See Legend of Success Joe and Die
by Tibe (2012)
Here's a pretty known fighting game in the small Neo Geo world, but let's say its reputation is not something to envy. Legend of Success Joe is something that is hard to forget, once you have seen it. Such incredible memories.... The only thing I remember, after the three days of coma that followed the few minutes I spent playing the game, are the severe beatings I took, in a deluge of childish graphics and animations worthy of a V-Smile. After an intro full of fighters all more charismatic than others (...), let's enter the beasts' arena. A brief How to Play screen explains to the poor players who came until here the way to use punches and guard. We're allowed to use only two buttons, combining them with complicated manipulations with the stick. Good point, why would we stupidly use the four buttons available? Hours of fun lie ahead already, I can't wait.
When booting the cartridge, we were already preparing psychologically to the shock. Well you know, with everything we have already heard about this title, it was difficult not to feel a little apprehensive. After viewing those huge, spectacular and breathtaking kinematics (white text writing on black screen) we come to the very first fight scene. And then everything tumbles down. Joe not only looks like a syndicated docker with Gavroche clothes, but the enemies look like impotent politicians or castrated gangsters, we don't really come to know, who have been relooked with cheap Kiabi clothes. I thought I saw Dominique Strauss-Khan hiding in a wardrobe closet, and Dominique de Villepin as a second knife wearing discrete red trousers. In fact, apart from the size of sprites, which allows to distinguish their ridiculous faces, there's absolutely nothing worthy of Neo Geo graphics in this game: backgrounds are lousy, characters seem to have been drawn by a five years old child... and politicians we fight are poorly dressed, which dramatically accentuates the kitsch, 'nanardesque' atmosphere present in Legend of Suck-Ass Joe.
The animation is not exactly something good, if I may say: slow and jerky, with a handicapped anemic main character... It seems that during the combats, Joe suffers from severe gastric pains and can't move too much... and enemies aren't doing much better. And though technically it's really sooooo bad, fighters' stances are just incredibly ridiculous. Chronic constipation, vietnamese dysentery, sicilian diarrhea? No one will ever know. Let's talk about soundtrack, now! You were expecting it, music and sound effects are fucking bland. The vocals are fairly sizzling, and acting voices are not too convincing, as you guessed. Only the sounds of punches are not too bad, while not providing big variety either. The thirteen stereo channels of the Neo Geo are a distant memory, the Wave guys have chosen to work the sound on two channels, which is a good way to use the system's fifteen channel capacity. But it's somehow the same as to use two buttons instead of four, and thirty-two colors instead of four-hundred and ninety-six. Artist don't have to push their talents, never.
Ok, the realization is ugly, but maybe the game finds salvation in its gameplay? Oh yeah... I was about to tell you! Inaccurate, off-putting, ill-conceived... in order to give uppecuts or cross punches, player have to push two buttons + a stick direction. Very handy in a game where one moves sideways! Hitboxes and collision tests are approximate as I rarely have seen before (powered by Stevie Wonder) and IA anticipates your moves. All this things are combined to have you taking a masterful beating! If one manages to come through - more or less - in the early stages, since the third one the game turns into a tremendous correction. Beaten up by communists escaped from jail, relooked by MC Hammer, featuring colorful costumes all more vomitives than each other. Needless to say more, Legend of Success Joe is already nominated for the "most infamous Neo Geo title ever" Award, and for the Oscar of "ugliest clothes ever seen in a videogame". But the battle will be hot, as this title is contested by Fight Fever... Two intergalactic shits, so much it's pretty hard to tell which one is the best!
|Ugly colors, ridiculous drawings... But don't worry, graphics are what the game have best!|
|Stiff, jerky, slow: all the elements required to offer a crappy gameplay and rotten sensations are here!|
|As for graphics, soundtrack is unworthy of the Neo Geo system, despite some vocals.|
|LOSJ is short and does not allow cooperative nor VS play. Anyway, the stick crashes on a wall a few minutes after starting play.|
|No pleasure comes from Legend of Success Joe. Controls are ignominious, and hitboxes have been programmed by Ray Charles, which does not get things better.|
|Quite undefendable, Legend of Success Joe stands as one of the worst Neo Geo titles ever released.|
VALUE FOR MONEY (2012)
Wave's mega-hit cost one hundred euros at least, and only exists in japanese version. It's a must-have for any nanar amateur but also for any retro gamer worth of the name who doesn't have a big fat cow dung in his videogame collection yet.