Ultimate Body Blows logo CD32 Amiga Computing Gamer Gold

Following on from the success Team 17 achieved with Body Blows and Body Blows Galactic, the Wakefield-based software house have produced a version for the CD32.

Ultimate Body Blows combines the characters from both floppy-based titles, throws in beefed-up sound, 256 colour (like the A1200 version) and extra options for the style of play you employ.
As a beat-'em-up, Ultimate has much to offer this much criticised and media-engrossed genre. It features 22 different characters, all equipped with individual skills and personality traits.

Ultimate can be configured in a number of ways. Putting aside all the obvious settings, like player versus computer and two-player fights, you can play such things as tag-team. This feature allows up to 11 different characters on each side to fight against one another. This, coupled with the turbo mode and the sheer volume of moves your characters can exhibit, make Ultimate the prize champion of Amiga beat-'em-ups.

Indeed, when compared to the lack-lustre Amiga conversion of Streetfighter Two, and the almost-as-bland world of Mortal Kombat, Ultimate Body Blows wins hands down with a karate kick to boot. While realising that owners of floppy-based machines will already probably own earlier versions of Body Blows, CD32 owners as yet will not have whet their appetites.

My advice, forget waiting for CD-based versions of aforementioned beat-'em-ups. Go out, get yourself a copy of Ultimate Body Blows, and bring a coin-op quality title into your front room.

86%


Ultimate Body Blows logo CD32 Amiga Format Gold

Team 17 0924 201846 * £29.99

Combine Body Blows and Body Blows Galactic and what do you get? No, not Wakefield's 'Wild' Westgate on a Saturday night, but Ultimate Body Blows, a high-kicking conflict with 22 creative characters who take part in some fierce fighting in tags and tournaments.

Add some splendid sprites and detailed backgrounds, plus 16 music tracks and you end up with the Amiga's best beat-'em-up.

The participants are varied and all have special moves. Despite the hefty £30 price tag, you won't need to extend your pugnacious selection further.



Ultimate Body Blows logo CD32

Die Programmierer von Team 17 übten sich in CD-Mathematik und entwickelten folgende Formel: "Body Blows" plus "Body Blows Galactic" ergibt "Ultimate Body Blows" - eine Rechnung, die voll aufgeht!

Auf die richtigen Zutaten kommt es an, weshalb beim CD-Rezept des Action-Teams eigentlich nichts schiefgehen konnte - die Verschmelzung der beiden Diskversionen mußte zwangsläufig ein Leckerbissen für Raufbolde werden:

Bereits das umfangreiche Menü ist nichts für den kleinen Hunger zwischendurch, mit seiner opulenten Optionsfülle macht es noch den gefräßigsten Prügelknaben satt. Dabei gehört die Anwahl der Rundenzahl und Kampfdauer ebenso zur Digi-Vorspeise wie das genaue Feintuning der Kämpferfähigkeiten und Reaktionszeiten. Je nachdem, ob man allein, zu zweit, im Turniermodus oder im speziellen, eigens für diese Version kreierten "Tag Team Mode" (einer Art Preiskampf) antritt, wählt man sich unter den 21 vorhandenen Fightern seine(n) Wunschkandidaten aus.

Das Angebot reicht von Alien-Kriegern mit außerirdish ausgefallenen Techniken bis zum muskulösen Erdling mit mächtig Power in den Muckis. Vor Spielbeginn werden auf Wunsch sämtliche Recken samt ihren Special Moves in einem ausführlichen Steckbrief näher vorgestellt, und es fehlt dabei auch wirklich kein einziger Haudrauf der beiden Diskversionen: weder der schwertschwingende Ninja mit seinem "Super Shadow" noch der Shaolin-mönch Lo Ray inklusive "Flame of Buddha" oder das Phantom und sein "Super Sworp". Nur der Kämpfer Numero 22 tut zunächst recht geheimnisvoll und verrät seine Identität erst, sobald alle übrigen Kollegen am Boden liegen.

Allein die Tatsache, daß hier die wunderschönen Kampfarenen der beiden Diskversionen in einem Game vereint wurden, macht die ultimative Klopperei zu einer lohnenden Anschaffung - die geballte Ladung an detailreicher Grafik ist einfach der Hammer.

Schade nur, daß Team 17 vor lauter Begeisterung auch gleich dem Geschwindigkeitsrausch verfiel und dabei zumindest im härtesten Schwierigkeitsgrad die Spielbarkeit etwas aus den Augen verlor. Es geht dann wirklich brutal schnell zur Sache, die Fäuste und Füße fliegen fast schon wie im Zeitraffer.

Aber auch in der Standardeinstellung ist erst mal Üben angesagt, denn selbst trainierte Kämpfen sind hier keinesfalls unterfordert. Zum Ausgleich können sie sich auf die (vor allem per Stick) astreine Steuerung in jeder Situation verlassen, und der ultracoole CD-Sound dieser Highspeed-Prügelei sollte eigentlich noch den größten Schlappi auf Touren bringen.

Vermißt haben wir lediglich ein vernünftiges Booklet, welches anscheinend zugunsten der mehrsprachigen Files auf der CD eingespart wurde - obwohl die Vielzahl der Kämpfer doch genügend Stoff für ein dickes Handbuch hergegeben hätte. Aber wenn man ausreichend Kondition mitbringt, macht diese Klopperei trotzdem ultimativ Spaß! (ms)



Ultimate Body Blows logo CD32

Is this the last one then, or what?

You've got to give Team 17 credit for one thing, at the very least - they're not afraid to go back to something and try to get it right at the second or third attempt. Project X was significantly better in its second, sensible-difficulty-level life, and Alien Breed was distinctly zingier too (although Assassin Special Edition was worse than the original, but you can't win 'em all), and now the Wakefielders third stab at Body Blows has finally provided us with the game it always promised to be.

Personally, and against the flow of AP office opinion at the time, I was never really convinced by Body Blows. The characters felt weightless and two-dimensional, the backdrops were largely flat and lifeless, and the control system was too simplistic, taking away much of the skill required to play the game successfully.

The sequel, Body Blows Galactic, introduced some crap alien characters, some even flatter backdrops, and slowed the game down by about 25% into the bargain (rumouredly a deliberate ploy by the programmers so players could see all the animation frames, for flip's sake). Tch. This time, though, despite Ultimate Body Blows being basically a combination of the previous two games, they've got pretty much everything right.

JOYFUL
The single biggest thing Ultimate Body Blows has got going for it, obviously, is the CD32 joypad. Anyone trying to do a beat-'em-up with a standard one-button Amiga joystick is on a loser from the word go, but the CD32's got six buttons and they've been put to very intelligent use here, turning the game from a 'who-can-hit-the-fire-button-fastest?' contest into a true test of skill.

One button gives you kicks, one button is for punches, one button is for the special move, and one button does blocks, with other hidden moves being found through various combinations of those buttons and joypad directions.


They've got pretty much everything right

SCENERY
Curiously, though, and going against the normal grain of AP reviewing policy, one of the most important features of Ultimate Body Blows is, or are, the new backdrops. I'll explain. It's not enough for a background to look pretty, it has to feel like it's part of the game as well. This is one of the biggest strengths of the likes of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2. Now, some of Elfmania's backdrops, for example, are very pretty in themselves, but in play they feel like the fighters are fighting in front of a painting of something. Here, (unlike the previous Body Blows) with the exception of Hai-Ti's waterfall scene, you actually feel you're visiting the game's various venues, and it adds immeasurably to the atmosphere.

Otherwise, Ultimate Body Blows is largely the same as before, only better. You get 21 characters, 20 of which you can play in one-player mode (all 21 in two-player games), 12 locations, a useful one-bout-per-match option which makes of a tenser, zippier game, some really crunchy sound effects and crap music (natch).

It doesn't quite have the wonderful malice of Mortal Kombat, but in every other way it's the Virgin game's equal. If you've got a CD32, you ought to have it.



Ultimate Body Blows logo CD32

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.

If 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.

PHWOAR!
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!