Did you ever buy a game just because you liked it’s sequel?
I have, a lot of times actually.
Every element of the game was a step down in quality and intensity from where I had jumped onto the franchise, and I was a fool to think it would turn out any other way.
Thankfully, I wasn’t dumb enough to so much as look at that piece of shit Devil May Cry 2.
Allow me to go on a tangent for a moment.
These days, comparisons between the film industry and the modern video game industry are a dime a dozen.
I’ve even heard it said that most game developers these days are just film school rejects that couldn’t cut it in the industry.
Injecting “cinematic” elements into games these days seems to the be the new status quo, regardless of the genre or subject matter.
Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up being served a Contra game with voice acting and half hour long cut-scenes some time in the near future.
Game/Movie bullshit aside, one major difference between the two mediums, is the fact that in one of them sequels are considered contrived and needlessly commercial, while in the other, they are praised and lauded for their contributions to advancing the industry.
Game sequels are rarely made without reason, whether it be due to loose ends in the plot, or a lack of advancement in gaming technology that allows the developers to crank out cookie-cutter sequels without rightful objection from the players.
Though it is not a genuine fact, for the most part, game sequels generally improve on what came before them, even if it’s only by inches at a time.
On a technical level, it was a major success.
Though it required an absurd amount of batteries, (6 AA’s) and the use of a controller port to plug in an infared receiver, the end result was a unique and surprisingly accurate “gun” that, like the Zapper before it, was sunk by the lack of games supporting it’s functionality.
As a child, I played but one game on with the Super Scope: Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge.
We’ll talk about Metal Combat some other time, for now, let’s just say it was a great game, and I love it to this day.
I loved Metal Combat to the point in which I ended up purchasing it’s predecessor, Battleclash, solely based on the principle that, “if the second one was great, the first one was probably pretty good too.”
Battleclash proved to be just that, pretty good.
Basically, if you took every aspect of Metal Combat’s presentation and gameplay, and turned it down a few notches, Battleclash would be the result.
The music and sound was more tinny, the gameplay was less complex and involving, the graphics were smaller and less detailed, and overall the whole experience just felt lacking.
At it’s core though, the concept of Battleclash is one that could probably still hold water to this day.
Basically, the sole gameplay element of both games consisted of shooting robots from a simulated robot-on-robot first-person perspective.
Holding down the fire button would shoot weak, almost completely non-lethal rapid fire shots, while holding your fire would cause a “power shot” meter to charge, allowing you to shoot single, powerful shots every few seconds.
Essentially, the rapid fire stuff was meant to knock down SLOW MOVING enemy fire, and the charged shots were basically the mainstay of your offensive arsenal.
Enemies were often fast-moving, with numerous armored portions.
This, coupled with the fact that charged shots could only be fired every few seconds or so, led to Battleclash’s combat being based on timing and accuracy rather than overwhelming your opponent’s with a hail of bullets.
Once per battle, the player was also granted the use of a devastating bomb attack.
To be fair, the bomb was a truly unfair addition to the player’s arsenal.
In Metal Combat, bombs were not so much damaging to the opponent, as they were debilitating.
They were a means to clear the screen of enemy fire, knock out whatever bits or drones the opponent had, and in some cases, they also provided a means of exposing the enemies’ weak spots.
In Battleclash however, bombs did all these things, while also inflicting massive damage.
To call the gameplay of Battleclash “deep,” would be an insult to the word.
Despite this, unlike most shooting gallery games, Battleclash and Metal Combat went the extra mile and actually had storylines.
Essentially, the plot of Battleclash is like a cross between a rip-off of Robot Jocks, and a rip-off of Bloodsport.
An asshole named Anubis (original, I know) has taken control of the world using his giant robot, or “ST” (Standing Tank) as they are referred to in game, named Thanatos.
You, the gunner for a pilot named Mike, in his ST, Falcon, decide to enter a worldwide ST battle tournament for the right to challenge Anubis on Mars and avenge Mike’s father’s death.
Each battle in the game was preceded by and concluded with a exchange of dialogue between Mike and the opposing pilot.
Little details, such as giving the enemy ST’s a pilot, a face and a voice to go with them, were what made Metal Combat so special to me.
Battleclash did an alright job in this area, however due to ugly in-game art, and a mostly uninspired soundtrack, most of the characterization ended up seeming cheesy and extraneous.
As you can probably tell by now, I felt sort of let down by Battleclash.
I bought it in honor of my love and respect for it’s sequel, thinking it would ultimately prove to be an equally good, if not better experience.
Sadly, the only truly great thing Battleclash did, was lay the groundwork for the creation of Metal Combat.
Because of this, I have always maintained that Metal Combat could use a sequel, not because the story needs one, but because even if they did nothing to improve the gameplay, and simply through on a new coat of paint, the end result would still be a game worth playing.
That being said, while it’s hardly one of the better soundtracks in the Super NES library, The Best Track in the Game is…
Player Statistics (Ending Part 1)
This track plays immediately after you beat the game, and rightfully so.
It’s upbeat, it’s fun, and it serves to remind you of the fact that that you didn’t just save the world, you just beat the fucking game!
Despite having a decently thought out storyline, the world of Battleclash is a colorful and cartoony place where men can escape from giant robot explosions with nothing but band-aids and fat lips.
In that sense, I feel it goes perfectly with the tone of the game.
More importantly, this music goes perfectly with what it’s used for, namely a brief sequence that revisits all of the ST’s you’ve defeated while displaying the various times it took for you to beat them.
Though the game has a proper ending credits theme that is more serious and melodic, I personally prefer to think of the Player Statistics music as the actual ending theme.
Friend’s Help (Skip to 6:26)
Isn’t strange that both of my favorite tracks in Battleclash are ones played outside of the actual gameplay experience?
Even though the composition is actually only like 10 seconds long, I’ve always liked Friend’s Help.
It’s a bold and powerful track played during the cheesy and consummately Japanese sequence where most of the enemy pilots you previously defeated show up to lend their support in the form of refilling your shield gauge before the final battle.
Despite being only 10 seconds long, Friend’s Help is easily my second favorite track in Battleclash.