Written: 1.23.08 Acquired: 1.31.06 Status: Cart only Price: $4.91
Pub: Data East
Dev: Data East
About 15 years ago, the gaming scene was in the thick of an era known as the "Golden 2D Fighting Game Age." Whenever a successful formula is found, as was the case with Capcom and their 1991 smash hit Street Fighter II, rival companies clamor to clone it. Data East entered the foray in 1993 with Fighter's History. A year later it was ported to the SNES. How does the 20 meg monster fare? Let's take a closer look.... Historic, oughta be history or somewhere in-between?
A GOLDEN AGE
I consider myself very lucky to have been born in 1983. I caught the whole fighting game boom at the right time -- I was old enough to appreciate it, yet still young enough to take it all in with a real sense of wonder that only comes with being eight, nine, ten years old
In 1993 the arcade scene was buzzing, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis waged war, and I was just a carefree ten-year-old enjoying the tail end of my childhood; duties which included going to school every day (hey I tried), getting good grades (ditto), watching Saturday morning cartoons (I was pretty good at that), and of course, playing a crapload of video games
To me, that year (along with '94) marked the peak of the 2D fighting game in terms of clones appearing left and right. It seemed as if a new fighting game popped up every time you turned your head. From Atlus' POWER INSTINCT to Konami's MARTIAL CHAMPION (more on this later), every company and their mothers, or so it seemed, threw their name into the mix hoping to strike the next big thing. Of course not all were great, and none could match Street Fighter II, much less its sequels. Still, some served as amusing diversions
But not everyone was happy about it. To these folks it was hardly a golden age. The market became oversaturated with 2D fighting games seemingly overnight. From arcades to game stores to magazine covers... you name it... a fighting game was probably there. Luckily for me, it was my favorite genre in those days. I greeted each new 2D fighter I saw with arms wide open. And I'll never forget the day that I came across Fighter's History...
If you were fortunate enough, growing up you had a close-knit gaming group as I did. I mean, I had my best friend Nelly and all, but then I had my boys -- largely an out of town circle of guys whom I grew up playing games with and against. We had sleepovers every month back when everyone was young. One Saturday in '93 we made our usual trek to the local mall and headed straight for the arcade hall on the upstairs wing. I'll never forget that place: CYBERSTATION. There a brand new cab caught my eye with its colorful and cheesy art work proudly adorning all sides of the machine. It was love at first sight you could say. Like a moth to a flame, I dashed to the game, fumbled around in my pocket, fished out a quarter and plopped it in. The rest is (Fighter's) history! [.... -Ed.]
You got Guile on crack, Ken and He-Man's love child, Zangief's 2nd cousin and wait, noooo... yes, yes it is! The fat bald Russian himself, Karnov! Tough to beat that
I chose Matlok and never looked back. TheONLY thing I could think about the rest of that day was....
Not IF, but WHEN, would the game come home via a Super Nintendo...
EGM BREAK OUT
Wonder no more. In March 1994 EGM's April '94 issue featured Fighter's History on the cover. I was so excited when this issue arrived in the mail. The moment I had been long waiting for! All we got was a half page preview of the import version, with grainy shots I might add, but I didn't care -- I was too happy to finally see some news. I felt like a trekkie who just had his underwear signed by all prominent cast members
And as avid EGM readers know, every April issue saw the tradition of a gag within the magazine of one sort or another. This was one of their weakest, laziest April Fool jokes ever, the typo on Streets of Rage 3, but after the Sheng Long hoax, it was only downhill from there, eh?
The very next month I received EGM issue #58 in the mail. Beating my brother to the punch was critical since he was always a bit anal with me handling his issues more than necessary. Luck be my lady, as that day sprinting home not only did I beat my brother to it, but there it was: ish 58 all wrapped up pretty and ready to go sitting in my mailbox!
I grabbed the issue and ran into my bedroom. Before tearing the wrapper I took a moment to gawk at the front cover. The fighting game rage carried into 1994 without blinking an eye, and EGM was there every step of the way. What a gorgeous cover, init? Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Mortal Kombat II... whoa wait a second. Fighter's History?! YES! Last month saw a half page preview, so I was expecting a BLOW-OUT special. It turned out to be a simple two-page mini-feature with a blurb that the SNES port would be coming out later that summer. I was so amped up and the sad truth is, I admired and reread those two pages until my brother came home about ten minutes later. I didn't even bother to glance over the rest of the magazine! It was only a matter of 3, 4 months...
... Or not. After my best friend Nelson and I wrapped up the final days of 5th grade, we made a list of all the things we wanted to do that summer. The list was simple. Watch as many monster/horror movies as we can, have a sleepover (which for two TRULY best friends had oddly yet to happen), paint the town red and last but not least, play a crapload of video games
One lazy Saturday in June of '94 my dad took us to GAME HUNTER (Memories of Renting). There on the top shelf Nelson and I saw it. What my eyes saw that idyllic Saturday afternoon I'll never forget. I can't begin to describe the feeling of ecstasy that overtook my senses as Nelly and I stood there in silent awe, staring at the top shelf as though it were the Sistine Chapel! Perched on that ceiling-high top shelf? Super Famicom games KING OF THE MONSTERS 2, MUSCLE BOMBER (US name SAT Night Slam Masters) and FIGHTER'S HISTORY
I rented King of the Monsters 2 while Nelly claimed Fighter's History. I couldn't think of a much better way than to kickstart one of the last summers of my youth....
As you leave your dojo after a strenuous workout, you see a towering, sharply-dressed man approach you from a parked luxury sedan. You brace yourself as he comes up to you, stops, then hands you a sealed small envelope. His only words as you grasp the note is, "For you"
There's an eerie scent to the envelope -- incense? Your name is scrawled on the outside. Inside... lies an invitation
Hmmmm, who is this K fella? What are these so-called 'untold treasures?' And who can win this "Great Fighter's Competition" but me really? There's only one way to find out for sure...
MIZOGUCHI 27 years old 5'11" 180 lbs
A survivor on the streets of Tokyo for years, he learned self-defense after being beaten by a street gang; rumor has it -- the Yakuza. Ever since that day Mizoguchi has been rigorously training. What started out as a thirst for painful vengeance gradually turned into disciplined, unadulterated power
He trains on this very bridge night and day. A gentle midsummer breeze sends the tassels on the poles swaying. The sun peeks over the mountain tops as a peaceful waterfall can be seen flowing about off on the sides
Over time Mizoguchi discovered the deadly TIGER BAZOOKA projectile. Channeling his inner strength he sends forward a fireball possessing the fierce fighting spirit of a mystical tiger
Though his short-charging elbow might seem a little inconsequential at first, take heed. It serves as a pretty decent anti-air maneuver
As the game's main character for all intents and purposes, AKA the Ryu wannabe, you're thinking he has got to have a Hurricane Kick type deal, right? Well, you're dead wrong! HA!
OK no you're not. But what's unique about his Hurricane Kick move is that you can choose to exit the move after one kick, or anywhere up to five. Nice
I think I'll keep going here...
From unwashed armpits to smelly bare feet, Miz will do anything in battle to give him the upper hand, or upper foot rather... [Oh dear -Ed.]
Hey, I said he was beaten to a bloody pulp by the Yakuza did I not? So forgive him in advance for being so damn ruthless here. When finesse fails, force prevails!
Paying homage to his idol Curly, first he viciously jams his finger into the eye socket of his victim...
... then lifts 'em high in the air by the eye before sending 'em crashing down hard... OUCH!
RAY 25 years old 5'10" 178 lbs
Surprisingly, he's not the eternal rival of one, Mizoguchi. No matter, he still serves as sort of the game's 2nd clog if you will, much like Ken. Ray learned martial arts when he was a young boy, went on to display his talents against all challengers and petty street thugs. Now he plans to take his show on the road to prove he is the greatest
Why he prefers to duke it out here is a mystery, but bloody hell if it doesn't make for a pretty looking stage. That trash can will break if hit violently
By concentrating all his power Ray can unleash his Big Tornado. Or, as it is better known infamously, "BAKED POTATO!"
A former track star in high school (look, I can't make this stuff up), his Dynamite Tackle comes from out of nowhere. Now that's what I call using your head!
And if that doesn't do it for ya, perhaps his lightning quick Wheel Kick wheel, geddit? [Clean out your desk now -Ed.]
PLEASE do not try the following at home
Here's a simple little 2-in-1. Hit 'im with a close standing fierce
.... then quickly execute the Dynamite Tackle before they can recover...
BOO-YAH! Works every time like a charm, and even gets you the ladies
[Or the men, if you swing that way -Ed.]
Here's another favorite of mine. Your timing must be perfect
Who needs an anti-air special when YA CAN DO THIS! "BAKE THIS, BITCH!"
FEI-LIN 26 years old 5'5" 116 lbs
Adored by her fans in Asia, and feared the world over for her well-known fighting prowess, Fei-Ling is the top actress in a Beijing traveling show. It's a wonder how she manages to juggle the two so well as she is a major player in both fields. After winning the Fighter's History tournament she plans to tape a reality show called I LOVE BEIJING (her stage name). What a talent, and what a classy lady
Fei-Lin proudly shows off her heritage as all her battles are held here. Sitting back there is the kid star from Martin Scorsese's KUNDUN
She learned the ancient Chinese "To-Ro-Zan" art of fire many moons ago, and has mastered it to a tee. Some folks have dubbed it "Mantis Claw"
I told you she mastered the art, no?
The perfect combination of the Dragon Punch and the Flash Kick, the Double Swan will take out any sucker foolish enough to jump in
RYOKO 16 years old 5'1" 104 lbs
The second female in the great tournament, as well as the smallest and youngest, she is a New York Giant in a contest full of New England Patriots. But do not underestimate this firecracker; a natural at judo, she was taught all the secrets by her grandfather when she was just a baby. Victor of every national judo tourney she's ever competed in, she has mastered all of her grandfather's deadly throws and tricks
Ryoko trains here 24/7. In the background a young boy and an old woman can be seen sweeping and cleaning, all while a mischievous cat scurries about
Think Vega's Rolling Claw attack, but without the claws. And with a girl. ... Yup
She has replicated her grandfather's infamous "Mountain Storm" to perfection... ouch!
One is not safe in the air, either! For only a 16-year-old girl, she's stronger than you think
"Thanks fer coming, Miz!" Ryoko keeps multiple statue doubles so no worries
JEAN 23 years old 6'4" 177 lbs
A French gymnast, Jean possesses incredible flexibility. For one reason or another he seems borderline obsessed with roses. In fact, he is a proud florist. Combined with his gymnastic background, many have called him SISSY BOY. They laughed, until he broke their jaws. When it comes down to it, Jean knows how to get the job done, in his own unorthodox ways
The florist/gymnast prefers an audience in battle, and these excited spectators gladly oblige. The tables have been put away to transform this elegant dining hall into a vicious battle field
Told 'cha. The guy is nuts for roses. And every rose has its -- [Don't even go there -Ed.]
Forgot to shower? That's OK, Jean will gladly pepper you with his Needle Shower. A rapid, blinding succession of punches, you'll be bruised in places that you didn't even knew you had!
Can't quite put my finger on it though...
Data East CEO: *sweatdrops* "Move to the next fighter please?"
SAMCHAY 48 years old 6'4" 130 lbs
The oldest combatant in the tourney, some "experts" believe Samchay is about 18, 20 years too late. But he knows it's not about age, it's about beating people up. A grand former kick boxing champ, Samchay has dominated in his field for many years. The final notch on the belt? To win the Fighter's History tournament, and show the world an old dog doesn't need to learn new tricks.... not when he already knows them all
Rivals fly out to Thailand to battle the wily vet. He has built quite the collection of loyal fans from his 30+ year career in kick boxing, and they adamantly root him on from a safe distance
While many others in the tourney can launch a fireball as well, only Samchay can say he's been doing it longer than most of them have been living! He has honed his fireball to travel at tremendous speed, and his recovery rate is tops amongst the fighters
And for such an "old" guy, many competitors are surprised to see he still has a spritely bounce in his step. This move often catches the opposition off guard. Samchay makes it count -- the move can hit ya twice!
His infamous and feared Ti Kau Koon kick has knocked out countless victims. Despite his age he can still get up there, and does it with alarming velocity. Works equally well as either an anti-air deterrent or a combo finisher, the Ti[ger kick! -Ed.] Kau Koon kick never fails to send the crowd into a frenzy
LEE 26 years old 5'7" 155 lbs
Lee is gifted in the mysterious Hexpolar [He what?! -Ed.] branch of Kung-Fu. He may look a bit dopey [He does -Ed.] but he plays that to his advantage. His father entered this very tournament years before and was defeated and killed by a shadowy opponent. Lee has entered in the hopes of avenging his father's death. Honk if you've heard this somewhere else before...
So peaceful and serene, init. One of my favorite stages from the game. A fisherman can be seen in the background. The clouds high above move and scatter about the grassy mountains in the distance. And you gotta love those damn ducks
Lee likes to play defense while wait for an opening... then... at precisely the right moment...
... He lunges, connecting on his Piercing Dagger
When fighting Lee do not leave your feet often. Otherwise there's a strong probability that you'll be on the receiving end of his deadly Silk Worm Kick
Though he appears very mild-mannered outside of battle, once the bell rings Lee really lets loose. His throw is one of the more memorable ones
For a small man he's got surprising strength, capable of sending you some twenty feet back!
Mysteriously reforms for the 2nd round. The magic of video games eh?
MARSTORIUS 43 years old 6'7" 270 lbs
Hmm, can you take a wild guess as to this guy's deal? [He traveled from the future to stake his claims!!!!1 -Ed.] Um, no. Revered as the world's most dangerous wrestler, the big guy is out to prove the only valid form of combat is wrestling. Having dominated the likes of Jake the Snake, Vick the Dick and Bruce the Goose, Marstorius looks forward to introducing a new generation of fighters to his most dreaded DOUBLE GERMAN
Another favorite of mine, his stage is serene as it is majestic -- with striking statues dotting the backdrop, and a quaint water fountain flowing peacefully about
Despite his age and size, Marstorius can travel a good distance in a short amount of time. His Tiger Punch has knocked out a many foe
The big guy isn't all pure strength either as he displays his aerial abilities here. A man that large... it's just not fair, is it?
Marstorius finishes off his Moonsault Press by crash landing on his foe with all 270 pounds!
In addition to his Tiger Punch Marstorius has in his repertoire the dreaded Mule Kick
If you so much blink, let alone miss an offensive attack, you're screwed
The Mule Kick ends with his size 18 boot shoved down your throat!
But all that's just child's play compared to his lethal DOUBLE GERMAN!
For those counting at home this is the first german suplex of two
OUCH! The most damaging move in the game, this just might take the big guy straight to the winner's circle!
UH OH... uhhh, let's move to the next guy eh?
MATLOK 24 years old 6'1" 190 lbs
Here he is! The man, the myth, the legend... Matlok! The first character I chose that fateful Saturday back in '93, Matlok reminds me of a cross between Street Fighter II's Guile and Fatal Fury's Duck King. There's only one thing that he loves to do more than rock out, and that's simply, to knock out. With his somewhat unorthodox offense and unusual body movements, Matlok is a serious contender to the crown
Did I mention this game has some pretty cool looking stages? Here's another one. Matlok dukes it out in the streets. A lone officer discourages the action, but doesn't dare attempt to break it up
I'll never forget the first time I pulled off his SPINNING WAVE. It became one of my favorite fighting game special moves of all time. Some question Matlok's merit to enter the tournament, that he's just some fly-by-night punk rocker with basic street fighting skills. Then they feel the wrath of the SPINNING WAVE and think twice!
Matlok is an expert at contorting his body to form unusual combative motions to throw off his opponent. Here we are witnessing the beginning of his Overhead Kick
BAM! That'll wake ya up... or maybe just take ya out! Looking like an inverted upside down Flash Kick, the Overhead Kick comes in handy when facing sweep-happy players
His Hurricane Kick is a bit of a dud however. It's not a very effective anti-air special, and should be used sparingly, as it tends to leave poor Matlok wide open
But to make up for this, his crouching fierce more than gets the job done
CLOWN ?? years old ?? ??? lbs
The first boss you face en route to the second and final boss, the mysterious "K," very little is known about Clown. It is said that he was trained by the mighty "K" himself. Few have seen Clown in action and lived to tell about it. There's even a rumor flying around that behind the mask lies a dark demon from the underworld. Just rumors, mind, but it does leave a certain lasting effect on his opponents. And don't be fooled by his jovial body language -- he'll just as quickly cripple you as he would tell a joke
Fighters are secretly transported to this bizarre dreamlike alternate universe. It's all part of Clown's shtick in an attempt to first mess you up mentally before he does so physically. Only the strongest survived here
"PICK A CARD!" Don't laugh -- just like the Joker, these aren't ordinary playing cards but rather, razor sharp ones!
Beware Clown's flashing Spin Attack, which strikes almost as fast as Blanka's
And like Blanka, Clown has a vertical version to detract opposing players from getting too jumpy
It can also connect on the way down, so be prepared
Clown gave up juggling inanimate objects many years ago in favor of humans!
Finally, to keep foes on their toes, Clown's Head Stamp does a good job of doing just that. Between his Spin Attacks and this devious little maneuver, one can never rest easy when battling Clown
KARNOV ?? years old ?? ??? lbs
The mysterious K himself... the mighty Karnov! Pulled from Data East's arcade title hero, and perhaps most fondly remembered for his NES outing circa 1988, he was resurrected from video game obscurity to play the ultimate bad guy in FH. And believe me, this ain't your daddy's Karnov! The fire-breathing, ass-kicking Russian makes for a memorable end boss, if only for his previous outings but a memorable end boss nonetheless
Beat him if you can.... SURVIVE... if he lets you!
They say a desert drives a man insane. From the scorching sun beating you down to the heat shimmer inducing vision, this is no place to have a good time. Even less when Karnov's kicking your ass
Karnov spews fire from within with the greatest of ease. Imagine having him at your next barbeque party!
Karnov is the only fighter who can induce this burning effect
Much like Dhalsim's Yoga Flame, Karnov can spew and sustain this fiery cloudfor a few
He even has a low version! If he only played like this in the NES game... *shakes fist*
Yes it will, and no it ain't
Karnov shows off his agility with this crushing 100 Kick special... "Special K" if you will
Not really but a lovely postmatch effect nonetheless
Speaking of which, his postmatch celebration is tops. "OH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!"
MEMORIES OF THE 8-BIT NES GAME
KARNOV. My uncle, the same crazy uncle who introduced me to HALLOWEEN as a child, took me and my brother to TARGET one night, circa 1989. At that time we had owned and loved our Nintendo for a good two years or so. I can vividly recall browsing the toy section, gawking at the DINO RIDERS selection. I had just seen the cartoon which kicked copious amounts of ass. Then, as tradition dictated it, we moved to the video game center. We saw the Karnov cover and immediately fell in love with its monstrous, epic, exotic box art. Our uncle took notice of our excitement and bought the game on the spot before we could even break out our infamous "Buy this and it will cover our Birthdays AND Christmas!" shtick. That was good ole Uncle Jimmy for ya
I remember we came rushing home that night, my mom in the doorway berating my uncle for buying us the game. As always, he played it cool and managed to diffuse the situation. Back then Uncle Jimmy played his fair spot of games too, and I fondly remember how the three of us retired to the gaming room for the evening. We tore the video game open and began alternating play, though mostly my brother Kevin played. Luckily it turned out to be a good one and not a dud, which was always a risk when basing your purchase decisions solely off the art of a box cover. But that's how it was in those olden days you see. You relied on your friends, your local mom 'n pop, and your gut instincts. We never could beat Karnov, but we always had a blast trying. We've long since passed it on to our cousin David, Uncle Jimmy's son, and David has long since lost the game to the sands of time. But I will always remember the fun times we shared with Karnov -- from that innocent night at TARGET to all the evenings spent between the three of us trying our damndest to beat the game once and for all
(courtesy FlyingOmelette) The bosses were so damn memorable, each and every one of them. From stage one's mutant fish thingie to stage three's towering T-REX... good stuff
And who remembers this? I wanted to buy it badly but since we had the NES game my parents never did
Nope... instead I got this lousy piece of crap. OK it wasn't THAT bad; I spent quite a few road trips playing this in the back seat after all, but I bet it ain't no Karnov..
[Um, I ain't no rocket scientist but wasn't this FIGHTER'S HISTORY?! -Ed.]
Sorry. I was just sharing some, pardon the pun, history of my own
[I'll give you something to TRULY be sorry about! -Ed.]
Back to Fighter's History then!
After Nelson and I played the crap outta King of the Monsters 2 and Fighter's History that June weekend of '94, later that summer the NA version of FH came out. Nelson rented it and we spent the entire weekend working on scoping out all the game endings, which we just couldn't do with the import version we rented earlier that summer. And for the first time ever, Nelly slept over. We played til 3 in the morning trying to achieve all the endings in the pitch darkness of my tiny living room. In the process we crossed off one of our summer goals: to have our first sleepover
Some endings we saw that late evening were forgettable, others so bizarre that I have to share some of them...
"Heat SHIMMER this, bitch!"
See the similarities? It's no wonder some have been confused over the two
They even share a similar moveset! But the two are not one and the same. On a side note I have always wanted to see a Fighter's History vs. World Heroes crossover growing up
If you wondering how two different companies could have come up with a very similar character model, it's because both based their Ryoko character off the popular judo champ Ryoko Tani
THAT HITS THE MARK!
Indeed they do. It may be a blatant SFII clone but here's one feature at least that's certainly its own. Each fighter has a different weak spot, either a garment or accessory, that when hit multiple times will fly off and induce a state of dizziness
Jean: Leg strap Lee: Knee pads Ryoko: Headband Matlok: Sunglasses Mizoguchi: Headband Samchay: Arm tassels Fei-Lin: Chest protector Marstorius: Fuzzy leg warmers Ray: Lightning symbol on T-shirt Clown: Mask (find out if he's truly a demon or not!)
I was once a pervert. Yeah I admit it. The first time I saw Fei-Lin's chest protector flashing... well y'kno. Mind you, I was ten or eleven. And I remember trying my damndest to knock it off. The moment finally came. That very small strand of youthful hope was shredded when I saw the undershirt
On a final note, Nelson and I were baffled trying to find Lee's weak spot. After many tries we concluded that Lee was SO lame Data East did not give him one... sort of a handicap if you will. We later discovered it was the knee pads, which if you look he doesn't have per se. They come off like knee pads, revealing his bare knees. At any rate, his weak spot is the toughest to pinpoint. Now you tell me, handicap, or no? ;-)
Not counting my old childhood guilty pleasure FIGHTING MASTERS..
If you were a gamer during the 16-Bit 2D fighting game era of the early-mid 1990's then you know one of the most popular questions concerning any home port was: "Can I be the bosses?" And with Fighter's History the answer's you sure as hell can! Why not, yeah? Who wouldn't want to be a killer clown or fat bald fire-breathing Russian? And if you said NO to that, then you my friend must seek professional help ASAP!
COLOR ME BADD
Fighter's History allows the player to select from four different color schemes for each fighter. If you ask me there was no excuse for any fighting game translation NOT to have this option. It's just colors, sure, but it's a nice bonus revealing that little bit of extra care and lovin' that, if anything else, at least shows you some effort was exerted on their end in the porting process
Matlok, my favorite FH character, in all his glory.... all four of him to be precise
Fighting game ports which featured more color schemes than the arcade... maybe it's just me but I really, REALLY appreciate the thought and extra choices... not to mention some of the new colors are way better than the originals!
It's probably NOT what you expect [*cough* Capcom *cough* -Ed.] ... but only because said company ate up all the attention. What few gamers know is that the REAL controversy with Fighter's History are a couple... well, "moments" unsuitable for the young'uns. Take a look...
That's nothing really, nothing compared to this...
What is going on with me?! I've fought these dark urges for as long as I can remember, since I was but knee-high, yet all of a sudden I feel like a volcano on the VERGE of blowing! Oooh, look at those bulging, SEX-AY muscles! Oh my, what is happening to me...CAN'T HOLD BACK...
"Go ahead big man! You have my personal invitation!"
[Hey hey HEY! What the hell's going on here?! -Ed.]
If you thought that was graphic...
[OH SWEET JESUS! What the hell's wrong with you?! -Ed.]
It's probably best we move on now, so...
[YAKETY YAK! -Ed.]
WINNER LAUGHS LOUDEST
Classic fighting game tradition dictates that the winner of a bout earns the right to say whatever he/she wishes to the fallen foe. Ryoko gives FH's win quotes a hearty thumbs up!
Let's see why Ryoko approves so whole-heartedly of the game's win quotes, a...
a macho man!
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
Indeed we did. We played this mode probably just as much as we did the regular Versus mode. Survival mode matches are contested under one round sudden death rules, which gave it a sense of urgency between two highly competitive and evenly matched players -- as Nelson and I were. Sweet bonus for the home port, for sure
Nelly and I played this 'til the cows came home. Good times they were
Speaking of fond memories relating to Fighter's History I can't resist telling this one. On a lazy and warm summer day in '94 I found myself at the local GOLFLAND. Not one of the rinky dinky ones but the one with the huge water slide "rides." I ran out of quarters and what else could a ten-year-old do then but watch others play? I found a guy, in his mid-20's or so, fighting Karnov. FH was old news by now but I still loved it, and so I stood about five feet away watching. He was getting his ass kicked. In the middle of the contest he quickly glanced at me and bellowed, "Hey kid!" Now momma says don't talk to strangers but I never listened to the rules. I walked a couple feet up to him, "Yeah?"
He reached into his pocket while fending off Karnov with one hand as best as he could
"Do me a favor will ya -- cash this dollar for me and bring back the quarters"
Looking at the screen I could see Karnov was winning one round to zip, and well on his way to winning the second. In less than a split second my ten-year-old brain processed it all. This guy was on the verge of losing the match, he was out of GOLFLAND quarters, and the nearest token machine was far enough away that he probably would not have made the 10 count in time... that is... without assistance
[Pretty shrewd thinking for a ten-year-old -Ed.]
I grabbed his dollar and sprinted to the nearest token machine. I was a man on a mission. A mission in which I could not fail. I felt like Paul Revere on his infamous midnight ride! It was a race against time. And never did the sound of four quarters dropping sound so good. I dashed back in time to see Karnov put the finishing touches. I handed him his 4 GOLFLAND quarters
"You got it"
Then he did something I never expected he would
"Here you go... as a token of my appreciation." He plopped one of the quarters in my hand
I thanked him graciously and with that I ran to the other end where the more recent arcade releases reside. I gave WORLD HEROES 2 JET one last spin in an attempt to avenge my defeat at the hands of Captain Kidd not 15 minutes ago
To this day, whenever I see GOLFLAND driving by, or whenever I see Karnov's stage, a part of me always thinks back to that innocent summer day of 1994. A day and moment in time that proves to me without a shadow of a doubt that the smallest humane act.... can last a lifetime
STREET FIGHTER'S HISTORY
If you haven't noticed by now, some FH characters more or less resemble the Street Fighter ones [Noooooooooo -Ed.] Let's take a closer look...
*chuckles* Here's the drawing of Matlok I did following that unforgettable Saturday of '93 when I first played FH and fell in love with it
I also drew TITI, my favorite fighter from Konami's Martial Champion. I'm still pissed at the fact that this never saw an SNES release. Most SFII clones of that era were ported to Nintendo's 16-Bit wonder. This was one of the rare exceptions
... As was this. SHOGUN BUSTER WARRIORS. Maaan, if you remember this you f*ckin' hardcore. Very obscure Kaneko fighter that came out in '92. Here's Stickman. Yes, Stickman. I couldn't spell his name so yeah!
I first played Shogun Warriors at GAME HUNTER. In fact that's the only place I have ever seen this arcade brawler in my life
Kappa, based off the Japanese folklore, was my 2nd favorite. He could stretch like Dhalsim, spit out a white ball of wax that would snare his victim, and if memory serves me right he also had a rolling attack a la Blanka
I remember the 'countdown' scene for Shogun Warriors featured a Maneki Neko, sort of a good luck money cat statue for the Japanese, urging you to try again. Every time my dad took me to GAME HUNTER to rent games I made sure that I gave the arcade a go or two, always hoping for an SNES release. But damnit Kaneko! Instead they gave usPower Moves... rats. Speaking of which, it's funny... Kaneko's Power Moves was the first import I ever played, courtesy of GAME HUNTER. It was also because of GAME HUNTER that I was able to play Shogun Warriors as no other place carried it. And it was on that fateful summer day of 1994 that Nelly and I spotted the import version of Fighter's History... where else but [Wild guess... GAME HUNTER? -Ed.] Crazy how things can come full circle! But alas, I digress
Ah, the big lawsuit. In '94 Capcom sued Data East for Fighter's History being "too similar" to Street Fighter II. It was a pretty big thing and made the pages of game magazines such as EGM. Personally, I always thought World Heroes to be more like SFII but maybe that's just me
This comparison pic though does look frighteningly similar!
Did they really have to make Samchay hail from Thailand, have a Tiger Knee-like special move, name start with SA and even similar trunks? Data East was almost asking for it. Though I still think World Heroes, with Hanzou, Fuuma and Brocken in particular, to be much more like SFII than FH ever was
In the May 1994 EGM issue there was a page long Letter of the Month updating the latest on the Capcom vs. Data East lawsuit
IN THIS CORNER, DATA EAST...
March 17, 1993 -- Judge William H. Orrick of the Federal Distrist Court in the Northern District of California denied Capcom USA Inc.'s motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining Data East's marketing and distribution of Data East's video game "Fighter's History" and any newer versions of that game. Capcom claimed that Fighter's History infringed Capcom's audio visual copyright for its Street Fighter II family of video fight games. Capcom also claimed that Data East had copied the "total concept and feel" of Street Fighter II in addition to copying certain fight characters and special moves.
Judge Orrick held that "Data East has not captured in Fighter's History the 'total concept and feel' of the protectable expression in Street Fighter II. Rather, the similarities that result between the two games stem from Data East's emulation of the unprotectable, commonplace features of Street Fighter II, such as its stereotypical fight characters and its reliance on unoriginal fighting techniques derived from martial arts." The court further held that "Capcom cannot now withdraw from the public domain ideas and standardized expression... To do so would be commensurate to awarding Capcom a monopoly over a range of characters and moves it did not create. It would also follow Capcom to lay proprietary claim to all reality based fight games featuring human characters. Copyright law affords no such protection."
"We have always believed that Capcom's allegations of infringement had no legal or factual merit, and the Court's ruling has vindicated our position," said Mr. Tetsuo Fukuda, President of Data East. "Data East believes Capcom was attempting to obtain a monopoly over all one-on-one fight games. The Court's ruling ensures that healthy competition may continue in this industry," Mr. Fukuda said.
.... AND IN THIS CORNER, CAPCOM
March 23, 1994 -- After filing suit last September against Data East Corporation and Data East USA Inc. for infringement of its Street Fighter II copyright. Capcom was denied a preliminary injunction last week that would have prevented the sale of Data East's game, Fighter's History, while the case proceeded. However, with a trial date set for October 31, 1994, the recent decision by Judge William H. Orrick of the Federal District Court for the Northern district of California is not the Court's final decision on infringement of Capcom's copyright. While declining to enter a preliminary injunction, the Court has indicated that if Capcom prevails at trial, it could recover damages for Data East's continuing sales.
"Judge Orrick's decision is not completely surprising considering that no formal discovery has been conducted and that the information and evidence available to the Court was limited as a result," states Ian Rose, Capcom's general counsel. "The denial of our injunction's request in no way assures Data East's final victory and we remain convinced that Data East has unlawfully infringed our copyright. Once all the facts are known, we're confident that the Court and jury will agree."
In his decision, Judge Orrick found that Data East did not "refute the strong evidence that Data East set out to copy Street Fighter II's success and that Data East's developers spent hours studying Capcom's game to see how this goal might be accomplished." Judge Orrick also found that certain characters and character moves in Fighter's History were similar to characters and moves found in Street Fighter II that are protected by copyright. The Court was "disturbed" by certain "coincidences" in special move control sequences and, for example, found Data East's selection of a female Chinese character like Street Fighter II's Chun-Li, "troublesome."
Furthermore, refuting Data East's suggestions that Capcom might be trying to "obtain a monopoly" over one-on-one fight games, Rose stated, "Capcom has no desire to exclude healthy competition in the video game industry. Instead, we hope that the outcome of this litigation will create an added incentive for the development of truly original and creative games rather than formulaic emulations of existing product. To the extent that the Court takes a narrow view of the applicability of copyright law to protect creative expression in video games, we believe the industry as a whole could be weakened and that the creative and original work of software publishers would be inadequately rewarded."
Capcom also continues to aggressively pursue parallel litigation against Data East in Japan.
To cut through all the legal jargon, this whole lawsuit boils down to the issue of copying. Capcom felt it was necessary to bring up a lawsuit, since they felt the characters and special moves in Fighter's History were a direct copy of the well-known Street Fighter II family. Take a look at the two-page Special Feature on Fighter's History and judged for yourself. Now that both sides have spoken and althought the Court hasn't ruled a decisive victor, it looks as if you, the consumer, will be a different kind of judge. When both games hit the store shelves, which game are you going to rush out and buy, Fighter's History or Super Street FighterII? Is this a case of the little guys beating the giants? Only sales will tell. The bottom line is that while they're under litigation, Data East will be bringing out Fighter's History and the choice will be yours. -Ed Semrad
The best thing about the Letter of the Month entry?
So who walked away from the lawsuit victorious?
Data East did, giving Capcom a big ole BAKED POTATO!
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
EGM:6, 6, 7, 8
GameFan:80, 82, 84
From the first day I played the arcade, waiting for news of the SNES port, the GOLFLAND story, renting the SFC version and finally to playing the NA version til 3 in the morning with my old best friend Nelly, trying our damndest to see all nine endings, I've shared quite the history with Fighter's History. I thought it then and I still believe it now: this is an amazing port. Huge characters, big and colorful graphics, and some really neat home bonuses, such as new color schemes, a survival mode and let's not forget the added SPEED option! Select from Normal or Fast. Normal plays just like the arcade (somewhere on par with SFII: Champion Edition) and while Fast is no SFII Turbo, it definitely makes for a great home bonus that shows you Data East really cared
Gameplay, though perhaps unremarkable, is sound and steady. 2-in-1's and combos exist and the control is SUPERB which should never be overlooked or understated in a fighting game. The control is on par with any of the SNES SFII games. The music is typical 2D fighting game affair from that era, and the sound is notable for its many misquotable phases and wacky announcer. Who could forget Baked Potato!,Take a Look at That!, and She Ain't Gon' Die! just to name a few. As well as the announcer screaming "MATLOK WIIIIIIINS!!"
To me it's all part of the cheesy charm that gives Fighter's History a large chunk of its appeal
Basically, if you love the 2D fighter clones of the early-mid 90's as much as I do -- a simpler time where there were no 80-hit combos, Desperation Moves or Super Special orgies -- then I think it's pretty safe to say you will glean some modicum of satisfaction from this 20 MEG monster port