Fighting Layer

Fighting Layer is an obscure 3D fighting game by Arika (the developers of the Street Fighter EX series), and was licensed to Namco for distribution in Japan arcades only. Fighting Layer features a completely unique cast of characters, with the exception of two characters that crossed over from the Street Fighter EX series (Allen Snider and Blaire Dame).


Pro-wrestlers with lip-stick are awesome.


Fighting Layer
looks and plays quite similar to the Street Fighter EX series, but isn't a fair share of differences... for one, you can sidestep (by hitting forward + HP or HK). Fighting Layer actually features quite a few respectable gameplay elements including: safe falls, special/super move cancels, and special moves that break your opponents guard. While arguably broken, the combo system is also pretty fun and offers some rather cool-looking combo possibilities. Aside from a few unique features, the overall gameplay isn't a particularly complex experience in the end.

Fighting Layer was at least visually competitive at the time of its debut (as silent as it was outside of Japan). It certainly wasn't the prettiest fighter around with its blocky-ish character models, generic 3D backgrounds surrounded by 2D backdrops, and laughably bad in-game character faces. At least the game managed to present slightly better visuals than the SFEX games. It also appears that several animations from the SFEX series were actually reused in Fighting Layer, but most attack animations are completely original and don't look half bad. On that note, there are some pretty spiffy attacks and super moves to see.


Tetsuo has some epically spiky hair.


The character designs make up a somewhat unique, yet unorthodox roster, and present some pretty interesting fighting styles... although, some of which are clearly inspired by other more well-known fighting game characters. Probably the most obvious example is Hong Gilson, the Tae Kwon Do kid (AKA Hwoarang wannabe). Other "stand out" characters include Exodus, a badass(?) lipstick-wearing wrestler who whips out chairs and tables to beat his opponents with, Janis, a speedy green-haired chick who looks like she came from The Matrix, and a shark... yes, there is a bonus boss fight with a freaking shark... (yes, taking place underwater). They definitely get some originality points on that one. FYI, the shark is retardedly hard to beat, and he pretty much just eats you if your skills in the game aren't considerably sharp.

There's not much to say about the presentation of Fighting Layer... it's pretty random to say the least, but naturally very "arcadie". There's a wacky announcer who takes entirely too long to say each character's name (which always makes me laugh). Cool things about this game? As I stated previously, some of the super & special moves are very well done in terms of animation, and also look like they hurt. Probably the coolest part of the game is when you finish off your opponent with a super move, and the super slow-motion effect kicks in... making for a pretty epic finale to each battle.


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Click Here for all character artwork!

Page Updated: February 3rd, 2020
Developer(s): Arika
Publisher(s): Namco
Platform(s): Arcade
Release Date(s): December 1998  
Characters Allen Snider, Blaire Dame, Tetsuo Kato, Hong Gillson, Lan Yinghua, George Jensent, Janis Luciani, Exodus, Sessyu Tsukikage, Cappricio, Clemence Keliber, Preston Ajax, Shang Fenghuang, Jig Jid Bartol, Joe Fendi, Vold Ignitio

Featured Video:

Related Games: Fighting EX Layer, Street Fighter EX, Street Fighter EX2, Street Fighter EX3, Tekken 3, Tobal No. 1, Tobal 2, Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring, Last Bronx, Final Fight: Revenge

Gameplay Engine  6.5 / 10
Story / Theme  4.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  6.5 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.0 / 10
Innovation  5.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.5 / 10
Customization  4.0 / 10
Options / Extras  5.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  3.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  5.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.0 / 10
Characters  6.5 / 10

 6.4 / 10



Final Words:

Fighting Layer is another one of those obscure fighting games that you probably missed, but then again, didn't "miss" too much. It's an interesting and wacky little arcade fighting game that seems rushed and "incomplete", but shows some heart in other ways. If you get a chance to play it, it's worth trying out for sure.

Fighting Layer's character artwork is pretty cool in my book, but I don't think the character roster really stands on its own. However, I will say that if Arika ever makes another fighting game (or works a deal with Capcom), I'd like to see the return of some of the Fighting Layer folks. Ohh, and I almost forgot to mention... what a weird name for a game.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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