Arch Rivals

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a game by Midway, and Acclaim
Genre: Sports
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, NESNES, GameGear
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 13 reviews, 14 reviews are shown
User Rating: 7.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Sport Games, Sports Management Games, NBA Video Games, Basketball Video Games

The arcade sports bruiser, Arch Rivals, has finally made its way to the Game Gear. Although it bears the name, features the same basketbrawl game play, and showcases some of the trademark graphics, this diminutive, handheld Arch Rivals just isn't able to see eye-to-eye with other home versions of the arcade hit.

Shock Jocks

Simply put, Arch Rivals is basketball without rules. Choose between five, two-man teams to compete in a four quarter, sixteen-minute game. You control one player, while the computer controls your teammate. You can also beef up your skills by controlling when your teammate shoots and passes the ball. Game play is simple-move and shoot the ball on offense; do anything you want to your opponent on defense. Score more points than the other team at the buzzer and you win!

Fast Breaks

Arch Rivals has been noticeably streamlined to fit within the tiny confines of the Game Gear. Game play is limited to jumping and shooting on offense, and punching, stealing, and lunging on defense. Players move extremely fast on-screen as they race up and down the side-scrolling court. So fast, that it's often difficult to block a shot or get a punch in. The court also doesn't help. Defenders often end up eating dust when opponents blast off in a fast break.

Visual Impact

The graphics are nicely rendered and extremely detailed, especially the crowd scenes. Players respond well to the controls and are easy to focus on amidst the background and other players. The only drawback is that there isn't any marker to delineate which player you control and both players on your team look alike. You find yourself trying to locate your player more often than the ball.

Bench Warmer

Arch Rivals is adequate entertainment as the only roundball action currently available for the Game Gear. However, it lacks the game play of the arcade version, and it's too simplified for a true sports challenge. Although pretty to look at, Arch Rivals doesn't have the stamina to run the length of the court.


  • Since your player is only able to play defense facing an opponent, don't try to steal or block from behind.
  • Hold down the shot button when you charge the net for a slam dunk.
  • Desperation half-court shots are very possible in this game.

Download Arch Rivals


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

"No harm, no foul"

Words to live by if you're engaged in a hot game of Arch Rivals, a new one or two player basketball game. There are two goals in Arch Rivals: to score more points than your opponent (a typical basketball goal) and to punch your competitor's lights out (an untypical basketball goal).

You can choose from four different teams (Chicago, Los Angeles, Brawl State, and Natural High) and eight different players. The team you choose is inconsequential -- it just determines the color of your uniform. However, each player has different strengths. The difference between the players is not so great that the outcome of the game would be dramatically affected if you chose, for example, Blade instead of Moose, but there is a noticeable difference.


Arch Rivals is a two-on-two contest. You always control the player you selected at the beginning of the game, the computer guides the actions of your teammate with some exceptions. When your teammate has the ball you can make him shoot it or pass it by hitting the A and the B buttons, respectively.

Trying to take on the opposing team solo is a big mistake. A key to success in Arch Rivals is knowing where your teammate is at all times. You'll need to know how close the other team is to punching him when he's dribbling the ball, if he's open when you have the ball, and how well he's guarding his man when the other team is coming up the court.


  • Regularly passing the ball back and forth between your two players is a good way to avoid having the ball taken away. However, sometimes your opponent decks your teammate for no reason. Don't pass the ball to him when he's on the floor.
  • The computer team often tries to bring the ball straight up the court without dodging your player. You can get the ball and score an easy basket if you stand in the way and punch the ball handler as he dribbles into yen. Now, take the ball and stuff it through the hoop! The computer programming is such that he will do this same exact thing several times in a row, and more than once during the game. It's a great opportunity to build a big lead!

Hey! Hey! Crash and Burn!!!

The most frequent way to land on your face is when your opponent decks you with a right to the face or dive tackles you. But even when the other team is nowhere near, there are dangers. The near-sighted referee parades the sidelines; he'll always stumble into you if you get too close. The occasional spilled soda can trip you up as well.

Arch Rivals is based on the popular 1989 coin-operated game and has many of the little extras that made the arcade version a hit. Cheerleaders urge you on after every basket, and angry coaches stalk the sidelines, just waiting for an excuse to chew out their teams. However, there are some glaring omissions -- the team mascot bulldog who loves to grab players as they streak by, the ability to grab a player by his shorts to trip him up, and digitized sound -- but otherwise this game is pretty faithful to the original. Arch Rivals makes for a nice afternoon diversion if you're looking for something fast-paced and easy to play. This game is not for b-ball diehards or sports simulation nuts. Forget about strategy and shooting the ball, or in this case, forget about rules altogether and just punch your opponent's face in!

It may look like basketball but it probably should have been called basket-brawl! Don't expect a super detailed 5 on 5 simulation, but rather this is a great fun game where everything goes as there are no fouls called by the ref! The ref's eyesight is so bad that when he runs down the court to follow the action he will trip the players! Some basketball skill is necessary though, as you still have to dribble, pass and rebound but to steal the ball you do have a 'punch-out' move! And pushing, tripping and elbowing are all legal! What counts is that you make the baskets, any way you can! It's not pro ball but who says you can't have fun once in a while?

This outrageous basketbrawl arcade game is being converted to the NES by Acclaim. In this smash hit you get to play free-for-all basketball. That is, there are no rules so anything goes! If you can't block an opponents shot, punch his lights out instead! It's full court action for either one player against the computer or for two players in real head-to-head competition. More hilarious than the Harlem Globetrotters, Arch Rivals is B-ball like you never saw before!

An original multi-player basketball game from Atari. If you thought the pros played hard, than wait 'till you play against a group of street punks in a furious "No Rules" game in the street. Pick up the knives and nunchuks when the going gets rough. Get ready to rumble!

  • Manufacturer: BALLY/MIDWAY

Hit the court for hoop shots, free throws and a fair share of violent athletics in this full-contact basketball simulator.

  • Manufacturer: Atari
  • Machine: Lynx
  • Theme: Sports
  • Available: 1992

Basketball was never quite like this! Basketbrawl for the Lynx is a new concept in sports, beat the opponents that get in your way! There are no rules. You can punch, kick, and stab your opponents any time you wish! A variety of weapons appear from time to time like a whip and dagger. The game is set on the city streets where it's just you against your opponent! Basketbrawl is the name and punishment is the game!

People say:


A great idea that is poorly put together. Basketbrawl holds the promise of great basketball action as well as street fighting overtones. In the end the cart fails to achieve high ratings for either, instead ending up as a choppy sports game that can't make up its mind what it want to be or how the fighting should impact on play.


In concept, this game has a lot going for it. A violent basketball game would work well on the Lynx however, player control is critical, especially on a screen the size of the Lynx's. Unfortunately I couldn't get it down pat and this hurt the game play. It really does turn into a brawl after a while but that's about it.


I was very disappointed. The idea of street fighting basketball really seems cool. When it's plagued with choppy animation and jerky control. The game has a few cool features, gang members throw knives at the players from the stands. This cart leaves plenty to be desired and shows little effort from the big A.


This is a cart that was meant to be so much more! Once you play Basketbrawl, you will instantly see how thin the game play really is. The graphics could be better, and the sounds effects lack realism. Variety is non-existent, but the underlying humor is a plus. Just try going after the crowd and you'll see what I mean!

  • Manufacturer: Atari
  • Machine: Lynx
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Available: May 1992
  • Theme: Sports

Blood, Sweat and Broken Bones!

What is the point of winning if you cannot even punish your opponents for loosing? Well, you will never have a problem with that here because punishment is the name of the game!

Enter the street courts of a rough and tumble neighborhood, where pain comes before pleasure! Not only will your basketball skills be tested, but your street brawling abilities will be needed to the max!

There are no rules to the game! You just use your jump kicks and punches to take out the opponent.

Do you need a bit of help when others are constantly pounding you? Well, the sideline guards will oblige you by jumping in and pushing your opposition around! However, you can always pick up a lone dagger, whip or whatever might just turn up unexpectedly on the courts to put a dent (literally) in the competition! There is a password feature which is included for when you start on the three-to-one battles! Good luck!

Slam! Dunk! Punch!

This is super sports action like you've never seen it before! Straight out of the arcades comes Arch Rivals, an all-out basketbrawl filled with unique and exciting features! You're in control of the lay-ups, dunk shots, and other B-bail action in this fast-moving sports contest. The rules are familiar, but the fouls are gone as you fight your way to the basket, literally! In addition to passing and shooting, you can punch or lunge your way past the opposition and across the court! Complete with great graphics and smooth animation, Arch Rivals is a true basketbrawl!

Master tip #613

To drop down your opponents shorts, hold down the B button and tap the A button!

All-star cast!


Tyrone. This guy really "blocks' the lane! Hard! Vinnie. He's a real team player with skill! Moose. Moose is the experienced shooter! Hammer. He can nail them from anywhere! Lewis. This dude is also known as Mr Moves. Mohawk. The meanest of the bunch. Look out! Reggie. Used to be the All-Star's Ali-Star. Blade. He has all the moves and all the ladies.

In Flying Edge's conversion of the arcade hit, Arch Rivals, no-foul basketball becomes a hard-hitting reality.

Take a Shot

Arch Rivals, the new two-on-two basket brawl game from Flying Edge, is a full-force basketball game with a punch (or two or three...). Smooth shooting and accurate passing are as important as knocking the parquet out of opposing players. If there weren't a ball on the court, you'd swear you were in a boxing ring. Unfortunately, all the hit-and-run sparring leaves the game play a little weak. There are only a few basic moves, such as jumping, punching, lunging, passing, shooting.

There are no super moves, which would have taken this game a level further. Graphics are O.K., but not outstanding. The characters are rendered with a lot of detail, but their animation is less than natural.

If you like glory shots, these make some incredibly difficult three-point baskets with ease. If you pick a top-gunner for your team, you should fry the other guys in no time. The game is fast and furious, so a small loss can quickly turn into a slaughter. Kiss that home court advantage goodbye, because in this game the crowd throws their hot dogs and sodas at your feet. It's a trip or triumph situation. Another obstacle to avoid is the nearsighted referee, who'll break up your fast break.

ProTip: Run to the top of the screen and punch out your first opponent, then run down and punch out the ball carrier. If your timing is right, you could score some easy two's.

Oof! Ungh! Ouch!

This game puts basketbrawling in your face (and stomach, and chest) and is more fun to play with two players. The computer teams are too easy to outsmart.

There are no seasons, play-offs, or dream teams, and only four teams to choose from. But if you're into full contact basketball, this game is a must!

When a player yells, "I'm open," get him the ball and take your shot immediately. It's a sure score from wherever you are on the court

The popular Bally/Williams coin-op machine comes to the Genesis, complete with all the punching and gouging that made it a blast to play in the arcade.

This is a full-court, two-on-two game, which stars "street" players like Tyrone, Hammer, Moose, and Blade. The goal of the game, like real basketball, is to score more points than your opponent. The big difference is "fouls" don't exist in this game. Punching, tackling, and other types of mayhem are all legal. In fact, it's necessary to succeed! Arch Rivals doesn't get involved with the finer points of basketball -- sharp passing, working for the open shot, playing good "D!" This is a kill or be killed contest. Only the strong survive, much like a Detroit Pistons game.

Have you ever been on the basketball court and gotten so frustrated that you wanted to just slam your opponent to the ground? If so, get yourself into therapy and then get your hands on ARCH RIVALS, because this is the game where you can do whatever you want on the court.

Get ready for a no-holds-barred game of basketball where the only rule is that there ARE no rules! Arch Rivals is a two-on-two arcade-style hoops game that features four fictional teams: Natural High, Brawl State, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Choose from eight players, each differing in ability, as you try to pick the best mix of defensive skill and offensive firepower. The cast of characters is as follows: the "crowd-pleaser" Blade, "tough and mean" Mohawk, All-American Reggie, "great player" Vinnie, top-shooter Lewis, rebound king Hammer, defensive specialist Tyrone, and "real champ" Moose.

Play involves moving up and down a horizontal view of the court as you try to outscore your opponent before the final buzzer sounds. Of course, if you have to punch a few characters in the process, so be it! Cinema cut-scenes appear after each shot, allowing you to see cheerleaders or the opponent's angry coach. Players will also have to watch out for the animated crowd in the background - sometimes they'll throw garbage onto the court to interfere with the action. Even the team mascot may get involved!

Arch Rivals is a conversion of the hit Midway arcade game.

Arch Rivals features:

  • Basketball without the rules
  • One or two players
  • Pick your team from among a talented roster of players
  • Show off your basketball skills and your brawling abilities
  • Based on the arcade hit

There aren’t any rules in this brand of basketball, so anything goes and it will as you utilize your hoops skills as well as your body-slamming abilities to win the game and celebrate a victory. Of course, you’ll have to pass, shoot, rebound, and dribble, but you’ll also get the chance to knock your rival down, drop his shorts, and push him out of the way. This game isn’t for those primadonnas who rely on the referees to rescue them from their big, tall opponents; Arch Rivals is more aptly titled "basketbrawl"!

Game Gear strikes back with its latest basketball game, Arch Rivals! See if you can beat the computer as you play against (or as) several teams. They include: Natural High, Brawl State, Los Angeles, or Chicago! Each team has two players, and you have different moves depending on whether you are playing offense or defense! Unique cinemas are also provided at the half as well as when either side scores! You have four periods to play the game, each is four minutes long! After the end of each period, a sportscaster appears to give the score and a capsule of the game. After halftime, don't forget to shoot at the other basket!

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

GameGear Screenshots