Review by Pokejedservo

"Not QUITE as good as Final Fight but surprisingly not that much weaker."

Ever since the late 1980's the "2D Brawler" genre has been truly started by Capcom's Final Fight and Technos' Double Dragon. Oh sure Konami made a good attempt with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as did Sega with Golden Axe but these two were the most famous of them all with good reason. During the late 1980's and early 1990's were easily the best time for its genre. And the Super Nintendo was FAR from an exception with games such as Final Fight and the like. However somewhat known 3rd party developer Jaleco started to step up to that ever-so proverbial plate with this title known as "Rival Turf". Unfortunately for the most part its been getting highly negative reviews as on how its mostly been condemned as whats quite possibly the "Nadir of its Genre". And while it may not be one of the best games for its genre in general well ever heard of the word "Underrated"? Because thats a pretty good term to describe this game.

I will state to you now that this is not a very innovative game for its genre, your attacks are for the most part to punch, kick and do throwing/grapple moves when your close. As you fight all sorts of foes and while more than one of the same villian attacks. (However don't worry they have a decent variety of attacks and the amount of "Palette-swap" characters are kept to a minimum.) Though one intresting addition is that there is a "Angry Mode" where if you get attacked enough your body starts to flash and you attack a LOT quicker. The gameplay is actually pretty good on how you can do the following...

Jump/Flying Kick
Dash attack
Throwing/Grapple moves
One Special Move

And this early SNES title has some rather above-average graphics which use the system's capabilities rather well. The music is pretty decent too, and while the control is not absolutely perfect but its surprisingly quite responsive. (ESPECIALLY if your using a SNES controller with "Turbo" capabilities.) And to makes a bit better the challenge factor is considerably balanced. Its not WAY too easy nor is it too frustrantingly hard. So the chances of you wanting to play it with a Game Genie are somewhat possible. But don't worry you certainly won't regreat plaything game without it.

Even though Final Fight was not the only brawler for the SNES well lets just face it FF is the game that this will be compared to. And even though FF is the better game in general there are two aspects that this title actually went even better. For starters there are more weapons here such as Swords, knifes, bricks, grenades, lead pipes, wrenches and more. (And you don't lose them so easily when knocked down as well.) And one of the aspects I've complained about in Final Fight was the lack of length due to it being only 5 stages (well 7 if you count the bonus stages). Though fortunately this game has no such problem as lets just say there are more than 5 stages in this underrated beast. Nor does it feel a bit too long as well.

However it didn't go as good or even better than Final Fight in just about everything else. (However for the most of the aspects they were pretty darn close.) Though one aspect that it failed is in its storyline/concept presentation. The characters you fight as are either Jack Flak an agile but decently strong scrapper in which hair color is the only visual difference to Final Fight's Cody. And Ozzie Nelson, a strongman with some seriously M. Bison-resembling attire, and they beat up thugs and thats all you know. Now I know that the plots in the genre are generally not exactly the textbook definitions of "deep" by any means but still it makes the game seem awfully cheap that way. Heck even Bad Dudes had a plot! Granted a absolutely campy plot about inept ninjas kidnapping Ronald Reagan/George Bush but still... And one other problem is that Ozzie Nelson moves & attacks a bit too slow. Granted characters whom strongly emphaisize in strength are not really fast but even in that factor he still moves a bit too slow. So lets just say you'll probably end up playing as Jack Flak a bit more.

Overall this is just simply one of those games that're hardly as atrocious as they were suppose to be. Its not one of the greatest games of its genre but its really not that bad either. (And to be quite honest I think it is a shame that there will most likely be no more Rival Turf games after this one.) Granted its more for genre fans and easy-going gamers but its still not a bad game at all. This is also fortunately not a expensive nor rare game at all. So if you want to try a SNES game of its genre OTHER than the games from Capcom & Konami then this is a pretty good bet.

+ Gameplay is no where near as bad as its made to be. (With above-average control as well.)
+ It surprisingly has a couple of advantages over Final Fight (more weapons and its a longer game)
+ Above Average Graphics & pretty decent music
+ Challenge Factor is not terribly high so the desire of a Game Genie is surprisingly minimal
+ Its not too hard to find and is generally cheap
- Ozzie Nelson is a bit too slow
- Plot is a bit TOO "Generic"
- It may've went better than Final Fight in some aspects but not in all of them
- Even though its not as bad as its been made to be its still more for genre fans and easy-going gamers
- This is still not one of the best of its genre even though it is a shame there will probably be no sequel/remake

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/15/04

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