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Pit Fighter - The Atari Times

Pit Fighter

The lone Lynx fighter is truly the pits
by Dan Loosen

March 18, 2003
Pit Fighter is one of the few games for the Lynx that I just don't get at all. To clarify that statement a little, Pit Fighter is a game that I don't understand how it was an arcade hit and very popular for a time. Maybe I'm a little jaded from owning the arcade perfect X-Men Vs. Street Fighter for my Saturn, but Pit Fighter for my Lynx doesn't even hold a candle to the fun factor in even SNES's original Street Fighter II.

In Pit Fighter you are thrust into a no-holds-barred fight against your opponent in the "pit." You make a selection of your character from a few that all seem the same, and you begin to start your quest to become the last man standing. As you progress, you'll face bigger and bigger opponents that will throw tons of different attacks at you.

The graphics on Pit Fighter are incredible. I believe that Pit Fighter had the first ever digitalized graphics of real people, and these graphics translate well even to the small screen. The people look like people and the backgrounds look like they could be real Pit Fighter gatherings. Only Shadow Of The Beast has better graphics then the amazing people in this game.

Unfortunately for the Lynx, this is where all of the good things in Pit Fighter come to an end. Your character can do a few different attacks but once you start facing opponents all you will do that is sensible is mash either punch or kick over and over, hoping that you can get one in before the other guy floors you. Unlike the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat series, there is no strategy, no distinguishing moves between characters and very little AI. This adds up to a game that was touted as an arcade perfect port, and while this may be almost true, the game sports the exact same lack of fun factor as that machine did.

Pit Fighter also has the nice option of ComLynxing two units together and playing head-to-head. While this is usually much more amusing then the real game and probably the only reason the arcade version did okay, the game develops into the same punch-kick button masher as it does while playing against the computer. Of course it is fun to yell at your friend as he beats you, but it would be better if you could actually get a feeling of accomplishment after you beat him, instead of a feeling that your fingers can move faster then his.

The sounds in Pit Fighter are also just as bad. The Lynx emits canned "oof"ing noises like it is a boxer hitting a punching bag, and its music is so non-memorable that you honestly can't remember what the game sounded like five minutes after playing it. It is a game that you'll want to be saying that the only good noise is no noise, and it's sad to see what could've been a saving grace of the card be ruined along with the game.

Back when Pit Fighter was originally released to the arcades, it did have one saving grace -- it was an original idea. A fighting game with realistic characters facing each and the possibility of two humans facing each other was a new concept and probably did help the game to gain interest. It has been said that without it, Street Fighter would have never come about and changed the face of one-on-one fighting. Of course, it is this same Street Fighter that killed any following that Pit Fighter had by presenting a package that was better in every way. Unless you are interested in what is known as a classic head-to-head fighter, Pit Fighter is nothing more then a graphics showcase for the Lynx.

Digitized fighters BEFORE Mortal Kombat!
Show no mercy.
Why are you kicking yourself? Southside Jim will just walk into your kicks.
For what? A good game?
Pit Fighter
System: Lynx
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Fighting
Graphics Score: 100%
Sound & Music Score: 95%
Gameplay Score: 5%
Control Score: 5%

Final Score: 10%

Reader Comments for Pit Fighter

Annoying... by Gregory D. George on 2006-10-02 23:30:55
The game is just not all that fun, in fact, it feels more like torture. The punch/kick response time feels waaaay off and I wish there was an easier way to pull off the special move. The arcade version wasn't that great to begin with, so I guess this is an accurate reproduction...
I enjoyed the game back in the day by Pete 5125 on 2008-01-09 20:55:31
This just isn't a game that aged well. But, in the 90's when everyone loved a good fighter this game was the bomb. It should not be pentalised just because it didn't age well.
Great for Pit-Fighter fans! by Chiba3010 on 2014-11-06 15:57:07
Pit Fighter is one of those "love-it-or-hate-it" kind of games. Personally, I loved it in the arcades, on the Sega Genesis and of course, on the Lynx. This really is an incredible port for Atari's handheld, featuring just about everything that made the arcade version stand out- scaling and all. Unfortunately, the sound and music are very bland and watered-down but remain passable enough. Only so much data can fit onto a Lynx card I suppose, so some things had to be trimmed. Still, it's a wonderful game for Pit Fighter fans and and a technical showpiece for the Lynx. If you didn't enjoy the original arcade game, the Lynx version won't change your feelings about it. If you do love Pit Fighter and consider it a classic (as I do) you're in for a treat. This is a very impressive translation.
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