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Breakers / Breakers Revenge
 
 
 
STORY
Somewhere in Hong Kong, two martial artists face each other in a vast courtyard. The challenger is a stout man in brown skin. The ground has been tainted with blood. However, his crescent blade hasn't touched his opponent yet. It was a one-sided battle. He was already exhausted and it won't be long before he would fall. "Fool, you will become one of my family" resounded the opponent's voice, as the challenger crumbled to the floor and was turned into sand.

The Fighting Instinct Tournament, or FIST, is a tournament as fierce as its name suggests. There was no shortage of martial artists who entered the tournament seeking fame, and yet there were many who left the tournament as corpses. The last challenger who remains in this lawless tournament gets to challenge the organizer of the tournament, the Head of the Huang Financial Clique, for the chance to win the massive prize money. The martial artist who can manage to defeat him will obtain the honor of truly calling him or herself the strongest. However, none of the martial artists who were chosen to challenge the champion in a private final match have ever come back alive. Nobody knows when exactly the tournament is held, since only an avaricious will was spiraling over there. The sponsor is actually an evil spirit who possessed the body of a modern man from Hong Kong who has established a selection system to amplify his dark powers. The FIST tournament has gathered numerous participants from around the globe and another sacrifice will be chosen this year.
 

"Breakers" Selection Screen.

 
REVIEWThe obscure NeoGeo 2D fighter known as "Breakers" was released by Visco on December 17, 1996. Who the hell is Visco?! (You might ask.) Well, years before Breakers was released, Visco and its lazy developers were becoming infamous for shamelessly "ripping off" other NeoGeo titles. For example, Visco's Puzzle De Pon was nothing more than a knockoff of Taito's successful Puzzle Bobble series. Later, Visco's Flip Shot and Bang Bead basically stole the gameplay engine from Data East's Windjammers. This brings us to 1996... with Visco releasing their first 2D fighting game. You can already guess where Breakers took its "inspirations" from. Indeed, they got many of their ideas from Capcom's Street Fighter 2 series, along with Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstalkers, and SNK's own Fatal Fury 2 & 3.

Nearly 2 years after the release of Breakers, an update known as "Breakers Revenge" released exclusively in arcades in July of 1998. Breakers Revenge added a single new character to the game (Saizo, the ninja who looks like Jago) along with slightly altered stages. Revenge also kept the same exact intro, with a single image of Saizo the ninja being added. (Talk about lack of effort.) Revenge also added a weird "colored pencil" filter to the character art, which honestly made it look rather cheap. The "sequel" (if you dare call it that) also featured a code to play as the boss, Bai-Hu. Breakers Revenge made some slight adjustments to existing characters, toning down their damage and rebalancing the game.
 

"Breakers Revenge" Select Screen... JAGO GET!

 
For obvious reasons, Breakers Revenge was easily overshadowed by other 2D fighters of the time (including nearly all other Neo Geo fighting games around 1996-1997). The game also never received an AES console version, making it an even more obscure, unpopular title for even hardcore SNK fans. However, Breaker's Revenge earned itself a kind of cult following due to its rather solid, straight-forward gameplay system. It was a fairly accurate "copy" of other 2D fighters in numerous ways, so it's not too surprising that it played fairly well. Control-wise, Breakers can most closely be compared to Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Fatal Fury 2 & 3, with mechanics borrowed from other current and past 2D fighters. 

Believe it or not, Breakers Revenge does have some unique elements that it didn't steal from other fighting games! For one, when both players choose the same character, the 2-player character will receive a different name. For example, Sho's doppelganger is called "Jin Sawamura". The game's official lore suggests that the original character and the clone are in fact 2 different characters. FUN FACT: Many of the clone names were taken from the prototype version of Breakers, which was originally called Crystal Legacy (1994). While most Breakers Revenge characters shamelessly steal moves from other well known 2D fighters, they actually have unique dashing & backdash techniques which differ between characters. Characters can also move a bit while getting up from the floor. See... unique! Kinda. 

Revenge features a 3-tier power gauge used for super moves. Players can build meter just by dashing, backdashing, rolling, and even taunting. A basic canceling system is in place, enabling normal cancels into specials, specials into supers, and even one super move into another. Some special and super moves are well-designed. Maherl here can summon a freakin' genie to wreak havoc on his opponents.
 

Dao-Long VS Ma..herl.... Maherl.... All I see is Mahvel.

 
The sound quality of Breakers Revenge isn't the best, but has its hilarious moments that actually manage to be entertaining. Characters' battle cries and the way they shout their special moves are mostly memorable and help distinguish their personalities, helping a few of them seem less like rip-offs. In fairness, there are actually some fairly unique designs in Breakers... "kooky" as they may be. There's the awkward flamboyant swordsmen, Pielle (did they spell check that?) with his gut-busting voice acting, the walking hieroglyphic / Phaoroh called Alson III, who wants to be Dhalsim but doesn't want you to know, and the generic stereotypical Native American "Condor Heads"... who has a lot of Zangief's moves (like almost the same exact animation). Plus his name is Condor Heads. So there's that.

Somehow, the roster's "unoriginality" almost makes them passable as entertaining... which ends up being a good thing (no doubt part of the reason this game has a following). Tia, the Yuri Sakazaki look-alike, has a downright hilarious combination of special moves. Her moveset includes Chun-Li's Lightning Kicks, Guile's Sonic Booms, and M. Bison's Psycho Crusher. Ohh, and she has a Shoryuken too... because why the hell not. Sho Kamui is your standard Ryu / Ryo Sakazaki shoto-clone, Rila is Blanka's wife (complete with bite attack and Blanka crouch pose), and boss Huang Bai-Hu totally isn't trying to mimic Demitri from Darkstalkers. Again, the cast of Breakers Revenge are so lamely charming and even fun to play, with their weird mix of unique and "total 100% knockoff" moves.
 

Page Updated: May 22nd, 2016
Developer(s): Visco
Publisher(s): Visco, SNK
Designer(s): Don Gabacho    (Producer)
Platform(s): Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD
Release Date(s): Dec. 17th, 1996       (Breakers)
July 3rd, 1998
            (Breakers Revenge)
Characters Sho Kamui, Lee Dao-Long, Pielle Montario, Condor Heads, Rila Estancia, Tia Langray, Alsion III, Sheik Maherl, Tobikage Saizo, Huang Bai-Hu

Featured Video:

Related Games: Double Dragon, Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 4, Savage Reign, Kizuna Encounter, Ninja Master's, Fighters History, World Heroes, World Heroes Perfect, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, KOF '94KOF '95KOF '96, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, X-Men VS Street Fighter, Tekken 2, Soul Blade
  

Gameplay Engine

 7.5 / 10

Story / Theme

 4.0 / 10

Overall Graphics

 4.5 / 10

Animation

 5.5 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 5.5 / 10

Innovation

 3.0 / 10

Art Direction

 3.0 / 10

Customization

 3.5 / 10

Options / Extras

 3.0 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 4.5 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 6.5 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 7.5 / 10

Characters

 5.5 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

 5.9 / 10

 

 

Final Words:

Breakers Revenge is one of the most obscure SNK fighting games in existence, and it has a cult following for a good reason. It's "playable," mostly thanks to the solid combo system and borrowed mechanics from other 2D fighters. Very few games and characters can manage to be "so awful that they're actually sort of awesome"... but Breakers pulls if off nicely (in the same way that the worst player on a baseball team hits a double). Well done Bisco... I mean, Visco.

Those Visco developers, as shameless as they are for plagiarizing other fighting games, seem to have taken themselves "almost seriously" when designing this game. If you look for it, there is actually some heart to be found in Breakers Revenge. The character designs at least have halfway respectable appearances, and the 2D sprites are pretty well drawn. Most of the animation isn't half bad either... (for 1996, that is, not so much 1998-ish).

Due to the "9th grade sketchbook quality" in-game character art, the generic stages, and so many borrowed ideas... Breakers Revenge has "cheap" spray-painted all over it. Not to mention 1998 was a bit late for a SF2 knockoff sequel (but hey, at least it had some Darkstalkers and other fighting games thrown in for good measure). To put things in perspective, 1998 was the year MVC1 & Soul Calibur were stealing the show at arcades, and TEKKEN 3 came out on PS1. And if you wanna talk about the blockbuster fighting games out in 1996: (SFA2, Samurai Shodown 4, X-Men VS SF, Soul Edge, Fighter's Megamix, VF3, MK Trilogy... and the list goes on), you can understand why Breakers Revenge is "Subpar". P.S. I think I was pretty generous.

For years, I neglected putting Breakers Revenge on TFG, simply because it was yet another blatant (and borderline insulting) SF2 knockoff. In essence, the game can be appreciated for that very fact... and has "something" special about it. Special in that "pat-you-on-the-head-gently" kind of way. So I'm glad I finally added this damn game, because I had fun with this review. 
~TFG Webmaster  
 

 
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