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Page 1:
Introduction
Characters

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Ranma ½: Chōnai Gekitōhen
Ranma ½: Hard Battle
Ranma ½: Chōgi Rambu Hen

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Ranma ½: Chōnai Gekitōhen (らんま½ 町内激闘篇) / Street Combat - SNES (1992)

Japanese Super Famicom Cover

American SNES Cover

Chōnai Gekitōhen is modeled on the Street Fighter II template but deviates from it in several ways, especially in its control scheme. Jumping is performed by tapping X. You have two buttons for normal attacks: Y and B. A special attack is assigned to A. Blocking is performed by holding L or R, like in Mortal Kombat. Combos are essentially irrelevant, and you can change characters between fights. The controls are as responsive as they need to be and its game physics are decent, but do not allow for the ease of control and perfect responsiveness necessary for a Street Fighter II clone that wants to be taken seriously. There are special moves, but they are performed with rather simple commands, ala Super Smash Bros., rather than quarter circles or whatever. Besides iffy control responsiveness, hit detection could be better and it's basic fighting system is simply not very well designed.

Chōnai Gekitōhen's presentation does little to redeem the title. The game is ugly, even by the standards of 16-bit Street Fighter II clones. The backgrounds, character designs, and animation details look poor, and music the and sound effects are lacking.

The game was localized in America by Irem with some major cosmetic changes. Since Chōnai Gekitōhen's release came several years before anime and manga hit the American mainstream, Irem probably felt releasing such a goofy and heavily Japanese (for lack of a better word) game might be a risky venture. The title was changed to Street Combat, the cast was swapped with a bunch of World Heroes and Street Fighter 2010 rejects, and the plot was given a total overhaul. Male Ranma was turned into a blond-haired dude named Steven who fought in a robotic suit, while Female Ranma was turned into an armorless version of Steven. The rest of the Ranma cast received similarly bizarre makeovers - Genma turned into a black guy with sunglasses and pink hair named Tyrone. Kodachi is now a clone named Dozo, while the kendo sword wielding Kuno is now a hilariously generic army dude (also wielding a sword?) named G.I. Jim. Konchon was turned into a skateboarding robot name Helmut, while Shampoo received the most transparent makeover by dying her hair and turning herself into a masked wrestler. Ryoga is now a wiener in a red suit named C. J. It's exactly the same game as Chōnai Gekitōhen, except totally embarrassing.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Masaya

Publisher:

NCS Corporation (JP)
Irem (NA)

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Anime Style
Licensed
Localization Identity Crisis


Ranma ½: Chōnai Gekitōhen (SFC)


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Additional Screenshots

Comparison Screenshots


Ranma ½: Bakuretsu Rantōhen (らんま½ 爆烈乱闘篇) / Ranma ½: Hard Battle / Ranma ½ - SNES (1992)

Japanese SFC Cover

American SNES Cover

European SNES Cover

NCS's second Ranma ½ fighter for the console, Hard Battle, was released in Japan the same year as its predecessor and features a few characters that aren't in the other two 16-bit Ranma ½ fighters. Only male and female Ranma are available at first, but you can hold L and R while choosing your character to select the others. Since the manga and anime, publushed by Viz, were gaining popularity in the States, it was released mostly unaltered in America, with only major change being the inclusion of the English dub voices.

The plot of Hard Battle is pretty simple: Kouchou is trying to get every other character to fight, which somehow benefits him. Think of it as Mortal Kombat 2 with Shao Kahn wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Unfortunately, Hard Battle plays like Chōnai Gekitōhen, though it's slightly improved. The improved hit detection and control responsiveness, as well as the superior visuals and sounds, make Hard Battle a less grating experience than its predecessor. The controls have been modified as well: blocking can be performed with L and R, or by simply holding back like in most fighters. X is still the default jump button, but thankfully, Hard Battle gives you the option to assign the jump command to Up on the D-pad. The A button, meanwhile, now does absolutely nothing. Specials are still performed with simplistic motions, but several specials involve button charging, which is not going to be very intuitive for most people. Disappointingly, it is no longer possible to change characters between fights, but there is an elimination match instead.

Mostly because of better game physics, control responsiveness, hit detection, and more standardized controls, Hard Battle is a markedly better game than Chōnai Gekitōhen. It's certainly worth playing as a curiosity.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Masaya

Publisher:

NCS Corporation (JP)
DTMC (NA)
Ocean (PAL)

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Anime Style
Licensed


Ranma ½: Hard Battle (SNES)


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Additional Screenshots


Ranma ½: Chōgi Rambu Hen - Super Famicom (1994)

Japanese SFC Cover

The peak of Ranma ½ fighters, Ranma ½: Chōgi Ranbu Hen was developed by Rumic Soft and released for the Super Famicom in 1994. It's a more blatant Street Fighter II clone than ever before, but in the same respect as imitators like Fatal Fury and World Heroes, Chōgi Ranbu Hen tries a few things of its own.

This game's plot is very simplistic. Each character becomes aware of the existence of twelve magical ingredients with which to make a magical maneki neko that will grant any wish. Now they must travel the world to find the ingredients, beating the hell out of each other as they go. Keeping with the humorous tone of the anime and manga, the characters have rather goofy wishes that are potentially realized in equally goofy endings.

While its basic gameplay is almost exactly like Street Fighter II's, there are differences in the "feel" of the gameplay. Its combo system is more forgiving than Street Fighter II's and has more relaxed timing on cancelling, making combos seem less like a challenge or chore than in certain fighters. Chōgi Ranbu Hen is not very combo oriented, but allows for people familiar with Street Fighter II's combo system to adjust very quickly and makes it fairly easy to learn to properly execute Street Fighter II-style comboing and cancelling.

Each character in Chōgi Ranbu Hen is able to execute a powerful and showy super move, but these are executed differently than in most 2D fighters. Rather than tying super moves to a gradually accumulating gauge of some kind, tapping the L button causes your character to begin charging energy. After a second or two without interruption their heath bar will begin flashing. As long as the health bar is flashing, super moves are enabled. Characters are completely mobile during this period, but if a special is executed or any move connects, the health bar stops flashing.

There are only two other major differences to Chōgi Ranbu Hen's basic gameplay from its predecessors’. Firstly are "Oowaza:" moves executed by hitting both Y and B or X and A at the same time. For most characters, each of these two button combinations will perform a different move that can be cancelled into from any cancellable normals for combos. Secondly, pre-designated specials can be assigned to the R button in Options Mode.

This game's greatest innovation is Tag Team Mode, beating out SNK's Kizuna Encounter by two years. It’s essentially a Versus Mode in which both players choose two characters and then fight in a wrestling ring. Fighters can be switched in and out by moving to the far end of your side of the screen and tapping Select when a second health bar is below the current character's health bar. Whichever character is sitting out gradually regains health. If either of your two characters is defeated, you will lose the round. This forces each player to keep switching between both characters to have the best chance of winning. It also minimizes the effectiveness of trapping your opponent in his side of the stage, where he can tag and you cannot, and means that trapping him in your side of the stage costs you the option of tagging. As awesome as Tag Team Mode is, it is exclusively for two players. Why they could not have programmed the computer to fight in this mode I have no clue.

The overall presentation is several notches above the first two games'. Among several other very well designed backgrounds, there is the Italian fountain from La Dolce Vita, the shores of Loch Ness (complete with Nessie in the background), and a gorgeous looking bridge level. Characters are nicely designed, drawing elements from both their manga and anime portrayals. Overall, everything looks great. The music is perfect for the game’s tone, and there are digitized voices everywhere. Characters throw out Japanese phrases during every special and super, and even have spoken win quotes. Awesome.

The aesthetic style goes beyond simple cosmetics, too. While many fighters pour far too much effort into making themselves come across as badass and cool, Chōgi Ranbu Hen has a very charming tone to it. Its contenders are more goofy and innocuous than vicious, and the game sports consistent sense of humor in the same spirit as the Ranma ½ anime and manga. Anime-style sight gags are everywhere, thanks to some particularly attentive designers, and some of the characters' endings are genuinely hilarious. Every element of Chōgi Ranbu Hen's presentation is refreshing, and more fighters should take this kind of approach.

Chōgi Ranbu Hen really only has one lone problem: its slow pace. I would say it is about as fast as the original World Heroes. The speed of moves and walking are really not a problem - it's mostly the jumping speed. This makes it like playing a fighter where every character moves like Dhalsim. This does not keep it from being enjoyable, but does little to elevate Chōgi Ranbu Hen to the same tier as Capcom and SNK's better titles.

Ranma ½: Chōgi Ranbu Hen might be a Street Fighter II clone whose license was its main selling point, but it is very well executed for what it is. It boasts some great comboing and cancelling systems, a refreshing humorous presentation, and it is easy for anyone to get into. I consider this among the Super Famicom's best exclusive fighters, and would recommend it to anybody looking for a fighter for the console. If you can find somebody to play Tag Team Mode with, that alone should be motivation to get your hands on this game. It was almost released in America, but unfortunately cancelled before it hit the store shelves.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Rumic Soft

Publisher:

Rumic Soft

Genre:

Fighting

Themes:

Anime Style
Licensed


Ranma ½: Chōgi Ranbu Hen (SFC)

Ranma ½: Chōgi Ranbu Hen (SFC)

Ranma ½: Chōgi Ranbu Hen (SFC)

Ranma ½: Chōgi Ranbu Hen (SFC)

Ranma ½: Chōgi Ranbu Hen (SFC)


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Additional Screenshots


Related Articles


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction
Characters

Page 2:
Ranma ½: Chōnai Gekitōhen
Ranma ½: Hard Battle
Ranma ½: Chōgi Rambu Hen

Back to the Index