Bad Street Brawler (NES)

Bad Street Brawler Box Art

Bad Street Brawler

System: NES

Release Date: September 1989

Developer: Beam Software

Publisher: Mattel

Genre: Beat ‘em Up

Bad Street Brawler? More like bad, street brawler. This is not a game about Michael P.S. Hayes and the Fabulous Freebirds. This is a game about Duke Davis, milquetoast rocker and sidewalk fighter ordinaire. You take it upon yourself to clean up the streets of the city, so get ready for fifteen streets of face kicking, pile driving, stooge hitting action!

At the beginning of each stage, you’re given three attacks out of an arsenal of fifteen. You can practice them on the punching bag as you’re given a demotivational quote. You’re going to want to get an idea of what moves you have at your disposal, because enemies have different strengths and weaknesses. When I first started, I fought every enemy that came on screen, but quickly realized this was not the way to go, because each level is timed.

You have to run through the rank and file enemies to get to the mini bosses on each stage. There’s a mini-boss after the first and second third of each street and then a main boss at the end. The first several stages can be defeated with brute force, but later levels require some planning. Enemies range from a cakewalk (strong guys) to difficult (albino break dancers) to downright annoying (skateboarders, fat guys, and short kaisers). Keep an eye open for little dudes in trench coats. Most of the time they’ll release a heart that replenishes your life, though they might drop a bomb that does massive damage.

Some of the attacks are fun, like when you get the piledriver or the trip maneuver. Satisfying, like when you get the jump kick, be prepared for a motorcycle to run on screen. Others are useless, like the stooge hit or the arm spin. For the most part, the enemies in the stage are weak to at least one of the maneuvers supplied, so be prepared for trial and error. You get one continue and it won’t be enough, until you’re a seasoned veteran… or if you make liberal use of save states and rewind.

It’s important to note that Bad Street Brawler is a port from the PC, but was marketed on NES as one of the Power Glove compatible games. I can’t imagine playing through the game with the Power Glove, though, to be honest, despite being an amazing peripheral for novelty alone, the Power Glove is obviously hot garbage.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics look like they came straight from the PCs of the time, though the scrolling is smooth.

Sound: 1.0

There’s a little bit of variety in the music, but it doesn’t sound particularly good and the sounds get annoying.

Gameplay: 1.5

I hemmed and hawed over this one. The game is pretty poor, but they tried to give some variety with the moves, despite each level being exactly the same.

Difficulty: 1.0

You’re in for a rough time until you learn the weak points of every enemy. One continue isn’t really enough and the clock moves too quickly to kill lots of enemies.

Fun Factor: 1.0

While playing, I was getting annoyed, but looking back on it, the game isn’t the worst thing I’ve played recently, so I’ll give it a bit of recognition.

Overall Grade: 1.2

Bad Street Brawler earns a D+. I can’t recommend playing this one for more than a few rounds to get the idea of it. Then move on, I know I am.

Bad Street Brawler Video Review on YouTube