Urban Champion Review
Posted by Corbie Dillard
More like Urban chump!
It's impossible to overlook the fact that many of the earlier NES releases were extremely simple in design and took very few chances when it came to gameplay design and visual substance. While many of the games were classic arcade titles from Nintendo, there were a handful of original releases that tried to up the ante. Urban Champion is one of the earlier attempts at the beat'em up genre and, while it features some interesting ideas, the execution is what ultimately lets the package down.
There's really not much to the gameplay of Urban Champion, since the majority of what you do will require little more than pummeling your opponent with various punches in order to drive them out of the screen. And while you will have to watch out for the occasional manhole or someone dropping flower pots down on your head, there's not much else to the whole affair.
Since you're only able to move from side to side, you'll use the up and down directions on the D-Pad to control your blocks and punches. Pressing up will allow you to block high and connect on punches to your opponents head. Likewise, pressing DOWN allows you to guard your body and inflict body blows on your opponent. The two action buttons allow for both weak punches, which can be executed more rapidly in succession, and stronger punches, which take longer to execute but do more damage. You'll have to mix things up a bit as the difficulty increases and your opponents becomes a bit less predictable.
To say that the controls in Urban Champion are sluggish would be a gross understatement. Even pulling off the quicker punches feels far too unresponsive and pulling off a strong punch is more a matter of blind luck than any type of real playing skill. Combine all of this with the same basic level repeated over and over with only a few background changes and what you have is a game that is every bit as repetitive as it sounds.
Visually, Urban Champion has some nicely detailed backdrops, but each one is so similar to the others that it ends up being merely colour palette swaps as you progress through the handful of levels. The musical score is very similar in that you'll get a couple of interesting NES chiptune tracks to enjoy, but little more in the audio department beyond that. If you've played any of the earlier NES releases, you should know exactly what to expect from this one.
The beat'em up genre of games has come a long way since its humble beginnings and no game better highlights that fact than this early effort. Sluggish controls and redundant gameplay end up making the game more a lesson in futility than any type of engaging gaming experience. Unless you just can't pass up a Nintendo title, you're likely much better off staying as far away from this inherently uninspired stinker as possible.