Obscure Video Games: Cooking Fighter Hao

It’s not your mama’s cooking game

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When you hear the words “cooking game,” your mind probably goes right to the uber-casual Cooking Mama franchise that was huge in the late 2000s. However, years before that in 1998, Nippon Ichi put out its own cooking game for the original PlayStation — Cooking Fighter Hao. This is a completely different experience than what you might expect.

The game plays out sort of like a two-player arena-based fighting game. You and either a friend or CPU opponent run around and try to cut up the assigned meat. These animals include everything from chicken to crab to snapping turtle to horse (as you can see in the GIF). After stunning the animal, you cook the meal by casting a spell on it with a series of button presses. The player who cooks the most meals wins.

This may sound easy, but while you’re trying to stun and cook the animals, there is another player chasing you around who will constantly try to bash you in the head and mess up the cooking process. Your opponent is trying to cook meals of their own, so you have to use your weapon to keep them from being successful too.

There is also a story mode with ridiculous anime-style cutscenes. You and your opponent yell at each other about who’s the best chef and then challenge one another to a cook-off. It’s cute, but for those who don’t read Japanese, it’s not really worth the time.

Overall I’d say that while Cooking Fighter Hao is both interesting and unique, it’s ultimately just not fun enough to be worth a purchase. Fighting game aficionados will be turned off by the simplicity of attacks. Nippon Ichi fans will be shocked at the lack of depth when compared to the Disgaea series.

It’s still way better than Cooking Mama, though.


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