Power Instinct
Those of our clan inherit the fighting spirit of our bloodline "Goketsuji." The name responsible for the ongoing feud for control of the clan. As outlined in the family code, the bloodline must continue to grow even stronger and eliminate all those who are weak.

The Goketsuji Clan is currently the 3rd wealthiest family in the world. As a result, there are many who seek control the clan and the family fortune. Some train endlessly building up their strength, others polish up their fighting skills with experience, and still others concentrate on their fighting spirit, all for control of the clan. Because there were so many fighters vying for control of the clan, Oshima, the 3rd Goketsuji Leader, declared the following to all:

The clan will hold a fighting tournament every 5 years.
The winner of this "test of strength" tournament will assume immediate control of the Goketsuji clan until the next tournament, at which time the seat for control will be open once again. Any member with blood ties to the clan may enter.
- Decreed this day in the 14th year of the Taisho era -

Power Instinct 1 character selection screen.

ABOUT Originally released in Japan as Gōketsuji Ichizoku, the first game of the Power Instinct series was released in November 1993. Among the eight characters who appear in the first Power Instinct are two 78-year-old women fighters, Otane and Oume Gōketsuji, who are palette swaps of each other (similar to Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter). Oume Gōketsuji is the game's non-playable boss.

Following the arcade version, the game was ported to Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive. The SNES version has the following modes: Versus Battle, Practice, Time Attack, and Life Attack which is similar to Survival modes (players attempt to defeat as many cpu opponents as possible using only one life bar). 


Where have I seen you guys before. . . Capcom rejects?

Power Instinct uses a 4-button layout, with two buttons for punches and two for kicks. In addition to normal attacks, characters can perform special attacks requiring motion inputs similar to other fighting games. Other distinguishable gameplay mechanics include a Double Jump, and Dashing Attacks attacks that take off more damage from the opponent than a normal attack. However, a dashing character will also receive more damage if they are hit while dashing.

Like most other fighting games of the era, every character has their own unique stage and some stages feature breakable background objects similar to Street Fighter II. However, when items in the background are broken, characters can access a new area of the stage, making the entire stage wider. Arcade mode features one of two Bonus Stages after every three matches. The first Bonus Stage consists of knocking away Kurokos who run into the screen, and the second involves breaking jars tossed from around the screen.

FUN FACT:  The first Power Instinct is the only game in the series to feature any kind of bonus games. After the player defeats all of the characters in the game, they will go on to face Oume, the 78-year-old clan leader. Each character also has their own ending.

FUN FACT #2:  The Japanese version of the Power Instinct had characters with specific win quotes for each of their defeated opponents, but the English version was downgraded to only one win quote per character.

Look, it's mini-Kuroko from Samurai Shodown!

The Japan-exclusive Mega Drive version of Power Instinct contains a Battle Royal mode where up to two players can select a team, then have an option to hide the characters chosen so they are not revealed to the opponent until the fight begins. The Mega Drive port has an option enabling the strength of each special attack of every playable character to be adjusted to the player's liking. Additionally, the Mega Drive version contains a karaoke option that plays one of two songs, "Tatanka no Uta" and "Otoko no Karatemichi", and even displays the lyrics onscreen. However, the Mega Drive version's graphics are inferior to the SNES version, having fewer colors and lower-quality music.

The English console version of this game (only released in North America), had several omitted features, such as Karaoke Mode, character biographies that pop up in between demos, the intro demo to the game and the scene of Oume where she speaks to the player before she fights them (which changes if she's fighting Otane). The North American Super Nintendo version also replaces the endings that were in the Japanese Super Famicom version with a congratulations screen with the character portraits used in the pre-fight screen.



Comparison screenshots of the SNES (left) and Genesis (right) versions.

The Power Instinct series would become known for bizarre character Transformations. In the first Power Instinct, both Oume and Otane Goketsuji have alternate forms that can be used after their throwing moves (where they awkwardly appear to kiss and suck on the opponent). After forcing themselves upon their opponent, they transform into stronger versions of themselves for a limited time (about 10 seconds) before reverting back to their normal forms. In future sequels, bizarre Transformations would continue to be used by many characters.

Page Updated: October 24th, 2022
Developer(s): Atlus
Publisher(s): Atlus
Designer(s): Atlus, Noise Factory
Artwork By: Range Murata
Platform(s): Arcade, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
Release Date(s): November 20th, 1993
Characters Annie Hamilton, Keith Wayne, Otane Goketsuji, Oume Goketsuki, Angela Belti, White Buffalo, Reiji Oyama, Saizo Hattori, Thin Nen

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Related Games: Power Instinct 2, Power Instinct: Matrimelee, Groove On Fight, Martial Champion, Martial Masters, Kaiser Knuckle, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat, Samurai Shodown, Super Street Fighter 2, Art of Fighting, Killer Instinct, Saturday Night Slam Masters, TMNT: Tournament Fighters, Justice League: Task Force, WeaponLord, Fighter's History, Galaxy Fight, Waku Waku 7

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First Impression:

In 1993, I was a 10-year-old kid who loved to play cool-looking video games. Many of those games were really cool-looking, revolutionary fighting games. Examples of said fighting games: Mortal Kombat 2, Samurai Shodown, Virtua Fighter, and Super Street Fighter 2. All of these were particularly beautiful and badass games, that took themselves seriously but not too seriously.

Then there's Power Instinct... a game I never wanted to play because of bad box art and that creepy old lady face. Aside from that, the game was yet another "me too" Street Fighter 2 copycat from the early 90s. Many of Power Instinct's character sprites and animations seem in some way "copied" from Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior... which is funny, since Capcom was already up to Super Street Fighter 2 at arcades by the time Power Instinct released.

Long story short, I never played Power Instinct. Will I one day subject myself to the absurd humor and ugly-looking characters? For historical value, perhaps I will... but not yet... because I still have better fighting games to play (and better things to do). I'll admit the game looks funny, at least? I'll also admit the game has a good name. Strong name. (Not-so-strong execution.)

Anyway, I still have eyes... and my eyes still tend to hurt when I have to look at screenshots (or literally anything) from this game. The game's main title screen looks like a box of cheap incense. But you're welcome, because TFG's Power Instinct profile is here.

For some reason or another, I could see some 90s kids (especially overseas) becoming fans of the arcade version. The SNES version? Yikes. Only if you didn't have anything better to play or couldn't afford the newest and latest $79.99 SNES games like Mortal Kombat 2 or Super Street Fighter 2... which I could understand, because that was expensive as hell for a video game, even for back then!) 

Joking aside, Power Instinct was terrible but not the worst kind of terrible fighting game. The sequel, Power Instinct 2, adds five new characters and picks up where the story left off in the first game.

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

Click Here for all posters / box artwork!


Click Here for all box artwork!

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