History and Information
There was a time when Fighting games dominated the local arcades, namely Street Fighter. With its popularity followed many clones, such as Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instinct, trying to cash in on the fad that dominated the arcade space. Then came the clones of the clones, and Tattoo Assassins was born. Made to deliberately cash in on the success of these franchises but took heavy "influence" from the Mortal Kombat franchise. It attempted to mimic MK's digitized art style and over the top violence advertising over 200 fatalities (it was the first fighting game to include "NUDEalities") for better or worse.
At its heart Tattoo Assassins is a Mortal Kombat inspired knock off with bad graphics and horrible controls. You choose 1 of 9 playable characters and fight your way up the ranks through 3 sub-bosses leading up to a final encounter with the games villain Koldan. The story involves a guru named Mullah Abba discovering the secrets to a magical substance called "the ink of Ghize", described as a "magical living organism" which has the ability to bring life to its wearer's tattoos for short periods of time. Koldan wants all the ink for himself so he can create an army of tattooed warriors and enslave mankind. So, you are tasked to defeat the evil Koldan and save the earth.
This game has a rather infamous story revolving around its inception. Apparently Joe Kaminkow (worked for DATA EAST pinball) and Bob Gale (co-creator of the back to the future trilogy) became friends after collaborating on the back to the future pinball game. Bob started sending Joe copies of his movie scripts and one of them happened to involve warriors who battled with magical tattoos. Apparently they both thought this was a great premise for a video game because production on Tattoo Assassins started shortly after.
The team was quickly patched together and were put to task to create the game in only 8 months. A difficult task for any development team, especially considering the majority of the Tattoo Assassins team had little to no video game experience.
There were stories of the team being forced to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week, and having their meals catered in so they wouldn't need to leave work. By most accounts from team members stated they all started to resent the long work hours and stopped caring about the quality of the game and just wanted it all to end.
Only two working arcade cabinets were ever created; the first fell victim to a flood and was destroyed, and the second lives on in infamy at the company's headquarters as a monument to their failure.
Thanks to the rise of emulators long forgotten digital brawlers like Jackie Chan Kung Fu Master, Blood Warrior, Survival Arts and Tattoo Assassins are now available to be played by the general public. Tattoo Assassins was never officially released and was destined to be just forgotten about but thanks to M.A.M.E. (and other emulators) people from all walks of life now have the chance to see what could have been and has gained cult status thanks to how shockingly "so bad that it's awesome" the game truly is.
This information was taken directly from the game's attract mode.
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