Urban Champion (Famicom/NES, 1984)

 

URBAN CHAMPION

 

PUBLISHED/DEVELOPED: Nintendo

ALSO ON: Arcade, e-Reader, 3DS, Virtual Console (Wii, Wii U), Nintendo Switch

RELEASE DATE: 11/14/84 (JP), 06/1986 (US), 1986 (EU)

 

Urban Champion is a Nintendo-developed game of shockingly low quality, especially when you consider the promise of the game’s city-at-night backdrop. The lit-up buildings, the street lamps, and the cheesy storefronts (Discount Shop!) all point to something more than what’s actually happening.

 

No book store maiden could love a face like that.

 

And what is happening? Two nameless thugs punch each other in the face and/or stomach across endless city blocks. After every third block, a manhole appears, and one of the two thugs is eventually punched into it. The winner is celebrated with confetti and a trip (for the audience) to the gun show. The loser thug presumably drowns in a pile of unmentionable horror.

 

Deuces wild.

 

Mindless beat-em-ups and stupid fighting games: I’m here for all of it. But couldn’t Nintendo elaborate a bit on the evocative city they’ve created? What if the cretins punched their way into the Book Store? What if they avoided Thomas Pynchon tomes thrown at them by an employee while fighting? As it stands, the most personality we see from the city is the occasional shopkeep dropping a flower pot onto the fighters, and a beat cop rolling by (Mappy is that you?!).

 

That’ll show ’em.

 

In order to obtain the coveted “Champion” status, you as the Blue-Haired Thug must defeat the Green-Haired Thug a total of 138 fights. Fight until the end, and nothing happens (other than the word CHAMPION appearing on the bottom right of the screen – woo-hoo?). Don’t fight until the end, and…? Nothing happens. The men are programmed to fight into oblivion, and fight into oblivion, they shall. Champions, indeed.

 

D-

 

Where the Punks have no Name.

 

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