Review by Pegboy

"Before Ryu and Ken there were these two hip dudes"

Although far from anything seen in the Street Fighter series, it is a pioneer in the fighting genre, and a first stab at a fighting simulation for
Nintendo. The champion here is not either of the two fighters, but rather the
Nintendo corporation for taking the big step into the world of unheard of games, those games being fighting simulations. If you are able to see past the
shoddy controls, horrible graphics, and just plain boring gameplay, you'll see a game that many may remember from the early 80's known as Urban Champion.

This is not a game that you play with your friends. Even getting caught playing this game by yourself can mar your social status for the rest of your life. You may be referred to as ''that guy who plays nudie games behind closed doors'' (although the nudie part will be implemented only to make you look worse). In fact, most people turned their heads to Urban Champion (UC) even when the game first debuted. Did they not realize what had just landed in their lap? Here it was, the only game of it's kind, and they threw it into their unused game drawer. If only they could have seen the inner beauty of what would spark generations of games to come, perhaps they would have taken a closer look at
what they had.

UC features two tough characters, one with blue hair dressed in green jeans and the other with green hair and red jeans. They looked identical, as you would
expect from an early Nintendo game, even after being ported years later. The two guys with their fly outfits are battling to be the Urban Champion. And that's just something you assume as you play the game, because the game doesn't offer any kind of storyline. No, it just wants to purchase it and begin pounding on the opponent. There are no additional characters, just John Doe and Mani Wish Ihadaname. Although it doesn't sound appealing, and it really isn't, it gives an insight on what people entertained themselves with before the likes of later games such as Mortal Kombat.

You have two moves in the game: a quick punch and a heavy punch. The heavy punch takes a little longer to pull off than the quick punch, but it knocks your opponent down and back on contact. The quick punch is there more or less to throw your opponent off. Despite this lack of available moves, you can vary your attacks a little by aiming for the opponent's gut or head. They can also
block either area, and that is the highlight of the game. The most action you'll see in the game is the two rowdy teens in each other's face moving their arms up and down swiftly in an attempt to block the oncoming attacks. The
muddy controls make it even less fun to play. UC is a game most of society avoids for the most part, mainly because future games (thankfully) improved on what UC created.

And that, for one thing, is something that is important about the game. It paved the way for so many fighting titles that have been released since then and although it wasn't fun itself, where would we be if the developers at Nintendo hadn't released this game? Many a gamer who is a fighting game fanatic owes a bit of gratitude to the game, because they wouldn't have their beloved Tekken had this game never come out. No sir, this game does far more than bore people; it's a turning point in gaming history.

Most people, indifferent to whether it's on the NES or e-Reader, wouldn't even
give a thought to purchasing this game. They'll look at the packet, notice it's shininess, flip it over a couple times, study the back of the pack, and then set it back on the hanger (the wrong one, of course) when they notice the store manager has come out from the back of the store with a load of new copies of Wind Waker.

Me, I'm a little different.

Quickly rushing through a crowd of people including a couple of elderly folk after reading the sign outside the store that simply reads ''e-Reader cards here!'', I spot a couple of other cool titles such as Mario Bros. and Excitebike, but turn my attention over to a card pack lying on the floor. The words ''Urban Champion'' sprawl across the foil package and I pick it up, take a few seconds to decide whether or not I should buy it, and then fumble through my wallet for the $5 I was saving for a slice of pizza at the Italian eatery.

Now, honestly, I was expecting some improvement from the NES version. Although I'm a diehard fan of these older games and have learned to look past most flaws, I was thinking that maybe they updated the fighting style, maybe added a
move or two, or just made the controls a bit more smooth. But alas, there was not a thing different from it's counterpart. The graphics are strikingly identical to the NES version and the game hadn't really changed a bit. Oh well, at least Nintendo's attempting to bring back classics for the new generation of gamers to experience.

Even if you are not a fan of older games, you owe it to yourself to play this one. Even if you only play it once and never even consider playing it again, it's something that you need to have respect for as the forefather to fighting simulations. UC will never get the respect it so rightfully deserves, but it still holds a special place in people's hearts who have been able to overlook the horrible game that it is.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/22/03, Updated 04/27/03


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