In the Japanese city of Aohura, several students and staff members from various local high schools have been the victims of kidnapping and unprovoked attacks. A hand full of students from each of the targeted schools attempt to figure out who is behind the the attacks on their schools. Events and interactions between the students are played out during fights and cut-scenes in the game's single player mode. Later, the player's team discovers that it was Justice High, a prestigious school within the city, that is behind the attacks. The principal of Justice High, Raizo Imawano, challenges the player's team. If certain conditions are met during this fight then the story will continue and the player will fight Hyo Imawano, Raizo's nephew and the mastermind behind the attacks. Once the player defeats Hyo, they are shown the ending that is specific to their character's high school.
Rival Schools is a four button fighting game; there are two buttons for punching (light and heavy) and two buttons for kicking (light and heavy). The player selects two characters as a team and fights other teams of two (with the exception of the boss characters). Matches are fought one-on-one, however, if the player's vigor (super meter) is high enough they can call their partner in for a Team Up attack which can be executed by pressing both light or heavy attack buttons at the same time. Team Up attacks would involve both characters of a team attacking their opponent, or in some cases, the partner would replenish the main character's health or vigor. In between rounds, the player can choose which member of their team they would like to use in the next round; they can keep their main character in play or switch to their partner. The Vigor meter is similar to the super meter in the Street Fighter Alpha series; Vigor can be gained by deal or absorbing damage during a match. Team Up attacks would use 2 levels of vigor and an individual character's special move would cost 1 level of vigor. The combo system in Rival Schools is similar to that of Marvel vs Capcom in that each character has a simple launching attack that allows for air combos.
Bundled with the game was a second disc titled: “Evolution Disc.” Similar to what was on the first disc, it also included modes like the single player story mode and the two player versus mode. However, this second disc contained many more additional modes to select from.
Hayato will teach you the skills you need to know to become a master!
Two players cooperate to defeat the opponents. Play with up to four players.
Select two to four characters and fight in a group battle.
Choose two to six characters and then fight in a league battle.
Tournament battle with up to eight characters.
In addition to the above there are also some mini games that can be unlocked. One has Roberto with a soccer shoot out. Another includes Shoma with a homerun derby type game. The third features Natsu playing a volleyball/bowling type mini game. There was also a life simulator, but that was only included in the Japanese version.
Taiyo High School
Gorin High School
Gedo High School
Pacific High School
Justice High School
Tamagawa Minami High School