Because everyone had to get into the fighting game genre back in the day…
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, there was a company called Capcom. And one day, they decided to release a follow-up to one of their fighting games, calling it Street Fighter II. And lo, it was awesomesauce.
Thus they choseth to port the game over to the SNES and other platforms so that people can play at home. And lo, that too was awesomesauce.
Other developers wanted to strike while the iron was hot; riding on the coat tails on SFII‘s success and hoping to get a lil’ piece of the pie.
While there were some great games that came around that time, like many of the SNK fighters for example, there were some… “unique” ones, to say the least. Unique in a good sense, unique in a bad sense, and unique in the… er… “unique” sense.
Anyhoo, here are three unique fighting games. Hooray for uniqueness!
1. Power Moves
Developer: System Vision
Release Date: January 1993
This was as generic a fighter as you can get story-wise. You’re an average Joe named… well, Joe. He wants to challenge the reigning champ, so he goes around the world going up against the best of each country to pick up a few pointers.
In terms of gameplay, there isn’t much. There’s a punch, kick, and jump button, and characters have two Special Moves. And these moves are very much like Street Fighter II. Joe has a Ryu Hadoken, Kenya native Baraki has a Blanka roll (complete with a Blanka howl!), Nick is a matador but is not Vega Approved… shenanigans, I say! Another interesting quirk is that, like SNK’s Fatal Fury games, you can switch between two planes on the stage, so can get a tactical advantage over your opponent. Or not.
What Makes Power Moves “Unique”
The game’s single player mode is RPG-ish in nature. You have a set of stats (Speed, Strength, etc.) and they’re average; borderline weak in comparison to your opponents. Each time you defeat one of them, your stats will increase depending on how much stronger they are in each category. So if you beat someone with maxed out Speed, yours will go up significantly. On the flip side, someone with, say, lower Strength than you won’t give you much. You can fight guys over and over again until you can’t get anything more out of ’em. Once you’ve defeated everyone, you’ll face off against a dude with the worse case of Pink Eye ever seen in a videogame. You have limited continues, but there’s a password system in place to keep track of your progress.
So besides the RPG-ish Story Mode, is there anything else that actually makes this game “unique”? Well, you fight a giant Smurf from Russia. The fact that I just wrote that line boggles my frickin’ mind.
In all seriousness, I actually liked this game back then, in part because they at least tried to do something a bit different with the increase stat stuff. Lots of fighters have had some sort of RPG-sort of mode in them for the heck of it nowadays (my all-time favourite is still Street Fighter Alpha 3‘s World Tour Mode. Stuff of legends, that is), but back then, not so much.
Took a bit of searching, but I actually found a decent vid to share. ‘Cause, you know, I like putting vids for you guys to watch. And in case you’re wondering what ever happened to the old man referenced in the opening, that’s just one of the many mysteries that will forever remained unanswered.
Anyhow, if you ever happen to come across Power Moves, give it a shot! It really isn’t all that bad 🙂
2. Street Combat
Release Date: April 1993
I remember playing this back in the day and thought that it was the worst fighting game ever. And… I still think that way. Seeing this game in action makes me facepalm HARD.
There’s this tournament, see, and you’re fighting to be the best. Of course! The lead character, Steven, comes in two flavours: regular street clothes, and a ridiculous mech-power suit thing. All the other characters were forgettable. Or, at the very least, the type that you would want to forget because they’re just so bad! You have Guile’s second cousin wielding Sephiroth’s Masamune, a robot on a skateboard that mysteriously disappears every time it gets knocked down, a Clown in a skin tight onesie swinging around clubs and throwing balls… Seriously, there’s no reason to play this.
You only play as Steven, except when you decide to go against a friend in 2P Combat. But even then, why would you subject your friends to this piece of industrial strength poo-poo? As for controls, you have a jump button, and you block with the L and R buttons. As basic as it gets.
I know what you’re thinking: “Minee, Power Moves is just as basic as this, but you liked that!” True, but again, Power Moves had that RPG mode going for it. Plus, it felt like the devs actually put some sort of effort into it. I don’t get that from Street Combat at all. It just feels so wrong somehow!
What Makes Street Combat “Unique”
Besides being a modern-day miracle in terms of how bad this is, Street Combat has a dirty lil’ secret.
It wasn’t until I did some digging did I find out why this game felt wrong in so many ways. Turns out that this was the English localization for Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou Hen (Neighbourhood Combat). Publisher Irem decided to bring the game westward, but felt that the licence wouldn’t resonate with the audience (anime wasn’t as big in the west at that time as it is today), so they changed the assets to make the game more hip with the kids.
Because generic fighters are waaaaay more popular than anime (pfffffffffffffffffffffft!).
In all honesty, even if they had kept the Ranma 1/2 name and assets, I don’t think it would’ve fared any better. I mean, aesthetic changes aside, a game that doesn’t have a good feel for it is still, at the end of the day, a game that doesn’t have a good feel for it. In fact, if they had kept Ranma 1/2 as is, the game would’ve been accused of being a horrible cash grab. Then again, any and all charm that would’ve been in Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou Hen was probably sucked out of Street Combat along with the visuals and soundtrack, so who knows? Maybe this feels fine as a Ranma 1/2 game, but a piece of crap as generic fighter. Guess I’ll need to track down Chounai Gekitou Hen to find out now…
This brave soul on YouTube plays through the game in 16 minutes. They’ve saved you the trouble of playing this. You should thank ’em.
And if you’re curious to know how it compares with Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou Hen, here’s a brief playthrough vid:
3. Primal Rage
Publisher: Time Warner Interactive
Release Date: August 1995
Dinosaurs are cool. So are giant apes. Therefore, having them beat the snot out of each other seems like a perfect fit! I mean, SNK’s King of the Monsters was badass! But that had more beat-’em-up/brawler feel, and we’re looking at one-on-one fighters.
Primal Rage started life as an arcade game and was ported over to about every home console out there.
Each of the playable monsters is a deity of our planet; complimenting one another and keeping balance in the world. One of the gods gets an impromptu vacation to the moon courtesy of some crazy archmage dude. The rest of the gods were thrown into chaos because of the whole upset balance of power, and then they were frozen in suspended animation. Now, they’re all fighting to be Supreme Ruler of the planet in post-apocalyptic times… or some such thing.
Who cares!? It’s giant monsters fighting each other. What more could you ask for?
They really played up the whole “dinosaur/giant monsters being like a god” aspect by being able to eat your followers. Because protein is a vital building block for good health, even among blood-thirsty cannibal apes.
Primal Rage was, essentially, Mortal Kombat with monster skins slapped on. Not complaining ’bout that.
What Makes Primal Rage “Unique”?
Those moves! There aren’t many games out there where your move set includes puking, toxic farts and… um… “golden showers”.
… I can’t believe I just typed that.
Anyhow, I know you kids get bored with me yappin’, so here’s a vid full of wanton destruction. BOOM!
There you have it! Three rather unique fighting games, each with their own lil’ quirks (for better or worse). Of course, there are plenty more where they came from, and I bet a lot of you old school gaming peeps remember some, too! I would love to hear some of your memories of weird, strange, unique fighting games, so let me know in the Comments Section!