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Retro Fire

Written: 1.23.08
Acquired: 1.31.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $4.91

Pub: Data EastAugust '94
Dev: Data East20 MEGS

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?


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
, 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. The ONLY thing I could think about the rest of that day was....

Not IF, but WHEN, would the game come home via a Super Nintendo...


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
, 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...



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

                           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!


                                                   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...

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!" 

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
(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
, the Double Swan will
take out any sucker foolish
enough to jump in

                                             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

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?"

                                                 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

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

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?

                                       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 SnakeVick 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

  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?

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

"OW C'MON!!"

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

                             ?? 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

?? 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 cloud for 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!"


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...

  • RAY

                                                                  "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


  • LEE


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


    Karnov:  Turban

    Jean:  Leg strap

     Knee pads




      Arm tassels

      Chest protector

      Fuzzy leg warmers

      Lightning symbol on T-shirt

      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
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!


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...

"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.]


   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!


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

"Thanks kid"

"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


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...

  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
. 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
. 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 us Power 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


         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
    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.


         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 Fighter II? 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!


  • EGM: 6, 6, 7, 8
  • GameFan: 80, 82, 84
  • Super Play: 85%


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
Take a Look at That!, and
  She Ain't Gon' Die! just to name a few.
  As well as the announcer screaming

  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

Hell, I know I did

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 8.5

Overall: 8.5

Double Silver Award

Clown: Aw c'mon man..... WHY SO SERIOUS?

[Touché -Ed.]

     R.I.P. HL