Tokyo rode high on a rising wave of yen, but when the economic bubble burst, Tokyo crashed -- hard. Out from the ashes crawled the street gangs, mafia, loan sharks, slave-traders, madmen and thieves. The resulting street war was put down by a crew of unstoppable riders with iron-fisted fighting skills, but this brief period of peace was shattered with the mysterious murder of their leader, causing another street war for supremacy. Then a challenge for control was issued to the leaders of the toughest gangs: a last fight for total rule.
I always think my black belt in karate would make me a natural at these one-on-one fighting games. But we never studied moves like "Bongo Beat-High Spin" or "Highway Buster" at my dojo. I feel like I've missed out on something. But we're not talking real life here; if we were, we'd turn off the computer and head out to the nearest dojo.
The configuration settings seemed awkward, but that was because I started off using the keyboard to fight. The key settings were difficult to use, and I kept getting my butt kicked. I then switched to using a game pad, and things improved dramatically. The configuration screens seemed designed for a game pad, and the opponents that had once beaten on me mercilessly suddenly became stumbling wimps. With the game pad I was able to execute some of the more involved moves like the "Highway Buster," and the very fun finishing moves for when the opponents were knocked to the ground. If you like arcade fighting games and you've not yet forked over the cash for a game pad, buy one. The game will be magnitudes easier and more fun for you.
The graphics in Last Bronx are nice, but not too impressive. I played it at its highest graphic settings, and it looked very fluid. However, there were many problems where textures overlapped incorrectly. It was distressing to see objects that should have been hidden behind other textures. The game has been written to take advantage of an MMX-enhanced processor, but Sega has not yet released a Direct 3D patch to take advantage of 3D video accelerator cards. This should hopefully improve the graphic quality and fix the obvious errors. Unlike the game graphics, the opening movie was very nicely done. It makes me wish there were a full-length movie telling the story of the Last Bronx.
The audio does its job in setting the scene and keeping your attention on the game. My only complaint is the lack of English dialogue. At the end of each round, the victor spouts off something in Japanese. It would have been a nice touch to have recorded some English phrases and allow you to choose which language you'd rather hear.
Required: Windows 95, 90 Mhz Pentium or faster, 25 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 256 colors, SoundBlaster 16 or compatible sound card, DirectX 5 (provided)
Recommended: MMX Pentium chip, 4X CD-ROM drive, Windows 95 compatible joystick or game pad
The documentation here is exactly what it should be: informative, but not overbearing. The game comes with a booklet that gives you a good idea of what to expect and some basic support scenarios. Nothing fancy, but it does its job.
This game is just another in a long list of arcade fighting games. There isn't anything new or exciting about Last Bronx to make it stand out from the crowd. It is fun in its own scope, but if you are planning on buying only one game in this genre, you might be better served looking elsewhere. I think I'll turn off the computer and do some real-life sparring. Now where did I put my fighting sticks? ...