From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett (opens in a new tab) wrote Crapshoot, a dice-throwing column to bring casual games back into the limelight. This week’s offer no one should turn down! It is on! MORE BORING KOMBAT 2! STREET FIGHTER 2: REALLY STREET EDITION! Round 1! Fight!
I think I’d go with Rick Moranis from the 90s. The early one, before the millions of dollars that would have allowed you to hire bodyguards and lawyers to sweep any “unpleasures” under the rug. I don’t mind the guy himself, I just think if you’re picking an enemy, pick someone you can probably go up against, unless it turns out to be the size of a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, in which case… hmm. Never mind, I would not like to leave any room for maneuver to any celestial being who makes this offer.
You know, this is a harder decision than I thought. Oh, but Russian bandits? NO on my list.
Still, it’s a good question. What would you like from the enemy? I suspect most of us would prefer not to have it at all as it’s much less stressful. But if you had to choose, would you prefer someone largely insignificant who can be safely ignored and occasionally hit like a fly, or someone worthy of your own arrogance? Moriarty for your Holmes, Joker for your Batman, Sonny for your Cher? Not only an enemy, but Nemesisaround which death and destruction may be constant companions, but would at least provide confirmation and triumph. Isn’t there a certain charm to it, especially if they suck a bit. Just a little so the game can remain a cat and mouse game instead of, say, Saw 5.
It must be a bit of an administrative nightmare though. Is there a point where both sides can work out their moral philosophies and at least tacitly agree on who is the hero and who is the villain? In public, of course, both can claim to be tall or equivalent, but at some point someone has to go and make the costume and know better whether they’re going for a bright heroic red or a sneaky purple.
And themes. A good villain not only opposes the hero, but counterbalances him. It’s probably easy if you have fire and they have ice. But this is the real world and you are more likely to work in an office or supermarket. If so, at least your enemy may not be in the same loyalty card program. That would just be ridiculous and would really fail the site.
Choose Your Enemy unfortunately doesn’t go that deep into this thorny issue. It technically lets you pick an enemy, but it only has three to choose from, and I can’t honestly say any of them really have it it is not a stand belt I wish I had in a nemesis. (Ideally, I’d like to have an alien nemesis so we can at least visit their planet at some point.)
They’re all pretty dull, really, what they have in common is not a burning hatred of everything I find valuable in this world – cats, Coca-Cola, and fish and chips, which would make for a rather confusing costume of bad spandex – but a love of punching in the face and being a little rape the blonde. And of course I’m against it. I was just hoping that when I made an Enemy worthy of a capital E, he would try to blow up the world or something. Even a little of this.
Really, I’m not picky. Even Finland would be nice.
But not Liechtenstein. I have Some standards.
But either way, our three wicked monsters. There are actually two shitty ones and one not so shitty one, with valuable lessons to be learned! For example, Pupo La Bamba: “What kind of guy could he be if it wasn’t for marijuana.” I think with that one line, we have to accept that if humanity ever gives up on demon weed, at least some of the credit must go to “Choose Your Enemy” for that emotionally moving moral moment. Meanwhile, his aide Ivan Kubrovka is the strongest opponent of alcohol since the Volstead Act, warning: “With 500cl of Gorbatchoff vodka permanently lingering in his stomach, Ivan thinks and moves slower than any other enemy.”
Than everyone another enemy! Slugman, today is your day! Aquaman, check back tomorrow!
The third enemy combines both of their strengths without any of their weaknesses. His name was Fritz Ditz. “He doesn’t drink, so he changes tactics all the time. He has never inhaled marijuana – so his movements are sharper and faster than those of La Bamba.” wow. Verily, a prince among men. Or better! Because: “Fris from an early age decided to become king of the street.”
King Fritz of Straightlacier, people all over the world worship you and your life choices. Except those about kidnappings, rapes and punching strangers in the face. Your kingdom needs another ton of oil under it to get away with it, and you only seem to have a supply in your hair.
Plus, you look disturbingly like comedian Hugh Dennis.
But let’s get to the battle of a bunch of tough guys who will probably need a band-aid! In a cute twist, neither side has a health bar as such, but lines of… teeth instead. Strong opponents knock out two teeth with each hit. Weak ones give the dentist only half of the work. Your answers are to punch them back with both fists, trying not to worry about how the girl will react when suddenly a toothless bloody monster appears and shouts “UH SAHVED YUU!”
Yelling and running would be the best approach, really. Or indeed, skip the screaming and just run while the two combatants see who gets the most from the Tooth Fairy that night. It’s nice when even the loser gets something.
The combat system is as detailed as you’d expect, by which of course I mean it looks like a child’s painting of the Mona Lisa drawn entirely in crayon and the occasional bits of poo where brown is missing. The best part is, if you hit with both hands at once, the Enemy is able to hit through the middle, like a basketball dunk, only it’s a tooth-crushing blow to the food hole.
The underlying message seems to be that having an Enemy really isn’t worth it, although looking at the lineup there is perhaps a more subtle social commentary at work. In particular, people with no necks cannot be trusted. There was supposedly a more advanced version where you could import your own neckless nemesis – “Choose An Enemy” suggests Bruce Lee, Hitler, Rambo or “You Boss”. However, you don’t seem to mind how you do it, saying you should just “take any available scanner”. Well, the ones in stores are usually not nailed down, and if you run…
And so the Enemy becomes us. Because when you stare into the Abyss, you shouldn’t be surprised that it stares at you. Although if you try to throw a stone to see how deep it really is, the sound of otherworldly curses from the dimension of eternal agony Is totally worth “god crikey”.
Or really not.
Ultimately, my decision is that none of the three deserve full Enemy status. At most, they can aspire to a person whose appearance I didn’t like at all (I can’t pinpoint why, but you know what I mean). One day perhaps it will be different. One day my prince of darkness may come. But when they do come up, I definitely think our first ground rule is going to be malice first, never striking teeth.
Unless I get the first blow and have a hammer in the meantime. Then maybe.