Now here is an odd fellow. My pugnacious foe is somewhat stand-offish. I move forward, ready to kick the blighter in the midriff. Still he refuses to move. 'I am in here', I bravely suggest to myself, inching forward, ready for the kill until, blow me, if I am not on the end of a one-hit combination, losing the match in the process. 'Oh fiddlesticks', I cry in anguish as my ribs cave into my chest.
Eight groups of fighters here, split into teams of four - 32 battlers in all. Each member of the team has the same set of manoeuvres, the idea presumably being that you get to learn a team's characteristics and then take on other teams. Or something. Thais, Jets, Bouncers, Greasers, Ninjas, Mercs, Hunters, Minions of Death - thems are your gangs a-la Guys And Dolls, only I do not remember Marlon Brando having a machete. So basically you get eight different fighters.
Swords, cables, chains, enormous fists, flashing bolts - all the usual gadgets are included.
The recent resurgence of the Amiga beat-em-you has seen the cart conversion of Mortal Kombat II and Gremlin's quirky Shadow Fighter take centre stage while Rise of the Robots fell dismally at the first hurdle.
X-Fighter positions itself between the camps, a Street Fighter clone without the slick graphics, a flickery-screened, yet reasonably playable number. The backdrops are extremely dull and very poorly animated. You are scrapping on a pavement by the docks, barrels littering the background, though as you would expect, a scantily-clad woman sits atop the bonnet of a red Ferrari. At least I think it was a Ferrari.
Or perhaps you are in a good yard with an HGV- perched calmy behind. Whatever, they are well below the standard of say, Elfmania, as the jerky scrolling, which for a CD32 game is unforgivable. Do not show this game to your mates with SSFII on a SNES. They will rip you to shreds.
And the plainsome visuals lead the pad basher to feel less empathy with the characters than with the more rounded Mortal Kombat II and colourful Shadow Fighter. Each team has super combo moves which can involve up to six directional taps before boshing the fire button - not particularly easy to pull off in the heat of battle, but then this complaint can be levelled at most beat-em-ups. The standard manoeuvres are easy to learn with practice - a tap, tap and a tap.
Swords, cables, chains, enormous fists, flashing bolts. All the ususal gadgets are included and in some bouts you can simply bash a long chain into your hapless opponent from a safe distance, winning the bout at a canter.
But despite X-Fighter's shoddy appearance, the gameplay is just about good enough to overcome presentation. If only it was not against the far slicker Shadow Fighter, if only it was smoother and had parallax scrolling.