Well... Somewhere in the back of my mind I know I knew about this thing before, and now I heard about it again and looked into it and it was cool... REAL Cool.
The best way to describe MUGEN is "Everyone VS Everything". Want Peter Griffin to Fight Superman? Spiderman VS a Gian Squid? Goku vs Super Mario? Ash Williams vs Spongebob Squarepants? This is one place you are going to find it.
Now, not everyone likes fighting games, and to be honest I'm not a huge fan myself (with the obvious exceptions of Super Smash Bros. and Soul Caliber), but I think that anyone would be able to find SOMETHING to like about this game. The reason for this is that MUGEN isn't so much a fighting game as much as a fighting game engine. There are literally thousands of characters to scour the Internet for at various production quality and resolution. With a little be of basic "dumping files in the right place and editing text files" you can throw together your own roster of quirky fighters and battle stages or just download the entire roster of Marvel VS Capcom and play it for free on your PC.
There are a number of "problems" with MUGEN. First of all, there's no such thing as a legit copy. Every copy out there now is based on a time-limited beta or a leaked copy that made it's way onto the internet and various hacked, cracked, or otherwise modified copies of these other versions that have been altered to remove the crippleware functions and add additional functionality. There are a number of projects aiming to duplicate and move beyond the limitations of MUGEN but none of them that I have found have quite achieved the level of success, community support or completeness of MUGEN yet... though they do look promising.
If you want to give MUGEN a try there are 3 things that you need. First is the engine itself and the various configuration files that support it, second are some characters and third are some stages.
The original MUGEN ran at 320 by 240 resolution so the majority of the stages and characters you find will be native to this resolution. Recently however, thanks to some clever modifications of executables this has been doubled to 640 by 480.
The easiest way to get a taste of MUGEN is to download many of the "premade games" you can find floating around various Fan Pages and Torrent Sites but if you want to really get into it here's where to start:
First Get win-mugen_no-limit_2007-10-13_tweaked_hi-res.zip
from the relatively newly formed M.U.G.E.N. wiki. This contains some basic stages and the default "KungFu Man" character and includes support for hi-res stages. Then Get "WinMugen Plus"
. This adds back support for low-res stages. Extract both files to the same folder.
Now Run winmugen.exe from the folder you extracted everything to and you should be able to play with the default KungFuMan Character.
There are many places to find new characters and stages so you can do that yourself but I'll give you a few good places to start.
- http://www.infinitymugenteam.com/ Has a good selection of both characters and stages.
- http://gdgdgdgd.hp.infoseek.co.jp/MUGEN.html Has a crazy Japanese Ronald MacDonald
- http://mugenguild.com/forumx/index.php Has a "Your Releases" and "Found Releases" section that is quite a popular place for people to show off their creations
- http://drinvincible.hp.infoseek.co.jp/ has a bunch of great Hi-Res Guilty Gear Characters
When you find a character it will most likely be in a compressed file. You will extract the contained files to a folder with that characters name as a sub-folder to the chars folder and then edit the select.def file to add the character to your roster. (Use the included KFM folder and entries as an example, the text files are documented)
If that doesn't make sense to you I'm sure there are a number of tutorials available all over the Internet but I didn't use them so I'll let you find them for yourself.