- Power Athlete
Front cover of the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version of Power Athlete.
Developer(s) Kaneko Publisher(s) Kaneko Distributor(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Super Nintendo
Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
Release date(s) MD/GEN Genre(s) Versus fighting game Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously Media/distribution Cartridge (Physical)
Power Athlete (パワーアスリート), known outside of Japan for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis as Deadly Moves or for the Super NES as Power Moves, is a 1992 fighting video game developed and published by Kaneko. It was first released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in North America on August 14, 1992, and in Japan on November 20, 1992. The Super NES version was later released in Japan on November 27, 1992, North America in January 1993, and in Europe on October 4, 1993. It is one of the many fighting games published in the early 90's to capitalize on the success of Capcom's Street Fighter II, it did not achieve the success of its competition, and was largely ignored by most gamers.
The gameplay is that of a traditional head-to-head fighting game. But unlike most games of its type, the single-player mode is limited to one character, Joe, who is the protagonist of the game. One of the game's most distinctive aspects is an RPG-like system which enables the player to boost Joe's various attributes, such as strength, speed and endurance. Another gimmick is the use of a two-plane fighting area (similar to that of SNK's Fatal Fury: King of Fighters).
While the characters in the game each have their own distinct look, many of them were clearly inspired by characters from Street Fighter II.
- Joe - The main character, almost certainly based on Ryu; his special moves include a fireball delivered in much the same way as Ryu's "Hadouken", though with added recoil, and an airborne dash attack.
- Warren - A Hawaiian grappler. Warren's technique names are patterned on surfing terms - "Big Wednesday", etc.
- Reayon - The token female fighter, clearly inspired by Chun-Li.
- Vagnad - A huge wrestler with onyx skin, who has moves similar to Zangief's. The game manual for the Genesis version refers to Vagnad as a survivor of The Holocaust.
- Nick - An arrogant, lightning-quick matador. His fighting style uses a combination of break dancing moves and knife throwing.
- Buoh - A Kabuki-style fighter who can teleport and attack with his hair.
- Gaoluon - An acrobatic kung fu expert, wielding a pair of Deer Horn Knives.
- Baraki - A tribal warrior with a bestial appearance reminiscent of Blanka.
- Ranker - The non-playable final boss.
- Despite the difference in name for the Genesis/Mega Drive and Super NES versions, there was no actual difference in gameplay, content or characters. However, it is widely believed that the game's box cover and title were renamed only to keep up with Nintendo's stringent no-violence policy, as the Genesis/Mega Drive cart features a closeup of a character being punched in the face, with a torrent of blood erupting from the impact. The SNES version's box featured the same image, with the red blood re-colored to look like sweat (the same tactic used with Acclaim's home ports of Midway's Mortal Kombat).
- Ranker, the final boss of the game is playable only on the Genesis version.
- Although the Genesis/Mega Drive version known as Deadly Moves featured a blood-spattered cover, there was no blood nor death moves of any kind in the game.
- The US magazine ad for the game, while detailing its features, did not feature any actual screenshots from the game, but crudely drawn ones that did not resemble the game at all.
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