Second Opinion: Last Battle
An incredibly uninspired game abounding in ugliness, reptitiveness and ultra-simplistic gameplay that is eclipsed by even the most basic brawler from the mid-80's.
Last Battle was heavily covered by media before release due to its huge sprites and scrolling graphics that were certainly something that Nintendon’t. When it released to the public however, it was met with middle of the road, to negative reception.
EGM (Issue 4, 1989) covered it in their Review Crew section, with each reviewer finding it to be an un-impressive title with shiny graphics that was certainly nothing special. Other magazines, such as the British Megatech, found that “(Last Battle is not) an enjoyable game in its own right.”
Muscle bound adventures in punch land…
Originally released in Japan for the Mega Drive, Last Battle is actually a video game incarnation of Fist of the North Star (Hokuto No Ken) previously titled Shin Seikimatsu Kyūseishu Densetsu Hokuto no Ken. Unwilling to showcase an overly violent video game on their console, Sega of America heavily censored the title, removing all instances of blood and gore from it and reducing its adult themes into a series of sloppily written escapades in a post apocalyptic world. You play as the warrior Aarzak who is fighting to free the world of a nebulous super power that is threatening to…make living in a post apocalyptic desert worse, I suppose?
Players must negotiate incredibly complicated scrolling sections that involve a difficult puzzle that can best be described as “hold right on the d-pad” and fight identical enemies before facing off against baffling bosses and occasionally having to negotiate tedious maze rooms.
Save the world that is basically just a huge desert anyway…
In-between these levels players must negotiate a map and select which level they wish to tackle next. This is not a bad mechanic, however that cannot be said for the rest of the game.
The story is pretty bland and the nonsensical dialogue is hilarious at times. It is actually enjoyable in how bad it is, like the thrill you get from watching a movie like “The Room” and laughing at Tommy Wiseau’s ridiculous acting.
Walking right has never been so unfulfilling….
Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the gameplay of Last Battle. Fighting the same three enemies over and over again is incredibly monotonous and even though you slowly build up a power meter to explode your clothes from your body (yes, this happens) it still doesn’t help the game transcend the overwhelming blandness that pervades it. Even the most mediocre scrolling brawlers from the mid-80’s eclipse the shallow button mashing and walking of Last Battle.
If the thrill of absorbing a thousand axes and arrows from some sort of hole in space time located just off the screen doesn’t appeal to you then maybe you’ll enjoy the ridiculous boss fights that are incredibly difficult? Aarzak can barely jump and you have to do that to avoid a lot of attacks. You can probably see what the problem is here.
Like two balloons giving each other CPR…
Last Battle lacks a lot in a lot of department’s, but it certainly isn’t the worst looking game on Mega Drive. It runs well with a lot of sprites on screen and they are quite big and colourful. Animation is somewhat lacking, however and variety in enemies and environments consist of “let’s palette swap everything!” syndrome in overdrive. The game becomes very visually fatiguing, very quickly.
Another area in which Last Battle falls short is in the sound department. Repetitive audio, incredibly lazy sound effects (pfff, bwoaw and bwoooar pretty exclusively) and baffling silence permeates the entire experience.
Last Battle is a very, very poor game. It is the basic foundation of a game, that was executed incredibly lazily. A lack of variety, un-imaginative control and level design and a hollow emptiness encompass this entire experience. There is a strange pleasure to be had from Last Battle, such as one feels from flicking a loose toe nail across a room. The few redeeming features of this nonsense cannot possibly make up for its many deficiencies.
+ The story is hilariously bad.
+ The map sequence is quite forward thinking.
+ Shirt explosions.
– Gameplay is incredibly bland, lacks any sort of variety and features the same tired mechanics over and over.
– Ugly soundtrack and awful effects.
– Basically everything really.