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Power Moves

a.k.a

Power Athlete (Super Famicom)

Deadly Moves (Sega Genesis)

1992 Kaneko

Super Nintendo

 

Very sorry early Street Fighter rip off from Kaneko. The main character is named "Joe" (real imaginative name there fellas. What's his last name, Smith?) Joe wants to be a fighter. Joe decides the only way to be a good fighter is to spend all kinds of money to fly around the world and fight a bunch of badly animated fighting game stereotypes in one of the worst fighting games ever. There probably is some deeper storyline going on but you wouldn't know it from like, playing the game or anything.

You can tell they spent a lot of time on this game by the box art. Just look at that rediculous travesty - it's just embarassing. And "Power Moves?" Having a little trouble thinking up a good name there fellas? Everything about this game just screams "lazy-ass cash-in."

Stage backgrounds are a mixed bag. On the plus side all of them seem to have some kind of major animation going on in the background, for instance Warren's stage takes place on a raft in the ocean, while another stage has eight levels of parallax scrolling going on. On the bad side is each stage is somewhat generic, without anything really interesting or memorable. Thing is you can tell the developers thought the animated backgrounds would be a selling point (like Vagnad's stage that takes place on the top of a train car, racing down a track in the first person,) problem is they still end up looking pretty bland.

The fighters themselves are all Street Fighter rip offs in nearly every way possible. You have the dancing European Vega-type, the Chinese kung-fu girl Chun-Li type, The jungle wild man Blanka-type (that even does barrel rolls no less,) etc. The most original character is probably the kabuki dancer that teleports around has whips you with his hair (who also has the most visibly impressive stage,) but these small hints at originality can't save this game from an overdose of "me too" syndrome.

Now let's meet some of the worst rip-off fighting game imitation characters ever:

 

Warren, the Hawiian guy has a shoulder charge and a lame attempt at a hurricane kick that uses his same jump kick animation but rapidly inverted. He is obviously patterned after E.Honda. Why they decided to put a Hawiian guy with a grass skirt in a kung fu game is beyond me.

 

Vangnad is a wrestler, and since he's a wrestler in an early 90's fighting game that means he has to be from Russia. He also seems to have steel skin, so Kaneko ripped off Capcom and Marvel Comics at the same time.

 

Buoh the Kabuki dancer is probably the most original character of the roster. He teleports and attacks with his hair. This stage also seems to have eight levels of parallax scrolling along the ground, but for some reason it still looks like shit.

 

Reayon is the lone female character, which means she has to be a kung-fu person from China. Her specials are a direct rip-off of Chun-Li. Way to be blatant there fellas.

 

Goaluon does Guile's flashkick. Must have been running out of ideas here.

 

Baraki is a straight Blanka rip off, who howls and does barrel rolls. Even the standard punch/kick, jumping, and blocking animations are the same. This character seems overtly racist to me I might add. Why is every person from Africa in a fighting game have to be some wild man with a bone through his nose? What a load.

 

Nick is the resident Vega rip-off from Spain that does flying/dancing attacks and throws knives. He even does a little Ole'-dance as a winning animation. Damn this game sucks.

 

Ranker is the one character that isn't directly bitten from Street Fighter, and instead looks a lot like Rugal from King of the Fighters. Since this game came out first you can't say it's a rip-off, but I will anyway.

This game has for four fatal flaws. First off in a one player game you can only be Joe for some reason, which is already a sign of lameness. Second Joe seems to have no specials at all, not even the fireball and dragon punch moves you'd expect him to have. All the other fighters of course have at least one (most of the time lame looking) special, why none for Joe? There aren't even different levels of regular attacks, no light, medium, and hard punches. You get one kick and one punch, THAT'S IT. You would think that if you're gonna rip off Street Fighter you'd go all the way, not pussy out when it comes to play mechanics. The field isn't straight 2D, it's more like Final Fight, where you have vertical movement. While this makes it easier to dodge your opponent it also explains why there are is no crouching, and also explains the biggest flaw for a game like this: You have to press a button to jump. A jump button is fine in a side scrolling brawler but in a one-on-one fighting game it just screws with me.

All of this could be forgiven if there was a halfway decent game going on, which leads to our last and most fatal flaw: the A. I. sucks donkey dookie so bad it's not even funny. Sure, it's smart if you try to get fancy on it, if you try to play it's game by blocking and uh... doing jumping attacks. But every single character can be beaten in the exact same way: Walk up, punch, repeat. The computer will retreat into the wall, where you can continue punching it straight in the face forever. If it gets any closer you will throw him, which takes off a hugely disproportionate amount of damage (to put it in perspective, most characters are finished after two throws and a single punch to the face.) Even the last boss falls for this. If you can't beat this game in three continues then give up. So incredibly, utterly, arduously lame.

You can tell Kaneko really tried with this game too, there's plenty of pretty good sounding voice samples, a lot attention into the animated backgrounds, and attempt to give otherwise generic characters a bit of personality. There are even bonus rounds thrown in that are actually pretty well thought out, one where you have to punch these pads in rhythm and another where you have to deflect handgernades for a high score. But without the ability to choose more characters in story mode, no specials for the character you can choose, only two basic attacks per character, no crouching, and jumping with a button, what we end up with feels like half a game, much less a decent fighting game.

Graphics: Muddy and pixilated, but comparable to what was on the system a the time. The characters animate like crap.

Sound: Clear voice samples, seem to be part of the music for some reason.

Gameplay: The ability to choose stages in any order ads a lot, but the abovementioned problems severely limit what little fun this game ever comes close to attaining.

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