Natsuki Crisis Battle (Japan)

Year: 1995
Platform: Super Famicon
Genre: 2D fighter
Rating: **

Another "Street Fighter II" clone, but better than average. This 2D animated fighting game is based on the anime series "Natsuki Crisis", which is about a high school girl named Natsuki Kisumi whose greatest passion is fighting. Her brutal talent and her kind heart win the admiration and respect of everyone she pummels into the ground, and "female bonding through violence" is a major theme. The game features eight characters from the show, three of which are women and two who are rather effeminate males. But the main characters, Natsuki and Rina, are the only ones worth noting, and fans of the girl fighting genre will be pleased to see Natsuki delivering two-fisted justice in her cute little school uniform. The game offers three modes (Story, Battle, and Survival) and even offers some limited character editing. For the most part, the graphics and animation are nice and the game features some nifty effects here and there. The sound is pretty good, but the music is rather generic and uninspired. Unfortunately, where the game falls apart is in the gameplay, which is rather poor. The controls are sluggish and unresponsive, and the moves are limited to just a handful of punches and kicks. Even on the easiest settings, the computer opponents are nearly impossible to beat, which kills the fun factor of the game in less than thirty minutes.