Fighting Layer was developed in 1998 by game company Arika and published by both Arika and Namco as an attempt to create a similar game to Arika and Capcom's modest-success, Street Fighter EX, without having it tie in with the game's Excuse Plot or the Capcom-owned characters. The game includes Allen Snider and Blair Dame, both characters from the first EX game. Debuting with this series:
- Tetsuo Kato, Spirited Competitor and Anti-Hero
- George Jensent, police officer
- Hong Gillson, Tae Kwon Do specialist
- Lan Yinghua, high school student
- Janis Luciani, weapon-toting assassin
- Exodus, hardcore heel pro-wrestler
- Shang Fenghuang, thief and self-taught fighter
- Jig Jid Bartol, Mongolian sumo wrestler
- Sessyu Tsukikage, Ninja
- Cappricio, tribal Witch Doctor
Along with them are three unlockable bosses:
- Joe Fendi, boxer and ex-prize fighter
- Clemence Keliber, legendary power wrestler
- Preston Ajax, shell shocked cyborg
As well as unplayable characters:
- Knight, a giant sentient suit of armor
- Tiger, Shark and Hawk, a giant tiger, shark and hawk respectively
- Vold Ignitio, the Big Bad
The game played similar to Street Fighter EX but with the addition of multiple ways of getting to the Final Boss (the stage progression is mapped out with multiple routes converging at several areas).
The game was only released in Japanese arcades and none of the characters (besides Allen and Blair) were ever featured in another Arika or Namco property. It's rare for someone (even in Japan) to know about the game, let alone have played it. So yeah, it's a little bit obscure.
It has a sequel called Fighting EX Layer. However, on a good note, some of the game's music are in there if selected in that game's option setting on "Extra" in FEXL.
This game provides examples of:
- Announcer Chatter: The announcer is pretty much a mesquite smoked ham who screams every time a super is done.
- Animal Athlete Loophole: Tiger, Shark, and Hawk, natch.
- Expy: Hong Gillson is a blatant rip off of Hwoarang. Let's see, a youthful but arrogant Korean Taekwondo Fighter with dyed reddish hair and a headband? His name seems to be based on Korean folk hero Hong Gildong.
- Island Base: South Island.
- Limp and Livid: Vold goes into this during the second round.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Exodus bears a striking resemblance to Goldust.
- Shared Universe: With Street Fighter EX.
- SNK Boss
- Vold, especially in the second round in which any attack that doesn't catch him off guard results in him swapping positions with you and countering you with your own move.
- The True Lance Knight that you get to fight as a Bonus Boss at the end of the game if you did exceptionally well. He's the Knight you fought as a midboss on steroids. Before you can even fight him you have to clear a Quick Time Event. If you fail you get to start the fight with reduced health. He does a good amount of chip damage with his lance on block, and a whole lot of damage if he hits you. He's also nigh invulnerable. The only attacks that do any substantial damage to him are throws, but you only get an opportunity to throw him if you stun him, which requires you to hit him with repeated attacks, and aside from the rare throw chance, he does not flinch from any attack. And best of all, you only get one try to beat him.
- Transplant: Allen and Blair, who were in Street Fighter EX previously. Since Arika owns the characters rather than Capcom, they never returned to the EX series after this game (though both reappearing in the sequel Fighting EX Layer means they managed to outlast the EX characters who never transitioned to the main Street Fighter series).