Game of the month
Year: 1986
Serial number: 5054
Type: The Mega Cartridge
Players: 1 or 2
Stages: 6
You're a BLACK BELT master-one of the best-and you'll have plenty of chances to prove it.
With this mega-cheesy introduction on the back of the European editions of Black Belt, start our first game of the month ever. So, a new section of The Ela Fountain begins too, and hopefully we'll have a new long and detailed review of a new game each month. Don't take this so seriously, since I think that I, like the BLACK BELT master-one of the best, have had plenty of chances to prove I'm a lazy bastard, so only time will tell...

What we have here is one of the true SMS classics for everyone, and one of the most loved games for this platform. Released in 1986, it took the old "beat the crap out of one thousand identical enemies, only to reach a bigger and thougher enemy and save your chick" formula, used in many many games from the Eighties, like the classic Kung Fu Master, and it´s undeniable, many of us love it!
Let's take a look at the basic story and gameplay.
As you might know, this game is nothing but an official hack of the Japanese version, that was released for the Sega Mark III, and was called Hokuto no Ken. Obviously, it was based on the popular manga and anime series about a guy called Kenshiro that loves to make his enemy's heads explode, with the unavoidable and reasonable amount of blood and pieces of brain emerging from all the mess. Here comes the crappy part. Sega of America (or Sega of wherever) thought that either the series were not known enough outside of Japan, or the most possible opinion, that the whole plot was so violent that surely would hurt our little innocent minds, we silly western childs... So, they redesigned the whole game, including most of the sprites, and gave it a far more typical image of your classic kung fu game. I don´t know what´s the story behind the Hokuto no Ken series, since I´ve never been a big fan of that anime, but the story behind Black Belt is really quite simple... In fact, it´s so short and simple in the Euro version of the manual, that I´m going to make up some parts, just to make it a few lines longer.

You are Riki, a young man with a mixture of cultures in your blood, since your mother was Greek and your father was Italian, so the fact that you got interested in kung fu is still a dark mistery. Following your obsession with Japanese culture, you decide that your children have to be sometihng like the Kung Fu Kids, since you always used to enjoy their B films. But you needed something to have chindren, so you decide to marry Kyoko, your neighbour, that in fact was quite pretty. One day at the elevator, you ask her if she wants to be your girlfriend, but when she agrees, someone else is listening. Obviously it´s Wang, the bad guy in our story, and Kyoko´s childhood boyfriend. Since she left him when they were six years old, he still hasn´t forgotten all those great times they used to have while watching Sesame Street, so as time was passing, he was getting more and more convinced of kidnapping Kyoko, so only he could enjoy Kyoko´s company, and this time not watching Sesame Street. Realising that she´s going to have a new boyfriend, after all those years, and seeing that you are a lot smarter and cute than him, he decides it´s the right time to kidnap Kyoko, and take her away from you. But Wang is not alone this time. He has a huge family, and of course they are going to help him in his love-battle against you and any man who dares to approach Kyoko. So, your adventure begins, bare-handed, with your stupid white kimono on, and all your skills as a black belt master!
The control is quite simple, but what could you expect of our loved two button SMS controller? Use the D-button to move Riki, down to kneel, up to jump, and up for a big jump if you were previously keel down. Button 1 makes you punch, and button 2 makes you kick. It´s so simple that you can start playing right after bringing your game home. The game is divided into two different parts. One is the typical kung fu master clone, as I said before, where human clonation is a fact and not a dream anymore, and thousands of enemies with the same clothes, face and haircut attack you from everywhere.
Chapter 1
Then, after beating all these boring clones and the occasional mini boss (quite original people, in fact, from circus employees to gunmen, through flame throwers) you reach the most important, original and impressive (at the time) part: a fight against the stage (or chapter) main boss, with huge sprites, life bar and all those elements that are so unbelievable and tediously common nowadays, thanks to games like Street Fighter. Here you have the same old punch, kick and jump like
End of chapter 1. Japanese message: "Give me your pink latex suit now!"
Black Belt
in the normal stage (no ha-do-ken this time, sorry), but you must use them wisely, since every big boss have its own weak points and some of them are invincible if you use the wrong move. The good thing is, Sega of America (or wherever) forgot to remove the final part of the fight, when you finally reduce you opponent´s life meter to zero, and you get a Japanese message (translated in this page for you all, courtesy of The Ela Fountain), and a brutal ending with multiple and fast punches or kicks that really kick your enemy´s butt. An interesting feature during the whole game is the pseudo 3-dimensional scroll that uses multiple layers combined in motion to create a nice sensation of depth.
Having said that, let´s take a look at the 6 chapters!
Riki starts chapter 1 in the outside of a standard Japanese city. You can see the tops of the buildings and houses coming out of the high wall that separates the city from the action. Some bald Chinese kung fu men, wearing nothing but a pair of terrible black trousers and a shameful red belt will attack you without mercy. Well, in fact this chapter is quite easy and you shouldn´t have any problems in beating it, even the medium bosses like a fat man that needs your punches so bad. Ryu is the final enemy, a Chinese man whose skills are similar to yours, and whose pink suit would make the boys from Poison amaze. With a few punches, not kicks, you´ll defeat him easily.
Glam-Wang and the bald enemy
The enemies from chapter two always wanted to be women in their chidhood, so now that they´re old enough to decide their own lives, they wear an excessive make up that covers most of their faces. Maybe they also wanted to look dangerous, but their black tight trousers and their stupid high jumps will make you wonder about the meaning of life. You´re walking through something that looks like a harbour, and you can see the sea next to you. Suddenly, you arrive to the top of a building, and you fight against the main boss starts.
Stage 2 and the jumping enemies
His name is Hawk, and he´s the typical punk from the eighties. His green trousers (where has he bought them?), red leather jacket (like the Michael Jackson's one in Thriller), high black boots and skull on his belt makes him look like a nerd...and that little boomerang? Oh well, kick him and you´ll defeat him easily. Also take some minutes to admire that graffitti paintings, true eighties urban art. Why we can´t see now on the walls of our streets so nice paintings such as "Go", "You" and "Fight"? We´re losing spirit and magic in the 21st century, friends!
Japanese message: "Take my hand and let´s dance"
With no sweat we´ve arrived to chapter three. The country, with its fresh green grass, blue sky, pure air and large houses with thousands of windows is the perfect environment for a nice fight against more jiujitsu farmers. They wear a catchy red kimono, a nightmare for any daltonic, and the truth is there isn´t much more to say about them or this stage. Beat them quickly, and you´ll reach Gonta, a big
retired sumo fighter that loves animals in all ways, and jumps like I´ve never seen before in a sumo fight. You can beat him easily with your punches, and move on to something more interesting.
Chapter 3
Gonta close up. Look at that tooth!
Japanese message "Hey, you look like my mother in law naked!"
Chapter four! We´re near the end of our quest with Riki, and we´ve reached a desertic path near another high wall. New hordes of a new kind of enemies appear, and this time it´s about ninjas. Yes, the typical old-school Joe Mushashi-like ninjas, but much more shameful. In fact, they look more like dangerous terrorists than real ninjas, and that little sword they´re carrying, that looks like a farmer´s sickle, doesn´t help their image a lot. But this time you have even more dangers, some eagles will come down from the sky and scratch your skin. If you don´t pay attention, you can even have a disgusting present with the shape of a defecation on your new white kimono. Argh!
This chapter can be frustrating at times, with all those hundreds of ninjas and eagles, but survive and you´ll reach Oni, a man with a stupid name and a face that´s so ugly that he has to cover it with a mask. Every time you hit him, his mask gets off his face, and when you beat him, he´s so ashamed of his terrible face that he simply dissapears...
Chapter 4
Japanese message: "Hey, where are you going? I still can fight! Coward!"
Oni´s real face close-up
You´re excited, aren´t you? This is chapter five, the last 'real' chapter in Black Belt. Hey, this place sounds familiar, right? Yeah, you are in the same harbour of chapter two, because you´ve realised that Wang lives next to your house, so now you have to walk all the way back... Well, at least you´re a more experienced warrior now, and you´re ready to fight Wang, Janken or whoever. So, you´re walking through the same old harbour, but this time the night has fallen down, and the sky has a nice and proposing purple colour. And this time, your enemies are different. You´re attacked by a clan of insane lesbians that hate men in general and you in particular. Don´t be fooled by their sexy (?) pantyhose suits and red boxing gloves, these chicks are dangerous!
After leaving the harbour, you reach a nice house with a terribly disgusting decoration, with a picture of someone that could be Wang with dyed hair. The inhabitant of this house is the sexy Rita, a woman fighter that looks like Doro Pesch back in her times with Warlock, and who is a big Stryper fan (notice the yellow and black stripes on her suit). Rita is tricky, because her weak point is always changing, so you have to use all your skills! It´s sad to defeate Rita, and even more in that disgusting way, but your true love is Kyoko, so you have to advance to the next and final chapter, the sixth, who is nothing less than a fight against Wang in person.
Our lovely Rita
Japanese message: "I swear that this is just kung fu, not an acrobatic rape"
At the top of a Japanese temple with a nice sight, you´ll meet Wang, the weird person who has kidnapped your girlfriend. With your aqquired skills you shouldn´t have any trouble defeating him, but when I said he´s weird I wasn´t kidding. When you beat him, first he starts walking as a zombie, maybe trying to fool you or, once more, trying to emulate Michael Jackson in Thriller. When he´s done walking that way, he raises his fist trying to convince you that he has won the fight, and then he disappears. Doh, what a stupid man.
Wang the not so mighty
And that´s it. You´ve saved your love Kyoko and your life is happy again. Time to watch the ending and smoke a cigarette!
Wang doesn´t want to lose...
Bah, Rita was more cute
Power ups
Japanese word: endurance
Rotten pear:  Energy up
  Energy up
Black Belt, 1986
Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Playability: 9