Retro Saga part 12: Black Tiger

When you think of arcade games from Capcom, what do you think about? Ghost and Goblins, Final Fight, and Street Fighter are maybe ones that you think about the most. While those are all good and all, I want to review some of the more obscure arcade games that no one talks about unless you’re from or something. The first one I am going to talk about is called Black Tiger. How good is this arcade game? Is it a fun play through? Or is it an annoying mess like Ghost and Goblins?

The main story of Black Tiger is that three evil dragons have taken over the land, and have put it in a horrible state of sorrow. You play as a powerful warrior known as Black Tiger, who uses a morning-star-like weapon to take down his foes as he is sent off to a quest to defeat the 3 evil dragons and save the land from darkness. I would make some smug remark about the story, but I will save it for later in the review.

Game play in Black Tiger can be best described as an action plat-former where you go through huge levels destroying multiple monsters and defeating the three evil dragons. Your main weapon is a morning-star-like weapon that has a really good reach. Your other main weapons are throwing knives to where you can throw like 9 knives at once, which is just awesome! During the game, you will have to save old men that have been captured and put in different areas in the levels. Think of it as the prisoners in Metal Slug, since they give you some helpful stuff after you free them. For example, some will give you hints, some will give you money and time, and from time to time, one will offer to sell you some power-ups. Some of the power-ups are like upgraded armor or an upgraded weapon like a morning star covered in fire or something. It’s helpful, since there are some pretty tough enemies in the game. In fact, some of them look like something from Ghost and Goblins. No wonder they do look like something from that game since this is supposed to be a spiritual successor to that series.

The graphics in the game, of course, are amazing since this is Capcom one of the greatest third party developers of all time. The animations are slick and the character designs are pretty amazing. I also like the design for the main hero. He looks like a barbarian version of Simon Belmont. The music is also wonderful to listen to. It might not be that memorable, but it’s a solid soundtrack nonetheless. The difficulty is kind of in the middle. It’s not as tough as Ghost and Goblins, but it’s not stupidly easy, unless you’re good at this kind of stuff.

I do have some gripes though that I feel like I must address to this game. First off, there is a timer in the game and I just feel like it isn’t necessary. The reason why I say this is because the levels are huge and confusing, and you want to get to the end before the timer runs out. It’s just tedious when I don’t know where I’m going and I only have 1:34 left on the timer. Since this is an arcade game, it just doesn’t seem right to put in a timer since you want the player to keep putting in quarters to keep playing the game and not have to worry about any timers and such. I also feel like Black Tiger gains a little too much momentum. I say that because when I stop, he kind of slides forward a little, and I end up running into enemies and falling into spike-filled pits. Speaking of the levels, I feel like they are just all the same. A little diversity wouldn’t kill. I mean, look at all the level designs in Megaman and Castlevania. Those two games have a lot of unique levels, but it just seems like I’m going through the same levels in Black Tiger. The main character himself has a fault. He is just too unoriginal. Who hasn’t thought of a buff guy wearing armor? Let’s name a few for example. Rastan and Simon Belmont are pretty buff and they are pretty much like Black Tiger. Yeah, I like the design, but it wouldn’t have hurt to put a little more creativity.

Overall, though Black Tiger is an enjoyable game that is sadly overlooked, it is fun. I would recommend finding a copy of this game if you can find one. You can also pick it up in one of the Capcom collections, but I forgot which one. I would say there isn’t hope for a sequel for this game, but I wouldn’t mind seeing one for this game.

This game gets an 8 out of 10