First off, "Mugen"
is a word of Japanese origin, meaning dream, fantasy, or
infinite... M.U.G.E.N is a freeware 2D fighting game engine
designed by Elecbyte, released on July 17th, 1999. The program was
written in C with the Allegro library. Beta versions were made for
DOS, Linux and Windows, and was distributed through their website. "M.U.G.E.N"
is actually an unknown acronym. The creators, Elecbyte, never told
what it was. In fact, they admittedly stated that they forgot what it stood
allows users to create their own 2D fighting game, using the core game
engine provided. From the characters, to the stages, to the background
music, to the life bars & power bars, text font, and even in-game character
stories... you can create pretty much anything you want once you learn
the programming, and it's not incredibly hard either. If you ever had a
dream of creating your own fighting game, M.U.G.E.N is a good "practice
run," to say the least.
Creating an actual
character yourself is a time-consuming process, as "contributors" or "creators
for M.U.G.E.N" actually take the time to rip the sprites, and code it
from scratch. Some use the original characters and sprites themselves,
others use existing characters/sprites to create other various recognizable
characters (AKA palette swap). Then there are the die-hards that actually
create their own 2D sprites and animations from scratch!
Some Capcom and
SNK characters, coded by the creators, play nearly exactly the way they
should from their original games! But characters for M.U.G.E.N aren't limited
to Capcom, SNK, or Sammy characters as you can see from the pics. As long
as it's a 2D sprite, you can put it into M.U.G.E.N... and there's no limit
to how many characters you can put on the game, well, it really depends
on the size of the selection screen, which users can also create from scratch.
Unfortunately, many user created characters end up missing moves,
missing frames of animation, or generally appear or play glitchy. These
below average creations have undoubtedly given M.U.G.E.N a bad name over
the years. However, there are a handful of skilled creators that have made
characters which are incredibly well done, and actually rival,
if not surpass that of real 2D fighting game character designs. Masters of the M.U.G.E.N. program have also created some very impressive alternate
versions of characters, as well as some insanely spectacular super moves...
check out some clips of actual gameplay footage below.
a solid, traditional, and somewhat open ended 2D fighting game engine, very similar
to classic 2D fighting games we all know and love. You can actually re-create
any classic 2D fighting game any way you want it, putting in characters
new and old, or even having many different versions of the same character
in the same game. The possibilities are pretty much endless. While the
engine is set up primarily for fighting game development, several other
game types have actually been created using M.U.G.E.N, including platformers
and even shooters.
You can use any
image for a background, or an already existing fighting game background. Want to put in one of your favorite fighting game tunes for background
music? How about any song ever created... M.U.G.E.N supports MP3, ADX,
OGG and MIDI as background music during gameplay, the introduction screen, or the selection
The gameplay engine
uses 7 buttons along with the directional keys consisting of the classic
layout (three punches, three kicks & taunt). However, characters made
for M.U.G.E.N do not necessarily have to use all seven buttons. Specials,
super moves, and priority moves included, but don't expect all of their
old combos to work... you'll most likely have to create new combos that work
for this game engine. M.U.G.E.N characters are also notorious for being
over-powered and having infinite combos (infinite jab combos
against the wall anyone?)... After seeing some forms of M.U.G.E.N in
action, it almost makes Marvel VS Capcom 2 seem like a balanced game.
a variety of staple modes. There's Arcade, VS Mode, Team Arcade, Team VS, Team
Co-op and even Survival Mode. You can select between 1 on 1 fights, or
simultaneous 2 vs 2 fights, which are always action packed. If you're playing
alone in 2 vs 2 mode, your ally is controlled by the computer. Both teammates
share the same super meter and of course can use super moves at any time
during the fight... talk about some crazy combo possibilities!
Kung Fu Man (pictured
below) is the first, and only, character created for the engine by its
Yeah, he's one
generic looking dude. As the game engine's development progressed, so
did Kung Fu Man, gaining the occasional new move, implementing newly created
engine features, and at one point sporting an improved look. His story
was never actually fleshed out by Elecbyte themselves, but he has become
an icon of sorts for M.U.G.E.N itself.
A member of the
"M.U.G.E.N Community" contacted me and informed me that the M.U.G.E.N community
asked both SNK and Capcom for approval of using their characters in M.U.G.E.N.
SNK actually gave permission for their work to be used in M.U.G.E.N specifically,
while Capcom gave their generic email response saying it was ok if their
work wasn't used for profit.(Thanks to Lee Tuttle
for the information)
The previous license
agreements for usage of MUGEN from Elecbyte have expired, and it appears
that a new license agreement will never be granted. Therefore, any current
distribution of MUGEN has not been authorized by Elecbyte and is illegal,
although Elecbyte has never taken any legal action; it has simply disappeared
without explanation. Many people choose to continue using MUGEN despite
the lack of a new license.
as characters and stages for use with MUGEN are not a part of Elecbyte's
license, but only the software itself is. So it is up to each individual
to decide whether or not to violate Elecbyte's license by using MUGEN.
Elecbyte itself has not made a public statement since 2003 when they stated
that the project had "hit a snag". That it was, in the truth, an excuse
to have disappeared, leaving the users and creators without any alternative.
take on M.U.G.E.N
It was around 2002-2003 when I first heard of
M.U.G.E.N. and started
messing around with the program. At the time, there was a very limited selection of websites with
downloadable content for M.U.G.E.N. Backgrounds from many different classic
2D fighting games were usually downloadable in packs, while characters
were usually downloaded separately. I always tested out the characters
to see if they were "good enough" to be in my game (weren't missing any
important moves or animations). To my surprise, some of them had very accurate
movelists and played like they should! However, in those days, there were
no Street Fighter III or Marvel VS Capcom 2 sprites in existence
(on the internet), so my options were
I searched high and low
for new user-created characters, most of which were Capcom, SNK and Marvel
characters. If they weren't, they were either ugly user created sprites
with bad animation, Dragonball Z characters, 8-bit Nintendo characters,
or joke characters... all of which I wasn't interested in for my project.
The game I ultimately wanted to create was "Capcom VS SNK VS Marvel"... and I had fun making it. I had upwards of 90-100 characters in my game. Every
character had their own background and theme music (most of which
was authentic from their original games).
I still remember fighting
against Dan in my game... his background was his stage from SFA3, with
his theme music intact (mp3 quality)!
Sometimes, I had to choose between different versions of stages & BGM's
for a single character in my game, for example I could've used Dan's
SFA2 stage with his SFA2 theme music instead. My awesome collection of BGM's
from Capcom & SNK games really came in handy (thanks Napster!)
Along with all the mp3s, backgrounds, and M.U.G.E.N compatible characters
I had collected; I eventually DELETED my entire M.U.G.E.N
folder (but I did save the data)... I'd
estimate it was sometime in 2004.
I had to conserve some
space on my hard drive at the time and on top of that, I simply got bored
with it. It was fun playing the 2 vs 2 team mode all by myself and all,
and my B.B. Hood / MOTW Terry Bogard team was nearly unstoppable, but there
came a point where I had to ask myself... "What the hell am I doing? Why am
I putting so much time into a game that won't matter at all if I'm good
at it? Shouldn't I be practicing my combos in a REAL fighting game?"
The characters that people
were making just started to get ridiculous... I felt like M.U.G.E.N had
almost become an "insult" to fighting games. I often wondered (wonder)
if the original Capcom / SNK artists may have been offended by someone
ripping off their original ideas and artworks, and associating them with
something such as this:
I mean? Just the fact that M.U.G.E.N sprites come in ALL shapes and sizes,
and all have the potential to be thrown into the same game, somewhat turns
me off of the whole thing. There are, however, some more "serious" themed M.U.G.E.N
games out there, and I have to give the creators credit for their efforts
and their contribution to the continued hype and love for 2D fighting games. The fact that this sort of
"tool" exists in the first place is pretty cool.... Don't get me wrong.
Okay, so it's pretty funny,
I guess.... Bad animation and all.
In closing, if you haven't
checked out M.U.G.E.N and tried your hand at creating your own 2D fighter
from the ground up, then give it a go. You'll have a blast once you learn
how to use it and it's fairly easy! Or if you're too lazy, you can always
download someone else's creation and try it out. If you started your
own M.U.G.E.N now, you'll surely have many more characters at your disposal
than I did at the time... but a word of advice, "the road" to creating your fighting game
may very well be much more enjoyable than
actually playing it.
These days, M.U.G.E.N
is something that you can whip out in front of some oblivious friends for
some decent laughs, and possibly some oohs&aahs if you
have an impressive character selection screen. The fact is, most games
that come out of M.U.G.E.N just don't have that "quality feel" that
you'll get from a pro fighting game engine. There is potential for the game engine to be developed
further, and it has... but I suppose that M.U.G.E.N is a different
version than the one I've been referring to.
At the end of the day, of
course, M.U.G.E.N shouldn't be taken very seriously.... M.U.G.E.N is sort of like
M.U.G.E.N looks like a fighting game... M.U.G.E.N feels like a fighting game...
but it's not actually a fighting game engine, contrary to what any
obsessed M.U.G.E.N fan may tell you. It's a user created, code based, figment of our wild
imaginations... kinda like The Matrix.