The streets of Tokyo will never be the same after these armored warriors hit the scene. Last Bronx is a weapon based 3D Fighter by the makers of the Virtua Fighter series with a definite teenage, street gang influence. The gameplay is strictly 2D based with movement back and forward along with traditional Sega realistic fighting minus the glamour of many other 3D and 2D Fighters.
The game features a total of eight fighters and weapons with bats, hammers, swords and a number of well designed gang characters. Game modes include arcade, Vs., survival, time attack, PC and practice modes. Last Bronx also features eight distinctive 3D fighting arenas set around Tokyo from subways to industrial neon settings.
Sega have also provided multi player options for up to six people over LAN, modem and serial link.
Given Sega's less than stellar track record with arcade to PC conversions, I was somewhat hesitant to even try Last Bronx. As usual, Sega decided it wasn't necessary to provide 3Dfx or Direct3D support right out of the box, so running this game anywhere near the arcade version is completely out of the question. However, unlike VF2, Last Bronx can be made playable by messing around with the extensive collection of display options.
As usual, you can control the action with the keyboard, but you might as well not even play if that's the case. However, grab a Microsoft Sidewinder Pad and turn it on, it works perfectly. The buttons are even set up correctly. The control is almost as good as the Saturn version.
The graphics in the PC version aren't as nice as its Saturn counterpart. While arcade character models and backgrounds are available, let's be realistic. No one with an average computer can ever play the game with these settings. The high detail characters and 2D bgs are almost identical to the Saturn version, but the floors are visibly worse. The floor textures are constantly deforming and breaking up, and they stop right at the ring edge, rather than going on to meet the background.
The sound is exactly the same as the Saturn version, and the voices are somewhat clearer. This has to be the only area in which the PC game is actually superior. The music is typical Sega stuff, that is to say very unique, if not strange.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this game. On the one hand, after surviving the horror of VF2 PC, I'm glad just to be able to play a Sega arcade fighter that runs somewhat respectfully on my PC. On the other hand, there's really no excuse for the lack of 3D support right out of the box. Almost every other developer out there knows that a 3D game on the PC just won't fly without it, but Sega doesn't seem to realize this. In all fairness, this game should run much better than the Saturn version.
Even though this game was somewhat popular in arcades, I really don't think it's going to enjoy much success on the PC. Sure the game looks fairly decent in 640x480 with 16bit color,. 3D support would lend a lot to a game of this nature, but it's nowhere to be seen, and what we're left with is a clunky polygonal fighter whose only claim to fame is that it's based off fighting with weapons. It's pretty much just Virtua Fighter with a stick here and a club there. One thing the game does having going for it is that there are about 30 "special attacks" per character available. I was pleased to see they were all listed in the manual, but by the time you have them all memorized, this game will have been deleted and thrown into the attic.
The reason this game's not destined for glory is that it really just rehashes every cliche you've seen in a fighting game before. Some typical street gang toughs make an appearance in the character selection menu, and while they have some nice background stories, there's nothing to recommend one of any of the others in terms of play. You won't find any really exciting or graphic intensive special moves in any of their lineups, and most of the combos are of the "punch punch punch" or "kick kick kick" varieties. Juggling can be done, but not to a great degree, and you can't really create your own style of combos, which makes things get very repetitive. It's nice to see that the characters have weapons in their hands, but it never really appears as if they do anything but look pretty. The idea of using the weapons could have been cool if you could get some blood spurting out or break a few bones, but in this game they were only included as a gimmick.
I'll give the designers this much, they did try to make it a good conversion. The sounds are cool and sound appropriate, and the graphic resolutions can reach higher levels than in the arcade. Some nice Anime style movies pop up as well, and the subtitling to the songs that play while they run makes it kind of funny to watch them. But all this aside, you still can't beat sitting down at an arcade with anything on the PC yet, even if Last Bronx is no worse than any other PC fighters. I just can't get the same competitive atmosphere found in the arcade going, and I certainly don't enjoy the game as much while sitting hunched over in front of a monitor. One interesting thing about Last Bronx is that it includes full multiplayer support, from TCP/IP to modem to Serial Link.
I really hate to admit it, but Last Bronx is one of the better fighting games on the PC. That's not to say it's very good or very fun, and there's no one I could recommend this to with a straight face. Last Bronx is wholly unoriginal and almost pitiful in terms of gameplay, a title that's been outclassed by lots of other fighting games on other systems.
People who downloaded Last Bronx have also downloaded:
Last Defender, Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green, Lifeforce Tenka (a.k.a. Codename Tenka), Laser Age, Last Dimension, Lander (from Psygnosis), Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Mega Man X4
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