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A.P.I Review: Vs.
Developer: Polygon Magic OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: THQ 1-2 Player
Game Type: Beat-em-up Memory Card
Review Date: July 1998 Standard Joypad

Setting the Scene

Any beat-em-up that doesn't quite match up the immaculate arcade standards 
set by those wondrous boys at Namco seems to be automatically written off 
these days.  This is a little unfair because could you imagine what would 
happen if, say, the motor industry followed the same policy?  Everything 
that did not have the identical specifications to a Porsche or Ferrari 
would be completely ignored and deemed useless.  The scrap industry would 
have a field day.
Of course this couldn't really happen because in most walks of life the 
golden rule seems to be that everyone wants the best, but not everybody 
can afford it.  So surely the same should apply to video games.  This 
doesn't mean that I am canvasing for a price increase for the best games.  
Oh no!  More a price reduction for the poorer quality titles.

I've got a better idea.  Why not start rating games by the value they are 
worth rather than marks out of a hundred.  That way we could mark down 
Tekken 3 at $40.00 and Street Fighter the Movie at 1 Cent.  
Sounds good to me!


Vs, or Versus to give this it's lengthened title, is more of your 
'gang warfare on the streets of L.A.' than a bog standard 'one on one 
fighting game'.


The pre-match claims from THQ were that Vs. would run at an astonishing 
50 frames per second and it certainly seems to be shifting those polygons 
around at a fair old rate.  Obviously the penalty for stealing a little 
extra pace means that something, somewhere must slightly suffer and it 
appears to be in the visual department.  

Each of the fighters are bright and colorful and wear an amazing selection of 
outrageous attire but they do tend to look as if they have been constructed 
out of Lego bricks.  Rather than have smoothly rounded knees, elbows and 
wrists they have visible joints and a square framework that gives them an 
overall appearance of a wooden puppet.  Saying that their movements are quite 
fluid and it's only the effect of realism that suffers.

The opening CG intro is a little short but oozes quality as the street babes 
and boyz prepare to rumble on the streets.  In fact it could easily be 
compared to the standard set by those Tekken openings that we have grown 
to love and cherish.

Sounds and Effects

I was pleasantly surprised by the background music which is a rather cool
selection of tunes and songs from L.A's alternative rock scene featuring the 
artists Los Infernos, Pig's in Space and Suicide Machine.  
Streetwise music for a streetwise theme.

In-game, every movement of the fighters is accompanied by a wide range of 
strenuous grunts and groans which really do add to the overall atmosphere 
of the game.  Coupled with the verbal sounds is the forceful noise of their 
actions cutting through the air giving the effect of increased power to 
every blow.


There are four gangs, who belong to four neighborhoods, with four secret 
bosses.  That's twenty fighters in all.  They are each trying to earn street 
credibility which can be gained by rumbling in the streets and protecting 
their beloved turf.  Every character has their own style of fighting which 
involves the arts of Aikedo, Karate, King Fu, Tae-Kwon-Do, Wrestling and 
plain old dirty scrapping.  

Although the fighters cannot jump they each possess a wide range of moves and 
special combos.  Before beginning the game you may configure your controller 
to accommodate punch, kick and block moves to each button on the pad.  This 
allows multiple moves to be available at a flick of the shoulder button.  
Apart from attack there are blocking and sidestep actions which will need to 
be addressed in order to survive.

Each gang has three home venues on which they can rumble.  Some have ring outs 
such as the construction site where battle take place on a rising elevator 
platform, others are confined by their tight surrounding such as the disco and 
basketball court.  Many take place in wide open spaces for instance the Canyon 
at dawn or during sunset on Miami Beach. 

The modes of play move ever so slightly away from the usual arcade format with 
the one player versus computer opponent Exhibition mode actually giving your 
fighter CPU assistance.  You obviously cannot win a bout by simply sitting 
back and watching, but the occasional press of a single button seems to set 
your character off into a non-stop frenzy of attacking combos.  I can only 
think that this was included to level things up a little when your granny 
picks up the control pad.

You can also play the single player vs CPU mode without the strange assist 
mode activated where up to three rounds, lasting between 30 and 90 seconds, 
against up to 20 game characters may be played at a venue of your choice.  
Rather than offer three levels of difficulty you may disadvantage yourself 
or your opponent by adjusting the handicap bar.

Survival and Challenge modes are battles against your own gang members for 
supremacy over their home turf.  Defeat all other members and you may take 
on the Secret Gang Bosses, who if defeated, will be added to your roster of 
available characters. 

Rumble mode seems to be the most fun to play.  First you must select a home 
team and then set about defeating all of the members of a rival gang.  After 
every bout you may switch characters as long as they are part of your team.  
Should a member suffer defeat then they will bite the dust and be eliminated 
from the contest. 

There are also a couple of two player modes which are the standard one vs one 
contest or a two player Rumble.

Value for Money

At first glance Vs. is a bit of a turn off, especially when faced 
with the rather chunky appearance of the characters.  However, if you give 
the game a chance there are some nice little touches that allow the game to 
stand out in it's own right.

How much?  About $30 on the new rating scale.
GRAPHICS: 13/20 There must now be over forty beat-em-ups available on the Playstation and should someone ask for a Top Ten recommendation I would struggle after reaching eight.

Vs. probably would not fall in my personal Top Ten but it does have that little bit of something which makes it stand out from the bog-standard crowd.
SOUND: 9/10
VALUE: 15/20


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