TURN TO CHANNEL 3: Sega Saturn’s ‘Fighters Megamix’ mixed things up to keep fighting fresh
Sometimes we just want it all as gamers, don’t we? We had “Mario Kart 8,” but we needed a deluxe version just to feel as if we have a more complete game. I guess there’s nothing worse than feeling unsatisfied as a gamer, and smart companies comply with our wishes.
In this installment of Turn to Channel 3, we head back to 1997 to look at the Sega Saturn’s answer to a more complete fighting game to compete with the likes of “The King of Fighters,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Street Fighter,” and “Killer Instinct.” In the ‘90s, fighting games were king, so today we see if “Fighters Megamix” can stand up to the rest and take the crown. Let’s get right into the ring!
“Fighters Megamix” (Sega Saturn)
If you’re someone who is familiar with the “Virtua Fighter” and “Fighting Vipers” franchises, which fit so nicely into this game, then chances are the soundtrack won’t sound that foreign to you, while still packing just enough of that ‘90s arcade punch to keep you coming back for more.
These tunes are only instrumental and perhaps aren’t as iconic as something you’d find on a “Street Fighter II” or “Mortal Kombat” soundtrack, but still sound crisp and awesome here. There’s not much to be said about any sound effects, but bonus points for the addition of the opening “Rolling Start” song from “Daytona USA” (more on this later!).
Clunky, chunky, and wearing that blocky polygon badge of honor with pride, “Fighters Megamix, on the surface, is a fighter that hasn’t aged well at all but, in truth, since this was never given a proper arcade release, this truly is as close to the arcades as you can get in comparison to other fighting games that got the home console treatment after the arcades.
Though, really, let’s not kid ourselves here – between the soundtrack and these graphics, this is a nostalgia burrito smothered in ‘90s cheese. Oftentimes, an arcade fighter won’t make a great home console transition but, in this case, “Fighters Megamix” would have more than held its own in the arcade fighter rumbles of the time. The various stages, in both closed and wide open styles, just add to the overall scope of the game.
To continue with the food metaphors (I’m hungry!), “Fighters Megamix” is a fighting game food truck that has everything you want, and even some weird things you’re not sure you want, but your friend tells you to try them anyway because everything on the menu is amazing! In 1997, it wasn’t a common thing to begin a fighting game with 22 characters from two popular games on one roster – and the extra bonus of 12 hidden characters to bolster the lineup to 34! Obviously, the notion of combining rosters came from the “King of Fighters” series but, still, that’s pretty impressive. Characters were unlocked through completing one of nine subsections that replace the standard one player arcade mode.
But Nick, you say, what makes these hidden characters anything special? Oh, I don’t know, if “Virtua Cop” cameos, a fighting polar bear and green duck from “Sonic the Fighters,” or even wacky Mexican beans aren’t your thing, how about…
…the car from freakin’ “Daytona USA!”
I’m sorry, but the fact you can actually fight a racing car named Hornet, knocking off pieces of the car’s shell to reveal the engine and other parts, is the silliest and most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. Couple that with how it “communicates” in battle with screeching tire and engine rev sound effects as well as the “Rolling Start” theme as its stage music and I ask you, friend, why haven’t you played this game yet?
At just $30, “Fighters Megamix” is an affordable quirky fighter that satisfies the most jaded of fighting game connoisseurs and, yet, sometimes I hear that, despite the price, this isn’t an easy game to find. Either way, it is worth tracking down, if for nothing else than to see how hard developers were trying to get the Sega Saturn to succeed despite some huge mistakes along the way.
“Fighters Megamix” isn’t a “Street Fighter” or “Mortal Kombat” type of iconic classic, but it doesn’t need to be because, just as those represent the status quo, “Fighters Megamix” made its own version of what “The King of Fighters” series was doing, creating something that needs to be experienced to be believed.
Next week, we finish up the month with actually driving a car instead of fighting as one as we take to the roadways of “Highway 2000!”
Until then, enjoy the first rays of summer but, remember, there’s nothing wrong with a cool drink in one hand and your controller of choice in the other! Game on!