For this review of Raging Fighter for the Game Boy, I have to admit that I didn’t get into the game as much as I’d like. By “get into the game” I don’t mean get interested in the game, as much as I mean make progress in the game.
For those unfamiliar with the title, and there probably are a lot of you, this game is a fighting game for the Game Boy, published by Konami. In the game you play one of several martial artists, who beat each other up in a martial arts tournament. I can’t really put a premise to this game, because, even though this game has a “Story Mode” on the menu, there’s no story to speak of in the game. The story mode can best be described as a 3-on-3 endurance match. You play as the three good guys, and your opponent has the three bad guys. You fight the bad guys, and as you beat one, your exact health amount you have at the end of that round carries over to the next round, where you fight the next member of their team. Now, if the fighting was good, that wouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, the fighting isn’t good.
Now, I’m a fan of fighting games. I’m not great at them, and I’ll certainly never be able to play them at the tournament level. Still, I enjoy them nonetheless. So, while I’m not necessarily capable of doing high level play, I’m not exactly a button masher, and I can usually figure out some sort of technique, even if I can’t work a character’s special moves. The problem is, even at its easiest difficulty, Raging Fighter isn’t particularly friendly. There are special moves, but it’s not clear how to use them, as there’s no move list in the game (which isn’t surprising), nor is there any sort of move list online, or even, for that matter, in the Nintendo Power article I discussed in the magazine’s last issue.
The character design is fairly generic. Aside from the token woman, and the token fat guy, everyone else pretty much looks like “generic character from Fist of the North Star“. It doesn’t help that the characters all seem to control the same – sluggishly and not very responsively. Except, of course, for the computer, which has no problem pulling off multiple slide kicks in a row or deftly jumping over the one projectile attack I was able to pull off (which, while it used the standard Fireball motion, was also sluggish enough that it shouldn’t have been difficult to jump over – unless, of course, you were the player).
It doesn’t help that there isn’t particularly any sort of concept of “interrupts” in this game. If you’re unfamiliar with fighting game theory, and “Interrupt” in the context of a fighting game it’s when your move interrupts their move animation. For example, in Mortal Kombat 1, the move animation for Raiden’s torpedo move could be interrupted by a carefully timed uppercut. There’s a lot more to this, related to character’s hitboxes and other things, but that’s a matter for a dedicated fighting game forum. The point of the matter is, though, you cannot interrupt opposing characters moves. In Street Fighter, you can break a hurricane kick attack with a dragon punch, a fireball, or even just a well-timed regular attack, if you know what you’re doing. In Raging Fighter, all you can do is turtle.
Other than this, if you find someone else who has this game, and you still have your Game Boy system Link Cable, you could, in theory, get in a two-player match. There’s also a single player tournament mode, and by tournament mode I mean it’s a ladder ala Mortal Kombat. However, I made very little progress there as well, and I really didn’t find it very interesting.
Ultimately, I cannot consider this game as being worth the hype. If you’re looking for a fighting game, there are better fighting games available for current or even earlier gen handheld systems. And, to be absolutely honest, did you seriously think a two-button fighting game could turn out well?