I love it when games don’t take themselves seriously. I’m all for realism and gritty experiences but there’s nothing better than games that allow themselves to have a bit of fun with what they’re doing. It’s not that the fighting game genre is all that serious but they do, for the most part, stick to conventions and keep things rather plain. We’ve seen so many iterations of martial artist and street brawler that it’s all become a bit much, but there is a good fighter out there that decided to parody these sort of things.
In 1996 Waku Waku 7 was released as a bit of a parody of fighting games but it still feels oh so relevant today. With bright colours and wacky characters, Waku Waku 7 is a breath of fresh into the fighting genre that is a lot of fun to play. This may be a game that time has forgotten but it definitely deserves some attention just for the crazy it brings to the table.
Street Fighting Man
As a fighting game, Waku Waku 7 is precisely what you expect. It’s a 4-button 2D fighter that contains all the special moves and combos that one expects in fighters. The game feels rather balanced and thanks to the flashy visuals the game is a pleasure to witness while playing. My favourite aspect of the gameplay, however, is the weird and wonderful characters who you’ll see fighting in Waku Waku 7.
Where else are you going to find Joseph Joestar fight Ryu in punching bag form? Okay, maybe you’d see something like that in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure but it’s the first time I’ve ever experienced something of the sorts in a fighting game. The characters in the game are all a sort of parody in some way with the likes of Dandy J being a Joeseph Joestar parody and Slash looking like the most generic elf ever with a sword. My favourite character is Bonuskun who is the character you fight in the bonus stage who is essentially a punching bag shoto character. It’s incredibly bizarre but at the same time it’s a lot of fun just to play around with.
So many colours!
Waku Waku 7 feels like one of the loudest fighting games I’ve played in ages. It’s not that there’s any awkward sound mixing but visually there are just so many colours. Visually this game is splendid with wacky designs mixed with liberal colour use that add to a solid gameplay core. Even the various stages are filled with life which adds to the overall enjoyment of the game. To top it all off the sound effects of the game are well produced with musical themes that are memorable and enjoyable. I love character select themes and while Waku Waku 7‘s is very strange, I have to admit it’s one of my favourite.
At first look Waku Waku 7 seems like it is going to be an incredibly strange experience. You’ll see a purple Totoro fighting a buff grandpa and wonder what you’re getting yourself into. While you’ll definitely find that the game is as wacky as it appears but behind all that is a solid fighting game with delightful presentation. While the game only has 9 characters for versus, you’ll still find yourself enjoying the time you spend with it. I only hope that SNK can somehow manage to bring the game back into the modern era sometime in the future.