Wednesday 1 June 2011

Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII

Fighting games generally aren't my style, but they soon become my style when one allows Muhammed Ali to punch Michael Jordan in the face.

It's Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII, unlicensed tripe for the Sega Mega Drive. What happened to the seven earlier versions? Who knows, who cares. Apparently it's a pretty awful game but they said that about the other two as well. Will this one break the trend?

There's not much that can be said about Top Fighter 2000, only that it exists, is barely playable and is a bit of a laugh. These mash-ups containing characters from half a dozen franchises are always intriguing - they offer a rare glimpse into how China sees the world as well as demonstrating what happens when the fear of being prosecuted doesn't phase you. Though games like these are never great, they likewise don't deserve to be completely ignored. I've known about this one for ages but never bothered to sit down and play it until recently. I was missing out!

For the most part, Top Fighter 2000 is a reworking of SNK's The King of Fighters series. As to which game they specifically picked to base their ideas on, one can only guess, but the title implies it was one built in the twentieth century (I vote KoF 94). The King of Fighters, as you know, is already a mash-up between various SNK games, namely Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury with a few others thrown in for good measure (plus some made up guys).

And so it should come as no surprise that three of the eight (MK VIII?) characters in Top Fighter 2000 are regulars in the King of Fighters. We have Kyo representing King of Fighters, Ryo from Art of Fighting and... Geese Howard for the Fatal Fury massif. Why Geese and not one of the heroes from that series? God knows, but next to Duck King he's clearly the best Fatal Fury character to be named after a bird, and I like birds.

Then we've got Ryu from Street Fighter, obviously, and Cyclops from X-Men: Children of the Atom, which makes a change from Wolverine I guess. Then to make things more interesting, Goku from Dragonball Z, stuck in Super Saiyan mode. But regardless of whether you think their inclusions are strange or not, everybody pales in comparison to the slot filled by Muhammed Ali, who is quite literally, the greatest. And no versus fighting game would be complete without Michael Jordan shooting some hoops. Or sorry, "JODEN".

Top Fighter 2000 is one quarter of the way to being one of the best fighting games of all time. If only we had more American sportsmen from the last fifty years filling up the roster instead of made-up nobodies. The fact that Goku can fly and shoot laser beams is nothing on being 6x NBA Champion. Everyone knows that!

The gameplay is of course, is terrible. Though perhaps a bit more solid than other unlicensed fighting games of this nature, it fails to live up to any standards set up by Capcom or SNK, feeling very slow, sluggish and uninspiring as a whole. It's not as clueless as some fighting games I've played, in the sense that the computer does put up a good fight and you can't simply mash the same button combinations for enternity to secure victories, but there's no incentive to win by any means.

There aren't loads of moves, and the new guys steal a lot of their movesets from King of Fighters characters. Michael Jordan is inspired by Lucky Glauber of KoF fame, and I'm guessing Muhammed Ali is based on Joe Higashi. Someone who likes this genre could probably explain this in more detail, I only came here for stupid characters.

The graphics aren't hopelessly ugly but they are incredibly generic. Many levels are recycled from "real" fighting games but are watered down for the Mega Drive's hardware. I think Dural's stage from Virtua Fighter (2) is stolen, which means at least one level takes place underwater, but as nothing animates they're not fun to look at as a whole. The one starring London Bridge (stolen from Fatal Fury 2... you just passed the screenshot) looks like it's been ripped from a NES game. Thanks lads.

Likewise the music is awful. It doesn't shatter eardrums but again it's generic and forgettable. It doesn't pump you up for a fighting mood and uses the same set of boring instruments so many of these unlicensed Mega Drive games employ. There's only a handful of sound effects and predictably they're of poor quality too. Nintendo Power put the Sega Mega Drive in a better light than this thing does.

So of course, this isn't one to buy if you're wanting a great game. It's an interesting experiment but as with all unlicensed fighters of this nature, it falls flat on its face. Makes you wonder why they made so many. However this one has Michael Jordan in it, and that's just ku-razy.

1 comment:

  1. hi, i found your blog via your torp site (which is really interesting, by the way!), and thought you might like to see the reviews i did for top fighter 2000 mk viii, as well as a korean mega drive pirate game called uzu keobukseon.