Welcome all to the Box Art Brawl, our regular contest where we vote on regional cover art variants from the dim and distant past when you could only buy games in physical form.
Last time, we observed an old-fashioned Pokémon battle with Pokémon Stadium 2 for the N64 in honour of its 20th anniversary. Both covers featured the same key art, but ultimately the portrait-orientated Japanese version emerged victorious with an approval rating of just under 60% while the North American/European version had to be revived by Nurse Joy at a Pokemon Center.
This week we’re back to a three-way bout with Tuff E Nuff, a SNES fighter in the Street Fighter II mould that was added recently to the SNES catalogue available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Awful name aside, it’s a solid game with notorious box art in the West, so we’re happy to shine a little light on it in the brawl.
Rumour has it that the key art for both this and the Japanese cover originally came from British magazine CVG which produced its own material to accompany preview coverage of the game. The makers were apparently so impressed that they decided to use it for the covers everywhere outside North America.
In some EU countries this carried the name Fighting Spirit: Tuff E Nuff and had a fiery Street Fighter-style logo, but the olde-style serif-ed logo here is super dull, and despite having a decent piece of art, there’s too much black and empty space on this cover for our liking. What is this? An RPG? A Golden Axe clone? You’d be forgiven for thinking so.
Known as Dead Dance in Japan (so much better!), the Japanese art reformats the key art and exposes a pair of impressive pectorals worthy of the great Ricardo “Khan Noonian Soong” Montalbán himself. Regardless of the name change, the logo itself is much more eye-catching and dynamic and gives you an idea of the type of game it is. Strong.
“MASTER THE MOVES TO MASTER ME!” Nah, you’re all right, son.
What is there to say? It’s bold and punchy, that’s for sure. The green text on the right clarifies that it’s a fighting game, and there’s something of Blanka about the character in the front cover, although he bears little resemblance to his in-game counterpart.
Arguably the biggest problem here is that the title of the game is unclear. It’s just a bit of a brightly coloured mess.
So, you’ve seen the candidates, but which one gets your vote? Pick your favourite and hit ‘Vote’ to let us know below:
As 2020 hurtles to a close, we’ll see you next time for a post-Christmas Box Art Brawl. Take care everyone!