Power Instinct

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Power Instinct
Power Instinct Logo.png
Logo utilized in the first Power Instinct.
Genres Fighting game
Developers Atlus
Noise Factory
Publishers Atlus
Platforms Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Super NES, Genesis, Sega Saturn, Neo Geo
First release Power Instinct/Gouketsuji Ichizoku
November 1993
Latest release Gōketsuji Ichizoku Matsuri Senzo Kuyou
August 2009

Power Instinct (豪血寺一族 Gōketsuji Ichizoku?, "The Gōketsuji Clan") is a fighting video game series created by Atlus started in 1993. It is often abbreviated as PI or GI for short.

One of the innovations unique to the series was the introduction of the transformation feature. Several of the characters can change their appearance and fighting style by simply executing certain moves (usually a throwing move), though this has not been featured in every entry in the series. Other features include the ability to perform a double jump and attacking while dashing.


Power Instinct[edit]

Power Instinct
Power Instinct SNES.png
Developer(s) Atlus
Publisher(s) Atlus
Distributor(s) Excite
Designer(s) Noise Factory, Atlus
Platform(s) Arcade, Super NES, Genesis
Release November 1993
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Display Horizontally oriented, 320 × 224, 2048 palette colors

The first game of the series was released in 1993. In it, players play as a member of the Goketsuji clan, who are battling to determine who will replace 78-year-old Oume Goketsuji as head of the clan. It has eight selectable characters and one unplayable boss character, Oume Goketsuji, a palette-swap of her younger sister Otane. Originally, every character had a specific win quote for each defeated foe, but that was reduced to only one win quote for each character in the English version.

This game was ported to Super NES and Genesis and includes some new play modes: Vs. Battle, Practice Mode, Time Attack and a "Life Attack" that consists of defeating as many opponents as possible with just one life bar (similar to the Survival Modes seen in other fighting games).

The Mega Drive version has a Battle Royal mode where 1 or 2 players can select a team, with an option to hide the characters being chosen so they are not revealed until the fight. Additionally, it features an option that allows the strength of each special attack of every playable character to be adjusted to the player's liking.

The English console ports of this game had several omitted features, such as Karaoke Mode with the lyrics for the songs "Tatanka no Uta" and "Otoko no Karatemichi", character biographies that pop up in between demos, the intro demo to the game and the scene of Oume where she speaks to the player before she fights them (which changes if she's fighting Otane). The Super NES version also replaces the endings that were in the Japanese Super Famicom version with a congratulations screen with the character portraits used in the pre-fight screen.[citation needed]


  • Italy Angela Belti – Angela is an Italian strongwoman. Although she has a very rough lifestyle and a love for heavy metal music, Angela Belti is very passionate and tends to fall in love easily. She is very tall, and very strong, even stronger than most men and as revealed in her ending, quite a bon vivant woman.
  • England Annie Hamilton – Born in the country of England, Annie Hamilton is a calm and compassionate woman born within a rich family. She is at times overbearing and bossy, due to her spoiled upbringing. However she loves animals, and currently has six dogs, four cats, three horses and a turtle named Kensington.
  • United States Keith Wayne – Keith is a playboy who likes to flirt with women, which is one of the reasons that he enters the Goketsuji tournament. Eventually, he met Annie Hamilton, who became the love of his life and since then, he has been determined to prove that he's the right guy for her.
  • Japan Otane Goketsuji (豪血寺 お種 Gōketsuji Otane?) – As a child, Otane was constantly berated and abused by her older sister, Oume, and was neglected by her own mother, Oshima, due to her unwillingness to fight back. After many years of facing Oume's abuse, Otane decided to leave home at the age of 15 with only one thing on mind: train endlessly so that one day, she could beat Oume and prove that she is a worthy leader of the Goketsuji clan.
  • Japan Oume Goketsuji (豪血寺 お梅 Gōketsuji Oume?) – Oume, like her younger sister Otane, is a superhuman. To master her mysterious attacks, she confined herself to the mountains. Moreover, she has an eerie and unearthly presence about her and it is rumored that she can turn her opponents to stone just by gazing into their eyes.
  • Japan Reiji Oyama (大山 礼児 Ōyama Reiji?) – Reiji is a very straightforward and honest Japanese fighter and is the ultimate training fanatic. He does not do well with minute details, but excels at physical strength matches. He works part-time for a construction company to exert his excess energy. He is somewhat a parody of Ryu from Street Fighter and many other karate warriors like Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia from Art of Fighting.
  • Japan Saizo Hattori (破鳥 才蔵 Hattori Saizō?) – Saizo is a dark ninja who keeps his emotions hidden. He normally hides behind a ninja mask to avoid the contact with others, although on some occasions, his part-time job requires him to appear on stage in an animal costume.
  • China Thin Nen (陳念 Chin Nen?) – Thin Nen is a violent Shaolin monk with obscene desires. This religious man studied ancient rituals to gain mystic powers and will do everything to get what he wants, whether it be women, food or money.
  • United States White Buffalo – White Buffalo is a Native American who tries to protect the rights of his people at all costs. A man of few words, he appreciates the little things in life.


Reviewing the Super NES version, GamePro judged that "Power Instinct falls along the lines of Fatal Fury, but it falls short." They praised the double jumps and special moves, but criticized the "passable" graphics and sound and the fact that the boss is just a palette swap of a playable character.[1] A reviewer for Next Generation said the game has "average graphics, decent play control, and moves you've mostly seen before. ... Nothing wrong here, it's just typical." He gave the Super NES version two out of five stars.[2]

Power Instinct 2[edit]

Power Instinct 2
Power Instinct 2 PlayStation.png
Developer(s) Atlus
Publisher(s) Atlus
Distributor(s) Excite
Designer(s) Super-K!, Markey, Helen
Platform(s) Arcade, PlayStation
Release April 1994
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system CAVE 1st generation
Display Horizontally oriented, 320 × 240, 10240 palette colors

Power Instinct 2 features five new characters, giving a total of 13 playable characters and one unplayable boss (Otane Goketsuji). The game's story picks off from the last game, with Otane having defeated her sister Oume in the previous tournament. However, with the help of their mother Oshima Goketsuji, Oume kidnapped her sister, threw her into the ocean, and forged a letter saying that Otane has quit as leader, resulting in a new tournament. Otane does escape and fights the winner of the tournament in a bid to defend her leadership of the Goketsuji clan.

The game introduces the "Stress" meter into the series, which increases when one's attacks are blocked or when attacked. A super attack can be executed when it is full. In addition, when the Stress meter fills up, a character becomes engulfed in a flame of their own energy for a brief moment, which protects from any incoming attacks from the opponent and knocks them away if they are too close.

The PlayStation version, retitled Gouketsuji Ichizoku 2: Chotto Dake Saikyou Densetsu, was only released in Japan and has some characteristics from Gogetsuji Legends (as it shares almost the same subtitle to its Japanese version), like the team battle and the possibility to play as Chuck and Kuroko, but these features are only available for Versus (player vs. player) mode. Unlike the arcade game, anytime a transformable character changed into his or her alternate version in the PlayStation port, there was considerable loading time that interrupted the match.

New characters[edit]

  • Japan Oshima Goketsuji – Known to be the matriarch of the entire Goketsuji clan, Oshima Goketsuji is known for her strict policies and precise personality to make her clan the strongest throughout the entire world. She's the mother of both Otane and Oume Goketsuji and often favors Oume over Otane, due to the fact that Oume takes up most of her own personality traits.
  • Japan Kurara Hanakouji – A magical witch who uses her special powers and magical wand for her own benefits, Kurara Hanakouji seeks to have much fun and excitement during her travels throughout the world. Even though she looks like a 15-year-old, Kurara's exact age is unknown. When she gains enough power from a fight, she can change into her alter-ego, Super Kurara (a woman who wears roller-skates while fighting in scantily-clad clothing). In Matrimelee, her name is changed to Clara. She also stars in her own spin-off game, Purikura Daisakusen, and appears as an unlockable character in the PlayStation version of Heaven's Gate, another Atlus fighting game.
  • Japan Kanji Kokuin – An old man who is the ex-husband of Oume Goketsuji, Kanji Kokuin now seeks to defeat the members of the Goketsuji clan so that he can gain full control over the clan. He starts the battle off with his pumped-up muscles, but if he fails from within the initiation of his super move, he loses his strength and turns into a prickly man who only fights with his walking cane.
  • Japan Kinta Kokuin – A young kindergartner who is the grandson of Haruki, Kanji Kokuin's younger brother, Kinta Kokuin is known for being an obnoxious brat who takes up most of his grandfather's personality traits and that he won't stop until he gets what he wants. He fights in the tournament in order to impress a girl that he likes and he uses the assistance of his pets (a huge fish and a bear) to aid him. When he gains enough strength from within a fight, Kinta can transform into his alter-ego, Pochi (a man wearing a dog costume who fights by throwing power bones at the opponent).
  • Lebanon Sahad Asran Ryuto – An Arabian man who uses both his fighting skills and the power of the djinn from a magic lamp. Sahad's goal is to not only test out his abilities in battle, but to also impress Angela Belti, to whom he has developed a crush upon.


On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the PlayStation version of the game a 23 out of 40.[3]

Gogetsuji Legends[edit]

Known as Gouketsuji Gaiden: Saikyou Densetsu in Japan, the third installment was called Gogetsuji Legends outside Japan, lacking the Power Instinct title, strangely enough. This would be a trend for the series in its subsequent western releases, officially phasing out the Power Instinct branding. The game's story picks up from the last game, with Otane being defeated by Kanji Kokuin, who became the new leader of the Gouketsuji clan.

The battles are in teams of two characters, a leader and a partner. Super Kurara and Pochi are individual characters; because of this, Kurara and Kinta gained new moves. Otane is also made playable, bringing the cast to 16 characters. A Super Block and a Charge Attack were brought into the gameplay. A Super Block can nullify the opponent's blow and allow for a counterattack, and a Charge Attack can immediately knock down the opponent or launch them into the air for another attack. There is one new playable character, (Kuroko), and a new boss, (Chuck). All of the characters were given new special attacks. However, the majority of them were exclusive only to this game.

Groove on Fight[edit]

Groove on Fight
Groove On Fight.png
Developer(s) Atlus
Publisher(s) Atlus
Distributor(s) Excite
Designer(s) Noise Factory, Atlus
Platform(s) Arcade, Sega Saturn
Release April 1997
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Sega Titan Video
Display Horizontally oriented, 704 × 513, 6144 palette colors

The story of this sequel of the series, known as Gouketsuji Ichizoku 3: Groove on Fight in Japan, takes place 20 years after the last Goketsuji tournament. It also has a darker and more serious tone than its predecessors, similar to that of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, but still maintains a little of the same humor that is particular to the series.

The players can choose from eleven characters, all of them, save Otane/Oume, being new. The graphic style of Groove on Fight is very different from its predecessors, as the sprites are smaller, but are more fluid and have an animated look to them.

The Sega Saturn port of the game included some features like being able to play as Damian, Bristol Weller and Bristol-D once the player beats the game with certain characters, the possibility of four players to play at the same time by way of the Saturn's multi-tap and an "Omake Mode" where the players can view artwork of the characters for the game. The Saturn version also features an arranged version of the soundtrack that has some new music themes that were not present in the original, like the theme "Mystic" and the vocal version of the title song.


Gameplay is in a 2-on-2 format with the ability to tag in and out at any time between players. Every time the player tag successfully between characters, the character who is on the sidelines slowly begins to get his or her energy back.

At difference from the previous games, Groove on Fight has a six buttons system. The two new buttons are for "Dodge" and for the "Powerful Blow" the "Dodge" allows the characters to evade attacks and then counterattack the opponent. The "Powerful Blow" is an attack that inflicts more damage to the opponent than the normal strong attacks, but is also slower. The special guard and the shadow moves from Gogetsuji Legends are still present in the game and some other new characteristics were introduced to the gameplay:

Name Description
Body Toss The character throws the body of a defeated character at the opponent.
Taunt Pressing the start button will taunt the opponent. Introduced for the first time in the series.
Unblockable Attack Each character has his/her own Unblockable Attack. This attack is very slow, but if hits cause a great amount of damage to the opponent.
Partner Attack The character that is not fighting will perform a jump-in attack from the sidelines.
Dual Combo Is a series of attacks performed by the two characters at the same time. This requires one level of the Stress meter.
Pounce Pressing up + Light kick, Hard Kick, as soon as the character knocks an opponent down, will attack the downed foe.


This new sequel, called Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku: Toukon Matrimelee in Japan, features 4 totally new characters and one new boss (Princess Sissy). However, Angela does not return in this game. Jimmy, Elias, Lynn and Jones from Rage of the Dragons are guest stars, and are unlockable. A few of the game elements were borrowed from this same game as well. The western releases drop the Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku title and remains named simply as Matrimelee. It was one of the last few games to be released on the Neo Geo.

Transformations were excluded, and a few of the characters from the previous sequel do not appear. The Stress meter now could be filled up to three levels. Super moves included are a Stress Shot (one bar), an Ippatsu Ougi (two bars) and a powerful, hidden super attack called a Kinjite (three bars). However, only a few of the characters have Kinjite moves.

In the game's story, the king of Certain Country wants to find a worthy successor for the throne and the ideal husband for his little daughter (or a beautiful and strong woman for his older son) So he holds a fighting tournament where the prize is the hand of the princess and the throne succession.

Shin Gōketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnō Kaihō[edit]

Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnou Kaihou
Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku Bonnou Kaihou.jpg
Developer(s) Noise Factory
Publisher(s) Excite
Distributor(s) Excite
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release May 25, 2006
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously

The sequel of Matrimelee was released exclusively in Japan. It features enhanced graphics and sound, the return of two of the older characters (Angela Belti and Kinta Kokuin), a new boss, and the return of the transformation feature. Gameplay was also improved in some areas, and super attacks were made easier to execute. The game has the same backgrounds and all the characters from Matrimelee (except the four characters from Rage of the Dragons), and because of that it is usually described as a port of the game, while in fact the game's story takes place after the events from the previous game, making it a sort of sequel or update. The game tells the story of the king from the previous game, who holds a "Bonnou Kaihou" ("Liberation of Lusts") tournament to cheer up his daughter Princess Sissy. This time the prize is anything that the winner could wish for (except the throne succession).

The game also features an online mode and a 'Lust Cards System' that consists of buying cards with special effects. Some allow the player to change certain characteristics of the characters, others are used to view special music video clips, and others to call strange characters to help the player in battle.

Gōketsuji Ichizoku Matsuri Senzo Kuyou[edit]

Gouketsuji Ichizoku Matsuri Senzo Kuyou
Gouketsuji Ichizoku Matsuri Senzo Kuyou.jpg
Developer(s) Noise Factory
Publisher(s) Atlus
Distributor(s) Excite
Designer(s) Noise Factory, Atlus
Platform(s) Arcade

August 2009 (Taito Type X)

February 22, 2012 (Taito NESiCAxLive)
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Taito Type X, Taito NESiCAxLive

This 2009 sequel picks up the story of the Goketsuji clan, with Oume announcing a new tournament. Several new characters were introduced:

  • Sandra Belti – An 82-year-old lady, grandmother of Angela Belti. She has the ability to transform in their younger self (Super Sandra), just like the Goketsuji Twins.
  • Elizabeth Belti – Sandra's younger sister, grandaunt of Angela Belti. Like her sister and the Goketsuji Twins, Elizabeth has the ability to transform to her younger self (Super Elizabeth).
  • Prince – Princess sissy's older brother. He appeared in some of the endings in Power Instict: Matrimelee, and makes his playable debut in this game. He can transform in a "good looking" version of himself (Super Prince), which gives him different gameplay.
  • Rin Oyama - Reiji Oyama's niece. She started practicing karate with her uncle since she was four years old.
  • Takumi Hattori – Saizo Hattori's cousin. Just like his cousin, this eight-year-old kid is very shy and wears a mask most of the time.


Various merchandise based on the series has been released in Japan. The 253-page 1995 novel Gouketsuji Ichizoku: The Novel (ISBN 978-4-8470-3158-8) was published by Wani Books in 1995. It relates the history of the Goketsuji family and features some art made by Range Murata. Gouketsuji Ichizoku: THE CD-ROM was published in 1998 by Toshiba EMI and contains information about the series including characters profiles, correlation diagrams, the family lineage, concept art, sounds and other artwork. It also has desktop wallpapers and screen savers.

Soundtracks to the first five games in the series were also released. Pony Canyon/Scitron released the first four, while Noise Factory released the Matrimelee soundtrack. In 2005, Noise Factory released a box set of all soundtracks to the first five games in the series, along with a 2005 calendar featuring art from the. Unlike the original releases, the CDs in the box art do not include the sound effects collections and the Groove on Fight's CD has the arranged tracks from the Sega Saturn.


  1. ^ "ProReview: Power Instinct". GamePro. IDG (82): 63. July 1995. 
  2. ^ "Power Instinct". Next Generation. Imagine Media (4): 100. April 1995. 
  3. ^ NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 豪血寺一族2 ちょっとだけ最強伝説. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.358. Pg.31. 27 October 1995.

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