Review by TheSAMMIES
"Capcom Forgot About Their Best Beat 'em Up"
Capcom made an awesome game and completely forgot about it! This game is great and yet we never see any of these characters in any of Capcom's many crossover titles? This is a crime against crossovers! Okay, silliness aside, Battle Circuit is easily Capcom's best beat em up. It's a sort of pseudo sequel to Captain Commando with a similar comical sci-fi theme, but with different characters.
Story- The evil Dr. Saturn is trying to assemble The Shiva System, a super weapon that could destroy the galaxy. It's up to five powerful mercenaries to stop him! Your playable characters include: A cyborg man who has a lot of Captain Commando's moves. You get an alien idol singer that's your fast and weak character. The coolest character is a large pink ostrich with an eye patch and a little girl with a bow and arrow riding it. There's also a plant man and a guy who can stretch that totally isn't the mummy from Captain Commando.
Battle Circuit's story takes you all over the place. You get to fight an Elvis impersonator, have a run-in with an all woman biker gang, go to a theme park that resembles ancient Japan, beat up mandrills, save the world from Dr. Saturn, and collect lots of money. It's a fun a silly story not meant to be taken seriously. I laughed and enjoyed it.
Presentation- Battle Circuit looks amazing. Character sprites are detailed and well-animated. Bosses are huge and colorful, sometimes made up of more than one sprite. Extra effects are thrown in to make everything a bit more special. Shadows drag behind sprites when they move fast. Explosions are photo-realistic and cheesy. It's awesome.
The art style resembles a lighthearted sci-fi anime. Characters are very expressive and have silly expression when they're hit. Everyone is drawn this way. The good guys, the bad guys, even the background characters look silly. It lines up with the humorous story pretty well and gives the game a very fun atmosphere.
The sound is good too. Music is catchy and fast. Goes a little heavy on the jazz in some levels, though. Someone keeps sneaking jazz music into my favorite arcade games.
Gameplay- Battle Circuit was Capcom's very last beat em up of the 90s. Looking back at Final Fight, you can see how they evolved their genre and perfected the art of making a good and fun arcade beat em up. You have a lot of move at your disposal at first, but you can also pick up coins. Between levels, you can buy new moves that have Street Fighter style inputs. By the end of the game, you'll have more moves than you'll know what to do with. The game completely defies the stereotype of beat em ups being shallow and repetitive.
There are also items you can pick up for effects. Sorry, no weapons like in Final Fight. You do, however, get a fun and unique bomb that damages all enemies and turns the ones it killed into gold. Awesome!
You also get a bonus game where you just go through a course and try to collect as much cash as you can. Like I said before, cash can be used to buy more moves, but can also be spent on extra lives or a bigger health bar. You'll need all the cash you can get, though, because Battle Circuit is rock hard.
This game is seriously very hard. The bosses in particular are tough and require you to learn their patterns if you want to beat them. You can't just rush into a fray and expect to kick everyone's butts. That will only get you killed. This is a game about careful precision and deciding which enemy out of many should be hit. If you've played Sega's Streets of Rage series, you probably know what kind of AI you're up against. Enemy groups love cornering and surrounding you, so make intelligent use of your attacks and don't be afraid to use your health consuming crowd control move.
There is also a secret final boss. I'm not saying who it is, but he's tough and cheap. Don't expect to beat him on one credit. Seriously, he's tough. I could make comparisons to other arcade games with overpowered secret final bosses, but I won't because it would not be fair to them.
Cool Fact- The English release of this game is missing some background characters in the Japan theme park level. They were censored out because it was very clear that they were members of the infamous Japanese gang, The Yakuza.
Boobs!- The biker girls wear unzipped jackets and not much else. You can clearly see their boobs. How did this get past censors? I don't know, but it's funny. It made my laugh the first time I saw it.
Also Try- Viewtiful Joe and it's sequels. They have a similarly cheesy atmosphere and have you buying extra moves through cash too. I personally like Battle Circuit a lot more.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/23/13, Updated 11/18/13
Game Release: Battle Circuit (JP, 12/31/97)
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