Street Fighting Man is an isometric beat 'em up released in the late 1980's for MS-DOS capable PC's. Information about Street Fighting Man is difficult to find, as most web search results lead to information about the Street Fighter series, a song of the same name by the Rolling Stones, or a band with the same name. Some places cite Sculptured Software as the developer, which was latter acquired by Acclaim Entertainment.Street Fighting Man is slightly unique, in being isometric instead of side-scrolling, which was very rare for its time in the genre, and even until today where only a handful of beat 'em ups use the isometric perspective.
The player character is Nick, a burly man with a white t-shirt, brown vest, blue jeans and a trope-like "Porn 'Stach" mustache that gave the protagonist a resemblance to the actor Burt Reynolds. The player is given a choice between five stages set in Denver, Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York. The stage selection menu is themed after fictional local newspapers, displaying headlines about gang related vandalism and violence. Stages in Street Fighting Man are slightly non-linear, giving the illusion of an Open world as the player can choose multiple paths in the stage with some leading to dead ends. Stages are single screens with two to four paths either going up, left, down or right. The goal of each stage is to rescue Nick's "One True Love", Xianna, his curly-haired blonde girlfriend who inexplicably finds herself captured in multiple states across the country. While the ultimate goal of each stage is to rescue Xianna, some attempts at rescuing her will result in a long gangster assaulting him while he kisses her, and re-abducts Xianna a second or third time, padding out the gameplay and giving an excuse to explore the level further. Once Xianna, is truly rescued, Nick and Xianna kiss, interrupted only by a win screen displaying art before returning the player back to stage select when Enter is pressed. Such screens included Nick in a "tough looking" pose as Xianna kisses him after tying up a gangster with Nick's named painted in graffiti on a wall, or Nick and Xianna driving off into a sunset towards Kansas with a speech bubble from Nick saying "Goodbye city life ! ! !"
The gameplay is very simplistic, utilized completely on keyboard. The arrow keys move Nick 4-ways in up, down, left, right, Space bar to punch, Control to pick up weapons, and Alt to kick. The kick could be used to knock enemies further away from the player, but would rarely if never be needed to be used in normal gameplay. Nick's health is represented by a Strength meter, which would increase slightly until it's maximum upon defeating enemy gangsters and decrease with every hit, encouraging the player to play carefully and increase their health for more dangerous brawls against larger groups of gangsters later in each stage. A Status bar at the top displays the status of Nick and current enemy (either the first one to hit Nick or be hit by him). The Status bar was the flavor text of the game, claiming "NICK IS A WHIMP" when starting a level, or "MARTY IS FAT" when a Marty is first attacked. Other lines included "SUNG YI IS NASTY" or "NICK RULES" when the player strength is high. The upper left displayed the gangs available on stage. Once Xianna is rescued from a gang's turf, said gang is cleared from the gang list and is considered "defeated", though remaining members from said gang can still be found in other turfs. Both Nick and enemies can pick up infrequent weapons like a crowbar, chain, knife or nunchucks that provide increased range and damage, but are knocked out of the user's hand when he or she is hit.
Upon entering certain screens, or waiting in a screen for too long a police siren will wail, signaling the arrival of a cop. When a buzzer sounds, the cop arrives on screen. If the player leaves the scene before the cops arrive, then the cop can be avoided. When the cop arrives, he will attack Nick in an attempt to arrest him, though cops can engage in combat with gangsters as well. If Nick defeats the cop, Nick will be labeled a Cop Killer in the Status bar Upon starting each level, Nick is placed in Neutral turf and usually given 2-3 paths that cross into various gang turfs. The gangs of Street Fighting Man were completely based on stereotypes and thus aren't very politically correct. The Home Boys was a gang of black men named Tyrone with afros and red bell bottom pants, The Fat Boys was a gang of middle aged, heavy set white men named Marty. One gangstger is a short Asian woman by the name of Sung Yi, but because characters can appear in a variety of gang turfs, it is unclear if if she belongs to the Sharks or The Lipsticks, which seems to be the gang relegated to the female enemies, including Sung Yi and Blondie, a tall, blond haired, heel wearing buxom woman with the appearance of a hooker. If Nick leaves a screen before defeating all the enemies, they will reappear if Nick returns, but the screen will be cleared (or show the bodies of the defeated) if they are all killed.