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Up from (Super) Obscurity

  1. Halloween
  2. Pseudo-Frankenstein
  3. Using "Pseudo-Frankenstein" as a flimsy excuse to write about games that I'd meant to for a while, but couldn't be bothered to.
  4. Writing about video games when you're clearly too tired to think clearly. Clearly.
What do these things have to do with eachother? THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE, that's what!
And if you don't believe me, let's get straight in to the COVER ART!
...because on Halloween, there's no more powerful move than THROWING AN EGG AT SOMEONE!
Yes, it's Power Moves -- long-term readers glancers of this site may recognize that amazing picture from The Fighting Fifteen, where I took pictures of a baker's-dozen-plus-2 different crummy fighting games that I'd collected.
But now, through the magic of one of the enemies looking marginally Frankenstein-like, I'm finally going to discuss a Fighting Game!*
*: Pit Fighter doesn't count, of course.
So, Power Moves, eh? What's it like?
I think you can get a good sense of it from the title screen...and the Options menu:
Yes, you read that right: a 3-button fighter. And don't think you get to milk those three buttons into 5-10 different moves (like Street Combat), because you can't: "Y=PUNCH" means you throw the same punch whether you're pressing UP, DOWN, LEFT or RIGHT. So...Street-Clothes Steven from Street Combat, what do you say to the nice Power Moves?
In Power Moves, you play as JOE.
...believe it or not, he's a guy in karate clothes! And no matter the distance you are from your opponent, or any other d-pad trickery, all you get is:
a punch, a kick,
a jump-punch, a jump-kick,
a throw,
a fireball, and a diagonal sure-you-can thing.
I know what you're thinking -- Shirley, there's at least some DUCKING attacks! -- Well, you're wrong: the "up" and "down" buttons let you walk slightly higher or lower on the screen. Ostensibly this lets you duck fireballs, but in practice...hey, don't call me "surely!"
But as I've found during my trials and tribulations of various Street Fighter II-knockoff games, even the worst fighting games do SOMETHING interesting*
*: Pit Fighter doesn't count, of course.
And in Power Moves's case, it's interesting thing is your character gets better at fighting...by fighting.
Truly a revolutionary concept.
Yes, when Joe begins on his quest to have the world's most powerful moves (or whatever), he's not very good.
His SPD, JMP and LIF are all fairly measly. For some reason his STR and DEF are slightly better -- probably partially because he knows you should ALWAYS put all your points in "STR", and failing that, you should always try to be more like "Def Leppard".
But as you can see on the right side of the screen, the frightening not-quite-highlighted guy, "WARREN", has a variety of stats, himself, and they're not quite out of JOE's league.
Unlike a few other bad SNES fighting games I could mention (where you get points for winning, and get to choose which of your fighting repetoir to power up), victories in Power Moves increase your stats based on the stats of the person you beat.
So while Warren's a good punching-bag to start with, if you want to boost your speed, you fight the red Chun-Li clone!
And if you need to polish your DEF, why not wander to Darkest Stereotype-est Africa where, in front of some fully-assembled dinosaur skeletons(!?), you can fight a pudgy wild man with a green mohawk?
And if you think you need to improve your Strength, it's definitely time to hop on a train rocketing down a tundra railroad track, and try to beat...uh, whatever the hell VAGNAD is supposed to be!
...But I digress
I could go on and on about the teleporting kabuki fighter or how the strongest non-final-boss opponent is a knife-wielding Flamenco-dancer,
but I think you get the point. And that point is, "this is a pretty rinky-dink fighting game, spiced up only by the fact that your character is so vanilla that basically all of his abilities can be DOUBLED over the course of the game without strongly effecting the game control (except that you win with less hits and survive more hits)."
It's an interesting idea, and there's two extra twists:
  1. You get passwords after each fight
  2. You can fight ANY of the non-final-boss characters whenever you want (but most of them will kick your butt unless you've powered up your stats) -- and if you want, you can fight any one of them again and again to inch your stats towards their maximized stats
But if you ask me, they had to "bland" it down too much to pull it all off. Also, while you get passwords, you STILL only have a set number of continues before you have to start all over.
Hey, what is this -- Game-ANALYSISIZERS-T-Fs? Make with the Frankenstein!
Oh, yeah. Remember how I mentioned that you can fight anyone BUT the final boss at any time? Well, once you've defeated all the enemies at least once...THIS frisky opponent becomes available for fighting:
Now, you may think that his inhuman red-eyed glare and his giant cylindrical but square-topped head is too little to qualify him as even PSEUDO-Frankenstein's-Monster-y...but let's look at his name:   RANKER. If you put an F on that* you have "FRANKER", and then we're getting close!
*: and if nothing else, I'd like to think this article makes you want to put an "F" on Power Moves.
...but does he FIGHT like a Pseudo-Frankenstein?
Sadly, no; he basically comes off as another Haggar knockoff: he's appeared in formal-wear before you see him in-game, his long legs are emphasized by his "slacks + suspenders" look, and his level has the distinctive aura of pro wrestling:
...but if you persevere, maybe you too can achieve the greatest victory attainable by some guy named JOE who wants to be the best karate fighter on earth:   defeating a hulking man in dress-pants and suspenders in a wrestling ring in front of hundreds of clone-spectators! And on that day, your greatness will be acknowledged:
And oh, how you will celebrate!
Joe has received his honorary gold-plated snake carcass!
(visible half-way down the snake's body: a partially-digested emoticon!)
Now, if only there were just one picture which would summarize this whole article...
— carlmarksguy, 2013-10-12
1
It's not often I would completely shun a game for its boxart, no matter how ridiculous or bad it was, but I remember seeing this in stores in the 90s and being completely repelled by it. The fact that the game was Street Fighter II clone #5962 with a very blatant Ryu knockoff for the main hero didn't help matters any.
2
Oddly enough, I was ecstatic to see this on the shelf in 2011; I'd read a funny review of "Deadly Moves" for the Genesis (which is the Sega port of 'Power Athlete', the Japanese game that both MOVES are ports of) & I didn't know the SNES got it too. Sega had the same cover art, except the big white egg-splat is BLOOD :O (which makes slightly more sense)
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