Review by Sane Jake

"A good team-based fast-paced beat'em up"

Battle Circuit is an arcade that came out as the side-scrolling ''Double Dragon/Downtown Kunio Kun'' genre was dying out. Capcom had been perfecting (or rehashing, if you prefer) the side-scrolling fighter for quite some time, with Final Fight being the definitive starting point.

- Colourful cast of characters with unique abilities
- Team-up attacks
- Combos, Fast paced gameplay
- Power-ups that effect an entire ''party''
- Purchasable power-ups
- Hidden Boss for Super Players

If you're not familiar with this type of game, here's how it works: Your player character runs down a screen (which scrolls in one direction... usually) beating the living tar out of almost everyone he/she comes upon. Quite often eliminating a wave of enemies is required before the player can continue.

I've only played the English version a few times, but apparently you play one of five bounty-hunters:
Cyber Blue -- Cyborg, and the ''Ryu'' of the group.
Yellow Beast -- the cat-girl and typical T&A character(Capcom seems to prefer more A than T, if you look at their history with Chun-Li, Cammy, Sakuri...)
Alien Green -- a plant-alien who does brutal, nasty things to opponents.
Pink Ostrich -- A little girl riding on a big, pink ostrich. I don't get it either.
Captain Silver -- so skinny he's scary looking, but he does have a variety of imaginative ''morphing'' attacks.

As usual, Capcom bothered to give the characters a bit of background and typical, often uninteresting or uninspired personalities... but at least they bothered. The version I played most recently was Japanese, and my memory on the histories of the previous version are rather vague, so I'm afraid I can't go on into much detail here. I have no idea about Cyber Blue or Pink Osterich, but Alien Green has the typical ''mysterious'' background, Captain Silver may be consumed by his own fantastic powers if he succumbs to temptation, and that Yellow Beast is a model. For Victoria Secret, apparently.

As you go out on your various missions, but mostly they revolve around capturing the nefarious Dr. Saturn (and his kewpie blob... probably a rare pokemon)

Typical fare, but for a beat-em up game it's pretty good.

Gameplay (7/10)
One of the causes of death for the beat'em up is the fact that a lot of them were the same. While this game doesn't have the depth that D&D 2: Shadows Over Mysteria had, it certainly has a lot more going for it than the standard beat'em up. You'll recognize a lot of streetfighter attacks in this game: Iceman from X-Men Children of the Atom's ''Artic Attack'', Jedah's (Vampire Savior) air pounce and grab, the ''Shinku Hadoken'' beam, and an assortment of ''Sho-Ryukens''. The pace is fast and furious and stays that way. Inbetween stages, you're given a chance to buy more moves (called ''Upgrades'') from your boss, extra lives and life-bar extensions. You get the cash by finding it a variety of items (who puts suitcases full of goodies in oil drums, anyhow?) but also by performing certain attacks. There's enough food to top you up if you're careful. Finally, you have a limited number of ''Power-Up'' uses, in which each character unleashes a powerful which benefits the group. Extra damage, speed (hits), Super Armour, Healing, and something called ''Death Blow'' (a bonus for getting the death blow on a boss and more boss damage, I've gathered). Still with all these features, it is still based on the old formula created in Final Fight. Hence the score -- rather good for another beat-em up installment.

Control (9/10)
The controls are quite good -- very tight, and despite the simple two-button design, with the addition of street-fighter style moves (also used in games like Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Aliens Vs. Predator, and of course, the all mighty Dungeons and Dragons 2: Shadows Over Mysteria) you get a lot of variety with those two buttons. Various combinations will do everything from shoryuken-style rapid-hitting uppercuts, super-fast hitting attacks, piledrivers, to blasting enemies from a distance by various flashy means. In addition, there is a special ''Power-Up'' mode (activated by hitting both buttons in mid-air) which effects the entire player ''party'', and the energy-draining desperation move (hitting both buttons on the ground) can also be teamed up with other players for a more devastating effect. That's a lot of different methods for just two buttons.

Character (5/10)
This is something that a lot of games and game reviews skip over, but it's important nevertheless. Character is a combination of style, atmosphere and basically how interesting the actual players are. The more personality the characters in the game have, the more enjoyable it is. Examples of personality are Duke Nukem 3D, Get Medieval, No One Lives Forever (in that case, your enemies have as much, and sometimes more, personality than the player character) SIN, and Alice. As previously stated, it's also atmosphere which is while Silent Hill and Resident Evil 1 & 2 are so good.

The cast is colourful... well, odd, really... but their personalities are a bit bland and typical. They each have a ''get-up'' comment, the sundry selection of attack yells, and various win poses, but nothing really noteworthy. The atmosphere are wild and unusual as they are, making their world a bright, fun (and sexy, judging by the biker girls) place. But it's nothing that really draws you in. In short, it's adequate. Dr. Saturn earns points though.

Graphics (7/10)
Note that graphics come a little late in my review, and it gives you an idea of how much weight they carry. The graphics are well done in the typical Capcom manner. They do the job, they do it pretty well, it's well drawn... but nothing really outstanding.

Sound (6/10)
The sound is adequate. I've heard better, but I've also heard a lot worse. No real catchy tunes, and just enough voices.

Overall (7/10)
If you enjoyed D&D 2: Shadows Over Mysteria, Final Fight, or even the Streetfighter series, you'll have something to love here. There's a lot of potential for teamwork, but not really to the same extent as in D&D SOM. It's a solid beat-em up and good if you need something fast paced and mindless.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/18/01, Updated 08/18/01

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