Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire is a 2-D fighting game developed by Kaneko (Ooedo Fight, DJ Boy, Gals Panic series) and was released in arcades worldwide in 1995. The game, which contains no known storyline or backdrop for the fighting, contains three selectable takes on the famous Hong Kong action star, Jackie Chan, based upon his films "The Drunken Master," "Spiritual Kung-Fu" and "Project A." Six other selectable characters of original design join the three Jackies, making for nine playable characters in all.
Fists of Fire does not differ much from other 2-D fighting games as it pits two characters against each other with the object being to deplete the opponent’s health meter, though the extreme nature of the game lends itself to a somewhat unique rule set. Unlike most fighting games which feature a default time limit of 99 or 60 seconds per round, the default time per round in Fists of Fire is a mere 30 seconds (as also seen in Virtua Fighter). This is due not only to the heightened speed of the characters compared to most other fighting games, but also the unusually high damage output by each of the characters, with no damage scaling to prevent excessively damaging combos. Due to this enhanced damage output, however, time outs in Fists of Fire are still considered to be an uncommon occurrence.
Changes from Jackie Chan - The Kung-Fu Master
Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire is a significant update to Jackie Chan - The Kung-Fu Master, which was also released in 1995 by Kaneko, as it features numerous gameplay additions in the form of selectable characters, new special attacks for each character and more.
In The Kung-Fu Master, none of the three featured Jackie Chans were playable characters and were instead utilized as boss characters that would gradually be unlocked for play against the CPU in single-player gameplay, though the remaining six characters were all present albeit with different, more limited move sets.
Fists of Fire boasts numerous gameplay enhancements that were not found in the original release, including juggle combos, off-the-ground combos, ground attacks and a universal overhead command for all characters. To cope with all additional forms of offense, Fists of Fire introduced the option for players to "mash" the buttons in order to get back up from attacks faster and hopefully before more damage is incurred.
The Kung-Fu Master originally featured the more standard 99 seconds per round, as well as a lower damage output and slower movement per character, lending itself to a much slower paced game overall.
The only significant feature lost from The Kung-Fu Master to Fists of Fire are the post-match fatalities. Unlike Mortal Kombat, however, The Kung-Fu Master opted for a more free-form approach to the fatality concept, allowing players to perform any action they desired which would then translate to the opposing character being chopped in half by the attack, crushed by a giant object and other various forms of death. This is the same system Kaneko utilized in their 1994 release, Ooedo Fight.
While some semblance of fatalities remain in Fists of Fire, there is no "fatality" indicator and instead, are used as post-match animations, which tend to be more comical (for example, characters blasting off into space, being buried in sand) and no decapitations are depicted. It is important to note that while playing with or against one of the three Jackie Chan's, none of the more violent finishes occur.
Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire is played with four buttons in an SNK-style layout, acting as light punch, light kick, hard punch and hard kick. Every character shares the same special-normal commands, with 1-button throws (hard punch or hard kick depending on the character), universal overheads (forward and hard kick), ground attacks (up and hard punch) and the same basic combo command (light punch repeatedly). Also, with the exception of Mysterious Lion, every character can perform a dash by quickly tapping twice in the direction desired.
Aside from special attacks, which are performed with quarter-circle and charge commands much like similar fighting games, each character in Fists of Fire sports super moves which require the super meter to be full. Super meter can be obtained both by executing attacks (whiffed attacks generate super as well) and by holding hard punch or hard kick to charge. Alternatively, one can drain their opponent’s super meter by performing a taunt by pressing both hard punch and hard kick together.
There are many different combo opportunities in Fists of Fire, as most normals can be cancelled into either specials or supers with extreme ease. Once a character is airborne, it is possible to juggle them for multiple hits, making the act of jumping a very risky venture and a rare maneuver in high-level play. Much like Tekken or Darkstalkers, players are still at risk for further damage after being knocked down, with standard ground attacks available for all characters and off-the-ground attacks being possible, leading to further juggles.
When knocked down, the player has a few options. There is the ability to "mash" the controls in order to recover before further damage can be incurred. If the opposing player has opted for the standard ground attack, the prone character can reverse it by pressing hard punch and hard kick at the appropriate time. When getting back up from a knock down, the player can choose to roll to either the left or the right by holding the stick in that direction, and can even follow it up with an invincible rising attack by pressing either light kick or hard kick rapidly during the rise.
Dressed in the same robes as in the film, this Jackie utilizes his famous wine jug for projectile attacks and is one of the best zoning characters in the game with his damaging, high-priority pokes.
Based upon the 1978 film of the same name, "Spiritual" Jackie is considered to be the weakest of the three, having to rely primarily on command throws.
If his Marine Police garb wasn't intimidating enough, "Project A" Jackie is a powerful force in Fists of Fire with a high-powered rush down style and ability to punish the simplest mistakes for massive damage.
A fairly generic martial artist, Lau is considered to be the "Ryu" of Fists of Fire, containing some form of "hadouken," "shoryuken" and "hurricane kick" maneuvers. To competitive players, he is best known for his extremely safe, but effective style.
The only weapon-user in Fists of Fire, Yeung fights with a long staff and is able to keep opponents at bay, frustrating them with her long-range special attacks. Once an opponent is in, her incredibly powerful Swallow Kick and throws prove another challenge.
As if being a biker and also quite possibly a zombie wasn't frightening enough, Thorsten sports the hardest hitting combos in the game, making the most off of any OTG.
A kung-fu expert, Sam uses his rapid kicks and Thousand Spear punch.
The primary grappler, Kim-Maree is the only character to wield an air-throw.
With teleports, walking bombs and the ability to transform into a "chibi" version of itself, the walking parade train known as Mysterious Lion is one of the more unique fighters to appear in a video game.