Arch Rivals review - Sega Megadrive
Arch Rivals, the latest in a growing line of Megadrive basketball games, casts aside the serious sim aspect of previous titles and proffers a more cartoon-like, humourous approach to the sport.
Only two players from each team are on the court at any time and the player controls only one of this pair. As any non-baboon knows, the object of the game is to score more points than the other team by simply posting the ball through their hoop. However, such is the desperation to win that the teams stoop to whatever unsportsmanlike measures it takes. Thus, on-court violence is an integral part of Arch Rivals. What's more, there's a two player option so you can biff your friends any time you like (although it's advisable to only do this in the game)!
What the Mean Machines staff thought
The idea behind this humorous, knockabout arcade-style basketball game is a good one, but like its arcade counterpart, it simply doesn't provide enough fun to keep you playing. Controlling only one player is frustrating, especially since the other player lacks intelligence and never does what you want, and the ropey collision detection just makes things worse. And that's not all! The controls themselves sound good, but in practice they're fiddly and scoring baskets is very simple once you get the game sussed, which takes very little time at all. In two-player mode there's a tiny spark of fun, especially if you manage to pull your opponent's trousers down (very strange and perverted indeed), but really it's all too shallow and superficial to sustain interest for more than a couple of afternoons.
Given that there is no shortage of horizontally scrolling basketball games for the Megadrive, Arch Rivals at least scores points for trying to do something a bit different. Unfortunately, this is just about the only thing Arch Rivals has going for it. For starters, the whole idea of two-on-two basketball is a little pointless, leaving no scope for real strategy or team play, a point which is reinforced by the lack of any real rules - it's just run 'n' shoot all the way. Only being able to control on player is another let down. Half the time your player isn't even on the screen! This makes things frustrating to say the least. The collision detection and perspective are also poorly done, making steals and punches difficult from any sort of angle. Then there is the tiny number of teams, it must have been possible to put in more than four, and the lack of any sort of league. This leaves Arch Rivals bereft of any lasting appeal. What's the point in playing an endless string of friendlies? Even in two-player mode Arch Rivals is no better, scoring baskets is more a matter of luck than judgement, and the wild over-responsiveness extends this sad state of affairs to just about every other action too! If it's lark-related sporting horseplay you're after, head for Supreme Court Basketball instead.