Not to be out done by their esteemed colleagues, AM3 released their take on the 3D beat `em up genre about a year ago. But, apart from in the big London arcades, Last Bronx is somewhat of a rarity. So if you`ve been itching to set about your mates with a sledgehammer or a set of Japanese nunchaku (virtually of course) you`ll be more than pleased to see this conversion of Last Bronx make it`s way to your Saturn.
If you like your fighting games to be on the nasty side, look no further. Last Bronx is about as brutal as games get. In the world of Japanese street gangs, even the schoolgirls have a taste for violence. Violence that usually entails hitting people with big sticks.
I`m sure you can guess the story, set in Tokyo, rival gangs blah blah battle for supremacy etc. You take your pick from eight characters, there`s the usual big bloke, in this case a tatooed construction worker armed with a hammer who goes by the name of Zaimoku, and the obligatory scantily clad young girls, the youngest and most scantily clad being Lisa who displays her undergarments at every opportunity. The others include double-hard bastard Kurosawa who wields a lump of four by two, Naki the lesbian (really), Joe, Tommy, Yoko and Yusaku. The battles take place in brilliantly named locations such as the Lust Subway and Naked Airport. Those Japs eh? Crazy.
The gameplay, although employing the standard Sega control system has a completely different feel to it. Floating combos are much in evidence and rounds are often decided in a number of seconds, which means it`s worthwhile extending the life bars to their full in the options if you want a longer game. VF purists will probably baulk at Last Bronx`s `simple` gameplay and bemoan the lack of skill required, but that`s missing the point as I really don`t think that AM3 designed this as a serious game. Everything is over exagerrated, from the brutality of the moves to the kung fu movie sound effects. There`s the usual abundance of play modes including Survival Mode, Time attack and Free Practice mode plus a new addition to the PAL version, an Aerial Combo practice mode.
The quality of the conversion is extremely good. Glorious hi-res a la VF2 and the best backgrounds seen yet, all in a full screen display. There`s still the occasional flicker during close-ups of the fighters though. Something Sega seem unable to conqueor, but it`s only a minor complaint. The only other niggle is the shadows, being the oval variety rather than the proper type.
Inevitably though, Last Bronx will be compared to VF2 and Megamix, and it`s difficult to see it winning in the gameplay stakes. I certainly rate it higher than Fighting Vipers, and it`s a lot of fun as a two player game. Overall, it`s yet another quality product from the AM stables.