Rival Schools: United By Fate

STORY The story of Rival Schools is set in the Japanese city of Aoharu. Several local schools have recently become the victims of unknown attacks, including kidnappings of students and staff. Various students and teachers set out to find who is responsible for the attacks on their respective schools. Later in the storyline, it is revealed that an elite school in the city called Justice High, is responsible for the attacks.


Rival Schools character selection screen.

REVIEW: Rival Schools is a 3D fighting from Capcom containing gameplay elements resembling those from the Street Fighter series, Marvel Vs. Capcom, and even 3D fighting games like TEKKEN 3. Rival Schools' control scheme is different from most Capcom fighting games, as it features only four buttons (two punches and two kicks) rather than the standard six. Rival Schools introduces several unique gameplay elements that make it stand out from the rest, including: Team Up Attacks, Tardy Counters (similar to Alpha counters from Street Fighter Alpha), Attack Cancels, and high-flying Air Combos similar to what you'd see in the VS Series! The super meter also fills up to 9 stocks... which is crazy (and fun)! Finally, a Sidestep mechanic enables characters to dodge projectiles and linear attacks by moving in 3D.

In Rival Schools: United By Fate, players create a team of two characters. The gameplay is 1-on-1, with a "partner" character entering the action when a "team-up" attack connects. Depending on who the partner character is, the team will either deal out a hearty dose of additional ass-kicking to their victim, or supply a "health up," all while players are treated to awesome (and sometimes hilarious) animations during the tag team sequence. Players can also switch out their main characters between rounds, which adds a unique, satisfying and strategic element to the gameplay.

brilliant artwork courtesy of Capcom's Edayan.

Rival Schools' character roster is made up of all sorts of high school "stereotypes"... definitely a unique concept for a fighting game roster. To name a few: Shoma the hot-headed baseball player, Edge the weird punk kid, Roy the American jock, Tiffany the busty blonde cheerleader, and Hayato the badass gym coach. While the designs are heavily based on stereotypes, each character design manages to be interesting, elaborate, and (for the most part) original in the fighting game universe. Sakura Kasugano from Street Fighter Alpha also makes an awesome guest appearance (to play the role of one of the Japanese schoolgirls, of course)!

All characters have unique play styles, some of which resemble other more famous fighting game personalities, which means any 2D fighting game fan should feel right at home! The diverse characters of Rival Schools present a solid variety of special moves and some truly epic super moves and tag team moves, which never fail to make you cringe when they connect. This game definitely isn't short on ouch factor... that's for sure! The attack animations, throw animations, and hit animations are well done and have some impressive oomph.... However, the same walking forward/back animation is shared by all characters and looks a bit awkward overall. Besides a few kooky animations, everything else is in check.

So many fun and charismatic teams!

The PlayStation version of Rival Schools comes with 2 discs, a port of the arcade version and the "Evolution" disc. All together, the home version features an engaging story mode, an awesome anime intro (and ending), bonus characters, nearly 100 unique loading screen artworks (which will help you deal with the lengthy PS1 load times), and several mini games! Overall, the presentation raises the bar for current gen fighting games. The catchy soundtrack and satisfying sound effects & voice acting really make a statement as well.

Unfortunately, the overseas version of the Evolution Disc lacks the Japanese version's Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki mode, a character creation mode and story mode / date simulation. In this Japan exclusive mode, players can create a student and go through a full school year, developing friendships with characters from various schools along the way. These interactions allowed players' characters to receive custom moves for their moveset and revealed additional details about Rival Schools characters. Once a custom character finishes the year, they can then be used in any of the default gameplay modes. Capcom stated that they didn't add the creation mode to overseas versions due to the amount of time it would take to translate all of the text from Japanese to English. Besides the creation mode, all of the other bonuses such as mini games translated to the overseas versions.

Big and hard-hitting super moves... for the win.






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Page Updated: May 6th, 2024
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Hideaki Itsuno, Makoto Otsuki, Tatsuya Nakae
Artwork by: Edayan
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation, PSN
Release Date(s): November 1997           Arcade
July 30th, 1998
Sept. 30th, 1998
November 1998
Feb. 22nd, 2012
Characters Batsu Iichimonji, Hinata Wakaba, Kyosuke Kagami, Shoma Sawamura, Natsu Ayuhara, Roberto Miura, Edge, Gan Isurugi, Daigo Kazama, Akira Kazama, Hideo Shimazu, Hayato Nekketsu, Kyoko Minazuki, Boman Delgado, Tiffany Lords, Roy Bromwell, Raizo Imawano, Sakura Kasugano, Hyo Imawano

Featured Video:

Related Games: Project Justice: Rival Schools 2, Capcom Fighting All Stars, Star Gladiator, Plasma Sword, Street Fighter EX, Street Fighter EX2, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, SFA3: Max, Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Vs. Capcom, Bloody Roar, Battle Arena Toshinden 3, Bushido Blade, Mortal Kombat 4, Tobal No. 1, Tobal 2, Capcom Vs. SNK 2, Namco X Capcom, Kenichi, TEKKEN 3, Groove On Fight

Gameplay Engine  8.5 / 10
Story / Theme  10 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.0 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  9.5 / 10
Innovation  10 / 10
Art Direction  10 / 10
Customization  7.0 / 10
Options / Extras  9.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  9.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  8.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  9.0 / 10
Characters  9.0 / 10

 8.9 / 10

 Review based on PlayStation version    


Final Words: Rival Schools was an instant Capcom classic... and a very unappreciated gem on PS1. This "modern" take on Capcom's classic fighting game recipe really made an impact for those paying attention. The brilliant character designs, impactful art style by Edayan, highly-entertaining movesets + team-up special moves, premise / storyline, and music made Rival Schools: United By Fate an incredibly original fighting game in 1997-1998... with tons of potential.

While not as "technically refined" as some of Capcom's top Street Fighter titles, Rival Schools offered something very different from the arguably monotonous Street Fighter series. It's also cool to see Capcom's take on a 3D fighting game (both visually and technically). Sidestepping projectiles and other attacks and punishing opponents with an air-combo or super move is fun as hell! Other mechanics like Tardy Counters and the 9-stock super meter give the game a truly unique "arcade" fighting game feel. All in all, Rival Schools feels like no other fighting game from the era.

Along with Darkstalkers, Rival Schools is another brilliant 90's fighting game demonstrating the full cleverness and creativity of Capcom. The attention to detail, presentation, and unique gameplay was a must-have experience on PS1 at the time! While a bit clunky an unpredictable in some areas of the gameplay, the combo system and projectile wars make the game fun for players of all levels. The gameplay experience and roster was expanded upon in the sequel, Project Justice.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

  Click Here for all Character Artwork!


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