What it is

A checkmate in a game like chess or shōgi is achieved when, taken to its logical extent, a game will end with one side losing no matter what they try.

In fighting games, this is a Bad Thing™ from a game design perspective. A player should, in theory, be able to redeem himself from a bad situation if he has sufficient skill; this leads to more exciting, less cheap gameplay.

However, this has its limits, even if the game is perfectly fair; there will basically come some point at which certain special moves and strings and such will be impossible to escape from no matter what one does. This is a checkmate.


In games where checkmates come too easily, the game balance is essentially broken. Souther (particularly against Toki) in Hokuto no Ken, and Muscle Power (against Jeanne d’Arc) in the original World Heroes are textbook examples of checkmateable matchups. The latter case in particular gives Jeanne a ten–zip chance of winning on practically every diagram for the game; Hulk Hog— er, Muscle Power just plain does not have a fair shot at getting past her Flash Sword.

Further reading

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Based off the article on the wiki, edited on or before 5 January 2009.
Unofficial translation published by BRPXQZME / Alfie Parthum 1 February 2009. No unauthorized redistribution permitted.