11/20/2015

Joy Mech Fight

1993 was the golden-age a fighting games. Major classic franchises - Fatal FurySamurai ShodownStreet Fighter, Mortal Kombat, et al - had dug their tendrils into the minds and hearts of the masses. All the while, Sega was innovating in bold new ways, introducing both the genre and its dedicated fans to the third dimension, with their brand-new IP, Virtua Fighter.

But what about Sega's then rival in the home-market, Nintendo? Without the arcade presence they had in the early eighties, surely Nintendo could not compete with the likes of Capcom, SNK, Sega, and Namco, right?

Yes, you are right.


Joy Mech Fight (Famicom)

Developed & Published by: Nintendo
Released on: May 21, 1993


Joy Mech Fight is Nintendo's second attempt at a fighting-game, after 1983's universally-panned Urban Champ, and the first since the legendary Street Fighter II defined the genre, and changed videogames forever. Keeping this in mind, it's hard to really view JMF as anything more than a shallow - yet competent - novelty.

Yosi Mato mosh-pits tend to get pretty hardcore.
Released on the then decade old Famicom, amidst a veritable storm of bigger, better releases - not only in the arcades, obviously, but also competing consoles, and even their own SNES - JMF was more or less thrown into a wolves' den with a potato-peeler.

Being a Famicom game, JMF uses two buttons, one for punches, and the other for kicks. Command-normals play a huge role in JMF, perhaps as a concession to the less than adequate joypad, but there are many standard command-motions here as well - quarter-circles, half-circles, and charge-commands are all present. The game also features dizzies, and SNK-style throw commands
(f.+A or B)

Also noteworthy, is that JMF utilizes a "lives" system instead of having traditional rounds, a year before Darkstalkers - after an opponent's lifebar is drained, they lose one of their two hearts, and the victor regains a small amount of life. Lifebars are never fully restored.



Shockingly, the roster was the largest ever seen at the time, consisting of 36 robot-characters (though 8 of them are just EX versions of the starting roster) Unfortunately, most of these characters are locked from the get-go, requiring you to grind through 1P Mode, so have fun with that.

The starting roster of eight.
Something you might have noticed about the characters, is their limbless, Rayman-esque appearance - this was a deliberate design-decision on the developers part, since sliding several sprites around the screen, relative to one another, allowed for smoother animation, using not only less sprites overall, but smaller ones at that. This is how the clever devils at Nintendo squeezed 36 characters onto a 516kb Famicom cart, not to mention an engine that, frankly, was a bit much for the dusty old Famicom.

Honestly, there's not much else to say about Joy Mech Fight. It was a decent, if not overly-simplistic game, made for a console that was not only largely obsolete, but also far less than ideal to handle a game of this caliber. Because of it's unfortunate release date, and it's stalwart adherence to an ancient technology, it was long forgotten, by history.

Also, it was released for the Wii U in 2014.

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