(Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

Rival Turf! (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Rival Turf! Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Two isn't always better than one

When approaching Jaleco’s Rival Turf! (known as Rushing Beat in Japan), it’s important to understand the context of its release. In the early days of the Super NES, Capcom duly ported over its illustrious arcade brawler Final Fight, which dazzled gamers with its arcade-quality visuals and sound. It was a tremendous achievement given the relative gulf that existed between coin-ops and home consoles, but sadly not entirely perfect: the two-player mode that made the arcade original such a hoot was missing due to memory constraints, as was the third playable character, Guy.

Despite being a praiseworthy conversion, it understandably left many fans feeling a little short-changed. Amid this storm of discontent, Jaleco launched Rival Turf! The marketing strategy was hard to fault; where Final Fight failed, Rival Turf! would succeed – it had a co-operative two-player option. Such was the importance of this mode that its presence was printed on the cover of the North American version of the game in suitably obnoxious writing, along with a laughable photo of two teenage male models attempting to look like common street hoodlums.

It’s fair to say that a sizeable portion of gamers of that era, when faced with the solo-only Final Fight and the co-operative two-player Rival Turf!, picked the latter game off the store shelf after much deliberation. Sadly, although Jaleco’s game allows you to beat up ruffians in cahoots with a chum, it lacks the finesse and brilliance of the game that ultimately inspired its creation.

Rival Turf! is desperately short on originality; the two main characters are painfully similar to Final Fight's protagonists, Cody and Haggar. The hilariously-named Jack Flak is nippy and weak, while the cap-wearing Oozie Nelson is a professional wrestler who is slow but powerful. Both have the usual assortment of punch combos, jumping attacks, special moves, grapples and throws – all of which can chart their origin to Capcom’s infinitely more distinguished side-scroller.

The only unique element of Rival Turf’s control system is the dash technique. Tapping the L or R shoulder button causes your character to move much quicker than normal (although amusingly, there’s no actual running animation – you simply glide along the floor faster than usual). Teaming this with an attack results in a useful crowd-control move; with Flak it’s a floor slide, while Nelson opts for the no-nonsense running clothesline.

Such is Rival Turf’s cheeky plagiarism that many of the enemy sprites are obvious replicas of the ones seen in Final Fight. The biggest issue is that they’re nowhere near as striking: Capcom’s title uses larger characters and has a more considerable visual impact; Rival Turf’s motley cast of miscreants is disappointingly lightweight in comparison, and in fact they just look plain goofy.

Rival Turf! is also saddled with some truly uninspiring gameplay. Collision detection is highly suspect and when they do connect, attacks lack visceral force; characters fly through the air seemingly untroubled by the laws of gravity and physics. Even when you’re knocked down, your character falls in a way that looks limp and unconvincing, as if they’ve merely slipped on a banana skin rather than taken a fist in the kisser. There’s no weight to any of the offensive moves, and hurling an enemy into a crowd of foes doesn’t result in the same level of satisfaction as it does in Capcom’s title.

Naturally the two-player mode helps to mitigate some of these problems; scrolling fighters work best when you get friends involved and the fact that it’s possible to harm your ally makes things even more interesting. Sadly, even the promise of human interaction can’t gloss over the shortcomings of the repetitive and downright dull gameplay.

Jaleco managed to atone for its sins to a certain extent with the superior Brawl Brothers and Peace Keepers (direct sequels to Rushing Beat that were retitled for Western consumption), but the company never really got close to troubling the brilliance of Final Fight. The same could be said of Capcom, who struggled to make lightning strike twice with two lukewarm SNES sequels.

Conclusion

Putting the salubrious charms of the two-player mode aside for one moment, Rival Turf! is inferior to Capcom’s Final Fight in practically every single way imaginable. The gameplay is insipid, the characters look like they’ve wandered off the set of a Vanilla Ice music video and the presentation is lacklustre. This is a game that was practically sold on the fact that it allows you to play along with a friend, but in all honesty your pals are likely to shun you should you force them to endure this disappointingly feeble fighter.

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User Comments (35)

Bass_X0

#1

Bass_X0 said:

:( We've not had a low scoring Super Nintendo game in a long time. You want a scrolling fighter, get Streets of Rage 2. You played Streets of Rage 2 to death and want to try something new - replay it again; even after an umpteenth time, it'll still be better than this.

Chozo85

#2

Chozo85 said:

Final Fight 3 is also highly recommended if you like this sort of game. I don't agree with the description of it as a 'lukewarm sequel'. Its a better game than the first imo.

madgear

#6

madgear said:

All three Streets of Rage games are pretty decent, obviously the second is the best, though. I'd say Final Fight 2 and 3 are kind of OK too. Guess we just have to wait for some to appear on VC Arcade now if we want anything decent in the genre again.

TKOWL

#8

TKOWL said:

I think the only thing this game has is one of the worst Boxarts of all time...

Bass_X0

#9

Bass_X0 said:

I think the only thing this game has is one of the worst Boxarts of all time...

Not even close. The Master System had a great number of bland crudely drawn box art.

VGC

#10

VGC said:

Whoa, High up girly jackets and pants to your bellybutton! These dudes in the game are cool!

WanderFan91

#11

WanderFan91 said:

Good review, Damo. But how does the music sound? You forgot to cover that aspect of the game (like Mayhem did in his review of Wild Guns).

YoshiSage

#12

YoshiSage said:

The SNES part of the VC lineup has been pretty much perfect until recently. Sigh...

Terrible cover art, terrible graphics, terrible gameplay, obnoxious lines... terrible everything. Avoid at all costs.

StuffyStuff

#16

StuffyStuff said:

Can't argue with the scoring on this one. This game is nowhere near the elite class of beatemups the SNES has to offer.

Tasuki

#18

Tasuki said:

Wow I usually dont disagree with the reviews here but I totally disagree with this one. Yeah it doesnt have Final Fights crisp graphics or great sound but Rival Turf was still a decent game. I like the fact that with a code you can change every characters name in the game to whatever you wish. I also thought the boss music was pretty good too. Plus Damo you forgot to mention the angry mode that this game had that after enduring a certain amount of punishment you character gets invincible and all of their moves do more damage and such.

I also cant believe that you also said that Final Fight 3 was lukewarm. IMO I thought it was better than the original. Maybe you were talking about the sales of Final Fight 3 compared to Final Fight or something.

But back to Rival Turf if they brought this game out on the VC than I would download it without hesitation.

WWammy

#19

WWammy said:

Yeah I had Final fight and this game and to be honest this game Rival Turf got a lot more play time simply because it had the two player mode.
I cursed Final Fight for not having two player mode and the lack of charachter on the so called Super Nintendo.

ogo79

#20

ogo79 said:

rival turf...looks good but appears to have its flaws
too bad because it could have been a good game

JDesensitized

#21

JDesensitized said:

Its sequel Brawl Brothers is way better.

I'll still get this because I like it, even though it's not that good.

And Final Fight 3 ain't a lukewarm sequel! :p

BulbasaurusRex

#22

BulbasaurusRex said:

I'm surprised this review didn't mention the animation. I watched the gameplay clip NL has provided, and even I can tell that the animation is absolutely terrible. It's like they forgot to include half of the animation frames.

cheetahman91

#23

cheetahman91 said:

"The same could be said of Capcom, who struggled to make lightning strike twice with two lukewarm SNES sequels."
Final Fight 3 says otherwise.

motang

#24

motang said:

This was like one of my favorite game on the SNES, and I do agree with the review and the score. :)

Chunky_Droid

#25

Chunky_Droid said:

This game is a big steaming pile of Rival Turd.

My friend loaned me his copy back in primary school, DO NOT WANT.

Tasuki

#27

Tasuki said:

@StarBoy91: Actually its pretty long. I think but I am bit 100% sure there there is like 6-8 levels. However I never beat the game cause once you get to the 4th or 5th level the difficulty spikes big time but thats many due to how long that level is. Other than that its is a fun game IMO.

retro_player_22

#28

retro_player_22 said:

Me and my bro beat this game a few times on my original Super NES. We never thought it was a bad game though, it was a fun experience. We got this game as well as Final Fight 2, Separation Anxiety starring Peter Parker and Eddy Brocke, Super Double Dragon, TMNT IV: Turtles in Time, and Battletoads/Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team.

Rarewarefan7495

#29

Rarewarefan7495 said:

Rival Turf does have it's flaws but at the end of the day, it's still a fun romp; a hard one too. I do like this game better than Brawl Brothers and the Peace Keepers though.

DIRTY

#30

DIRTY said:

First off, Final Fight1 SNES sucked, it had no co-op play, censored characters (Sodom changed to Katana), missing Guy. A single player beat-em-up is generally doomed to suck. Rival Turf is not a great game, nor a bad game I would call it an average beat-em-up. It has co-op, some interesting looking levels. But I do like Rival Turf better than SNES FF1. Best beat-em-up I ever played was Streets of Rage 2 for the Sega Genesis.

Bass_X0

#31

Bass_X0 said:

censored characters (Sodom changed to Katana),

Thats meaningless really. It doesn't effect gameplay at all, you know what the name should be plus it wouldn't have been released in America if they had to keep the name Sodom. Also, I never play multiplayer anyway so that missing isn't a big deal to me personally. Guy and Rolento missing did bother me though. I haven't download it though; I do own SoR2 and Final Fight 3; thats enough for me.

Urbanhispanic

#32

Urbanhispanic said:

I have to say that of the Final Fight series, the first one will always be the best because it made an impact. Final Fight 3 deserves more credit for being fun because there was more variety in the characters, stages and even the moves themselves and it was better than Final Fight 2, IMO.

The Streets of Rage series was awesome in its own right and I always considered SoR2 to be the best among the 3 games. I downloaded all 3 and played through them.

Urbanhispanic

#33

Urbanhispanic said:

@31

You're right. The SNES Final Fight had to fit in with Nintendo's "family fun" policy at the time. So two boss characters' names were renamed and the prostitutes were replaced with male escorts among the other changes it went through. Funny how the Sega CD version came out uncensored and had extra modes to play as well.

DrDaisy

#34

DrDaisy said:

"...the characters look like they’ve wandered off the set of a Vanilla Ice music video..."
That would have been a great idea for bonus stage. Vanilla Ice is making a music video with some uncooperative performers and you have to keep them in line by beating the hell out of them when they wander off the set.

shinobiman

#35

shinobiman said:

I loved this game when I was a kid. I had the Japanese version (Rushing Beat) and it's actually much better than the US version. The box art wasn't horrendous, and the graphics were left unaltered (the US release removed a good portion of the foreground visuals and level graphics to save on memory). Also missing from the US version was the ability to knee your enemies in the groin, causing them to wince in pain. As a 6 year old who often played this game with a friend, this was a priceless move that added plenty of laughs.

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