The Rumble Fish


STORY:  The Rumble Fish takes place in the distant future during the 21st century. During the turn of the 21st century, a large-scale natural disaster tears through the eastern side of an unverified country, destroying its economical and political operations and taking a total of 158,000 lives. A prominent corporation in the series, called PROBE-NEXUS, moves its base of operations to the ruined east side and begins reconstructing the area. The rebuilt area flourishes again as it becomes a wealthy and busy city known as Zone Prime, which serves as the backdrop for many locales in the game.
In the underground of Zone Prime, PROBE-NEXUS also sponsors a tournament known as the Fight for Survival, or F.F.S., where fighters are gathered from the city's slums and compete for sport. The first Rumble Fish game follows the fifth F.F.S. tournament.


The Rumble Fish character selection screen.

ABOUTThe Rumble Fish is a 2D fighting game released for the Atomiswave arcade platform in 2004 and later ported to PS2 (Japan) in March 2005. Rumble Fish includes 9 playable fighters and uses a 5-button layout (4 attacks and a dodge button). The combo system features speedy chain-combos (comparable to Darkstalkers), with limited air-combos also possible. Like nearly all other 2D fighting games, normal attacks can be canceled into Special Attacks which can then be canceled into Super Moves. That said, it's a pretty easy 2D fighting game to pick up and play and also has considerable depth.

The Rumble Fish
is a stunningly unique 2D fighter due to the "multi-joint-sprites" rendering and animation technique of the in-game graphics engine which allows for individual segments of the characters' bodies to animate separately. (It's difficult to describe the effect and give it justice using words alone, so it's best to just watch some gameplay and you'll get the gist!) The charming character sprites are drawn in a high-resolution and have a very unique animation style all their own, almost appearing "3D" in a way!


A 2D fighting game worth learning how to play!

A very unique visual element of The Rumble Fish is that characters will lose accessories while fighting, and their cloths even become ripped displayed both on their in-game 2D sprite and their victory / lose character artwork at the end of a match. Some characters even change their facial expression after their clothing becomes ripped. On an arcade mode playthrough, a character will even retain their battle damage onto the next round. As an appreciator of small details like this in fighting games, I really enjoyed this immersive element... and it makes me wish more fighting games used this cool effect!

These screenshots hardly do the game justice.

The gameplay system of Rumble Fish is pretty straight-forward and comparable to other quality 2D fighters of the era. The game features a "Block Meter" which decreases as characters defend incoming attacks (comparable to SFA3), and can result in a Guard Break. There are 2 super meters: one for offense and one for defense. Players can use these meters separately for super moves or both of them at the same time for an "Ultimate Critical Arts Attack." Players can also use their offensive meter for a "Jolt Attack" by hitting LP & LK which makes the screen turn red and allows for a custom combo.

Zen is a cool name... and an important philosophy in life!

In July 2022, it was announced that The Rumble Fish and The Rumble Fish 2 are finally coming to consoles worldwide in Winter 2022. This will be the first ever western release for both titles. Publisher 3goo and Dimps confirmed the upcoming re-releases are coming this Winter but did not yet specify which systems the games will be releasing on.

Page Updated: September 15th, 2022
Developer(s): Dimps
Publisher(s): Sammy
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Artwork By: YukinariZ
Release Date(s): 2004                                   Arcade
Mar. 17th, 2005
Dec. 8th, 2022            Steam, PS5, PS4, Xbox X|S, XB1, Switch
Characters Zen Yuzuriha, Garnet, Aran, Boyd, Viren, Orville, Typhon, Kaya, Hikari, Greed, Sheryl (PS2), Hazama (PS2)
News Links Sept. 2022:  Rumble Fish 2 Collector's Edition, Launches Dec. 8th

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Related Games: The Rumble Fish 2, Guilty Gear X, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, The King of Fighters: Neowave, Art of Fighting 3, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Capcom Fighting Evolution, Samurai Shodown 5, Samurai Shodown 6, Guilty Gear: Isuka, Legend of Raven, Groove On Fight, Xuan Dou Zhi Wang, Tekken 5, Blade Strangers, Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter V, Street Fighter TEKKEN, SoulCalibur 6

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Final Words:

The Rumble Fish is possibly the strangest name for a fighting game in existence. I still don't know what it means. Nonetheless, I wish this game was more popular and got a Western release, because it's surprisingly decent. The gameplay speed and mechanics remind me most of Garou: Mark of the Wolves and that's quite the compliment.

When Rumble Fish launched in '04-'05 (and many years after), it was actually difficult to find any information or artwork for the game on the internet, making it a particularly mysterious and lesser-known fighting game for those of us who don't have access to arcades in Japan / Asia.

Over a decade after its release, I finally got around to playing the unadulterated, original arcade version of Rumble Fish. My first impression? The game is really fun to look at... especially as an appreciator of 2D fighting game sprites. The artwork, multi-joint-sprites, battle damage, and interesting designs make Rumble Fish intriguing and enjoyable on many levels. While imperfect, something about the way characters animate is compelling, as studying the game's animation becomes just as fun as playing it.

The characters use an interesting mix of quick chain-combos, Tekken-style strings, aerial attacks, and projectiles. Rumble Fish feels like a traditional 2D fighter through-and-through. While arguably "slow" the gameplay is smooth, intuitive, and has a real "newness" about it. I have mixed thoughts on the character designs, but in general they're all quite interesting and likeable once you dive in. I'm really surprised this game never got a Western release.... it would make a perfect budget digital title on current-gen systems. [UPDATE] Wishes come true. It's happening!

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen


Click Here for all character sprites!

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