Video game journalist Damiano Gerli has on his personal page several interesting reports on specific elements of video game history and one of his specialties is finding interesting stories about the industry in his native country, Italy, both in terms of marketing and development. He recently published a full brief on a short-lived study titled Light Shock Software, which although it only existed for three years from 93-96, managed to leave a notorious imprint in the vast catalog of Commodore Amiga thanks to its fighting game Fightin ‘Spirit.
Making fighting games on the 16-bit machine was no easy task. External and internal memory has always been a limiting factor in bringing the arcade experience home, and the computer’s impressive AV capabilities haven’t been enough to make up for it. Fighting games also required constant disc changes by quickly changing backgrounds and characters. (five discs occupied the game which occupies us, for example). In the worst case, the aberrations appeared as the first conversion of Street Fighter II, very impressive on static screens but turning into a nightmare when we saw it in motion; at the best of times, we’ve seen games like Super Street Fighter II, more proficient but inferior to what’s coming out on consoles at the same time. This general difficulty and the perception that it was not a genre in high demand on computers meant that there weren’t as many exhibitors on Amiga as on contemporary consoles, but Fightin ‘Spirit was a notable exception.
Light Shock Software was formed by chance, a group of friends with a common passion who stayed home over the weekend to program and demonstrate what pasta they were made of to the point of deciding to become a business and drop out. the phone to see who I wanted their services. Of the four founders only one had professional experience and two of them could not even participate officially because they were not of the minimum age to work. After settling in with some testing, coordination and liaison work with the houses, they contacted several Italian teams, one being a group from Palermo called Dynamic Style, which were two other boys barely 18 who were working on a game for Amiga clearly influenced by SNK, in particular Final Fight. The graphic work they had done was impressive, but there wasn’t a lot of play behind it, so the two teams joined forces to shape it, changing the original name from Perpetual Craze to Fightin ‘Spirit in the process, more “salable”.
When we tear it up, it floods us its presentation with power and 90’s spirit thanks to his rock song (with matching lyrics) in which a tiger and a dragon come face to face. Up to ten wrestlers with animal spirits compete in a tournament hosted by international criminal Jenshi, each driven by their own motivations (presented in personalized intros for each). Once the action begins, we are faced with a game with great sprites, beautifully recreated backgrounds with background animations, colorful special attacks in which the inner power of each character is manifested and catchy melodies. which complete the action, you accompany with its effects that they themselves had recorded in the basement of a house.
The range of movement and the quality of the animations are of course not at the level of the major leagues, and at the level of the combat mechanics, more solid alternatives could be sought within the system like the Italian Shadow Fighters. Corn the set is awesome, a technical and artistic cap in the genre on the 16-bit computer, arguably the closest to the legendary Commodore machine ever to come to a Neo Geo, which says a lot. And it was done by a group of teenagers without much experience in the industry and without any financial support from their production company, the Austrian Neo. It’s even more impressive how there was a version in the original computer chipset with 1MB of memory, at a lower framerate and with less detail than the higher versions for AGA or CD 32 of course, but this It was still something spectacular.
Unfortunately, as the report explains, in 1996 the Amiga market was fatally injured and many companies attempted to make the leap to consoles or are dying trying. The production company requested a version for the pop-up compatible with MS-DOS, but for the study the version in Commodore was inalienable And that’s what they focused on before considering anything else. Despite good reviews and some accolades, their sales were non-existent, to which must be added some suspicion that the label they had signed with was already experiencing serious problems which added difficulty in reaching active communities and the user base. I still had the system.
At any rate, the Italian study did not produce a lyre of such impressive technical prowess, only to recoup some of the investment they had made in purchasing equipment to develop the CD version. The contract with Neo did not provide for any advance or charge for the work done, everything was entrusted to the sale of the game, so they did not get any financial compensation, nor for the other game signed with this seal, a motorcycle title called Black Viper performed by another team. Light Shock still made it possible to launch a third game in collaboration with another team from its country, Pray for Death, which was trying to follow in the wake of Killer Instinct but for PC, even if that’s another story. After an unsuccessful attempt to jump to Playstation, the team disbanded amid discussions due to lack of income and poor terms of signed contracts. But what remains is the legacy and passion of some adolescents who, based on naivety, passion and not knowing what they couldn’t do, built a game like Fightin ‘Spirit, raising the bar on what their favorite machine could do and leaving a memory that has survived among the communities that keep the world alive. immortal inheritance of the Friend.
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