Breakers / Breakers Revenge
Somewhere in Hong Kong, two martial artists face each other in a vast courtyard. The challenger is a stout man in brown skin. The ground has been tainted with blood. However, his crescent blade hasn't touched his opponent yet. It was a one-sided battle. He was already exhausted and it won't be long before he would fall. "Fool, you will become one of my family" resounded the opponent's voice, as the challenger crumbled to the floor and was turned into sand.

The Fighting Instinct Tournament, or FIST, is a tournament as fierce as its name suggests. There was no shortage of martial artists who entered the tournament seeking fame, and yet there were many who left the tournament as corpses. The last challenger who remains in this lawless tournament gets to challenge the organizer of the tournament, the Head of the Huang Financial Clique, for the chance to win the massive prize money. The martial artist who can manage to defeat him will obtain the honor of truly calling him or herself the strongest.

However, none of the martial artists who were chosen to challenge the champion in a private final match have ever come back alive. Nobody knows when exactly the tournament is held, since only an avaricious will was spiraling over there. The sponsor is actually an evil spirit who possessed the body of a modern man from Hong Kong who has established a selection system to amplify his dark powers. The FIST tournament has gathered numerous participants from around the globe and another sacrifice will be chosen this year.

Character Selection Screen of the original Breakers.

REVIEWThe obscure NeoGeo 2D fighter known as "Breakers" was released by Visco on December 17, 1996. Years before Breakers was released, Visco made a name for themselves for releasing "NeoGeo-inspired" games that closely mimicked SNK's successful titles. For example, Visco's Puzzle De Pon was pretty much a knockoff of Taito's Puzzle Bobble, yet still fun and interesting on its own. Later, Visco's Flip Shot and Bang Bead copied quite a few ideas from Data East's Windjammers. This brings us to 1996... with Visco releasing their first 2D fighting game. You can probably already guess certain fighting games that Breakers took heavy inspirations from. Clearly, Visco "borrowed" many ideas from Capcom's Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstalkers... as well as from SNK's Fatal Fury 2 and Fatal Fury 3.

Two years following the release of Breakers, an update titled "Breakers Revenge" hit arcades in July of 1998. Breakers Revenge added a single new character to the game (Saizo, the ninja who looks like Killer Instinct's Jago) along with slightly altered stages. Revenge also kept the same intro, with a single image of Saizo the ninja being added. Revenge also adds a "colored pencil" filter to the character artwork (which looks a bit cheap and underdeveloped IMO). The sequel also features a code to play as the boss, Bai-Hu. Breakers Revenge made some slight adjustments to existing characters and toned down the damage.


Breakers Revenge Character Select Screen... JAGO!?


Breakers Revenge never received an AES console version, making it an even more obscure, unpopular title for even hardcore SNK / NeoGeo fans. However, Breaker's Revenge earned itself a cult following due to its rather solid, straight-forward gameplay system and arguably cool / yet kooky character designs. Control-wise, Breakers feels most closely to the likes of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Fatal Fury 2 & 3, with mechanics borrowed from other modern and past 2D fighters. 

In fairness, Breakers Revenge does have some unique elements that it didn't steal from other fighting games! For one, when both players choose the same character, the 2-player character will receive a different name. For example, Sho's doppelganger is called "Jin Sawamura". The game's official lore suggests that the original character and the clone are in fact two different characters! 

FUN FACT Some of the alternate character names were taken from the prototype version of Breakers, originally titled Crystal Legacy (1994). While most Breakers Revenge characters shamelessly steal moves from other well known 2D fighters, they actually have unique dashing & backdash techniques which differ between characters. Characters can also move slightly while getting up from the ground.


Wait a minute... wasn't this stage in KOF '98? ;)


Breakers Revenge features a 3-tier power gauge used for super moves. Players can build meter just by dashing, backdashing, rolling, and even taunting. A basic canceling system is in place, enabling normal cancels into specials, specials into supers, and even one super move into another. Some special and super moves are well-designed. Maherl here can summon a freakin' genie to wreak havoc on his opponents. Even though the character roster seems a bit small, the characters are distinguishable from one another both in terms of looks and playstyle.

The music and sound quality of Breakers Revenge isn't super great, but it has moments. Characters' battle cries, and the way they shout their special moves are pretty memorable and help distinguish each fighter's personality. While the roster (and their special moves) take heavy inspirations from many existing 2D fighters... to be fair, the designs of Breakers ("kooky" as they may be) are pretty original. There's the flamboyant swordsmen, Pielle (did they spell check that?) with his gut-busting voice acting... the walking hieroglyphic / Phaoroh called Alson III (who wants to be Dhalsim but doesn't want you to know), and the stereotypical Native American "Condor Heads"... who "borrowed" quite a few of Zangief's moves (literally almost the exact same animations). Plus, his name is Condor Heads. So there's that.

Tia, the Yuri Sakazaki look-alike, has a downright hilarious combination of specials. Her moveset includes: Chun-Li's Lightning Kicks, Guile's Sonic Booms, and M. Bison's Psycho Crusher. Ohh, and she has a Shoryuken, too... because why the hell not? Sho Kamui is your standard cool Karate guy Ryu / Ryo Sakazaki shoto-clone... Rila is basically Blanka's wife (complete with bite attack and Blanka crouch pose), and boss Huang Bai-Hu totally isn't trying to mimic Demitri from Darkstalkers. Indeed, the cast of Breakers Revenge are trying their hardest not to "copy the homework" of other 2D fighters too closely, but they're an oddly-charming bunch of outcasts who might be worth a look for the 2D fighting game connoisseur.

Tia Langray versus her imposter, "Shelly".


Page Updated: September 1st, 2023
Developer(s): Visco
Publisher(s): Visco, SNK
Designer(s): Don Gabacho     Producer
Platform(s): Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam
Release Date(s): Dec. 17th, 1996            Breakers
July 3rd, 1998
                Breakers Revenge
Jan. 12th, 2023             Breakers Collection
Characters Sho Kamui, Tia Langray, Lee Dao-Long, Pielle Montario, Condor Heads, Rila Estancia, Alsion III, Sheik Maherl, Tobikage Saizo, Huang Bai-Hu

Featured Video:

Related Games: Fighter's History, Fighter's History Dynamite, Power Instinct, Power Instinct 2, Double Dragon, Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury 3, Real Bout Fatal Fury, Super SF2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Darkstalkers, KOF '96, KOF '97, KOF '98, Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 4, Savage Reign, Kizuna Encounter, Ninja Master's, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Killer Instinct, Killer Instinct 2, World Heroes, World Heroes 2, World Heroes Perfect, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Vs. Capcom, TEKKEN 2, TEKKEN 3, Soul Blade, SoulCalibur, Golden Axe: The Duel, Asura Blade, Pocket Bravery

Gameplay Engine

 7.0 / 10

Story / Theme

 4.0 / 10

Overall Graphics

 5.0 / 10


 5.5 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 5.5 / 10


 5.0 / 10

Art Direction

 5.0 / 10


 4.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 3.0 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 4.5 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 6.0 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 7.0 / 10


 5.5 / 10


 5.9 / 10



Final Words:

Breakers Revenge is definitely an obscure NeoGeo title, overshadowed by many other fighting games from the era. Even so, Breakers still managed to develop a sort of cult following... and for good reason. It's a "playable" 2D fighting game, mostly thanks to the solid combo system, decent animations, and similar mechanics from other 2D fighters. Very few "copycat" 2D fighting games of the 90's ever managed to be halfway interesting or fun... but Breakers somehow pulls it off.

The character designs of Breakers Revenge are a mixed bag, but at least the fighters have halfway respectable appearances, movesets, and sharp-looking, well-drawn 2D sprites. The character sprites are colorful, large, and are a higher quality compared to some other "me too" mid 90's 2D fighters. The attack animations and movement animations are catchy and unique... aside from the ones that are straight-up "copypaste" animations from other well-known 2D fighting game characters. It's a funny game in that way.

1998 was indeed a bit "late" for yet another SF2 knockoff sequel, but Breakers Revenge has polish in areas you might not expect. Still, the "dated" graphics and "novice sketchbook-quality" character art looked a bit rough in 1998. To put things in perspective, 1998 was the year MVC1 & SoulCalibur were stealing the show at arcades, and the PS1 version of TEKKEN 3 pretty much redefined the genre on consoles. Other 2D fighting games that were killing it since 1996? Street Fighter Alpha 2, Samurai Shodown 4, X-Men VS SF, Soul Edge, Fighter's Megamix, VF3, MK Trilogy... and the list goes on). Needless to say, Breakers Revenge had tough competition.

In its best light, Breakers Revenge can still be appreciated for its humorous comparisons to other popular 2D fighting games and characters of the time period. I'd admit the game can even be appreciated for its moments of originality and fairly solid (yet arguably unbalanced and broken) traditional gameplay. In any case, Breakers and Breakers Revenge are still worth a look.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen  

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