(Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

Brawl Brothers (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Brawl Brothers Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

A marked improvement

Jaleco released several beat 'em ups on the SNES, although you may not know that three of them are actually related. Exclusively in Japan, the games Rival Turf!, Brawl Brothers and The Peace Keepers were all part of one series called Rushing Beat, but for their North American releases they were retitled, and the story and character names were all changed.

The second game in the series, Brawl Brothers still has the same two characters from Rival Turf! — Jack Flak and Oozie Nelson — though they've been renamed Hack and Slash this time around. They're joined by three new characters in the forms of Lord J., Kazan and Wendy. Of course, all of them have their own unique movesets, so experimenting to find your favourite is certainly recommended.

Upon beginning the game, either in single player or two player mode, you'll have to pick two characters to start with. No, this doesn't get you an AI partner in single player, but it does allow you to switch to the other whenever you have to continue. As you go through the game, you'll fight clones of the remaining three characters; after you beat them, the real deal (who was kidnapped) will join you and you can also select them from then on out. It's a good idea in theory, but as you can only change after losing all your current lives, it's not really very useful, especially as you don't have many continues.

The game doesn't actually have very many different stages, as you go through several different areas listed on the map before finally fighting a boss and ending it. This means some stages can be very long and drag on severely: even the first level which, of all things, ends with a maze of doorways you have to find the correct path through. The game also loves background objects that can hurt you, as they pop up very frequently and, despite usually being able to hit enemies, generally outstay their welcome.

Defeating regular enemies is also usually quite a hassle; Final Fight and Streets of Rage are generally pretty lenient about hitting enemies that aren't exactly on the same plane as you, but it's very strict here, as enemies have to be right in front of you and not even the slightest bit more towards the front or back of the stage, or you usually won't be able to hit them. They're also annoyingly skilled at taking priority with grabs, so frequently if you go in for a grab they'll grab you instead, so it may be smarter to stick with combos and jump attacks.

An interesting mechanic is that weapons aren't the only thing you'll keep in your hands after picking them up, as you'll do the same with food. This means you can carry around a full health kit until you actually need it, if you happen to come across one when you've already got a maxed-out life bar. However, you'll use it when you press the regular attack button and drop it if you get hit, so it can just as well be another annoyance on the list trying to take something around with you.

Rival Turf! looked quite dull in the graphics department, and thankfully Brawl Brothers looks quite a bit better: the characters are animated a lot better and look a lot livelier due to being slightly cartoonised. The stages are also a bit more interesting and no longer look like boring rip-offs of the first Final Fight's locations.

Conclusion

Brawl Brothers is a noticeable improvement over Rival Turf!, but it's still not good enough to match up to the best beat 'em ups around. It plays quite a bit better and has some more variety in terms of the stages and playable characters, but all the little annoyances stack up in the end to slightly drag down what would otherwise be a good alternative to the likes of Final Fight and Streets of Rage.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (14)

_Joejoe_

#1

_Joejoe_ said:

Every time I read the words 'brawl' and 'brothers' I think that its about Smash Bros. Brawl. Its a curse.

Link79

#2

Link79 said:

It's strange that I never heard of any of these games. Probably because I was too busy playing Streets of Rage. Now that's a beat em up series you can really enjoy.

Shiryu

#3

Shiryu said:

I still consider this a fun if flawed game. I got for 7 out of 10, but the review is spot on, really.

Ren

#4

Ren said:

I was going to add something snarky about 'who's ever heard of this?', until I realized that I played this myself back then. I was just now drawn in by the same selling point I was back then: the ridiculous box art that includes the unabashed stating of it's only real selling point "simultaneous two player action!". It cracked me up how final Fight was only 1 player at first; why would anyone play a brawl game alone?

The screens are hilarious, too, love that start screen, looks like it was made in Mario Paint, Rainbow paintbrush tool. Keep these retro-reviews coming, N-life, they keep me smiling always.

MeloMan

#5

MeloMan said:

"I still consider this a fun if flawed game"
That's just about how I feel... it wasn't the best, but it felt okay play with someone. The funny part is, I think the "beat the clone to get the real character to join you" mechanic was also used in Ninja Combat, another flawed but ok brawler. Ah well, as a brawler fan, I play them all, bad, good, and great so I can usually find something to love about each one.

Tasuki

#6

Tasuki said:

I still have this game on a SNES cartridge and still play it from time to time when I feel like a good two player brawler. While I agree that it doesnt come close to the SNES version of Final Fight in the graphics and sound department but the co-op play puts it slightly higher in my book than FInal Fight. But than again co-op meant no fighting with my brother unlike with Final Fight lol.

One note I am surprised here that wasnt mention is that if you do a code on the title screen I think it was it would unlock the Japanese version, which I found a tad easier since it didnt have the branching paths that the review spoke of.

BulbasaurusRex

#8

BulbasaurusRex said:

Needing to be lined up perfectly to hit someone is a huge flaw that will keep me from buying this when it comes to North America.

JDesensitized

#9

JDesensitized said:

It's not really that hard to hit someone in this game.

Either way, this is way better than Rival Turf and, while not perfect by any means, is quite the fun brawler.

brooks83

#10

brooks83 said:

Anybody know if Jaleco is only supporting Europe now? It seems Europe has had Rival Turf and E.D.F for a while now, but then again it took us a while to get Super Bonk in America too so maybe I am just being impatient.

ogo79

#11

ogo79 said:

dang, i was hoping this would be that random download id like...ill stick with the Streets Of Rage series...

Steviis_Father

#13

Steviis_Father said:

Oh Wow! This game was awesome! I used to play this game with my cousin every weekend at his house. We cycled through each character, but we both knew we wanted to be Kazan (high-tops and all...)

@Tasuki: That's correct, there is a code! I remember learning it different ways, but it generally goes like this (at least with me): Quickly press buttons B, A, X, Y repeatedly at the JALECO screen until the screen becomes scrambled. Then press Start after a hearing a slashing noise. Then press Down(3), & you'll have a grabled screen flash onscreen. Don't panic. Just press Start. Exit the options screen to view the title screen from the Japanese version - Rushing Beat: Ran.

This game was the version my cousin & I played when we were younger, but it's pretty much the same game. The only difference is that Kazan has an alternate uppercut animation when you press Y. But I now have Brawl Brothers on a SNES cart & decided to forego my Super Famicom (JAP) copy, since this code was so awesome to have given me 2 GAMES on 1 CART! Hahahaha!

It's a great game. A lot like a burnt homemade toast pizza.
It's hard. Imperfect around the edges. A little cheesy.
But great!

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