25 Features

Retro Vault: Pit-Fighter, Splatterhouse, Q*bert

Plus: SNES price protests and the Colecovision

Retro Vault is our regular weekly feature in which we dive into gaming's past and share five classic nuggets of retro nostalgia. If you want to catch up on previous Retro Vaults, check out the CVG Retro Vault archive.


Spring 1990 - Pit-Fighter arcade flyer

Although most gamers cite Motal Kombat as the first major fighting game to feature digitised actors as its characters, there was at least one other big title that beat it to the punch.

Atari's Pit-Fighter featured three playable fighters - muscle man Buzz, kickboxer Ty and karate expert Kato - and tasked players with fighting through a series of opponents.

The twist was that, as the title suggested, these fights took place in a 'pit': a Fight Club-esque makeshift arena marked out only by a crowd of rowdy onlookers.

The crowd featured in the gameplay too. If a fighter wandered too near the crowd for too long they would be pushed back into the arena to keep fighting. Or, if an extra edge was needed, players could grab sticks from people in the crowd to use as weapons.

Pit-Fighter was a common sight in most arcades throughout the early '90s, because of its impressive 'realistic' graphics. When Midway went down the digitised sprites route and released the likes of Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam, Pit-Fighter slowly faded away into retirement.

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