Electronic Theatre In-depth Reviews: Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance

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Electronic Theatre ImageBetrayed by your gang members and framed for murder its time to clear your name in the latest Free-Roaming Beat-‘Em-Up from Capcom. Once heralded as the king of the genre ruled by the Final Fight and Streets Of Rage series with an iron fist, the Scrolling Beat-‘Em-Up is one of those genres that fell to the wayside in the 3D leap of the mid-nineties. Rebirth of-sorts hit the genre hard with the likes of God Of War and Onimusha cross-breeding with a strain of Adventure game DNA, but still nothing has hit quite as hard as Final Fight CD from SEGA’s ill-fated Mega-CD. Capcom have vowed to change this, and regain their crown; with the likes of Final Fight: Streetwise and Beat Down: Fists Of Vengeance.

Set in the gritty city where violence and gangs are of common place, the main Electronic Theatre ImageStory Mode sees you taking control of one of five gang members and trying to prove your innocence and find out who has set you up. There are ten Chapters to get through, and as the main character your job is to evade capture from the cops and avoid getting killed by the mob. There are many ways that you can do this, whenever you are spotted by cops/gangs or getting beaten and bruised your Awareness Meters goes up. When the Meter reaches 100 you will be recognised and virtually every one will try to kill you on sight, nice. Electronic Theatre Image But the neat trick is when the Meter does inevitably go up you can change your appearance by visiting one of the many clothes and jewellery stores so your opponents will not be able to recognise you. Or on the other hand if things get really bad then you can go to the local hospital, where you can get those nasty cuts and bruises treated or some plastic surgery and a nice tattoo which will make you even more unrecognisable to your pursuers.

In order to make the money needed for disguises, when you are in a fight and win you get the option to rob them of their money and any valuables, Interrogate them for mission info and help, beat-up on them some more if you don’t think that they got the message in the first bout or get them to join your gang and fight by your side. Offering them your hand will add them to your Cell Phone list, which you can then contact them from when you need a little help – in major battles, they will fight alongside Electronic Theatre Image you. Certainly a nice feature of the game – almost letting you customise your very own posse – clearly inspired by the more substantial console RPGs.

The control system is easy enough to pick up but with no way of targeting individual fighters when involved in a fight with multiple adversaries, the layout is simple perhaps a little too simple. Once you have been round the city in the early Chapters nothing new really unlocks within the city; so you will find yourself back in the same places thorough the game. The other annoying part is than many of the fights you encounter along the way take place by the roadside and when fighting multiple attackers it spills out onto the road leading to many accidents involving cars – very nice or very nasty, depending on which side you are on!

There are many weapons available throughout the game including knifes, pipes, planks and the odd shotgun which defeated fighters and adversaries drop, or you can purchase them from various dodgy people within the city and sell them on to other gang members when you are running low on cash.

The graphics in the game are visually stunning; combined with the ambient soundtrack the title has the power to make you weary of what is round the next street corner. The fight soundsElectronic Theatre Image are also very cool, reminiscent of Bruce lee films packing another punch in this dark and sinister game.

The title has clearly been borne from a love of the 16-bit era – a glimmering beacon of hope with some nice touches thrown in; for instance the visual scars, cuts and bruises which you have to get treated – in a much less distancing context than the just-short-of-the-mark Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Also the fight control system works really well despite the difficulty in targeting an opponent, and fielding such new ideas in a fleeting genre cannot be seen as anything other than respectable. However, all the respect in the world won’t make you have fun when a title has reached its’ apex before its prime.Electronic Theatre Image











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