FIST: Sega Saturn

Fist: Sega Saturn
Fist: Sega Saturn

Insert Disk collects FIST for the Sega Saturn.

Not all games made in Japan are great and FIST is a prime example of this. Often cited as one of the worst fighting games ever made I thought I’d give it a try to see if it lives up to it’s reputation in today’s retro game review.

Stunning visuals… dynamic gameplay… and hours of fun!… None of which can be found here. Today we are taking a look back at perhaps the worst fighting game on the Sega Saturn. Today we look back at… Fist! It’s not often I will take a look back on games as bad as Fist but I thought that I would make an exception for this title as there is a sub-genre of game collector specifically looking for the worst games ever made.

Fist is notorious for its terrible graphics, limited controls and overall lack of game design. I’d avoided picking up this title for a long time until last year as I already had a bulk shipment of games arriving from Japan and it made sense to add this in to the shipping. Before I start I think it’s worth mentioning that there is also a PS1 version of Fist which differs slightly in graphics and control system. From what I understand both the PS1 version and the Saturn version are equally bad in different ways. Today I will be looking just at the Saturn version. Things actually start off quite promising with the games packaging. The game comes in a well presented double CD case. The front artwork is reasonable if not a little bland. The rear of the case shows images the 6 voice actresses. To be honest I’m not sure why this is important as fighting games are not well known for their excessive use of dialogue. On first glance there doesn’t seem anything remarkable about the outside of the case. Look a little closer though and you start to read the English text.

You’re getting an idea now for what to expect. I think that this text is intended to make us enthusiastic about the game. To be honest I am enjoying the Engrish here. It’s a good job too as its repeated again on the back of the manual and inside. The manual itself has a nice cover and the contents is fairly standard for a fighting game. A character portrait and a list of moves. There’s excitement building as you open the second compartment of the case to find a small CD containing J-Pop songs I will play you out with one at the end of the video. So, it’s looking good so far. Reasonable artwork, a bonus CD and only a trace of dubious translation.

Booting up the disc you are greeted with a rather plain title screen. The options menu is nothing special, just the regular options of difficulty, battle length etc to play around with. I’m choosing to go straight in to the game and oh my are there problems all over the place. The first thing to hit you are the graphics. The polygon count is low, the models are out of proportion and the game only looks half finished. In some levels there are the bare minimum of graphics to even let you know that you are in an arena. There’s no ring-outs as found in other similar fighting games. The ground texture will map on forever.

The second thing that hits you is the control system. The game has a very limited number of punches and kicks which is a problem in itself. This becomes even more frustrating though as your characters moves are so slow to react. There’s nothing fluid about the battle here, it’s very much like a tactical game of sending a move order in and waiting for a response. Overall the system is one of the most sluggish I’ve experienced in a fighting game. The next thing you will notice are the sound effects. Each punch is bland and flat. Considering that the voice actress’s faces were printed on the game case I think that this may have been a punishment for them. So, you slowly punch and kick your way to the end of the game. It won’t take long but it will feel like it. I was really happy to see the end of this one.

As due diligence I did investigate the extras on the disc. As promised on the game case there are short interview samples of the main cast for each of the female characters but not the two males. Let’s take a listen… Fascinating. I’m not really certain why these are here as the voice actresses would possibly only have recorded around 5 sound effects each by my account. 6 actresses for the game seems very excessive. Looking at this screen it looks like a missing person’s catalogue. Were these women kidnapped and forced in to game voice over work? We may never know. The second extra is a feature to take a look at the character models in detail. As you would expect, it’s yet another pointless feature used to pad out the content. In my opinion this game should never have been released in this state. Thankfully the damage was limited only to Japan and many gamers outside wouldn’t have the misfortune of ever paying full price for this one.

Speaking of price, how much should you pay for this one. Well, honestly this is a game of no gameplay value, so you will most likely be collecting this one for the notoriety alone. If you are intrigued though you can pick up a copy complete in box for around 2000 Yen, that’s around £12 or $17. Please do not pay more. But wait, if you collect Fist you open yourself up to an added danger. You see Fist is actually the third instalment of the “Pretty Fighter” series. Before long you may find yourself ending up a bit like me and collecting a whole series of terrible games. Its 2d predecessors are admittedly nowhere near as bad as Fist but perhaps a rather forgettable footnote in gaming history.

From one collector to another, if you must collect this series please do not overpay to put it in your collection. Due to its gathering reputation as a terrible game the price has actually risen over time as curious collectors reduce the number of copies on the open market. I can only sum up Fist as a lack lustre attempt at making a 3D fighting game. When you can pick up the infinitely better Virtua Fighter 2 for pennies there’s no real reason to seek this one out. As promised, I’ll play you out with a sample of J-pop from the bonus CD. So, have you had the misfortune of playing Fist? Maybe you have a copy of the PlayStation version? Let me know in the comments, is this the worst 3D fighting game you’ve played?

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