Broken Bootlegs is a series covering unlicensed games (also known as bootleg games) for mainly 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. This week’s edition covers an all out Mario-themed Famicom Fighter: Kart Fighter!
Like World Heroes 2, Kart Fighter was one of the earlier bootleg fighting games I played when I first started getting into playing bootlegs. Even before I really knew about the bootlegging scene, I could just tell that Kart Fighter was some sort of import knockoff . That said, it’s an interesting game, especially since it was one of those all out fighters where characters from Super Mario Kart could duke it out.Made by Hummer Team, Kart Fighter is one of the better bootleg fighting games currently out there. In terms of bootlegs, it’s not saying terribly much, sadly. Like other fighters for the Famicom/NES, Kart Fighter uses larger sprites on screen. Due to the larger sprites in the game, there is the annoying issue of flicker due to graphical limitations of the system. Graphic issues aside, it’s a pretty average fighter to get though. The AI is bland and predictable no matter the difficulty, though.
Kart Fighter’s controls are what you expect from a two-button fighter, and while the game’s responsiveness is okay to deal with, it’s also slow and floaty. The game’s music is taken from Mario & Wario and Super Mario Kart, and sounds good for a bootleg game. In addition to that, for having custom drawn sprites, Kart Fighter actually looks pretty good as well. Since this is more of an original game than say, a Street Fighter 2 bootleg, there really isn’t much of a story to Kart Fighter unfortunately.
While there isn’t a story, there is an ending screen if the game is played though on the most difficult setting, as demonstrated in this video. The surprising thing about Kart Fighter is that it’s relatively bug-free, which is rare for a bootleg game. Unsurprising though, this game was redone by Hummer Team to make another well-known Sailor Moon-themed Famicom fighter: AV Bishoujo Senshi Girl Fighting.
Overall, Kart Fighter is a fun take on a fighter with Super Mario Kart characters. Though repetitive due to AI issues, it’s still something to play though if fighters are your thing. Like other popular bootlegs out there, a cartridge Kart Fighter can be difficult to find. While Kart Fighter is obviously not as good as Smash Bros, it’s still a fun game in it’s own right. Whether you’re into fighters or a Mario fan, Kart Fighter definitely worth adding to any bootleg collection.