Sega Genesis Mystical Fighter review

Rating: B

POW! BOP! BAM! Beat the crap out of everything in sight and fight strange mythological bosses. This is a fun and oddly overlooked beat 'em up with a very cool theme, and a great game for either one or two players. The graphics are very stylistic and portray a mystical Japanese setting quite well, and the music is appropriately Asian-sounding. Though the backgrounds are sometimes a bit drab due to the color palette used, they are nicely detailed. The same can be said for the characters, both the two "mystical fighters" and their foes. There are a good variety of enemies: huge sumo wrestlers, swordsmen, ghouls, giants, ninja, and even angry crows, just to name a few. In fact, though you get used to seeing the same three or four guys coming at you when playing most beat 'em up games (cough--Streets of Rage), you never really get that impression when playing Mystical Fighter.

Controls are tight and responsive. You can punch, jump, jumpkick, slide, throw, and pick up weapons such as boomerang fans and sais. You can also accumulate magic scrolls, up to a total of five. The more scrolls you have when you push the magic button, the more powerful the spell you cast. The spells themselves are quite interesting: Gong (a huge gong descends from the ceiling and chimes), Earthquake, Lightning, Snowstorm, and Ghost Warrior (which briefly summons a ghostly ally to strike your enemies). In terms of replenishing your health, sushi serves the same purpose in this game as hamburgers do in Final Fight and Streets of Rage, so no worries if you have an aversion to red meat.

A lesser known and somewhat hard to find game, Mystical Fighter makes a great addition to any Genesis collection. Remarkable it's not, but it is a very charming and unusual looking game that fortunately plays very well, and is a refreshing break from the dark urban settings of most other beat 'em up games.

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