Here are SNK's Burning Fight and 64th Street released by Jaleco in 1991. While in the first, we deal with three fighters struggling with Osaka's mafia underworld in different parts of the city, the second offers a little more original story. In 64th Street, the action takes place in 1939 in New York. Rick Anderson, a private detective, is hired by a wealthy client whose daughter was kidnapped. By putting some files side by side, he and his employee, Allen (Woody), go on the trail of some criminal organization. If the script reminds a little/much Final Fight, the fact that the game takes place in the thirtie's gives it an unique charm and personality. Facing the Neo Geo, Jaleco's early nineties arcade hardware, I named the Mega System 1-C. This one packs less power than the MVS in terms of pure performance: built around a 68000 processor slower than that of the SNK system, the machine displays "only" 1024 colors against 4096, while 64th Street is using a 256x224 resolution against 304x224 for Burning Fight. It uses the 68,000's sound chip attended with a Yamaha 2151, while its rival packs the latest 2610processor from the same manufacturer, assisted by the Z80. Burning Fight is leaning on a powerful 54 Mb cart, against a 24 Mb one for its competitor, starting this match with a substantial advantage on paper.
Visually, the power immediatly makes sense. Despite its larger sprites, Jaleco's title is less precise, less detailed and colorful than its competitor. The backgrounds are uneven quality: some levels are dull and empty, while others are rich and pleasant. Overall, the 'prohibition' atmosphere is successful, and the game is easy on the eye despite its simplicity. The design is credible and puts the player in the mood quickly enough. Burning Fight operates on the young Neo Geo, and without straining the capacities of the machine, rises a good step above 64th Street.
BURNING FIGHT................. 89%
64th STREET ....................... 70%
While not being terribly stiff and jerky, our two games here are just in the average standards of the time. While Burning Fight is steep and averagely decomposed, 64th Street proves a little more flexible but less detailed. Anyway, it's not too brilliant on one side or another: the programmers could have worked better, because there's really nothing remarkable. BF wins the duel on the animation from a short head, with its zoom and backgrounds a bit more lively, plus its numerous differential scrollings .
BURNING FIGHT................. 68%
64th STREET ...................... 65%
In terms of quality, the Neo Geo title takes easily the lead in this area. Sound effects and melodies have a better sampling, it's undeniable. Creative side, Jaleco's title is more daring: dynamic and catchy themes accompany the action, but unfortunately it's a little bit repetitive. The sound effects are doing good, violent and forceful at will, with a lovely retro-style. Voices are successful although somewhat repetitive too. Burning Fight is more discreet in this area: the music are there but within a few minutes, you don't really hear them anymore; the sound effects are also more muted than in 64th Street. This one is more demonstrative, but its opponent wins this round thanks to the superior quality of its soundtrack... more than creativity.
BURNING FIGHT.................. 82%
64th STREET ....................... 79%
Burning Fight and 64th Street are cleared in about forty minutes each, which is (again) about the standard lifetime of most Beat 'em Up. The rival games have players coming back for fun with a friend or even alone, for sure. SNK's soft offers three selectable characters against two for its opponent. Despite this, the simplicity and some original ideas in Jaleco's production have you come back for more: Burning Fight is harder, more tedious, more demanding. Anyway, the bonus stages in the form of stores to demolish and the good variety of levels are a strength. 64th Street is a bit more 'fun', while BF packs a more pointed challenge.
BURNING FIGHT................. 71%
64th STREET ...................... 73%
Three buttons are used on one side, two on the other. For Burning, A sends a punch, B jumps, and C delivers a kick. The combination of A+B triggers a powerful special attack that costs a little life. Each character have a throw and can pick up weapons. Indeed, the range of those available is wide: staffs, knives, guns, bottles... Stages are filled with destructible elements and stores to destroy, which is highly enjoyable! 64th Street features a very similar gameplay, but it uses only two buttons: one to hit, one to jump. Each fighter has a special attack A+B like in Burning Fight, but also another move triggered with -> + A. Throws are more varied than in BF: depending on the direction you hold, you can perform a series of hits, send your opponent on other enemies, or downright against the surroundings! In some stages, it's even possible to throw them into the water or out of the combat zone! A very good feature, because in addition the set deteriorates when the enemy strikes in. The weapons are less varied than in its rival, but Jaleco 's game wins on a crucial point: accuracy. SNK has a little botched its game on this chapter, and Burning Fight proves difficult and sometimes frustrating: for example, jumping moves have a reduced contact window and throws are badly animated. Without being perfect, 64th Street is slightly more accurate and fighting feels significantly better than in Burning Fight.
BURNING FIGHT................. 69%
64th STREET ....................... 75%
Finally, the duel is much tighter than one would have thought! A bit more original and fun, the title of Jaleco is fun to play with its big characters, fun gameplay and original Bosses. Our adversaries are at par on life, while Burning Fight prevails quite clearly on realization; Jaleco replies with a better gameplay, more precise and complete. Two Beat them Up each with their own qualities and atmospheres, one compensating an average realization with a more precise gameplay, the other overcoming its steeper controls with a better realization... Verdict: draw!