Japanese arcade flyer of Kaiser Knuckle.
|Designer(s)||Takeshi Kobori (project leader)
Hiroshi Aoki (main programmer)
Nobuteru Yuki (image illustrator)
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Taito F3 System hardware|
Kaiser Knuckle (カイザーナックル), which is known outside of Japan as Global Champion, is a 1994 fighting game released for the arcades by Taito. Kaiser Knuckle was released during the fighting game trend of the 1990s that began with Capcom's Street Fighter II.
Kaiser Knuckle follows the same fighting game conventions established by Street Fighter II, in which the player's character fights against his or her opponent in a best two-out-of-three match round format from within a single player tournament mode, either with the computer or against another human player in versus mode. The player has a character roster of nine initially selectable fighters to choose from and three unplayable computer-controlled bosses, each with their own unique fighting style and special techniques. The control layout is set to the six-button standard (a la most Capcom fighting games), but it can be switched to a five-button layout via dip settings. One unique feature is that Kaiser Knuckle was the first and only fighting game that has five strengths of basic attacks.
Another unique feature is that it introduced the power zones, which can be utilized via a successful hit of a special move when a player's "Crush Meter" is full. The power zones (either fire or electric) can also affect a certain special move that a character has. Backgrounds can be destructible when players get hit to charge up, and when those meters are full, the next special move that a player connects with his/her opponent will destroy the background's properties at will (other parts of stages, such as floors and walls are also destructible).
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There are nine playable characters, and three unplayable bosses.
- Kazuya (和也（かずや）) - The main protagonist of the game, who is a karateka from Japan. Kazuya seeks to win the tournament so that he can not only gain the prize money, but also to impress some women as well. His name comes from Kazuya Mishima. (voice actor: Kazuki Yao)
- Lihua (梨花（リーファ）) - A swordswoman from Taiwan. Lihua seeks to win the tournament in the hopes of locating her missing mother and father. (voice actor: Saeko Shimazu)
- Barts (バーツ) - A mixed martial artist and biker from the USA. Barts is determined to win the tournament's prize money so that he can help fund a medical operation for his girlfriend Sarah, who was injured in a past motorcycle accident. (voice actor: Ryōtarō Okiayu)
- Wulong (武龍（ウーロン）) - A Chinese martial artist and detective, he has black scratch marks on his cheeks. Wulong enters the tournament so that he can attempt to win the prize money and use it to pay a debt to a Chinese criminal group that he knows very well. (voice actor: Yasushi Horibata)
- Liza (ライザ) - An Amazon and a jungle girl from Brazil, accompanied by a monkey and a green cockatoo. Liza heads to the tournament in the hopes of winning the prize money so that she can buy a new exotic costume for the Rio Carnival. (voice actor: Aya Hisakawa)
- Boggy (ボギー) - An African-American breakdancer from the USA. Boggy is determined to win the tournament so that he can advance his own dancing career. (voice actor: Andrew Holms)
- Gekkou (月光（げっこう）) - A ninja from Japan. Gekkou seeks to win the tournament so that he can gain the secrets of his ninjutsu style from his master. (voice actor: Hideo Ishikawa)
- Jim McCoy (J・マッコイ) - A boxer from USA. McCoy seeks to win the tournament so that he can use the prize money to help gain him a title shot against the current boxing heavyweight champion. (voice actor: Kazunari Tanaka)
- Marco (マルコ) - A mutated human from Germany, his face was wrapped in bandages so only his eyeball is visible, his clothes including his shoes are ragged and worn out. Marco heads to the tournament in the hopes of winning the prize money so that he can help fund a science research that could enable him to become a normal human. (voice actor: Hisayoshi Ogura)
- Gonzales (ゴンザレス) - A judoka from Russia, he is often seen wearing a karate suit and a coonskin cap. Gonzales participates in the tournament so that he can attempt to locate his missing fiancee Tanya, who was separated from him after a civil war in their hometown. (voice actor: Hisao Egawa)
- Azteca (アステカ) - An Aztec warrior from Mexico. Azteca participates in the tournament so that he can attempt to regain his own lost memories. (voice actor: Ryu Kuzu)
- General (ジェネラル) - The main antagonist and final boss of the game, who is the commander of a space station in orbit. General is the sponsor of "The Kaiser Knuckle" tournament, but his reasons for holding the competition in the first place is shrouded in mystery. (voice actor: Steve Yamashita)
- Announcer (voice actor: Randy Sexton)
Global Champion is a modified international version of Kaiser Knuckle, the Japanese version. Global Champion has the "Winners Don't Use Drugs" screen, the "super moves" were cut, and the portraits of Kazuya, Liza and Lihua were re-drawn. After players choose their characters and their first opponents, they will then be able to see an intro sequence that shows the prologue of their chosen character's own personal story. The title screen is also different as well, but strangely, the letter "K" from both words in the Kaiser Knuckle logo can still be seen in some of Global Champion's backgrounds.
An updated version of Kaiser Knuckle was planned to be released in December 1994 as Dan-Ku-Ga (断仇牙), but it was later discontinued; however, the prototype itself was dumped onto the Internet as a ROM. This version allows the first two bosses, Gonzales and Azteca to become playable characters. You can no longer choose your first opponent in a one-player game, except on the Training difficulty level.
Other differences are the CPU AI being altered. Players choose the difficulty levels Normal, Professional, or Training before their game. Players can also backdash with all characters. Gonzales becomes the 5th opponent, Azteca becomes the 9th opponent and the doppelgänger of the player's chosen character becomes the 10th opponent. Kazuya, Lihua, and Liza have been redesigned on the character select screen, and all characters each have a third costume color. Also, some of the basic attacks that are executed with two punch or kick buttons are taken out, but the rest are still present and now executed with a single button plus a joystick direction. The third boss, General, can now be fought against without meeting certain conditions.
Apart from this, Kaiser Knuckle 2 (カイザーナックル2) was also planned as a sequel to the original arcade board used in making the full transition to 3D, but the planning board itself was later canceled. The entire project would soon be retitled as Psychic Force, which had replaced the old models with new ones.
- Closing credits of Kaiser Knuckle. Retrieved on 09-07-2009.
- Kaiser Knuckle
- Global Champion / Dan-Ku-Ga