Nanar à la Japanese
by Tibe (2012)
Eight Man is the only videogame version of the eponymous manga, which remains a legendary series for many japanese people. Created in 1963 by Hirai and Kuwata, this work is the first fiction featuring a cyborg superhero. It has undoubtedly inspired Robocop and some other cybernetic characters in the western culture. Professor Tani tries to develop the first human-robot, recovering deceased people in his laboratory and assembling them with high-tech equipment. The experiment has already failed seven times, and it's with the corpse of detective Yokoda that the scientist will finally achieve its goal, giving life to the first cyborg ever made, who he chooses to name Eight Man. Our hero, capable of superhuman reflexes, running at the speed of sound, with exceptional abilities in combat, starts stalking crime and injustice throughout japanese cities of the sixties.
The game, developed by the Pallas team (2020 Super Baseball), takes place in a 46 megs cartridge. This is a particular style of Beat them Up, which action proceeds on a single line, like games such as Kung-Fu Master or Vigilante. Eight Man plays the old-school card, mixing action/platform and fighting game gameplay. Moreover, the characters unfortunately have a very limited range of moves and attacks: you can crouch, jump, hit with A, make a slide with down+B, hit behind with A+B, and triggers special attacks with C. No weapons to pick up, no vehicles to drive, not objects to destroy during the stages. The game only features capsules that can be collected, providing more special attacks (B), having your hero recover life (L) or even increase the power of our Eight-Men (P). '8' spheres make your character invincible for a moment and trigger powerful lightning attacks, but these are quite rare and the effect don't last too long. All the game is about simply blowing the shit out of everything that comes in front of you: tanks, helicopters, ninjas, robots and other silly critters.
The four stages game are divided into eighteen areas, alternating phases of classic fighting - including some sympathic platform passages - with some missions of fast scrolling action, as well as the difficult battles with Bosses and Sub-Bosses. The action quickly shows repetitive and tedious, with redundant enemies in every level of the game, patterns of enemy attacks repeated hundreds of times, and Bosses found back from one level to another without much originality. Heroes don't even have throws or combinations in their range of moves, is to say how Eight Man quickly shows its limits. In addition, the game is overly difficult, with too large hitboxes and imprecise action, unintuitive and frustrating, becaming downright a big mess when playing two simultaneously. To put the icing on the cake, SNK gratifies us with a lifetime of thirty minutes total, no more, no less: it's not very long, like a lot of Beat 'em Up, but Eight Man manages to piss off the player enough so that this idiot doesn't come back too soon playing it.
I will conclude by briefly speaking about the realization, that nothing really rise above the other aspects of the game: a Super Nes well programmed would have without a doubt done the same. The graphics are flat and not too varied, with backgrounds that come back regularly from one mission to another. There are some passages that doesn't look too bad, but the global quality of the scenery is mediocre and the different sprites, either the main characters or the enemies, are poorly designed. The animation was not much worked too, with a decomposition below average, and various effects for the most unworthy of a Neo Geo. Note also that the action is often confusing, especially when playing two simultaneously. Anyway, we're still granted some nice zooms and rapid scrollings in the fast levels. The 'hard-rock' soundtrack is not so good, with pretty unsignificant themes accompanied by sketchy sounds effects. Eight Man will probably not remain in memories, with a realization that has not aged the best way and a completely overwhelmed gameplay.
|We shouldn't be rude to Eigh Man as it's part of the early games released on Neo Geo, but frankly speaking, it' s almost worthy of a Super Nintendo!|
|No slowdowns to report but a mediocre animation for characters: basic decomposition, lack of accuracy, poor visual effects.|
|Sound is the "least worst" part, with uninspired hard-rock themes and average FX, but still a high quality due to the YM2610.|
|The game is short with its four stages, and to be honest, nothing have you coming back for more.|
|The unbalanced difficulty, the big hitboxes, the messy action and the lack of variety will quickly kill your hopes.|
8-Man wasn't anything special in 1991, and time hasn't been kind to it.
VALUE FOR MONEY (2012)
You understood by reading the review that Eight-Man is clearly not worth a hundred euros to play, even if the game uses a different and intersting style for a Beat them Up.