Friday, 2 September 2011

Justice League Task Force (SNES vs Genesis/Mega Drive)

The Justice League faces their greatest challenge yet, the Justice League... on another console!

The Mega Drive version starts with a practically subliminal Darkseid explaining that "You will never defeat me. I control the technology. I have the power to control your mind." I'm not sure if it's bad voice acting, bad sound quality, or both, but he doesn't really come across as threatening. Even with the glowing eyes.

(Mega Drive)
Both versions introduce their story with newspaper headlines, but only the SNES version has the newspaper spinning onto the screen. Though the Mega Drive newspaper does promise 'More Darkseid Threats!' on page 14. I'll have to call this a draw.

(Mega Drive)
The SNES version has a very basic looking character select screen with some classy looking rotating icons representing the characters. On the other hand the Mega Drive one has a lame metal frame and some awkward looking portraits. The Super Nintendo just looks far more stylish here.

Both games feature the same six characters, which is a bit crap really. Street Fighter II came out four years earlier and had eight. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 came out the same year and had over 20. Even when you take out all the palette swapped ninjas it still had a lot more than six.

(To be fair you can use three extra villain characters outside of story mode, including Darkseid himself.)

The Nintendo version has smaller sprites here because of the SNES's lower resolution, but they'd be stretched wider on TV. It makes up for it though with extra colours, so they generally look more vivid than the Mega Drive sprites. Though I don't think I could call either set of them badly drawn.

I'm not sure about the line up though. Don't the Justice League typically fight OTHER people? Also I know that character power levels mean nothing in fighting games, but Superman vs a guy with a bow... that doesn't seem fair somehow.

(Mega Drive)
Both games seem to have identical story text, and it's the same for every character. A bit lazy I reckon, not that people generally play fighting games for the story (especially not this one). Though the Mega Drive version at least has some art for it.

(Mega Drive)
I decided to go with Wonder Woman for a change. Apparently I came here to team up with Batman so that we can take down Darkseid together. But the way 'ROUND 1' just flashed up on screen makes me think that things aren't quite going to work out as hoped.

But hey, I'm a super strong Amazon, and he's a rich guy in tights. I'll just pick him up and snap him.

Okay, two things I've noticed: 1. The animation is pretty good and the characters move as you'd expect (look at Batman's cape for instance). 2. It's really fucking hard! I'm getting my ass handed to me.

Who would have thought Batman would be so tough to beat?

Okay, maybe going against Batman first wasn't the best idea. I'll take a break to see how things are on the SNES side.

Well that's hardly fair, I don't know any special moves! I tried to figure a couple out, but this guy is relentless. He won't give me a second to think!

Even when I get some space between us, he just throws whirlwinds at me from the other side of the screen.

Okay, I have a plan. If I keep sliding across the ground like this, then I can slowly wear his health down and hopefully keep him on the defensive for a while.

Man, I think this might actually be more difficult than the Mega Drive version. I think I'll switch back and give that one another try for a bit instead.

(Mega Drive)
Wow, the Flash's stage is totally different in this one. The SNES version looked far more interesting though, this is pretty... grey. The SNES version has better music too I reckon, though that's not saying much. Most games have better music than this one.

It won't let me choose a new character on the continue screen, so I'm stuck with Wonder Woman it seems. At least I'm actually keeping up with him this time.

Hah! If I keep low kicking like this he just can't get back up.

Wonder Woman wins! I actually did it! Honestly, I'm surprised.

Sorry Clark, but that hairstyle just isn't working for you, and if you can't see that then I'll have to beat some sense into you. Hey, I might actually win this fairly!

Wow, I did a special move! Shame I have no idea how, or I'd use it more often.

But seriously, who thought it'd be a good idea to give Superman a mullet? That means mild mannered newspaper reporter Clark Kent must have had a mullet too right? Weird.

Dammit, I need to focus... stop looking at the hair, start fighting back. Maybe it's time to try my low kick trick again.

Low kick... didn't work. His cape looks cool though.

Back to the SNES then.

Aquaman just fired a... water hadouken at me! Can he even do that? Also, another mullet! The 90s strikes again.

I bet the only reason Batman, Green Arrow and Flash don't have long flowing manes themselves is because they've got their heads covered.

I wish I had the technical knowledge to describe exactly how Aquaman just completely beat the shit out of me, maybe draw comparisons to how Superman just kicked the shit out of me on the Mega Drive, but I just don't know that much about fighters. Sorry.

(Mega Drive)
Wow, Green Arrow, this is just embarrassing how much I'm kicking your ass right now.

I decided on a new strategy for this match... just corner him and hammer the punch buttons. I don't really care which, I'm giving all three punch buttons a turn. And Green Arrow is making an excellent punching bag.

I feel like I've turned a corner, like maybe I have a chance of finishing this game after all.

Son of a BITCH? Who gave Aquaman a stick? He was bad enough without a stick on the SNES version.

Okay, I'm gonna go back to my continue screen, take 5 seconds rest, then I'm going to come back and make you wish you hadn't just done that.

No more credits? That's it? Game over'd by Aquaman... that's just embarassing.

Okay that's it. I'm going back over to the SNES, and I'm going to lower the difficulty down to the lowest possible setting, and then I'm going to kill Darkseid. Or smack him around a bit, whatever.

 Get out of my way Green Arrow, you're rubbish.

Sorry Evil Wonder Woman, but you don't have a chance of defeating me at this difficulty level. This fight is a foregone conclusion... hey is that background mirrored? Damn that looks terrible.

(Mega Drive)
The Mega Drive version has a way better looking background for this stage. It even has a Stargate, for when the Amazons want to travel off world.

Oh crap, I got distracted again. To be honest even with that much health left, Wonder Woman still has a chance of winning this fight. Easy difficulty is far easier than normal, but it's still challenging enough for me.

Dude, what the fuck? Biting is NOT COOL!

Okay, I gotta admit... SNES Gotham looks way better than Mega Drive Gotham. That is an awesome looking gargoyle.

Finally I reach a super villain to fight! I had to go all the way into space to find them, but that's okay, I'm here now. And there's actually some spectators up here!

Okay you asshole, tell me where to find Darkseid.

This isn't Darkseid! This is a psycho cat-woman who leaps around the screen faster than the Flash! Even if I'd managed to get this far on normal difficulty, I doubt I'd ever be able to get past this fight. This woman seems far tougher than anyone else I've fought so far.

You might glance up at the health bars and wonder what the hell I'm talking about, but I've been burning through credits to get this far. I'm doing unusually well this time.

SUPRISE PENULTIMATE OPPONENT! Well not much of a surprise to anyone who has ever played a fighting game before. It turns out that every Justice League member I've been fighting so far was actually a robot duplicate with the same powers as the original.

Which is a shame, because I can't figure out how to use my powers. So this is Crap Superman vs Competent Evil Robot Superman. And Crap Superman is currently distracted wondering where the hell the real Justice League has been this whole time.

Also why the hell is this game called Justice League Task Force anyway? They should have called it 'Superman Single-handedly Kills the Evil Robot Justic League'.

I took out my robot double using a devastating combination of luck and persistence, but Darkseid himself has been proving to be a tough bastard to kill. I can't use my low kick trick here because Superman doesn't have any kicks! (Well to be fair, when was the last time you ever saw Superman kick someone?)

But that's okay, I'm going to cut down mighty Darkseid with some low jabs to the ankles instead.

Fuck you Aquaman! Stop trying to tarnish my success. Where were you while I was saving the Earth anyway, huh?

So which version wins in the end? Well the SNES version has the edge in music and graphics and it seems to have more weight to it somehow, (plus Superman's sprite looks far less creepy). But the Mega Drive version isn't bad either. I mean, I was expecting much worse from both to be honest.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a great game and I didn't much enjoy playing it. But neither version seems obviously broken, and compared to some of the fighting games I've played so far this is downright competent. Next game.


  1. Haha, these games are legendarily messy under the hood.


    1. Wow, I've actually seen that video before I think. A friend linked it to me a few years back to convince me to quit writing about fighting games and leave it to the experts, seeing as I totally missed all the obvious problems with the game and clearly didn't know what I was talking about. He had a fair point there and he made it well.

  2. This is one of those games that I was really interested in as a kid, but probably wouldn't have liked had I actually gotten my hands on it. Looks pretty rough. There are a lot of console fighting games that I was able to gimp my way to victory back then by doing lots of crouching low kicks. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story comes to mind. I know I beat Goro in the original MK by doing nothing but straight-up jump kicks. I was never any good at these games, sadly.


Semi-Random Game Box