Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle
Box Shot
Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle
Platform: Super Nintendo
Publisher: DTMC
Designer: Shogakukan
Genre: Fighting
Players: 2 (Simulatenous)
Published Date 1992
Reviewed by: 8-Bit Star

Images from the Japanese version, though English version does exist

Ranma 1/2 is one of those few anime games that actually makes it across the seas to America. For the unenlightened, Ranma is an anime sex comedy about a boy that changes into a girl when hit with water (many characters change into other forms when doused with liquid as well.)

Being a fan (somewhat) of the Anime, I picked up this game when I first saw it. What is shocking is how amazingly the game deviates from the show when it is almost similar. (If you're not a fan of the anime, you may as well just skip the new few paragraphs, as they relate to the show.)

The Furinkan High School principal is not exactly the most trustworthy fool around, and tends to make promises he can't (and doesn't intend to) keep. He makes a promise of some sort to all the characters in this game, telling them all that if they defeat all their opponents, they get something good. Ranma (both forms) wants to skip exams, Akane wants boys to stop asking her for dates, Shampoo wants Ranma to like her, and Mousse wants lifelong happiness. Genma thinks Ranma is too disobediant and is looking to straighten him out, Ryoga has lost his memory, Gosunkugi is looking to win Akane's heart, Ukyou wants her restraunt sponsored, and King wants to open a Casino. After you beat the game once with any of these characters, you can go through again as Pantyhose Tarou, who is wanting to change his name (understandable) but to do so he must face Happosai. You go through like 8 opponents, then at the end you face both forms of Pantyhose Tarou (unless you're playing as him, then you fight Happosai) Happosai is playable too, but only through a secret code, and he bugs up the game in One Player mode.

Stupid motivations? I know, but this is Ranma, come on! What did you expect? "They wanna save the world from the Master of Perversion?"

First off is a little something that is unusual in a game based off an anime: absolutely NONE of the music is from the show! It sounds Japanese though, and fits the game well. I particularly like the Boss Arena music and the music from Ranma's stage (Under the Bridge) but I HATE the song in Ukyou's stage! It is SO slow-paced and does not fit the action at all. In yet another differensation from the show, the voices do not AT ALL sound like their TV Counterparts, and basically just do NOT work in Ranma. Ukyou's voice is especially off. She has an extremely girlish voice, when she's supposed to be extremely tomboy-ish. Ranma's male voice sucks, and female Ranma's voice sounds more mature than it should. Genma HAS a voice? That's suprising, since he is in Panda form and this game has a running gag about pandas not talking. Ryouga's voice comes the closest to sounding like the show. Not only are the voices screwed, but some of Ranma's attack names are mispronounced by female Ranma (it's Amaguriken, not Amabuniken).

And the award for biggest inconsistency with the Anime: AKANE losing a fight to any male character is simply unrealistic. Also, most of the cooler characters from the show, or at least those I would like to of played as, are not in the game (like Kuno.)

The graphics, however, nicely copy the show, except for the Jusenkyo background, and some of the colors are off: Ukyou NEVER wears that color, and Akane's hair is blue, not black. Shampoo-cat (who we see in the credits chasing Ranma if you beat the game on Normal or Hard) is supposed to be pink, not red.

Well, now that I'm done with that part, I might as well say that, despite the inconsistency with the anime of the same name, this managed to be A GREAT FIGHTING GAME! This is probably due to the controls. There's only two kinds of attacks: weak and strong. Combos are very simple too, as there's no complicated movements to master. No doubt this will annoy true fighter fanatics (enough to the point where they may be disgusted with this game) but it's welcome for most normal players.

Another difference in the controls are the special moves. Whereas Street Fighter had commands to activate special moves that, required control pad/joystick movements, Ranma 1/2 has simple special moves, though usually only 3 each character. To do the ShorySotenHa as Ranma, you simply press B+Y at the same time (it raises the chances of working if you hold the block button, which conveniantly in another improvement on SF, are the L and R Buttons on the top of the Controller rather than holding back while being attacked, though you can do THAT too if you're used to it.) And for the most part you use the same button combinations for each character. To do some fireball thing with Ranma, you hold the B Button for like 3-5 seconds (the longer the more powerful) and while walking towards your opponent let go of the B Button. Some characters also have moves done by pressing two buttons at once.

Overrall, this is one of the better fighting games in existence, albeit a little different from the show. I recommend this game heavily, though see the anime first, otherwise you might get confused. This was, sadly, the only Ranma game that got translated (too bad, because the Gameboy Ranma is pretty good, and it ISN'T a fighting game!) The other Ranmas were Ranma Street Challenge (I only heard of this one recently) Ranma Super Battle, Ranma RPG, Ranma Gameboy, both Ranma S-Famicom CDs, Ranma Sega CD (I saw that for auction once on Ebay) and Ranma RPG (Super Famicom.) Get some tapes of the anime, watch them for an hour, get the game, and when you become a full-fledged addict, import the games.