North American 32X cover art
Cosmic Carnage, known in Japan as Cyber Brawl (サイバーブロール?), is a 1994 2-D fighting video game released for the Sega 32X, developed by Givro and published by Sega. It was one of the few original titles created for the add-on during its short lifespan. It hold similarities with and is considered by some a spiritual successor to Fighting Masters, also from this developer.
In an uncharted star system, a group of prisoners en route to a celestial space mine overpower the ship’s guards and take control of the ship, but during their breakout, most of the ship’s controls are damaged.
After days of drifting, the criminals realize that their only hope is to hijack another ship and use their distress signal to bring a military ship to their aid. They then trick the ship by ramming their own vehicle into it. The impact, however, badly damages both and destroys all but one of the escape pods, as well as killing all but four from each ship (eight in total). The few survivors fight for the final escape pod and a chance of survival.
The game was designed to use the Mega Drive’s six-button controller, along with Eternal Champions. Also like Eternal Champions, Cosmic Carnage can be very difficult to compete against the CPU characters using the standard three button controller. With the six button controller, the player is given two buttons to kick, two buttons to punch and two to ‘provoke’ (taunt), with the ‘provoke’ attack differing depending on how fast one presses the button.
Four of the characters use armor to assist them in battle; one may choose one of the two options (‘light’ or ‘heavy’) for each of the three armors (body armor, leg armor and arm armor), each providing the character with its own special move. For instance, Zena-Lan can perform a whirlwind kick in light armor and an electric ground pound attack with the heavy armor. The armor can be torn off, however, removing these attacks, a gameplay feature previously used in Allumer's Blandia, while Sega would later use it in the decade for their Fighting Vipers games.
A death move can be achieved by using special moves to win a battle in the final round of each fight (special throws will not accomplish a death move). This gameplay mechanic was previously used by Sega, who had used it in Eternal Champions and was created and popularized by Midway Games’ Mortal Kombat series. In Cosmic Carnage, either the opponents head will explode, their arms will be cut off, or they will be cut in half at the waist. Also included is a ‘zoom feature’ similar to the one used in SNK’s Art of Fighting and Samurai Showdown games that amongst other things, highlights faults with the game’s sprites.
Achieving a ‘good ending’ for a fighter is time based, so depending on how fast the player kills his/her opponents, the more time there is left to escape to the life pod and to drift far enough away from the crashed ships, so the explosion won't hit the player.
All soldiers use Light Armor and can be equipped with Heavy Armor before fights.
- Cylic – An anthropomorphic red ant that is very fast and agile and uses a number of projectile attacks. His Light Armor special attacks are Energy Smasher, Gravitation Crush, and Energy Blast; his Heavy Armor special attacks Machine Gun Knuckle, Energy Thunder, Grenade Attack, Double Needle Kick, and Neck Throw can be used in both armors. In the Japanese version, he is a brown-haired soldier named Jake (ジェイク?).
- Zena-Lan – A female soldier whose head is constantly on fire. She wears a military uniform and has electric attacks as well as good speed and agility. Her special attacks in Light Armor are Fury Punch, Bloody Spiral, and Riding Crusher; in Heavy Armor they are Lightning Ring, Knee Blast, and Blazing Charge, and in both armor styles, Flying Lariat. In the Japanese version, she is a blond-haired soldier named Ray (レイ?).
- Naruto (鳴門?) – Naruto’s portrait is that of a simple shadow being, yet his in-game sprites dress him in colorful armor with elbow blades and a sword. His forte is aerial moves. In Light Armor Naruto has the special attacks Naruto Slice, Spinning Kick, and Whirlwind Kick; in Heavy Armor, Spinning Double Slice, Whirlwind Blast Kick, and Double Hammer Blast, and both Dash and Drop Throw regardless of which armor he wears. In Japan, he is a brown-haired boy.
- Tyr (known in Japan as Carl (カール?)) – Tyr’s his in-game sprites are of a man wearing samurai like armor. His special attacks in light armor are Atomic Hammer, Dash Hurdle, and Breast Charger, and in Heavy Armor, Mega Buster Drop, Mega Cyclone Wrecker, and Mega Cannon, as well as three special attacks regardless of which armor is chosen: Super Press, Tornado, and Super Whip.
None of the fugitives may use armor.
- Talmac (known in Japan as Bolt (ボルト?)) – A tall, dark, sinister figure with a skull-like face, spiked red hair and sharp claws. No one is sure if he wears a mask or not, because no one has gotten close enough to find out. His special attacks are Gale Wall, Gale Wave, Pile Dragon, and Gale Arrow.
- Yug (known in Japan as Wishbone (ウィッシュボーン?)) – A gorilla-like humanoid; he is possibly a robot who relies almost entirely on his powerful arms for his attacks (punch attacks and throws). His special attacks are Spinning Double Strike, Blaze Hold and Strangle Hold.
- Naja (known in Japan as Stere (ステア?)) – A female snake-shaped siren, with a cobra’s head and a long tail, instead of legs, that she uses as a battering ram. Her design and name are derived from the serpentine nāga of Hinduism and Buddhism, which were often depicted as having humanoid torsos in sculptures and drawn art. Her special attacks are Back Whip, Winder Rush, and Tail Squeeze.
- Deamon (known in Japan as Finisher (フィニッシャー?)) – A vicious alien with large talon-like claws and a scorpion-like stinger attached to the back of his head. His special attacks are Whirling Thrasher, Hammerhead Whip, and Rolling Claw.
Cosmic Carnage was released by Sega in North America on November 21, 1994, as a launch title for the Sega 32X. Former Sega of America executive producer Michael Latham stated that the company was rushed to release games on time for the 32X's launch, and said that "[w]hen Cosmic Carnage showed up, we didn't even want to ship it. It took a lot of convincing, you know, to ship that title." The Japanese version, under the title known as Cyber Brawl, was released on January 27, 1995.
Cosmic Carnage received mostly negative reviews. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly unanimously commented that even taking into account the fact that it is a launch title, Cosmic Carnage is a disappointing game which fails to push significantly beyond the capabilities of the standalone Sega Genesis in either graphics or audio. They did remark that the armor mechanic is an impressive innovation, but nonetheless felt that the overall gameplay was mediocre at best. In their review, GamePro praised the armor mechanic and sci-fi styled graphics, but criticized the slow action and limited originality, and concluded that "there are more exciting Genesis fighters around". Even Sega of America president Tom Kalinske declined to defend the game; when an interviewer brought up the negative response Cosmic Carnage was getting, Kalinske said only, "Well, you know, every now and then there are games with which we're not so happy. It's all part of the learning process."
In a retrospective review, Levi Buchanan of IGN applauded the character sprites, noting that they are "large, colorful, and decently detailed", but felt that the sprite detail were "ruined" by zooming effects. Buchanan also criticized the audio, which consist of "[h]orrid, crunchy music and weak sound effects." Brett Alan Weiss of AllGame cited Cosmic Carnage as "[a] poor cousin of such 2D fighters as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II", criticizing its slow gameplay and pixelated graphics.
- "Cosmic Carnage [European] overview". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on December 10, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
- McConville, James A. (January 2, 1995). "Sega 32X upgrade sees a sold-out Yule". Business Wire. Berkshire Hathaway. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
Sega 32X was launched nationally on Nov. 21 with four software titles. [...] Sega 32X titles launched to date include Doom, Star Wars Arcade, Virtual Racing Deluxe [sic] and Cosmic Carnage.
- Kent, Steven L. (2001). "The "Next" Generation (Part 1)". The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Prima Publishing. pp. 493–496. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4.
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- Weiss, Brett Alan. "Cosmic Carnage (Sega Genesis 32X) overview". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on December 10, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
- "Review Crew: Cosmic Carnage". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 67. Sendai Publishing. February 1995. p. 32.
- Buchanan, Levi (November 21, 2008). "Cosmic Carnage Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on November 25, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
- "ProReview: Cosmic Carnage". GamePro. No. 77. IDG. February 1995. p. 56.
- "Is Sega's Boss Scared Yet?". Next Generation. Imagine Media (3): 8. March 1995.