Budokan - The Martial Spirit (1990)      

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Details (Sega Mega Drive) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, John Tomlinson
Standard 3- or 6-button controller
USA, Europe, South Africa

Published in South Africa by Tec Toy
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Your Reviews

(Anonymous) (MegaDrive review)   19th Apr 2012 04:52
""Greetings, badass, I am Sensei. Do you want to learn martial arts for no viable reason?""

''Greetings. I am Sensei. I serve little to no purpose. Please, join my dojo and learn nothing. I would be semi-honored if you allowed my students, who also know nothing, to wail on you while you fight back by dishonorably beating them with a stick- er, I mean a bo... Yes, a bo...''
Okay... So the beginning of the game did not quite begin like that. Yes, there is little to no plot to this game, but the battle system alone will keep you hooked... Well, hooked until you become bored by this game's horrible plot or slow game play and throw your putrid Sega Genesis out the window.

Is it just me, or was this how every Americanized ninja/samurai/martial arts movie began? You are a nameless street thug that is beaten brutally by other hooligans, and for some strange reason, a Shaolin monk passes buy and asks you to join his magnificent Shaolin dojo... in downtown Detroit... What baffles me more, is that the beginning of the game involves a gang fight... in which you should have been drug off by the local authorities... yet you are somehow saved by this sensei that does absolutely nothing for you but give meaningless advice... and he somehow owes a debt to your father, but you never learn as to why...
Yes, I do believe I shall stick with my subtitled foreign films, thank you. Besides this horrible beginning, the game serves no real purpose itself. I mean, you train for a tournament that you will never win... What a strange and horrible idea, indeed.
Certainly, it is fun and entertaining, yes... But unless several American game designers joined together, drank too much sake, and beat one another into a severe state of mental inebriation under the impression that they were secret samurai sent by God, this game could not have possibly been conceived... Well, at least by anyone with any shred of real martial arts know-how... or dignity...
I am not the main character from the Karate Kid. I am not the main character from the Karate Kid. I am not the main character from the Karate Kid... 4/10

Well, apparently, while those American game designers were sleering their words and inhaling vast amounts of sake as if it were oxygen, they failed to notice that their game was going horribly awry. The Sega Genesis was never known for its great graphics, no... But this is a bit bad. Yes, it may have been created in the early nineties, and for the nineties, this game is very great graphically speaking. But there is still no excuse for this game's horrible design in physics. NCS somehow pulled off Assault Suits Leynos with the reaction time to perform what one wanted, yet... Wait... Who made this game? Huh? Electronic Arts created this game? I did not know that... No wonder they never made another martial arts simulator.
This game has great graphics for the early Sega Genesis, but there is no excuse for the slow reaction time and horrible sprite animations when performing blunt and un-inspirational strikes that seem so meager in comparison to the myriads of better martial arts simulators out there. 6/10

This game does have poor but overlookable music and voice acting flaws at the beginning of matches... So, I have to give Sega some credit here, I suppose. The music seems to fit the scenery, but it seems as if the stereo output on your television is fluctuating. No, it is not your television, it is the game, so take your fingers off of that treble nob. Oh, and those screams are supposed to resemble some sort of Japanese voices... even though the game involves Shaolin and Korean martial arts...
For the Sega Genesis, I suppose this game does deserve some merit and cu does... I know not how much though... 6/10

Game Play:
As I said, the game is slow, fumbles around a bit on voices and sound effects, but over all, the game has a great combat basis. It is a shame that it was not put to better use. The game involves two different factors, stamina and ki. Your stamina is your health and endurance. The unique thing about this game is that it comes back quickly. Unfortunately, this can become very vexing when you cannot take down your opponent. The ki gage is your power, which also goes up quickly... but not quickly enough... It seems as if these two gages should be reversed for everyone's convinience and benefit. You can use one of four different weapons. Yes, there are four at your disposal. You can use a bo, shinai, nunchaku, or your good ol' fists and feet. You have three buttons to mash in co-ordinance with the directional buttons, which aim and change attack types. By moving the directional pad diagonally, you can move. Yes... this took me quite a while to figure out, seeing as this game moves too slowly. As do the attacks. A snail can throw a better side kick than badass, our main character. Yes, I know a snail cannot throw a side kick. Thus the shocking comparison.
As I said, you do get to participate in a tournament after you believe you have trained enough by yourself or against dojo students. Unfortunately, those that participate in this tournament are not American, and do know what they are doing. Well then, badass, do you have what it takes to take on a Korean Dozune specialist with tonfas?
Syffer watches the main character fall to the ground in a bleeding hump.
Come on! He is not that difficult!
The Korean Dozune specialist with tonfas clips the main character with a round swing against his face.
Oh! That will leave a mark!
Okay, badass, that was not your gig', and I realize that. Thus, I have placed your next match three matches from now, so that you can rest up so that you can battle a Japanese pole arm naginata practitioner. Hey... Why are you staring at me like that?
A great idea delivered poorly. 6/10

Replay Value:
Even with these mediocre scores, for some bizarre reason, I am still drawn to this game... Perhaps I am using this game as a catalyst to play a martial arts based game... I must be too excited over the upcoming Kengo sequel... What?
It is actually not that bad. It does seem laughable and mediocre at times, yes, but hey, if you had a second controller, you and a friend could duke it out and laugh together. 7/10

Let us see those digits once more:
Story: 4/10
Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 6/10
Game Play: 6/10
Replay Value: 7/10

Budokan: The Martial Spirit gains a 6/10 for its over all ingenuity in... Er... It gains a 6/10.
Buy or rent?
Rent: If you, like me, are still searching for that perfect martial arts simulator, try renting this game until you can find it my friend, for you shall not find anything for a long while to come.
Buy: I would rather not... I am saving my money for that Kengo sequel... Yes, a better oriental game.

Reviewer's Score: 6/10, Originally Posted: 07/04/03, Updated 07/04/03

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This title was first added on 13th May 2007
This title was most recently updated on 19th April 2012

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