During the turn of the 21st century, a large-scale natural disaster tears through the eastern side of an unverified country, destroying its economical and political operations and taking a total of 158,000 lives. A prominent corporation in the series, called PROBE-NEXUS, moves its base of operations to the ruined east side and begins reconstructing the area. The rebuilt area flourishes again as it becomes a wealthy and busy city known as Zone Prime, which serves as the backdrop for many locales in the game.
In the underground of Zone Prime, PROBE-NEXUS also sponsors a tournament known as the Fight for Survival, or F.F.S., where fighters are gathered from the city's slums and compete for sport. The first Rumble Fish game follows the fifth F.F.S. tournament.
However, as of 2012, for the NESiCAXLive, The Rumble Fish 2 was eventually re-released with an updated 1.1 version, which does several more balance changes.
The Rumble Fishprovides examples of the following tropes:
- After the End: PROBE-NEXUS fixes the damage, though.
- Clothing Damage: The game played with this trope extensively. Via the game mechanics, this is referred to as a "Parts Crush".
- If your character suffers clothing damage and wins the current fight, that character's victory portrait has his/her outfit damaged as well. For example, Aran's normal portrait has his jacket tied. However, when you win as him with clothing damage, his portrait shows an untied, tattered jacket.
- Also in an arcade playthrough, if your character suffers clothing damage and wins the current stage, the damage stays throughout the game.
- Characters who fight shirtless (Lud, Orville) suffer from facial bruises instead.
- Final Boss: Greed in the first game, and Beatrice in the second game.
- Limit Break: Has a very unique case in this game in that it's split up between two different mana bars, offensive and defensive:
- Each character has at least one Offensive Art, a type of super that's geared towards the usual mechanics of damage and/or offensive use.
- They also have at least one Defensive Art, a type of super that doesn't do much damage but is meant to get one off the player's back. Most of these function like Combo Breakers (and some like Viren's Defensive Art can only be used while getting hit in that aspect).
- The Critical Art is basically their main "Level 3" super, only done when both the Offensive and Defensive bars are full.
- The second game instead of making each bar have one stock each, instead up it to three stocks each, allowing for more meter conservation.
- Mega-Corp: PROBE-NEXUS.