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" We'd have more hidden moves and fatalities than anyone had ever dreamed of. "—Developer of Tattoo Assassins. 
The conception began when Data East exec Joe Kaminkow met Bob Gale (the producer of Back to The Future), and was given a script about magic tattoos coming to life and fighting each other. Kaminkow decided to turn the story into a fighting game. He assembled a team of programmers, gave them about half the time usually given to make a game, and set out to cash in on the latest fad.
Unfortunately, the game was developed by Data East's pinball division (now known as Stern Pinball).
The story revolves around the Ink of Ghize, a multi-colored ink that can come alive if applied as a tattoo. However, unless someone has a certain genetic makeup, they are turned into shambling mutants. Koldan, the only member of the Order of Colors’ Color Guard that can use the ink, decides to Take Over the World with a mutant army. The Order of Colors’ leader, Mullah Abba, recruits nine others to use the Ink, only for Koldan to Mind Control them all. Enter
Slash's wife Lyla Blue, who can control any of the assassins.
Gameplay wise... it's Mortal Kombat, only buggier, less visually appealing, virtually characterless, and with fart and diarrhea moves. The game's main feature was the over two thousand finishing moves. Nearly all of them, however, involved things like summoning the DeLorean from Back to The Future, turning someone into a bunless hot dog, or crushing them with a boat. They did have Nudalities... except most of the fighters were men.
Although the game was almost finished, it was ultimately cancelled due to negative tester feedback and fear that it would not be able to compete with other titles of the day, such as Killer Instinct. There was a feature about the game in EGM, but despite this, it was largely forgotten. It has resurfaced mainly as Snark Bait, however.
A hilarious overview of the game can be read here.
This game contains examples of:
- Alliterative Name: Karla Keller, Hannah Hart.
- Artificial Stupidity: Pretty much anyone that’s played this game can tell you it’s entirely possible to just jump kick your way through the whole thing. The AI is really that stupid.
- Creator Breakdown: According to an anonymous developer's account, at one point everyone lost their willingness to continue the project and worked on it only to get it over with. By the time they finished, it was quietly killed.
- Dummied Out: Going through the sound test reveals that many recorded voice clips for specific characters have not been used, to the point that some characters borrow lines from other characters as opposed to things that they would actually say.
- Fake Difficulty: The four bosses have their animations play at double speed, so their wake-up is nearly instantaneous.
- Finishing Move: Over two thousand of them. (Although, only about thirty or so are actually lethal.) To clarify: Each character had two to four unique finishing moves. All characters also had access to a communal pot of finishers, most of which involved stupid crap like falling DeLoreans or turning the loser into Whistler's Mother. There are also the Nudalities, one per character. The devs calculated the total number of fatalities by multiplying the communal finishers by the number of characters, giving a grossly inflated number.
- Groin Attack: All three female characters castrate Koldan in their Flawless Victory endings. Some of the characters can also do this in game, complete with the opponent's eyes popping out.
- I'm Going To Disneyland!: Karla Keller says this in her ending.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The boss character Deke Cay, who is a zombie. Also A.C. Current, who has electric-based powers.
- Department of Redundancy Department: When you know that AC stands for Alternating Current...
- It Runs on Nonsensoleum
- Multiple Endings: Kinda. Each character has two newspaper clippings: one, which "resolves" their plotline (most of them don't actually match the bios), you get the normal way; the other, which describes the character doing something horible to Koldan, you get by defeating him with a Flawless Victory in the match-point round. Do Well, But Not Perfect if you want the more satisfying conclusion.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mullah Abba, who is supposed to be The Obi-Wan of the game, does this twice before the game even begins. Firstly he tattoos Koldan in an effort to make him into a better bodyguard, only to turn him into a genocidal supervillain instead. Then the Mullah tattoos nine other people in an effort to stop Koldan, only for Koldan to seize control of eight of them and use them for his own ends.
- Obvious Beta: The ROM circling the Internet. It looks pretty much done, with only some glitches and features missing.
- Ripped from the Headlines: There are references to Jeffrey Dahmer, Lorena Bobbitt, and Aldrich Ames, and a whole character based on Nancy Kerrigan.
- Sure Why Not: Subverted. The Nudality was a recurring rumor in the MK fandom which ultimately made it into this game.
- Shout-Out: Even they have it, believe.
- One of the fatalities involves dropping a DeLorean on the enemy. All because the guy who wrote the "story" for the game was the aforementioned screenwriter from Back to The Future.
- Also, another of the finishers is a Shout-Out to Burger Time, an early Data East title.
- Yet another fatality turns the loser into a bunless hot dog. The caption? "I wish I was a..."
- Toilet Humor: You can kill an opponent with flaming diarrhea.
- Totally Radical: What kind of sinister villain uses "NOT!" as a taunt?