A community-based engine for generating characters for fighting games
Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
M.U.G.E.N is a graphics engine and game creation software suite that has spawned a number of classic 2D fighting games like Paws of Fury and Street Fighter. If you're in the age group to have regularly played this type of 2D sideview fighting game in your youth, you probably played several games that were built with this software.
The M.U.G.E.N software is going through a resurgence of popularity in the midst of the modern video game market. The software has finally become fairly standard in terms of what the average user can handle with enough determination, and the classic cartoon-based graphics produce an incredible level of nostalgia even when creating and playing an entirely new game.
Of course, using a graphics engine to design a brand new video game isn't an inherently easy task. You need to have a firm grasp of the DOS programming language, or at least be willing to learn it as you go. The M.U.G.E.N engine includes a single predesigned game named after the engine itself, but the game is really more of a demo than a full game worth any real effort or attention.
The 2D DOS-based graphic design engine known as M.U.G.E.N was initially made public in 1999. With the right knowledge and a little creativity, anyone can design stages, game obstacles and objects, and playable characters. To create these digital effects, the software uses text files that it interprets as visual game elements coupled with compilations of sounds and graphic content.
If you want to add custom sound effects, the software is capable of dealing with a number of audio file types, and it offers MIDI support for expanded sound effect potential.
This powerful piece of software recently became free for the full version. For many years before that, the engine was in Release Candidate. However, the switch to a totally free piece of software didn't come with any major improvements beyond the change to the software license that allows the M.U.G.E.N core code to be included in game bundles as long as those bundles remain free. The rest of the update was only repairs to certain minor faults and bugs.
Even though the game engine is set up to develop 2D fighting games, it can be configured to develop other game varieties like platform games and side-scrolling shooters. Anyone who misses the days of classic arcade games can take advantage of M.U.G.E.N to create their own homage to that golden age of video games. All it takes is the willingness to learn some relatively simple coding.
In the most recent version of the engine, M.U.G.E.N saw a number of useful changes. An issue with invalid WAV files associated with SND files once caused the software to crash, but now a simple warning is logged and the software continues working. You can now customize the F1 info box text for the title screen through system.def, and an audio glitch that caused certain sounds to play incorrectly has been repaired.
For gamers looking to recreate the experience of fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, few options will seem as appealing to in-the-know fans as the Mugen series of programs. Combining characters from a wide breadth of video game history and recreating an authentic feel of arcade-style play, Mugen allows users to pick fights between favorite icons, such as Luigi (of Super Mario), M. Bison (of Street Fighter II), and other familiar faces from gaming lore. The whole effect creates a fast-paced game with '90s-style graphics.
Indeed, one of the best aspects of Mugen is its incorporation of video game history into its layout. Games like Street Fighter became all the rage in the early 1990s when 16-bit graphics in video game systems first started matching the looks of those found in professional arcades, and Mugen captures the early-'90s arcade look and feel that made fighting games so compelling to owners of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis systems.
Anyone familiar with the early Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games will immediately know how to play Mugen. Players are thrown into tournaments battling other characters, where they attempt to "knock out" their opponents through a storm of kicks, punches, and special karate maneuvers. The graphics and sound of Mugen feel authentic and charming, and players will feel as though they are using a vintage game system while playing.
One of the coolest additions to Mugen is its use of striking video art. Drawing heavily from anime culture, the characters in the game often have a remarkably well-designed look that feels just like top-notch Japanese animation.
The game's retro feel and quick response time will make play a throwback to simpler times and no doubt earn many fans. Players who want to remind themselves of what games were like during their childhood will be especially keen to check out Mugen and make the game a favorite. Owners with children of their own will especially enjoy experiencing the same fun with their kids that they once had on similar games.