PSX Mania – 045 – Rival Schools: United By Fate (1998)

Completion time: 15:00

The last time I played Rival Schools: United By Fate was either around 1999 or 2000. I vaguely recalled anything from the game in general. It was one of the plethora of Capcom brawlers that came out around that period, but this one has had a pretty rabid fanbase behind it that has wanted to see it return to action. While it did receive a sequel in the Dreamcast game Project Justice (we’ll be talking about that briefly), there hasn’t been a single sequel or re-release since.

Rival Schools is….unorthodox. It plays very much like a Street Fighter game, with the same control motions for special and super moves. But there are a lot of nuances to the engine that I didn’t have the time to figure out. There’s air combos, you can do double team supers, and there were other little mechanics that kinda went by the wayside as I played through this incredibly brief single player mode.

While it looks rough around the edges, they were fine enough visuals for their time. The soundtrack was baingin’ though. I just feel bad that I really couldn’t make the time to get to know Rival School’s fighting engine, since it seemed pretty deep and moderately complex. Nonetheless, what I was able to do, was still tons of fun. The biggest issue though came with the absurd AI. Either I can spam fireballs endlessly and beat each opponent with little to no worry, or they were on some god mode destruction spree, kicking the piss out of me.

I’m not sure about its value these days, but if you come by a copy of Rival Schools: United By Fate for a decently low price, go for it, take the time to learn its nuances and enjoy it. It’s a solid fighting game, and even though its sequel blows this game away, it also fetches a pretty penny, so it’s not realistically an option for most.

Rating: 8

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