At a Glance: In 1989 Sega purchased the rights to do a sequel to popular worst fighting game ever, Fist of the North Star. Then they decided that idea wasn't quite insane enough and remade the exact same game while simultaneously adding 11% more crap, resulting in this vomit inducing 16-bit time capsule of everything that was wrong with 80's video games. If you found the preceding awesomely outrageous metaphor intriguing, then welcome to the introduction to my Last Battle review. Anyone familiar with the 13 year history of making fun of the 80's should have a general idea of what to expect in this article. Or at least that's what they'll think until everything goes fucking nuts, pirates grow robotic arms, and shirts start spontaneously disintegrating. So strap yourself in and prepare to embark on a fantastic voyage of discovery and super excitement that may or may not put the names of female body parts in words that didn't have female body parts in them previously.
Platform: Sega Genesis (Download Emulator here - 325k)
Download: Download ROM here - 317k
Game Plot: I've never seen the original Fist of the North Star anime, but apparently the storyline was far too epic for a single NES cartridge, because I recently found out that Japan has several games dedicated to this incredible saga of airborne body parts and break-away clothing, including an arcade game that teaches players secret martial art of Jet-Kwon-Do by having them hit padded targets with their fists while animations of people exploding are periodically shown on the screen. All non-pussies reading this will be happy to know that I am not making any of this up. That Fist of the North Star arcade punching simulation? Yeah, it actually exists. If I had a choice of going to an ice cream social with either the doctor who found a cure for cancer or the genius Konami programmer responsible for Punch Mania: Hokuto No Ken as my date, it'd be the Konami guy hands down, because while medical science may have saved the lives of literally several important celebrities, it is brilliant things like this game that make life worth living. Well, except in leper colonies. Those fags can build their own arcade machine.
Unfortunately, the game I had to review this week wasn't Punch Mania: Hokuto No Ken. In fact, if there was some special award a ROM could win for having absolutely none of the skull-exploding excitement of Punch Mania: Hokuto No Ken, Last Battle would probably get it, because the closest it ever came to resembling the aforementioned game was when I passed out from sheer boredom and dreamed about administering repeated groin punchings to the CEO of Sega (played by my mental image of Burt Reynolds), and even that got fucked up when the whole thing somehow turned into a fantasy sequence of me getting a back rub from the main character of Last Battle (played by a shirtless version of himself) thanks to one of what I now estimate are hundreds of homosexual tendencies I received from playing this game.
The intro informs us that Last Battle follows the adventures of Aarzak, a Jet-Kwon-Do expert on an exciting Too Hot For TV quest to rescue his girlfriend from an evil street gang while wearing progressively fewer shirts than he started with. The rest of the plot is revealed by talking to other characters and isn't hilariously summarized here because it's completely fucking indecipherable. Imagine an edgy Todd Mcfarlane movie came out where all of the key plot information was whispered to the protagonist by a retarded 6-year-old, and that one of the drunk projectionists at your local Hoyts Cinema attempted to write down the script from memory a month later. Then imagine them running their transcript through Babelfish a few thousand times and you'll have some idea of how unintelligible the dialogue in this game is. Whoever wrote it is seriously disturbed, and I don't just mean in the mildly retarded and obsessed with spiders Todd McFarlane kind of way. You know that movie where a joint technological venture between some computer programmers and latex bodysuit manufacturers allowed Jennifer Lopez to enter the mind of a serial killer? Well, that's basically what I have to go through every week to bring you people comedy. And believe me, it's even scarier when you don't have a phenomenal pair of breasts to fondle in case you start going insane.
Enemies: I don't know what makes the ROM 512 kilobytes, but it sure as hell isn't enemy sprites. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to see my opposition finally get some badass looking motorcycles to ride around on, but I think that extra memory could've been better utilized making it so I don't have to fight the same 2 ninjas for the entire game.
In the original Japanese release, people's heads exploded when you killed them, but in this version they just fly off the screen. Oh, and if you're considering playing through most of the game in hopes that Sega somehow forgot to take the exploding heads out of the last levels, don't bother because they totally didn't. But let's stop talking about exploding body parts for a few minutes to examine the moral implications of Last Battle's plot. If it's okay to kill thousands of mostly identical people in order to get laid by your girlfriend, then, by this game's logic, wouldn't rape be a justifiable way to have sex with a complete stranger? A spokesperson for Sega of Japan refuted this accusation, adding that in his country rape is only acceptable if there is milking involved and you also have a good reason for needing the milk (ie: calcium).
Number of Levels: 4, unless you count all the levels that use the exact same background, in which case it's more like 27. I don't mean to brag or anything, but I almost beat this game. In fact, I would consider it a draw since the only reason I died in the 10th or 11th identical dungeon was that the game ran out of things to palette swap into new enemies and started using invisible mummies instead.
Weapons: Aarzak can take on an entire biker gang with just his fists and almost win, which by default makes him tougher than any video game character created after 1997 when it became illegal to make games that weren't about large-breasted female assassins or wisecracking black plumbers brought to life through the magic of claymation.
Number of Bosses: Like Lithtech's recent name change to Touchdown Entertainment, Last Battle's bosses are a potent mix of in-your-face attitude and incredible gayness. I should probably put a warning here that if you like fighting games or even gaming in general, the following screenshots will make you cry: 1 2 3
Defining Moment: Left: One of the fighters in Punch Mania: Hokuto No Ken challenges players to unleash the bare-chested fury of the Hundred Crack Fist of the North Star and other amazing fictional martial arts moves while competing for street credibility and valuable cash prizes in a highly illicit world of turbocharged thrills. Meanwhile, here I am being chased by 4 flying axes through some depressed, underpaid Sega artist's idea of a room. Maybe it was just the large dose of illegal substances I had to take to make this game playable, but I could've sworn I saw a tear running down Aarzak's pixelated face.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).