Human Killing Machine

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Human Killing Machine
This, unfortunately, isn't the only time that Tiertex makes a sequel to a Capcom game.
Genre(s): Fighting
Platform(s): Atari ST
Commodore 64
Amstrad CPC
ZX Spectrum
Release: 1989
Developer(s): Tiertex Design Studios
Publisher(s): U.S. Gold
Country: United Kingdom
"What we have here is actually a "sequel" of sorts to their already horrible port of the original Street Fighter to computers, being that it uses the same engine, but the game here is even worse. You have one of the most laughable crews of fighting game stereotype characters ever assembled, vociferously unappealing graphics, and fighting that weirdly feels even more broken than the previous Street Fighter port, despite being largely the same bloody game! Needless to say, this is a game that UK retro gamers take the piss out of incessantly. And yes, it is possible to clickbait coverage of it a little by calling it "The Terrible Street Fighter Title That You Never Knew Existed!"."
Kim Justice
"It's like the world's least imaginative people have looked at Street Fighter and thought "Yeah, let's do that, let's do that.", and...and somehow, from the lowest programmer at Tiertex right up to the top management at U.S. Gold, no one looked at this and thought "This is unacceptably poor on so many levels!" (...) Just burn this crap and go and play Street Fighter II on your Super Nintendo now, and let's pretend Human Killing Machine doesn't exist, because the only way to win at Human Killing Machine is not to play it."

Human Killing Machine, abbreviated as HKM, was a 1989 fighting game developed by Tiertex and published by U.S. Gold for various home computers as an unofficial sequel to their port of the first Street Fighter, using the same game engine, but different characters to the original Street Fighter.

Why It Should Be Killed

  1. Like with the Tiertex port of Street Fighter, HKM is very slow-paced and has a choppy framerate.
  2. Like in the original Street Fighter, there's no character select screen. You can only play as Kwon, an expy of Ryu who's a Korean fighter that, for some reason, wears boxing gloves.
  3. No two-player mode.
  4. The animations look lousy, as the characters just shuffle across. The developers made it so all of a given character's frames of animation could be shoehorned into a single screen worth of space.
  5. No parallax scrolling or any stage scrolling at all.
  6. Kwon has no special moves.
  7. Horribly unbalanced opponents with overpowered moves that deal a ton of damage compared to Kwon's attacks, which deal very miniscule damage. For instance, Igor, the very first opponent in the game, can drain a ton of health from Kwon or even kill him with a single hit from his rifle. Also, the opponent's health can regenerate much faster than Kwon's, making it unnecessarily difficult to knock the opponent down.
  8. Horrible controls.
  9. No sound effects whatsoever (except for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum versions) and terrible music.
  10. An awful strength system for Kwon. Initially, he starts out as "Strong", can be knocked over five times and only needs to knock down the opponent three times in order to win. However, for example, if Kwon performs badly (i.e. get knocked down twice), he is declared "Weak", and needs to be knocked down three times whereas the opponent needs to be knocked down five times to win. Combined with the unbalanced opponents and regenerating health, this just makes the game even harder than necessary.
  11. All of the opponents look ridiculous and are loaded with racial and national stereotypes like it's been made for a joke:
    • The first opponent is in Moscow, named Igor, who is a Soviet soldier that wields a rifle.
    • The second opponent is Igor's dog, named Shepski.
    • The third opponent is in the red light district of Amsterdam, named Maria, who is a prostitute.
    • The fourth opponent is Helga, who, like Maria, is also a prostitute.
    • The fifth opponent is in a bullfighting arena in Barcelona, named Miguel, who is a matador.
    • The sixth opponent is a bull named Brutus.
    • The seventh opponent is outside a cottage in Germany, named Franz, a waiter who throws an infinite supply of wine bottles.
    • The eighth opponent is Hans, who looks like he came out of a European 1970's porno movie.
    • The ninth opponent is in Beirut, named Sagan, who looks like a terrorist.
    • The tenth and final opponent in the game is Merkeva. He's the biggest opponent of them all and has only six animation frames, two of which are only used when he's defeated.
  12. The ZX Spectrum version only has the 48K version, at a time when most games also had an enhanced 128K version. As a result, the game is a multi-load, as each location has to be loaded in separately.
  13. There's no real ending: once you beat Merkeva, the game loops back to Moscow and Igor.
  14. In the Amiga version, the fighter sprites are glitched up (especially Merkeva's), the Barcelona level is missing, leaving Miguel and Brutus in Amsterdam, and the issues weren't fixed.
  15. The 8-bit computer conversions have terrible graphics.

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. Decent graphics on the Atari ST and Amiga versions.


Human Killing Machine received mixed-to-negative reviews from various magazines of the time, and is considered to be one of the worst fighting games ever made. While Sinclair User, Crash! and Your Sinclair magazines gave the game positive reviews (78%, 73% and 70% respectively), other magazines were less kind to the game. Zzap! magazine awarded the Amiga version 45%, and an even lower 31% to the Commodore 64 version. The Games Machine magazine also gave the Commodore 64 version a lower score (26%) than the 16-bit computer versions (31% for the Atari ST version and 30% for the Amiga version, respectively), but for some reason, gave the Amstrad CPC version a score of 63%.

Stuart Ashen reviewed the Atari ST version of the game in 2007 as part of his Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of video series, and he derided the game for its unfair difficulty and ethnic stereotypes.

Matt McMuscles covered the Amiga version in his The Worst Fighting Game video series, and considered the game to be on par with Criticom and Brutal Paws of Fury in terms of awfulness.


  • It is the first fighting game to feature four-legged animals (Shepski and Brutus), it was released twenty-three years before the likes of Samurai Shodown VI and Fighting is Magic/Them's Fightin' Herds.



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