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Video Game / Power Instinct

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Known in Japan as Gōketsuji Ichizoku ("Gōketsuji Clan"), Power Instinct is a Fighting Game series by Atlus.

The games in this series are the following

  • Power Instinct / Gōketsuji Ichizoku (1993; Arcade/Genesis/SNES)
  • Power Instinct 2 / Gōketsuji Ichizoku 2 (1994; Arcade/PlayStation)
  • Gogetsuji Legendsnote  / Gōketsuji Gaiden: Saikyou Densetsu (1995; Arcade)
  • Groove on Fight / Gōketsuji Ichizoku 3: Groove on Fight (1997; Arcade/Saturn)
  • Matrimelee note  / Shin Gōketsuji Ichizoku: Toukon Matrimelee (2002; Arcade/Neo-Geo)
  • Shin Gōketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnou no Kaihou (2006; PlayStation 2)
  • Gōketsuji Ichizoku Matsuri Senzo Kuyounote  (2009; Arcade)

The series also produced two Spin-Off: Purikura Daisakusen, an Isometric Action Game released for arcade and Sega Saturn in 1996, and CR Goketsuji Ichizoku, a card-reader pachinko game in 2010.


This series features examples of:

  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Almost all fighters in the series are members of the Goketsuji clan. The Goketsuji clan favors strength over anything else. Every 5 years the clan holds a tournament, whose winner will be the leader of the clan until the next tournament. This leads to a bunch of rivalries among the clan members, most prominently between Oume and Otane.
  • The Clan: The Goketsuji family, of course, which has spread all over the world. The Japanese Reiji, American Keith, British Annie, Arabian Ryuto, and almost all other characters are members of the clan. Being a member of the clan is also the prerequisite to enter the Goketsuji tournament, no matter how distantly related you are to the main branch.
  • Crossover: The guest fighters from Rage of the Dragons appeared in Matrimelee. On the other hand, Kurara appeared in a Virtua Fighter-esque PlayStation game, Heaven's Gate, while the song Let's Go! Onmyouji (and its corresponding stage) appeared in OnTaMaRaMa.
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  • Cutting Off the Branches: Canonically, Otane Goketsuji is the winner of the first game and Kanji Kokuin the winner of the second.
  • Darker and Edgier: Groove on Fight attempted this, removing the sillier elements and what not for a more gritter tone. It didn't go over well with the fans. So when Matrimelee came around, it returned back to its usual wacky tone.
  • Decomposite Character: In Legends, Super Clara and Poochy are playable as their own characters, as opposed to being the transformations for Clara and Kinta, respectively.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Prince first appeared in Matrimelee and Bonnou no Kaihou in some endings to be later a proper character in Matsuri Senzo Kuyou.
  • Energy Absorption: Otane, Oume, Elizabeth, and Sandra have grabs where they absorb life energy from enemies in order to transform into their younger selves.
  • Face Doodling: A stable of the series in the win-lose portraits after a fight. With the loser getting their face scribbled on.
  • Final Boss: Each game in this series has one:
    • Power Instinct: Oume Goketsuji
    • Power Instinct 2: Otane Goketsuji
    • Gogetsuji Legends: Chuck
    • Groove On Fight: Bristol-Dnote 
    • Matrimelee: Princess Sissy
    • Bonnou no Kaihou: Bobby Strong
    • Matsuri Senzo Kuyou: Shinjuro Goketsuji
  • Full-Frontal Assault: True to his namesake, Kintaro fights wearing only a full-body bib, which has the side effect of leaving his genitals visible in some attacks. It's that kind of a game.
  • Funny Background Event: There are fighting lounge singers in the background in Martimelee (Though only in the international version. In the original they were signing and that was part of their animation in the song. The developers just used that particular animation because the song wasn't used).
  • Kid Appeal Characters: This series is one of the few ones with children as part of almost all titles of the franchise: Kintaro Kokuin and Kurara Hananokōji in Power Instinct 2, Popura Hananokōji note  and Remi Otogiri in Groove on Fight, Princess Sissy in Matrimelee, and Takumi Hattori and Rin Oyama in Matsuri Senzo Kuyou.
  • Kissing Cousins: Until Groove On Fight the playable characters were all members of the Goketsuji family and some of them were depicted together as couples (such as Keith and Annie, who even have a son in that same game) and others such as Thin Nen show no qualms at flirting with opposite sex opponents even when they're presumably relatives of theirs. The game is vague on how related the cast members are to each-other.
  • Left the Background Music On: One of the defining features of the series is that many of the stages have characters in the background actually singing or dancing along with the music. (Though Groove On Fight is the only one in the series that omitted them. And the International releases of Matrimelee omitted the songs since they were under a record label. Necessitating some background changes as well).
  • Limit Break: A few characters in Matrimelee and up had a level 3 Forbidden super move.
  • Mana Meter:
    • Introduced in Power Instinct 2. Getting hit or striking a blocking opponent builds this up.
    • Groove on Fight introduced multiple levels of the meter, which shows up in later games.
  • Oddball in the Series: Groove on Fight, which has notably bleaker tone than the colorful backgrounds of the other games. It also throws out all the series regulars save Oume and Otane, and puts in completely new characters in their stead. It's also the only game along with Matrimelee not to have character transformations, but at least Matrimelee has the other series standards.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Prince. No other name is provided.
  • Only One Name: There're various characters in the franchise that are only known for just one name: Kuroko, Chuck, Falco, M.A.D. (subverted; his name is Max Ax Dax) and Marutanote .
  • Shout-Out: Keith's stage in Legends looks suspiciously like one to musicals starring delinquents such as Grease.
  • Source Music: The background musicians, source to the background music, are usually visible in each stage.
  • Spell My Name with an "S". Inconsistent spelling all the way. Look what Matrimelee did to some of the characters' names:
    • Annie -> Anny
    • Kurara -> Clara
    • Kuroko (non-player character)  -> Enabler
    • Otane Gōketsuji -> Tane
    • Oume Gōketsuji -> Ume (these two make sense, since the initial "O" in women's names is sometimes used as a sort of honorific)
    • Thin Nen -> Chinnen
    • Oshima is spelled Osima in Power Instinct 2.
    • Gogetsuji instead Goketsuji in Legends's game name.
    • Bonnou no Kaihou is also known as Bonnou Kaihou.
  • Tag Team: In Power Instinct Legends (1995) and Groove On Fight (1997), you fight in teams of two.
  • Taunt Button: Matrimelee introduced a button that serves no tangible gameplay function, but is included for atmosphere. In case both players taunt at the same time, they must proceed to a "Bloodline Battle", where they'll press a correct button to respect each other until either fighter makes the wrong move.
  • Tournament Arc: The story of each game revolves around a tournament:
    • Power Instinct: It's latest iteration of the every-5-year tournament of the Goketsuji family to determine the clan's head.
    • Power Instinct 2: Oume hatched a plan to get rid of the last tournament's winner, Otane, to launch another leadership tournament early.
    • Legends: Kanji Kokuin (canonical winner of the second game) threw a tournament, this time just for fun.
    • Groove on Fight: Another latest iteration of the Goketsuji tournament, set in the Distant Finale.
    • Matrimelee: The King of Certain Country holds a tournament to find a husband for Princess Sissy.
    • Bonnou Kaihou: The King of Certain Country holds another tournament, this time to cheer up Sissy.
    • Matsuri Senzo Kuyou: It's time for the Senzou Kuyou (commemmoration of ancients) festival, and Oume held another festival, promising the winner to meet with the Physical God of the family.
  • Transformation Trinkets: Shown in the Gogetsuji Legends intro are Clara's wand and Kinta's bib, which respectively turn them into Super Clara and Poochy.
  • Unseen No More: Belti sisters, Elizabeth and Sandra, are rivals of Goketsuji sisters since decades and only they were mentioned in the backstory of the first game, being represented by Sandra's granddaughter Angela Belti. Finally both sisters appeared as selectable characters for the last game of the franchise, Matsuri Senzo Kuyou, being effectively foils for the Goketsuji, both being Western witches compared to Oume and Otane's evil Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Various classic characters get a complete new look for Matrimelee and onwards, mostly Keith and Annie. Saizo, who just only takes off his famous helmet.
  • Widget Series: This series takes itself way less seriously than other fighting game series. The main characters are elderly ladies who use dentures as projectiles, the quiet ninja is just extremely shy and speaks in a cipher language called "Pepopepa", one of the clan member's a magical girl, and another fighter is a naked five year old kid who can transform into a man in a dog suit.


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