Sinclair User4th July 1991
Published in Sinclair User #116
Well it's finally here and it's bigger and badder than even we had imagined! The production team of this little number had their work cut out for them from the very start and have amazingly not only stuck to the coin-op's game style, but made a totally convincing attempt to keep it's look as well!
Pit Fighter's digitised graphics would take up an immense amount of memory on the humble Speccy, so rather than reduce game play to non-existent levels the programmers have cheated a little and redrawn the characters to make them LOOK like they're digitized. The result is very impressive. Up to four large sprites patrol the screen at any one time whilst the backgrounds are occupied by punters, gamblers and the like egging the fighters on.
The idea behind the game is as beautifully simple as Ulreka Johnson (T.V. am weather girl). Take control of one of three pro fighters Ty (Kickboxer), Kato (Karate 3rd degree Black Belt) or Buzz (Pro Wrestler) in an illegal brawl against eight different opponents, all of whom have their own techniques and dirty tricks. Once you have defeated seven of the eight street warriors the finale takes the form of the Championship Match and your war weary hero must defeat the Ultimate Warrior. But that's not all because every third round is Grudge Match time and you must grapple with your friend (in two player mode) or an exact replica of yourself to gain the knockout!
Don't be fooled by the shallowness of the scenario it's going to take that extra special bit of spunk to be King of The Pit. If you're fresh out of spunk however, throwing stars, crates, kegs, barrels and iron bars are all on hand to be picked off the pit floor and are lust as good. If all else fails a friendly body can be scooped up and hurled at the meatheads! And believe me nothing's as enjoyable as picking up a huge mound of offensive blubber and bouncing him off the decks.
Enclosed in some of the pit objects are flashing power pills which make the recipient twice as STUDLEY as their enemy and reduce the aggressors to half strength. Take care though, if one of the mongrels gets to the pill before you do you'll probably be watching the next World Cup from a hospital bed. At the end of a bout there are three ratings. A Fight Purse tells you about the dosh you've won, a K.O. bonus for how many knockouts and a Brutality Bonus tells you how brutal you are.
Loads of different moves are available to your characters and they are all unique to the fighters. Ty has an awesome flying spin kick, Kato the flip kick and Buzz cracks skulls with the pile driver to name just a few.
The much talked about graphical excellence of Pit Fighter's sprites could be misleading. Taken out of the game and examined closely they are nothing more than a series of well used blocks, but integrated into the game they are a joy to watch. Most appealing of all is the way the sprites get bigger or smaller as they come towards the front of the screen or go back. This is more apparent in two player mode when one of you is in the foreground and one in the back, swapping between the two. Speed and updating of code is always constant and if is the overall smoothness and slickness of the games appearance that is excellent (sounds not bad either!).
Nothing quite like Pit Fighter has been seen on the Spectrum before and although there is a tiny delay between joystick command and actual sprite reaction Pit Fighter is realistic a beat 'em up as you could want. If there was such a contrivance as a beat 'em up sim this is as close as you could get!
Label: Domark Memory: 48K/128K Price: £11.99 Tape, N/A Disk Reviewer: Steve Keen
Excellent intro animation screens set the scene for an excellent conversion against all the odds. One of the few two player games out that is just as much fun played alone.