One of a kind
One of very few fighting games for the Master System, Masters of Combat was also amongst the best. Great graphics and a unique movement system make this a memorable title. Most of the fighters on the 8-bit consoles were cut-down ports, so it is refreshing to see a game that has been built from the ground up for the hardware. This game will never take the place of the Capcom and SNK games from the same era, but given the inherent limitations of the 8-bit consoles it is an interesting case study of how to make the most of what you have to work with.
Given the limitations of the Master System’s controller, the movement system is a particularly interesting aspect to the game. Instead of using the two buttons as punch/kick, one of the buttons is reserved for ‘Movement’. This means that it is surprisingly easy to vault around the screen and approach your opponent in a multitude of ways. Compared to the stiff movement of other 8-bit fighting games, this is a revelation. The presentation is also top notch, with great animation and a high frame rate.
There is none of the choppiness that plagues other 8-bit fighting games – this one is smooth and well presented.