European arcade flyer of Fighter's History, the first game in the series.
|Original release||Fighter's History
March 1993 (Arcade)
May 27, 1994 (Super Famicom)
August 1994 (SNES)
March 17, 1994 (Neo Geo)
April 28, 1994 (Neo Geo CD)
July 4, 1997 (Sega Saturn)
Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!!
February 17, 1995 (Super Famicom)
|Spin-offs||Garou Densetsu vs. Fighter's History Dynamite|
Fighter's History (ファイターズヒストリー Faitāzu Hisutorī) is a series of competitive fighting games that were produced by Data East during the 1990s. The original Fighter's History was first released for the arcades in 1993 and then ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994. Two different sequels were produced: Fighter's History Dynamite (ファイターズヒストリーダイナマイト Faitāzu Hisutorī Dainamaito), known in Europe as Karnov's Revenge, for the Neo Geo in 1994, followed by Fighter's History: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!! (ファイターズヒストリー 〜溝口危機一髪!!〜 Faitāzu Hisutorī: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!!, "Mizoguchi's Moment of Crisis!!"), released exclusively in Japan for the Super Famicom in 1995.
The main unique feature of the Fighter's History series is its "weak point system". By repeatedly hitting an opponent's weak point, the player can temporarily stun them once per round, leaving the opponent open for an attack. The location of an opponent's weak spot varies with each character and is usually represented by a specific article of clothing (i.e.: a headband, a vest, a mask).
- Story (transcription from the manual)
- "The "Great Grapple" is an international cross martial arts tournament that is held only once a year. It is an event organized by an individual known only as "K", the invincible undefeated emperor. In the previous years it was held, it used to be a suitable gathering event for martial artists who pride themselves as the world's strongest. However, K was always the champion. As a man who never appeared to the public, K was feared by many as a "servant of God". However, the Great Grapple continues to be held each year without fail. This year, only nine fearless martial artists applied for the tournament. There are those that had been lured in by the prize money. And then there are those who fight for their pride as martial artists."
The original Fighter's History was first released as an arcade game in March 1993. The game uses a six-button control configuration similar to Street Fighter II and its iterations, as well as an alternate version of the first Street Fighter, with three punch buttons and three kick buttons, each for different strength levels (light, medium, and heavy). There are a total of nine playable characters, as well as two non-playable boss characters at the end of the single-player tournament. The final boss and sponsor of the tournament is revealed to be Karnov, the protagonist of the Data East action game of the same name.
In this installment hitting an opponent's weak point will not only stun the opponent, it will also cause the opponent to sustain greater damage when the weak point is repeatedly struck afterward.
The game was ported to the Super Famicom in Japan on May 27, 1994, and for its American counterpart, the Super NES, on August of the same year. The two boss characters, Karnov and Clown, are both playable in the home version through the use of a code.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the SNES version a 6.75 out of 10. They commented that the graphics are average, but highly praised the controls as exceptional for a fighting game. GamePro gave the SNES version a negative review, calling the game "an unremarkable SF knock-off with solid but slow game play", and heavily criticizing the "bland" character design.
Fighter's History Dynamite (Karnov's Revenge)
- Story (transcription from the manual)
- "The "Great Grapple" was a tournament hosted by a mysterious unseen warrior known as "K". Having suffered defeat a year ago, K, burned by the flames of disgrace, has invited numerous martial artists from around the world once again. The nine participants from the previous tournament have trained themselves over the course of the past year, acquiring magnificent new special techniques, as they're joined by two new challengers who also seek to challenge the mysterious warrior K. The stage is set, as a burning battle is about to begin..."
Fighter's History Dynamite, also titled Karnov's Revenge in certain markets, was released for the arcades March 17, 1994. Due to change of hardware to SNK's MVS platform, the control configuration was reduced from six attack buttons to just four (only light and heavy attacks are available this time). Likewise, the game was released for the Neo Geo home console, as well as the Neo Geo CD, on April 28, 1994.
A new gameplay feature is introduced in the form of "one-two attacks". When the player presses a heavy attack button while performing a light attack or blocking, the interval between light attacks is reduced, making combos easier to perform. While this feature is not mentioned on the instruction card, the final page of the home Neo-Geo version's manual mentions it, describing as the "one-two attack" system.
All eleven fighters from the previous game return (including the bosses Clown and Karnov, who are now playable) and are joined by two new characters: Yungmie, a female taekwondo exponent from Korea, and Zazie, a karate practitioner from Kenya, for a total of 13 characters. Karnov is the only returning character who was given entirely new sprites. Most of the returning characters were given new special techniques (with a few exceptions), including hidden techniques which are not listed on the instruction card (the manual for the home version hints of their inclusion). The Ox that appeared in the bonus rounds in Karate Champ appears in this game as a secret boss if the player completes the game on the Normal setting or above without losing a round. The Ox is an unplayable character.
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Neo Geo version of the game a 25 out of 40. GamePro rated it as a modest improvement over the first game, with faster paced action but the same lack of likeable characters. However, they said the new characters are better than the old ones, especially Yungmie and her unique trait of using only her legs to attack. In addition to the ports for the Neo Geo home consoles, Fighter's History Dynamite was released for the Sega Saturn exclusively in Japan on July 4, 1997. The Saturn version allows players to assign all four basic attacks into a single button (C and Z by default), which is required for certain characters in order to perform certain special moves. A Virtual Console reissue of the Neo Geo version was released for the Wii in Japan on June 8, 2010 and in North America on December 27, 2010. It was also added to Zeebo on April 23, 2010.
Fighter's History: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!!
- Story in CPU Battle Mode (transcription)
- "The "Great Grapple" is being held for the third time. The organizer this time is named "C", a mysterious man who mocks "K" and sneers at every martial artists. Eight martial artists were invited to participate as they fight their way to the end to uncover C's true identity, as well as to test their own strength. A new legend has just been born!!"
- Story in Mizoguchi Mode (transcription)
- "The Naniwa-loving Mizoguchi sees the signboard of Osaka's symbolic Takoyaki shop "Naniwa Ichiban" (浪花一番) stolen before his very own eyes. The culprit was a mysterious who shot a dull light from his whole body. What is his true objective...? Mizoguchi sets off on a journey to recover the signboard as he seeks information from other martial artists."
Fighter's History: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!! ("Mizoguchi's Moment of Crisis!!") was released exclusively in Japan for the Super Famicom on February 17, 1995. It was the only game in the series released exclusively for the home market. Originally planned as a port of Fighter's History Dynamite, many changes were made to the game, including the addition of a new game mode where Mizoguchi is the protagonist. The story takes place after the events of Dynamite. In addition to the story-based Mizoguchi Mode, there are also three new game modes (Practice, Tag Battle, and Survival) in addition to the traditional CPU Battle and 2-Player Versus Modes.
There are only nine playable characters in this installment, as five of the characters from the previous Fighter's History games were cut from the roster (Ray, Jean, Matlock, Samchay, and Marstorius). Chelnov, the main character from Data East's arcade game Atomic Runner Chelnov, appears in this game as the final boss, as well as a hidden character playable via a code. Ray, Jean, Matlock, Samchay and Marstorius, while not playable, appear during the story sequences of the Mizoguchi Mode.
Like the Saturn version of Dynamite, the player can assign all four basic attacks into a single button (R by default). The Practice Mode is actually a tutorial that teaches players how to perform various combos with each character. By completing all of the exercises given, the player will be taught how to perform a new special technique for their character.
- Ray McDougal (レイ・マクドガル Rei Makudogaru) - The lead character in the first two games. A detective from Los Angeles with a unique fighting style.
- Makoto Mizoguchi (溝口 誠 Mizoguchi Makoto) - A high school delinquent from Osaka who is in his late 20s after being held back repeatedly for many years. He is the most prominent character in the series, having appeared in several games outside the Fighter's History franchise, including SNK's KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A.
- Liu Feilin (劉 飛鈴, Japanese: Ryu Feirin, Chinese Pinyin: Liú Fēilíng) - A top actress in the Chinese classical opera world, she is also a master of the Chinese murderer's fist.
- Ryoko Kano (嘉納 亮子 Kanō Ryōko) - A Japanese high school girl who learned judō from her grandfather since the age of 3.
- Matlok Jade (マットロック・ジェイド Mattorokku Jeido) - A punk rock guitarist from England who seeks a legendary guitar.
- Samchay Tomyamgun (サムチャイ・トムヤムクン Samuchai Tomuyamukun) - A Muay Thai fighter from Thailand who seeks to support his younger siblings in the absence of his parents.
- Lee Diendou (李 典徳 Japanese: Rii Diendō, Chinese Pinyin: Lǐ Diǎndé) - A Chinese Bajiquan exponent who participates in the Great Grapple in order to seek the mysterious warrior who killed his father Gentoku (厳徳)
- Jean Pierre (ジャン・ピエール Jan Piēru) - A French gymnast who has always achieved perfect scores until the day he scored a 9.98. Since then, he began picking martial arts in order to improve his grace and strength. He participates in the tournament in order to see the results of his training.
- Marstorius (マーストリウス Māsutoriusu) - A professional wrestler from Italy in his 40s who believes that wrestling is the strongest martial art. In the versus screen of Fighters History Dynamite, his name is misspelt as Marstrius.
- Clown (クラウン Kuraun) - The sub-boss in the first game. Like his name suggests, he is a clown from a traveling circus who fights with his quick agility as a circus performer. His special moves includes a rolling attack and card throws. In Dynamite, he forms his own circus called "Clown's Circus" and participates in the second tournament to become stronger than Karnov, as well as to find an "attractive male fighter". In the Japanese version of the series, Clown is depicted as a homosexual who is attracted to younger men. While the English localization of the first two games removed all references of Clown's sexuality in the game, the manual for the Neo-Geo home version still mentions his preferences for men.
- Karnov (カルノフ Karunofu) - The main boss in the first two games. Originally a character from a previous Data East game of the same name. The second son of a poor Russian farmer, his full name is Jinborv Karnovski. He earned his reputation as a brawling ruffian at a young age by picking fights at neighboring places. He was forced to become a servant of God in the past as punishment for his past behavior, but has since renounced the heavens in order to host his own martial arts tournament, where he is the undefeated champion. After losing in the first game, he hosts the second tournament in Dynamite in order to seek revenge for his defeat. In Kiki Ippatsu!, Karnov leaves the heavens from his retire in order to defeat the people mocking him.
- Zazie Muhaba (ザジィ・ムハバ Zajii Muhaba) - One of the new characters introduced in Fighter's History Dynamite. A nature-loving practitioner of the Hokutō Shinkan Karate (北東真館空手) style from Kenya. He participates in the Great Grapple tournament in order to fund his self-made environmentalist organization and protect the African wildlife from poachers.
- Liu Yungmie (柳 英美, Japanese: Ryū Yonmī, Korean: Ryu Yeongmi) - The other new character introduced in Fighter's History Dynamite. A young female taekwondo practitioner from Korea whose parents were both top-class martial artists. She participates in the Great Grapple in order to investigate her parents' disappearance. When she defeats Karnov, she is told that her father committed suicide after losing to Karnov and that her mother disappeared afterward. In Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!, she participates in Chelnov's Great Grapple tournament in order to face her rival Feilin. In her ending in Kiki Ippatsu!, she becomes a tour guide who travels the world.
- Ox (オックス Okkusu) - A hidden final opponent in Fighter's History Dynamite, he is based on the ox that player faced in the early Data East fighting game Karate Champ.
- Chelnov (チェルノブ Cherunobu) - The final boss exclusive to Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!. The organizer of the "Last Great Grapple tournament", who wears a strange suit that conceals his true face. It is said that he was a former Russian scientist who was involved a huge accident that almost killed him. Chelnov was originally the title character of a Data East arcade game of the same name.
At the time of the first game's release, Capcom U.S.A. sued Data East Corp. over Fighter's History due to what Capcom U.S.A. felt were infringements on its Street Fighter II property. Capcom also filed similar claims against Data East in Japan. Data East Corp.'s largest objection in court was that their 1984 arcade game Karate Champ was the true originator of the competitive fighting game genre, which predated the original Street Fighter by three years. Judge Orrick set an October 31, 1994 trial date, stating that he could not deny "the strong evidence that it set out to copy Street Fighter's success," noting similarities such as a Chun-Li clone and several comparable special moves. However, Capcom U.S.A. lost the case on grounds that the copied elements were scenes a faire and thus excluded from copyright.
All three titles in the series had their soundtracks published the CD albums exclusively in Japan. On June 18, 1993, the original arcade version of the original Fighter's History soundtrack was released by Pony Canyon and Scitron Label, while the SNES version's soundtrack was released by Project EGG on July 19, 2011, which can be downloaded on the official Project EGG website. On March 18, 1994, the soundtrack of the Neo-Geo MVS / Neo-Geo AES version of Fighter's History Dynamite / Karnov's Revenge was added with the Neo-Geo MVS / Neo-Geo AES soundtrack of Windjammers (known in Japan as Flying Power Disc) by Pony Canyon and Scitron Label in an album titled Fighter's History Dynamite / Flying Power Disc. This album features two exclusive arranged versions of "DYNAMITE" (from Fighter's History Dynamite / Karnov's Revenge) (Arrange Version begins) and "SHOOOT!!" (from Windjammers / Flying Power Disc). On July 26, 2011, Project EGG published the soundtrack of the Neo-Geo MVS / Neo-Geo AES version of Fighter's History Dynamite / Karnov's Revenge alone without the arranged version of "DYNAMITE", which like their other soundtrack, also can be downloaded on the official Project EGG website. On August 26, 2005, Insanity Naked Hunter Co., Ltd. published the same version Project EGG published, but exclusively as a CD album. On March 19, 1995, Pony Canyon and Scitron Label published the soundtracks of the Neo-Geo CD version of Fighter's History Dynamite / Karnov's Revenge and Fighter's History: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!! both in the album titled Fighter's History Dynamite NEO-GEO CD & Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!!.
Other appearances in media
Outside of the Fighter's History series, Makoto Mizoguchi became prominent when he appeared in several other video games. He appeared in the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation versions of Data East's 1995 Water Margin-based fighting arcade game, Outlaws Of The Lost Dynasty as an extra character. The Sega Saturn version is known outside Japan as Dark Legend. He and Liu Yungmie later appeared in its Japan-exclusive semi-sequel, titled as Suiko Enbu: Fuuun Saiki. Five years after Data East went out of business while giving their video game rights to G-Mode, Paon, WorkJam and Crea-tech, SNK Playmore signed a deal with G-Mode to use their characters from the Fighter's History series in two SNK Playmore titles. Makoto Mizoguchi became the only character from the Fighter's History series as a special guest character in an upgrade to KOF: Maximum Impact 2 titled as KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A, to promote the Japan-exclusive cell phone game specifically featuring the cast of Fatal Fury Special and Fighter's History Dynamite titled as Garou Densetsu vs. Fighter's History Dynamite. Makoto Mizoguchi also appeared in Joe & Mac Returns as one of the enemies in the game, and as a hidden character in Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble.
- "Review Crew: Fighter's History". Electronic Gaming Monthly (59). EGM Media, LLC. June 1994. p. 33.
- "ProReview: Fighter's History". GamePro (60). IDG. July 1994. p. 74.
- NEO GEO GAMES CROSS REVIEW: ファイターズヒストリー ダイナマイト. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.332. Pg.23. 28 April 1995.
- "ProReview: Fighter's History Dynamite". GamePro (62). IDG. September 1994. p. 110.
- New Games Cross Review - ファイターズヒストリー 溝口危機一髪. Weekly Famitsu. No.323. Pg.38. 24 February 1995.
- "Capcom, Data East in Fighter's Fight". GamePro (59). IDG. June 1994. p. 182.
- GAMEST Magazine. 134. December 30, 1994. Missing or empty
- Capcom U.S.A. Inc. v. Data East Corp. 1994 WL 1751482 (N.D. Cal. 1994). Analysis at Patent Arcade accessed June 18, 2009.
- "SNKプレイモアとジー･モードがキャラクター相互利用契約を締結". Dengeki Online. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
- "餓狼伝説VS.ファイターズヒストリーダイナマイト｜Gモードスタイル". G-Mode. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
- "ARCADE AT THE MOVIES PAGE 6". MAME World. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- Fighter's History
- Official G-Mode webpage (Archive)
- Fighter's History at Jap-Sai
- Fighter's History at MobyGames
- Fighter's History at arcade-history
- Fighter's History at the Killer List of Videogames
- Fighter's History Dynamite/Karnov's Revenge
- Official G-Mode webpage (Archive)
- Fighter's History Dynamite at Jap-Sai
- Fighter's History Dynamite/Karnov's Revenge at arcade-history
- Fighter's History Dynamite at the Killer List of Videogames
- Fighter's History: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!!
- Fighter's History: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!! at Jap-Sai