It was the late 90’s and Namco was creating another 3D fighting game off of the success of Tekken. The game would be released in arcades and on the PlayStation. But at this point, franchises such as Street Fighter had been established, and the soon-to-be legendary Super Smash Bros. was on the horizon. Namco needed something to get their game marketed.
So what did they do? They added several characters from the recent smash hit Final Fantasy 7 to their roster! And that’s exactly how Ehrgeiz became a sort of cult-classic among gamers.
What Is Ehrgeiz?
Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring is a unique 3D fighting game that has some Tekken-style vibes while combining a lot of elements from wrestling video games as well as the Tobal series. What’s unique about this fighting game is the 360 degree movement that allows for more freedom; unlike traditional fighting games, characters won’t be forced to face their opponent all the time.
The characters unique to Ehrgeiz draw a lot of inspiration from Tekken, with Ken Mishima resembling Kazyua and Jin, Han Daechan resembling Hwoarang and Clair Andrews resembling Marshall Law. A lot of the moves used for these characters carry over from Tekken, allowing fans of that series to segue into Ehrgeiz fairly smoothly.
But what really sold the game to a lot of players was the inclusion of Final Fantasy VII characters; the game featured Cloud, Tifa and Sephiroth in both the arcade and PlayStation versions, while more characters such as Zack Fair, Vincent and Yuffie were exclusive to the PlayStation, likely as a sort of exclusivity deal between Sony and Namco.
For a peep at what this game looked like in action, check out this video:
The game had a lukewarm reception, since it didn’t really add much to fighting games that something like Tekken couldn’t provide in a better way, and the freedom of movement just wasn’t enough to make it a standout title. Still, it is a valuable collector’s item for PlayStation fans, and remained one of the only ways to use iconic Final Fantasy VII characters in a fighting game until Cloud was announced for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and both Cloud and Sephiroth were playable in Dissidia: Final Fantasy.