Forgotten Fighting Games of the Past

Written by Barry Villatoro

So, something got me thinking the other day. I don’t remember what it was and it really doesn’t matter, but I started getting a flood of memories of some of the fighting games I used to play when I was younger. Reminiscing, I started to have some, “Oh snap, I remember that!” or “I can’t believe that game has not been redone!” So, I decided to take you down memory lane a bit, back to some games you’ve maybe played or not even heard of, to games that are seriously like WTF? To some that may have started the whole, “No seriously, kill your opponent” styles of game play. These will be in no particular order, so take my hand and let’s get moving. I said take it, it wasn’t a request.

Want to be the Champ? Then you gotta have Ballz.

1) Ballz Yep, that’s right, our first stop, Ballz. Ballz boasted being the first 3D fighter on the SNES/Genesis or anywhere else. Why was it called Ballz, because every fighter was made out of, you guessed it balls. Very, very clever. It had a nice assortment of characters including a cave man, a clown, ballerina,  a rhino (yup, a rhino) and the best, a monkey. Although this monkey was not just some chimp made out of balls, he was that, but his most useful weapon? Methane. Yep, farting monkey.

What I remember most about this game was the extreme frustration I would face playing Ballz.  The controls were awful and broken. You didn’t feel like you were controlling you characters so much as you were politely asking them to obey your commands. Also the Ballerina? “Hey let’s make a game for young kids and have a character make sexual sounds the entire time. It’s ok, she’s just made out of a bunch of balls.”

The variety of bosses was the best though, a T-Wrecks (that’s how it was spelled), an ostrich and a Jester among others. The Jester was the last boss and all you could do is pray your character felt like working with you that day.


 2) Eternal Champions I absolutely fell in love with this game back in the day and it is one I’d definitely love to see  rebooted. Eternal Champions gave you a roster of 9 unique fighters, coming from all different spaces in time in Earth’s history. A caveman from the beginning of time to a cop from the far, far future. Each character met with betrayal and an unjust death, if they are able to defeat the Eternal Champion, they have a chance to right the wrong that fell upon them.

Each character was so different from the next, from the design and move set, to the fantastic back story each character was given. The back story of each character set this game apart in terms of story compared to other fighting games at the time. For instance, let’s take a look at the back story of one of my favorite fighters from the game, Xavier Pendragon. I’ll give you the short version, he’s a failed blacksmith at the height of the Salem Witch Trials. He turns he study towards alchemy, low and behold he finds an unlimited source of energy. What do you think happens next? He’s labeled a warlock and burned alive at the stake. Which brings me to the “overkills.”

Overkills were a way of killing your opponent by finishing them in a specific area of each level. It also corresponded with how each fighter died in that respective time. For instance, get ko’d in front of the burning stake in Xavier’s level, boom! You’re being burned alive at the stake. Enjoy the overkill video below.


3) World Heroes This fighting game could originally only be found in a Neo-Geo arcade cabinet and then was later ported to the Genesis and SNES. It provided the players with 9 fighters to choose from as well as some back story. Dr. Brown (maybe Dr. Emmet Brown) found a way to time travel and somehow talked the greatest fighters in the world’s history to fight each other. World Heroes was always regarded as a “Street Fighter rip-off.” Which it basically was, although it did add some new twists into the fighting game genre at the time.

The option to choose “Fatal Match” and a couple other game play mechanics like giving certain fighters the ability to double jump. A “Fatal Match” may be a bit misleading as no deaths were involved. They were more along the lines of environmental hazards like, the edges of the fighting ring were engulfed with fire, oil spills on the floor forcing you to slide and loose control of your character, or electrified edges of the stage.

You can put World Heroes into the pile of fighting games not to bring back along with Ballz. I did enjoy it at the time and in that time it should stay. Well, bringing the character Fuuma back is allowed.


4) Weaponlord Many great things may be said about Weaponlord. A fighting game in which each character had multiple endings, a first ever parry system and even death combos. The multiple endings depended on which fighters you killed or spared during story mode. It was in your best interest to kill all the fighters you came across because the sub-boss before the final boss included a fight with every fighter you spared, consecutively. If you spared five fighters you had to beat each one in a row, with one life bar.

Of course, which stood out most in this game was the fact that you could not only kill your opponent, you could perform multiple fatality moves. For instance, you could perform a disembowel move, then proceed to split their chest open, pull their heart from their chest, then give it a swift chop or decapitate your opponent then split their had open before it hit the ground leaving only the brain.

Weaponlord had it’s faults like an extremely small roster of only six characters and a grueling difficulty. Weaponlord was not fighting game for casual players by any stretch, but completely enjoyable at the same time. This is one I wouldn’t mind seeing come back.


5) Primal Rage Originally an arcade fighter then ported to consoles, in Primal Rage you take control of one of six enormous beasts as you try to conquer the world. Set in a time where civilization has returned to the stone age after a meteor hits, Primal Rage features six towering mutations like two apes, two tyrannosaurus like monsters and even a dinosaur/king cobra hybrid of some kind. Each creature was revered as a god within it’s own region, where each had a following of human worshipers. The humans gather around each stage and cheer for their respective gods as they battle it out. During each fight though, if you’re lo on health you could reach down or bend over and feast on some of the humans to get some of your health back.

Primal Rage featured fighting moves that varied from the fighters of it’s time in terms of their execution. Most fighters had you doing directional combinations then hitting an attack button in order to do a special move. Rage , however, would have you hold down an attack button or two then follow it up with a directional combo. Let’s not forget the fatalities. Rage took some pages from Mortal Kombat with fatalities like Diablo’s breath of fire where the opponent was left standing as a skeleton similar to Scorpion’s fatality. It also had some very original ones. Like when the ape Chaos would urinate acid all over his victim until they disintegrated (which was censored int eh console versions) or Vertigo shape shifting the opponent into a cow, which then moos and runs away. I’m undecided on whether or not I would care to see Primal Rage again, I guess that’s a default I don’t care.

Thanks Wikipedia for always having tons of useless info.

About the author

Barry Villatoro

Twitter : @IamWeapon | Former citizen of Azeroth and Atreia | Favorite fighting game - DefJam: Fight for New York | Favorite RPG - FF6 | MMA | Sushi | ATV's |


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