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Tuff E Nuff – Super Nintendo

Tuff E Nuff – Super Nintendo

Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System Tuff E Nuff (USA)-noscale

Developer: Jaleco

Publisher: Jaleco

Release Date: September, 1993

Genre: Fighting

Nerd Rating: 5/10

Reviewed By: theWatchman

*note* This title was reviewed using an emulated version.

I was about 11 or 12 when Street Fighter II burst onto the gaming scene and gave birth to the fighting game genre’s popularity as we know it. I grew up with fighting games. I’ve fought in the streets, combated mortality, gave my blade some soul, and I even had a killer instinct. In other words, I’ve played my share of fighting games and frankly, I’m tough. But it wasn’t until recently that I started to wonder. How tough am I, really? Am I Tuff E Nuff?

Luckily, we have the proper gauge of toughness aptitude. We have Tuff E Nuff for the Super Nintendo.

Tuff E Nuff was released in 1993 as Jaleco’s entry in the initial tidal wave of post Street Fighter II releases.

Tough enough screen 1

Set in 2154 after the effects of a “war to end all wars,” the planet is in ruins. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the chaos that has befallen Earth, a strongman known only as Jade seizes control over what is left of the world. He declares himself “the fighting king” and takes up residence in a monolithic tower erected as a symbol of his rule. Those who tried to challenge Jade were never heard from again. The remaining four states decide to send four warriors to fight their way through the tower, and ultimately topple Jade’s dictatorship.

Tuff E Nuff’s narrative certainly lays the groundwork for a story that, if properly fleshed out, could have spanned multiple entries, however, some poor design choices hamper any potential that Tuff E Nuff exhibited.

The game plays very much like a typical Street Fighter clone from the early to mid nineties. A four button layout is used for standard moves; a light and heavy punch buttons, and light and heavy kick buttons. Special moves also follow in the steps of Street Fighter, with moves consisting of half and quarter-circle directional inputs or charging motions. On the surface, it seems like enough to be a competitive entry in the fighting game scene, however it doesn’t feel like much thought was given as to how the special moves would integrate with a character’s fighting style, or how different moves would behave in a fight. For example, in a game like Street Fighter or Tekken, the moves of each character are designed around what kind of gameplay styles and combos can be created by incorporating those special moves into play. The special moves in Tuff E Nuff feel like they were added just for the sake of adding moves for a character. Poor planning also ruins the effectiveness of some of these moves. A character should never share a quarter-circle forward motion and a half-circle motion with the same type of action button, i.e. punch. There were too many instances where I was attempting to do my jumping uppercut, and wound up throwing a fireball instead because they both shared the same action button at the end of a partially shared directional input. It’s a fighting game no-no.

tough enough screen 2

Tuff E Nuff is rather meager in the character selection department. Only four fighters are available from the outset, two of which play the same as each other. (Along the lines of how Ken and Ryu used to play the same.) Other characters can be accessed through the use of a cheat code, although why would the designers want to lock away the majority of their roster behind a code doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. It’s also perplexing that you can use those extra characters in Versus mode, either against another player or the CPU, but you can’t use them in the story mode. It would be understandable if the story mode were offering a highly specialized ending for each character, but Tuff E Nuff’s story mode is just your chosen fighter fighting his or her way up the tower of power on their quest to face Jade.

The combat in Tuff E Nuff has descent fundamentals, but it lacks the smoothness of some of the best fighters of the time. It feels like there is a pause every time someone connects with a move which lends itself to an overall clunky feel.tough enough screen 3

Interestingly, Tuff E Nuff does have a limited replay feature which lets you relive the closing moments of each battle. I can’t think of any 2D fighters of that time, or even currently, that employ a replay. So, Tuff E Nuff was ahead of its time in that regard.

Visually, Tuff E Nuff is adequate for a 1993 SNES release. The character models are detailed enough, and there are a couple of neat backgrounds, the stage set in an underground missile silo stood out for me. But for all the good points, there are plenty of dull, charmless, and bland stages that counter the momentum the title gains.

Character designs are also somewhat uninspired. Nothing about the cast is really memorable aside from their silly names. Syoh, Zazi, and Beans (Yes, Beans) do not really do much to stoke the fires of fandom. The soundtrack suffers a similar fate, with no tracks rising to the level of standout status, let alone being anything memorable.

If Tuff E Nuff had a theme song, this would probably be it.

Tuff E Nuff ultimately comes down to a case of the “could have been’s”. The story could have been compelling had it had characters that were more interesting. The gameplay could have been competent had it not been for outright mistakes made by the design team. Ultimately, Tuff E Nuff is not a terrible game. It’s just a game designed from the ground-up to be only average. And unfortunately for Tuff E Nuff, there are too many fighting games in the Super NES library that excelled where Tuff E Nuff did not.

Tuff E Nuff has the heart to go a couple of rounds, but in the end it isn’t tuff E nuff to go the distance.

Nerd Rating: 5/10

Written by The Watchman

The Watchman

The Watchman is a journeyman gamer who has seen and played a good chunk of gaming history.
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  1. That box art is tough as all hell.

  2. Games like this remind me how few “random games” I play from the time period. I really should start picking up more oddball games instead of only going after popular series and/or those with a higher price tag.


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