Urban Champion Review

Urban Champion was barely passable 20 years ago, so you can probably guess that it hasn't aged especially well.

Urban Champion was a dumb game when it was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System back in the mid-'80s, but since standards were a bit lower back in those days, there's a chance that you might have somewhat fond memories of playing the original release. Now this dumb street-fighting game is available on the Wii, and it's a perfect emulation that faithfully re-creates everything that made the NES game so one-dimensional. If you hold some kind of weird nostalgia for this game, playing it over again on the Wii will provide exactly two "what was I thinking?" moments. The first one comes when you realize that Urban Champion isn't much fun. The second moment hits when you realize you just blew 500 Wii points on this stinker.

We heard that if you get to level 99, your fighter finds a laser gun. That would make the game way easier, but unfortunately, we're lying.
We heard that if you get to level 99, your fighter finds a laser gun. That would make the game way easier, but unfortunately, we're lying.

Urban Champion takes place on the hard, gritty streets. You play as a dude that fights. You have to fight another dude that also fights. Your moves include punching, blocking, and, well, punching. You have two punch strengths, and you can throw those punches either high or low. When not punching, your fighter blocks, and you can block high or low. Your goal is to punch your opponent repeatedly, which knocks him back a bit. The winner of the round is the fighter that can punch the other guy all the way off the block. The computer-controlled opponents you face are idiots and are very good at walking directly into your fists if you time your punches just right. Since you're generally causing a ruckus and fighting on a street, second-floor residents will occasionally pop out and drop flowerpots, attempting to disable you. Also, the cops occasionally roll by, which causes both fighters to separate and return to opposite sides of the block and whistle like there's no funny business going on. If one of your nearby friends is also a glutton for punishment, you can opt for the two-player mode.

This is an early NES game, so the graphics and variety are more in line with other early stuff, like Donkey Kong. So the animation is limited and the graphics are drab, even for an 8-bit game. The presentation might have been passable in 1984 or 1985, but it was quickly surpassed by later NES games, and it really doesn't hold up today. This may have been a mediocre game upon its initial release, but now it's pretty much impossible to enjoy unless you're operating on some ultraironic level where you can only appreciate games if they're truly awful. But Urban Champion doesn't even succeed on that level. It's not so lame that it's funny--it's just lame. Don't waste your time with it.

The Good

  • The buildings and windows might occasionally remind you of Hogan's Alley, a much better game
  • Don't have to scan in those pesky e-Reader cards to play this version of the game
  • Accurate emulation

The Bad

  • One-note gameplay was tedious back when this game first came out, and now it's about as boring as it can possibly be
  • Five dollars is 10 dollars too much to pay for this game

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.
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Urban Champion

First Released 1985
  • 3DS
  • Arcade Games
  • e-Reader
  • NES
  • Nintendo Switch


Average Rating

233 Rating(s)


Developed by:

Published by:

Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Everyone 10+
Fantasy Violence