Fighting Games Before They Went Wrong

Sometimes, it’s good fun to play fighting games. Not by yourself, but against friends. I’ve enjoyed it since my first computer, the Commodore 64.


My favourite fighting game then was the Way of the Exploding Fist, which was an excellent karate game. For a hit, you got half a point, for a perfect hit, you got a full point, and first person to reach 2 points won. And the sense of timing was excellent, none of that frantic combo button pressing that came later. You had to time your moves just right, as well as judge distance properly, or your opponent would get the upper hand.


Later on, when I had an Atari ST, one of my favourite fighting games was Barbarian. Mostly, it was because I was just crazy about fantasy games in general, but this game also had that same need for timing, though at a higher pace than Exploding Fist.


I still remember the first time I played Mortal Kombat. Played it for hours straight. It felt very new and fresh, as it was the first fighting game I played which had the up-up-left-right-punch-kick type of combos. It was really good fun, though it was a bit annoying when someone who hadn’t played the game before could occasionally get lucky and beat you at it, just by randomly pressing every button on the controller…

And looking back, I have to admit that for me, Mortal Kombat (though I enjoyed it at the time), marked the end of proper fighting games. Pretty much every fighting game I’ve played since then, have had complex combos take the place of careful timing, and it’s a shame, really. The oldschool fighting games was a game of skill and judgement, while most new ones are simply about controller dexterity…

If I ever get around to make a fighting game of my own, it will first of all be a 2D game, but more importantly, it will be about proper timing and judging of distance, and none of that combo-chasing nonsense :-)

3 Responses to “Fighting Games Before They Went Wrong”

  1. Saint Wulf says:

    Speaking of classic fighting games that involved timing and skill rather than “see how many buttons I can push at once” (Octopus Kid) type fighting games, have you ever played Budokan (The Martial Spirit 1989)? If not I think you should check it out sometime – it had some of that Martial Art Mystic sense that came with it… after a few hours of game play I thought I was turning Japanese .In the game you had to learn the art of various traditional fighting techniques and once you were comfortable with them you went on to compete in a tournament (kinda like the Karate Kid).The part that I enjoyed about this game so much was that you had a Stamina bar and a Ki bar… The Stamina bar laid waste to the “Octopus Kid” type players fast, due to them getting tired too soon. The Ki bar was your focus, the more focus you had (the more calculated and precisely timed your move was), the more damage you could inflict on your enemy.A true classic from EA, and amazingly it fitted into just over 700kb.

  2. Mattias says:

    I think I vaguely remember it, I think a friend of mine had it for his Amiga… Seems like a nice one

  3. Magnus says:

    Again I have to agree with you with at least two (I’ve actually never played Mortal Kombat) of these superb retro games, seems we have the same taste when it comes to these old babies :-) Exploding Fist is by far my all-time favorite fighting game. I remember, when playing in single mode, that the last opponent you had to face was a bull, and you could jump over the bull when it charged, or for even better scores, take him down with a perfectly timed low punch on the forehead. Another great fighting game from those days was of course IK + , but the forerunner “Way of the Exploding Fist” definitely takes the first place I think. I also remember the little green guy who took care of the fallen body and kicked away the often chopped off head in Barbarian, which added a humorous ingredient to the game.

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