Most of us have a favourite fighting game.
Perhaps you love Mortal Kombat II, with its creepy animated trees and awesome spiked-ceilings. Maybe Street Fighter IV has a special place in your heart, even with Seth’s controller-smashingly-hard boss fight. A few of you may even still give the PS1’s Soul Blade a spin now and then.
While fighting games like these capture players’ imaginations and spin off into massive franchises, others come and go. We may have enjoyed numerous Mortal Kombat games, comics, action figures, and questionable movies and TV series, but we’ve never seen Bloody Roar or Primal Rage spin-offs.
Over the years, plenty of fighting games have hit consoles without much of an impact. In fact, many of us may well have forgotten more than we remember – especially the weird ones. As bad or outright baffling as they may be, these games at least deserve another look for old times’ sake.
So, let’s dive into some of the strangest forgotten fighting games ever made…
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (AKA Wu-Tang: Taste the Pain)
It’s hard to believe this game actually happened.
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (or Taste the Pain in some parts) has some nice touches, and still has a fan-base today, but is a real oddity.
Wu-Tang Clan are no stranger to martial arts movies and video games. The group’s name came from a movie (Shaoiin and Wu Tang), and Method Man has gone on record as being a hardcore gamer. Tossing the two elements together was a no-brainer.
The game itself is pretty innovative, thanks to its four-player action, and was based on the engine created for the abandoned Thrill Kill. Players get to take control of Method Man, ODB, Ghostface Killah, and the rest of the group, as well as other characters created just for the game. Of course, the Wu-Tang Clan are more embellished versions of themselves, and the story involves plenty of mystical touches.
For fans of the group, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style’s a must-play, but it still stands as one of the strangest fighting games many of us have forgotten about.
Fight Club (no, really!)
Hands up – who asked for a Fight Club game?
Somebody must have. For most of us, our first reaction after watching Fight Club was unlikely to be “jeez, I wish someone would adapt that as a game!” Still, just five years after the iconic film’s release, we got an adaptation anyway.
This really is a bizarre specimen. First of all, the idea of a gritty fighting game, featuring regular guys brawling in basements and backstreets, is fine in itself. The Fight Club branding, though, is just plain weird.
There’s one major benefit though: with the presence of Bob as a playable character, Fight Club is the only game that effectively allows you to play as Meat Loaf. With boobs.
It also lets you step into Fred Durst’s sweaty trainers, though why he’s present in the game is anyone’s guess. At no point in the film is Limp Bizkit mentioned. Maybe he was a fan.
Fight Club does try to stand out, though. One innovative feature is the way in which injuries carry over from one fight to another, potentially forcing players to retire, while an x-ray view pops up now and then to show internal injuries. Characters from the movie show up, including Tyler Durden, Angel Face, and even Lou, but it’s all as unnecessary and odd as it sounds.
Tongue of the Fatman (AKA Mondu’s Fight Palace AKA Fatman AKA Slaughter Sport)
This game is not just widely-regarded as one of the most bizarre games ever made, but also one of the worst of all time.
This strange game is based around several alien characters who have weird, often purile abilities. One is an Amazonian able to make her mohawk snap out at enemies like a whip. Puff Boy, on the other hand, can spray goo over his opponent, while Behemoth has the power to blast a fireball from his … well, from his butt.
Players could bet on the outcome of fights, though, so the game had that innovation going for it. Still, if you get the chance to play this, it’s worth it just as a curiosity.
Rival Schools: United By Fate
Rival Schools isn’t weird in the same way that Tongue of the Fatman is. This is actually a solid, fun fighting game with gorgeous graphics and some cool characters.
This 1997 release was produced by Capcom, and while it has its fans, failed to become a long-running series like a certain other Capcom fighter. However, one feature, which allowed players to call in a second character for a team-up attack, went on to appear in the Marvel VS. Capcom series.
So, what makes it so strange? The fact that you’re playing as school kids fighting other school kids. Isn’t that a weird concept? Considering the 90s saw its fair share of panic about fighting games influencing playground-violence, it’s surprising Rival Schools saw release at all.
Recently, the game’s director showed interest in creating a sequel. Fans: keep your fingers crossed!
Shaquille ‘Shaq’ O’Neal is still a well-known figure, but how many of us remember his very own fighting game?
Quite a few, apparently, as a crowd-funded sequel is on its way. Still, Shaq-Fu is another of those obscure 90s games produced to capitalise on a major star, in much the same way as Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City did.
Shaq-Fu sees Shaq pulled into another dimension to rescue a young boy from an evil mummy. Oh yeah, and before that he was on his way to a charity basketball match. Think this was something of a vanity project?
While Shaq-Fu had a mixed response, it does have a definite weird allure. Seeing one of the biggest basketball stars of all time fighting all kinds of mystical enemies is kind of irresistible … for a while, at least. As with the Wu-Tang game, and the addition of Fred Durst in Fight Club’s video-game adaptation, it’s pretty hard to believe Shaq-Fu actually happened …
Do you remember these strange fighting games? Let us know!