Let’s explore the tradition of assists in fighting games
The mechanics of Kameo Fighters are simple and difficult at the same time. It’s easy to explain and understand them as assist characters that appear on the screen, deliver their action, and then wait for you to summon them again. But also, one such assist can be applied to countless in-fight situations, bringing so many opportunities to the player. Add an impressive number of those Kameos plus their various assist moves — the feature is an impressively huge dimension to explore.
This article is not doing the job of teaching you the Kameo mechanics (but sure, we are working on an MK1 Kameo guide for DashFight; stay tuned). Here, we want to deliver more context to the assist idea, highlight similar mechanics in some other fighting games, and perhaps make a general conclusion on whether another game does the assists thing better!
MK1 Kameo Fighters in a nutshell
This is basically an assist for your main character from another MK1 fighter.
Kameo Fighters come in their classic forms and bring their classic moves. It is enough to press one special button to activate their assist. To change the move, you need to combine the assist button with a simple directional input: back/forward and down.
It would be better to consider Mortal Kombat Kameo as an addition to your primary moveset, something you could add freely. The selection of Kameo Fighters is pretty impressive, and each brings their unique things into the fights.
MK1 Kameo Fighters should be chosen wisely, according to your gameplan. Spamming these assists is as bad an idea as spamming anything in fighting games, and in addition to this, there is a meter that has to be replenished for the next usage. The meter is enough to activate two assists one after the other.
As a tool, Mortal Kombat 1 Kameos bring an awesome layer of creativity to the game, and it strictly depends on the player how to use them.
Check out the full list of Kameo Fighters here. The developers give their explanation of Kameo in this video:
Other Fighting games with assists
It’s not difficult to notice this elephant in the room. Basically, this is a feature of tag-team fighting games. There are quite a few awesome titles of this sub-genre, all having their unique aspects. They also may have some variations of the assist mechanic.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
The series is actually pretty big — in terms of numbers (six main games) and in terms of hype in the community. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a relatively old game (from 2011), but it is still present at big esports events, such as Evo 2023.
The main feature of the whole series is to bring together popular characters from Capcom games and Marvel comics. You’ll meet here, for example, Chun-Li from Street Fighter, Jill from Resident Evil, Deadpool, and Wolverine.
Players select three characters for a match and determine each assist will be available for each. The game offers three assists with pretty different effects and one button to activate what you’ve chosen.
This is one of the most beloved titles in the fighting games industry, and also it’s a very unique creative product. The art style is very special, from the visuals to the character design. And the actual fighting mechanics help Skullgirls stand out from the crowd.
Players aren't obliged to have three characters on their teams and can fight with two or one — which become stronger. Even if pro competitors choose three-character teams, having this option is still pretty cool.
Assist-wise, Skullgirls allows players to activate three assist moves with different combinations of Light/Medium/Heavy Punches/Kicks. These options may be quite dangerous.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
It is probably not a good idea to compare DBFZ to UMVC3. Just having the Dragon Ball setting and those amazing characters makes the game so much different. But the assist feature… well, it’s technically the same.
Players have three assists to choose from for every character in their teams (yep, three fighters). Then, in a match, you press the button to activate this move — and should wait for a while before the assist is available again.
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
Like with other crossover games, the selection of characters makes BBTAG quite unique in its sub-genre. Here, we have a mix of personalities from such franchises as BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth, and RWBY. The tag-team game follows this anime style.
A playable team here consists of two characters. The assist system is similar to one in Skullgirls: three possible Partner Skills, which can be activated with special input. The execution is somewhat simpler, though, as there is a dedicated button for assists, and the move changes depending on the simple directional input (yes, like with Kameo in MK1).
We could probably continue this list of fighting games with the assist mechanic, but that’s not the point of the article. These examples reflect the general picture of what other games offer similar to MK1 Kameos.
Is there another Mortal Kombat game with assists?
Yes, it’s Mortal Kombat 11.
Surprised? Don’t be! The game doesn’t have anything of that sort in its primary, multiplayer mode. But you could have assists in the single-player Tower fights by selecting an assist in the consumable screen.
It was rather a small feature, but it might give a good idea to developers.
Did Another Game Do This Better?
The main difference with MK1 Kameo Assists is that you don’t have to choose only one move for your Kameo Fighter to bring to the stage. In combination with directional input, these assist moves change, bringing more complexity but also more freedom to your matches.
There is obviously no switching between team characters in Mortal Kombat 1; it’s not your tag-team game. This makes the title very special in the fighting genre. That’s why rating the assist feature feels somewhat inappropriate.
Calling for Kameo fighters in MK1 has the same input as in BBTAG, but the games have very (very!) different aesthetics.
This could be said about Skullgirls too. In this game, the input is substantially different.
DBFZ and UMVC3 have only one selected assist for a match, which may be simpler to execute. But at the same time, players are limited to that one move only.
Mortal Kombat 1 is brave enough to change its in-series rules and traditions of the sub-genre. This is really great! No, there is no other game that did the assist feature better.
But what do you think? What is your best “variation” of in-fight assists?
For some practical info on the game, check out the MK1 guides section on DashFight — for example, this one, on Fengjian Village Mesa in the Invasions mode.