Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire - "You're getting better!"

Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire is a bizarre arcade fighting game from 1995, featuring digitized characters a la Mortal Kombat. It's easy to play, looks utterly ridiculous to bystanders, and has three different versions of Jackie Chan in the roster. It's one of my favorite fighting games, and it received the honor of having an impromptu tournament thrown for it at the big fighting game showdown we had down here in Denver the other day.

Fists of Fire is pure footsies. Jumps are hilariously floaty, but also dangerous. Getting hit in mid-air leads to knockdowns. Getting knocked down leads to you getting kicked repeatedly, or worse. By comparison, dashes are super fast and super safe, and can be ended at any time. The result: Jackie Chan Giga Footsies.

If it didn't look so absolutely ridiculous, I'd put this up there as one of the best beginner-level fighting games. Heck, let's do it anyway. Combos in this game are as simple as they get. You can chain 4 jabs together, end it with a special or super, kick the other guy three times while he's down and take off half a lifebar. If you can do a fireball in Street Fighter II, you can play this game.

The degree of visual incongruity is probably the best part, though. A roster consisting of three Jackie Chans, five random Mortal Kombat-kinda people in body paint and cheap costume, and Mysterious Dragon? FMV explosions that fill the screen at the end of a round? Throws that send people spinning end over end like a propeller? It's this close to being a pirate romhack, but... Oh, shit, nearly forgot: If the match is between two of the non-Jackie characters, there's gratuitous bloodshed and fatalities. As soon as Jackie enters the ring, though, the game turns PG. This is his game, after all. You think you're gonna tear Jackie's torso in half? Make him bleed? Aw hell naw. He's a great sport, though. Beat him (or, uh, lose as him) and he responds with a thumbs up every time.

Fists of Fire is MAME-only right now, which means it isn't supported by GGPO or Supercade. Considering the hype this game is building, however, something tells me that's bound to change.