A couple of years back I had uploaded a gameplay video of World Warrior, an unreleased Amiga (AGA chipset) game of mine, and every now and again, I get requests to make it available online. I finally did! World Warrior was originally a working title, and the game is to Street Fighter 2 what Blaze is to Sonic: a blatant rip off. Admittedly, as a kid, copyright law was never my forte.
Notwithstanding the ample representation the beat ’em up genre finds on the Amiga, it is undeniable that the SF2 port is a train wreck. Having played the game in the arcades and on console, the Amiga version always made me throw up a little in my mouth, until one day, in a fit of rage, I shaved my hair, smashed the game floppies, ground them to ash, poured the ashes on my head, and swore before the gods a solemn oath: that I would write my own beat ’em up. In assembly language. OK, this might not be exactly how it happened, cause I still have the disks lying around, but, well, memory is a stranger and history is for fools.
Having gained some experience from writing Blaze, I set out to write proper tools to help me design the character composites, animations, hit-boxes and so on, before even writing a single line of game code. In the end, I had developed a powerful animation system, where each character frame was composited from tiny pieces, tightly packed into a sort of texture atlas. I had opted for this approach for two reasons: first, I wanted to reuse character bits and pieces throughout animation frames, and second, well, memory constraints. I had also learned a nifty trick to scroll the screen at 50 Hz, even though the game was running at a lower frame rate (25 Hz, I believe). It’s possible that the atrocious flickering that plagues the game is due to a bug in the scrolling, which I had later fixed; the patch but was lost with the binaries and sources when my hard disk gave up the ghost.
The requirements I set for the animation system were simple: it was to recreate SF2 and FF characters and their dynamics faithfully, including the slowdowns and vibrations that occur when a player lands a hard hit on an opponent. SF2 used a six-button configuration, three for punches and three for kicks, graded in order of strength: low, mid and hard. It was hard to port over this control scheme to the Amiga with its single-button controllers, so I dropped the mid-strength moves and used a button press in conjunction with a joystick push in a cardinal direction to provide a low/hard punch/kick system. To this day, I still can’t say whether this was a good decision. Having neither friends nor computer AI players to play against, I never really got to test the control scheme properly.
Looking at game’s graphics, I must admit they look like puke strewn on the screen (dat green!), but, hey, I was never a graphic artist. My uncle had a video camera which I borrowed to help me digitise the backgrounds before retouching them in Deluxe Paint and compositing them for the game. The background is built from bits of video capture of the bastions near Porte des Bombes and original artwork.
I’m still not sure why anyone would want to play this flickering mess, but if you do, you can download it from here. It’s even more unfinished than Blaze; the option screen doesn’t work and you can only play against another human player… and the round goes on forever as there’s no health system.