A lot of you might be skeptical about the pick this year, but trust me, it's one you'll want to totally get behind when you learn more about it. Yet again, this was a year with MANY console brawlers and not so many arcade brawlers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it might be a sign of things to come. Shin Nekketsu Kōha - Kunio-tachi no Banka (SNES)
It would've been nearly impossible to beat this game in the same year. Especially considering this came out on a home console, not an arcade, and this WASN'T a bad year for arcades...that's really saying something. Kunio-Kun is a well established series and has been claimed as the first brawler series ever with its first title ported to American arcades as Renegade.
That's great and all, but what's the big deal? Well, games like River City Ransom, Crash n The Boys Street Challenge, and various others are part of this series via Technos, also creators of Double Dragon. In any case, it's both somewhat obvious and yet obscure why we didn't receive this title on American shores. The obvious reason is we had limited exposure with the Kunio-Kun series and it would probably need an entire re-write.
Besides that, you get to beat up cops and beat the crap out of other highschoolers, though that didn't really matter in River City Ransom, but whatever. But those reasons don't really add up so much when you consider you don't even NEED a translation in order to play the game because of how simple, yet challenging it is. You can play 2 players, but you better make sure the other man is GOOD.
See, in this game you can switch between the different characters you acquire whenever you'd like, which puts you at a tactical advantage in a single player game (provided you don't completely suck and NEED a second player). You can punch, kick, run, grab, stomp, do ground maneuvers, do environmental attacks, and a whole lot more. Nevermind that the story is actually interesting, the music and sounds are great, and ditto for the graphics and animation.
Really, the only negative thing I could mention would be the challenge. As great a game as it is, goddamn does it get hard after a while! The good thing is the checkpoints are regular and the continues are infinite. Still, even WITH that you'll find you ass getting handed to you every so often. It gets especially rough with certain bosses that have major attacks that can absolutely pummel you in a few hits.
That and if you don't switch characters quickly enough, you get knocked out and have to continue. So yeah, ROUGH, but holy shit is it fun. Runner Ups
I wanted to put in a slight addendum here. The Battletoads mentioned in 1991 was actually the NES version. I apologize for the confusion on my part. Most of the games this year are fan-fucking-tastic and well worth checking out. About the only one I really DIDN'T like was The Tick, which was kind of a letdown. And yes, Power Rangers kicked ass.
Act of Fighter (PC)
Alien vs. Predator (Arcade)
Armored Warriors / Powered Gear: Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)
Battletoads / Super Battletoads (Arcade)
Death and Return of Superman (SNES)
Denjin Makai (Arcade)
Dungeon Magic / Lightbringer (Arcade)
Ghost Chaser Densei (SNES)
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (SNES)
Night Slashers (Arcade)
Peace Keepers / Rushing Beat Syura (SNES)
Sonic Blast Man 2 (SNES)
Spider-Man and Venom - Maximum Carnage (Multi-platform)
Streets of Rage 3 (Genesis)
West Adventure (PC)
X-Men - Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)
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