Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fighting Masters (Mega Drive)

Though Fighting Masters' release date came six months after Street Fighter II came along and changed fighting games forever, it seems it was too early for SFII to have has any influence on it. In fact, Fighting Masters looks so old-fashioned that for a long time, I actually dismissed it, assuming it was another unplayable mess along the lines of the infamous Tongue of the Fatman. When my curiosity finally overcame me and i actually played the game, I was pleasantly surprised: Fighting Masters is a pretty fun game that's also totally bizarre in a number of ways.

For starters, there are only two buttons used, along with the d-pad: and attack button and a jump button. As well as the simple control scheme, there are also no combination attacks or special moves in the game: each character only has single strikes and throws, with throws doing massive damage and apparently being the cornerstone of the game.

Each fight has only one round, and they all take place in small arenas with walls at each side. Combatants can be thrown into walls, adding even more damage to that inflicted by the already devastating throws. In single player mode, health is managed in a similar manner to survival modes seen in later fighting games: rather than just getting a full health bar for each stage, your health regenerates at the end of each fight, though it's pretty generous, and you'll often end up with at least as much health as you started with anyway.

Aside from the mechanical eccentricities, the game also contains strangeness in the designs of the fighters. Though there are two human characters: a wrestler and an amazon, I can't imagine anyne ever picking them when they're up against such a menagerie of opponents who all manageto be weird and different, while still managing to adhere, however vaguely, to typical upright humanoid shapes.

There's fairly typical monsters, like a dragon, a griffin-man and a boxing cyclops, as well as a tokusatsu-esque blade monster thing, a stone monster that's just the head of a pharoah with arms and legs sticking out, but best of all is the portly blue monster with several red-nippled breasts hanging in a ring formation around its neck and shoulders.

In summary, Fighting Masters is no rival for what we'd now consider a "proper" fighting game, but it is a lot of fun, thanks in no small part to it's varied set of characters.

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