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.

Boyd looks like a friendly old man... for the most part.

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 visually unique 2D fighter due to the unique rendering technique of the in-game graphics engine which makes individual segments of the characters' bodies animate separately. (It's hard to describe the effect in words, so it's best to just watch some gameplay and you'll get the gist.) The character sprites are drawn in a high-resolution and have a unique animation style, almost appearing "3D".

The Rumble Fish... a very unique and obscure 2D fighting game.

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 also 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.

Page Updated: January 25th, 2021
Developer(s): Dimps
Publisher(s): Sammy
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2
Artwork By: Yukinari
Release Date(s): 2004                                Arcade
Mar. 17th, 2005    
Characters Zen, Garnet, Aran, Boyd, Viren, Orville, Typhon, Kaya, Hikari, Greed, Sheryl (PS2), Hazama (PS2)

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Featured Video:

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, Xuan Dou Zhi Wang, Tekken 5

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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 even find 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 fun to look at... especially as an appreciator of 2D fighting game sprites. Rumble Fish is visually 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 a bit "slow" the gameplay is smooth, intuitive, and has a real "newness" feeling about it. I have mixed thoughts on the character designs themselves, but in general they're all pretty 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. The sequel, Rumble Fish 2, was released in arcades in 2005.

~TFG Webmaster | @FIGHTERS_GEN


Click Here for all character sprites!