05 . 14 . 2024

Breakers Collection


I’ve reviewed several obscure games in the past, but this one might be one of the most obscure yet. Breakers is a fighting game created by Visco released in 1996 and later updated and re-released in 1998 as Breakers Revenge. Considering this was the era of games like Tekken and Virtua Fighter, a Street Fighter II wannabe like Breakers was probably doomed to fall into obscurity from the start. However, these games were suddenly given a second chance at live when Breakers Collection was released in January of 2023.

The story of Breakers, according to the instruction booklet from the old releases, centers around an international fighting tournament hosted by a master martial artist possessed by an evil spirit to draw out the world’s strongest fighters and destroy them. As a premise for a fighting game it’s so basic that it’s practically nonexistent. The colorful cast of characters picks up a little bit of the slack since each one gets a personalized ending after beating the final boss of arcade mode, but it does more to endear the play to the individual character rather than the story as a whole. One small detail I will mention however is that when characters fight themselves in the arcade mode their doppelganger will have a different name, such as Sho vs. Jin, which is a cool way of contextualizing the encounter without breaking continuity. Breakers is definitely not a game one plays for the story, but frankly that’s true of most fighting games of the era so it’s not offensively bad.

Visually Breakers has all the qualities of any halfway decent game made for the Neo Geo. It’s got lots of colors, expressive characters, rock solid animation, and lively stages so there’s really not much to complain about. The sound effects are nice and crunchy as well and go a long way towards making attacks feel powerful. The soundtrack is unfortunately kinda bland and forgettable, probably because each song is fairly short and repetitive. Overall the presentation of Breakers hasn’t aged quite as well as some of its contemporaries, but it has enough old school charm to remain appealing.

The gameplay is where Breakers really shows its strengths. Being a Neo Geo game it’s controls are based around 4 buttons, 2 punch buttons and 2 kick buttons, which translates wonderfully to modern controllers. Movement options such as the forward run and backwards hop are intuitive and keep the action going at a fast pace. Each of the game’s characters has access to their own unique set of special moves using genre standard motion inputs like the quarter-circle and the charge motion. As fighters deal and receive damage their super meter will fill up and allow them to use super moves to turn the tide of battle. There really aren’t that many surprises in Breakers, but it has everything a competent fighting game needs to succeed and the end result feels really good.

It’s not a 90s fighting game if Thailand doesn’t make an appearance.

All that being said however, the game’s adherence to genre conventions can also be considered one of its weaknesses. Remember when I called this game a Street Fighter II wannabe? Well peruse the game’s roster of characters and the comparisons become obvious. Rila for example is a wild woman from the jungles of Brazil with fiery red hair and an aggressive playstyle which more or less makes her a female version of Street Fighter’s Blanka. Then there are cases such as Dao-Long who despite being a Bruce Lee tribute visually has a defensive zoning playstyle that’s an almost one-to-one match with Street Fighter’s Guile. I say all of this because I fear a lot of people will probably look at Breakers and say “that’s just an off-brand Street Fighter” and dismiss it as not worth playing. Personally the game’s derivativeness didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the game, but it’s a hard sell nonetheless.

Being a modern re-release of old arcade games, Breakers Collection adds a few bells and whistles on top of everything else. Both versions of the game, Breakers and Breakers Revenge, have their classic arcade modes as well as local multiplayer. Breakers Revenge has the additional benefits of a training mode and online multiplayer powered by rollback netcode. There’s also a gallery mode that doubles as an achievement list, unlocking new concept art as you reach new milestones. All of the above mentioned features are welcome additions to the package, though the fact that Breakers Revenge has additional features makes me wonder why they bothered including the original Breakers at all. The original Breakers is a fine game, but Breakers Revenge is clearly superior in every way so why not trim the fat and bring down the price a bit?

You can learn many useful techniques in training mode. Like the taunt button.

At the end of the day the Breakers Collection is a very fun package despite its more derivative aspects. I would recommend these games to anyone who enjoys fighting games, even if it’s only a passing interest. My brother and I had a blast playing versus mode and with a friend or three I’m sure many other people will have a similar experience if they give it a chance. Sure Breakers might live in the shadows of far more successful contemporaries, but if you’re gonna steal your ideas you might as well steal from the best.

Rating: 72%

Gameplay: 5/5

Story: 2/5

Visuals: 4/5

Sound: 3/5

Replayability: 4/5 

Morality/Parental Warnings

Breakers Collection is a game about one-on-one fights between martial artists with a variety of weapons and super powers. Some attacks draw a quick flash of blood from the opponent. Some characters wear sexualized outfits.

About TheGoodHoms

TheGoodHoms is a graduate of Belmont Abbey College and a life long member of the Catholic faith. Armed with a rosary in one hand and a history degree in the other, there is no game this man can not conquer. He also has a twin brother who writes for this site as well.

Fighting game addict.