Emulation Arcade – Avengers

Avengers is a fun, straightforward action brawler that involves you advancing toward a seemingly endless barrage of enemies, punching and kicking your way to justice. Yes, this sounds like Final Fight, but there are a number of twists. Firstly, it’s overhead and has a look and feel similar to that of Commando, but with you going through ghettos and all kinds of weird areas instead of the desert.

In essense, this is all the game is, so it’s going to be very hard to make this into 10 paragraphs. So let’s see…well, the purpose of the game, if I understand correctly, is to save several women who have been kidnapped by this evil…guy…person…thing. I don’t really understand what your motivation is here. Yeah, this is an 80s title, so typically “THEY TAKE-A ZE WOMENZ” is enough to get you motivated, but let’s really break this down for a second.

How do you know these women? DO you know these women? Why you? Why not the police or a squad of people? I mean, goddamn, every fucking thing you can think of and much more flies at you as you advance in these stages. What makes your dude so special that he can take on the world? I get that I’m challenging the 80s videogame every-character, if you will, but it’s an honest question.

As far as the enemy types, well, as far as I can gather, despite them flying about the screen like crazy ass wackaloons, they go down pretty easy. Seriously, one kick or punch and that’s fucking it. And as much as I’d love to just pass it off as them not eating their wheaties, these dudes often grab you and headbutt the shit out of you. In fact, if you’re not quick on the draw, they will headbutt you until you die in just a couple of seconds.

I mean, what a way to go…some crackhead rolling up on you and headbanging you to death. And that’s not the worst part. See, originally I had this picked out as just another brawler, but even as early as the first stage there are dudes throwing molotovs, firing shotguns, and even wielding a goddamn morning star! Seriously, a morning star? How the fuck did you even get a hold of that?

And yeah, there’s the more typical stuff that you see in these titles like bitches flying out of water throwing sais at you and bosses that use some sort of ninja magic to mirror themselves, but guns as early as the first stage and having it be a continuing theme? Come on. And it wouldn’t be so bad if you had long range weaponry too, but as far as I’ve found, no dice.

I would cry foul, but let’s be honest. Take Final Fight as an example. You can’t run, can’t guard, don’t start with a weapon, and when you have weapons, they break over time, can get knocked out of your hands, and often break when they’re knocked out of your hands. Some enemies can run, some can guard, some start with weapons that DON’T break, all of them have basic combos and attacks, and the only thing you can rely on is their AI is poor.

But even then, they come at you in DROVES. In fact, what’s really fun is to play Final Fight for the arcade and crank up the difficulty to max to see just how many fuckers get on the screen at one time. It’s fucking ridiculous. However, one thing Final Fight does better is checkpoints and this is something I’ve been saying for a while. Arcade games SHOULD have good checkpoints because, come on, you’re shelling cash into it, presumably to win, so why shouldn’t there be?

I always heard “system limitations” were the reason they weren’t implemented in the console versions, but we all knew that was a lie. It was deliberately put in place so it made it harder to beat the console versions so you’d actually get your money’s worth and have a reason to buy the product rather than rent it. I won’t complain about that because it totally makes sense.

Avengers has terrible checkpoints. Sure, they have a lives system, but you’re thrown back to the beginning of the street. Sometimes that street alone will take away a life trying to get back to the boss, so then you’re not even at max when you go to give the boss the business. To be fair, sometimes fighting the boss is all about knowing the boss’s strategy, but most of the time there is no strategy and it comes down to blind luck.

Ultimately, Avengers is a very fun little game that has a decent amount of challenge and a new take on the brawler. Considering it came out in 1987, it’s pretty impressive that it was able to implant what made games like Final Fight and Kung Fu great in an overhead perspective and still throwing in enough new elements to make it interesting.

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Filed under Arcade, Retro, Videogames

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