Battle Arena Toshinden (known in Japan as both Toushinden and Toh Shin Den) is a 3D fighting game developed by Tamsoft and published by Takara for the Sony PlayStation on January 1, 1995, with a North American release on September 9, 1995 (by SCE America as a launch title) and a European release on September 29, 1995.
One of the progenitors of the polygonal 3D fighting game genre, Battle Arena Toshinden is the first to incorporate side-stepping as a game mechanic, allowing players to use shoulder buttons to dodge projectiles and navigate away from arena edges.
The game's story follows eight of the world's best fighters as they are invited to an ultimate underground tournament (the "Techno-Rage") hosted by a mysterious organization led by the armored warrior Gaia.
Along with multiple sequels and a super-deformed spin-off, the game received three ports (one console, one handheld, and one computer) within a year of its North American release. The game was also digitally re-released by Takara Tomy for PlayStation Network consoles (as a PSone Classics title) in Japan on November 22, 2016 and was included in the PlayStation Classic mini-console.
- The enhanced Sega Saturn version, titled Battle Arena Toshinden Remix, was ported by Takara and published by Sega on November 24, 1995 (in Japan as Toushinden S) and March 27, 1996 (in North America). Along with altered graphics, this version includes a bonus secret boss (the cryptic Cupido) and a story mode.
- The Game Boy version was ported and published by Takara on March 22, 1996 (in Japan as Nettou Toushinden) and November 1996 (in North America) as part of their Nettou series. Simplified for a 2D plane, this version also includes two additional fighters from the original game's sequel (Uranus and an unarmored Gaia) as bosses.
- The MS-DOS PC version was ported by Digital Dialect and published by Playmates for North America on April 22, 1996. It is notable for being one of the first PC games to support 3D accelerator cards and one of the few PC fighting games of the time to support modem-linked multiplayer. This version also includes a hidden guest character (Earthworm Jim).
The original version of Battle Arena Toshinden has eight playable characters from the start and two bosses (who could be unlocked with specific cheat codes). Each port has their own unique secret character.
- Eiji Shinjo - A famed Japanese swordsman searching the world for the whereabouts of his brother. He servers as the series' main protagonist and fights with his signature "White Tiger" sword.
- Kayin Amoh - A Scottish bounty hunter for the criminal underworld who seeks vengeance against the assassin that murdered his father. Fighting with a sword, he shares his moveset with Eiji and is considered Eiji's main rival.
- Sofia - A Russian agent of the KGB who is investigating the mysterious organization hosting the tournament, as it may be linked to her tragic past. She fights with a whip.
- Rungo Iron - An American miner whose discovery of a uranium mine caused the syndicate to kidnap his family, forcing him to participate in the tournament. Massive in size, he fights with a huge iron club.
- Fo Fai - A Chinese serial killer who poses as a harmless old magician, entering the tournament to satisfy his bloodlust. He fights with a pair of iron claws.
- Mondo - A Japanese spy claiming to be a descendant of a famed ninja clan, investigating the mysterious organization hosting the tournament under orders from a rival group. He fights with a spear.
- Duke Rambert - A French knight who seeks the man from the Far East that defeated him. He fights with a longsword.
- Ellis - A cheerful orphan who grew up in the circus as one of the world's best acrobats, seeking to meet her true father. She fights with a pair of daggers.
- Gaia - The leader of the mysterious organization and the sponsor of the tournament, donning heavy mechanized armor and fighting with a large zanbato. He serves as the game's final boss, is playable with a cheat code, and is unlockable in the Saturn version. In the GB version, he has an alternate version based on his sequel appearance as a secret mid-boss.
- Sho Shinjo - The champion of the previous tournament and Eiji's older brother. Fighting with a katana, he shares his moveset with both Eiji and Kayin. He serves as the game's secret final boss, and is fought if players clear the game without using a continue. He is playable with a cheat code and is unlockable in the Saturn version.
- Cupido - A mysterious swordswoman who speaks cryptic messages and fights with a polearm. Exclusive to the Saturn version, she serves as a secret final boss and is fought if players defeat Sho without using a continue. She is unlockable for play.
- Uranus - The sub-boss of the game's sequel. Exclusive to the GB version, she serves as the game's final boss and is playable with a cheat code.