Reviewed in 2012 by Tibe

KONAMI, A LA CAPCOM

by Tibe

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In the little Beat them Up world, Konami did pretty good: first with Shaolin's Road in 1985, and next with several episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, quite successful in the arcades and on every videogame home system. And then until 1993 were released the Crime Fighters games, The Simpsons, Asterix, Batman... a whole bunch of great softs using famous licenses. Konami has not botched the job, and all these games sold well. But the masterpiece of the japanese editor will be released the next year: it's the brilliant Violent Storm, a Beat 'em Up packing no less than 122 megas! For comparison, SNK's Mutation Nation is 'only' 54 megs, and the excellent Undercover Cops even less, with 49 megs. Players can legitimately expect a premium realization here. Our heroes are Wade, Boris and Kyle. The three friends live in the twenty-first century on the United States' east coast, where, as everywhere else on the planet, World War III has left only ruins, and a post-apocalyptic universe devoid of institutions and rules.

Sprites are relatively big for a beat them up.
Sprites are relatively big for a beat them up.

The law of the strongest prevails, with cities infested with gangs who terrorize the weak ones. Sheena, Wade's girlfriend, has been kidnapped by Red Freddy in front of our three heroes. The man is a leader from the Geld Gang, violent bandits plaguing the city. Our lads are off in pursuit of the villain immediatly, and believe me, blood will spurt. A scenario inspired from Final Fight, taking back Mutation Nation's incredible atmosphere : here's a mixture daring and sexy, we must admit it! Konami had the good idea to add a healthy dose of winks and fun in the game, which does not spoil anything: grotesque characters, staged comedy, gags, surprises. I must say that the ambiance in Violent Storm is quite unique, set in this New York 1997 world, with its colorful characters and crazy atmosphere. The hardware that runs our game is a big 68k based baby, the same used for Martial Champion. The beast displays 4096 colors in 384x224, and this is not bad at all. The city of Snake Plissken is here declined in a colorful style, made of sumptuous pastel backgrounds, full of relief and details.

Weapons, throws, combos... Nothing is missing in this great game.
Weapons, throws, combos... Nothing is missing in this great game.

The whole graphic set is particularly successful, and this attention to details is nice to see. Furthermore, sprites of the various protagonists are simply huge! In my memories, those are the largest that I've ever seen in a Beat em Up. And don't talk about slowdowns: these are conspicuously absent! Not only the characters move quickly and smoothly, but their moves as well as enemies' ones feature numerous animation steps. Sometimes there's an impressive amount of sprites on the screen, with fighters and various objects, explosions, barrels, extras, weapons ... and the result is perfect, not a fart! And what to say about the musics, showing a quality worthy of the best Neo Geo games? The different themes take us right back in the eighties, with a daring mix of genres, including rap, rock, funk, pop... Each composition is punchy, original and fun... sticking ideally to Violent Storm's crazy world. A real bomb, I tell you! The sound effects and digitized voices will not disappoint aficionados, it's also top-notch, with very good impact noises and high quality sampling. You have to hear second stage's Boss (train) ask if you have your ticket! You got it, it's a flawless realization.

This scene reminds of the fight against Sodom in Final Fight!
This scene reminds of the fight against Sodom in Final Fight!

The icing on the cake is that Violent Storm's gameplay is full and entertaining. Three different characters are available, each with a variety of moves that will have look ridiculous any other fighting game: for each of our heroes, there's a dozen of basic moves, two or three specials and at least three different throws! In addition, you can collect an arsenal of various weapons, as well as chairs, pots, boxes, balloons... you'll sometimes find yourselves confused, as the possibilities are so numerous. The path is littered with a variety of items to destroy and many other surprises. In the end, the game has only two flaws: an enemy bestiary not varied enough (about ten different basic opponents) which in itself is not dramatic, but also a very short life, with a game fully cleared in thirty minutes. These details will make no difference for the real Beat 'em Up fans, whose will delight again and again Violent Storm, one of the best titles ever made in this very genre.


GRAPHICS

90%

Violent Storm differenciates nicely from other games, with its enormous characters and its unique graphic style.
ANIMATION 97%
The decomposition is faultless, there's no slowndowns and the stages are very, very alive!
SOUND 98%
Music are damn punchy, well composed and catchy. Effects and voices are simply p-e-r-f-e-c-t !
REPLAY VALUE 69%
Thirty minutes to clear the whole game, it's not what' what we could call a good lifespan. Anyway, players might come back willingly to Violent Storm, as it's so fun.
GAMEPLAY 96%
Varied moves, intense rythm, weapons, numerous interactions, fun Bosses... Waouh! Only critic, enemies are not varied enough...but nevermind!

NEOGEOKULT

RATE

92%
Violent Storm is a fairly unknown masterpiece, that will please any Beat them Up amateur.

SAME ON NEO GEO?

Post-apocalyptic atmosphere can be found in Mutation Nation, which is however a notch below Violent Storm (packing 122 megs, anyway!)

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