#051 – Bad Street Brawler

Power Glove compatible! Really, what else do you need?
I want to know what made those two 80s bros high five.
The inevitable conclusion.

PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating


DEVELOPER: Beam Software

GENRE: Beat-em-up

RELEASE DATE: September 1989

Many game developers on the NES thought that they could get away with murder. “Who cares if our games suck and have little to no gameplay? If we convince the kids it has ‘TUDE, they’ll come out in droves!” Bad Street Brawler tries desperately to convince children of its radness with its yellow-spandexed aficionado, Duke Davis. He has SUNGLASSES. He wears LITTLE TO NO CLOTHES. He has a SQUARE JAW (that kind of makes him look like an old person with no teeth). He has BAD POSTURE (another contributing factor towards old person syndrome). He’s a horribly sketched archetype, drawn up in a studio by adults thinking they understand what the younger generation finds appealing in a hero.

To its credit, Bad Street Brawler does do one unique thing: every stage, you get a different set of moves. For example, in the first stage, you have a traditional punch and a low kick. In the second stage, you have a high kick and the ability to knock people off their feet. In the third stage, it keeps going on and so forth. It’s not a huge deal, as the moves all pretty much do the same thing, but it is nice to see some variety in the otherwise monotonous levels.

The levels and enemies that confront Sir Duke are strange, to say the least. You have about eight little sections to go through each level, and I do mean little. Walking from one side of the screen to the other constitutes one section. The strange thing is, there’s not enemies in every section. Sometimes you can walk through two whole sections before facing off against any bald midgets or punk rockers. There doesn’t seem to be any point in partitioning off the level into these sections, other than to give you the whereabouts of the end of the level. There is also a time limit, which is stupid and pointless. I guess it was the only way they could make this game challenging, as the enemies lack any sort of sense. Many of them come at you briefly only to run away when you move towards them.

The main problem with Bad Street Brawler is the lack of variety and lack of a two-player simultaneous mode. Each stage is essentially the same with different backgrounds: run right, punch/kick strange humans/gorillas, call it a day. I understand that the focus is supposed to be on Duke Davis and not Duke and “friend,” but every brawler needs a simultaneous two-player mode; especially when they’re fighting on badnay, horrible streets such as these.


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