Before Soul Calibur came Last Bronx. A weapons based beat 'em up from the very same folk who brought us Fighting vipers, Virtua Fighter and were responsible for the graphics board that ran the titties-'em-up game Dead or alive. Unlike these games, Last Bronx didn't get to see a sequel. But it was nice whilst it lasted, and at least gave us a taste of beat 'em ups which featured beating down suckers with weapons. Last Bronx enjoyed a Saturn conversion that even Sega's beloved Virtua Fighter games hadn't been treated to until the release of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. Last Bronx featured a full on anime intro (complete with your obligatory J-Rock sing-a-long theme), a story mode, extra options. And for the Japanese release: a second disc complete with a full on tutorial mode, complete with blackboards explaining the in's and outs of the fighting system and explainations from the characters themselves.
As with Fighting vipers, Last Bronx wasn't seen as a staple in the Sega library as Virtua Fighter was, but got characters whom were well designed, memorable and an all-round cooler bunch than the Virtua Fighter crew. Virtua Fighter had a brain-dead blonde bitch, a ninja in blue pyjamas and a white man in a red jumpsuit and plimsoles. Last Bronx had a cheerleader in a mini skirt, a punk in leather trousers who wields nunchucks and a blonde haired man in dungarees with a giant hammer.
As with many of Sega's games at the time, the arcade version ran on their Model 2 arcade board. The Saturn hardware was not capable of running a Model 2 game without some graphical downgrades and Last Bronx sufferred because of this. The fully 3D and animated backdrops were replaced with JPEG's, which didn't scroll or anything, and the characters were not as detailed as those in the arcade version. Despite the downgrades Last Bronx was still a decent looking game. The characters didn't look as detailed as they did in the arcade version, but had their animations intact and the game ran smoothly. It certainly looked better than Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers.
Last Bronx was a great arcade game and was a welcomed Saturn release because it was one of the first arcade-to-home conversions Sega did that featured a great deal of extra content over the arcade release: something that every arcade game released on Saturn up to this point had failed to receive. The main problem with Last Bronx is that the fighting system featured little depth. Battles were pretty much a case of juggle, ground attack, juggle, ground attack, juggle, K.O. Characters had very limited move sets and the game featured few characters, so there was little to master.
Last Bronx was an alright game, but featured many shortcomings and would later pale in comparison to Namco's Soul series. The Saturn version is commended for featuring smooth graphics and home exclusive extra's. But the lack of depth, a VS mode which get stale real quick and a lack of unlockables prevent it from being a long term title worth hunting for.
RATING: 4 / 10
+ Solid graphics
+ Cool audio
+ A nice bit of home exclusive content
- Lack of depth
- Not enough options
- Short term appeal