The Snake Becomes The Key

Retro Gaming Humour

SBTK in 16-Bits. Issue 1. Prt2…Street Smart: MegaDrive.

Words:Stuart Hunt

And here’s the second part of the column:

Street Smart is what happens to a 2D beat-em-up when those two-animation video game extras, which stand behind normal characters in fighting games, jostle to get a better look at the action and start a fight.

Most of the primary characters in the game look identical to the people copied and pasted into its background. In fact, it’s best to play Street Smart with a friend, not so you can enjoy its odd Mario Bros’ style take-it-in-turn multiplayer option, but so you can ask them to kindly hold a finger against the television to help you see where your fighter is.

The game allows you to play a vast plethora of TWO characters: A wrestler called Crusher and the ridiculously named Karate Man – who looks sceptically like a cross between Street Fighter’s Ryu and Ken. With this in mind, you would hope that he would possess at least one pixel of those iconic brawlers’ fighting prowess but unfortunately, after pressing one button on your control pad, it soon becomes clear that Chun Li’s dad would probably prove a more effective fighting instrument, and he’s dead.

With only two main characters to worry about you would think that a lot of time and effort would have be spent making them look good and blessing them with an intricate fighting system offering some amazing special moves. Unfortunately, rather than a dazzling firing-uppercut or an acrobatic scorpion-kick we’re just given a few basic attacks and a lame sped-up flurry punch to yawn at.

Far more entertaining is Karate Man’s low punch, which looks a lot like he’s is trying to fondle his opponents nut sack. When doing this on the streets for real would surely get you beaten up or, at best, some funny stares, thanks to Street Smart, friends can do it in a virtual environment, in the comfort of their home and without the worry of anybody ever finding out.

With a name like Street Smart, the characters should at least look the part; unfortunately, it seems the costume department set about the streets of America to conduct attire-research and after showing people the conceptual drawings of what they were planning to create could persuade nobody to fill out their fashion suggestion questionnaire. As a result, all the people who come to watch the fights seem to have come dressed as American flags or wearing t-shirts with the words KIM on them. While this could be considered patriotic or affable to any owners of the game called Kim, to the rest of the world it just looks inanely stupid. But then, what do you expect from a crowd of onlookers who seem quite pleased to stand aside and allow young children witness a man get his face pummelled?

You see that tram in the background? Oddly, it doesn’t travel down the track and run over all the characters. Shame.

Graphically, what can I say? It kind of looks like the night before his tournament, Karate Man slotted a quarter into the mouth of one of those wish granting Zoltar machines and asked to be small. Probably in a bid to re-live the time he could look up girls’ skirts without getting arrested, but unfortunately, failed to be precise with his wish. That idiot Zoltar managed to get the height part down but cruelly, left him with squashed, mushy, pixel-flesh explosion looks. He couldn’t get any swanky sponsorship deals, so consequently no shiny new wardrobe and was forced to make do with his now large, garish, orange outfit.

The game does offer a few interesting ideas, which in true Street Smart fashion are not realised as well as they could be. Your character is not on a fixed level, instead, like a scrolling beat-em-up, he can traipse up and down the screen and stomp around a bland fight area, which, oddly, is always positioned on a tram track, a dirt road, or any other impractical fight environment the programmers could easily draw.

However, in a cruel twist of irony, this causes all sorts of problems when it comes to that minor aspect of trying to actually fight. Because all the fighters seem to be one millimetre wide, unless you find the exact fighting plane your opponent is throwing wild jabs at you from, your attacks will miss their target.


‘Take back my wish or i’ll break your face!’

One of the more head-scratching options in the game is the ability to bet on the outcome of your fights. Yep, this means that you can bet against yourself….But what would be the point?

In the strange instance that you bottle out of fighting a computer character that can‘t actually hurt you (well maybe your eyes) and bet your fighters booze money on your opponent winning the fight, where lies the merit? So you can stand there, watching him throw his fists into your face while you smugly shout sucker at your Mega Drive??

Ah ha! I may have wasted a life but shrewdly I have walked away with some digitised money which I can spend on…hang on a second…let me flip open the manual…Mmm…absolutely nothing? Idiotically, there’s no section in this game that allows you spend a solitary dime of your fight purse, now were lies the street smarts in that?


April 12, 2007 - Posted by | SBTK in 16-Bits, Stuart Hunt


  1. WTF indeed! Didn’t you ever read a review of games you would enjoy playing before you purchased them? 😉

    So, HTFU and get a Streets of Rage review… now that was a proper scrolling beat-em up with the best use of an Enigma song ever.

    Comment by Stwutter | April 13, 2007 | Reply

  2. Alright fellaz. Soz I couldn’t get back to you I’m switching networks on me mobile and it’s a proper nightmare. Gonna have to give you a call Chris soon because I need my portfolio ASAP.

    Anyway. Again, lovely wordship.

    Comment by robcrossley | April 17, 2007 | Reply

  3. Bet I found more typos than you did, Chris.

    *Ner-ner face*

    I’m still at work. Is that sad?

    Comment by samcoare | April 20, 2007 | Reply

  4. Heeeey, wot? No more articles? Oh, and bring back the Amstrad stuff! Pretty please! 🙂

    Comment by gryzor | May 18, 2007 | Reply

  5. Hey Gyzor

    Yea, lax is the word alright. I was fortunate to be offered some freelance writing work recently and it’s meant the blog has had to suffer. I’ve almost finished a Giana Sister’s article – which should be going up today (hopefully, if not def tommorow) and Chris is working on a new post for mid-week – can’t tell you what it is though.

    Anyways, hope you’re well


    Comment by thesnakebecomesthekey | May 19, 2007 | Reply

  6. Ooh, thanks for that – and cograts for your job mate, hope you enjoy it!!!

    Comment by gryzor | May 21, 2007 | Reply

  7. I personally love retro anything including retro fashion. Thanks for the post.

    Comment by Retro Fashion | October 12, 2007 | Reply

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