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Arr Matey! Pirated Famicom Fighters!

Mortal Kombat 3 Special 56 Peoples As I've said before, for every amazingly great video game released through legitimate channels out there, there is a crummy low-tech pirated knock-off version.  In the mid-1990s it was common for software pirates operating out of Asia's darkest alleys to produce crummy 8-bit versions of popular fighting games such as Capcom's Street Fighter II and Midway's Mortal Kombat.  These knock-offs for the Nintendo Famicom contained poor quality character sprites, bland (or even missing) backgrounds, and featured game engines so pathetic that most characters were incapable of performing the lauded special moves such as the Dragon Punch and the infamous Fatalities.

Insert Credit has taken a look at a handful of these pirated clones, covering titles such as Fighter 12 Peoples Street VI, Mortal Kombat 3 Special 56 Peoples, and even the Nintendo-inspired Kart Fighter.

The characters and backgrounds seem to have been drawn in MS Paint with the line tool, and I’m sure that’s not really a far-out assessment of what actually occurred. There is absolutely no attempt made to squeak around the four-color sprite limitation of the Famicom, nor is there any attempt to make appealing use of those precious few colors. On the plus side, characters are actually pretty large for the Famicom, which means they fall the hell apart as soon as they touch each other, being made out of a stack of precariously placed sprites.

Some games just cannot be pared down to lesser technology without losing their soul.  If Capcom could have cranked out a legitimate and quality version of Street Fighter II for the Nintendo Entertainment System, don't you think they would have done so?  That game was a license to print money (as proven by the many many variations that were later produced, all of which sold very well).  It even turned up on the Game Boy years later.  If a valid sharp NES version were possible, we would have seen it.