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Fighters Destiny; Nintendo 64
Topic Started: Oct 29 2016, 09:49 AM (524 Views)
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The Shockmaster
Review Written October 29th, 2016

*Does Not require Controller pak. Unlocked characters and records save to cartridge. 2 pages required to
save optional character skills.

Expansion Pak support: none

Developer: Imagineer Genki Team
Publisher: Ocean

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North American box art featuring the character Ryuji. His design is inspired and original and not based on anything preexisting whatsoever.

Fighters Destiny

Fighters Destiny is a 1 on 1 3d fighting game developed by Genki which was released in 1998 and it remains a Nintendo 64 exclusive. The game is very unique ( which can be a good or bad thing depending on what you are expecting ) but its closest comparison is Virtua Fighter. Genki also developed the Dreamcast version of Virtua Fighter 3 later the same year and Fighter's Destiny's lead designer, Masahiro Onoguchi, was a motion designer for some other fighting games such as Tekkan, Tobal No. 1, and Fighting Vipers 2, so this style of combat most definatly inspired Fighter's Destiny.

I'm gonna run down the basics of gameplay and modes that 99% of players will experience. If you want a 134 page pdf of every detail of the combat. . . I've linked one below.


Fighter's Destiney is a 1 on 1 fighter set on a 3d cube. The goal is to score a set number of points before your opponent. The total defaults to 7 but can be set anywhere between 1 and 8 in the options. Here are the ways to score points and their default values. All values can be set anywhere from 1 to 5 points.

Ringout for 1 point: Every arena is a square cube. Like in Sumo Wrestling, getting knocked out means you lose.

Throw for 2 points: Grab you opponent by pressing A+B together. If they don't escape fast enough ( by also pressing A+B ) you score.

Knock Down for 3 points: Hitting a stunned opponent hard enough knocks them down.

Counter for 3 points: Counters are moves that kill in one hit if the opponent attacks you while you are performing them.

Special for 4 points: Perform a finishing move on a opponent with no remaining health.

Judge's Decision for 1 point: If the time runs out the fighter who delt the most damage gets 1 point.

Draw for 0 points: It's rare but if the time limit runs out and both players have delt the same amount of damage the round is a draw

There is no limit to the number of rounds in a match. The match only ends once enough points have been scored.

When your health reaches Zero you don't immediatly get K.O'd, you go into a mode the game calls Piyori. I'm just going to called it being stunned. When you are stunned you are vulnerable to being knocked down, and during this stun you can not attack; only jump, duck, and slowly move backwards, to try and avoid being knocked down. Tapping A+B helps regain health faster which the game never teaches you, and recovering from being stunned brings you back to full health.

Controls and Basic Combat

You can edit your controls down to each individual button which is a nice feature, although the default controls are pretty perfect. The game takes full advantage of the N64 controller by not utilizing it's weaknesses. The game avoids the c-buttons ( I guess you could use them if you are a masochist ) and instead uses only A and B or a combination of both for attacking. The R button is used for high and low blocks. The L-buttons function is called Hirari in game. Using L with the d-pad you can sidestep in 3-d, and L can be held down to automatically avoid high and low attacks without moving ( mid attacks, throws, and many overheads break through this. It's not overpowered like it sounds )

You can use the d-pad or control stick to move. Inputs must be made quick in order to pull off multiple button maneuvers so the analog stick is out of the question, it is simply too rigid and you'll end up breaking it.

Most special moves use simple quarter circles or just tapping certain directions a certain numbers of times before hitting the attack buttons meaning that attacking effectively or pulling off combos isn't particularly difficult. The only thing bad I can say about the controls really isn't the games fault. The n64 d-pad somtimes misinterprets which direction I mean to press, and pressing A+B together is sometimes hard because if you hit a button at the edge it won't actually press which can screw you up. It isn't too bad especially considering the controller the game has to work with. I think it's just a miracle that there isn't any input lag.

Now forgive me as I, someone who is inept at playing fighting games, attempt to describe how to play a fighting game.

The whole games combat is quite slow and methodical. Not the most fun thing in the world to watch, but certainly enjoyable to play.

The game is mostly focused on defense, slow pokes, and grapple matches waiting for openings to strike. Combos are genrally easy to learn and very short. Virtually all combos come from knocking you opponent into the air and hitting a few simple punches or kicks. Since one solid combo can drain most characters of nearly all their health, the game is more about spacing and waiting for openings. Knowing when to escape throws or perform parries, reversals, or attacks that stun your opponent are usually the most important aspects of combat, but then again that depends on how you intend to score points on your opponent. I can't exactly go into too much depth with the games combat because of how long winded this review would be. If you want a better explanation than I could ever provide check below.

All characters have different amounts of health a unique moves or attributes that make them unique. You can also pause and view the command list during battle to see everything the characters can do.

When dangling off the edge you will drop out if you don't get back on the stage fast enough and your opponent can kick you off. You can do a rolling get up, get up attack, or grab and try to throw your opponent off the stage, but all these have different risks involved. You can dash by double tapping the d-pad which is the quickest form or movement. You use this to go in for throws, extend combos, or even leapfrog over your opponent to try and get behind them. Again, this is very risky since you have to literally run into your opponent. It just takes time and patience to predict what your opponent will try to do.

Modes and Unlockables

In addition to the 9 characters availible from the start, there are 5 unlockables characters for a total of 14 characters. To unlock them you must complete each of the 5 game modes once.

Of course you have the standard arcade style mode where you simply fight some opponents then fight the games first Boss, Boro. Defeat her to unlock her. I'd like to quickly mention that this game has no story whatsoever if that's something you were wondering.

Record Attack has 3 modes with leader boards and if you win by beating the top score you unlock a character.

Fastest: Beat 4 hard opponents as fast as possible. Do this in under a minute to unlock Robert, the training mode robot. He is the worst character in the game without debate.

Rodeo: Don't get knocked out the ring or end the fight for as long as possible. Last 1 minute to unlock Ushi the Cow.

Survival: Defeat as many opponents in a row as possible. Defeat 100 to unlock Joker

This one is particularly Infamous for how hard it is. In Survival you only need 1 point to win a match, which means rounds can last mere seconds, but Cpu opponents only need one point on you to send you back to round one. Since cpus can read your inputs and throw out random counters at anytime this requires insane luck. If you want my advice, just use a gameshark. There's no shame in it. Wasting a week to unlock one character in a fighting game you would be lucky to find someone to play with is not worth it.

Master Challenge where you must defeat all the masters to gain new moves for certain characters. Completing this once unlocks the Master as a playable fighter.

These moves you unlock must be saved to the n64 Controller Pak and worse is that each player will need a controller pak with the moves unlocked to use them, meaning that you may have to do the master challenge twice with each character. Now any fighting game that asks you to unlock moves will make some people groan and I completly understand. The moves that are unlocked are mostly just extra counters or extentions to already existing moves. They usually add one hit to the end of a string that the character already had. I played most of the game without these and still had a blast but it still feels odd knowing you don't have every move available to you.

This feature of saving a character with new moves was supposed to be used to bring characters to use on others peoples copies of the game. That's cool for the 2 people in 1998 who actually used that, but 99% of players would just enjoy having all the moves unlocked from the start.

The other modes are your standard 1 vs 1 multiplayer mode and a mode where 2 players can battle to steal each others unlocked moves from the Master Challenge mode. My only complaint about this is that there is no stage select so sometimes you get the ugly stages or the ones with bad music.

The final mode is a Training mode which gives you room to practice whatever you want. You can even set Robert the training Robot to different settings to practice aerials, throws escapes, counters, etc.

The training mode isn't awful but it also doesn't tell you much. It tells you to literally figure things out on your own which, with this games broken English in both the manual and game, isn't possible.

This is a verbatim quote from the training mode.

" If you choose [HIRARI], who? will be in Hirari condition. Find the way out using a Middle Attack! "

Even with context it isn't exactly super helpful. The mode at least shows you how much damage moves do and whether they are high, medium, or low which is helpful.

Graphics and Aesthetics

Fighters Destiny was released in early 1998 and frequently gets marked down for its visuals. I understand the criticisms but Fighter's Destiny got the most important visual aspect down, a solid 30 frames per second. To achieve the realistic characters models, animations, and keep a steady frame rate, certain things had to be sacrificed like the stages. The stages all have flat backrounds. Some have multiple layers or small moving sprites to keep them from feeling completly dead. A few look plum awful though.

Thankfully the characters models and real time lighting are quite nice. I do wish the faces weren't so "drawn on with marker" but this is hardly noticeable during fights anyway. Certain stages also showcase wind effects on certain characters cloths and hair. It's neat but almost unoticable.

Music and Sound

Unfortunately the sound in game is incredibly muffled, moreso than seemingly any other game I've played on the console.

The charcters have lots of grunts and vocalizations which are good but equally muffled. I appreciate that the character accents actually match which part of the world they are from. The announcers voice is sometimes annoying because he is half way enthusiastic and bored the rest of the time. The attack sound effects could have used more impact to them since nearly every hit matters greatly in this game.

The music isn't all that great. It's okay and inoffensive but nothing that stands out.

Suspension Bridge is the best it gets because it vaguely sounds like something out of Mega Man X. This video quality is about ten times better than the in game quality just so you know. The music is certainly harder to hear in game while everyone grunting and the announcer is talking.

Closing Thoughts

Poor localization and poor sales unfortunately led to this game being virtually forgotten about. It has its annoyances but the fighting is very solid and the scoring structure gives it a completely unique feel. It isn't for everyone but the game is a good fighting game, not just by the N64's pretty abysmal standards, but by any standard. The game can easily be found for less than $10 on Ebay. I'm surprised it is that cheap, but that means it's a easy recommendation for anyone who wants a great N64 exclusive fighter. Just don't expect something conventional.

A N64 Fighter that doesn't have input lag
Unique score system
Simple controls and plenty of complex moves and tactics to learn
Small roster of characters with diverse strengths

Having to unlock certain moves alienates casual players
Poor sound and stage aesthetics
Lackluster training mode and manual don't teach the player anything
Cartridge data can not be deleted

I would like to thank IM_Amazon on the shoryuken.com forums for his very excellent Fighter's Destiny Declassified Guide. It does what the games training mode and manual should have done and taught me things I may have never learned on my own. You can check it out here. http://forums.shoryuken.com/discussion/205040/fighters-destiny-the-declassified-guide-n64

Critique is always appreciated.
Edited by Shellshocker18, Dec 20 2016, 08:16 PM.
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Neva wizard Kee
Great review! I've played this game a long time ago, but would like to play it again to try those crazy unlockables.

If you'd like a challenge, you should try making a review of this game in 64 words or less, in our other review section. :yeah:
A Secret star
lie here~

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The Shockmaster
I could probably do that for all the games I've reviewed. I was intending to only do a 64 word review for Fighters Destiny at first. Usually there are things that never get mentioned that I really want in my reviews but 64 words isn't enough so I end up just writing a whole review instead. Like for this one it was the fact that the unlockable moves aren't actually all new moves. I feel like the idea that moves are locked turns people away from a good game, but they are just like upgrades for normal moves, the characters move sets aren't gimped or anything. Also I have a really hard time putting number scores on my reviews. I'll definatly try to do some of those 64 word reviews later, at least for the games that don't already have one.

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The White Falcon
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I popped this in for another go (bought it a few months back but didn't really get into it) and I have to agree with your review. It doesn't feel broken, but it's not amazing either. The vocals being muffled reminds me of F-Zero X, actually. It's one of those games that'd be fun at a party as a break from Smash/Mario Kart.
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Licensed to Game
Great review Shellshocker. Pretty much every angle covered. I don't think I could add much. I picked up a minty copy the other day and had a good half hour or so on the game. I have to say it's no Street Fighter II Turbo, but it has its place, and has a valued place in my library.
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The Shockmaster
Well I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I've gotten around 30 hours between the single player and multiplayer ( then again half of that was just trying to unlock the :cussfit: ing Joker ) and for a $5 game I think that's plenty of value! I was glad to find a fighting game on this console that I genuinely enjoyed though it definatly doesn't feel triple AAA. I think the game could have become a big series if the first game had come out earlier ( or on another console ), or if the sequal hadn't killed any momentum the series had but I think the team who made it were just too inexperienced to take the concept any further which is a shame because it takes fighting games in a new direction much like Smash Bros did.

I kinda understand why people like White Falcon above see it as solid but not amazing. The combat is fine on its own but it isn't really what makes it great. The point system complely changes how you approach each round and it works well with the simple combat. The constant risk vs reward of weighing if you should go for a risky 4 point special or a 2 point throw, or if you should just ring yourself out instead of risking your opponent knocking you down makes the short rounds extremely intense and it makes for some really fun multiplayer. Then again I might be fanboying over it just because it's on my favorite console. But it does have some fans like Mat and Pat from the super best friends YouTube channel and John Szczepaniak, the journalist who wrote the hardcoregaming 101 article, so I don't think I'm seeing quality that isn't there.

I wonder how good the game would play on one of Linus's Stainless steel sticks because having to use the d-pad is fine but it isn't preferred.

Edited by Shellshocker18, Dec 20 2016, 03:57 PM.
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I'm a huge fighting game fan and have studied martial arts myself so this looks like it would appeal to me. I'd be curious to take this to the fgc and see what they think of it because it's so different.
It must be exciting to never have played a Zelda game before - No64DD
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