Brutal: Paws of Fury
Brutal: Paws of Fury was a fighting game containing anthropomorphic characters published by GameTek in 1994. It was published for the Genesis, PC, Sega CD, SNES and Amiga (1995). An enhanced version, Brutal Unleashed, was made for the Sega 32X in 1995; in 2002, a fan remake, Brutal Remix, was released.
The Brutal storyline was typically banal for its time: Under the watchful eyes of the malicious Dali Lama, twelve (and later fourteen) fighters came to the simply-named Brutal Island to battle for fame, prize money, and recognition.
Dali Llama: He is evil, a llama, and his martial art is "divine"; that is about all that is known about Dali Llama.
Foxy Roxy: The required female fighter of the game, Roxy was a master of Penjak Silat. She was also notable in that only her backstory indicated her 'real world' name (Idhra Prashmet). Additionally, her story indicated that she had human parents. She wanted to use the prize money to help children in her home state of India.
Ivan: Performing the roles of both strong guy and little guy, this bear is nothing more than a brawler and a soldier -- a very strong brawler and soldier.
Karate Croc: Although he knows karate and is a crocodile, we know even less about Karate Croc than we know about the Dali Llama, and he's the final boss. Unique to Brutal Unleashed.
Kendo Coyote: Student of Tai Cheetah, already well-versed in kenjutsu, Kendo was a playboy until Tai came into his life. While Kendo is still a bon vivant, and less serious about his studies than Tai would like, Tai believes Kendo will be the one to pass on his legacy.
Kung-Fu Bunny: After spending over half his life in a Shaolin temple, Kung-Fu was a master of his art. It is unknown why he is in the tournament; he had no connection to others.
Leon: An African lion, Leon entered the tournament to avenge an insult upon him by Kendo and Tai. One of his signature moves, and one of the game's few ranged attacks, was his playing on a guitar; by summoning speakers to him, he assailed opponents with a wall of sound.
Psycho Kitten: Psycho Kitten is a cat who fights mostly because he (she?) loves to fight. S/he was the prerequisite 'extreme' fighter -- you could tell s/he was extreme, because s/he wore his/her baseball cap backwards. Unique to Brutal Unleashed.
Rhei Rat: Rhei Rat was the most self-centered characters in the tournament, being a master of Thai kickboxing who wanted a cross-discipline challenge. His sole goal is to live well off the prize money.
Tai Cheetah: Three guesses as to what his martial art is. Although a hermit for most of his life, Tai Cheetah finally struck out to find someone worthy enough to pass his knowledge onto. Instead, he found Kendo. He also had one of the few ranged moves in the game -- a roar.
The gameplay is generally inspired by Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, but with a twist: Players began with only 'basic' moves (move, three attack types, grapple, and taunt), and had to 'learn' new moves by defeating various characters. By the time the player had fought all the way to the final boss (Dali Llama in the original, Karate Croc in Unleashed), he or she had a full repertoire of moves.
Gameplay varied between versions. In the SNES version, the game suffered from timing problems; some moves simply could not be performed by human players. The Sega CD version featured superior sound and animated cutscenes, as well as an 'outtakes' section featuring deleted characters and early animation tests. The PC version did away with the 'belt' system entirely. The 32X version upped the speed, but also tightened the controls.
Brutal Unleashed (also known as Brutal: Above The Claw in the United States) was an expansion of the original Brutal game for the Sega 32X. As well as improvements in timing and notable improvements in sound, there were two new characters (Psycho Kitty and Killer Croc), and the boss character of the previous game (Dali Llama) was made playable.
A version of Brutal Unleashed was in production for the Atari Jaguar, but that version was cancelled when the system was discontinued.
In 2002, a version of Brutal for the MUGEN game development system was created. Many features (many taken from Marvel Vs. Capcom) were added, including team battles, special moves, custom counters, enhanced attack graphics, and in general, raising its quality to that of a Dreamcast game.
Although these versions of the characters can no longer be found, copies of the original Brutal: Paws of Fury characters are available from various sites.
((EDIT:)) The characters CAN BE FOUND here: http://brutal.harmlesslion.com/
- Brutal: Paws of Fury at Wikipedia