Besides offering plenty of great RPGs throughout the decades, Square also dabbled in publishing a handful of fighting games back in the day. So, let's take a look back at these hidden gems and see if they're still in fighting shape.
Tobal No. 1
Many gamers bought Tobal No. 1 when it debuted in North America because it included a demo of Final Fantasy VII. However, I got it because it's an awesome fighter! Previously to playing it, I remember enjoying Tekken 2 a great deal. Then, when I finally booted up good old Tobal, I was impressed by the control scheme and charming visuals. Pressing buttons that correspond to high, middle, and low attacks was nothing new but combining those commands with the jump and guard buttons to perform different sets of moves is pretty cool. Also, being able to grapple your opponent then either push them around, strike them, or throw them in various ways makes for one exciting and intimate fighting system. With colourful textureless visuals, smooth animation, and quirky characters designed by Akira Toriyama; this is one great-looking game that holds up quite well. On top of that, the soundtrack is fantastic with music from legendary composers such as Yasunori Mitsuda (Xenogears), Masashi Hamauzu (World of Final Fantasy), and Kenji Ito (Oceanhorn). Throw in a challenging Quest Mode where you explore a massive randomly-generated dungeon (that I actually beat a few times) then you have the complete package. Now, if only they would release Tobal 2 here already... v1d30chumz 3-236-107-249
The developers of Tobal (DreamFactory) would go on to make Ehrgeiz. This is a much faster-paced fighter that features similar gameplay although the open arenas and collectable items make it feel more like Power Stone. A cool aspect is that you can play as characters from Final Fantasy VII including Cloud, Tifa, Sephiroth, Yuffie, Vincent, and Zack. That being said, I still prefer Tobal because Ehrgeiz lacks the charm that made it so special. However, Ehrgeiz features some fun mini-games and a much more in-depth Quest Mode. I was obsessed with that sucker and played it for dozens of hours. You have to love the wine-trading stock market!
Before creating what many gamers consider the worst game of all time (Kabuki Warriors), LightWeight made one of the most memorable fighters in gaming history: Bushido Blade. What set it apart from established fighting games is the fact that one deadly hit can end you or your opponent in an instant. This creates a constant sense of tension as you carefully judge every slash and stab. Changing stances may make you more vulnerable but doing so could allow you to take advantage of your enemy. There are many factors such as breaking your leg puts you in a vulnerable position while taking damage to your arm means that you can only hold your blade with one hand. Mastering the array of available swords and characters is a rewarding journey that makes Bushido Blade a must-have for any fighter fan. There's nothing quite like deflecting an oncoming attack in the nick of time then using your momentum to win the fight.
Bushido Blade 2
This sequel streamlined the gameplay of the original to be more fast-paced just like Ehrgeiz did to Tobal. I enjoy the simplified controls but they do make combat slightly less strategic. The fact that it feels more arcade-like appeals to me personally and makes me prefer Bushido Blade 2 over the original. There are more playable characters and stages to fight within, too, although the massive connected areas in the first game are absent. One component that I find very enjoyable is the unique bosses such as one where your enemy warps away when struck and gradually comes closer which allows you to land the final blow. In the end, both games are worth adding to your collection due to their different gameplay styles but the sequel will always be my go-to game to satisfy my desire to duel.
I'm happy to say that a couple decades later; these four fighters from SquareSoft's library still provide unique gameplay that any fighting game enthusiast will thoroughly enjoy. Have you played any of these fighters? Let's talk in the comments below!