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'Les Miserables': The tale was once a fighting video game in Japan

December 26, 2012|By Patrick Kevin Day

With the film version of "Les Miserables" opening at the top of the Christmas Day box office there's renewed interest in the classic musical around the Internet. This is causing people to discover all kinds of fascinating aspects to "Les Miz" fandom, including the Japanese video game "Arm Joe," a "Street Fighter"-style combat game that was released in 1998.

"Les Miserables" has long been popular in Japan, where Victor Hugo's original novel has been adapted into anime series and specials multiple times and so it's not entirely surprising that a video game version once saw the light. But a fighting game?

Players can choose any number of characters from the story, including Jean Valjean, Javert, Cosette and even Cosette's stuffed animal. Then they can wallop the tar out of one another. Do you hear the people swing? (Yes, actually, you do.)

There are a few liberties taken with the characters, however. No need to look back at Hugo's original novel in search of "Robojean." He was never there.

The game's title is a play on the Japanese name of "Les Miserables," which is "Ah Mujou."

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