Feeling Nasty? A tad psychotic? Then take it out on your Amiga – just remember to load this game first.
Silly plot time. Suppose you're this mysterious criminal overlord, right, and you want to recruit new scumbags to the cause. Obviously they've got to be well hard, so what better way to go about things than to organise an illegal fighting tournament and challenge the winner to a scrap? Perfect. No matter that all the entrants are either CIA agents or hate your guts for various reasons – once they have beaten the hell out of you, they are bound to want to do your laundry for you. If this nonsense sounds familiar, you'll probably have played Street Fighter II (and the rest). Fightin' Spirit shares more than the plot of the aforementioned classic; in fact it's almost an identical game, but with different characters and special moves. In terms of graphics and audio, it's got all the genre prerequisites – large chunky character graphics, colourful, sparsely animated backgrounds. Japanesey speech and tacky music.
Don't get me wrong, this is a great game, but for heaven's sake don't expect anything original, because you won't get it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing – the Street Fighter games were massively popular in their time, and playing this reminds me why . While 2D beat-'em-ups have never really been my thing, I found it easy to get hooked on this game. The format of pummeling your opponent until he's unconscious or until the clock runs out is simple, but mastering the technique is more of a challenge and fun to learn.
Meet the baddies
There are ten characters that you control at the start of the game (I suspect that you may be able to get more with cheat modes), each with four special moves. If you're playing the one-player game, you'd be lucky to get through a single fight without using special moves. Activating these moves is achieved by a combination of joystick and firebutton presses such as left, right, left then fire. This takes a while to get used to and the best thing to do is practice on a two-player game, with no one controlling the other player. The computer opponents won't hesitate to use their special moves on you, and they don't have to grapple with their joysticks. More standard moves such as punching, kicking, blocking, throwing and jumping are easily accessed using simple direction and fire button combinations. Fortunately there are four skill levels, which affect the speed of the opponents' reaction time, so you can start off hammering folks in easy mode. The characters themselves are fairly varied – Kento is a good all rounder whose special moves are possibly the easiest to learn. Sheila's agility is a real bonus, while Rhajang the tiger is slow but immensely powerful. Their special moves all look unique, even though their effects are fairly similar.
Review your options
There's a lot of longevity in this game: ten characters' moves to learn, at least eleven fights for each character to win and at four different skill levels. Add to that multiplayer games (only two characters on screen at one time, but up to eight players in tournament mode, plus there's a kind of tag-team game). There are options galore too: blood or no blood, normal or turbo speed, alter the amount of continue options, joystick or CD32 controller and so on. What's more, a new version of the game has just become available which contains CD audio tracks.
Basically, if you're into beat-'em-ups, you'll love this. If you're not, then this might just persuade you to like them.
Amiga Format, issue 133, February 2000, pp.26-27