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Ultraman: Towards the Future

Super NES

Bandai 1991


I love giant Japanese monsters. Never really liked Ultraman too much as it's always been a little too cheap for my tastes. It's too "plot" driven, as in too many people talking and not enough monster fighting. Plus it always focuses too much on some silly international monster fighting organization where they all have to wear dumb looking hats. Human beings in monster movies should only serve to be eaten or stepped on by said monster. Any other use for them is taking up dialog.

Anyway, around 1990 there was a short lived Ultraman TV show made for US audiences (it bombed and only like seven episodes were ever made.) This game was a tie in as the monsters here are the same ones from the show. The Japanese version of this game (which was also released in arcades) has more traditional Ultraman monsters like Baltan, King Joe, etc. but is nearly identical in every other respect.

Ultraman kicks monster bootay in a traditional on-on-one fighting game. As this is a pre-Street Fighter II fighter a lot of things can be excused. The mechanics of a good fighter were still not fully established. So Ultraman cannot "block" by holding back, you have to erect an energy shield, which the monster usually just hangs out until the shield goes away, then proceeds to nail you. Combos are nonexistent and the fights pretty much devolve into hit the monster, back off, hit him again, back off, etc. On the plus side you do have an assortment of lasers, fireballs, beams, etc, plus a big huge laser beam that is the only way to kill the monster in the end (ala the show.)

The graphics look good but use primitive animation. Backgrounds have little buildings and such and there's some parallax going on. The monsters all are large and each has it's own special attack that fits into an overall pattern, and each is usually vulnerable to one of your attacks (as in one of your specials will hit them every time once you figure out what the pattern is.) Also you have ninety seconds to take down each monster, just like in the show.

You usually can't go wrong with kaiju action, but the execution here leaves a lot to be desired. This game needs a sequel with some modern fighting game elements.

Graphics: They look good when they stand still.

Sound: Zap, pow, blam, etc.

Gameplay: Decent for a pre-Streetfighter fighting game, but only fans of Ultraman will get off on it.

Codes: Press start and Select at the title screen to open the options menu

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