Body Blows logo Gamer Gold

Streetfighter 2? "Pah!" says Team 17, "We could do a much better beat-'em-up than that." The gloves are off...

What did I tell you? I Said don't buy Streetfighter 2 unless you are really desperate for a beat-'em-up. Well all I can say is there must be a lot of desperate gamers out there. I don't like saying it, but I told you so. Believed all the hype, that's what you did. Taken in and spat out. Well, do you want to put wrongs to rights? All you have to do is buy Body Blows and maybe I'll forgive you.

Streetfighter 2 was the number one game over Christmas and that was all down to mass marketing, hype, and advertising. It didn't matter if the game was good or bad - Streetfighter 2 was destined to be number one because believe you me there are a lot of silly people out there who don't listen. I could see it coming a long time ago, in fact I said in the news pages when Gamer first heard about SF2 that it would go to number one.

Back then I didn't know what the game was going to be like, but I had terrible feeling the back of my mind that it wouldn't be much good. Don't get me wrong here, I like Streetfighter 2. I've played it more times than I can remember on my little-brother's SNES. How any Amiga gamer could expect the Amiga version to be as good as the SNES version is beyond me (careful! - Ed). OK, so it had fairly good graphics, but there wasn't much in the way of playability.

Team 17 haven't released as many games as US Gold, but they go for quality not quantity. So far they've managed Alien Breed, a classic gauntlet runaround shoot-'em-up, Project X, the Amiga's best scrolling shoot-'em-up by far, and Assassin, a really amazing platform game which was knocked by many. Now there's Body Blows which Team 17 promises will be the definitive beat-'em-up on the Amiga.

Also on the way is Super Frog, a cutesy platformer which could well be one of the biggest games on the Amiga since Zool. The future is looking bright for Team 17. While other companies continue pumping out their bog standard games, Team 17 keep on producing top quality arcade titles for the Amiga. This lot are smart and anyone who disagrees can step outside right now.

Beat-'em-ups are not the easiest thing to write about. When you've seen one you've seen them all. It's rather like trying to explain what a 'tree' is. What do you mean a tree? It's a tree-thing with leaves on and sticks out of the ground. It's a tree.
The same goes for a beat-'em-up. A beat-'em-up? It's a game where your opponents kick and punch the crap out of each other until someone wins. There isn't a lot more you can say, really. Well, there probably is, but I'd only be waffling on for no reason whatsoever.

Body Blows is incredibly fast and smooth and when I first saw it my jaw dropped open and I did a bad impression of a guppy. The game has a full 32 colour overscan display and contains loads of sound and speech that is guaranteed to impress anyone who plays it. You couldn't really ask for more in the playability department, but that's Team 17 for you.

There are three different ways you can play Body Blows. The first is one-player mode for people with no friends. In this mode you get a choice from Dan, Nik, Lo-Ray and Junior, the four "hero" characters. You then have to take your character and do battle against ever tougher opponents in an attempt to beat the evil Max and discover his terrible secret. You want to know what his secret is? Well, let's just say he likes women's clothes. Nah, only kidding I haven't got a clue what his secret is, not having got that far yet.

The two-player option is definitely for people who have a good buddy. You have a choice of ten fighters, and as well as the aforementioned fighters you can now choose Kossak, Mike, Maria, Dug, Yit-U and Ninja. The fight can be set up to your own options, so for instance you can change the time limit, decide how many rounds you want and fight character against character.

Another option is the tournament and it's only for people with loads and loads of friends. This mode allows four or eight human players to take part ina massive Body Blows knock-out tournament to compete for the prize of the champion's belt. This will definitely cause actual fights if you don't get the fighter you want.

In Streetfighter 2 there were quite a few moves, but not as many as there are in Body Blows. Each fighter can perform 21 moves, including the ever-so-important special moves, but these depend on which fighter you want to be. You might have five special moves if you play the part of Dug, but you'll only get two if you choose to be Yit-U.
There are a lot of moves, so common sense would say that the game would be incredibly hard to control. Well, forget common sense because playing Body Blows is so easy that even those who don't know what computer are could play it.
However, though it is easy to play, Body Blows will take a fair amount of time to master. Players will ultimately gain a lot more satisfaction from the game if they can work out all a character's moves, allowing you to totally destroy any beginners who come round to your house for a quick go. Ha ha sneaky, but worth it all the same.

There you have it. I'm not going to tell you any more about the game because there isn't anything to tell. It's a beat-'em-up, remember? Time to give overall opinions, even though you know what I'm going to say.

Body Blows is the best Amiga beat-'em-up since IK+. The game just oozes class and quality, graphics are amazing, the animation of the characters is really good and there is no possible way I could fault them. Will take you a couple of seconds to play, but a lot longer to master.
The control method is fluid and very easy to use and it doesn't require gamers to use a combination of joystick moves to set off the special moves. All you have to do is hold the Fire button down and release. This is a very addictive game, especially in two-player mode because you just have to beat your mate's head to the floor once more. Of course you could always use the joystick instead. Like most beat-'em-ups Body Blows is much better when you have a few friends around and doesn't have that same air of excitement when you're sat down playing it on your own.

I can't fault Body Blows unless of course you're not fond of violence in which case you definitely won't want it. Body Blows has everything that you would expect from Team 17. You didn't listen when I told you not to buy Streetfighter 2, perhaps you'll listen when I tell you to buy Body Blows. It's body brilliant.



Body Blows logo

Team 17 have promised us that they've produced the best beat-em-up on Amiga! Is it streets ahead of its rival? Read on...

OK, let's cut the crap. I know what most of you want from this review, and this is whether or not Body Blows is better than Streetfighter 2. Well, to quickly put you out of your misery, you can be assured that it's, erm, steets ahead of the Amiga version of that game, so if you're a beat-em-up fan it's money well spent.

Unfortunately it still falls slightly short of the console version, but then SF2 is the best game by far on the SNES so you have to ask yourself, "Is it worth shelling out the money for a console to play one beat-em-up, when I can buy Body Blows for my Amiga for under ß168;?" - and, of course, the answer to that is a resounding "No".

It's worth pointing out that I'm not a big fan of the Amiga SF2 at all, and I considered in AF43 to be much too high a score - 70 or 75 per cent would be more like it - so bear that in mind when you read on.

What's Streetfighter 2?
If you've been sharing a bedsit with Salman Rushdie for the last year, you may not have heard about the console boom. The game Streetfighter 2 is probably responsible for more console sales than any other game, with multi-million pound advertising campaigns stuck firmly behind it.

This hype carried over to the Amiga version of the game released just before Christmas, and reports in January suggested that sales of the Amiga game had reached 120,000 and still rising. That's an enormous amount, considering it was only an average conversion of the game.

Now, though, Amiga owners have got something to bark about, and it's all because of Team 17, the Yorkshire-based softies responsible for such classics as Alien Breed and Project X. Their game is similar in style to SF2, with the characteristic large sprites, animated backgrounds, and sampled effects.

Maim that 'toon
For those of you not familiar, the plot of the game goes something like this: man fights man, man wins. Man fights another man, man wins. Man fights woman, man wins - and continues in this way until man loses. The details aren't important, except to say you can play one of four characters, and you must fight another nine opponents in separate contests so that you may be crowned winner. Each of the characters are completely different in terms of agility and abilities, so during the course of the tournament you face plenty of different challenges.

The players' distinctive characteristics are accentuated by their heavily caricatured features, such as Dug, with his huge beer-gut and shovel hands, or Ninja with his huge sword and black balaclava helmet. It's very realistic in a cartoony sort of way.
The sound is mostly good quality too, with a tune to match each of the seven different fight settings and lots of sampled speech, which give the game a good atmosphere.

Control is via a normal one-button joystick (which is one-up on the console counterparts), and different combinations of directions and the fire-button will enable you to perform different moves.
As well as the normal punch/kick moves, each character has between two and five special abilities, such as energy bolts and whirlwind kicks. To get an idea of the different players' abilities, see below.

Fighting takes place in seven different areas, including the Shaolin Temple and Inja Cavern, along with some additional scenes such as a Russian Laboratory and a building site. As with SF2, there is no interaction between the scenery and the characters, but it's pretty and includes the odd bit of animation.

Feel the power
So, we've established that it looks good and it sounds good, so where does it lose out? Although it's extremely playable, and offers an excellent challenge, it does have its problems - however nit-picky they may be.

For the most part, the collision detection between characters generally works well, but when Dan tries an upper cut, he can miss his opponent by half an inch or so and yet still magically make contact (like I said, nit-picky but noticeable). All the characters have something good for them apart from Maria, who is stupidly thin, and doesn't so much yell as squawk as she kicks you in the face.

Finally, there isn't as much 'feel' as we expected from the game. The 'feel' factor of a game isn't easily defined, but there is something lacking - it just seems a little too clinical and robotic.

Still, this is far and away the best Amiga beat-em-up ever. It's technically excellent, polished, and it brings up-to-date an area of the Amiga which has been sadly lacking recently. If you already have Streetfighter 2, sell it and buy Body Blows.


SOME OF THE BODIES YOU COME TO BLOWS WITH...

Body Blows: Nik NIK
This character is not as wimpy as his phenomenal, Eighties pop star namesake Mr Kershaw. This Nik is instead pretty hip, sporting trainers and baseball cap. Oh, and he's a bit hard as well, especially when he uses his inner Energy to produce a bolt of sheer power.

Body Blows: Yit-U YIT-U
This guy only has two special moves, but one of them is probably the most effective. Speed of Light causes him to advance on his opponent speedily, leaving a blur behind him. Once he's started, it's difficult to stop him - even jumping out of the way is nigh on impossible.

Body Blows: Kossak KOSSAK
Although he is slow-moving, he is incredibly strong and has three special abilities. Eartcharge is handy, because it electrifies the floor around Kossak and kills anyone nearby. The most bizarre special is Driller Killer, where he twirls his way into the floor, only to later appear in a nearby spot.

Body Blows: Dug DUG
Well, this bloke's just obese, really. He seems to use his vastly overweight body to his advantage, by jumping up and down on the spot and causing major earthquakes, thereby defeating his opponent through mere vibration. Also, he has a neat (and gravity-defying) way of leaping and dive-bombing his enemies, and squashing them under his mounds of flab. Urgh.


Harte Kerle & weiche Birnen

Body Blows logo

Die Jungs von Team 17 haben zwar noch nicht viele Games produziert, dafür aber praktisch nur gute: Mit "Alien Breed", "Project X" und "Assassin" wurde bereits das Actiongenre geadelt, nun droht dem aktuellen Prügelkonig "Street Fighter II" der Knockout...

Erfahrung mit digitalen Faustkampfen konnte das 17-er Team ja schon bei ihrem Erstlingswerk "Full Contact" sammeln, einer Karate-Klopperei, die hierzulande leider ziemlich untergegangen ist.

Dieses traurige Schicksal dürfte dem Quasi-Nachfolger jedoch erspart bleiben, denn der hat momentan die Messlatte in Sachen Kontaktsport fest im Griff!

Noch ehe die erste Runde eingelautet wird, gilt es, sich im Optionsmenü durch eine Vielzahl von Einstellungen zu kämpfen: Das Zeitlimit für die einzelnen Fights kann auf 60 bzw. 90 Sekunden begrenzt oder ganz ausgeschaltet werden, die Anzahl der Runden lasst sich bis maximal drei varieren, und man muss sich entscheiden, ob mit oder ohne Begleitmusik aufeinander eingedroschen wird.

Schließlich ist noch die Frage nach dem gewünschten Spielmodus zu beantworten, denn neben Solo- und Zwei-Spieler-Auseinandersetzungen steht auch ein Turnier am Programm.

Einzelkampfer dürfen zunachst ihr digitales Alter Ego aus vier verschiedenen Radaubrudern wahlen, anschließend werden sechs computergesteuerte Recken einer nach dem anderen vor jeweils neuen Hintergrunden aufgemischt. Wollen sich zwei Spieler gegenseitig auf's Kreutz legen, so stellen sich alle zehn Kampfmaschinen des Spiels zur Verfügung, dann muß noch der Austragungsort bestimmt werden - etwa die Wrestlinghalle, das Ghetto, die Baustelle oder ein Shaolin-Kloster.

Jetzt steht man sich Auge in Auge gegenüber; auf Wünsch sogar im (aus "Streetfighter II" bekannten und dort nur uber einen Cheat erreichbaren) Championship-Modus, wo beide Kontrahenten mit demselben Recken antreten. Richtig furiös geht's dann freilich beim Tournament ab, wo sich bis zu acht Teilnehmer um den Monitor scharen dürfen! Hier wird bis zum Finalen Obermötz Mann gegen Mann bzw. Spieler gegen Spieler gekämpft, die Steuerung des Schlussgegners bleibt jedoch stets dem Rechner vorbehalten.

Bei einem derartigen Variantenreichtum ist es nicht verwunderlich, daß auch die Fighter allesamt mit einem individuellen Schlagrepertoire sowie ganz speziellen Fähigkeiten aufwarten. Dan beispielsweise ist relativ schnell, sehr beweglich und verfügt über Allround-Kenntnisse in Sachen Handkante und Fusstritte, seine Schlage fallen jedoch vergleichsweise schwach aus.

Kossak hingegen ist ein wahres Kraftmonstrum - wo sein Ellbogen landet, da wächst kein Barthaar mehr! Jedoch ist der Kerl wegen seiner schweren Muskelpakete für flotte Hüpfer kaum zu gebrauchen. Maria wiederum ist gerade für ihre grazilen Sprungkicks bekannt und legt auch einen ebenso kunstvollen wie für den Gegner schmerzhaften Spagat auf's Parkett.

Ob Streithahn oder Streithenne, alle halten sie zudem zwei spektakuläre Spezialschlage parat. Das klappt zwar nur mit einer prall gefüllten Energieleiste, dann aber fliegen Blitze durch die Arena, der Körper verwandelt sich in einen rotierenden Wirbelsturm oder ist nur noch verschwommen als nahezu unsichtbarer Schemen erkennbar.

Die Abwechslung kennt also kaum Grenzen, doch wie sieht's mit der gerade für solche Programme so wichtigen technischen Umsetzung aus? Nun, wie von Team 17 nicht anders zu erwarten, wird der Amiga bis an seine Grenzen getrieben: Die diversen Hintergrund-Grafiken erstrahlen samt und sonders in vollen 32 Farben und sind teilweise so gar animiert, das horizontale (und auch ein wenig vertikale) Scrolling übertrifft alle Erwartungen, und die Kämpfer sind nicht nur schon groß und bunt gezeichnet, sie bewegen sich zudem außerst behende über den Screen.

Ja, auf dem A1200 fallt sogar das leichte Ruckeln weg, das allerdings selbst ungetunte "freundinnen" nur hochst selten belästigt. Die Läuscher dürfen sich während der Schlachten an zahlreichen Musikstucken sowie digitalisierten Schreien und Grunzem ergötzen, bisweilen tont darüberhinaus ein wenig Sprachausgabe aus den Boxen. Die Handhabung geht ebenfalls voll in Ordnung, selbst mit nur einer Floppy halten sich die Diskwechseleien in Grenzen.

Allesentscheidend ist freilich die Steuerung, denn mit ihr steht und fallt ja das Gameplay. Doch keine Sorge, gerade in diesem Punkt trümpft Body Blows so richtig auf: Endlich wird der Beweis angetreten, daß man auch ohne komplizierte Steuer-Kombinationen oder überbelegte Joypads problemlos satte 21 Schlage pro Mann und Nase verwalten kann - tatsächlich schlagt die so erreichte Spielbarkeit alles, was es bisher am Amiga an Vergleichbarem gab!

Wenn es dennoch nicht ganz zum Hit reicht, dann deshalb, weil es an wirklich Unverbrauchten und ganzlich neuen Ideen letztlich halt doch mängelt und beim Kleinkram ein wenig gespart wurde: Warum wird die Highscoreliste nicht gespeichert, weshalb gibt es keine Bonusrunden?

Doch von derlei Detailmangel sollten sich eingefleischte Raufbolde nun wirklich nicht abhalten lassen, denn unter dem Strich ist Body Blows das derzeitige Nonplusultra im Genre. Ein Salut für den neuen Konig der Gossenhauer! (rl)



Body Blows logo

Oi! You! Street Fighter II! Would you care to step outside?

There's no way we're going to get through this review without mentioning Street Fighter II, so let's get over with it. It's obvious that this is influenced rather heavily by its mighty predecessor. The way you can vary locations, the special moves the characters have, and even some of the poses they strike. Now we've said it, just bear in mind through the rest of the review that, er, it's like Street Fighter II okay?

In the one-player game you can only choose from four of the characters available. You've got Nik (who you'll be familiar with if you tried our demo of the game on last month's coverdisk), Dan (his brother), Junior or Lo Ray. You fight each of the other characters one by one, until you finally reach the hardest character, Max, a real tough cookie who only exists under CPU control.

There's a game options screen where you can set difficulty levels, timing (which can be off if you feel like thrashing it out until one of you is down), and location. The locations can be chosen from a list including the Shaolin Temple, the Building Site, the Ninja's Cavern, Inside the Office, the Russian Lab, the Costa Brava or the Wrestling Arena.
These look all impressive, and feature background animations too, which apparently really matters to a lot of people. Why? Surely in the midst of a heated combat you can't be thinking "Oh, that bloke waving his had is really good." I dunno, people demand the strangest things. Anyway, the feature's there if you feel the need to concentrate on it, but I reckon that after a while the backgrounds only get less important, and you spend more time concentrating on how to break some noses.

There's a proble with one-player beat-'em-ups, though - they're not normally that much fun. This, however, is so much better than your standard one-player fighting game. It's intelligent and tough, and reacts to moves you make very quickly. It'll last you a while in one-player mode alone, and even when you've got through all the other characters in the game, you've got the ultra-tough Max to contend with at the end - plus a special surprise if you get that far.

But where the game really takes off, as you may well imagine, is in two-player mode. This gives you all the characters to choose from (see left), and all the locations are available to you too. What's most impressive about Body Blows, in either one- or two-player mode, is that you can get to grips with the controls right away. There are 21 moves for each character, but control is so instinctive that it doesn't take long to sort them out, and they really do feel like controls rather than pointless joystick exercises which have a tenuous relation to the action. However, there's a great deal of perfecting moves, combinations and counters that you can work out, so the game has a lot of lasting interest in it too.

The special moves are accessed really easily, which is a godsend. Instead of having to go through some tortuous wrist bending manoeuvres to elicit a useful manoeuvre, it's simply a case of holding down the fire button until the level is reached in your special move box. Anyway, the game's so fast that you hardly get the time to launch into special moves, so using them is very satisfying.


You can get to grips with the controls right away

The programmers have ironed out a few things which playtesting revealed as frustrating in beat-em-ups. For instance, a few overly sensible (i.e. boring) people play an excessively defensive game, just standing back with their guard up to protect themselves and letting loose the odd attack. Now, for those of you who are this obsessed with winning, you should be told that it is BORING BORING BORING. Body Blows makes this technique unusable because, after the first block you make, the blows start counting and taking off your energy. So you're gonna have to fight, you wimps. Hurrah.

There's also the problem with beat-em-ups that when someone gets cornered and floored, they're often finished. Their opponent stands over them and kicks them just as they're recovering. Not in Body Blows. If any character is knocked down, he or she can't be attacked for a short period while recovering. It's a great feature which reduces frustration and makes the game more fun to play.

Two-player Body Blows is, quite simply, endless fun. The backgrounds are not varied by the game - if you want a new location you have to choose one from the options menu, which is brill because it stops all that needless disk swapping when you just want to get on and fight. (In one-player mode the locations are varied by the game).

You can continue with the same characters or choose a new pair, and there's a menu option which allows you to play Character vs Character, so, for example, you can both play the Ninja character (and both of you can laugh at each other's silly-looking crab walk). No more argument along the lines of "Yeah, but your character's stronger than mine".

Taking the multi-player aspect of the game even further, there's a Tournament mode. Here four or eight of you fight it out in a series of rounds until there's only one left. Well smart, and you can even all choose the same characters if you want.

We've already said that it's like Street Fighter II, but there's a lot of originality in the game too. You won't have seen characters like Mike before, and you have to experience Yit-U's Speed of Light move to believe it - it's awesome, I can tell you. The characters all seem to be evenly matched, if one is stronger than another then his speed is significantly reduced and so on. There are plenty of candidates for 'favourite characters' anyway.

I can't recommend this game enough. Graphics aside, it plays absolutely brilliantly, just as a beat-em-up should. It's so much better than Street Fighter II in nearly every aspect that its similarities can be forgiven. Just try this game once and I don't believe you'll put it down. Highly recommended.


Body Blows: Dan Dan throws bolts of energy at people and he's from Boston. We're not suggesting that the two go together, you understand. He's a gang rebel and all-round hard geezer, so don't spill his pint.

Body Blows: Nik Nik is Dan's brother and has all the same moves. Apparently, they hate each other, which is probably why they're constantly trying to beat each other up.

Body Blows: Junior Junior is a failed boxer. Failed because he got banned, not 'cos he's no good. He's got some nifty whirlwind punches and an iron uppercut.

Body Blows: Lo Ray Lo Ray is a converted Buddhist monk. That is, converted from being a peaceful fan of innter contemplation to a talented martial artist intent on kicking people's heads in.

Body Blows: Dug Dug is fat, but never call him that or he'll hit you with his battering ram, super slam or earth tremor moves.

Body Blows: Kossak Kossak is mean. He has the perturbing feature of never seeming to be affected by an opponent's blows.

Body Blows: Mike Mike looks like a very normal guy, but do you call being able to turn into a tornado normal? He's also got a strange whirlwind punch.

Body Blows: Maria Maria, the girl from Spain. She's like an aerobics teacher from hell, with her split kicks and a special move known as the flamenco fury.

Body Blows: Max Max is the big boss whom you have to face after you've beaten all the other characters (he can't be controlled in the two-player game).

Body Blows: Yit-U Yit-U, the speedster. This guy is quick. Quicker than, er, a very quick thing. His special move is know as the Speed of Light because it's so fast.

Body Blows: Ninja Ninja is wel-disguised by his baalaclava, but as if that wasn't enough he can also become invisible.

 


Body Blows logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Have Team 17 come up with a contender for Street Fighter 2's crown? Tony Horgan dusts off his trunks and prepares to get pasted.

opinions on the Amiga version of Street Fighter 2 seem to be divided. While some maintain that it's a brilliant conversion of the best beat 'em up ever, others say it's a slow, barely playable game that's only got by on the strength of its illustrious coin-op cousin.

If you are of the former opinion, then fine, but I can't honestly say that I am. It could have been a lot faster, and the increase in speed would have resulted in smoother graphics, more responsive controls, and generally far superior gameplay. But it wasn't, and I'm still on the lookout for an Amiga beat 'em up to rival the console offerings. At least, I was, until Body Blows arrived.

YOU SPILL MY PINT?
So it's better than the legendary Street Fighter 2 then? In a word, yes, but of course it doesn't have the 'coin-op in your bedroom' appeal of the latter. If you've fallen for the charms of SF2 to such a degree that you can now be found prancing around the house in a pair of red underpants, pretending to be Zangief, then I'd say you need to see a doctor.

Okay, I don't want a show of hands, but if that sounds like you, then it's time you took off your Street Fighter blinkers (and put your trousers back on), and introduced yourself to the super speedy world of Body Blows.

CONSOLE YOURSELF
It's a strange state of affairs, isn't it? We're all singing the praises of the Amiga, saying how much better it is than consoles, but one of the highest compliments paid to the best Amiga games is that they're just like their console variants. Body Blows fits into that category, thanks to the slick programming and flashy graphics that have made Team 17 one of the most respected developers on the scene.

Originality doesn't come into it. We just want a decent arcade beat 'em up, and that's just what Body Blows is. It's not enough to just have a couple of characters these days, so this game offers a hefty 11 fighters. In one-player mode, you can choose to play as Nik, Junior, Dan or Lo Ray. Your first four opponents are roughly equal. To keep you interested in the early stages, you're pitted against them in a random order, so even if you're completely useless, you shouldn't find yourself getting pummelled by the same opponent all the time. There are two skill levels for the one-player mode, but you can only complete the game if you play it on the harder level - the easier mode stops the game just before you get get to Max, the final big champ.

Two-player mode lets you take control of any character except Max. Player two can choose the same character, which should settle all those 'it's not fair, I've got a weaker character!' arguments. There's also a tournament mode - not a simultaneous multi-player free-for-all unfortunately, but a kind of round robin competition with up to eight human players randomly drawn against each other.

TODAY'S SPECIAL
Apart from a wide variety of characters, the other essential ingredient for a good beat' em up is special moves. Each character has his or her own special moves, generally two each, but some have a third. The trouble is, standard joysticks just have a single button, so some of the moves aren't as accessible as they might be. Even so, whoever you're controlling, you've always got a repertoire of high and low kicks and punches, available from the usual fire-button/joystick combinations.

Depending on the current character, you've usually got at least one hot move that's accessible from the normal joystick positions, but for the real super-special 'stitch that mate' moves, you've got to hold down the fire button and store up a bit of 'Chi'. Once your inner strength reaches a climax, you automatically let rip with your trump card (fortunately, minus that irritating 'Hiujit!' grunt that emanates from SF2).

MR SMOOTHIE
So the screenshots look good, it's got loads of tasty features, and best of all, it lives up to all this when it comes to gameplay! If you've played any of Team 17's games in the past, such as Project X or Alien Breed, you'll know the kind of technical standards to expect. The game runs at 50 frames per second, so the scrolling and sprite animation are really smooth. The other advantage of the fast pace is the good joystick response - there's none of that horrible squishy feel you get from certain other beat 'em ups.

Some of the backdrops aren't as ornate as SF2, but they're all pretty big, with little incidental animations of bongo-playing Buddhist monks and excited onlookers. It's unlikely that you'll notice much of the background activity though, because the action is so fast you can't take your eyes off the players for a split second. As far as I can tell, there's no 'safe' move.

Even so, the computer-controlled characters could do with a bit more intelligence. The lower-ranked fighters seem to give a more varied performance, drawing on the whole range of moves. As you progress, the fights get a little more predictable: a few blows are exchanged, then the computer player decides he should be winning and launches into a massive attack of special moves, before setting down again, then repeating the process.

The game is at its best in two player mode. The option to pit any two characters against each other, gives a lot of scope. Whether your sparring partner is completely inept or a video wizard, you can always set up a reasonably matched fight, and best of all, you can both play the same character. Street Fighter 2 was declared the best ever beat 'em up on the Amiga, but its reign was a short one - Body Blows has just taken the title with a knockout in the first round. Slick graphics, decent soundtrack, and palm-sweatingly frantic gameplay make this one a must for anyone with a penchant for mindless violence. Don't miss this one.


THE CONTENDERS

Meet the gang 'cos the boys are here, the boys to put you in hospital...

Body Blows: Nik NIK
He reckons he's tough, our Nik. You can tell, because he goes around in a baseball cap and ripped jeans. As it happens, he's tough. Being the leader of a local gang, he gets plenty of practice when it comes to punch-ups, and packs a hefty uppercut. Such is his hatred for his elder brother Dan, that he can channel his rage into a bolt of pure electricity.

Body Blows: Dan DAN
Big brother of Nik, Dan has a remarkably similar fighting style. He's also a bit of a gangster, and has prefected the family specialty of lightning bolt emission. He seems a bit of a sad character actually, tagging along in his little brother's footsteps, but when it comes to the crunch, he's as tough as the next man.

Body Blows: Junior JUNIOR
Billed as a 'solid British boxing bulldog', Junior has learned his trade through the years of sparring with the best in the world. Now he's thrown Queensberry rules to the wind and wouldn't think twice about giving you a good kicking, above or below the belt. Junior's trump card is a blindingly fast flurry of jabs from his iron fist.

Body Blows: Lo Ray LO RAY
And you thought monks were soft? Lo Ray gave up his strict Buddhist life at the Shaolin Temple, lured by the big bucks of prize fighting. His discipline has served him well enough, enabling him to withstand extreme pain, leap around with the agility of a cat, and perform a deadly kind of flying cartwheel move that never fails to flatten his opponents (well, almost never anyway, but that doesn't sound good, does it?).

Body Blows: Cossak COSSAK
Much as he tries to deny it, Cossak used to be part of the USSR national dancing team, and has a whole cabinet full of trophies and medals proudly displayed back at his mother's home in Moscow. Infuriated that his dancing secrets were revealed, he set about building himself the perfect body. A true man of steel, Cossak is almost unbreakable. The price he pays for this unbelievable strength is a severe lack of speed. This doesn't usually bother him though - a few clouts from his gargantuan forearms and his opponents are out for the count.

Body Blows: Dug DUG
At last, someone with a sense of humour! Dug is like those old wrestlers you used to get on World of Sport on Sunday mornings (before American wrestling took over). Most of the time he just flails his arms around like a six month-old baby, but his flying body splash is one to look out for. Dug's special move? He's got such a gut on him that he can jump up in the air and cause a mini-earthquake as he lands, sending devastating shockwaves through any opponent.

Body Blows: Maria MARIA
Equal opportunities have given Maria the chance of a bit of a fisticuff with the boys. Lithe in her skin-tight outfit, she uses her stunning looks to distract her opponents form the job in hand. Unfortunately, Maria is rather outclassed in the power stakes, but her speed goes some way to balancing things out. If all fails, she can call upon her 'spin around very fast and bump into you' special move.

Body Blows: Ninja NINJA
Just so you don't forget his name, Ninja insists on yelling it out every time he gets a little distressed. At best, he's a tricky one to handle, using his powers of invisibility to evade your attacks, deftly stabbing you with feet, fists and a glinting blade. At worst, he's a spinning ball of razor-sharp steel and flying limbs. Definitely a cut above your average Ninja.

Body Blows: Yit-U YIT-U
Yit-U is certainly not a character to be messed with. What he lacks in family history, amusing anecdotes and general personality, he makes up for with a weird special move. One secpnd, he can be at an apparently safe distance on the other side of the screen, but within the blink of an eye, he can turn himself into a blur of proton particles, and rematerialise right in front of you, piling a nosebreaking punch right in your face. Who needs personality anyway?

Body Blows: Mike MIKE
Something big in the city, or so he'd like to think. Mike isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and mix it with the best of them. They call him the Grey Man, but underneath that drab 'man from Accounts' exterior, Mike is actually a bit of a nutter. Like the Raybans concealing concealing his emotions, his orthodox fighting style conceals his ability to transform himself into a whirlwind.

Body Blows: Max MAX
The overall champ, Max is just a general all-round hardman. If you get this far, you deserve to give him a right pasting. Whether you will or not is another matter entirely. I won't spoil it for you by spilling the beans, but he's got a pretty dirty trick up his sleeves - all is not what it seems!

 
Body Blows: Arenas

Here's selection of some of the areas where you'll be meeting your foes. They range from a wrestling ring to a Buddhist temple. Overall, the backdrops are nothing to shout about, but who cares 'cos the game plays so well.


Schöne Schatten

Body Blows logo Enhanced edition

Während der 1200er noch bis Herbst auf seine Spezialversion warten muß, dürfen Amigas alter Schule bereits härter zuschlagen - Team 17 hat eine verbesserte Fassung des Prügelknallers nachgereicht!

Was soll man über dieses Spiel sagen, das nicht schon im Test der April-Ausgabe breitgetreten wurde? Etwa, daß man allein, zu zweit oder gar mit bis zu acht Teilnehmern aufeinander einprügeln kann? Oder daß hier vom Fettklops über eine schlagfertige Lady bis zum Ninja alle möglichen Kämpfer vor allen möglichen Kulissen gegeneinander antreten? Geschenkt, wenden wir uns lieber den Neueringen zu.

Am augenfälligsten sind natürlich die optischen Korrekturen: so werfen die Sprites neuerdings Schatten, was nicht nur gut aussieht, sondern auch zur besseren Übersicht beiträgt. Vor allem aber wirbeln die Update-Fighter deutlich rasanter über den Screen was das ehemals schon flotte Tempo zur Blitz-Klopperei geräten läßt!

Die restlichen Änderungen betreffen den Spielablauf. Ab sofort dürfen auch Solisten das Zeitlimit ausschalten und die Anzahl der Runden bestimmen, außerdem wurde die Charakterauswahl im Solo-Modus von vier auf zehn Kämpen erweitert.

Somit ist das Update ein klarer Schritt nach vorne; gut, daß ab sofort alle Originale in der neuen Version ausgeliefert werden. Besser noch, daß auch alte Haudegen in den Genuß der Verbesserungen kommen: Einfach die erste Disk (und nur die!) in einen Umschlag stecken, vom Postamt einen Internationalen Antwortschein über 2,50 englische Pfund besorgen, selbigen dazupacken und das Ganze an Team 17, Marwood House, Garden Street, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1, 1DX schicken - und schon bald wird schöner, schneller und schattiger gekloppt! (rl)



Body Blows logo Enhanced editionCU Amiga Super Star

TEAM 17 OUT NOW £2.99 OUT NOW

Body Blows is without doubt one of the star performers so far this year, knocking most other games for six. As if it was not good enough already, Team 17 have produced an upgrade disk to further extend its packed list of features.

This is to Body Blows what the Turbo Edition is to Street Fighter. Speed is the major factor in the enhanced game. It is much faster than the original, running at almost twice the speed of the A600 version.

The immense difference this makes to the challenge is almost reason enough to buy the disk, but it does not stop there.

You can now control all 10 characters in one player mode, which is excellent fun. And just in case you are having difficulty with the increased speed you are also given extra credits to extend the playing time.

The strengths of the players have also been altered so some are not as strong as they used to be, while others are a lot tougher. Finally there have been a few minor changes, the most notable of which is the addition of shadows under the fighters.

All you are required to do to take advantage of this offer is send back your boot disk with a check for £2.99 which is a paltry sum for the extra features on offer.

This is an exceptional offer and let us hope that more software houses follow suit. Not only does it nobble the pirates, it also extends the longevity of the game. If you have Body Blows and like it, you would be out of your tree to miss this offer.

The address to send your disk to is: Body Blows Upgrade Offer, Team 17, Marwood House, Garden Street, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1DX.



Body Blows logo AGA Amiga Computing Silver Award

Though it's been around for some time now, this game is still considered by many as the beat-em-up for the Amiga. Already superior to the poor conversion of Street Fighter II, Team 17 now offers the game at a bargain price.

Graphics and animations are of a high standard though you'll be disappointed if you're expecting a gore-fest. Fights take place against backdrops ranging form battleships to boxing rings. Kicks and punches are accompanied by suitably violent sounds and the music is passable. The digital speech on the other hand is often incomprehensible.

There is a choice of ten fighters to pit against each other, most of them possessing different styles of fighting and individual special moves. Having said this, there isn't much difference between certain fighters apart from the clothes they're wearing. This fault might have been overcome if they'd introduced a few of the CD32 version's extra characters. In addition to the two player and tournament modes, a new Tag Team option has been imported from the CD32 version. Two humans can play a tag team of up to ten members.

When a team member is defeated the next character enters and so on until all the team has fought it. If a fighter wins he gains an extra energy bonus for use in the next fight.

Another welcome addition is the option to install the game onto the hard-drive. This should prove welcome as without it there's a lot of irritating disk swapping.

So many games in this genre have been released in the last few years that it's going to take something special to overcome that jaded feeling. Body Blows AGA doesn't pretend to offer much that is new, but it remains one of the best of its type on the Amiga. If you've managed to avoid overdosing on this sort of game so far then at this price it's a must.

80%


Body Blows logo AGA Amiga Format Gold

Kent Walton. Whatever happened to Kent Walton? In any event, I'm sure, the great World Of Sport wrestling MC would approve of the bizarre cast of characters in Body Blows AGA (Team 17, 0924 291867, £14.99). All of these characters have special moves, all move with grace and the 256-colour backgrounds look simply lush.

This is as slick an Amiga beat-em-up as the come, a snip for a mere 15 sovs (you can upgrade the non-AGA version fro ß7.99 by returning your original disks) and it's even hard drive installable.



Body Blows logo AGA