Fighter's History Dynamite / Karnov's Revenge

The original Fighter's History became infamous for being one of the most blatant and shameless "rip-offs" of Capcom's Street Fighter 2... in history (hence the title). Lo and behold, Data East had the audacity and bull-sized balls to make a sequel (even after Capcom attempted to sue them) one year after the release of the first game! I'll give them one thing... they've got balls! Bull-sized balls! (That will make sense later). Interestingly, Data East also gave returning character Karnov a brand new sprite and animations.

NOT COOL. . . DO NOT punch arcade cabinet screens!
Fighter's History Dynamite has anger issues.


Fighter's History Dynamite
(also known as Karnov's Revenge) is no doubt an improvement over Data East's original 2D fighter. The sequel adds playable bosses, Clown and Karnov, along with two completely new characters to the series: Zazie & Yungmie. Karnov's Revenge also features a humorous optional boss battle against " Ox" literally a giant bull (yeah, a bull). Besides a slightly larger and more impressive character roster, and some nice-looking new stages, the overall visual appeal of Fighter's History still hasn't changed very much since the first game (right along with the gameplay). 

Fighter's History Dynamite character select screen.
"If you're a SF2 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. While offering a status quo experience for an arcade 2D fighting game of the era, Fighters History's gameplay doesn't really offer much in the way of innovation or excitement to the fighting game genre. Although, the fact that clothing items can be knocked off of characters is a pretty cool and innovative effect, at least.

Karnov from Bad Dudes is back with a new sprite!

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.


Page Updated: February 20th, 2022
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 Yungmie, Liu Feilin, Jean Pierre, Ryoko, Matlock Jade, Samchay, Lee Diendou, Marstorius, Clown, Zazie Muhaba, 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, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, 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, Kaiser Knuckle, Power Instinct, Power Instinct 2

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 get past the fact that Fighter's History was a unapologetic Street Fighter 2 knock-off... then maybe you enjoyed this sequel. To its credit, Karnov's Revenge added 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 (and possibly likeable) characters to check out in Dynamite.

In terms of quality, Karnov's Revenge looked and played "dated" upon its arrival. But maybe for a short while, it shined in some unexpected areas potentially overlooked by other fighting games, comic relief being one of the game's stronger points. Ox and Karnov are particularly entertaining.

What were you playing in '94-'95? I can tell you what I was playing... incredible genre-defining fighting games that still hold up to this day, including (but not limited to): X-Men: Children of the Atom, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 3, Darkstalkers, Killer Instinct, Tekken, VF, and Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo. These games weren't just "nice to look at" but actually worth playing for years to come. That said, I didn't play much Karnov's Revenge and I have no regrets. If Data East had the heart or desire to make anything other than a fighting game attempting to cash in on SF2's success, maybe they wouldn't have stopped making fighting games after Fighter's History: Dynamite?

In fairness, Fighter's History Dynamite has some charm. While most of the character roster is "been there done that" material, 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 | @Fighters_Gen

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