In the 90’s we had a lot of cool things. We had “Slap Bracelets”, we had “Hammer Pants”, we had the very gnarly Super Nintendo, and in the mid to late 90’s, we had the hybrid of action figures and game called, Karate Fighters!
Hasbro’s Karate Fighters (made under the Milton Bradley label) was a one-on-one fighting game of the none video game variety. The set included two control handles with a score keeping gauge, and action figures! And the object of it was to spin those bastards around and around against one another until one flys off the stand. In a lot of ways, this was my generations Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, only a whole lot cooler (in my personal opinion), as I’m sure can already tell. See, these guys weren’t just generic action figures that you and a friend went to war on each other with, these guys had names and even a back-story. So, even while it wasn’t appreciated as a kid with these things, there was a lot of time and thought that went into them.
A lot of these things were made, so you had a lot of fighters to pick from and even if they weren’t good enough for you at first, they had some very awesome tie-ins later on. One of which being freakin’ BATMAN!
That’s right, there you have a Batman vs. Joker set that was made. And the fun didn’t just stop with Batman and Joker, since these things were inner changeable, you could very easily have either Batman or Joker take on any of the other Karate Fighters you might have owned. And for an added bonus, they even made a Small Soldiers set, for anyone wanting to see Archer take on Chip Hazard live and in person.
But like all good things (including my childhood), the line would come to an end and in 2002, with what I THINK was the last actual line, and it wasn’t even called Karate Fighters at all. It came in the form of a G.I. Joe themed, “Combat Fighters” set. Same style figures, same stands, same everything, only when you bought Duke and Cobra Commander the box said, Combat Fighters instead of Karate Fighters. But I guess we still have the memories. I just don’t see why in the age of remakes and bringing back old things, why these haven’t been brought back to life. Someone should soo get on that.