Rival Schools: United By Fate

STORY The story of Rival Schools is set in the Japanese city of Aoharu. Several local schools have recently become the victims of unknown attacks, including kidnappings of students and staff. Various students and teachers set out to find who is responsible for the attacks on their respective schools. Later in the storyline, it is revealed that an elite school in the city called Justice High, is responsible for the attacks.


Enter the world of Rival Schools...

REVIEW: Rival Schools is a 2D/3D fighter from Capcom with gameplay resembling both the Street Fighter series and the Marvel VS series. Rival Schools' control scheme is different from other Capcom fighting games however, as it features only four buttons (two punches and two kicks) rather than the standard six. Rival Schools also introduces several unique gameplay elements that make it stand out from the rest, including: Team Up Attacks, Tardy Counters (similar to Alpha counters from Street Fighter Alpha), Attack Cancels, and high-flying Air Combos similar to what you'd see in the VS Series! 

In Rival Schools: United By Fate, players create a team of two characters. The gameplay is 1-on-1, with a "partner" character entering the action when a "team up" attack connects. Depending on who the partner character is, the team will either deal out a hearty dose of additional ass-kicking to their victim, or supply a "health up," all while players are treated to awesome (and sometimes hilarious) animations during the tag team sequence. Players can also switch out their main characters between rounds, which adds a unique, satisfying and strategic element to the gameplay.

You can thank Edayan for the brilliant artwork.

Rival Schools' character roster is made up of all sorts of high school "stereotypes"... definitely a unique concept for a fighting game roster. To name a few: Shoma the hot-headed baseball player, Edge the weird punk kid, Roy the American jock, Tiffany the busty blonde cheerleader, and Hayato the badass gym coach. While the designs are heavily based on stereotypes, each character design manages to be interesting, elaborate, and (for the most part) original in the fighting game universe. Sakura Kasugano from Street Fighter Alpha also makes an awesome guest appearance (to play the role of one of the Japanese schoolgirls, of course)!

All characters have unique play styles, some of which resemble other more famous fighting game personalities, which means any 2D fighting game fan should feel right at home! The diverse characters of Rival Schools present a solid variety of special moves and some truly epic super moves and tag team moves, which never fail to make you cringe when they connect. This game definitely isn't short on ouch factor... that's for sure! The attack animations, throw animations, and hit animations are well done and have some impressive oomph.... However, the same walking forward/back animation is shared by all characters and looks a bit awkward overall. Besides a few kooky animations, everything else is in check.

Fighting is allowed in this school.

The PlayStation version of Rival Schools comes with 2 discs, a port of the arcade version and the "Evolution disc". All together, the home version features an engaging story mode, an awesome anime intro (and ending), bonus characters, nearly 100 unique loading screen artworks (which will help you deal with the lengthy PS1 load times), and several mini games! Overall, the presentation raises the bar for current gen fighting games. The catchy soundtrack and satisfying sound effects & voice acting really make a statement as well.

Unfortunately, the overseas version of the Evolution Disc lacks the Japanese version's Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki mode, a character creation mode and story mode / date simulation. In this Japan exclusive mode, players can create a student and go through a full school year, developing friendships with characters from various schools along the way. These interactions allowed players' characters to receive custom moves for their moveset and revealed additional details about Rival Schools characters. Once a custom character finishes the year, they can then be used in any of the default gameplay modes. Capcom stated that they didn't add the creation mode to overseas versions due to the amount of time it would take to translate all of the text from Japanese to English. Besides the creation mode, all of the other bonuses such as mini games translated to the overseas versions.

Page Updated: August 4th, 2020
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Hideaki Itsuno, Makoto Otsuki, Tatsuya Nakae
Artwork by: Edayan
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation, PSN
Release Date(s): November 1997           Arcade
July 30th, 1998
Sept. 30th, 1998
November 1998
Feb. 22nd, 2012
Characters Batsu Iichimonji, Hinata Wakaba, Kyosuke Kagami, Shoma Sawamura, Natsu Ayuhara, Roberto Miura, Edge, Gan Isurugi, Daigo Kazama, Akira Kazama, Hideo Shimazu, Hayato Nekketsu, Kyoko Minazuki, Boman Delgado, Tiffany Lords, Roy Bromwell, Raizo Imawano, Sakura Kasugano, Hyo Imawano

Featured Video:

Related Games: Project Justice, Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel VS Capcom, Bloody Roar, Battle Arena Toshinden 3, Bushido Blade, Mortal Kombat 4, Tobal 2, Capcom VS SNK 2, Namco X Capcom, Kenichi

Gameplay Engine  8.5 / 10
Story / Theme  10 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.0 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  9.5 / 10
Innovation  9.5 / 10
Art Direction  10 / 10
Customization  7.0 / 10
Options / Extras  9.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  9.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  8.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  9.0 / 10
Characters  9.0 / 10

 8.8 / 10

 Review based on PlayStation version    


Final Words: Rival Schools was an instant Capcom classic... and a very unappreciated gem on PS1. This "modern" take on Capcom's classic fighting game recipe really made an impact for those paying attention. The brilliant character designs, impactful art style by Edayan, highly-enteratining movesets + team-up special moves, premise / storyline, and music made Rival Schools: United By Fate an incredibly original fighting game in 1997-1998... with tons of potential.

While not as "technically refined" as some of Capcom's top Street Fighter titles, Rival Schools offered something very different from the arguably monotonous Street Fighter series. And along with Darkstalkers, was another title that showed Capcom was still a definite leader in the fighting game genre. The gameplay / combo system is solid for the most part and was also greatly improved upon in the sequel, Project JusticeRival Schools is a must-play / must-have for any fighting game fan, especially for anyone who calls themselves a Capcom fan. 
~TFG Webmaster

  Click Here for all character art!





  Click Here for all team artwork!