By all rules, the Tifatan X games should not be good. Developed by Toushiryoku Laboratory, they're both tributes to Item's Spartan-X (more widely known as Kung Fu Master, or just plain Kung Fu), except starring Tifa from Final Fantasy VII. Utilizing retro pixel art graphics, you control Tifa through a variety of side scrolling stages, destroying any enemies that come in her path. You know how the enemies in Kung Fu Master just kinda karate chopped and got their fist stuck in you, somehow draining your life? In Tifatan X, the enemies begin groping Tifa - complete with closeup cut-ins featuring high-res fan artwork - until you break them free. So yeah, it's kind of a hentai game. It's a bit unsettling that a Game Over essentially ends with implied rape, but that's hardly a surprise given the nature of a lot of Japanese porn.
Anyway, naughty stuff aside, Tifatan X is conceptually quite interesting, just because it's a revisitation of old school beat-em-ups. There's a lot of love and arcade gamer spirit that went into these, even if it's overshadowed by the cheesy porn elements. The first one isn't particular good, but it lays the groundwork for a stunningly fantastic sequel.
First, a brief explanation. The title is a play on Spartan-X, Irem's 1984 sidescrolling arcade game better known as Kung Fu Master (or just plain Kung Fu) outside of Japan. Tifa, of course, is the busty karate master from Square's Final Fantasy VII, and "-tan" is a slangy variation on the Japanese honorific "-chan", usually used as a term of cutesy adoration. Of course, applying it to fictional characters is a tiny bit weird and creepy, but hey, that's Japanese otaku for you.
Anyway, there aren't any pics of the dirty stuff in this article, but it is a bit on the racy side, so consider this NSFW if you're in a position to be concerned about things like this.
The first game is quite straightforward - just walk forward (left or right, depending on the level), with stages drawn to look like the Chinese fortress from Spartan X. You only have a single attack button with a single combo, although you can press Up to jump, or Down to duck. When you're grabbed by enemies, you can mash the keys and toss them off with a spinning bunch. The controls are tight and snappy, but they're a bit limited. The boss battles are also severely frustrating, especially the annoying guys with shields. They take way too many hits to kill, and so you end up running back and forth, collecting healing items at the end of each screen, slowly whittling away their health. As such, it's more tedious than fun. At least the sound effects are quality, and the MIDI music isn't too back.
Now this is more like it! Tifatan X2 is a huge step up from the original, primarily because they've tightened up the controls, and added a stunningly large amount of moves. Despite still having only one attack buttons, there are several kinds of throws, grabs, piledrivers, aerial throws and grabs, juggles and launchers. You can even jump kick enemy's heads and bounce back and forth between then. In additions to a handful of special moves, there's a huge combo branch, starting with a single punch, and executing a variety of different attacks depending on which direction you hold. Nearly all of them are ripped from a variety of Capcom and SNK fighting games, including (but not limited to) Ken/Ryu/etc's Shoryuken and Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku, Andy Bogard's Chou Reppa Dan and Zaneiken, Terry Bogard's Power Geyser, Dhalsim's Yoga Fire and Flame, Dan Hibiki's Gadouken, Guile's Flash Kick, Zangief's Banishing Fist, Geese Howard's Raging Storm, and Joe Higashi's Hurricane Upper. A little symbol with a meter next to it indicates which combo branch you're on, and how much time you have to execute the next move before it resets.
There's still a spinning punch, given its own button, which you can execute three times, in order to pummel away enemies, but there's also a tribute to Tung Fu Rue's Geki Ha (where you summon Tifa's spirit) when you break free of holds. All of the fan service is brilliant, of course, but the real reason why it excels is because it's so tightly executed. It's one of those rare games where you could probably just sit in one spot and pummel enemies back and forth, just because it feels awesome. There are occasional weapons like hammers, but they feel superfluous in the face of the combo system. Most of the standard enemies are the same as the predecessor, but they're a lot less frustrating to deal with, especially the shield guys.
The levels look different than Tifatan X's tribute to Spartan X, but they're still pretty sterile. That really shouldn't matter though, especially when you get to the bosses. Like the special moves, they're taken from other famous fighting games, including Lilith from Darkstalkers, Mai from Fatal Fury / The King of Fighters, and Athena from...well, technically also The King of Fighters, but she's in her goddess garb from the original arcade/NES game Athena. The background during the boss fights are high res drawings of the character, who eventually loses their clothes as the fight progresses. As you deal the final blow, your opponent's garb flies off, complete with a zoomed in view of your naked foe's pixellated body, which is a bit odd to say the least. The level ends with yet another softcore porn pic, before you head on to the next stage. One of the bosses is also a green muscle men dubbed the Hulk, similar to the baddies fought in the original Tifatan X, and the final enemy, Mr. Red, is a pimptastic variation on the Red Mage from Final Fantasy. After every level, you're healed by Hoimin (also known to English speakers as Healie), the slightly disturbing, sentient Healslime from the first chapter of Dragon Quest IV. The ending also involves him, but we shall speak no further of that.
The animation is more fluid than the first game, and even though the music is just comprised of tinny MIDIs like its predecessor, it's surprisingly catchy. And the high res artwork is actually also quite decent, substantially better than a good majority of PC hentai dating sims, even though there isn't very much of it. (For fun, also look for the CG set Shunji no Succubus, starring Morrigan from Darkstalkers, by the same artist. Don't tell anyone I said that though!) You can also turn off the cut-ins or backgrounds if that kind of thing bothers you, or you need a worksafe version of it.
It says a lot that one of the best 2D beat-em-ups in the past several years is a Windows-based porn game. I'm not sure if it ever got a physical release, but you can download it legally (for a price) from places like DLSite, if you can navigate the Japanese.