What can one say about Pit Fighter? This 1990 arcade game was notable for introducing digitized graphics of real actors, and for being one of the worst games ever to sell many thousands of units.

This is basically just a really bad fighting game with great graphics. Well when I say great graphics, I mean that they looked great in 1990 because they looked like people, but they look absolutely terrible once Mortal Kombat game along and used digitized actors that actually looked real.

The first time I encountered this game was in 1990 when my local skating rink changed its arcade game lineup. Asteroids and Double Dragon went out, and Pit Fighter and a driving game came in. I really liked this game at first. It came in a big deluxe three player cabinet and the characters in the game looked completely different than anything else. I ended up sinking a lot of quarters in it, but I slowly realized that it was all glamour, and no gameplay. I began to miss the Asteroids machine that used to be in its place.

The Game

The basic idea behind Pit Fighter is that you are a dude and you have to fight other dudes for money inside a big warehouse. Oh, for the uninformed, "dude" is a technical term, which means "character". This could have been a great game, but the first mistake was using the format of the game itself. Being able to walk up and down works great for side scrolling beat em' ups, but it is horrible for one on one fighting games. All the good fighting games tend to be straight 2-D, the up and down movement is just distracting, and makes the game more frustrating. The next big mistake was in the lack of different maneuvers, and in the overall slow pacing of the game. It was simply slow, repetitive, and overly difficult to boot.

After each round there will be an animation where your "dude" (there I go with the technical terms again), will stand on a forklift that raises him up over a pile of cash. Watching this little animation was basically the most exciting part of the game. Every few levels there would be a "Grudge Match" where you would attempt to knock down a dude three times before he knocked you down three times. I found that to be the easiest part of the game, as it usually only took a few seconds.

Hardware Information

Pit Fighter was available in both dedicated cabinets and conversion kits. The conversion versions were usually only two-player while the dedicated machine supported three players. There isn't really a whole lot to say about this particular machine, the artwork had a reddish scheme, and the dedicated versions had 25" arcade monitors. A lot of these machines were turned into Street Fighter 2 before they were even a year old.

Where to abuse yourself with this game

Pit Fighter was available on the Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Gameboy, Atari Lynx, Atari ST, and the Amiga. The arcade version is also still pretty common in out of the way locations. Failing those options, you can play it using the MAME emulator on your personal computer.

I wouldn't suggest buying a Pit Fighter machine unless you just wanted a JAMMA cabinet, and Pit Fighter happened to be the cheapest thing available. They usually don't sell for much money, so that could easily be the case. Pit Fighter game boards are usually pretty cheap on eBay, but in my opinion they are overpriced even at $20 each.

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