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Martial Champion follows the same fighting game conventions established by Street Fighter II: the player's character fights against his or her opponent in best two-out-of-three matches in a single player tournament mode with the computer or against another human player. The player has a character roster of ten fighters to choose from, each with their own unique fighting style and special techniques.
The control layout differs from Street Fighter II and most typical fighting games inspired by Street Fighter II. Martial Champion's control system is derived from the control system of Yie Ar Kung-Fu, but simplified to simply high, medium and low attacks, instead of having to press an attack button and a direction. One unique feature this arcade game has is stages that are similar to the "high-jump" stages seen in Capcom's later fighting games such as X-Men vs. Street Fighter. Another unique feature is that certain characters carry weapons which can be disarmed by their opponent and used against them.
There are ten playable characters to select from. After the player defeats all ten opponents in the tournament mode (including a clone of their character), they'll face a final computer-controlled boss character. In the later localized worldwide versions, Chaos and Titi have their names switched (similar to the rotation of the boss characters' names in Street Fighter II), with Chaos being the Chinese vampire and Titi being the Egyptian princess.
- Template:Country data Japan Jin (陣) - The protagonist of the game. A Japanese martial artist who was inspired by Ryu from the Street Fighter series and Lee from the Famicom and MSX versions of Yie Ar Kung-Fu.
- Template:Country data France Goldor (ゴルドー) - A French fighter utilizing a pair of nunchaku or manriki gusari. He is the only character able to utilize other character's weapons to their full potential, giving him the best reach.
- Template:Country data Egypt Titi (ティティ) - An Egyptian princess (the name derived from Nefertiti). Known in the US and World versions as "Chaos".
- Template:Country data USA Bobby (ボビー) - An eyepatched soldier from the United States similar to Guile. Fights on a battleship.
- Template:Country data Saudi Arabia Avu (アヴゥ) - A rotund Middle Eastern man armed with a scimitar. Billed as being from Saudi Arabia even though the displayed flag is Iraq's. He fights in front of a magnificent palace.
- Template:Country data South Africa Mahamba (マハンバ) - A tall, spear wielding tribesman from Africa (with the South African flag displayed). His background is an African village.
- Template:Country data USA Racheal (レイチェル) - A blonde American kunoichi. Her fighting stage takes place in front of the White House.
- Template:Country data Japan Zen (禅) - A kabuki fighter from Japan. In keeping with the theme, he fights in front of a kabuki theater and uses a fan as a weapon.
- Template:Country data China Hoi (ホイ) - A Chinese kung fu fighter from China. Fighting stage is a bamboo field complete with a panda.
- Template:Country data Hong KongChaos (ケイオス) - A Chinese Vampire from Hong Kong. Utilizes a pair of metal claws and his tongue in battle. Known in the US and World versions as "Titi".
- Salamander (サラマンダ) - The final boss and the tallest character in the game. He is unplayable and his move set contains techniques lifted from other characters.
Martial Champion was exclusively ported to the PC Engine as a Super CD-ROM² release. Unlike the arcade version, which was released worldwide, the PC Engine version was released only in Japan. On May 13, 2008, this version was later re-released for the Wii Virtual Console in Japan.
Sprites and background were shrunk, while the background became a still image instead of an animated one and the foreground objects and people on each stage were removed. The intro and outro are different compared to the arcade version's; however, the original arcade intro that shows Jin and Goldor battling each other with instrumental music playing in the background is also included. In the PC Engine version, the other intro starts with the game's logo and a vocal song, then shows Jin putting on his headband and looks ahead of himself with birds flying by him, while Rachael and Goldor battle against each other. At the end, Goldor casts his Gol Wave toward the pitch-black darkness missing his target Rachael, while the final boss, Salamander, fades in from it.
- Battle Tryst, a spiritual sequel to Martial Champion.
- Dragoon Might - a 1995 fighting arcade game also by Konami.
- Arcade version
- Martial Champion (arcade version) at GameFAQs
- Martial Champion at Museum of the Game
- Martial Champion at arcade-history
- Home console versions
- Martial Champion (Virtual Console version) at Konami's website (Japanese)
- Martial Champion (Virtual Console version) at Hudson Soft's Official Virtual Console website for PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 titles (Japanese)
- Martial Champion (TurboGrafx-CD version) at GameFAQs
- Martial Champion at The PC Engine Software Bible