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A Pit-fighter simple round-by-round bloodbath. Here we have a cash crop beat ‘em-up where the guy who still has his limbs intact at the end wins. Victory earns the fighter a forklift load of cash and the chance to crack heads with another, higher-ranked foe. At the end of the line lives a pleasant little chap called the Ultimate Warrior, the reigning pit-fighting champ who would like to introduce his boot to your liver.

Fighting in the pit is a joystick-intensive experience, guaranteed to wrench the wrist. Replacing the coin-ops three fire-button system, the conversion uses the joystick position to determine just how you will inflict ABH. The rapid switching of direction and the waggling accuracy it demands puts the pressure on. Randomly throwing the stick and pressing the fire won’t work: you need to choose that next shot and make it count. The other guys will.

Orienteering
Once you have become orientated to the combat system and throwing a combo punch is second nature, you are ready to fight for the pit-fighter crown. The first few opponents are easily beaten, but by about Round Five the game has changed its mind about being lenient and really starts to kick heads.

The timing has to be perfect for each and every strike. Punches thrown in vain only allow the other fighter to step in and start on a sequence of blows. Once you caught close in, your man has little chance of escape, and only the most frenzied button pusher stands a chance of putting out some reciprocal damage.

Pit-fighting it seems defies physics. Often blows do not actually have to land on the opponents to cause any damage, near enough will do. Little spurts of blood and sweat can be seen flying, even when kicks have most obviously missed. The downside of this effect comes when you try to collect the weapons or power pills that are scattered across the floor of the arena. Accurate positioning is essential for collection, but as the foes are constantly in hot pursuit, you rarely get a second chance at grabbing that barrel/knife etc, and once is rarely enough.

Pit-fighter Boot camp
Fighting foibles aside the mock - almost camp - violence is fun. There is none of this waiting for floored folk to stand up again; you can whack them on the floor. All manner of furniture can be picked up and thrown in the face of adversaries, smashing it at them. It is comic book, knockabout stuff, and real amusing if you turn the brain off. Two-player aggression is best, as ever. Will you help or hinder your associate? Should you team up to reach Ultimate Warrior and then sort out who is the boss? Or is it every psycho for themselves?

Pit-fighter’s toughest opponent, though, is its coin-op parent. The arcade features huge digitised sprites, which the Amiga does its best to mimic. The coin-ops stars could not be described as fluid movers, but their computer brethren jerk far more. The sheer screen size of the arcade gives it a display advantage, but the Amiga has to shrink the whole show down somewhat. The reduction in size, killing substantial amounts of the coin-op’s ‘wow’-factor.

Ultimate worrier?
Domark’s variant follows the coin-op rigidly in terms of structure and implementation. But they have copied some of the weaker elements too. The inter-match sample of the Ultimate Warrior coming on tough just is not up to scratch – a word that describes it perfectly. You cannot hear the quality in the arcade, but at home you can, and it grates.

Carry on in the car park, is an apt description of Pit-fighter. It is silly and violent, especially in two-player mode. The technical problems involved in getting such memory hungry beast onto the Amiga and limitations of the original design do restrict the game’s chances. It is light entertainment, not a long stayer, but an amusing diversion for those of an aggressive bent. There is nothing here that adds anything to the beat ‘em-up genre, it puts up a brave fight but is eventually overwhelmed by the need to copy its coin-op, custom chipped, parent.
Trenton Webb

Amiga Format, Issue 28, November 1991, p.89

Pit-fighter
Domark * £25.99
  • A brave conversion that almost comes off.
  • Graphics initially look dire but closer inspection reveals attention to detail.
  • Becomes uncontrollable at times.
  • Two-player simultaneous play shows the game at its best.
  • Fun, but no classic, Pit-fighter’s one for the curious only.
Verdict: 60%