Long live the arcade
There has always been a certain feel that sets arcade games apart from their console and PC brethren. Their unique sights and sounds have fallen alongside the arcade in western culture. Once in a while, a brand new game releases and successfully captures the unique feel of classic arcade games while mixing in modern elements. Big Action Mega Fight! from Execution Labs is a wonderful example.
Big Action Mega Fight! takes inspiration from old-school beat ’em up titles like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. Players take control of Brick, a rough and tough gentleman with an amazing mustache. Like those other games, Brick will venture through a ton of stages. Each stage is made up of multiple screens and Brick will need to wipe out each enemy on screen before the “GO!” message allows him to move on. Brick’s combat ability is a simple method of tapping and swiping, allowing him to punch, uppercut, and throw enemies. The controls suffer from occasional confusion, such as uppercutting instead of throwing. This doesn’t hurt the overall experience too much, but accidentally punching a chicken bomb can be frustrating.
Combat reeks of old beat ’em ups. A lot of the enemies’ designs are nothing more than palette swaps with each other. Meanwhile, destroyable objects litter the stages, allowing players to throw enemies into soda machines or piles of tires. Everything drops cash or food, as well. Collecting food is the easy way to replenish your health during a fight. Cash is where the game’s modern features start to show off in a huge way.
After you complete a stage, you’ll collect all the coins you picked up during the level, as well as earn a bonus for your performance. Coins and gold teeth (the premium currency) fund Big Action Mega Fight!‘s upgrade shop. Between battles, there are three upgrades on which you can use coins. Players can boost their overall level of health and/or damage output, which makes later stages much easier. There’s also a menu for unlockable specials. Only one special can be set at any time. These range from temporarily turning Brick into a tornado, to making chicken bombs rain from the heavens. Some specials are much more powerful than others, but there is something that caters to everyone’s play style.
Gold teeth add an interesting layer of purchases. Before each stage, players can choose from a variety of one-stage power-ups, like double damage or a faster-replenishing special meter. Some of these boosts will make life a lot easier, especially when dealing with boss characters or in stages with strict time limits. If failure (due to knockout) does occur, gold teeth work as the virtual quarters, allowing players to pay a fee to instantly revive and continue on. If players choose not to carry on, they’ll lose a life. Lives regenerate over time, and players can hold up to three at once. If they run out, more can be purchased with Gold Teeth.
Where Big Action Mega Fight! stands out the most is in its presentation. While there’s no story, no character development, or not even any quick cutscenes, everything feels like an arcade title. The announcer has a voice reminiscent of Street Fighter II. The music sounds like it comes right out of its beat ’em up companions. The menu system has depth, but it’s easy for players to jump straight into the next level.
Big Action Mega Fight! is one of those games that’s not going to appeal to a huge audience. Beat ’em ups are hardly the center of the gaming world. However, players who love the classics owe it to themselves to try this out. The obvious arcade influence is a nice way to put a smile on your face and get the adrenaline pumping.