Fighter’s History – Review
1994 – Data East
The year is 1994. It is Friday, and you are excited to head home from school to get started on the weekend. Your mom decides to head to Blockbuster to rent some movies as well as some games, she is going to order pizza on the way home, and your friend is allowed to stay over too. She asks you what games you want to rent for your Super Nintendo, you immediately say “Street Fighter II” as well as some of the usual games that you enjoy. Your mom comes home, and you quickly run to the door to get the games. The excitement in your face drains as you realize that Street Fighter II isn’t there. “They didn’t have Street Fighter II as it was already out for rent, but the person at the store said this is almost the same.” In its place is a game called Fighter’s History.
What is Fighter’s History? Well it is a fighting game of course, that was developed and published by Data East, and had hit the arcades in March of 1993 as one of the many games trying created to take advantage of the Street Fighter II fighting game craze that had hit the arcades upon its release. The game would be ported to the Super Nintendo in August of 1994. One thing that I have always noticed about Data East is their tendency to release reimagined versions of games published by other companies such as SNK, Capcom, and Konami. This one though? Capcom felt it was a bit too similar to Street Fighter II, and to be honest, it really was. I know in my last article that I had talked about World Heroes being a Street Fighter clone, but this one was extremely blatant to the point where one could call it Street Fighter 2.5! Once the game was released, Data East found themselves in a copyright infringement lawsuit from the higher ups at Capcom both in the United States as well as in Japan. Data East would win the case on October 31, 1994. While the judge did see the similarities to Street Fighter in regards to characters and move sets, Data East would win on the ground of the similarities being protected under legally under the law of “scenes a faire”. Anything under “scenes a faire” is excluded from copyright laws. Now that all of the legal mumbo jumbo out of the way, let’s get into the review of the game itself, shall we?
Each fighter is given a letter from some guy in a suit inviting them to compete in “The Great Fighters Competition”. Pretty generic, huh? The winner is promised “untold treasures” while the losers pay with their lives! Interesting concept, though I never saw anyone get killed in this game. After all, this is Fighter’s History, not Mortal Kombat! With the letters in hand, the fighters make their way to this tournament!
I will be honest, the game play is not that much different from Street Fighter II. It has all of the standard tropes that a fighting game would have such as the CPU battle (Arcade Mode) where you take on all fighters until you reach the final boss. The game also had energy bars that deplete as more damage is caused. Fights are also the standard 3 rounds, and you win either by KOing your opponent or having more energy after the time expires. After a fight is over, there is also the standard victory taunt said towards the beaten opponent. There is also a VS. Mode that allows you to play with a friend, and there is even a survival mode where each person picks a team of 5. The team who loses all of their characters first loses. Another thing that is unique to this game is that each character has a weak spot. It should be a headband, or their chest armor. When you attack your opponent’s weak spot, it causes the opponent to be temporarily stunned. Overall, the game play is very solid.
We’ve got quite a lineup here! I am going to provide the information as provided from the original SNES Instruction Manual!
An American Martial Arts Instructor. Think of Ken without a Gi. He is in the tournament to further sharpen his skills.
She is an actress from China, and a blatantly obvious Chun-Li clone. She is known, of course, for her kicks!
A Judo Master from Japan. She has been trained by her grandfather from birth
Known as “The Fighting Rocker”. He is from England and known to fuse his love for punk rock with his fighting style!
Samchay is a kickboxer from Thailand! He is pretty much a rip-off of Sagat from the Street Fighter series, but not nearly as cool!
Lee is a Kung Fu expert from China. He has entered the tournament to avenge the death of his father who had been a part of the Fighter’s History Tournament years prior.
What would a Street Fighter clone be without a Ryu clone, right? Like Ryu, Mizoguchi is a drifter from Japan who travels around looking for the next fight.
Jean-Pierre is a Gymnast as well as a florist from France. He has the pretty boy tendencies that remind one of Vega from Street Fighter II
Another staple in fighting games at the time was the wrestler! Marstorious fits that bill as a wrestler from Hungary known for his “Double German”.
And now we get to the non-playable bosses.
A circus performer who doubles as one of the most dangerous fighters in the world!
Karnov is the sponsor of the tournament, and the final boss of the game. If you know anything about Data East games, then you know that Karnov is something of a mascot for them. He stars in his own game, and is also the first boss In the Data East side scrolling beat em up Bad Dudes!
NOTE: All art from – https://snk.fandom.com
The controls are similar to Street Fighter II with the same 6 button layout for weak, medium, and strong kicks and punches. Fighter’s History also has similar controls where a player can do special moves with the right control and button combinations. It is as if the person putting the game together looked at the Street Fighter controls and said “This is fine!” which isn’t even necessarily a bad thing! It means that anyone who has played fighting games from that era can easily pick this game up and play it. This fighting game is tailor made for the SNES controller!
The visuals on this game a pretty good. It has nice back grounds on each stage. The characters look good, and everything looks very clean. This was an excellent port from its arcade predecessor, while not arcade perfect, it still stands on its own graphically.
The music on this game is great! The music takes on something of a rock and roll sound on some stages which I feel is pretty unique. Whoever worked on this game gets props for being able to make the music similar to the arcade with the console limitations.
As with most fighting games, the difficulty can actually be adjusted meaning that the game can be as easy and as difficult as you want it to be. You can put it on easy, but then you won’t get to see the endings. Playing it on normal gives you the ending, and beating it on the hardest difficulty gives the player a special bonus if they finish the game while using no continues. This gives the game a lot of replay value!
Fighter’s History is a fighting game that is worth having in your collection. While it is easy to dismiss it as a Street Fighter rip-off, the game is fun enough that it stands on its own enough that 2 sequels were made. If you want to be able to play this game on your SNES, you have two options. You can do like I did, and find the game on eBay. I paid 10 dollars for my copy. Or you can purchase it as part of the Data East Classic Collection for the SNES at retro-bit.com. I give this game 3 out of 5 trogs! Also, be sure to check out the link to the only commercial made for the game below!
3 out of 5 TROGS!
GameTrog Review By
Ultragoldenant is a nerdy father of 3 from outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He also collects wrestling memorabilia, enjoys cosplay, and has a deep love for the decade known as the 90s!