Reviews Archive

3D Fighters (5th Gen)


During the early to mid 90s, Sega's arcade releases Virtua Racing, and Virtua Fighter kick started what would become a huge push towards 3D polygonal gaming, every genre and popular series out there ended up being adapted to this new craze whether it benefited it or not. Following on from Virtua Fighter's popularity one of the first genre's affected by the move to 3D was the fighting game genre, and Sega and Namco's efforts with this new sub genre set it up to become as popular for the early 5th generation as platform games had been for the previous set of consoles. For this article I was originally unsure whether or not to focus only on the more hardcore, technical fighters, but that would've resulted in a short and in my opinion boring article, so in the end I decided to recommend some of the fun and entertaining games along with the serious ones.

  bloody roar 2 on playstation Bloody Roar 2
bloody roar 2 on ps1
  2 player  
  Stand out versions - PS1  
  The Bloody Roar series of games are fast paced, combo orientated fighters that contain a unique gimmick whereby all of the characters can change into more powerful animal forms. This sequel is much more polished than the previous game, and has much better graphics with some very impressive (for the time) lighting effects.  
  bushido blade Bushido Blade
bushido blade on ps1
  2 player  
  Stand out version - PS1  
  Bushido Blade completely sidesteps the usual fighting genre conventions, attempting to deliver a more brutal, close to real life experience. In Bushido Blade hitting your opponent full on with a sword strike will kill them outright, and a hit to the legs will incapacitate them, after the match is over instead of the usual taunts your character will even lament the death of his opponent. The gameplay has you manouevering your player in a proper 3D environment, and includes many features such as a choice of weapons before the match starts, and an interesting honor system where consistent dishonorable attacks will lose you the game.  
  dead or alive on saturn Dead or Alive
dead or alive
  2 player  
  Stand out version - Saturn  
  The Dead or Alive series became fairly well known mostly due to the impressively endowed female fighters, but it by no means needed to rely on this gimmick as the fighting engine of the game was easily one of the best of its time, offering fast, and smart gameplay. Out of the two original home ports I much prefer the Saturn version, as the PS1 game has much more boring, clinical backdrops.  
  ergeiz Ehrgeiz
ehrgeiz on ps1
  2 player  
  Stand out version - PS1  
  Ehrgeiz is a fully 3D fighting game which features Cloud, Sephiroth, Tifa, Vincent, Yuffie and Zack from Final Fantasy 7 as playable characters. Whatever it was originally conceived to be, Ehrgeiz ended up pretty much being a fan service to the Final Fantasy series, with its main attraction amongst gamers seemingly being the fact that you can play out your favourite FF7 scenario's. Apart from the FF7 connection the actual gameplay is fairly interesting too as it plays in proper 3D, allowing you to run around the environments jumping on objects, and throwing projectiles.  
  fighters destiny Fighters Destiny
fighters destiny on n64
  2 player  
  Stand out versions - N64  
  While most of the other 3D fighters of the time were using a Virtua Fighter inspired combo driven system, Fighters Destiny went for a unique points based system more reminiscent of the old 8-bit karate games. The points system tends to give more emphasis on calculated attacks than combos, as its often better to take people unaware with a knockdown (a special one hit kill melee attack) or a throw, though effective combos can certainly be found for many of the characters if you take the time to learn them thoroughly.  
  fighter's megamix Fighters Megamix
fighter's megamix on saturn
  2 Player  
  Stand out version - Saturn  
  Fighters Megamix was the second benchmark fighting title released for the Saturn after the Virtua Fighter series, its mainly a tongue in cheek amalgamation of Virtua Fighter 2, and another of Sega's big arcade licences of the time called Fighting Vipers. You get all the characters from both those series' to play with, as well as a number of Sega's other characters such as Janet from Virtua Cop, and Bean from an old Arcade/Master System game called Dynamite Dux, as such the character roster available for the time was huge and second to none. The gameplay and graphics of the game veer more towards Fighting Vipers (fast, action based gameplay, low resolution graphics, high quality lighting effects) and because of this I decided to omit Fighting Vipers from this list as Megamix pretty much makes it redundant.  
  last bronx Last Bronx
last bronx on saturn
  2 Players  
  Stand out version - Saturn  
  Last Bronx is another Sega fighting game which uses the fast Fighting Vipers style gameplay, it was released in the arcade around the same time as Soul Blade and like that game also has all the characters wielding different weapons. Its a lot of mindless fun, and whilst being a lot more action packed than Soul Blade, is nowhere near as deep.  
  mortal kombat 4 Mortal Kombat 4
mortal kombat 4 on n64
  2 Player  
  Stand out version - N64  
  With all the popular series' getting 3D iterations during the 5th gen it was only a matter of time before Mortal Kombat went the same way, when it did arrive MK4 turned out to be a very respectable transition. Mainly MK4's gameplay is a straight conversion of the previous 2D hits and doesn't really take that much advantage of the 3D perspective, but the 3D graphics do add a lot more brutal punch to the feel of the game, and the new characters were all pretty interesting and entertaining. Apart from that though, an aspect worth mentioning is definitely the awesome sound quality, which blew me away when I first heard it. As the two home ports go the N64 version is as close to the arcade game as you could hope for during that time period.  
Atari ST
Atari VCS
Commodore 64
Game Boy
Master System
Mega Drive
Neo Geo
PC Engine
ZX Spectrum