Kaiser Knuckle, which is known outside of Japan as Global Champion, is a 1994 fighting game released for the arcades by Taito. Kaiser Knuckle was released during the fighting game trend of the 1990s that began with Capcom’s Street Fighter II. It is planned to be included as part of the Taito Egret II mini console, marking its first re-release outside arcades.
Kaiser Knuckle follows the fighting game conventions established by Street Fighter II, in which the player’s character fights against opponents in a best two-out-of-three match round format from within a single player tournament mode, either with the computer or against another human player in versus mode. The player has a character roster of nine initially selectable fighters to choose from and three unplayable computer-controlled bosses, each with their own unique fighting style and special techniques. The control layout is set to the six-button standard (as with most Capcom fighting games), but it can be switched to a five-button layout via dip settings.
Another unique feature is that it introduced the power zones, which can be utilized via a successful hit of a special move when a player’s “Crush Meter” is full. The power zones (either fire or electric) can also affect a certain special move that a character has. Backgrounds can be destructible when players get hit to charge up, and when those meters are full, the next special move that a player connects with an opponent will destroy the background’s properties at will (other parts of stages, such as floors and walls are also destructible).
There are nine playable characters, and three unplayable bosses.
- Kazuya (和也（かずや）) – The main protagonist of the game, who is a karateka from Japan. Kazuya seeks to win the tournament so that he can not only gain the prize money, but also to impress some women as well. (voice actor: Kazuki Yao)
- Lihua (梨花（リーファ）) – A swordswoman from Taiwan. Lihua seeks to win the tournament in the hopes of locating her missing mother and father. (voice actor: Saeko Shimazu)
- Barts (バーツ) – A mixed martial artist and biker from the USA. Barts is determined to win the tournament’s prize money so that he can help fund a medical operation for his girlfriend Sarah, who was injured in a past motorcycle accident. (voice actor: Ryōtarō Okiayu)
- Wulong (武龍（ウーロン）) – A Chinese martial artist and detective, he has black scratch marks on his cheeks. Wulong enters the tournament so that he can attempt to win the prize money and use it to pay a debt to a Chinese criminal group that he knows very well. (voice actor: Yasushi Horibata)
- Liza (ライザ) – An Amazon and a jungle girl from Brazil, accompanied by a monkey and a green cockatoo. Liza heads to the tournament in the hopes of winning the prize money so that she can buy a new exotic costume for the Rio Carnival. (voice actor: Aya Hisakawa)
- Boggy (ボギー) – An African-American breakdancer from the USA. Boggy is determined to win the tournament so that he can advance his own dancing career. (voice actor: Andrew Holms)
- Gekkou (月光（げっこう）) – A ninja from Japan. Gekkou seeks to win the tournament so that he can gain the secrets of his ninjutsu style from his master. (voice actor: Hideo Ishikawa)
- Jim McCoy (J・マッコイ) – A boxer from USA. McCoy seeks to win the tournament so that he can use the prize money to help gain him a title shot against the current boxing heavyweight champion. (voice actor: Kazunari Tanaka)
- Marco (マルコ) – A mutated human from Germany, his face is wrapped in bandages so only his eyeball is visible, his clothes including his shoes are ragged and worn out. Marco heads to the tournament in the hopes of winning the prize money so that he can help fund a science research that could enable him to become a normal human. (voice actor: Hisayoshi Ogura)
- Gonzales (ゴンザレス) – A judoka from Russia, he is often seen wearing a karate suit and a coonskin cap. Gonzales participates in the tournament so that he can attempt to locate his missing fiancée Tanya, who was separated from him after a civil war in their hometown. (voice actor: Hisao Egawa)
- Azteca (アステカ) – An Aztec warrior from Mexico. Azteca participates in the tournament so that he can attempt to regain his own lost memories. (voice actor: Ryu Kuzu)
- General (ジェネラル) – The main antagonist and final boss of the game, who is the commander of a space station in orbit. General is the sponsor of “The Kaiser Knuckle” tournament, but his reasons for holding the competition in the first place is shrouded in mystery. (voice actor: Steve Yamashita)
- Announcer (voice actor: Randy Sexton)