But the CD32 already has a beat 'em up, you all cry. Yes, but remember that was Dangerous Streets, so Team 17's new kick around doesn't have any competition, according to Tony Dillon.
I f you've been reading CU AMIGA for some time you may remember that I didn't really like Body Blows Galactic. I loved Body Blows though, and I have a forgiving heart, so I plumped for this review. At first glance, Ultimate Body Blows is merely an amalgamation of the original two Body Blows games, featuring as it does 21 characters, dozens of backdrops and everything else associated with the games. However, this is a lot more than just a combination of the first two.
With no pretence of plot whatsoever, Ultimate Body Blows is nothing more than a straight, one-on-one fight between a group of martially gifted individuals. Kai-Ti is the young girl with the lethal jaw kick and the 'Finger Press' move that causes stars to appear from her head. Mike can turn into a whirlwind. Dino throws his rider at you. Tekno leaps into the air and fires rockets at his enemy. I don't need to go on, do I? You've all played this sort of beat 'em up before. It calls for skill and joystick jugglability.
TWISTING AND TURNING
Okay, fighting bare-knuckled might not sound all that exciting to some people, but I haven't explained the myriad of ways in which you can actually hit your opponent. There are two skill levels against the computer, and three speeds (Turbo 2 is practically impossible to play – you just can't follow the computer!). Single player and two-player are only to be expected, but tournament (with four or eight players) and Tag Team are more original approaches. Tag Team is my personal favourite, as between 2 and 21 players per team go one on one. As one player is knocked out, they are replaced with a new player and the winner of that game gets half an energy bar replenished. The first player to knock down all of the other player's characters wins. This makes for some very long, and very exciting games.
Body Blows Galactic was fat too easy in my opinion (I finished it on my first go!), with most characters easily beaten by using the same move over and over again. However, the intelligence has been greatly improved for Ultimate Body Blows, and that particular tactic doesn't work anymore. Interestingly enough, you can't even use similar tactics with different characters, as everyone reacts differently. For the first time on an Amiga beat 'em up, as far as I am concerned, there is enough difference between characters for people to be able to specialise. Some people will be Maria players, while other will only feel at home with Junior. I can see a lot of practice going on during office hours, let me tell you.
The game looks stunning, using the CD32's 128 colour palette to create a very realistic arcade look. Unlike a lot of beat 'em ups, the sprites actually fit in well with the backgrounds, instead of floating around like cardboard cut-outs in front of them.
The extra storage space on the CD has been used well, to store large, colourful and varied backdrops (love the clouds!). All in all, it's a great looking game.
If only I could say the same for the sound. Unfortunately, Ultimate Body Blows uses the same samples as the original game, meaning that the characters spout the same unintelligible drivel at the end of each match. I had hoped with the CD that they might have something more to say, or that the sound effects would have been beefed up a bit, but no luck. It doesn't really detract from the game very much, but it's a shame nonetheless. The other problem is that movement is still a tad jerky, but it remains better than most.
Ultimate Body Blows is a cracking game, and one hell of a beat 'em up. The sheer number of characters to learn means that you'll spend ages just getting to grips with the whole thing. As for two-player games... get some friends in and go for it!
CU Amiga, May 1994, p.44