Reikai Doushi

Reikai Doushi

An obscure Japanese fighting game predating Street Fighter II, in which an unnamed priest must cleanse the world of numerous ghosts. It is the first game to use digitized sprites (and the first to use the art of claymation) for its characters.


Reikai Doushi: Chinese Exorcist (the title loosely translated to "Spiritual Guardian") is a 2D fantasy fighting game developed and released by Home Data for arcades in Japan on September 1988. It received a limited release outside of Japan as The Last Apostle Puppetshow.

Made by a company better known for erotic mahjong arcade games at the time, Reikai Doushi is known for being the first fighting game to use claymation (as well as the first to use digitized sprites in general). Players control an unnamed Taoist priest as he makes his way up a mountain near Beijing, battling numerous wandering ghosts of Chinese folklore.


The game uses a three-button configuration, two for attacks (Punch and Kick) and one for jumping. The upper part of the joystick, rather than being used for jumping like in most other fighting games, is instead used for upper attacks.

Rather than standard rounds, the game uses a life-based system where players start with multiple lives and can earn more through higher scores. Unlike most other fighting games, simply depleting their enemy's vitality (or "Power") is not enough to finish the round and players must instead decapitate their opponent by performing certain attacks to the head while avoiding being decapitated themselves.

The game also includes a bird that flies overhead that drops a scroll (holy cross in the Last Apostle version) that provides either a a power-up (red/white, gives 50% Power), bonus points (yellow) or a power-down (black, depletes 50% Power).

While the game has multiplayer, it does not include any player-vs.-player component and players instead alternate single-player fights between lives.


The game includes eight stages, each with their own opponent. Each opponent has their own unique gimmicks and have alternate names in the Last Apostle version.

  1. Xiǎo Māo Xióng / Cat Zombie
  2. Yáng Guì Fēi / Xi Tai Hou
  3. Máo Zé Xī / Mao Chin
  4. Jiǎng Jiè Yán / Dwarf Wizard
  5. Sì Zāng Fǎ Shī / Mummy Zombie
  6. Chéng Jí Sī Hán (Genghis Khan) / Stone Fly
  7. Yáng Guì Pó / Necromancer
  8. Qín Shǐ Huáng Dì (Emperor Qin Shi Huang) / King Zombie