Black Belt

Master System

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3

Black Belt falls into the trap of being too blah to offer up any real excitement. There's variety here, the games strongest selling point, it's getting to those sections that make the game so pathetic. Kung Fu Master did this better, and while Black Belt offers more of a challenge, it's not a significant leap.

This single plane beat-em-up is incredibly generic, giving players control of a no-faced hero as the blows up enemies dumb enough to walk into his outstretched fists. If you were thinking of Fist of the North Star, you'd be right to. This is the localization.

The biggest problem here is that the stages are too long. It's as if there is no end to some of the stages as you mow down enemies while walking right. The occasionally power-up will fly across the screen, requiring an otherwise useless super jump to grab. Each stage features one enemy, other than the mini bosses.

That seems to one of the best parts of the game, determining how each one needs to be defeated. It doesn't take long to figure out the almighty jump kick is plenty. It's at least some variety from blasting away the others, and the one-on-one match-ups offer a little tension.

That's even more evident during the full-blown boss battles, zooming into the battle with all new sprites. Most of these feature adversaries who can take double the hits of the player character. Again, the jump kick is the killer. Jumping in and then jumping out is all that's needed, aside from those trying to toss objects into your flesh. They require more luck.

There's no flicker here, and the colors really jump off the screen in certain sections. The multiple layers of parallax are impressive, giving depth to an otherwise flat graphical presentation. Aside from the variety in the mini-bosses, there's nothing else during the stages that shows off the consoles ability.

Music is both rotten and enjoyable at the same time. Certain stages have various noises strewn together for music; others feature some nicely composed tunes. There are no voices or screams from anyone blowing up. At least they don't have time to experience pain.

Black Belt needed something else to work. A co-op mode would have made this one far more tolerable. Just looking at the screen shots screams boredom. Stick to Double Dragon on the Master System if you need some beat-em-up action.


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Last updated: Saturday, July 30, 2005 09:26 AM