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Written: 9.28.06
Acquired: 9.2.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $11

Publisher: Culture BrainReleased: 6.17.94
Developer: Culture BrainScarcity: 3.5

Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen wasn't the only fighting game I had been curious about for 12 years

In '94, EGM started previewing a fighting game due out later that year for the US Super Nintendo. I remember drooling at the two previews... thinking how awesome the game was going to be

February '94 NEXT WAVE issue #55

Several months later, in issue #62 September '94 they ran this (note the name change)

It never made it to the US

So when I got back into the Super Nintendo, I went searching for a Galactic Defender... I went searching for a SD Golden Fighter. Nothing came up, and I almost gave up on the idea that it ever came out

But one late late night in early September, I ran across SD Hiryu no Ken, and it indeed turned
out to be the game I had been looking for. I bought it on sight

Happy ending, right?


The day it arrived, I couldn't WAIT to rip into it. I was going to solve a conundrum that had haunted me for a dozen years

Popped it in

And from elation and excitement to, quickly, disappointment and despair

Initial impression: wow (not in the good way)

How could they have butchered it like so?

Animation: choppy
Frames: lacking
Jumping: clunky
Sound: below average
Graphics: disappointing
Controls: (semi)unresponsive

24 hours later, I gave it a 2nd chance. Lowered my expectations, accepted it for what it was, and when I did that, I came away liking the game a lot better. So, in the end, it's not ALL bad, but it came nowhere near its potential. In a lot of ways it feels rushed and half-completed. Yet despite all these flaws, it did grow on me a bit and is a perfect example of the classic guilty pleasure-type

The 15 character count is cool, in a time where 10 or 12 was the norm. The character design
is pretty decent, with a nice assortment of karate masters, bad-ass types, muscle men and monsters

Let's check 'em out


Main guy. Dragon-shaped fireball that only goes across a quarter of the screen. No Dragon Punch per se but has an anti-air twirling kick special move. I like the statue in the background of his stage

Ryuhi's rival from what I can gather. Throws a small diamond-shaped projectile in mid-air as well as on foot, and has a cool anti-air special where his body is engulfed by the spirit of a fiery phoenix


A cool-looking ninja-like warrior with a fireball that arches upward late. Has a Dragon Punch and a nice rolling flame kick that blazes his opponent not red, but blue, a la M. Bison's PSYCHO CRUSHER

An experienced brawler with nice combo's consisting of stinging rights and lefts. Even has a fireball for good measure. His stage is home to London and Big Ben


A lion-like beast that spits fireballs and can turn into a flaming rocket from above. His friend Jennifer aids him in certain special attacks. His Sky Palace stage is reminiscent of Karnov's from FIGHTER'S HISTORY DYNAMITE


A short sumo with ... surprise surprise... hand/belly attacks as well as a short range projectile. His stage is the edge of a forest overlooking a peaceful ocean


Like Kurosawa from LAST BRONX Tetsuo is the resident bad-ass with the big stick. Any fighter who spits before a battle is top-of-the-line certified. Pounds the ground with his stick unleashing a ground-based projectile

A huge serpentine creature with a staff that can turn into a scythe. OUCH! Emits a laser from his eye. Spins his staff as an anti-air attack


A big man with throws and charging attacks. Gotta love his South East Asian Jungle with the falling rain

A machine warrior that attacks with a sword and ninja stars. Can really "shock" the competition

Female whose stage is arguably the game's best. She has a dragon-shaped fireball like Ryuhi, but hers go the full length

Here's a guy who will challenge Darwin's theory... or maybe prove it! A total savage. Throws a wheel with lots of anger behind it

A young kid unbelievably fast. Ground fireball and flying charging attack that's very annoying

Tougher than a 2 dollar steak, she can manipulate air currents to send you sky high, helplessly twirling in mid-air.

No relation to MUSCLE POWER and CERTAINLY none to SCREECH POWERS. The CWF Champ loves nothing more than pounding his competition in front of his wild fans. Looks quite like the old WWF wrestler of late 80's/early 90's fame THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (so did that Level 2 boss
in Streets of Rage)

There are four game modes

  • Story mode
    Pick any 1 of the 15 and go through the entire roster, with a brief storyline in Japanese
  • VS mode
    1P vs. 2P, 1P vs. COM, or even COM vs. COM. You can pick your stage, your handicap AND by pressing L or R, change colors on each character up to 8 times. Every fighter should do that
  • Tournament
    Up to 8 players can compete to see who's number 1 in a single elimination tourney
  • Practice
    Practice, man. 4 different modes

Options you can set the timer, pick 1 or 3 rounds, CPU difficulty 1-8, Speed of 0, 1 or 2, change buttons, etc. Weak/strong punch and kick, L to taunt and R to side-step. R is unique because you can avoid projectiles/attacks without blocking. Also, if you're close to your opponent, by pressing forward + R you'll 360 around them. If you're quick you can score a cheap hit or throw before they can react

The game does play on the choppy side, but if you play on speed 2 it becomes less noticeable. I'd say you *HAVE TO* play it on speed 2 to get any enjoyment out of it, which was what I did
on my 2nd try


I can't recommend SD Hiryu no Ken unless you're a diehard fighting freak, or have some sort of fetish for Culture Brain's Hiryu no Ken games

Despite its flaws and unrealized potential, the SD look makes it unique and the characters have a decent amount of charm to them. Those are the main selling points. The controls could have used more polish -- sometimes it's hard to pull off simple special moves such as the D, DF, F command. But again, take it for what it is, and it's OK. Just remember to crank it up to the highest speed!