Ranma ½: Hard Battle (known in Japan as Ranma ½: Bakuretsu Rantou Hen, or "Ranma ½: Exploding Brawl Chapter" and in Europe as Ranma ½) is a 2D fighting game developed by Masaya (in conjunction with Atelier Double) and published for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System by Masaya (in Japan on December 25, 1992), DTMC (in North America on November 1993), and Ocean (in Europe in 1993).
Based on the comedic martial arts manga and anime series Ranma ½, Hard Battle is the second game of the series released on the SNES (after Ranma ½: Chounai Gekitou Hen). It is the only game in the series that was properly localized for a worldwide release (not including the massively-reskinned Street Combat), with translations by Viz Media (who distributed the manga/anime series at the time).
Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle features ten fighters (technically twelve, as two characters can fight in two separate forms) as well as an unplayable boss character. In the single player, each fighter is taking part in a tournament due to a promise or a suggestion made by Principal Kuno, though most of them have been coerced or tricked into competing.
- Ranma Saotome - Ranma is the protagonist of the series and, like many Ranma characters, has a "cursed" form due to falling into a cursed spring while training. This cursed form is a female version of himself, who is slightly faster but also physically weaker - their movesets are otherwise identical. The player can choose to fight as either form. Because he's let his studies fall to the wayside to focus on his fighting, he takes part in the tournament for the promise of being given top grades.
- Genma Saotome - Genma is Ranma's father and taught him martial arts, though Ranma quickly surpassed him in skill. Genma's cursed form is that of a giant panda, and this is the only form that is playable. Genma competes in the tournament to knock some sense into his rebellious son.
- Ryoga Hibiki - Ryoga is Ranma's self-proclaimed rival and has a similar moveset. His cursed form is that of a tiny adorable black piglet with zero fighting ability. Ryoga wakes up in the Principal's office with amnesia and is fighting in order to get his memory back.
- Akane Tendo - Scion of the powerful Tendo dojo and semi-reluctant arranged fiancée of Ranma, Akane enters the tournament to deter her many admirers from constantly bothering her.
- Shampoo - Another of Ranma's fiancées, Shampoo enters the tournament hoping to impress him with her fighting prowess. Her cursed form is that of a cat, an animal Ranma is phobic towards. She's the fastest character in the game and can even double jump.
- Hikaru Gosunkugi - A student obsessed with voodoo and the occult who has a crush on Akane. He fights to win her over. He uses occult items like a straw voodoo doll in combat.
- Ukyo Kuonji - Another of Ranma's brides-to-be and a dedicated okonomiyaki chef, she is convinced to enter the tournament in order to prove her strength as a fighter and businesswoman. She fights with spatulas.
- Gambling King - A nefarious figure who looks like one of the kings from a deck of playing cards, he enters the tournament to make enough money to build his very own casino. He's one of the slowest and weakest characters, and thus the most challenging to beat the game with.
- Mousse - Shampoo's childhood friend. His love for her is unrequited and he blames (male) Ranma for catching her eye. He is tricked into fighting in the tournament by the Principal in a fortune teller disguise, who tells him that his happiness is dependent on winning the contest. Despite being nearly blind, he is an adept fighter who flings hidden objects at his opponents.
- Pantyhose Taro - The unfortunately-named Pantyhose is an antagonist of the series and serves as the final boss for most of the game's characters. His cursed form is that of a mighty chimera or demon, and characters either end up fighting him in his human or his monstrous form. He is unlocked as a playable character for story mode once beaten, though he can be played in Versus mode from the offset.
- Happosai - Happosai is a very small but indescribably powerful martial artist as well as a perverted old man. Pantyhose must defeat him as the boss of his story mode in order to receive a new name. He is unplayable.