The SNES classics continue thanks to the Switch online. This time I’m looking at one of the old beat em ups for the console. I still think that beat em ups work best in 3D, but 2D ones still have their charm. The quality will naturally also vary with how much effort was put in and how new the title was. This one is a pretty reasonable game, but the fact that there are no save points and you do eventually run out of lives holds it back. You never want to have to try and beat a whole game in one batch. The rewind feature and access points mean that you can beat this game if you really want to, but it’ll certainly take some time.
There was a plot in the booklet I’m sure but the game just jumps you right into the action. Every time you beat a level someone joins your team so just keep going til you save everybody. Each level contains several areas. You have to defeat all of the enemies and reach the end to get to the next level. You have a standard attack which is your best move, but you can also dash attack and jump attack. Finally your character also has a special attack, but I don’t recommend using this unless you are completely desperate. That’s because this attack actually drains your health. Yes….your health actually goes down here. I can’t really see how that would ever be worth it here since health is a very rare commodity and your special attack isn’t even that good. It’s basically a flurry of quick punches.
All of the levels are pretty straight forward except for one where I really have to question the level design. It’s a maze and you never want to see any of those in a fighting game. You’re in the sewers and the goal is to get to the end. The problem is that all of the doors are fake except for one and they have you going through 4 different areas that all look the same. Without looking up a guide online you’ll be here for a very long time. I was beating enemies for about 20 minutes before realizing that something wasn’t right with how the level was still going. Sure enough I was going in circles over and over again. That definitely didn’t feel very legitimate especially since the level never gave any indication that it was going to be a maze. In a game like this you really can’t afford to have a level like that.
Beyond that level the game was good though. I do still like a solid brawler game even if this one definitely does feel dated with how many mechanics it is missing. A simple save feature and the ability to re-start at the level you’re up to would be a game changer. The graphics are pretty solid for its time. The levels look good and so do the character designs. Each level is different the game has a lot of different character models. The soundtrack isn’t memorable though, but you can’t win em all.
The game’s length seems to be about 2 hours since I beat the first half in under 1. It’s a tough game though and if you intend to beat it without save states or the rewind feature then you will be here for an incredibly long time. This title is no cakewalk and it will do everything in its power to take your lives away. The mechanics often make it easy for the villains to get cheap shots on you even if it feels like you were in the right spot at the right angle. Sometimes I would rewind up to 10 times just to get the hit because they would somehow move too quickly. It’s probably unavoidable I suppose. There’s not a whole lot of replay value here since after beating the game there is no post game content. That’s it, you’ve cleared the story and that’s its own reward. Considering that the game is free there is still more than enough content to satisfy you here.
Overall, Brawl Brothers is a game that may not have gotten very well known nowadays, but it did show us what a beat em up could do back in the day. Of course there were many others like Double Dragon which were more popular so this wasn’t quite the one that would change the genre forever. I’d recommend giving it a play. There’s a lot of fun to be had here. You may not clear the game but I think you’ll appreciate the setting and effects. I’m also getting closer to clearing the SNES and then it’ll be time to take a look at some of the other NES games that I skipped.