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Sango Fighter is a fighting game for DOS made by the Panda Entertainment and released in 1993. Set in the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history, it is very similar to Street Fighter and Samurai Shodown, but with historical context.
Shareware developer and publisher Apogee Software were planning on licensing and releasing the game in the United States under the title Violent Vengeance, but the plans for the deal fell through. Instead, the game was distributed in English under its original title by a Taiwanese company named Ascend, albeit without permission from Panda Entertainment.
Sango Fighter drew much attention from PC gamers when it was released, offering the first fighting game with greater graphics than other titles for its time, and became the definitive fighting game for DOS.
In 1995, Taiwan's fledgeling 16-bit Super A'Can game console saw the release of a cartridge version of Sango Fighter, completely programmed in-house by a single employee of Panda Entertainment. Being a rushed port from the DOS version, the Super A'Can adaptation suffered from awkward gameplay and quite a few glitches.
Sango Fighter was also released for the Japanese PC-98 computer, in 1995. For this release, a portion of the game's story text was translated into Japanese. It was otherwise identical to the original DOS version, upon which its code was based. This adaptation was developed by Great Co., Ltd., and published by Imagineer.
The game was illegally ported to the Master System console under the name Sangokushi, and released only in South Korea. This port is one of the larger games in the console library, with 8 megabits of data size.
A sequel was released in 1995, Sango Fighter 2, with more characters and more detailed graphics. Sango Fighter 2 also featured a conquest mode in which the player attempted to unify the empire by invading other nations. In addition, the kingdom of Wu was added to the game.
There may have also been a planned, but unfinished 3D sequel by Panda Entertainment. However, the former owner of Panda's intellectual properties stated that no records of any such title exist.
"Sango" is a rough romanization of Three Kingdoms. Using pinyin, it would be romanized as "san guo".
While Sango Fighter was quite popular in Taiwan, a lawsuit by C&E Inc. (producers of the PC fighting game Super Fighter) stopped Panda Entertainment from distributing the game, let alone adapting it for other machines. Thus, the game was never able to reach its full market potential.
Super Fighter Team
On February 24, 2009, the full legal rights to both Sango Fighter and its sequel were acquired by the North American company Super Fighter Team. Following this, on June 18, 2009, both Chinese and English language editions of the game were released as a free download on the official Sango Fighter website. An updated version of the game was released, also as freeware, on February 15, 2011. It featured several significant changes and additions.
On November 6, 2013, Sango Fighter 2 was released as a free download on the official Sango Fighter 2 website. In addition to being translated into English, the updated game also features several new additions and enhancements.