Tuff E Nuff

Tuff E Nuff

released on Mar 26, 1993
by Jaleco

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Tuff E Nuff

released on Mar 26, 1993
by Jaleco

Following a great war that destroys most of the earth, Tuff E Nuff sees four of the earth's toughest people come together to do battle, and earn the right to attempt to depose the mighty ruler. Gameplay is standard beat 'em up style action, featuring most of the conventions of the genre. The characters have a range of kicks, punches and throws, and each fight at their own base. The 90-second time limit can be turned on or off. Fights are best-of-three, with points awarded for each hit, and for overall victory.

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A completely fine SNES fighter, but there's nothing remarkable about the gameplay that would make you choose this over any other fighter on the system. Only having four playable characters is an odd choice, but the replay feature is kind of cool, especially for how old the game is.


This is going to be a pretty different piece from what I usually write, I'm going to be logging my experience with the game in this review. I felt it was more interesting than just a general statement about the game.

I had my eye on this Fighting Games Russian Roulette list for quite a while, mainly due to it showing up in lists of games that Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu was a part of. As a big fan of the fighting game genre, I decided to take the plunge and rolled a number. I got 30, which led me to this.

When I saw the box art, something really caught my attention. Not the wordplay with the question it proposes to you, nor the fact that the character looks like if All-Might was drawn by Rob Liefeld. It's the fact that I recognized this as something that's available on the SNES Nintendo Switch Online service. This hasn't always been the highest bar, but surely this has to have some kind of prestige for Nintendo to make it a part of their big online subscription. At the time of writing this, I didn't have Switch Online, so I went the route of online emulation. If I was about to resubscribe to the service, it would likely not be for this.

The game starts off with a story narration, and the narrative seems to paint this as a combination of Fist of the North Star and Battle City from Yugioh. I'm not sure why that comparison immediately came to mind, maybe it's because I just had it on the mind, or that the theming of four finalists going to a massive tower reminded me of that. Our character select involves four generic looking characters, Syoh, Zazi, Kotono and Vortz. I went with Vortz because name and buffness reminded me of Volt from the hit classic "The Bouncer".

Upon first fighting Kotono, after experiencing the dead silent round start, I realized this was a terrible mistake. Kotono is a pretty brutal as the first opponent to fight as the game's grappler, with projectiles that are hard to overcome and numerous anti air moves. The game's general clunkiness also made things hard, with special move inputs being much trickier to get down than they should be. Once I did manage to pull them off, Vortz's grabs felt more like Yakuza heat moves than normal throws. It added some enjoyment to pulling them off, but the frustration made them awkward to get through. That might be because of my choice to use a keyboard, but I can get special moves in something like Street Fighter 2 off just fine. A funny thing to note is that it actually lets you rewind and play replays of the final moments of the fight, with holding a button allowing you to play it in slow motion. Interesting detail.

The next round is against Zazi. I was very mistaken in how fighting him would be, as he's much shorter than Vortz, and plays more like a shoto, as I realized when his DP hit me while I was behind him. It almost makes me wonder if picking Vortz just for the sake of a funny Bouncer joke was a mistake. But then I realize how easily I can get his leg grab and I go "this is funny." Another thing I realized is that light aerials are basically like Link's nair in Smash Melee, it lasts pretty much the entirety you're in the air. So I exploited that a few times and ended up winning much more easily.

Next up is Syoh. He has a very "Shonen protag" look to him, so I thought he was going to be the game's shoto. Those thoughts weren't unfounded, as the second the fight started, I realized something was wrong. His sprite is in the exact same pose as Zazi's, the special moves he has are near the exact same as Zazi's, and the voice lines for moves are just like Zazi's. We have clones in a game with four playable characters, let that sink in. Not much else I learned about the mechanics here, I just beat him fairly easily.

And then all of a sudden I have to fight a guy named Beans. He actually had a neat moveset with some kicks and a Jojo-like punch rush. Made me wonder why he wasn't playable over one of the clones.

Then this guy named Dolf comes along, has a rocket launcher and has an insane stage intro where missiles come from the ground, with him riding on one. I then proceeded to lock him into a wall with the kicking grab, in the first match I actually perfected. Pretty underwhelming after such a strong impression.

The next fight is someone the vs screen says is called age, when the health bar says he's named Rei and this was a pretty crazy fight. He has a healthy variety of projectiles and some really cool looking moves, like the dragon that circles around him as an anti air.

The next character is Gajet, who's a buff man with a mask whose weapon is "great strength." He actually had some really interesting moves, but at this point I had the game completely figured out.

The next fight with Sirou made me question if I had that sentiment, since his use of a sword made him pretty hard to get past. Even so, like the others I managed to kick the bootleg shredder to death.

The peniultimate fight also ramps things up quite a bit, with a character whose name is dangerously close to K' from KoF. He has long robot arms with claws that have insane range, and a lightning attack that moves along the ground covering the whole screen. Again, this all serves to make me ask why none of these guys were all playable characters? There's more secret characters than playable ones, and all of the secret ones are more interesting than what we have.

After another kicking session, I reached the final battle with Jade. No data on him aside from his weapon, his fighting aura. And he actually made for a really tough fight. His moves are really fast, with a ton of massive hitboxes, and he has all sorts of energy waves. If I didn't know it was his fighting aura, I'd have assumed I was fighting someone in an iron man suit. It was a serious challenge... until I decided to just walk forward, punch and keep grabbing and he went down easily. Apparently that's what it takes to beat the "meanest, toughest guys around". We don't even get an epilogue, what the fuck.

So, after this long journey, I have to say that it wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting from the nature of coming across it. It has some neat stuff, but the way I feel about it is the same way Nintendo probably felt when they added it to their service: it's just the next-next-next-next-next best thing if you don't have Street Fighter II.

This game has broken AI, the moves do not feel good to execute, and the story is nonexistent. The only thing it has going for it is the sprite work and backgrounds are decent, and the music is serviceable. Definitely play this on the SNES service on Switch with rewind feature.

Another hilarious disaster of a fighting game, this time with the dumbest and lamest possible name. When I saw the box art I was entranced, and the laughs I got from making fun of this game made it a good time, but for no other reason

Tuff E Nuff is such an oddity, being called Death Dance in Japan, it's a wonder why they decided that America should have the lamer name. On top of that, a lot of this game is a hybrid single player and two player fighter. With you being able to face 3 other fighters in 2 player mode, and the boss characters in story mode.

Story for Tuff E Nuff reads as a sort of Mad Max thunder dome situation, where people fight for dominance over each other in an post apocalypse setting. While there are some impressive moments with background areas in this game; largely this game is just very bland and unremarkable. Like I feel they were close to making better character designs, music, and fighting game cast, but they just sort of ran out of time or budget. Like some areas will have a small intro or certain characters look better than others, but a lot of the game just feels unpolished.

Do I think this game could have been saved from working on it more tho? Not really. A lot of it just comes down to not understanding what they wanted to do with this game. I'm aware they were focused on fighting mechanics, but with the way the game plays, it feels more like a beat'em up than a fighter. Even then, I don't think it would have made an interesting campaign, and really at the end of it all, it's just very obscure and unneed entry in the SNES library.

Another really bad SNES fighting game.