Blog:Japanese-Developed Digitized Fighting Games
The success of Midway's arcade blockbuster Mortal Kombat birthed many imitators. Would you believe some of them came from Japan?
Reikai Doushi (1988, Arcade)
While Mortal Kombat was the breakthrough hit that influenced a lot of games, it was not the originator of the digitized fighting form. Neither was Pit-Fighter. No, that honor goes to this little number by Home Data (now Magical) featuring a colorful cast of grotesque Chinese puppets.
Survival Arts (1993, Arcade)
Fast forwarding five years, past Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, now we get into the wannabes. The big gimmicks here are the weapons you can find in each stage and, of course, the fatalities (see below). Developed by UPL splinter Scarab, released by Sammy.
Ooedo Fight / Blood Warrior (1993, Arcade)
The follow-up to Kaneko and developer Atop's ancient Japan-themed Fujiyama Buster / Shogun Warriors cranks the Mortal Kombat-ness to 11 with the addition of live actors, not to mention gory deaths. Fun Fac...Observation: Atop seems to have been an offshoot of Westone.
Deadly Sport (1993, Arcade/Unreleased)
Around the same time Survival Arts was in the works, Sammy was developing internally a different digitized fighter using the same hardware. However, it never made wide release. All that exists, at least for public consumption, is the music and the flyer featuring the cast and several screenshots. A PCB reportedly turned up on Yahoo! Auctions in Japan around 2010.
See also: Lost Media Wiki page
Ultraman Powered (3/20/1994, 3DO)
The prolific Tose had the honor of developing not one, but two Japanese 3DO launch titles. One of them was a fighting game based on the Ultraman Powered TV series, which was produced in the United States with American actors. Visual Mode condenses the first three episodes of the show into three stages. The real meat of the game is Battle Mode, containing eight stages and monsters. Before each stage in this mode, you have the option of piloting the Strike VTOL aircraft in a rail shooter-type affair. This gives you a chance to inflict some damage before the match. Also included is a database where you can look at photos of the various characters.
Matsumura Kunihiro Den: Saikyou no Rekishi o Nurikaero! (SFC, 8/26/1994)
This comical fighting game from Shouei System and developer Office Koukan stars impressionist Kunihiro Matsumura. It makes use of the Fatal Fury gimmick of being able to hop to the foreground or background. Note: Only the heads have been digitized to protect the innocent.
Twin Goddesses (PlayStation, 12/22/1994)
A very early PS1 game, and a very strange-looking one at that. The titular Twin Goddesses, the only two characters playable in the main story mode, are live action, while the rest of the characters are hand-drawn. Before fights, you can shop for items to use in battle.
Gokuu Densetsu: Magic Beast Warriors (5/26/1995, PlayStation)
Lavish costumes, a rockin' soundtrack, and it's based on Journey to the West. This was one of two PlayStation games released by Allumer, a company that had mostly made arcade games. Allumer eventually left the game business, then suspended all business in 1999. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2015, to the surprise of the few people who cared.
Battle Monsters (6/2/1995, Saturn)
Scarab didn't give up on the fighting genre and proceeded to churn out two horror-themed titles: this and a 3D fighter called Killing Zone for PlayStation. Battle Monsters doesn't have the gore or finishing moves of Mortal Kombat, but it does have at least two stop-motion animated characters in addition to characters played by humans. Read our blog post specifically about this game.
Street Fighter: Real Battle on Film / Street Fighter: The Movie (8/11/1995, PlayStation/Saturn)
The game so "nice," they made it twice! Two games based on the Jean-Claude Van Damme film were produced: the arcade version developed by Incredible Technologies (makers of BloodStorm and Golden Tee Golf), and a home version developed in Japan. The home version is usually regarded as the better game, and it seems to be "built upon" Super Street Fighter II Turbo.
The Kung-Fu Master Jackie Chan / Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire: Jackie Chan Densetsu (1995, Arcade)
He IS Jackie Chan, and this IS his game, again from Kaneko. Technically, they're two games - Fists of Fire is an upgrade. Just read the Hardcore Gaming 101 article and interview with actor Thorsten Nickel, who plays one of the characters.
Credit to the creators/uploaders of the videos above