Fighter's History Dynamite / Karnov's Revenge

The first Fighter's History was infamous for being one of the most shameless "rip-offs" of Capcom's Street Fighter 2... in history (hence the title). Lo and behold, Data East had the audacity to make a sequel (even after Capcom tried to sue them), one year after the original release! I'll give them one thing... they've got balls! They also gave Karnov a new sprite and added some more-interesting new characters.

Do not punch arcade cabinet screens. That's not cool.


Fighter's History Dynamite
(also known as Karnov's Revenge) is no doubt an improvement over the original. The sequel adds playable bosses (Clown and Karnov) and two completely new characters: Zazie & Yungmie. Karnov's Revenge also has an optional boss battle against "Ox" - a bull (it's pretty hilarious). Besides a slightly larger character roster and some nice-looking new backgrounds, the overall visual appeal of the game hasn't changed very much and neither has the gameplay.

"If you're a Street Fighter 2 knock-off and you know it, shake your fist!"

While playing Karnov's Revenge, I couldn't shake the feeling that this game is still trying to be a repainted Street Fighter 2 with a different cast of characters. For the second time around, the gameplay doesn't really offer much in the way of innovation or excitement to the fighting game genre. The clothing items that can be knocked off of characters is a pretty cool effect, at least. The optional boss battle with "Ox" (unlocked if you beat the game without losing a single round) is also one of the game's most memorable features. (But seriously, who would want to play this game for that long - considering the other epic / more fun fighting games that were making waves in 1994-1995)? I kid. In fairness, Ox is actually pretty funny and might be one of the main reasons to try Fighter's History Dynamite.

Karnov... the first boss from Bad Dudes.



Page Updated: September 25th, 2020
Developer(s): Data East
Publisher(s): Data East
Platform(s): Arcade, NeoGeo, NeoGeo CD, Sega Saturn, Wii Virtual Console, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date(s): Mar. 17th, 1994              Arcade
April 28th, 1994            NeoGeo
Dec. 22nd, 1994              NeoGeo CD
Characters Ray McDougal, Makoto Mizoguchi, Liu Feilin, Jean Pierre, Ryoko, Matlock Jade, Samchay, Lee Diendou, Marstorius, Clown, Zazie Muhaba, Yungmie, Karnov, Ox

Featured Video:

Related Games: Fighter's History, The King of Fighters Maximum Impact: Regulation A, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Street Fighter 2, Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Ninja Master's, The King of Fighters '94, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Samurai Shodown 2, Darkstalkers, Killer Instinct, Virtua Fighter, Tekken

Gameplay Engine  4.5 / 10
Story / Theme  3.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  5.5 / 10
Animation  5.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  4.0 / 10
Innovation  4.5 / 10
Art Direction  5.0 / 10
Customization  3.5 / 10
Options / Extras  4.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  4.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  3.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  4.0 / 10
Characters  4.0 / 10

 4.8 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version     


Final Words:

If you could somehow get past the fact that Fighter's History was a unapologetic Street Fighter 2 knock-off... then maybe you enjoyed the sequel. Karnov's Revenge did add a fairly impressive amount of new content over the prequel. But in my opinion: There were far superior, far better-looking, far better-sounding, and far more fun fighting games to play in 1994 / 1995. In retrospect, there are some interesting aspects and obscure characters to check out in this game.

What were you playing in '94-'95? I can tell you what I was playing... incredible works of art and genre-defining fighting games, such as: X-Men: Children of the Atom, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 3, Darkstalkers, Killer Instinct, Tekken, and Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo... just to name a few. These games weren't just "nice to look at" but actually worth playing and studying for years. That said, I didn't play Karnov's Revenge back then and I have no regrets. (I am also not surprised that the series died with this game.)

In terms of quality, Karnov's Revenge looked "dated" upon its arrival, but maybe for a short while... it shined in some surprising areas, possibly comic relief being one of the game's strong points. Ox and Karnov are particularly entertaining. 

In fairness: Fighters History Dynamite has some charm. While most of the character roster is "been there done that" in my eyes, it was still interesting to see Data East's take on an early 90's fighting game. Indeed, Fighter's History is still a part of fighting game history... and I'm glad such a kooky and weird fighting game exists. 
~TFG Webmaster