Reading the June 1995 issue of Amiga CD32 Gamer – as you do rapidly closing in on the tail end of 2016 – I stumbled across a compelling profile of the then recently formed Italian development team, Light Shock Software.
Founded in October 1994 by Francesco Iorio and Massimiliano Calamai, the 30-strong team – divided between their Belluno and Prato satellite offices – had all gained invaluable experience working elsewhere in the industry. Clearly the prerequisite pedigree to deliver on their promises was firmly in place.
Primed for the challenge and heavily armed with Dpaint, 3D Studio, Imagine, and Softimage 3D, the ambitious group’s dream was to harness the premium quality essence of arcade and Neo Geo games and transpose them onto the home market where they felt releases of such calibre were lacking.
Their flair for stylish design aside, Light Shock were determined to backup elegant visuals with genuine substance. Flimsy, system showcasers have their place, though Italy wasn’t to be among them.
The Italian games market at this juncture could still be considered embryonic; Light Shock’s only serious rivals would be the Milan-based developers, Graffiti. Also established in 1994, operating under this name they devised Super Loopz (SNES, 1994), Iron Assault (DOS, 1995) and Screamer (DOS, 1995). In 1996 they became ‘Milestone‘ and remain a going concern to this day.
Moulding research into pilgrimage, I took it upon myself to track down Light Shock’s erstwhile co-founder, programmer and PR guru, Francesco Iorio, to discover what became of his auspicious company, as well as to probe the fate of some of their beguiling, missing-in-action titles. His engrossing insights will be interspersed throughout, in addition to those of his former colleagues.
Before partnering with Francesco to form Light Shock Software, Massimiliano worked in Bologna as a game designer, graphic artist and product manager for Simulmondo, Italy’s first (and leading during the late ’80s and early ’90s) software house. They released games principally for the Commodore 64, Amiga and DOS platforms, though also later dabbled in the PC market. Refreshingly, another Italian developer to have survived the test of time!
Francesco begin his career as a games programmer working for Holodream where he coded the DOS version of Overdrive on behalf of Team 17. Assembled in Rome in 1991, the outfit were also the (puntastic) driving force behind the creation of Team 17’s F17 Challenge. Their web site is not looking so healthy.
The talented crew struck up a publishing deal with Neo Software – themselves a fledgling operation formed only a year prior to Light Shock. Deploying their own purpose-built development tool, ITTULS, and three iterations of custom 3D engines, in 1996 together they went on to release the tournament-oriented beat-’em-up, Fightin’ Spirit, and street combat bike racer, Black Viper, for all flavours of Amiga.
In the same year, Light Shock teamed up with Virgin Interactive who published on their behalf the sepulchral, otherworldly, DOS-based brawler, Pray for Death.
Devising their own in-house development tools would have slashed future production schedules exponentially, and kept costs to a minimum, allowing Light Shock to stay ahead of the curve as an extremely streamlined outfit.
ITTULS fulfilled multifarious core objectives. It enabled the implementation of 8-way parallax scrolling, superimposed over entirely animated backgrounds, to maintain impressively high frame rates whilst handling objects with the potential to travel in all directions on low-end systems, and to allow the use of top quality graphics in high velocity environments, eschewing discernible slowdown.
The assorted applications of Light Shock’s texture-mapped, real 3D engine were equally heartening. Potentially, it’s deployment may have led to the evolution of genuinely immersive first person shooters, racing games and flight simulators for the Amiga platform, which stagnating in the winter of its lifespan was beginning to look considerably haggard.
The team did exceptionally well to get Black Viper and Fightin’ Spirit onto the shelves in a short space of time, especially given that the Amiga had really had its day by this stage. “Was Francesco pleased with their reception?”, I mused.
“At the time in Italy videogames development was an incredibly small niche, so we attempted to rally a few of the small teams spread around the Country, to get more attention from foreign publishers.
The strategy worked to some extent and we managed to publish some decent games. As you said the Amiga market had considerably shrunk by the time we managed to get our games on the shelves, and while the reception was very good overall, financially the games have not been as successful as they could have, had they been published a year or two earlier.”
CU Amiga critic, Lisa Collins, enthusiastically declared Fightin’ Spirit to be the “closest we’ve come to Street Fighter on the Amiga” (January ’97), though by 1996, Capcom’s genre-defining classic wasn’t the sole tournament fighter developer’s of the home systems aspired to beat.
Also, surely this late in the day we should have been comparing it to one of the myriad sequels or spin-offs, not the inaugural entry into the franchise. Maybe it was a generalisation, who knows?
Even so, a true aficionado of the genre would have spotted that Light Shock’s title is far more akin in style and execution to SNK’s equally iconic Neo Geo/Arcade Fatal Fury series.
Nevertheless, whatever game it’s lauded to kick into touch, Fightin’ Spirit is quite possibly the fastest and most visually polished beat-’em-up available for the Amiga, partially thanks to its turbo switch and use of the Amiga’s extra half-brite mode allowing 64 colours to be displayed on screen simultaneously. And that’s just the ‘primitive’ ECS version; the AGA edition ups the ante fourfold, introducing a referee who will be familiar to SNK fans, and meticulously detailed, animated backdrops.
Thanks to the graphician, Giacinto Platania, the exquisitely crafted, vibrant pixel art and smooth as silk animation is as charming today as it was twenty years ago. Deluxe Paint III should also take a bow.
In June 1994, Amiga Power previewed a game referred to as ‘Perpetual Craze’ and linked it to ‘Dynamic Style Software Design’. I wasn’t sure if this was to be the name of Light Shock’s in-house publishing division before deciding to partner with Neo Software, but knew Francesco would have the answer:-
“The company Massimiliano Calamai, Marco Biondi, Matteo Tesser and I founded (Light Shock Software) had at its core the idea to unify and support the efforts of multiple smaller teams across the Country, at a time when Italy had an extremely small games development community, to form a unified message to attract publishers, mainly from the UK.
As a single “brand” we could travel to ECTS in London every year and offer our demos to potential publishers, with the hope of them picking up on ideas that may work at a point in time in the markets they served.
“Dynamic Style” was the original name of the development team from Sicily (in Italy), which merged with Light Shock Software. At the time we met with them for the first time, their fighting game demo was named “Perpetual Craze”, but that name was not favored by the publisher (Neo), and we collectively decided to change it into “Fightin’ Spirit”.”
Dario Merola’s coding wizardry ensures the CPU’s artificial intelligence is cogent and plausible, whilst the four difficulty modes serve to harmonise opponent’s responses with your level of competence so the road to gory isn’t barred to beginners.
Whilst it’s true no-one buys a ticket to this kind of show for the deep, absorbing plotline, it’s always nice know the gist of why it is you’re pummelling pantomime baddies into submission. “What’s my motivation?”, as method actors might inquire.
Jenshi Yamamoto, the katana-wielding, unscrupulous overlord of the Hikawa organisation has disingenuously engineered the ‘Supreme Warriors Tournament’ solely as a means to proselytise the best of the best new puppet foot soldiers into his underworld criminal gang. Essentially it’s a honey pot Shredder himself would be proud to have contrived, to drop a not so random name into the proceedings.
Meanwhile, your own personal reasons for entering the contest oscillate depending on which fighter you select. Some are drawn to the prize money like a moth to a flame, others zero in on the showdown to infiltrate Jenshi’s gang and sabotage his infrastructure from within. Then there are the individuals who have a beefy axe to grind with the top dog himself. Eric, knight in shining armour that he is, only wants to protect his ex-fiance Sheila from harm. Not that she’s the shrinking violet type who would benefit from having a bodyguard – she’s got Flipper in her corner after all!
“…a nifty little scrapper that has a decent range of opponents, a laughably cheesy plot and some solid special moves. Many of the characters are able to morph into vicious animals, which adds greatly to the comedic elements that run throughout the game. While Super Street Fighter II Turbo looked a lot nicer, simpler controls made Fightin’ Spirit the better game; at least on the 1200.”
– Perfect Ten Games, Retro Gamer issue 22
Fightin’ Spirit opens to Davide Busetta’s stormin’, unmistakably ’80s vocal soundtrack, and a credit-interspersed transitional sequence that wouldn’t feel out of place leading into a deliciously cheesy Van Damme or Steven Seagal martial arts flick.
Head-jammin’ along to the electric guitar powered ‘Into the Night’ – composed and performed entirely by Davide – I suddenly have the urge to grab a chum and embark on an epic quest to avenge the brutal murder of my brother… despite knowing right now he’s perfectly safe and well in town watching the Christmas lights switch-on.
“All the in game characters’ voices (voice fx and special moves fx) are actually the development team and friends…
We were so cash strapped, we used a headphone as a microphone.
If I recall correctly, Massimiliano was Kento, Filippo (Massimiliano’s younger brother) was Tong Lee, I was Lorenz (I actually had moustache at the time), Marco was Shuzar and Shiro (he had a long blonde ponytail), my friend Walter was Burke and my girlfriend Francesca (who is now my wife) was Sheila.”
– Francesco Iorio
A CD audio soundtrack incorporating in-game speech is the icing on the cake.
As a text precis and biographical introduction to the characters washes over us, we’re eased gently into the action with a mildly upbeat keyboard, piano and drum medley, accented by a leisurely oriental woodwind piece teeming with eastern promise and mystique.
Predominantly, the emphasis is on acoustic composition with low-key guitars, plucked silk instruments such as the harp and lute, and bamboo flutes, reed pipes and cymbals taking centre stage.
If your emaciated soul is in need of healing, the mellifluous allure of this meditation companion may be just the elixir you’ve been searching for. Available now from a homoeopath near you!
The tempo shifts up a gear as we take on our first challenger, though the pervading mood remains floaty and lightweight making it tough to believe we are in any real peril.
Perhaps it was felt that intense gameplay framed with an equivocal score would have been overpowering and too draining to be sustained throughout. You wouldn’t want psycho violin strings clawing at your nerves for the duration of a horror film would you. It’s all about the counterbalance, as you were…
Each locale is accentuated accordingly with relevant diegetic sound effects to capture the essence of actually being in the moment. Perfect examples include the lapping of waves against the shore in the American sun beach arena, the maniacal wails, roars and growls heard on the Japanese jungle stage… where that may also be the genre of accompanying music.
Equally pertinent, we can isolate the chopping hurly-burly of a helicopter’s rotary blades and a chorus of children’s laughter as the closing credits roll. Mission accomplished, evacuate, we’re on our way home guys! …even if I don’t recall rescuing any kids, and we’ve already decimated Burke’s pride and toy, I mean joy.
On that note, there’s a distinct sense of urgency conveyed by the sudden incline in pace during the bonus stage to remind us we only have 25 seconds to complete the task (as is the case in the Capcom games). Even the formerly sedate reed section towards the end is rushed, as are we. Moving swiftly on…
Whilst you certainly do feel you’re imbibing the culture of your fighter’s home territory, the tracks can begin to sound a bit too similar to one another at times.
Take for instance the discord of the Arizona desert scene, accompanied by music with a familiar oriental flair. Something a bit more rocky might have been appropriate there; a heavier, less poignant track a gungho, gel-haired narcissist would appreciate.
Track 6 is a real hoot, a desk-drumming game-changer. Close your eyes and you could be playing Xenon II to the thumping metallic beats of Bomb the Bass. The inclusion of the Amiga’s grinding floppy disk access sound is music to the ears of any nostalgic retro gamer, though I’m not entirely sure it’s called for here.
Also standing out from the crowd is track 32, an eerily stirring electric guitar solo that evokes welcome flashbacks to the death theme from Tim Wright’s Shadow of the Beast II score. It does make me wonder if this piece was originally intended to feature on the Black Viper OST instead, given its dramatic echoes of devastation and melancholy. Don’t wait, it’s Apocalypse Now!
Digging deeper, track 5 has the hallmarks of Doom’s unyieldingly frantic opening volley of grinding, snarling heavy metal.
Deeper still, the initial chords of at least half a dozen tracks sound as though they may be building up to the Splinter’s Tale TMNT narrative exposition from the movie’s theme tune, before heading off in an entirely different direction.
Ultimately there are only a finite number of chords to select from, and given enough time any piece of music will sound similar to something else, especially when you’ve donned Sherlock’s deerstalker for the occasion. Hey-ho.
Representing the last generation of fighting games for the platform, Spirit – winner of the MCW Amiga product of the year award in 1996 – aptly demonstrated the genre had finally come of age.
“Basically, if you’re into beat-’em-ups, you’ll love this. If you’re not, then this might just persuade you to like them.”
– Paul Cavanagh, Amiga Format issue 133
It supports two independent fire buttons using a traditional joystick or joypad, or the full complement offered by the CD32 joypad.
Up to 8 players are accommodated in tournament or tag-team mode, and 10 multifarious core characters are available for selection, plus two bonus contenders (Shiro and Jenshi) playing in ‘Super Fightin’ Spirit’ mode for dirty rotten ‘video girl’ cheaters. During an early phase of development it was even permitted to play as an Italian footballer, though the novelty personality was later culled due to memory restraints.
This wasn’t the only compromise made as assisting coder, Cesare Di Mauro, divulges…
“Fightin’ Spirit missed a couple of ideas which I had: the parallax of the floor (at the bottom 64 lines of the screen) and the lights illumination of the night scenarios (the characters’ bodies were dynamically illuminated by the lights on the scene).
They were rejected because the artist didn’t want to change the graphic of the screens and characters which he had already produced…”
Each larger than life (when enormous sprites were a genuine breakthrough) contender is capable of launching four independent special moves – the execution of which is helpfully explained in the manual – and is delivered neatly gift-wrapped with their own custom-themed arena to suit their idiosyncratic traits.
In addition to the main special moves, each character can perform a chitchanabito style dwarf transformation trick. Aside from being a cutesy, fun diversion, you can’t actually inflict any damage in this state.
Nothing more clearly demonstrates that Light Shock went the extra mile to make Spirit as immersive as possible as the inclusion of comprehensive biographies for each fighter. How else would we learn that Burke believes “orientals are all charlies”, that Kento loves nothing more than reading comic books, the puma-powered Lorentz has a schizoid personality disorder, or that non-human combatants don’t have animal spirits? The devil is in the detail, as they say.
The most memorable and potent character is likely Jenshi’s pet tiger, Rhajang. Yes, you heard me correctly – one of the selectable warriors is a big cat. A particularly efficacious special move of hers involves morphing into a supercharged frozen version of her comparatively diminutive former self and whirling around on the spot like the Tazmanian Devil.
Lab experiment Yadon – a sort of Godzilla-lizard hybrid – is right up there too on the wacky-o-meter. The crowning glory in his special move arsenal is the ability to exhale a ferocious, fiery dinosaur head at his opponents. It’s a kind of head within a head xenomorph style demarche; a real spectacle to behold.
Some combatants and facets of the gameplay are clearly parodies of pop-culture figures from video games or movies. These can be appraised as doting homages or brazen plagiarism depending on how charitable you’re feeling. I’m rather fond of Spirit (and the developers are totally upfront about it) so it gets a pass from me.
‘Japanese puppet destroyer’ Tong Lee likely takes inspiration from the Thai headcase, Tong Po, Van Damme’s arch nemesis in the 1989 martial arts movie, Kickboxer. He hasn’t just got the ‘eye of the tiger’! You’ll see.
That or Street Fighter’s “Emperor of Muay Thai”, Sagat. Take your pick. Drawing parallels between Tong Lee’s ‘burning uppercut’ and Sagat’s ‘tiger uppercut’ isn’t much of a stretch. Note also that Tong Lee is a master of the ‘tiger technique’.
Sheila’s ‘sea storm kick’ is that similar to the archetypal ‘spinning bird kick’ made famous by the Street Fighter series, on encountering it, Chun Li was said to have become so confuddled she thought she was sleep-training in front of a mirror. The undercover CIA agent’s ‘dolphin spirit’ transformation, however, I’d guess is entirely novel.
Kento – the ‘Japanese dragon man’ who lost his revered master to the vindictive whims of Jenshi – appears to be a pastiche of Ken from Street Fighter II and Ryo? Sakazaki from Art of Fighting (who SNK admit is a homage to a key member of Capcom’s cast). More specifically, his spinning ‘hyper kick’ and ‘dragon ball’ manoeuvres are allusions to Ken’s ‘hurricane kick’ and ‘hadoken’, and Ryo’s ‘haoh shokohken’ fireball, and ‘hien shippuukyaku’ spinning kick.
Skorpion-fuelled Squaddie, Burke, is Spirit’s answer to Art of Fighting’s acrobatic navy captain, martial arts tutor, John Crawley. There’s also a conspicuous resemblance to Street Fighter’s US air force major, Guile (who in turn John was based on).
Burke’s ‘fire boom’ is uncannily like Guile’s ‘sonic boom’ and John’s ‘mega smasher’ energy projectile.
Then there’s the ‘beat ten tonnes of nuts and bolts out of a chinook against a ticking clock’ bonus stage set in Arizona, which is much like the Mercedes-whacking escapade seen in Capcom’s Final Fight. Said chopper appears to belong to Burke judging by his “oh no… my God!!!” reaction to witnessing the mangled aftermath, itself a reference to the latter coin-op title.
Other influences, this time confirmed by the artist himself, Giacinto Platania, include Freddie Mercury (Lorentz), elemental masters – The Storms – from Big Trouble In Little China (lampshade head, Yuri), and a reptile version of shapeshifter – Thulsa Doom – from Conan The Barbarian (Yadon).
Various Japanese anim? cartoons are also mined to spark the imagination. Sheila takes her moniker and likeness from Cat’s Eye. Rhajang is a facsimile of the wrestler-in-disguise from Tiger Mask. Eric, Burke and Shuzar were all plucked from Fist of the North Star (aka Hokuto no Ken). Their counterparts in the Japanese manga cartoon are Ain, General Hawk and Ryuken respectively. Shiro most closely resembles Shin Akuma from Street Fighter Alpha 2, though is actually an amalgam of various Capcom and SNK characters. Finally, Kento is an older, broodier Aran Benjo from The Unchallengeable Daitarn 3.
Invoking the Japanese roots of the game that galvanized Spirit’s inception, we are treated to a series of bizarre manga style loading screens that are worth the price of admission alone. These cutesy, mini-me sprites represent kiddified incarnations of some of the adult contestants – the resemblance is too uncanny to be coincidental.
For instance, one scene depicts a midget mentor wearing a smock and beaded black necklace who strongly resembles a young Shuzar, a bald Indian guru (who curiously has likely been bald from day one). Tirelessly circling his ankles is a mouse being chased by a bird… for no apparent reason.
In another quaint little animation we see a young Kento becoming sweaty and flustered as he imagines ickle Sheila naked. Out of the blue and from somewhere off-screen he has a brick hurled at his head – not the over-zealous handiwork of the thought police, but Eric, who still carries a torch for her.
Next up there’s a nonchalant, smug blonde kid – also known as Eric – who with his hands clasped behind his head fires bricks from his pockets. Apparently he doesn’t approve of her being ogled, however indirectly.
Finally, a young girl jogs along with a micro handbag-dog fashion accessory in tow. Could this be future clandestine dolphin trainer, Sheila, on her way to break up the ensuing skirmish between her two best friends by any chance? I’d put lira on it. Here at Amigos HQ, even the currency is retro!
Even without a coherent, correlating thread to weave the loading screen story together, the inclusion of such a labour of love would be mana from pixelated heaven. You know by now I’m a sucker for minutiae… which is precisely why I had to know if my intuitions concerning these wacky, cute manga sprogs were correct. Do they really tie in with the miniature versions of the characters you can transform into via a special move combo sequence, or had I been chowing so much chanko nabe I was beginning to hallucinate?
“As you recall, we took heavy inspiration from NeoGeo fighting games to make Fightin’ Spirit, especially the King of Fighters and Fatal Fury sagas.
The original arcade (and AES) cartridge versions of those games had no loading screens of course, due to the whole game being in ROM, but the home-oriented original NeoGeo CD had a single-speed CDROM drive (the later-released CDZ model had a double speed CDROM drive), which made arcade games very annoying to play due to the long loading times, so developers devised all kinds of distracting animations during loading to make the wait less annoying.
In particular, Fatal Fury 3 for NeoGeo CD has loading screens featuring “Super Deformed” style (a Japanese way to make characters and objects look cute by altering their proportions) comedic intermissions, and given that on the Amiga we had to load the data from the floppy disks too, we made our own versions of those intermissions, featuring our characters.
By the way, there is a web page (in Italian I am afraid) that contains a lot of material on Fightin’ Spirit.”
– Francesco Iorio
On a similar note, it’s the attention to detail that makes you smile and sets Spirit apart from the jostling crowd. The blood that accumulates on the floor of the various battlegrounds is a neat touch, as are the helium balloons that depict the RunBall characters Joe and Cindy, the Light Shock tagged HGV in the background of the Mount Rushmore setting, and yawning Jack Russell in the background of the New York scenario. The latter just goes to show that any game can be infinitesimally improved with the inclusion of a dog. Fact.
Despite revelling in favourable comparisons to Street Fighter, the critics awarded Fightin’ Spirit healthy, though not stellar scores. CU Amiga deemed the smoother, 256 colour AGA version worthy of 83% (January 1997) and 1% less for the less intricately animated, 64 colour ECS release (February 1997), whilst Amiga Format concluded 81% was a fairer reflection (February 2000, following the game’s CD re-issue).
“Check out Shadow Fighter or Fightin’ Spirit if you’re after an Amiga brawler that actually plays as well as it looks.”
– Retro Gamer delivers its assessment of Body Blows Galactic in issue 21
The general consensus was that the game delineated a shining example in its field, though the scores were tempered by its lack of originality or drive to push the genre forwards. Enabling players to complete the game by abusing a single special move throughout didn’t help its cause.
I sense that had it been released in 1992 in parallel with Street Fighter II, rather than to a dwindling Amiga audience in 1996, the critics would have declared it the second coming of their preferred god’s boss. In effect it was hoisted by its own regrettably mistimed petard.
Aside from being a latecomer to the Amiga party, a degree of criticism has over the years been levelled at Neo Software for not distributing Fightin’ Spirit as widely or voluminously as Light Shock – and we as gamers – might have liked. In the UK, for instance, people struggled to get their hands on a copy in 1996, so much so that by 2000 there was still sufficient demand to warrant a CD (not CD32) re-release, this time by Alive Mediasoft.
Seizing the opportunity to drill down to the truth of the matter with Marco Biondi – who worked on the project as a programmer as well in more peripheral supporting roles – I discovered that the principle of Occam’s razor missed the mark in this case.
“The real big issue on Fightin’ Spirit was the fall of the Amiga market in general. Sure NEO was not Virgin – they were smaller and the initial plan wasn’t executed as is due to the market shift.
Making copies has a direct cost on the distributor, they made a plan based on the copies you can sell, the numbers planned for Fightin’ Spirit for the initial launch plan were really higher. Unluckily the development missed the milestone and at the same time the Amiga market started to literally implode in few months…
Anyone knew that the game was the best beat ’em up on Amiga ever made but without a market, making too many copies would have only lead to distributor bankruptcy and some rooms full of unsold boxes.
This chaos in forecasting led to limited supplies and then to the UK re-release, nobody at that time was really able to understand the real demand for the product for the quick changing market.”
So in the end, from my understanding, the run was essentially limited by design; that’s logical given the state of flux the Amiga market was in at the time. Neo were being cautious rather than incompetent in any way… the opposite in fact.
On the subject of Fightin’ Spirits’ star quality, you won’t hear any argument from me. Set loose into a more favourable climate, sans any bungling from Commodore’s purse holders, it really would have hit the bull’s eye.
Taking a moment to speculate on what might have been, I inquired as to the feasibility of abandoning the Amiga platform in 1996 and releasing Black Viper and Fightin’ Spirit as PC exclusives. That and the subject of sales figures with regards to the belated 2000 CD re-release of Fightin’ Spirit. The one I clumsily referred to as “seemingly bizarre, possibly only sustained to set the record straight in the UK”, in the process coming across as a know-it-all, hindsight-bandwagon jumper! Sorry.
“At the state of Fightin’ Spirit, project was almost impossible to switch to PC. We had some people working on an initial porting of Fightin’ Spirit but on the PC that kind of games weren’t so popular considering also the state of the platform in 96. No publisher was really interested in an SNK styled beat ’em up on PC.
If the overall quality of Fightin’ Spirit was lower probably the project would have never been published…
Is easy to see the things in a certain perspective now after 20 years. 😛 In 96 and being involved in the project the perspective were completely different! We were all really young and with an unlimited passion, we fully believed in our work. Maybe some compromises in 96 could have changed the overall result with an earlier release (less polished) with a real commercial success.
Nobody wanted to accept a compromise in 96 even NEO was knowing the risk but let us decide and we know the result.
Anyway for me was an incredible experience that I carry in my actual life without regrets.
On Fightin’ Spirit numbers, frankly I don’t remember them at all… Anyone understood really well that was a missed opportunity but the Amiga market change was completely out of our control.
Surely releasing Fightin’ Spirit in his final form at least 6 months earlier would have been a massive hit and huge success for all the teams in Light Shock! :)”