When we talk about Game Boy, what comes to mind, at the time, is Pokémon, and games like Tetris, Mario, or even some icons of the laptop, like Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. But, while not being the most popular genre of the laptop, the Game Boy did have several fighting games.
Among suffering adaptations, interesting ports, and even some technological miracles, meet with us some interesting options for fighting games, which guaranteed, on the small screen of the laptop, a little of the action of the arcades.
Street Fighter 2
In 1995, with Super Street Fighter 2 hallucinating many people on arcades and consoles, Capcom adapted Street Fighter 2 for the laptop. And, as far as possible, it was a great job. The theme song appears with some sounds identical to more modern consoles, such as the Capcom input sound, character selection or option.
Nine characters are part of the game, with their visuals already updated according to the Super version. Ryu, Ken, Zangief, Blanka, Chun Li, Sagat, Balrog and M. Bison are the fighters of the time, all with their scenarios and theme songs. The action is quite satisfactory, with a choice of combos and spells. It is not a brilliant port, but very decent.
Street Fighter Alpha
If taking Street Fighter 2 was already a difficult task, imagine taking Street Fighter Alpha. But the Game Boy Color received a version in 1999, four years after the game's launch in the arcades.
Apart from the annoying music, the game also pleases. Here we have Ryu, Ken, Guy, Chun Li, Charlie, Birdie, Sodom, Adon, Rose and Sagat selectable. The gameplay is very dynamic, and even has special bars. Everything works properly and, again, apart from the horrible music, the game is excellent.
The King of Fighters 96
Takara was responsible for adapting SNK games to other systems. And, for the Game Boy, the solution found was quite interesting. With characters in the SD style, the game became more enjoyable, since this character concept is better presented on the small screen.
Among all versions, KOF 96 is one of the best. There are 15 characters, who, even without the trio system, proved to be quite fun. It was possible to load the special bar and, miraculously, the many options of a KOF game were brilliantly adapted to the two buttons.
Another good work from Takara, Samurai Shodown came to Game Boy in 1994. There were 12 selectable characters, a considerable number, compared to other games of the time. Everything in the game has been adapted, such as the POW bar, sword strikes and gameplay dynamics. Like the items that fall on the fight scene, for example.
Also noteworthy are the scenery, full of details, and the great soundtrack. Takara was able to prove that, even with few resources, it was possible to create very interesting fighting games for Nintendo's notable little one. It was enough to work with care, remove what was necessary, but without spoiling the essence, and take advantage of the opportunities that the little one offered.
Amazingly, few people speak of this version. Unlike other games, which brought their versions years after releases for other systems, Killer Instinct arrived at the Game Boy at the same time as its release for the Super Nintendo. And, just as it was in 16-bits, the notebook also had a large version, as far as possible.
Only Cinder and Riptor were left out, and some fighters had to be adapted, for the reason that the notebook would not support such large combos. Still, the game lives up to the full aura of Killer Instinct and is a great version. The whim was so great, that the game was adapted with some colors for the Super Game Boy and, once playing on the peripheral, it was possible to play with two players, with the two Super NES controls.
Mortal Kombat was ubiquitous in its day. All games in the series came out on different systems. And, among them, the Game Boy. The problem is that the Game Boy versions were terrible. Not because of the cuts, which were already foreseen. But because of the strange, stuck gameplay, which took all the speed "magic" out of a Mortal Kombat game.
From the first to the fourth, the Game Boy received everyone (not to mention the tragedy that came out for the Game Boy Advance), one worse than the other. At least, the notebook has something to boast about. Through a hint, it was possible to play with Goro, something impossible in other versions.
Primal Rage was another port made by Probe, the same one that adapted the versions of Mortal Kombat. So there are some similarities in visuals, energy bars and other elements. The game is acceptable, even though it needs to “lose” the humans that ran across the screen, something that was the game's personality.
There were six combatants, in a faster fighting dynamic, in extreme lazy scenarios. So lazy that you see, clearly it's just an element copied and pasted several times. Music isn't that kind of thing, either, but in the end, it's a lot better.
Game Boy Advance
With the technological advancement of the Game Boy Advance, fighting games had, this time, more space and capabilities to bring good options to fans. Among versions, remakes and new games, the laptop received games from The King of Fighters, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Tekken series, among others.
Capcom's adaptations stand out: Super Street Fighter 2 had slightly different scenarios, and had some surprises. Street Fighter Alpha 3 surprised by bringing all the characters, fighting systems and content. It was a good adaptation that, together with other games, guaranteed GBA a place in the heart of lovers of fighting games, who until today, enjoy the titles of the laptop.