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October 22 2019

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  Matrimelee - ©Playmore/Noise Factory/Atlus 2003

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

One on one fighting

646 Megs
Japanese Name:

Shin Goketsuji Ichizoku

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
- The King Of Fighters: Maximum Impact (PS2)
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- Neo Geo Fighter Stick For PS2 (Hardware)

Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 2 - by Raiken


After making their first venture into one on one beat 'em ups with the decidedly average (but still great fun) Rage of the Dragons , Noise returns with a sequel to the Power Instinct games, a long running and very popular (at least in Japan) series. Unfairly drowned out by the hype machine that is SNK Vs Capcom, this game has almost been forgotten by a lot of Neo Geo gamers, but is that a good or a bad thing? Let's find out!


Most peoples initial reaction when hearing the name "Matrimelee" is something along the lines of "what the hell is that?". When you know what the name means though, it does make sense. Matrimelee is a combination of the word "matrimony" (as in marriage) and melee (as in a big free for all fight). So, the game is basically a big fight about a marriage... see, I told you it makes sense!

Well, perhaps what I should have said is that the name makes sense as far as things in the world of Power Instinct go. See, this series has a crazy sense of humour, which is something you are either going to love or hate. Did you like Waku Waku 7 as much as I did? (i.e. a lot!) Does the thought of an 80 year old granny throwing her false teeth at you as a projectile attack crack you up? Would a guy wearing a full size dog costume beating the living hell out of someone make you laugh? If you answered "yes" to all those questions, then this is the game for you. If stuff like that isn't really your idea of fun, then I suggest you quit reading this review and go play some Real Bout 2 or King of Fighters, as you will most likely detest Matrimelee... :)

I'm not an expert on the previous Power Instinct games to be honest, but the storyline revolves around a tournament that is held to determine the strongest fighter - that person is then chosen to be the leader of the Gouketsu clan. However, the tournament in Matrimelee is being held to find a person to marry the next successor to the throne: Princess Sissy. Whoever wins the tournament gets her hand in marriage. Most of the characters have joined the tournament for their own reasons though, for example to prove how strong they are etc... you know, the usual stuff :-)

Overall, the storyline to Matrimelee may seem very strange indeed, especially to someone that is not familiar with the Power Instinct series, but that is actually part of the fun!

Game System:

The Matrimelee system isn't massively different to any other fighting game (did you expect it to be?), but there are a few things that you need to know:

Button Setup:

The button setup in Matrimelee is the same as in Rage of the Dragons; A and B are used for weak punch and kick respectively, while C and D are used for fierce punch and kick. Pressing C+D together initiates a knock down attack, while down and C+D makes your character perform a launch attack that hits your opponent up into the air. If you press the buttons while blocking, you will counter your opponents move and send them flying across the screen, but this will consume one of your stress meter stocks (see below).


All characters can run by tapping forwards twice, or dash back by pressing back twice.


You can perform a forwards or backwards evasive roll by pressing towards and A+B or back and A+B. If you get knocked over you can also do a safety roll by pressing A+B as you hit the floor. This will preserve the red part of your energy bar (see below).

Stress Meter:

The power gauge in Matrimelee works a little different than most other fighting games. Instead of building up when you attack your opponent, it instead builds up when something "stressful" happens to your character... like getting punched in the face for instance, or if your opponent blocks your attack. When the bar fills up you will receive one stress meter stock and your character will unleash a huge wave of energy will knock your opponent down. You can save up to three stress meter stocks, and each character has at least 3 different supers that require a different amount before they can be performed. Taunting also builds up your stress meter - but be careful about doing this because if your opponent does the same you will end up in a bloodline battle (see below).

This system may seem a little weird, but the idea of it is to stop someone totally dominating a fight, and also to discourage "turtling" or constant blocking. The energy wave that can knock you down when someones stress meter fills up can be very annoying (although it doesn't do very much damage), especially when you are trying to go for a combo, but after a while you do get used to it.

Life Bar:

Whenever you take damage, you get left with a small red bit on your energy bar. If you don't get hit for a few seconds, your energy will slowly start to regenerate into this red part. If you fill up a stress meter stock and do the energy wave mentioned above, this will totally regenerate the red part of your energy bar. Take care though - if you get knocked over you will lose the red part of your bar; the only way to protect against this is to do the safety roll as you hit the floor.

Bloodline Battles:

If both characters taunt at the same time, you will enter into a "Bloodline Battle". A TV screen comes down and displays random buttons (A, B, C, D) - you must press these as quickly as possible when they appear, and if you do it faster than your opponent you will hit them.

Throw the Referee!

If you are fighting on a stage with a referee observing the fight, pressing B+C will make your character call him into the foreground. During this time you can actually hit him with your attacks and even send him flying towards your opponent to cause some damage. If you stand behind him and press back/forwards and B+C you will pick him up and use him as a shield for a second, whereas if you stand in front of him and press back/forwards and B+C you will throw him across the screen as a projectile attack! Doing this is very funny, although it never seems to get used all that often.


Matrimelee features a colourful roster of 15 characters, as well as 4 hidden Rage of the Dragons characters (Elias, Jimmy, Jones, Lynn), and one boss, Princess Sissy. All hidden characters are selectable using codes bringing the total number of playable characters to a respectable 20. Sissy is only available in home mode however, she is not playable in the arcade.

Looks different to her appearance in previous P.I. games. Anny is from my native country England, which is cool as it is always nice to see a good British fighter!


Buntaro is a brand new character that wasn't in any of the other P.I. games, and is the older brother of Shintaro, another new character.

Clara looks like a normal(ish) 13 year old girl, but is in fact a witch who gets her power from the wand she carries. She entered the tournament not for the Princess, but because she saw the Prince and wants him instead.

A Chinese Monk, Chinnen seems to have entered the tournament for Princess Sissy, but like many of the characters he may not get exactly what he wants... ;-)


A new character, Hikaru is 13 year old girl who was born into a clan made up of only men. Because of this, she decides to cast aside her gender and joins the tournament to show the world her power. She fights with a cane and is a good character to use.

This dirty old guy joins the tournament as he wants to become king (and of course because he wants the Princesses hand in marriage).

One of the coolest characters in the game and one of my personal favourites. A strange thing about him is that in his artwork his hair is kind of gelled up, whereas his in game sprite has long hair that is worn down. He appears a little older and more mature than in previous Power Instinct games.


A new character, and also a very cool one with some nice looking moves. He only uses his feet to fight (apart from in his level 2 super) as he has injured his arm. I've heard different things about Olof's story, but as far as I know he is a VIP guard that ended up entering the contest to protect the Princess. He also appears to have a very unusual wish should he win the tournament...

One of the most bizarre characters in the game, but very funny all the same. In some of the previous games Poochy was a boy who turned into the dog-like superhero Poochy, but in Matrimelee he is permanently in this dog-like state!

One of the more popular characters in the Power Instinct series, Reiji is pretty much the "Ryu" character of this game and has the standard "shoto" moves (fireball and dragon punch). There is more to him than that however and he has a pretty decent set of moves/combos when you know how. From what I know, Reiji seeks to test his Karate out in the tournament, and it seems that he wants to give The Princess a gift.

A ninja who looks a little bit different than in previous games, as he no longer wears the helmet that he used to have. He's cool, but not really one of my favourite characters.


Another new character - Shintaro is the younger brother of Buntaro. He is a very cool character with some extremely damaging moves, although your timing will need to be quite precise to pull some of them off.

An old lady that throws her dentures at you as a projectile attack! Younger sister of Ume, see below. You can guarantee if someone tries to describe the Power Instinct to someone that has never seen it before, they will mention the dentures attack at some point ;-)

Older sister of Tane, see above. It does look like she is just a pallete swap of her younger sister, but they do actually have some different moves.

White Buffalo (his full name) is a native American who entered the tournament as he wants the Princess to be his bride.

Go to page 2 of the review! (Secret Characters and Stages)

Back to Neo Geo Reviews -->

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