Whenever there is a huge success somewhere, there will be “me too” imitations. And that is where some of the weirdest games spring from. Like for instance an Italian-made game published by an Austrian company which is so Japanese in style that even the English language is spoken with an east asian accent! Whether there is some sense to all of that or whether it is just because the developers thought this is the way “it has to be” will remain their secret.
Fightin' Spirit competes in the arena of Street Fighter II clones. From the art style and the selectable fighters right down to the “plot” (a world tournament of the best brawlers, each with some dodgy “motivation” to join), illustrated by a virtually identical world map on which travel is indicated in the same way, almost identical sound effects, the similar silly, destructive bonus level (smash a helicopter instead of a car) and so on and so forth.
What this game offers is more colourful graphics with animated backgrounds, a varied selection of fighters as well as better animation and music. At least compared to the Amiga port of Street Fighter II. The game's own specialty lies in the high number of special moves, particularly those to release one's own “fighting spirit”. A nice graphical effect where the fighter turns into some shining animal or mythological figure while hitting the opponent.
So, well, speaking specifically about the Amiga, Fightin' Spirit really is what SFII should have been in the first place. The game makes excellent use of the system's capabilities. It's fast, but not insanely so. Controls – although the game does fall into multi-button gamepad controls by default, it also works pretty well with a standard joystick – are reactive and manageable. Difficulty is just right. The fighters are different enough to be interesting, but nevertheless pretty well balanced (save for the tiger, whose long range makes him a tad overpowered). Though even globally speaking, i.e. thinking out of system constraints, the same qualities make the game a worthy contender. Just that it's not so special anymore then, because, of course, it does imitate arcade/console games rather than being original.
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