Saturday, March 20, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Pit-Fighter

Retro Game of the Day! Pit-Fighter

Pit-Fighter by Atari Games, originally released in the arcades in 1990.

Just before there was SF2, a different fighting game was lighting up the local arcade in my neighborhood - Pit-Fighter was its' name. Fighting games were hardly unusual in the early 1990s, but something was dramatically different about this submission to the genre.

Unlike most other games out there, PF drew heavily on the use of digitized graphics (rather than hand-drawn pixel art, or even rotoscoped animation). The characters were actual people shot against a green-screen and then "dropped" into a video game environment. This technique would be much more famously used in Mortal Kombat a couple of years later, but this was the first time it was used to such a large degree.

The game looked unusual and stunning as a result, and people thronged to play it for a time. Also unique to this game was that it supported 3 players simultaneously as opposed to the usual 2 for this type of game, and there were several different fight modes.

The game looked great and it was a kick to play, but it lacked any real staying power for a variety of reasons; and of course soon after, Street Fighter II came along and absolutely dominated the arcade fighting scene, making games like this look absolutely limited and primitive by comparison. Still, for a time this was the vanguard of arcade fighters (and it made the round of home ports as well, some more decent than others). It had the usual Atari Games touch, which meant for a polished overall experience, and it was a fun way to let off some steam.

1 comment:

  1. I'm by no means a fighting game fan, but once in a while I do enjoy one (Killer Instinct comes to mind). I don't remember ever playing this in the arcade, but I made the mistake of buying the Genesis version (not even sure why I bought a fighting game in the first place), and it was horrible from what I remember. Hard to control, and the digitized actors looked really cheesy on the crummy backgrounds the Genesis delivered.