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Game Review

3D Classics: Urban Champion Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

3D Classic, huh? Well, they're half right...

You really have to feel bad for the team assigned to updating Urban Champion. After all, it's not a game that's very fondly remembered; in fact, you're unlikely to find many positive reviews at all, even from when it was new. It's also a stretch to say that it set the framework for fighting games to come; it seems more likely that later fighting games ignored the low standard set by Urban Champion and started afresh. And we're glad they did.

So spare a moment for the poor development team here, two and a half decades later, that suddenly finds their names attached to this project. It's a battle lost from the start. Short of building a whole new game — which would sort of defeat the point — there was no hope of redeeming this one.

And yet they did a fantastic job. We mean that. There was a great deal of effort put into 3D Classics: Urban Champion, and it's difficult not to appreciate the work they did. Sadly, however, as its core, the main game is absolutely terrible.

Let's start by talking about the game itself: you punch. We are now finished talking about the game itself. That's really all there is to it. You roam the streets punching differently coloured clones of yourself, eventually knocking them into — or being knocked into — an open sewer. Every so often somebody will drop a flowerpot out of a window, or a policeman will drive by and interrupt the fight, but, well, that's it.

The game loops endlessly over three screens, none of which are really much different from any other. Variety may be the spice of life, but it's the bane of Urban Champion.

You can throw two different kinds of punches. The slower kind is more powerful, and the faster kind is weak. Either action is stiff and sluggish, and you'll find that strategy is not your friend — the game doesn't react quickly enough to what you do, so don't bother thinking things through too much. Just mash the buttons and hope it ends quickly.

The 3D Classics version, however, does have a few more tricks up its sleeve. Sadly though it's nothing that affects the gameplay.

For starters, there are now ranks, or "grades." Instead of just endlessly looping stages, there will also be title bouts — which unfortunately don't play any differently — in which, if you win, you can raise your rank. This is a welcome addition to the game in the way that it's attempting, at least, to provide the player with a sense of accomplishment that the original game lacked. And, to a point, it works: we played through about 50 rounds of 3D Classics: Urban Champion just to see what kind of rank we could get, whereas on the NES it's an effort to play more than three or four.

The game will store your highest rank, so that the next time you play — if there is a next time — you can try to beat it. It also offers a save game feature, which quite presumptuously assumes that there's something in this game worth saving.

Additionally, there's the 3D effect. You may be thinking that this doesn't qualify as a separate feature, but we disagree. The game features the same simple background depth added to 3D Classics: Excitebike, but it also features an entirely separate camera option, buried in the options menu. Turn it on and instead of the screen just scrolling horizontally the game's camera will swivel to follow you, resulting in a pixelated world being viewed from intriguing diagonal angles. It's actually quite lovely in its own way, and something we'd love to see more of in future 3D classics. It must have taken a good deal of new work to create this throwaway option for such a throwaway game, but we're happy the developer took the time.

Unfortunately, none of this improves the core experience of Urban Champion in any way. The team deserves accolades for expending a great deal of work on a game that didn't really deserve it, but all of these changes amount, simply, to nice touches and nothing more.

There is also a two-player mode, which requires both players to own a copy of the game. It's probably smarter just to play alone, though, rather than admit to anyone that you spent money on this.

We didn't expect much of 3D Classics: Urban Champion. In that way, it surpassed even our wildest dreams. Ultimately, though, this updated version just goes to show that you can add some depth to Urban Champion, but you can't make it any fun.

Conclusion

The 3D Classics versions of Urban Champion does everything it can to give you new reasons to play Urban Champion. Unfortunately, Urban Champion wasn't very fun in the first place, and the last thing we wanted was a reason to play it again. No amount of additional polish — impressive though that polish may be — can help this one. It's easy to appreciate the effort, but we certainly wish it was effort made toward updating a superior game.

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User Comments (90)

6ch6ris6

#3

6ch6ris6 said:

i knew this would happen when i first heared about this game. it's just not a classic

WolfRamHeart

#4

WolfRamHeart said:

I for one am glad that Nintendo decided to remake this game. Without it I would not have been able to enjoy this hilarious review. Nice job Phil.:D

Sylverstone

#5

Sylverstone said:

I tried it, I gave it a chance, it let me down.

Good review, Phil.

Waste of a 3D Classic opportunity.

Teh-Ray

#6

Teh-Ray said:

This score is higher than I expected. I guess it really did out-do our low expectations....but not by much. Barely any.

Kudos on the review, though, you wrote more than I thought you would!

GuarinoMatt

#10

GuarinoMatt said:

I know I may be the only one in the world... but I spend a lot of time playing this game! I think it has great personality

Dyl_73

#12

Dyl_73 said:

Who chose this tripe to go on the 3D classics line up? They need demoting.

Zach

#13

Zach said:

@KaiserGX

Let's start by talking about the game itself: you punch. We are now finished talking about the game itself.

This. :D

daznsaz

#15

daznsaz said:

i dont think it involved a team to redo the game it was probably one man working round the clock for 24 hours on a zx81. but im glad they are doing them

moosa

#16

moosa said:

Hi guys. I kind of like this game. There, I said it. It's a good time waster. I wouldn't pay $5 for it, but if it was a dollar I would snatch it up.

Retroking1981

#17

Retroking1981 said:

I must be the only person in the world who actually like this. Already got it on NES and VC though so ill have to pass this one by.

Birdman

#18

Birdman said:

Nice review, Phil. I think I'll pass, unless I get an OCD urge to have all 3D Classics.

yoyogamer

#20

yoyogamer said:

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
The definitive version of Nintendo's best game.

3D Classics: Urban Champion
The definitive version of Nintendo's worst game.

The 3DS does have variety...

pntjr

#21

pntjr said:

I was JUST about to pick this up until this reveiw popped up. That defeated ALL of my chances of getting this.

Link79

#23

Link79 said:

People were actually trying to defend this game and say It's not so bad for fans of classic games?
Get a clue. This game was never a classic.
It stank then. It stinks now.

Rawk_Hawk

#24

Rawk_Hawk said:

I can't wait for Urban Champion II: The Revenge

By the way your review score seems to be missing 5 stars. If you could just fix it that would be awesome.

Samholy

#25

Samholy said:

i would buy it only to give the team behind credits for their work.
but the core game sucks so bad...i dont wanna waste money on that. sad for them. i dont blame the team, i blame the original game !

i hated as a kid, it was on a 25-in-1 game cartridge, and i never got the point of this game. smash buttons and... what ? thats it ? you smash 1 button until youre bored to death. i mean, even a small child could pull high scores by chewing the gamepad. if the was a high score system anyway
i never liked it, what a pointless game.

3 points well merited, and they go only for the team behind the REMAKE. why nintendo did this to them, its not cool.

cheetahman91

#26

cheetahman91 said:

I you want a good Nintendo fighter I would suggest Joy Mech Fight. The only problem is that it's in Japanese but it's still playable even if you don't know it. Hopefully Nintendo'll release that one overseas sooner or later.

As for the review, the score is exactly what I was expecting. The VC version got 2 stars and the reviewer threw on an extra star because of the cool 3D effect. I'm so glad Twinbee is the next game. Much better than this garbage.

Monsti

#28

Monsti said:

I downloaded it and enjoyed it. But that dosen't mean it's a good game. ^^ I just enjoyed it. Definitely a fair review.

MrDanger88

#29

MrDanger88 said:

Game sucks like Ive been saying for years. 3D isn't going to help s*** become magically better.

ueI

#30

ueI said:

I think the Warioware microgame had all the Urban Champion I'll ever need.

Spoony_Tech

#31

Spoony_Tech said:

Once again my sincere condolences to the one who had to review this game!! The long lasting mental effects it might have on him may scar him for life!! ;-)

XyVoX

#32

XyVoX said:

Well done Nintendo YOUR TRYING TO GET THE 3DS off to a flying start now after the MAJOR messup of a launch, and the LATE eshop arrival so you decide in all of your wisdom/multiple meetings to spend time and effort bringing Urban Champion to the 3DS MMmmmmmmm HOW ABOUT flooding the eshop with QUALITY that you have from your vast back catalogue INSTEAD 'that might just HELP your 3DS' HOW MANY TIMES do you need to be told the 3DS has not done well for 2 main reasons the PRICE was to high (now corrected) and a lack of quality titles.

Shockwave

#33

Shockwave said:

It's a shame, because you can tell that they really put so much effort into the game. Whoever chose to remake this game needs to be fired. Games like this are NOT what the 3DS needs right now.

TKOWL

#34

TKOWL said:

Ouch. Nice review, though, Brutus reviews are always a hilarious read :D

TeeJay

#35

TeeJay said:

There is also a two-player mode, which requires both players to own a copy of the game. It's probably smarter just to play alone, though, rather than admit to anyone that you spent money on this.


Oh, lol.

Knux

#38

Knux said:

LOL, your review was hilarious Phil! I am so glad that I avoided this garbage like the plague.

Mockingbird

#39

Mockingbird said:

The reviewer is actually wrong about the grading feature. Once you get to a rank, you'll continue to work on it even on the next playthough. I think there are nine or ten ranks in all — with the highest ranking being: Urban Champion. I think in total, you need at least 200 matches to become the Urban Champion. In addition, the game saves the highest amount of wins you manage to obtain. Every opponent beaten (which requires you to beat him for three rounds) nets you a stamp — which changes after every five stamps. The highest I've managed to get is four silver crowns — 59 rounds. The opponents start to get tough around round 40-ish, where they'll constantly be dodging your punches and meeting your hard punches. It's more of a glorified Game & Watch than an NES game, but I don't think the game is by any means terrible. I thought it was worth $4.99, which is a dollar cheaper than other 3D Classics game. It's good for short bursts of play and has an interrupt save feature too.

tweet75

#40

tweet75 said:

with releases like this nintendo will not help itself get out of the slowing down of sales. Only the great classic games from 25 years ago should be released in 3d form. The only appeal this game may have is to people who played it 25 years ago.

Bass_X0

#41

Bass_X0 said:

Read the review, watched the demo. My experience with Urban Champion is now the same as if I had paid for the game. Except I don't have the disappointment of having paid for it.

sc100

#43

sc100 said:

It's incredible to think that Miyamoto was actually involved with this. I guess we all come up with a stinker every once in a while.

LittleIrves

#44

LittleIrves said:

I'm with the small minority of folks actually defending this game. Retroking1981, you're not alone! First time I played it, I spent half an hour. Loaded it up the next day, played another half an hour. That doesn't happen with utter garbage. It's a neat, simple, strangely addictive game in my opinion. And if nothing else, it's a fascinating history lesson of where this industry was and how far it's come.

Kid_A

#46

Kid_A said:

Such a great review, Phil. Part of me wants to buy it out of sheer morbid curiosity but I really haven't read a single good thing about it.

TheGreenSpiny

#48

TheGreenSpiny said:

@42: LOL, My thoughts exactly.

Does anyone know if the 3DS eShop has a gifting option like the Wii does? I would love to send this bad boy as a joke.

grumblebuzzz

#49

grumblebuzzz said:

The trailer on the eShop at least made the 3D graphics looks interesting. That was almost enough to bamboozle me into buying it, but I'm glad I didn't fall for it. I really wish we'd get a true classic game in this series, one that is more than an endlessly looping, glorified Atari game. Why not a 3D Classics Legend of Zelda or Metroid or Super Mario Bros?

grumblegrumble

#50

grumblegrumble said:

Ouch. Harsh review. While I agree the game isn't a groundbreaking epic saga, it is a piece of gaming history and as such should be treated with a little bit more respect from the reviewer. I'm guessing they made simpler games into 3-d classics because of the huge effort involved and this is probably time consuming for NIntendo's programming teams. As an avid retro gamer, I truly appreciate the effort!

JeanLuc_Vaycard

#51

JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

This game is good for something at least. When your friend is asleep, borrowing his or her debit card and downloading the game to their 3DS, but leave it in present form. (And no i don't actually condone stealing. Not without compensation anyway. I would do this to some of my close friends that I know would find it funny and I would compensate them the same amount if not more on their account. lol)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#56

Philip_J_Reed said:

it is a piece of gaming history

So are E.T. and Superman 64. I don't want to play 3D versions of those, either.

TwilightV

#58

TwilightV said:

@SuperSushiLax: By that logic Wario loves this game! :D

@Chicken_Brutus: Both of those games have notoriously broken controls, and i'm pretty sure you needed the manual to have at least an idea of what to do in ET. Compared to those, this game is a breezy, linear timekiller.

Supereor

#59

Supereor said:

I knew it from the start, the video I saw made me never wish it was made, it looked almost as bad as Shaq Fu. I also had Xevious which also lead me to wander, "How can anyone be a fan of this?" The ship's lack of speed and lives made me wish I downloaded Zelda: Link's Awakening DX. Sadness. Yet Phil wrote a good review. Happiness. ¦:<)

ueI

#60

ueI said:

I hope the next 3D classic is good enough to get at least an 8 on this website. I'm tired of releases that have aged poorly and only appeal to nostalgia.

WaveWarlock

#62

WaveWarlock said:

I know I'll be buying, just for that trippy 3D diagnal effect and to play one of the worst Big N games in their 8-Bit library that i completely missed out on, for the better i suppose.lol

TheAmazingRaccoon

#63

TheAmazingRaccoon said:

It is nice to have a good laugh every now and then. Thank you, 3D Classics: Urban Champion.

Can you guys put a screen shot of the other camera perspective? it would be nice to see it, and I have no intention of buying the game.

komicturtle

#65

komicturtle said:

I played this game on WarioWare- a microgame. I think it should stay as a microgame from now on lol

Polaris

#66

Polaris said:

Wow this review didn't even cover the other parts of the game. It didn't even mention how you have to dodge the flower pots or you'll get dizzy and the opponent will score some hits
. It also failed to mention stamina's effect on the matches or blocking. Maybe I'm confused? I guess that's good though because it focused on the bad points so nobody will buy this game. I was tricked into buying this on wii by the way.

Kid_A

#67

Kid_A said:

My morbid curiosity got the best of me and I ended up downloading the game. I must say, I find myself enjoying it...well, a lot, frankly. I can't quite put my finger on why this is, though. I think it's because, at least from my perspective, this is a game that knows that it, technically speaking, sucks, and it's almost like they've amplified it for comedic irony. I don't disagree with Phil's review at all, but there's something in the game's hilariously stubborn simplicity (like, the fighters are all the same sprites? Really?) that I find personally, baffingly, really compelling. I still haven't decided if this game is good, but for whatever reason I can't stop playing it.

Odnetnin

#68

Odnetnin said:

@Kaiser I found like five really funny parts in this review.

I just searched all over the place for Chicken's B-Plus review and couldn't find it. Link?

Supremeist

#69

Supremeist said:

I think It's okay but It's really not worth it. I got it just to have the full 3D Classics library, and the 2 player mode was awesome too me, and I'm gonna get my friend to pick it up so we can play. Good review, the game didn't have much potential. I wish they did more to it.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#70

Philip_J_Reed said:

I just searched all over the place for Chicken's B-Plus review and couldn't find it. Link?

This is a strange misconception that I've come across before. This is at least the third time I've seen somebody saying that I wrote a hilarious BPlus review, and Bernd (of BPlus) actually wrote to me on youtube to say that my review hurt his feelings.

...and, yet, I've never written a review of a BPlus game. So I honestly don't know where the confusion is coming from. I'm glad you enjoyed whatever review it was, but I don't want to take credit for something funny that I didn't write!

Ren

#71

Ren said:

I wish it was instead that burger flipping game from no more heroes 2. Same graphic style, but way funnier and more variety in an even simpler game.

tanookisuit

#72

tanookisuit said:

Funny a 3/10 and it only hits on the bad points of the game. Shame all the details of it aren't discussed, but when a slash n' burn is easier why not right? It's not a gem, but it's not a pure turd either.

JimLad

#74

JimLad said:

I think I'd prefer...
3D Classics: River City Ransom
Now that would be something.

moosa

#76

moosa said:

@Kid_A: It's not a great game. It's a simple, fun game. I bet at least 75% of the kids here enjoying their old chuckle about this game have never even played it. There actually is some subtle timing/strategy involved if you actually want to play well, the sort of thing you just have to feel out by playing, which is a now-lost characteristic of the retro days. It's too bad that it's $5- I'm not going to pay that much for it- but if it were a cheap $1-$2 this would be a fun little time waster with some nifty 3D voxel graphics.

NeoShinobi

#78

NeoShinobi said:

Ugh, the crappy versus mode in the NES version of Double Dragon was way more fun than this.

bezerker99

#79

bezerker99 said:

I honestly like this game. It's been at the top of mah Now Playing on BL ever since I bought it. It makes a GREAT drinking game (but haters are gonna hate).

Cheers! B-)

Doobah

#80

Doobah said:

I'm loving Urban Champion. My flight home the other day was delayed for 4 hours and I started playing Urban Champion.. next thing I knew an hour had passed. The repetitiveness of the game zones you out and puts you in a zen like state.. like repeating a mantra. It's a great time waster.

SyFyTy

#81

SyFyTy said:

I wish I had Nintendo's amazing ability to talk myself into believing everything is coming up roses, like Nintendo does when it definately smells like poop, because thier skill with that is A-M-A-z-i-n-g! They talk more Dung than a proctologist.

Hatsune-Miku

#86

Hatsune-Miku said:

my friend tried to trick me into buying this but before I buy something from the eshop , wiiware or dsiware, i always look here first for the reviews :3

RabidPikachu

#88

RabidPikachu said:

I've played worse. The worst nintendo game I've played on the ds would have to be the dsiware game crystal monsters. worst game EVER!!!

Musterd

#89

Musterd said:

I actually kinda liked it too, i didn't read any reviews before buying it

SonicTheBluBlur

#90

SonicTheBluBlur said:

@Sylverstone You have a point. I wish they gave this game's spot to one that actually deserved it, like, I don't know, SONIC & KNUCKLES?! Seriously, that game NEEDS TO BE MADE INTO A 3D CLASSIC! With how many parallax scrolling layers the game has, plus its blazing fast speeds, HOW HAS THIS NOT BEEN ANNOUNCED? Please say I'm not the only one thinking this!

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