XBOX PREVIEW: SPIKEOUT: BATTLE STREET

Do not forget this Grasshopper. Sega's first love is arcade games and we all know that arcade games are as deep as an amoebas bellybutton.

Such is life on the mean streets of um, er, Battle Street. A place where everybody knows your fist. That's right babies. Battle Street isn't for hair brushing, cologne wearing fancy boys. It's for men who like to put their fists and feet into the faces of other men and they do so, day in and day out and never ever get tired of it. Sounds kinda gay to me.

Anyway, here's the deal. I'm in a rush. The kids are on Spring Break and my wife and I are taking them to a hotel so they can run around and scream and play in the pool and go down the waterslides a few million times. Right now my wife is attending Vin Diesel's Oscar winning performance in The Pacifier (with the kids) and I volunteered to stay home and finish writing up my review just in case anyone I happened to have met in my life accidentally witnesses me entering that theater. So I have to finish up and be ready by the time she calls, which means there isn't a lot of time here. Not that I'll actually need it.

I'm going to give it you to straight as there isn't much time for anything else. Spikeout: Battle Street teeters delicately between pure crap and pure fun. It's quite odd. The game is as repetitive as they come, even by arcade standards (this game is essentially based on a coin op) and unless you're completely braindead - and you will be well before the excitement wears off - although it should be mentioned that the controls were never intended to be executed on an Xbox controller. More on that in a heartbeat.

The single player game is insanely difficult because you are faced with hordes of cookie cutter enemies with names like Dupri, Max, Turtle etc. whom never stop coming. You'll never reach the end. Seriously. The game eventually stops being fun after awhile and you'll just shut it off, never to return. The multiplayer online mode is much more effective at holding your attention because with some worthwhile friends along, your online posse of morons can actually work as a team and protect each other from the big bad scary mathemetical equations of game coding that are using a digital representation of a pipe to beat your skull in.

Back to the control for a moment. The one thing SBS has going for it is a boatload of moves which will hold your attention captive for awhile - at least far beyond anything you've experienced while playing Streets of Rage or Final Fight. However certain moves have been mapped to involve the least intuitive control scheme ever seen before in a game, and I'm almost not kidding. Generally when you play a 3D fighting game your hands are in the standard thumbs up position (with the left thumb working the left analog stick and the right thumb working the face buttons). This configuration will work for awhile until you want to execute more powerful special moves which often involve pressing the X+Y+B buttons in various combinations. Not comfortable and as I mentioned, not very intuitive.

Visually the game looks okay, but it reminded me of a souped up version of VIS' State of Emergency and we should be far beyond that game by this point in time. The animation is well done and the various blows look like they actually have some impact but since nothing changes from point A to point Z, it won't matter after awhile.

As a budget priced title and one that you can take online, you might have an easier time convincing your buddies to pick it up so you can take out the trash online. However, and I'm just being honest, it won't take long for them to ignore your invites for "some more Battle Street asskicking" while they pretend they're not online while secretly digging into some more Halo 2 or Chaos Theory. I predict this one will be half price at Wal-Mart in a month or so. Wait it out.

Click For Media
System: PS2, Xbox, GC
Dev: Amusement Vision
Pub: Sega
Release: Mar 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Vaughn
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
2.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
2.0