AES Cover art
|Release date(s)||JPN: 04/25/95
|Genre(s)||Versus fighting game|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo MVS|
Savage Reign (風雲黙示録 ～格闘創世～ Fūun Mokushiroku: Kakutou Sousei?, lit. "Wind and Cloud Apocalypse: Hand-to-Hand Fighting Genesis") is a 1995 futuristic-themed competitive fighting game released by SNK for their Neo Geo arcade and home platform. It was ported to the Neo Geo CD, as well as for the PlayStation 2 along with its sequel Kizuna Encounter in Japan only (as part of the Fūun Super Combo).
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Savage Reign is set in the first half of the 21st century in the fictional city of South Town (the same city used in the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting series), which has now been upgraded and renamed as Jipang City. A mysterious legendary fighter known only as King Leo has risen up from the shadows of secrecy and issued a challenge on television for the strongest of fighters to battle against him in a fighting tournament known as the Battle of the Beast God. He promises immense wealth beyond anyone's dreams and legendary fame beyond imagination. Nine fighters have come to the tournament, each with their own sole purpose and reason for battling against King Leo.
The game, much like Samurai Shodown, is a weapons fighter. However, Savage Reign has a few particular elements that makes it different from its predecessor:
- The weapons can not only be used for close combat, but can also be thrown at an opponent from a distance for more ranged attacks. There are also two levels of playing field within the battles (the default lower one and the upper field, which both fighters can jump to with the push of a button).
- The button layout was also slightly different at the time, resembling World Heroes somewhat: a button for punching, a button for kicking, a button for the weapon and a button for jumping between planes (holding down the punch or kick buttons results in a stronger attack, tapping them wields a light attack).
- Much like Art of Fighting, the camera will zoom in on your character and the character they are fighting against if they are within close proximity to each other and like Fatal Fury, the characters can fight each other using a two line battle system.
- Sho Hayate - The main protagonist of the series. A young Japanese man who aims to prove the strength of Fu'un-Ken: a special style of fighting that combines martial arts with the mastery of the boomerang. Hayate is best known for his calm yet brash attitude and that he always initiates a strong battle cry in combat.
- Carol Stanzack - A beautiful young French female gymnast who is being forced to marry King Leo by her father Jeanrick (who is also her teacher). She is annoyed by this, and fights to break this commitment. Carol fights with a mixture of a pink Olympic gymnast ball, her own acrobatic skills, and aikido.
- Max Eagle - An undefeated pro wrestler who is interested in the challenge. His ulterior motive for entering the tournament is that he seeks on whether or not King Leo is actually his missing older brother. Eagle fights with a mixture of his axe and a couple of wrestling moves. It is also to be noted that the wrestling organization (SWF) Eagle works for is the same one used in the SNK arcade game 3 Count Bout.
- Gordon Bowman - A successful police officer who carries an electric stun tonfa. His young daughter Canbee is deathly ill and that he heads to the tournament for the prize money so that he can help support her medical attention.
- Chung Paifu - An old sennin who decides to enter the tournament due to a past conflict between him and King Leo. His cap was given to him by a man known only as the "Legendary Wolf." Chung fights with a wooden cane and can instantly go into Ikari (angry) mode if his cap is knocked off his head from within battle.
- Gozu - A red-clad ninja who uses fire-based attacks with his Fire Claws. He is a member of a terrorist organization called the Jaguar (Jaga, or Jagger), and along with his young brother Mezu, he is out for revenge against King Leo due to the fact that King Leo had killed their brother Kazuo from within a past incident.
- Mezu - A blue-clad ninja who uses water and ice-based attacks with his Ice Claws. Much like his older brother Gozu, he is also a member of the Jaguar and is determined to avenge the death of their brother Kazuo, who was killed by King Leo from within a past incident.
- Joker - A clown-like fighter who happens to be the leader of a violent street gang known as the Looly Po Po. Joker uses his unusual appearance and his strange weaponry (the primary one being a jack-in-the-box) as his fighting tools. His motivations for entering the tournament is to gain glory for himself and his gang. His real name is Marco Bariadrid.
- Nicola Zaza - A young Russian super genius who constructed both a Super Shield and a Super Suit. Nicola participates in the tournament to test the very depths of his own creations. Nicola uses a supercharged flying disc in battle.
- King Lion (Kage Shishioh) - An unknown and mysterious man who works for King Leo as a fake impersonator. Much like King Leo, King Lion wields "The Sword of Leo" and utilizes the same fighting style that King Leo has, though as not so powerful as his master.
- King Leo (Shin Shishioh) - The final boss and main antagonist of the series. The mysterious legendary fighter who is responsible for creating and sponsoring the Battle of the Beast God tournament, King Leo is a strong and ruthless warrior who wields "The Sword of Leo" and that he had made the fake impersonator King Lion as a way to test his opponent out before he would come and battle them from within his own accord.
Reviewing the Neo Geo home version, Major Mike of GamePro summarized, "Savage Reign is one of those impressive fighting games that's likely to disappear soon after it surfaces. It looks great and the sound is dynamite, but in the end it falls short because it lacks an identity to separate it from the multitude of fighting games already out there." He reviewed the Neo Geo CD version with similar remarks, and noted that compared to the Neo Geo version "the three-button simultaneous attacks are more difficult to execute because the buttons are stacked on top of each other." Maximum gave the Neo Geo CD version four out of five stars, commenting that "Let there be no doubt, everything from the coin-op has been packed into the CD version making it a very attractive break from the more conventional Fatal Fury/King of Fighters activities, but with all the fighting action you'd expect from an SNK title."