Rival Schools – Game Analysis


General Information

Platform:                            Arcade, PlayStation 1

Genre:                                  Fighting game

Target Audience:             Teens and above

Developer:                          Capcom


Rivals Schools is a competitive fighting game produced by Capcom originally released as an arcade game in 1997 and ported to Playstation on 1998. Initially the game follows a tag system and the players can use ‘Team Up’ combo where the player can choose a partner (another player or AI) during the character select for a short burst of combo.


The story of Rival Schools introduces the player to a Japanese city called Aoharu City, where several local schools are the victims of unknown attacks and kidnappings of students and staff. The various characters in the game set out to find who is responsible for the attacks on their school, with the cut-scenes and fights portraying their interactions with the other schools and among themselves. Eventually, the story reveals that an elite school in the city, Justice High, is responsible for the attacks. The player’s team eventually faces off against Raizo Imawano, the principal of the school, and first boss of the game. If certain requirements are met during the fight against Raizo, the story would continue as the player would then head into a true final boss fight against Hyo Imawano, Raizo’s nephew and the true mastermind behind the events of the game.

The structure of the single player game of Rival Schools varied depending on how characters were selected. If two characters from the same school were selected (with a few exceptions), single-player would play in a progressing story with fights predetermined beforehand and each fight preceding and ending with short 2D cut-scenes to explain the story. If two characters from different schools were chosen, the single-player mode would instead play similar to other fighting games, with the player’s chosen team fighting against random teams of opponents before facing the boss. In the arcade, character selection was initially limited to selecting two characters from the same school and free selection of any character was accessed through time; the PlayStation versions, which included all characters unlocked by default, had no such restrictions.


– Controls

As it is a fighting game and was initially released for arcades in 1997, the game has one of the most common 8 – directional joystick and 4 button system:

  • Light punch
  • Heavy punch
  • Light kick
  • Heavy kick

And for playstation it is the same except for the joystick, there is the 8 – directional D-pad for movement.

As it is a 3D – game the players cannot only move right (X axis) and left (-X Axis) but also sideways (Z and –Z Axis) as well. This is a very useful mechanism as the player can dodge incoming projectiles from the enemy, for example: fireballs, stones, etc.

The game allows the player to move:

  • Front
  • Back
  • Jump
  • Crouch
  • Front jump
  • Back jump
  • Sideways

– Character Selection

A player chooses a team of two characters, and fights against another two character team. The actual fights, however, are one-on-one fights, with the partner only participating by being called in when a player has enough ‘vigor’ for a Team Up attack, done by pressing a punch and kick button of the same pressure. The Team Ups would be some kind of double team attack by the character and partner, or (for most female characters’ Team Ups) would heal the main character or give them more vigor.

The players can choose from a roster of 19 unique characters with their unique sets of skill and combos:

  1. Batsu Ichimonji
  2. Hinata Wakaba
  3. Kyosuke Kagami
  4. Hayato Nekketsu
  5. Shoma Sawamura
  6. Natsu Ayuhara
  7. Robert Miura
  8. Akira Kazama
  9. Edge
  10. Gan Isurugi
  11. Daigo Kazama
  12. Roy Bromwell
  13. Tifanny Lords
  14. Boman Delgado
  15. Hideo Shimazu
  16. Kyoko Minazuki
  17. Raizo Imawano
  18. Hyo Imawano
  19. Sakura Kasugano

– Special Feature


Vigor is essentially a super meter in the game which the player can fill by attacking or by taking hits from the enemy. The vigor meter can go up to 9 levels and the in order to perform a combo vigor levels are spend automatically for enhanced moves which deals more damage than usual.

Attack Vigor Cost
Team Up attacks 2 vigor meter levels
Super Moves 1 vigor meter levels


The players can also use some defensive techniques found in the game:

  • Tardy counter, which are like alpha counters allowing players to immediately counter attacks from a blocking position.
  • Attack cancels, which allows the player to cancel incoming hits simply by their timings their own hits with the attack, which in result will cancel out both attacks and one level of vigor is rewarded.

Gameplay Modes

– Lesson Mode

This mode is basically meant for players new to this game to teach them about the controls and attacks for different players.

– 1 Player Game

This is technically the story mode for single player. The player can choose 2 players during the character selection and the storyline will proceed varying on the characters the player chose in the start.

– Cooperate

As the name suggest this mode allows 2 players to team up as partners to face AI enemies.

– Group

This mode is more of a handicapped mode where the player’s 2 characters has to face more than 2 enemies one by one.

– Versus

This mode is player versus player where each player has 2 characters selected and the fights are one on one.

– League

League mode is a point based system where the player earn point on winning a full fight, that is best of three and has to face 5 other enemies and in the end the character with the highest score wins.

– Tournament

This game also has a bracket based fighting system in which the player has survive till the end.

– Record

This mode is just to save the game so that the player can record his/data for the game.

– Extra

This mode allows the player to watch cinematics and photo from the storyline.

Fight System

The fight system is basically combo – based system where the player has to press specific buttons at the same time in coordination with the joystick to perform advanced combos.

– Team Up

The Team Up feature of the game is double team attack where both of the player’s characters attack the enemy at the same time. This feature is activated by pressing a kick and punch button at the same time.

The variation of this feature is that it also might heal the current character or give it more vigor.

– Super Move

Super moves are the enhanced version of the unique character moves in the game. When the player has enough vigor, the next combo attack the player does is an enhanced Super Move.

If the player ends the match with a Super Move he is awarded Burning Vigor Victory.


There is only best of three rounds in this game in which the players needs to win 2 rounds in order to win. All the modes in this game have best of three matches.


All the modes in this game features a 99 seconds time limit. By the end of the countdown the player who has the higher amount of health wins.

UI and Display

In – game there is a health bar on the top of the screen with the countdown in the middle and the score of each player above its health bar. The vigor bat



The game provides the player with a variety of feedback both via sounds and visuals.

  • If the player takes a light hit there is a rather soft sound and a small VFX on the character that took the hit
  • If the player takes a heavy hit the sound is a lot louder and the intensity of the VFX is also greater in terms of size and colors.
  • If a player performs a Super Move the background of the stage fades to black and there is a trail of player movement during that time.
  • If the player ends the match with a Super Move, there is a small message under the icon of the character written “Burning Vigor Finish” and the background turns into a random animation and all the other sounds stop and the animation slows down.
  • If the player gets the first hit, text is displayer under the character icon saying so.



– Main Menu

In the main menu the background animates with the log of the game tiled in one single direction

– In game

  • When the player enter a match only the characters are animated and in some stages there are some objects moving in the back.
  • As the game is 3D, character animations are rigged and smooth.
    • Moving forward
    • Moving back
    • Jumping
    • Crouching
    • Forward Jump
    • Backward Jump
    • Combos
    • Blocking
    • Side stepping

These are the basic animation in game that the players can observe.


The camera behavior depends on the situation of the character in game.


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