s going on in that third screenshot.

In 1 or 2 player coop you have your choice between the two officers.  Jack is fast and agile while Oozie is slow and powerful.  Extremely slow.  There is a decent selection of moves to pummel the opposition and strangely enough there are very few weapons throughout the entire game, so you’d better get used to those fists.  The sole original “feature” is the optional angry mode, which makes you temporarily invincible and able to deal massive damage when you take too much damage.  But that isn’t enough to overcome the biggest flaw: it’s boring.

To a degree repetition is inherit in most beat em ups but Rival Turf takes it to another level.  There are really only 6 or 7 unique enemies in the game and by the second level you’ve seen all of them.  What follows is a monotonous journey as you fight the same 3 principle enemies over and over and their tactics never change.  The game can be incredibly cheap at times, with enemy attacks taking far too much life and there are many instances where it is impossible to avoid taking hits.  Overall the challenge is inconsistent; the regular enemies are more of a threat than the bosses.  That inconsistency extends to the graphics.  The early stages in America are pretty well done, such as the Baseball stadium and the rooftop but once it switches to South America it becomes bland.  You would think the change in venue would afford the opportunity for exotic locales but nope, just standard run down villages and warehouses sadly.

This just isn’t worth it.  Final Fight 2 or 3 are much better, hell even the sequel, Brawl Brothers is a much better proposition.  I suppose you could find some fun in the game; I played through it on its release but I was twelve and you could have handed me almost anything and I would play it.  Derivative as hell and the game suffers for it ultimately.

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