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Retro Fire

Written: 7.4.11
Acquired: 3.27.06
Status: Cart only
: $9.85

Pub: DTMCNov. '93

Street Fighter II launched a whole new genre in the early '90s. It was to no one's surprise that this movement followed the SNES. Everyone was cranking out their own fighting game, hoping to cash in. One of those games was Ranma ½: Hard Battle. Unlike many other SNES fighters, Ranma wasn't based on an arcade translation. Rather it was based off a famous anime / manga series. Let's check it out
I remember loving the cover back in the day. 12 megs of power!


Imagine an Asian Kevin James voiceover...

                                       Now if this isn't the model father-son relationship, I dunno what is

SAY WHAT!  Spring of Drowned Girl?!?  AW SH -- !

                                                      You wish those were man boobs, don't cha

Never trust a female!  Er, a half-girl, half-boy thing!

                                                                  I hate when that happens...


I liked his Column Blast more than Ryu's Dragon Punch

                                                               A natural Ryu and Ken pairing

Consider him the "Guile" of the game

                                                        No comment on the last sentence there...

Shoryuken!  Great, now whada I win?  [a knuckle sandwich -Ed.]

                                                                This guy is just... rather useless

It just gets stranger and stranger doesn't it

                                         Bread crumbs as an attack in a fighting game. Only in Ranma

What the -- ....

                                                    This guy is crap, sorry to say. A major handicap

Yeah, looking to beat up whoever gave him his name!

                                                 It's only fitting the final boss would be a raging bull


Remember the good old days when 12 megs = big deal?  Ahhh...


I have some good memories of this game back in the day, so I was excited revisiting it three years ago. Recently, I revisited it again three years later. I forgot a lot of things about the game. First off, if you want to jump by simply pressing up (as is the standard in most fighting games), you need to change the buttons in the option menu. Otherwise jump is done by X. Secondly, the controls are somewhat awkward. The fighters are also a strange bunch, not very appealing unless you're a huge fan of the manga / anime series
Not surprisingly, the two bosses are playable in the 2P mode

                                                    But hey, there's a CRAZY mode-7 scene... ahem

A plot for the different characters explain why they're fighting. It's not to be the best of all. For some, they just want out of their exams. So, go beat up everyone the principal throws at you. Hmmm, that makes sense. Now imagine if that were our education system here in America. Hey, couldn't get any worse, right?

For its time, the game sports some fairly gnarly graphics. At least on paper. Once you see it in action, it's not quite as impressive as it first seems on first glance. That's too bad, and the graphics are easily the best quality of the game

Pretty colorful and bold, but so-so animation holds it back

My gaming buds and I liked Ranma ½: Hard Battle quite a bit when we rented it back in '93 and played the heck out of it that weekend. I remember it being a fun, silly little fighter that didn't take itself seriously

We sure did. It featured some pretty neat special moves for its time and was a nice break from Street Fighter II or so we thought

Ranma was the talk of that weekend for my gaming group and me

Unfortunately, revisiting the game I realized it was best if I had just left the memories alone. I'm not sure what my gaming group or I saw in this title back in '93, because it is not too enjoyable, really. Hampered by an awkward control system (holding attack buttons a bit and pressing the D-Pad) and
a lack of real intricate strategy (only two attack buttons and a lack of special moves), I was majorly disappointed

Sigh. I guess you can't win 'em all

The bliss of innocence (or ignorance) eh? 

The best Ranma game on SNES is the Japanese Super Famicom-only game Ranma ½: Chougi Ranbu Hen. It is way better than the first two Ranma fighters, with a fun combo system and the best graphics and sound of all the SNES Ranma games. Check it out!

But for those playing this game here's a big tip to maximize enjoyment. Change the shoulder buttons to be a power attack. That way you can strike with one special move (i.e. Y + B) while unleashing R + Back then Forward. It's making the best of a flawed control system. Also, if you want to battle CPU in 2P or Team mode, simply hold R + L and select with Y. This slightly increases replay value as the 2P mode allows you to use different characters and pick different backgrounds as you wish. Team mode is 5 vs. 5, non-elim. style
The game is not without its moments, but they're fleeting at best


  • EGM: 7, 7, 8, 8, 8
  • GameFan: 84, 84, 84, 89 (Feb. '93, Import, Skid, The Enquirer, Tom Slick, Brody)
    GameFan: 65, 75, 78, 80 (Dec. '93, US, SGT. Gamer, The Enquirer, Skid, K. Lee)
  • Super Play: 73%


In this hobby one of the great things is revisiting old childhood favorites. Sometimes they play just as well as you remember them. Other times, you wonder what in heck you were thinking. Before I revisited this game, I recalled to myself how much fun my gaming group and I had with it back in 1993. The bright, colorful graphics. The unique character roster. The groovy special moves. The smooth Street Fighter II-esque* commands and control. After revisiting with the game I was left wondering what we were smoking as kids to have enjoyed this game as much as we did nearly 20 years ago!  I guess part of the charm being a child is sometimes you just don't know any better

Sometimes innocence and ignorance TRULY is bliss!

*SFII-esque smooth commands my butt. Sometimes memory fails

It's a shame anytime your memories of a game doesn't live up to the actual quality of the game. I'm not saying Ranma ½: Hard Battle is a total dud, but it is strictly average. And, with so many good games available, it's not worth your while to play
if you're in the mood for a good ol' 16-bit fighter. The graphics aren't as good as I thought it was for its time, the sound is very weak and below par and the gameplay is just not very fun. Awkward control system and a rank lack of special moves makes it about as fun as watching paint dry. OK that was unfairly harsh. It's not THAT bad. However, it is fairly disappointing. I did like this game back in '93 but time and "wiser lens" has not been kind to it. The character balance is very poor, with some fighters at a major handicap. All in all, even for huge Ranma fans, I cannot recommend this. Again, if it's a Ranma fighter you want on your SNES, make sure it's Ranma ½: Chougi Ranbu Hen. Ranma ½: Hard Battle is ho-hum and ultimately forgettable. It's a shame but that's the thing about revisiting old childhood favorites. Some hold up remarkably well... while others simply sink. Ranma ½: Hard Battle is not a stinker, just a sinker. Sometimes, it really is best to leave the memories alone...

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 4
Gameplay: 5
Longevity: 4.5

Overall: 5.0