Art of Fighting

From Sega Retro


ArtofFighting Title.png
Art of Fighting
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Original system(s): NeoGeo
Sound driver: SMPS Z80
Peripherals supported: Six Button Control Pad
Genre: Action

Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥8,800 G-4113
Sega Mega Drive
$? 1146
Sega Mega Drive
£? 1146
Sega Mega Drive
?F 1146
Sega Mega Drive
DM ? 1146
Sega Mega Drive
?Ptas 1146
Sega Mega Drive
?PTE$ MDJ1146
Sega Mega Drive
$? ?
Sega Mega Drive
₩? GM93037JG

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Art of Fighting, known as Ryuuko no Ken (龍虎の拳) in Japan (and South Korea), is a fighting game by SNK, originally released for the Neo Geo MVS arcade and AES home console in 1992. It was ported to, among other consoles, the Sega Mega Drive in 1994.

Art of Fighting is the second fighting game to be developed by SNK, following Fatal Fury (which co-exists in the same fictional universe).


Art of Fighting is a story-driven fighting game where players control fighters Ryo Sakazaki or Robert Garcia, travelling around the fictional city of South Town in search of Ryo's captured sister, Yuri. The player has to defeat eight other fighters with their own unique fighting styles to finish the game. Unlike later entries, only Ryo and Robert are selectable, though if playing in the two player versus mode, all characters can be controlled.

Similar to many games of the genre, there are special attacks in Art of Fighting, called "Death Blows" and "Super Death Blows" — the latter being unlocked through bonus stages. Their execution consume a so called spirit gauge, which when low make the special attacks weaker and slower. The spirit gauge can be refilled by holding either A, B or C.

By default, using any sort of controllers, Up jumps, Down crouches, holding Left/DownLeft can block, LeftLeft/RightRight can be used to advance or retreat faster, A punches, B kicks and A+B low kick.

Playing with a three-button controller C provokes the opponent, which depletes their spirit gauge. Pressing and holding B briefly causes a stronger kick; pressing and holding A briefly will normally cause a stronger punch, though if done close to the opponent, while also holding Right, performs a body throw. If close to one of the edges, C midair performs a triangle jump.

Using a six-button controller both X, Y and Z provoke, stronger punches are done with A+C, and stronger kicks with B, then C. To throw the opponent, hold Right close to the enemy and press C. The triangle jump is done with one of the provoke buttons.

The use of a six-button controller allows the player to assign A and B for normal and strong kicks, X and Y for normal and strong punches, plus C and Z to provoke, by changing the controller setup to "Type-D" in the options settings, which makes it easier for playing.

In single player mode, after every second fight the player chooses one of three types of bonus stages:

  • Bottle Cut: press A at the right time (when the gauge is close to MAX), to cut the necks of five bottles with a karate strike, gaining a spirit gauge boost.
  • Ice Pillar Smash: push A quickly to fill a strength gauge and destroy four thick ice sheets, getting a boost to life gauge.
  • Initiate Super Death Blow: perform a "Super Death Blow" for the informed number of times, within a time limit, to unlock it for single player mode.


ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Ryo Sakazaki
Known as "The Dragon" (Ryuu 龍).
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Robert Garcia
Known as "The Tiger" (Tora 虎).
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Ryuhaku Todoh (Todo)
Known as "The Old Master".
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Jack Turner
Known as "Burly Brawler".
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Lee Pai Long
Known as "The Legendary Acrobat".
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Known as "Kick Boxing Magician".

Venom Strike Down DownRight Right B

ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Mickey Rogers
Known as "Stone-Fisted Fury".
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
John Crawley
Known as "Call of Death".
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Mr. Big
Known as "Head of South Town".
ArtOfFighting MD Portraits.png
Mr. Karate (?)
Known as "The Invincible One".



Art of Fighting was a significant release for SNK, receiving two sequels in Art of Fighting 2 and Art of Fighting 3: The Path of the Warrior in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Neither of these games were released for Sega consoles, however Art of Fighting's influence can still be seen across numerous 2D fighting games to this day.

Characters from Art of Fighting appear in the The King of Fighters series, as well as Capcom vs. SNK and its sequels. Ryo Sakazaki also features as a secret character in Fatal Fury Special.


Art of Fighting was designed in part to take advantage of the relatively high technical specifications of the Neo Geo hardware, demonstrating very large sprites and a unique camera system which appears to zoom in and out of play (in a similar manner to what most 3D fighting games achieved some years later). The game also features (some) narration from the chosen fighter in between stages.

On the Mega Drive, all of these features are paired back, with the zooming effect removed entirely. Character and background sprites are noticeably smaller and much of the sampled speech is removed, however unlike the original arcade game, the actions can be spread to six buttons.

Enemy AI differs between the Japanese and Western versions, with the latter seeing generally stronger opponents. The difficulty in both is paired back from the Neo Geo versions, however. Mr. Big and Mr. Karate are also available in the two player versus mode from the outset in the Mega Drive version.

A raster scrolling effect was added for the layer of dust and smoke found in Mickey's stage in the Western version. This was not present in the Japanese release or the Neo Geo original.

While lacking the graphical and audio fidelity of its Neo Geo AES counterpart, the Mega Drive version of Art of Fighting, like most Neo Geo conversions of the era, retailed at a much lower price point.

Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English Art of Fighting Art of Fighting
English (US) Art of Fighting Art of Fighting
Japanese Ryuuko no Ken (龍虎の拳)

Production credits

Japanese version

  • Producer: Eikichi Kawasaki
  • Programmers: D.S.K, 68 Freak BBS Kenchan
  • Technical Support: Mr. Yuki29, Star Light, Asami Don
  • Designer: M.Mioshi, SSS, SK, Shodown, X.X.X
  • Sound: Jojou ha Kitapy, Yamapy I
  • Planner: K.I
  • Special Thanks: Y.O, Ya Shu!, Ken Kimra, Tabei Chan, Kamata San, Sanjyou, Yamatan GT X, Speaker.R, Wan Wan Pochi Kawai, 68 Freak BBS Z'N, EP82Boy, Atsushi, Sekotch, Stg.Oyaji, Yuritan, Sasa, Nakata21, Kei Fukunaga and... All SNK Staff!
  • Presented by: SNK
Source: In-game credits

English version

  • Producer: Eikichi Kawasaki
  • Programmers: Cross Moon D.S.K, 68 Freak BBS Kenchan
  • Technical Support: Mr. Yuki 29, Asami Don, Speaker.R
  • Designer: M.Mioshi, SSS, SK, Shodown, X.X.X
  • Sound: Jojou ha Kitapy, Yamapy I
  • Planner: K.Chan MK2
  • Special Thanks: Y.O, Ya Shu!, Ken Kimra, Tabei Chan, Kamata San, Sanjyou, Yamatan GT X, Vow Wow John Kawai, 68 Freak BBS Z'N, EP82Boy, Atsushi, Sekotch, Stg.Oyaji, Yuritan, Sasa, Nakata 21, Kei Fukunaga, Kura San, Oh!Buchi, Jaro, Hirotan, 'Art of Fighting' Team All Staff, and... All SNK Staff!
  • Presented by: SNK
Source: In-game credits

Magazine articles

Main article: Art of Fighting/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

BeepMD JP 1994-02.pdfBeepMD JP 1994-02.pdf

Print advert in Beep! MegaDrive (JP) #1994-02: "February 1994" (1994-01-08)


Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
68 №1994-02, p18[2]
65 №, p85[3]
89 №30, p136/137[4]
59 №148, p33[5]
50 №1994-02, p43
57 №19, p41[6]
61 №4/94, p109[7]
65 №28, p56/57
63 №7/94, p57[8]
24 №18, p78-80[9]
58 №54, p38/39
67 №31, p46/47
76 №1, p24/25[10]
75 №30, p10
74 №5/94, p96[11]
70 №68, p73[12]
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
17 reviews

Mega Drive, US
ArtofFighting MD US Box.jpg
Artoffighting md us cart.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
ArtofFighting MD EU Box.jpg
ArtofFighting MD EU Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
ArtofFighting MD JP Box.jpg
ArtofFighting MD JP CartTop.jpg
ArtofFighting MD JP Cart.jpg
Artoffighting md jp manual.pdf
Mega Drive, KR
ArtofFighting MD KR Box.jpg
ArtofFighting MD KR Cart Back.jpgArtofFighting MD KR Cart.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 c9a57e07
MD5 3b878b854302596cb197602878d0cf07
SHA-1 7603f33a98994e8145c942e1ed28e6b072332324
2MB 1994-07 Cartridge (US)
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 9970c422
MD5 e81c004b80d1b39690ecf301dc24e0dc
SHA-1 a58b1efbbdfa8c4ee6f3d06d474c3771ebe36ca4
2MB 1994-01 Cartridge (EU)
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 054cf5f6
MD5 05dc6075c0fa4dc5779b575b594d2947
SHA-1 c4adc3fc6e1130f64440c7dc2673b239f1523626
2MB 1993-12 Cartridge (JP)


NEC Retro has more information related to Ryuuko no Ken.

Art of Fighting
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