Anyone who’s interacted with me for long enough will no doubt have noticed my tendency to ask utterly random, at times, barely coherent questions as I drift about in my daily stream of consciousness. Not gonna lie, this has at times resulted in a number of interesting ideas for…<sigh> *content* in regards to blogging or streaming. So, anyways…the other day while I was working, I randomly asked my lovely, unsuspecting wife, “Hey, remember Killer Instinct?” This was followed up with “remember Clayfighter?” before eventually expanding my line of questioning to “which character did you main in Street Fighter 2?”. We’ve known each other since elementary school and both have memories of playing a random assortment of Nintendo games back then. This eventually led to me suggesting that we should sit down and play some of the old 16-bit fighting games that we played as kids. There were a lot of different fighting games in the 90’s; some of them were memorable, and others, not so much. I decided to simply grab a handful of fighting games for the SNES that were scattered around our apartment which we remembered from our younger days. Later that night I arranged a space in our living room in front of the small CRT TV we’ve kept around for years as we went head-to-head in five old school fighting games. Some of the games we played have aged a little more gracefully than others, but either way it was a fun evening as we got to kick back relive some positive childhood memories over snacks and drinks.
First up, Killer Instinct. I remember really liking this game quite a bit as a kid. The game seemed so dark and brooding and had a roster of unsettling characters, so it definitely stuck out to me at the time. For a game first released on the SNES in 1995, Killer Instinct still plays relatively well. It isn’t as reliant on special attacks and I kind of like how it plays a little bit slower than other fighting games of the time, which almost makes it feel closer to beat ’em ups like Final Fight. I actually remember playing as Cinder against (future)Mrs. Omnivore as I’d essentially button mash my way to victory…which I absolutely did again in 2023.
Mortal Kombat 3
I’ll admit I never played Mortal Kombat 3 growing up, but we have a copy of the game and playing a handful of SNES fighting games didn’t seem complete without *some* MK representation. For whatever reason, the special moves in Mortal Kombat games always seemed a lot harder to pull off than in Street Fighter, but I was able to figure out a couple of Sub-Zero’s attacks as well as Kung Lao. I was also able to achieve a minor level of success in landing a well-timed uppercut, though it ultimately didn’t really matter much as I was on the losing end here…
Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle
So, the story here is pretty random. We both played Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle as kids, but knew absolutely *nothing* about the IP itself. Neither of us knew the game was based on a manga/anime, but it DID let you play as a panda. It really doesn’t take much to persuade you to play a particular game as a kid, does it? I actually think I appreciate the game more as an adult, when you pay greater attention to things like frame rates and animation. It is the one game of the group to feature a dedicated jump button, rather than by pressing up on the d-pad like most fighting games. We seemed pretty evenly matched in Ranma 1/2, so we decided to call this one a draw after dueling 6-8 times.
C2: Judgement Clay
Anyone else remember Clayfighter? Here’s another game that both my wife and I played during our childhood years. In fact, I specifically remember getting my ass handed to me by her(multiple times) years ago while playing the first Clayfighter game. The sequel – C2: Judgement Clay still plays decent enough; it’s strength was always in its distinctive early 1990’s humor and fast-paced action rather than deep combat systems. I ultimately took the “L” in Clayfighter, which brought back plenty of memories…
Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers
Saving my one of my personal favorites for last, my wife and I ended the night with a bit of Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers. I still have many memories of renting this game as a kid and being so captivated simply by the inclusion of a few new characters in a SF game – T. Hawk, Cammy, Dee Jay, and Fei-Long. It’s not difficult at all to see why SFII(and its many, many spinoffs) is so beloved in the fighting game community. The game plays great even after 30 years. Growing up, I played Street Fighter games almost exclusively on my Genesis with a 6-button controller, so having to use the shoulder buttons for a hard punch or kick still feels a little strange. Fortunately for me I still have plenty character special moves memorized, so I walked away with the ‘W’ here.
Next time, I’ll be bringing out the Sega Genesis and we’ll have to play some More(tal) Kombat and Street Fighter. I also think I may have an old copy of TMNT: Tournament Fighters somewhere around here…
Thanks for reading!