Quite the Challenge
Fighter's Destiny is quite the game I say. It is unique in many ways and I haven't played any game that I could say is similar to it. In general, the kind of fighting game I found it to be is a sports martial arts game. Sports Martial Arts usually consists of a referee, points for striking certain areas of the body, and ring outs, but of course, this game has a more special kind of point scoring system. The game is quite fun in general, modes provided are interesting, the graphics and music are worth mentioning, and it's quite fun to play with friends due to its simplicity.
Gameplay Basics: As I mentioned in my introduction, the game is actually quite fun. You normally only use a few buttons according tot he N64 controller. All you need is A, B, L, and R, and you can have an optional control stick option if you don't want to use the directional pad. The game consists of high attacks and low attacks default to B and A respectively. You can guard and enter an evasive mode known as Hirari. Throws are done with A+B together, but you can assign this command to a C-button. This makes the controls of the game very simple in comparison to other fighting games like Street Fighter with a light, medium, heavy punch and kick button. This helps newcomers instantly adjust to the game to go all out for their first or second battle. But if you think that's where it ends, guess again. The fun really begins with learning the throw escape, Piyori condition, Ring Outs, knockdown attacks, counters, counter throws, Specials, and holds. The game wouldn't be fair if you weren't able to get out of your opponents throw, so they give you a throw escape bar in which you only have an amount of time to execute the throw command to escape being thrown down onto the ground. Piyori condition is a stun condition (enetered by draining the opponents stamina bar) similar to Street Fighter, however, you are only able to move around slowly, duck, and jump. But that doesn't mean your prone to just getting thrown and unable to escape, but any move that may knock a person off balance will more than likely knock your player down scoring a knockdown for the opponent. However, you can recover from this over time and by tapping the attack buttons rapidly. Ring outs in this game are quite hilarious on the other hand and one of the basic ways to defeat your opponent. Because the ring is a large cube, you or the opponent will fall a great distance to the ground, however, you are able to hang off the edge for a certain amount of time, and even drag the opponent down to their most unfortunate fall. These are of course just the basics of the game that already make it so fun, but you can kind of see where this is going, don't you? If you or the opponent makes your body touch the ground, that player wins. Or, you can win by judges decision from a time out depending on who scored the most damage out of the round.
Advanced Gameplay: Fighter's Destiny becomes quite interesting once you learn the advanced techniques of the game. Knockdown attacks, Counter attacks, Counter Throws, Holds (Dodge & Throw really), and Special attacks or throws place a big part in the game. Counters and Specials are used to score a different amount of points than the usual throws and knockdowns. Points can be customized in the game options to change your scoring system for whatever techniques you may used to defeat your opponent. Knockdown attacks are used to instantly score a knockdown on your opponent, indicated by blue mist on your attacking limb. Counters, as they normally are, will knock down your opponent as they attack, however, you can escape this unlike knockdown attacks. Counter throws are used to throw your opponent with precise timing input when they try to throw you, however, they can counter throw you back. Holds, or Dodge & Throw, will allow you to catch your opponents attack, usually punches, and then bring them down into a submission lock or break their arm. And last, Specials can only be used when the opponent is in Piyori Condition (doesn't apply for certain characters with certain moves) to pull off a power technique to score a larger amount of points than any other winning condition by default. All these techniques have certainly provided Fighter's Destiny with more intense gameplay and challenge, as a player would have to watch carefully and plan out their next move.
General Gameplay: Pardon me for providing you so much info about the game, but all the more to become more interested in playing it yes? In general, I really like Fighter's Destiny. Each character is quite unique and has a different fighting style from one another, except for certain throws like the good old, standard, side hold throw. Each character plays different from each other, have different stamina levels, and different attack speeds. You are also provided with a few modes to your favor, some that you'd see in other fighters like your usual vs. mode, arcade mode (or vs.com), survival, time attack, and training. However, two special modes that I took notice to were Rodeo, and Master Challenge. The Rodeo mode is a challenge mode in which you must stay within the battle ring for as long as you can against one of the secret fighters, Ushi the Cow. This mode is very challenging at first because Ushi, a cow literally standing on it's hind legs and attacking you with some hilarious attacks, is quite overpowered and cannot be damaged in this mode. It is simply an endurance mode to see how long you can last, and if you can go for a minute without a knockdown or ring out, you will be able to play as Ushi. On the other hand, Master Challenge is perhaps one of the most important modes to bringing a little more quality to your battles. In master mode, you choose a character who you want to learn new skills with. That's right, you get to learn a total of 8 skills which can help you in the next battles you must encounter. In the Master Challenge, there is a roulette of 12 cubes in a random order, 8 have the secret fighter's face, Master, and the remaining 4 have perhaps one of the most awesome secret fighter, Joker. The roulette will spin and you must press A to stop it right where you want it. Your goal is to defeat all 8 masters so you can learn all 8 unlockable skills. As you keep defeating a master, the next will only get harder which is the goodness of unlockable skills which help you in your next battle. However, landing on joker means you are going to pay big time. Joker has the hardest A.I. in the game, and of course, the joker card is the worst out of the deck. Though he may be a funny character, he has some of the most powerful moves in the game and is able to use one of every special move for a character in the game. The hardest part is to continue in master challenge, in which you must defeat Joker if you land on him, but you must have skill, patience, precaution, and maybe a good sixth sense as to what he might do. Other than that, if we are ever able to somehow play online with this game, both players can use controller packs of characters they unlocked skills for and duel it out, as well as receive one bonus skill. 8/10
Depth: As for the depth of this game, as far as going for 100% goes, you might at least spend a few days on this game if you really go at it, if not, probably 2. Of course, you'll be trying to beat the single player game with all the starter characters for this hidden special attack (Which is very useful for master challenge and other modes). Then perhaps you'll play time attack, or rodeo to unlock a character or two. Then you have master challenge to unlock master and as well as 8 moves to add to your character's moveset. And then you have the most horrible challenge in the game, and I mean horrible as the hardest. Survival mode. If you are trying to go for Joker, this is where that second day comes in. You must beat 100 rounds in order to get Joker, and you can run into joker in some battles. Not to mention, it's survival, so if you lose, you gotta start over again. 6/10
Sound and Graphics: I'm putting sound and graphics together for a good reason. Whenever I hear the music, I think of the stage you know. I have the fighter's destiny soundtrack because I like it. The music in my opinion is enjoyable because I am a musician, jazz musician really, and listening in depth appeals to me. Unless you only like a certain kind of music, not all of the music may appeal to you then. But in my opinion, hearing certain songs, like the Ninja Room song is one of my favorites, as it mixes a slight bit of hip-hop funk with japanese traditional music. But how this goes with graphics is what I am about to discuss after I mention the stage graphics. Stage graphics were ok for the time that this game came out. You have your arena which matches the theme, you have the ground below the arena, and then you have an art background all around the stage like a wall almost (some move). Background is ok, nothing special, but if you mix it with music...then you got some magic working because whenever you hear the song, you imagine the background. I did take notice that the sky graphics are missing in this rom, so I can't tell you much about that unless I go to my friend's place to find out on my real copy. However, character graphics are really something in this game. For the time, how I'd put it, I'm not sure if any other game has figures that are more accurate than other chunky figure games. I hope I'm putting this right so you can understand but, I'd say that the body proportions are at least worth commending. How I'd put it, if I can't make much fun of it, then it must be ok. 8/10
Difficulty: As for the difficulty of the game, I wouldn't say it's hard at all to play, but at the same time, it can be hard to pull off certain various commands. However, one thing that could be troublesome is the setup of the rom. It seems that the game can't scan diagonal movements on the d-pad strangely enough, but I never had this problem with the original. For those of you using a logitech game controller, or any gamepad that can switch the analog stick with the direction pad will allow much better gameplay if you are unable to input diagonals. Anyway, putting that aside, I give the rating a 6/10. Why? Here's how I'll put it. With movement commands, jumping and crouching are a little sticky. In a way, it is kind of a mix between Tekken and it's own style. You cannot crouch for as long as you hold down, so your character will pop right back up. Of course, this adds to the speed of getting your opponent back with a rising attack (like in Tekken, as you rise from crouch position and attack, you get rising attack) But then this can be sticky at times when you are trying to just go back into a standard attack without the rising option. Same goes for jumping, you might have to wait a fraction of a second before you can attack normally, not that this is bad, it's more fair that way so you can't just duck and pull out a powerful combo. And you can actually leave the dodging, ducking, and jumping to the Hirari command which allows you to not only dodge most attacks, but will allow you to sidestep around the stage thus circling your opponent (at the cost of being grabbed and unable to escape). The controls work well, but then it's hard to make combos if you lift your opponent into the air, you have to have good timing with most things, so fighting the computer will be tough. But that doesn't actually mean the controls are really trouble at all. In fact, after playing it enough, you begin to like it. As far as move commands go, some are a little specific, such as,forward+high, Up+high, Up+high. You can't just hold up, you have to press up again when you press B for the next attack. Then you have something like quarter-circle forward, back+high (shin bansho-zan) or even Down Left Up+ High+Low. Of course, you can get used to these with just a little practice, but for me, these were a little hard because I'm more used to street fighter. 6/10
Overall, I give the game an 8.5/10. It's definitely worth trying and it does a great job to please others surely enough. If you are looking to duke it out on the n64 a different way than the usual street fighter, King of Fighters, or Mortal Kombat, look no further. This is also my first review on this site, so I hope I did a good job.