3DS Classic: Urban Champion Review

When Nintendo announced that they were going to relaunch some of their classic games in a nouveau 3D format for its Nintendo 3DS handheld, our imaginations immediately ran wild. Super Mario 3 with 3D visuals! F-Zero in an entirely new dimension! We went crazy thinking about the possibilities, especially seeing the bar being set so high by the moderately enjoyable Excitebike 3D.

This week, we came crashing back down to reality when the company chose practically the worst game in its catalog to get the 3D treatment – Urban Champion. Yes, the NES fighting game (well, if you consider a fighting game to be a simplistic affair of “lemme mash buttons like crazy”) has returned as a quasi-3D downloadable experience for the 3DS, priced at $4.99; seriously, that’s like $4.98 too much. In fact, Nintendo should be paying us for suffering through this dreck.

In the game, you’re a guy. Never mind what type of guy, you’re just Nameless Brawler. Your job is to fight another Nameless Brawler on the streets, using quick and slow defenses, along with upper and lower hits. You’ll practically repeat this process across three screens, watching out for flower pots that fall from above (obviously, they’re Neighborhood Watch people) and either winning or losing the match by knocking someone into a manhole. That, in general, is the game’s concept.

And it STINKS. The gameplay offers little to no challenge and lacks any sort of diversity to keep things interesting. What’s more, we couldn’t connect with another friend to mindlessly exchange blows. It was just “let’s fight the computer guy,” and then onto “wait, let’s fight him again”. Oh, there are “levels” to earn, but even being labeled “Block Champion” seems like an insult.

If there is any redeeming factor here, it’s the new 3D visuals, which you can switch back and forth between with the slider. While the twisting street is kind of cool at first, that’s the only real environment you get in the game. There are no amazing, new areas to fight in and no new boxers (or details on said boxers) – just the same old neighborhood and the same old brawls. Street Fighter II has more diversity in a single stage than Urban Champion has in its entirety.

Curiosity may strike you, just to see what Urban Champion looks like in 3D, but keep in mind that you’ll have to suffer through playing it – and no one, not even a guy we actually want to beat up, deserves that. In the end, this downloadable garbage lives by an easy-to-remember credo: “Polish a terd, it’s still a terd.”