THE YEAR-2056. SOMEONE, OR SOMETHING, HAS BROKEN INTO THE MAIN DEFENSE COMPUTER, AND IS BLOCKING ACCESS TO THE BACKUP SYSTEM. SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?

If my memory serves me, that last line is from the Matthew Broderick movie WarGames, but it fits the tone of Kabuki Quantum Fighter‘s intro, so I threw it in there hoping you wouldn’t notice. And get used to reading Kabuki Quantum Fighter again and again in this write-up because one of the most awesomely bizarre videogame titles of all time deserves to be chanted repeatedly. A Nintendo game that combines fighting, quantum mechanics, and 400-year-old ancient Japanese dance theater? Finally!

Before cyber punks could strap into The Matrix, there was Kabuki Quantum Fighter‘s Image Transfer System®™ to transport human minds into raw binary data. In KQF, it’s more cyber colonel than cyber punk, as you play Colonel Scott O’Conner, an Irishman with a German forehead, who, according to the game, is “well trained in body and spirit and knowledgeable in computer hardware.”

There’s a virus in the main defense computer, the same main defense computer that controls the world’s nuclear weapons, and because there’s no Norton Anti-Virus in the future, Scott has to go all Fantastic Voyage and shrink down into the circuitry and stop the virus with his cybernetic mind. If that really were the only way to get rid of a computer virus, maybe that would make the fees the Geek Squad charges seem a little more reasonable, though, probably still way overpriced.


So, we got the Quantum, we got the Fighter, but how does the Kabuki part work its way into Kabuki Quantum Fighter? You see, Scott’s great-great-grandfather, Danjuro O’Conner? Well, he had a sake problem. And I think there’s something Freudian going on, too, with Scott. Some repressed desire for a drink or to dress as a woman. I really don’t want to get too bogged down with the metaphysical dimensions of Kabuki Quantum Fighter for fear of spoiling the late-night philosophical pondering that is sure to fill the mind after round six’s fireball alien virus. Let’s just say the plot follows the classic ‘mullet in the machine’ formula, but with an unforgettable twist at the end that’ll leave you reaching for a Kleenex, a bottle of AXE body spray, and a can of motor oil.

There’s more to the story of Kabuki Quantum Fighter: Honest. Here it is in a nutshell (spoilers).

Once you get going, Kabuki Quantum Fighter is a solid fast-paced action game: tastes like Ninja Gaiden and Sprite with a tinge of Sunsoft’s Batman. Though it may be on the short side with only five levels, and a tad too difficult at some spots (damn timer), KQF falls into sleeper-hit category because of the interesting design aspects. And because of the whipping mullet.

HAL America (a subsidiary of HAL, best known for Kirby and Super Smash Bros.) published Kabuki Quantum Fighter. According to my little black book of Nintendo licensees, their headquarters were located in Beaverton, Oregon when they handled Kabuki Quantum Fighter. HAL America has since long been disbanded, leaving little chance of us ever seeing Kabuki Quantum Fighter II: Kabuki Quantum Fighter Returns, despite the sequel tease at the end of the game.



No you won’t.

Short and sweet: I went in looking for more mullet magic, played the proto from beginning to end, and found nothing different. If only my mind could penetrate the EPROM, I could harvest its power. I should note, on the label in the front, there’s a dash between Kabuki and Quantum in the name: so it reads Kabuki-Quantum Fighter. I wonder if the original title was supposed to include the dash or not.

After dumping the game and running it through GoodNES, it is the same as retail.


Cast of Characters: Max Headroom, Pepsiman, egg from Alien, Kang (or Kodos?), and a slew of other crazy sillies.

Before I end, I’d just like to reiterate: Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, Kabuki Quantum Fighter….