reverendhunt's Brutal: Paws of Fury (Genesis) review

Failing fur

Eons before the internet made anthropomorphism something sick and twisted, there was a time where human-slash-animal hybrids were the most popular thing in existence. Arguably ignited by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and similar properties, it seemed like every other new comic book, cartoon show, and/or video game had anthropomorphic beings as the stars.

Brutal is a fighter based on this concept. Although each of the characters is a martial artist (and most with ridiculously punned names based on their species/art), these animal people are visually more in line with Warner Bros. cartoons. Said characters are very well animated in the game, as if they actually were WB cartoons.

It seems, though, that the entire budget was blown on the sprites. Every other nuance of the game is trash. The controls are stiff and makes gameplay feel unfinished, like this was a beta release. And don't get me started on the sound... it's best to just mute the game whilst playing - that is, if you're masochistic enough to play. The music is grating and repetitive (slightly better on the Sega CD, but still not worth listening to), and all of the characters grunt and yelp with the same irritating voices that switch from one movement to another. You could be hitting Foxy Roxy, and one minute she sounds like a whiny teenage girl being struck, and the next, a deep bass man's voice comes out of her. This is the same pattern with every character. The first sign of the the sound's quality would be at the title screen, however, when a gruff Asian stereotype voice pronounces the game's title "Blue Toll".

The special moves system is set up interestingly, but is hindered by both the limitations of 16-bit technology and terrible programming. Through the single player game, your character learns a new special move every few matches. This would be a neat idea, if a few things were not true. For starters, it's always the same handful of moves you learn, in the same order, so there are no surprises or real chance for customization. Another is that instead of saving to a battery back-up or something, your 'customized' character can only be accessed via a really freakin' long and complex randomly generated password that must be inputted each time you want to play with the moves that have been learned. Finally, your character has no moves from the very start - you even have to learn the character's taunt move. This is not only a bugger in the single player game, but if you wanted to play versus mode right out of the box or without putting in those blasted passwords, all you have access to are the basic array of punches and kicks. This makes for a very dull experience.

In short, if you want to watch the nicely animated animals, watch it on YouTube. Otherwise, it's best to keep this game away from your console or emulator of choice.

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