Friday Flyers: Tattoo Assassins (1994)

I know it’s April Fool’s Day but believe it or not this is not a prank. In 1994, screenwriter Bob Gale (Back to the Future I, II, and III) and the head of Data East Pinball (Later Stern Pinball), Joe Kaminkow, got together to try to get a piece of the Mortal Kombat cash cow. The partnership, thankfully, did not bear fruit. Tattoo Assassins was never officially released, due to internal development strife, encroaching deadlines, management issues, and poor player feedback. Though two dozen cabinets were produced for the AMOA (Amusement and Music Operators Association), most were destroyed. Two machines are claimed to have survived and reside in the PAPA (Professional and Amateur Pinball Association) headquarters, though many players have been able to see what would have been thanks to MAME emulators.

Thanks as always to the Arcade Flyer Archive for the scanned flyer you see below.

From the all-knowing Wiki was kind enough to give us this information concerning the characters you would have been able to play:

” * A.C. Current – A cyber mercenary. Wanted by his former employers after an industrial espionage double cross.
* Billy Two Moons – Stereotypical Native American character who is a fugitive from the U.S. government. Surprisingly, Billy Two Moon’s character has been accused of being a copy of Mortal Kombat character Night Wolf (another Native American) even though his character predates that of Night Wolf.
* Deke Kay – A fighting zombie. Sub-boss in the game.
* Derek O’Toole – A rock star. Developed fighting skills after being falsely accused of terrorist activities.
* Hannah Hart – A stripper. Out to avenge her murdered friend.
* Karla Keller – An ice skater. Spoof of Nancy Kerrigan, from appearance to backstory.
* Koldan The Conqueror – A large man with a gloved hand with giant hypodermic needles in the fingers out to create an army of mutants and enslave the human race. The final boss of the game.
* Luke Cord – Former Navy SEAL. Wanted by the CIA due to his knowledge after a compromised operation against the Soviets.
* Maya – Tribal amazon-like character. She is fighting land developers to keep them off of her people’s land.
* Prizm – Light-based crystal monster. Sub-boss in the game.
* Rhina – Creepy looking half-woman, half-rhino creature. Sub-boss in the game.
* Takara “Tak” Hata – Former Yakuza assassin. Wanted by the Yakuza and Japanese police after being framed for murder.
* Truck Davis – Member of a biker gang. Out to avenge the death of the other members.

Two other non-fighter characters that appear in the game’s story are Mullah Abba, the spiritual leader of the Order of Colors who discovered the mysterious ink used by the fighters, and Lyla Blue, a woman who is used as a channel by Mullah Abba to allow the player to control one of the assassins in combat.”

Now…just to prove it was a good thing that this never made it into the wilds of the arcades, please take a couple of minutes and watch the video provided below.


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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