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Pit-Fighter is a 1990 fighting game by Atari. It was the first fighting game to use live-action footage as the source of the character sprites, roughly two years before Mortal Kombat popularized it. There was planned to be a sequel which would have had a fourth character to play as.

Players select one of three fighters, each with their own moveset and focus. Buzz, a pro wrestler who emphasizes strength, Ty, a kickboxer who emphasizes agility and Kato, a black-belt who emphasizes speed. They then fight their way through the tournament, taking on the other fighters and trying to reach the championship fight with the Masked Warrior and defeat him.


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Pit-Fighter provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A.I. Breaker: If you can lure an enemy into jumping onto the top of an obstacle you are behind, such as a car, you can hit them with impunity as they try to reach you, knocking them back off it. Rinse and repeat until they are KO'd.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: C.C. Rider is dressed in biker leathers and carries a pool cue (often associated with bikers).
  • Ass Kicking Pose: All three player-characters strike a pose after hitting their special attack. Doubles as a Victory Pose since they do the same pose after winning a match. And, yes, winning a match with a special attack results in the character doing the same pose twice in succession. Also leaves your character vulnerable during it which can lead to a world of pain if your opponent gets up quickly or if you're fighting more than one enemy - which leads to a tendency to use Ty in preference over the other characters as his pose is a brief air punch as opposed to Kato's which is a full second and a half of poser tai-chi moves. Buzz is somewhere in the middle with around a second of bicep flexing.
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  • Big Bad: Masked Warrior. He periodically appears on screen to taunt you as you progress through the tournaments, then steps down off his throne to fight you in the final fight.
  • The Big Guy: Buzz, though only in terms of the three playable characters. Many enemies match or exceed him in size and build.
  • The Brute: Chainman Eddie. Big, well muscled and has a tendency to put his head down and bull rush you.
  • Boss Game: There are only three characters to pick from. This would have barely changed in the sequel, which would have had a fourth, female character named "Tasha". As this game was developed before Street Fighter II, this is obvious, as all fighters before SFII were Boss Games.
  • Breakable Weapons: The large objects the player and enemies can bash people with / throw at them generally last one or two uses before breaking. The wooden staffs last several hits before breaking and the knife can be used repeatedly to stab. Thrown knives and throwing stars are single use, they disappear after you throw them.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Blue (Player 1), Red (Player 2) and Yellow (Player 3). Even though there are only three characters, unlike other similar games of its time, more than one player can use the same character if they desire.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Both players and enemies continue to fight at full effectiveness until they lose their last bar of health, at which point they promptly fall over.
  • Dark Action Girl: Angel. She uses her high heels and studded wristbands to good effect.
  • The Dragon: Chainman Eddie. You meet him once as a regular fighter during the tournament, then have to fight two of him before you face the final boss.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Mad Miles, if his outfit is any indication.
  • Expy: Ty is Jean-Claude Van Damme's character from Bloodsport, all the way down to being shown doing the splits as part of his training.
  • Evil Laugh: Chainman Eddie at the start of your fights with him.
  • Fighting Game: Came out just before the boom created by Street Fighter II.
  • Fragile Speedster: Kato has incredible hand speed but lacks Buzz's strength and Kato's agility meaning he's more likely to be hit and stunned / knocked down by enemies.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Kato bows at the start of every match and after landing his "Combo Punch" special move. Unfortunately, this elaborate display of respect leaves him wide open, and his opponent(s) WILL take advantage of it.
    • Also the enemy "Southside Jim" will not attack downed opponents, even if they attack him on the deck first.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Ty. He's agile but still reasonably fast and strong. Most players find him the most effective character.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Encouraged - you get a "brutality bonus" depending on how much damage you do like this if you win the fight. The enemies will also do this to you (with the exception of Southside Jim). Both you and the enemies can also do this to eliminated enemies/players though this has no gameplay effect.
  • Life Meter: Standard for the genre but with the twist that it did not refill between battles — so as you progressed your character was less and less durable, to the point where you could win a fight but a single light slap from the next opponent could finish you — and as you only had one life the only way to continue after losing all your health was to pump more coins in....
    • The bonus rounds replace these with three circles. Each time a fighter gets knocked down, they lose a circle; first to lose three loses.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Masked Warrior - he hits like a truck, moves and attacks quickly and can take a lot of punishment.
  • Me's a Crowd: The round before the Masked Warrior features two Chainman Eddies regardless of how many players are in the game at that point.
  • Mighty Glacier: Buzz and Chainman Eddie. Both are big muscular guys who don't move and hit as fast, but pack a lot of force when they do connect.
  • Mirror Match: The bonus rounds in single-player mode. Ur-Example — This is the first Fighting Game to use the feature (Karate Champ implied the two fighters were different people, even if they did look alike).
  • Neck Lift: Masked Warrior can do this to you. It's impossible to escape from and kills you within seconds.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's very common to smash a barrel into an enemy only to reveal the power pill which the enemy promptly picks up. Learning the sideways evade move so you can leap over the enemy to get it first is highly recommended to avoid this.
  • One-Hit Kill: The end boss can pick you up and strangle you. As it's a one on one fight it doesn't matter how much life you have left - you're a goner.
  • Only in It for the Money: The score is represented in dollars and there is no real characterization for anyone, so this is the only logical conclusion to why anyone is here.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Southside Jim's default palette.
  • Roundhouse Kick: Ty's signature move is an elaborate version, he leaps into the air and rolls sideways - lashing out with one leg and then the other, almost like a dual drop kick/roundhouse kick hybrid.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: One of the main criticisms about this game was the clothes used by most of the bosses. Almost all of them wear clothes fitting for a porn movie rather for a fighting tournament. This is even worse with both Angel and Chainman Eddie: The former looks like a Hollywood-style prostitute and the later seems to came out from a gay porn film.
  • Sequel: As mentioned above, there was a plan on a direct sequel with extra characters but that got shelved. There was a sequel of sorts in the Atari game Guardians of the 'Hood which left the modern gladiator scene for a Final Fight-style beat'em up involving the characters who would have been in Pit Fighter 2. Besides the digitized graphics, Guardians of the 'Hood was noted for being somewhat influenced by the fighting game scene, so each character had 3 shots of magic where they hurled their signature magical projectile.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Enemy attacks can hurt each other, and they can also be damaged by the crowd attackers. While it's hard to get them to hit each other in actual gameplay a viable tactic if you get KO'd but want to continue and there is more than one enemy on screen is to wait until the last second to hit continue and then wait till the last second to select your fighter letting them occasionally hit each other during the wait. This is most effective in the penultimate battle where you face two Chainman Eddies - they will often use their very damaging Use Your Head attack on your downed body and can hit each other with it.
  • Simple Staff: The most common weapon (except maybe the barrels and kegs) is a stick used like a bo staff.
  • Spam Attack: Kato's special attack is a series of karate thrusts followed by a double palm strike. This is Awesome, but Impractical as it takes around a full second to perform making it more easily interruptible by other players and enemies than Buzz's or Ty's specials and Kato goes into his overly long celebration immediately afterwards.
  • Special Attack: All three playable characters have one. Buzz uses a piledriver, Kano a series of rapid palm strikes and Ty a double roundhouse kick. Unlike most other games of the same era they do not cost any energy to move and are easy to perform by pressing the jump, punch and kick buttons simultaneously. The only downside is the players character will celebrate after performing one successfully leaving them vulnerable to a swift counter or another onscreen enemy.
  • Story and Gameplay Segregation: The opening cinematic shows Kato being very proficient with a staff. In the actual game, he doesn't use it any better than any other character.
  • Super Serum: The power pills hidden in barrels in some stages causes the user (player or enemy) to gain a green tinge, knock down any opponent in one hit, deal more damage, and not react when an opponent attacks. Also, in the arcade version the user becomes slightly larger.
  • Three Round Deathmatch: Averted in normal fights, where it's last-man-standing. The bonus rounds have a variant, where it's the first to three knockdowns.
  • Token Minority: Southside Jim is the only black competitor. Ty looks Hispanic and Kato is of Asian origin.
  • Use Your Head: Chainman Eddie uses this move. It's hugely damaging and can send you flying the full length of the playing area to bounce off the crowd/wall. Especially deadly when fighting two of them together as you do in the penultimate round.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The game encourages you to attack your opponent while he's downed by giving you a "brutality bonus" for doing so at the end of the round (assuming you win!) and you and the enemies can continue to attack KO'd players and enemies (though this has no in game effect). You can also attack certain members of the crowd, usually gaining a weapon if you do, however they are usually trying to hit you anyway.
  • Waif-Fu: Angel can do handsprings and is invulnerable while doing them, although otherwise her fighting style is as gritty as anyone else's.
  • Would Hit a Girl: None of the the characters you play have any problem beating up Angel or any female crowd member who tries to interfere.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Buzz who can take enemies down with his piledriver; Masked Warrior loves to grapple too.


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