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Video Game / Sango Fighter

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The Five Tigers of the Shu Kingdom. Clockwise from top-left: Huang Zhong, Ma Chao, Zhang Fei, Guan Yu, and Zhao Yun.

From the pages of history begins a century of war.

Sango Fighter is a series of Fighting Games released by Taiwanese video game company Panda Entertainment based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The first game, titled Sango Fighter, was released in 1993. The game's Story Mode followed the Shu Kingdom as it sends out its Five Tigers—Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun, Huang Zhong and Ma Chao—against other warlords of the time as well as the Kingdom of Wei in a bid to restore the Han Dynasty. The game also included a Vs mode as well as local Player Versus Player.

A sequel to Sango Fighter, titled Sango Fighter 2, was released in 1995. While the game retains the same game modes as its predecessor, its Story Mode is overhauled into a campaign that follows one of the three kingdoms (or just Lü Bu) as they attempt to conquer all of China. In addition, the number of playable characters was expanded to include other famous characters from the Three Kingdoms period, such as Sun Ce.

Although the series was incredibly popular in Taiwan, a lawsuit brought against Panda Entertainment by C&E, creators of Super Fighter, effectively throttled the success of the series and, beyond an unofficial release of the first game in the United States, never achieved the same level of success as Street Fighter, which it draws heavy inspiration from.

In 2009, a California-based company, Super Fighter Team, approached Art 9 Entertainment, the company that had acquired all of Panda Entertainment's intellectual properties, including the rights to Sango Fighter. Through a string of successful negotiations, Super Fighter Team acquired the rights to the Sango Fighter series and, on 18 June 2009, they released an Updated Re-release of the first game for worldwide distribution through their website. Super Fighter Team followed this release with the updated re-release of Sango Fighter 2 on 6 November 2013. Sango Fighter Special Edition, a second updated re-release of Sango Fighter that runs on the M.U.G.E.N engine, was released on December 24, 2021.

The games can be downloaded for free from Super Fighter Team's website.

Has no relation to a character of the same name from Inuyasha.

Sango Fighter provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A.I. Breaker: In the first game, when used correctly, alternating between Zhang Fei's down-kick and his Chain Kick special will effectively lock down any CPU-controlled opponent on any difficulty.
  • Breakout Mook Character: The Updated Re-release of Sango Fighter adds a soldier from Cao Cao's army as a secret character. Although the soldier has no portrait and lacks special moves, he has a special damage table that makes him take more damage from some characters' moves and less damage from others. He is upgraded to a regular character in Sango Fighter Special Edition, getting a proper portrait and Defend Command as well as a victory pose similar to the swordsman's from Sango Fighter 2.
  • Continuity Nod: The music in Sango Fighter 2 sounds very similar to the music in Sango Fighter.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Guan Yu suffered very badly from this in the original game, having incredibly long skill animations and lengthy pauses after using his Shooting Star and Dragon Tail specials. Sango Fighter 2 and Sango Fighter Special Edition rectify this.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The soldier's high punch in Sango Fighter Special Edition is a Defend Command, causing him to raise his shield and block attacks.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Lü Bu in Sango Fighter 2's story mode is the only "faction" that is not considered a kingdom. He has no advisor and starts with only one location under his control, but he has a larger number of available infantry units, and unlike the three kingdoms, which lead each fight with their infantry units, Lü Bu leads in all of his fights with increased health.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Some characters have a grab move that they can use only when they are standing right in front of the enemy. The grab move is quite strong, but if it is used when the character's Super Bar is filled completely, it becomes a flurry of punches and kicks in rapid succession that does massive damage.
  • Perfect Play A.I.: The AI in Sango Fighter 2 is dangerously close to this, often attacking the player when they use a special and guarding almost the rest of the time. The only thing the difficulty setting really controls is how often they break out from their defensive stance to attack you.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • As of November 2013, both games have been updated to work on all modern operating systems via DOSBox.
    • Sango Fighter Special Edition, released in 2021, take this trope further than the 2009 re-release of Sango Fighter. It is now a native cross-platform game that runs on the M.U.G.E.N engine and features two fighting modes: the default, "Enhanced" mode turns the original two-button game into a rebalanced and faster-paced four-button game and features a remixed soundtrack, while "Classic" mode is a replica of the original Sango Fighter, complete with pre-rendered AdLib/Soundblaster game music.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The playable characters are real people from ancient Chinese history who are popularised by Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In addition, many of the battle scenes are taken directly from the book itself. However, there is no factual evidence to support the characters being able to do feats such as shooting dragons from a spear.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Because of the soldier's unique damage table in the first game, which makes him take no damage from some characters' attacks, he can essentially No-Sell these attacks just by letting them hit him instead of blocking them with his shield (which causes 1 HP damage regardless of how much damage it would have done unblocked).