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|Publisher(s)||Atari Games, Tengen
|Mode(s)||Up to 3 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Atari G1 Hardware
68000 @ 14.31818 MHz (CPU)
Sound CPU : ADSP2105 (@ 10 MHz)
M6502 @ 1.7895 MHz (CPU)
YM2151 @ 3.579 MHz (Audio)
MSM6295 @ 0.009037 MHz (Audio)
|Display||Raster resolution 336 x 240|
The graphical animations for the player character(s) and opponents were created through a bluescreen process, where the various poses & moves of the characters were acted out by hired actors in front of a video camera. The game's on-screen character animation are replays of the actual footage, not a rotoscoped (redrawn) animation as was common in other games. Pit Fighter was the second fighting game to use digitized sprites, after Home Data's Reikai Dōshi: Chinese Exorcist.
The gameplay is similar to Taito's Violence Fight and SNK's Street Smart. The player must jump, punch, and kick their opponent until his/her energy runs out. If the player presses all three of the buttons at a time, the character will perform a "super move". The player begins Pit-Fighter by choosing one of the three playable characters, who all have different moves, speed, and power.
In the player select screen in the arcade version, each player has a color to select the fighters with: for player one it's blue, for player two it's red and for player three it's yellow. As many as three people can play at a time, but there will be extra opponents to fight during any of this game's 15 different matches.
Every third fight is a bonus round known as a Grudge Match. In a Grudge Match, the player must fight against a CPU controlled clone of his or her fighter (if playing alone) or the other players in a multiplayer game. Getting knocked down three times eliminates a player from the Grudge Match, the winner is the last man standing. Losing the Grudge Match does not eliminate a player, but the winner gets bonus money.
The final battle, the "Championship Match", is between the player and the mysterious entity that taunts between matches every once in a while, the Masked Warrior. If more than one person is playing the game before this match, they must fight each other to the death until only one becomes victorious and can fight him.
Sometimes during matches the player will come across foreign objects such as knives, crates, sticks, motorcycles, and bar stools that can be thrown at you or your opponent. The player may also come across a power-up known as the "power pill". If the player or the opponent grab this item, one will become temporarily stronger and take less damage from hits.
At times even the crowd will interfere in the fights. Two characters, known as Knife Man (Milt Loper) and Knife Woman (Dianne Bertucci), will come out of the crowd and stab the player with their daggers. The player can take these nuisances out with one hit. Sometimes there is also a fat bearded man with a stick. If the player knocks him down, the player can take the stick and use it against the current opponent.
The audience will also push any fighter that ends up among them, and stays there more than a few seconds. They will be forced back into the fighting area.
Pit-Fighter features 3 playable fighters:
- Buzz (Bill Chase): A big and strong ex-professional wrestler.
- Ty (Marc Williams): An agile kickboxing champion.
- Kato (Glenn Fratticelli): A quick 3rd degree black belt.
Pit-Fighter also has 8 unplayable opponents. Several of the characters share the names of the actors who played them:
- Executioner (John Aguire)
- Southside Jim (James Thompson)
- Angel (Angela Stellato)
- C.C. Rider (Rich Vargas)
- Mad Miles (Miles McGowan)
- Heavy Metal (Kim Rhodes)
- Chainman Eddie (Eddie Venancio)
- Masked Warrior (Bill McAleenan)
Ports of the game were released for the Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Master System in 1991. Ports were also released in 1991 for various computers - the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum. In February 1993, the Spectrum version was released as part of the Super Fighter compilation with Final Fight and WWF WrestleMania. MegaTech magazine said the graphics were "badly defined with rough animation". Mega placed the Mega Drive version at #27 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time. The Super NES port lacks the interactive audience and weapons, and is missing three characters (Southside Jim, Heavy Metal and Mad Miles).
An emulated version of the arcade game was featured in the 2004's Midway Arcade Treasures 2 for GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, as well as Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition (2006) for Microsoft Windows. However, this version ran at a faster speed than the arcade original. Pit-Fighter was also included in the 2012 compilation Midway Arcade Origins.
Julian Rignall of Computer and Video Games gave the game a 90%, calling it a "thoroughly enjoyable beat'em up which really packs a punch" and "one of the most enjoyable arcade fighting games in a long time." Zzap!64 gave the game a more negative review, dubbing it an "anticlimactic beat'em up" and writing that the attract mode was the best part of the game. They criticized the limited frames of animation and compared it unfavorably to The Combatribes and Final Fight.
Computer Gaming World approved of the Amiga version of Pit-Fighter, stating that it "is the arcade game teleported", and concluded that the game "offers the two-player option missing in many fighter games and enough roughhousing to suit the most violent gamer".
In 1992, a fighting game called Guardians of the 'Hood was released by Atari Games. This game featured the same style of digitized characters seen in Pit-Fighter and the player could have 3 other players join simultaneously. The big difference this time around was it played like a scrolling fighter, beat 'em up game and had a completely new cast of characters. Despite its digitized graphics and unique gameplay similar to both Capcom's Final Fight and Sega's Streets of Rage, this game was overlooked in the arcades and never made it to the home consoles. The game was badly received by critics and gamers alike.
Issue 49 of EGM (August 1993) had a two-page preview of the planned sequel which the magazine claimed was over 75% finished and would be released in the 4th quarter of 1993 on the Genesis. Kato, Buzz and Ty were returning along with three new selectable fighters: Connor (Karate Champion), Tanya (Roller Queen) and Chief (Ex-bodyguard). Pictures showed two CPU fighters, Helga (level 1) and Jay-Jay (level 2). No further information was ever given about this sequel, but the screenshots show that the game appeared to be a rehash of the first game, at least graphically, just with new characters.
- "Pit-Fighter arcade video game by Atari Games Corp. (1990)". Arcade-history.com. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
- "Pit-Fighter". MobyGames. Retrieved 9 Nov 2013.
- MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, page 78, May 1992
- "Super Fighter". Ysrnry.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- Mega magazine issue 1, page 76, Future Publishing, Oct 1992
- "Midway Arcade Origins Review". IGN. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
- Rignall, Julian (January 1991). "Pit Fighter". Computer+Video Games: 140.
- "Pit-Fighter". Zzap!64. February 1991: 54.
- Wilson, David (October 1992). "Pit-Fighter". Computer Gaming World. p. 66. Retrieved 4 July 2014.