Martial Champion


ABOUTMartial Champion is a 2D fighting game by Konami released in February 1993. Following Konami's pioneer fighting game Yie Ar Kung Fu, and Galactic Warriors, Martial Champion was Konami's third fighting game and first release following Capcom's smash arcade hit, Street Fighter II: World Warrior. Needless to say, Martial Champion takes heavy cues and inspiration from SF2, with fighters from around the world entering a tournament to decide who's the best fighter.

Martial Champion's character select screen.

Martial Champion features 10 selectable fighters each one hailing from a different country. After the player defeats all 10 opponents in Tournament Mode (including a clone of their character), they battle against the final boss. The control scheme takes inspiration from both Yie Ar Kung Fu and Street Fighter II, which characters able to perform low, middle, or high attacks. The various attacks are assigned to single button presses without having to holding the arcade stick in a particular "direction" like SF2. Martial Champion also includes a "high jump" mechanic, which would later become a standard in many future 2D fighting games.

Where have I seen these characters before? Hmmm.

FUN FACT: In the localized worldwide versions, Chaos and Titi have their names switched (not unlike the bosses of Street Fighter II). This was likely done to avoid associations with the word "titty", with Chaos being a Chinese vampire and Titi being an Egyptian princess.

Putting on a show for President Bill Clinton.

Following the original Arcade release, Martial Champion was ported to the PC Engine as a Super CD-ROM² release exclusively in Japan. (This version was later re-released for the Wii Virtual Console in Japan in May 2008.) In the PC version, the 2D character sprites and backgrounds appear smaller than the arcade version. The backgrounds also became still images, losing their animations and foreground objects as well. The intro and outro also differ from the Arcade version.

Racheal with the fan service.


Page Updated: May 12th, 2021
Developer(s): Konami
Publisher(s): Konami
Platform(s): Arcade, PC, TurboGrafx CD, Wii Virtual Console
Release Date(s): Feb. 10th, 1993           Arcade
Dec. 17th, 1993             PC
May 2008                          Wii Virtual Console
Characters Avu, Bobby, Chaos, Golder, Hoi, Jin, Mahamba, Rachael, Titi, Zen, Salamander

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Related Games: Street Fighter 2, SF2: Champion Edition, SF2: Turbo, Super SF2, Super SF2 Turbo, Street Fighter, Art of Fighting, World Heroes, Fighter's History, Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, Mortal Kombat, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, Martial Masters, Yie Ar Kung Fu, Kaiser Knuckle, Global Champion, Power Instinct

Gameplay Engine  3.5 / 10
Story / Theme  2.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  4.0 / 10
Animation  3.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  3.5 / 10
Innovation  2.0 / 10
Art Direction  4.0 / 10
Customization  3.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  2.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  2.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  2.0 / 10
Characters  3.0 / 10

 4.0 / 10

 Review based on Arcade  version     


Final Words:

In 1993, it's almost hard to imagine Martial Champion bumping elbows with games like Mortal Kombat 2, Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting, and Samurai Shodown... just to name a few. While Konami had its foot in the door with the ultra influential early fighting game, Yie Ar Kung Fu... it's safe to say that Martial Champion was a bit "late to the party" as a mid 90's fighting game.

Though seeming a bit "cut & paste" from the likes of SF2, Martial Champion has the core gameplay mechanics of a 2D fighter and is, at the least, playable. The game certainly looks and plays clunkier than most fighting games of the time period. The "zoomed in" camera and pastel colors of the game were pretty visually unappealing, in my opinion.

I personally never encountered Martial Champion in all my treks to many arcades in the 90's (or I simply overlooked it). It was an obscure 2D fighting game in North America, that's for sure! The large 2D character sprites might be the game's most appealing aspect, and to its credit, might've outshined the graphics of some comparable console fighting games at the time on SNES and Sega Genesis. However, the character designs themselves, and literally everything else about the game, is pretty forgettable and lackluster compared to the best the fighting genre had to offer in 1993 (and shortly after).
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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