Genre: Action Developer: Toei/Shoei System Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1 Released: 1989
Last Battle is a pretty good game once you get use to it. It’s known as Hokouto no Ken 2 (Fist of the North Star) in Japan and is one title that many of my peers have bashed mercilessly. This makes me a dissenting voice I guess, as I had quite a bit of fun with it. The graphics, the sound, and even the story are all quite good. This is an old game and it was one of the first to be released but it looks better than most launch titles that I have seen.The game was heavily censored compared to its Japanese counterpart, which is supposedly very bloody. Most everything else was left intact. Some areas in the game could have used some work but most were decent enough and at least make the game stable. My first impression of Last Battle was a good one because I liked the large size of the main character and the enemies and marveled about how easy it was initially. This soon changed went I went up against the first few bosses and found myself becoming more and more frustrated with the difficulty in some of the later parts of the game.
The story isn’t very long or complicated and revolves around a man named Aarzack, who must free Athena from the clutches of evil. The world is in the throes of a nuclear winter is policed by “superhuman heroes with fantastic powers.”
The graphics are very good for the time and the sprite sizes are nice, with characters moving quite quickly and cleanly. The animation is sparse, however. The enemies all move the same way and basically run at you with a weapon. Attacks are stiff and predictable, offering little in the ways of imagination or creativity. The areas change often, ranging from a castle in ruins to mountains, and even the sea in different parts. Bosses are nicely detailed as well and are pretty varied. The backgrounds aren’t as lucky and could have been better because after a while it becomes a bad case of simple palette swaps. The dungeons look the same all the time and a few torches on the wall is the extent of the variation throughout the game. As a whole though, the graphics aren’t bad but don’t particularly stand out in any way.
The sounds are good but they don’t jump out at you either. Like many other Genesis sound effects, they fall short. Not that the sound is particularly bad, it’s just very low and kind of drowns out the music. Speaking of music, it’s essentially the same throughout the game, except when you are in a dungeon or during a boss battle.
You fight a lot of enemies through the course of your quest and most of them die very easily. Just like in Fist of the North Star for NES, they fly across the screen when you kick or punch them, stiff as a board. Under your energy you have a power bar which fills which each kill you make. Normally when you walk around, you’re limited to a few moves like a jump kick, forward punch, and a kick. When your power meter fills, however, you rip off your shirt and become stronger, quicker, and can now use a combination of punches and kicks.
Once an area is beaten, a map screen comes up that shows everywhere you’ve been to and where you can go next. You usually have choices as where to go but sometimes you must go to certain places first and talk to a person before you can return. When you come back, there will be a dungeon that you must fight through. The dungeons are huge for the most part and hard to get through. It will take a while before you figure most of them out. This is the one part where I truly lamented the lack of a save or password option.
Last Battle is still a very good game and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good challenge. My gripes with it are few, the only problem being the music. If it had been better or at least louder, it would have made the game more enjoyable. As it is, you really can’t hear it and the sounds usually cover it up. My only other problem is with the difficulty. Some bosses are insanely hard and cheap. Still, Last Battle is a good game and I would still recommend it, even with its few flaws.
SCORE: 5 out of 10