Have You Played… The Outfoxies?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Sometimes you like a game more because of how you discovered it: I had never heard of The Outfoxies till I stumbled across an arcade cabinet of it in the attic above a shop in Tokyo. The other games in the room were old, kitsch, sometimes terrible, but The Outfoxies played like it could have been a modern indie game. It should be a modern indie game.

The Outfoxies is a one or two-player sidescrolling beat-’em-up that follows a Street Fighter-style tournament structure, but with levels that take place over multiple floors and change over the course of a fight.

For example, when you fight against Betty Doe, you’ll find her at the “seaside aquarium.” The lobby has a Poseidon statue, there’s a whale hanging from the ceiling three storeys above, and Doe has set an explosive to go off partway through the fight. When the fuse winds down, the explosion causes the whale to collapse upon Poseidon’s trident. Then water starts rising up from the bottom of the screen. The glass of the aquarium’s displays have been smashed, meaning there’s sharks on the water. The whale floats on the surface of the water, rising back upwards storey by storey as you fight on its back.

Every other level has its own gimmick. You’ll fight B. White through the carriages of a moving train, and John Smith in a skyscraper with its own explosive which triggers a floor to collapse and a helicopter to smash down through the level.

The levels are packed with small details, too. You can pick up and throw any item at your opponent, from barrels to plates of soup, for example. And the characters are outlandish and silly: B. White is a enormous, Jaws-from-Bond-inspired character who runs while windmilling his metal arms, and another character, called Dweeb, is a monkey in a top hat. You can play as any of them and will fight everyone on your journey towards the end of the game.

The result is a fighting game that’s constantly surprising you, in which a monkey standing on top of a whale can defeat his enemy by throwing a depleted machinegun into his opponent’s face.

Is it a PC game? Thanks to MAME, it’s the only way you’re likely to play it today.


  1. Beefenstein says:

    This is a strange game and I will never forget it.

  2. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    B. White sounds like the name of a white supremist rapper.

  3. Chillicothe says:

    This is one of those games that didn’t do well in the 90s arcade scene as it wasn’t a spectacle driving/shooting game, a vaguely traditional fighter, a beat em up, or such so it got ignored and there were tons of slight “spins” on the above instead. Therefore, it got the same amount of limelight the most forgotten of the above got. One of the quirks of the low chance of outright failure of that era in that format I guess; things just got buried and largely forgotten.

    • WyldFyr says:

      I was lucky to find this one in the arcade that was right across the street from my first apartment. I agree, this was way ahead of its time and would probably have done better had it been been ported/released on a console.

      For those who haven’t played this mid-90s vintage, it is worth a try.

  4. Player1 says:

    On MAME, this is still a party rocker when we gather with friends. It’s awesome, and there should absolutely be an indie remake of sorts, but one with the same love for all the small details. The only annoying thing is the zooming in and out when players move in opposite directions and the game tries to keep track of both. The graphics of that time were just not made for things like that, so it’s a rocky experience. But otherwise it’s brilliant. Imagine this with 4 players.

  5. MadTinkerer says:

    This video is not available in my country? Not on purpose, I assume?

  6. Sin Vega says:

    Never heard of this, wish I had. That’s another thing that was magical and weird about arcades. Having no idea what you’d find in a new one, trying all sorts of oddness, and often not even knowing the names, just remembering them by what you did in them, or what one of the characters looked like, or even just a particular sound effect.

  7. Behrditz says:

    The most recent game this makes me think of is The Showdown Effect. Showdown Effect even has stage transformations near the end of the match.

  8. KillahMate says:

    Whoa. Never in a million years would I have expected an Outfoxies article on my favorite PC games site. Amazing.
    To anyone who can play it – do so, and ask yourself why this hasn’t gotten a rerelease yet.

  9. RaymondQSmuckles says:

    Tokyo-living-dude reporting in. Outfoxies has a permanent (maybe?) spot in Akihabara at an arcade called “Hey!” My visits there always include a play or two of this, and while I play one or two guys line up to play next. I believe this machine is in relatively constant use. It is a fantastic game, and I would love to see it revitalized into an online experience (maybe even up it to 4-player?!) so I can share it with my friends overseas.

  10. esooly says:

    Im dissapointed! No harambe Jokes

  11. GeoX says:

    Not that I object, but if we’re covering arcade games on the basis that they’re emulatable, doesn’t this open the door for covering, like EVERYTHING?

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    particlese says:

    I have not, but that looks just weird and cool enough to be a PC game of long ago…Crusader: No Remorse era, perhaps? Woulda loved it, by the looks/sound of it.

  13. Super86 says:

    This game is sooo good. I was surprised they didn’t release any sequel. Also, it’s relatively unknown. Was it successful on the revenue side?