Developed by Arika, 3D Classics: Urban Champion is a revamped version of a fighting game originally released for the NES in 1984. Though the action is rudimentary and crude by today’s standards, this two button brawler has a good presentation and can be entertaining in short bursts.
In 3D Classics: Urban Champion, you play as a blue-haired combatant trying to rise the ranks of the local underground fighting scene. Starting out as the “Lonely Champion”, you must survive 99 rounds of bare knuckle boxing to become the undisputed Urban Champion.
The combat in 3D Classics: Urban Champion is essentially a tug-of-war. You can defeat your green-haired opponent by knocking him off of the right side of the screen or by being on his side of the fighting area when time runs out; at which point as police car arrives to make an arrest. The police car also passes by from time to time, sending both fighters to their respective “corners” and resetting the balance of the fight.
Conversely, you are defeated when knocked off of the left side of the screen or caught on your side when time runs out. You only get three chances at making your way through round 99, with no opportunity to get more along the way.
Fights take place outside of four businesses: a snack bar, a discount store, a book store and a barber shop. Aside from signifying progression down the street, the areas are functionally identical. Each business has five windows above it from which an angry business owner will occasionally drop a flower pot. If you or your opponent are caught in its path you will be momentarily stunned, giving the other fighter a chance to land an uncontested blow.
Every three rounds you will knock your opponent into an open manhole and be showered with confetti by the business owner’s daughter. After six rounds you receive a new grade, though in subsequent playthroughs you start with your highest-achieved grade and won’t get a new one until you surpass your old record. Should you complete 99 rounds and become the Urban Champion, you can keep playing, though the round counter and grades will no longer change.
The actual fighting mechanics in 3D Classics: Urban Champion are quite simple. You are armed with a light punch that is quick but weak and a heavy punch that is very strong, but quite slow. You can aim high or low using the d-pad or analog slider and can also block and dodge incoming punches.
The default control scheme has your punches mapped to the A and B buttons of the 3DS, though you can map punches to any of the available buttons.
You start each round with 200 stamina points that get used by throwing and landing punches, getting hit by your opponent or a flower pot. Should you run out of stamina, you will be momentarily winded and will resume the fight with low stamina if you aren’t knocked out first.
The presentation of 3D Classics: Urban Champion is understandably simple, but has some nice touches and uses bright colours. In addition to an option to adjust the depth of the 3D effect in-game, you can turn on an isometric camera angle that gives the game an even greater sense of depth. The sounds and music are typical of early-era NES titles, with no noticeable enhancements.
My main issue with 3D Classics: Urban Champion is that it never really gets harder as you go. Once you learn the timing, you can easily land uncontested heavy blows ad nauseum and the game becomes more about endurance than honing your skills.
Though it’s simple, shallow and repetitive, 3D Classics: Urban Champion can still be fun, especially in short burst play sessions. There isn’t a lot of replay value to be had once you’ve become the Urban Champion, but there is a two player mode playable via local wireless connection.