2D Fighter Maker 2002 — The Lost World (Part 2)

Welcome back to Indie Fighting Game Thursday, with the second part of my double feature about the living legacy of 2D Fighter Maker 2002! Last week, we talked with Border Violation Taisei, the studio behind Angels of Battle v1.5, with an in-depth interview. I have asked similar questions to two developers who are still using 2DFM02 for developing their games — Ulissan Game Dev and らぐはちさん:南東ライトグリーン8(Light Green Eight)!

Now, brace yourself, because it’s time to dive deep into Brazil and back to Japan to see how this old engine does still have a spot in the recent game development history!

2D Fighter Maker 2002 — The Lost World (Part 1)

In a previous article of mine, we have gone through the history and alternate fortunes of a prehistoric game engine that is STILL getting used as of today by a multitude of developers: the immortal 2D Fighter Maker 2002, also called 2D Fighter Maker 2nd. Since then, I have got in touch with some developers who are currently using this living fossil of an engine for developing their games, and also tracked down a couple more games that happened to use that engine and went “under the radar” for a reason or another. Angels of Battle, despite having been released only in August 2021, is older than one might expect, topping a 15 years long development! But I’d better let the two developers behind it (Tomay and WWolf) tell the story in greater detail!

“DEATH CRUNCH! – Smashing Through the Cage of Fighting Vipers 2 with Heidi “Zero-chan” Kemps and Heruru” by Jason Moses

In an article series dedicated to obscurities, Fighting Vipers 2 might exist in its own class. It never got an official release in North American arcades, its Dreamcast port was Japan- and Europe-only, and it being a 3D game running on Sega’s (for the time) extremely powerful Model 3 Step 2 hardware means you’re not going to be able to run it on that 8-year old laptop you play GGPO with.

But that just makes it even more important to unearth and talk about. Fighting Vipers 2 was Sega’s 3D fighting game design gods at their most crazy and inventive, with over-the-top moves and characters concealing a deeply technical game that rewards good reads, a varied offense, and fast decision-making. And if you really want to show off, you can punch someone through a wall and into a T-Rex’s mouth. Because.

“NUMBAH ONE! – Exploring World Heroes Perfect with Funkdoc, Keits, and Tuskdon” by Jason Moses

You’d be forgiven for not realizing how groundbreaking ADK’s World Heroes Perfect was. Released in May 1995 alongside a glut of similar-looking Neo Geo fighting games and against better marketed Capcom titles like Street Fighter Alpha, it was inevitable that WHP would get lost in the shuffle. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s, when Capcom had all but stopped developing new fighting games, that WHP was unearthed by players desperate for something new. What they discovered was a game shockingly ahead of its time: fast, with varied character designs, one-off mechanics, and an anything-goes attitude that somehow just worked.

“BALLOONO! – Breaking Apart Breakers Revenge with Lord BBH and ZandKun” by Luis H Garcia

The Neo Geo arcade system saw plenty of fighters that have either become celebrated or ignored. While some experimented with different play mechanics, Visco’s Breakers and Breakers Revenge games went for a more simple approach that made it easy to pick up and immediately have fun in the fight. I reached out to Matt “Lord BBH” Hall and Dustin “ZandKun” Cobb for information about this often-overlooked gem.