Company: Coreland / Sega
Controller: Joystick with 2 buttons
Bullfighthing, also known as Brave Party, activity with a person sporting a colorful suit, with cape and a saber facing a bull in a soft of modern roman colisseum. Sometimes the person, called matador or torero, has help from other persons either riding a horse or not.
Popular, but not free of controversy where either fans and critics express their respective points with brave passion, in countries with spanish official language (where often, news about bullfighting are covered in sports sections of mass media), catches my eye that the first videogame about this sport came from Japan, where bullfighting is not exactly the most popular sport
The bare-bones of the bullfighting is guide the bull to chase the movements of a red cape, and after, when the oportunity arises, stab it with the saber
Like many videogames of the time, the game had to provide a score, and at the same time, a way that allows the player to end the game, so other player can play without spending too much time waiting for play.
With the joystick you can control the movements of the virtual torero around the arena. Meanwhile, pushing one of the buttons you make the cape to spin a bit, so trying to get the bull’s attention and if successful, the cape (with more button pushing) spin a bit more. With the other button you try to stab the bull, and the stabbing has to be in a very certain area to finish the bull.
The score adds up when you can make successful spins with the cape, and stabbing the bull, the closer to the lethal spot (briefly shown with a little yellow circle) the higher points awarded. Also, you can get points making the bull crash with the walls of the arena. That time is the best to stab with the saber. A very good way to both get points and accomplish finishing the bull, is making the bull to spin 360° degrees and then smash the wall. This is called a faena.
But, if the bull manages to hit head-front the virtual torero, he flies out of the arena and loses a life. I swear the bull is laughing (which I like). If the bull smashes the torero in other circunstances, can knock him out, but a novillero (novice matador) enters the arena and distracts the bull to lure it away from the fallen matador until he gets up. Other niceties are the ocassional aparition of a second bull whose only function is getting in the way. The player has three lives, where each matador has a distinct suit: green, yellow and blue. For some strange reason I perform better with the yellow one.
However, making a videogame of a so specialized sport in countries where is easier to sell the game (USA, Japan) and at the same time, is not very popular, gets a very high risk of not being very successful. Also, in countries where it could be a hit (Mexico, Spain), the fans could be very picky about it, because the sports is very known. Maybe that is the reason there aren’t many games about charrería.
Funny try to get the bullfighting to the videogaming world. The animation are quite good, so you can see the matador saluting the crowd when entering the arena, the final victory over the bull can be a bit deppressing and the crowd throwing confetti to the winner are nice details. The music sounds like coming from Spain and I think is fine.
Finally, a funny and strange game, it can be a bit frustrating at the beginning, but with patience becomes fun. I really love that at the end, the bull will always have the last laugh.