Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring is a 3D fighting game released for arcades in 1998 and later ported for the PlayStation in 1999. It was developed by Seiichi Ishii for Dream Factory and published by Squaresoft.
Ehrgeiz met with mixed reviews in the United States and was never released as a Greatest Hits game, thus defining it as a rarity to some.
Ehrgeiz differs from the traditional 3D fighting game because it allows the players to roam freely in the battle arenas. Characters do not always have to be facing each other during a match, but this restricts the camera to a more or less fixed position, zooming in and out with the action, but not tracking around the arena as would be common in most other 2D and 3D fighting games. The fast-paced battle system features arenas with platforms to jump on and backgrounds to interact with. The red stamina bar under the health bar can be consumed to use an alternative fighting style, usually signified by the character glowing red along with drawing out a weapon. With some characters, the bar can help them exert more power, and in one or two cases, achieve a transformation.
The PlayStation version features some minigames based on track and field events and one bases on the board game Othello. It also features a quest mode in which the player fights through dungeons finding items such as armor, weapons, and spells.
- Ken "Godhand" Mishima - A barehanded brawler nicknamed Godhand for his strength and his arm gun that can shoot blasts. He was once a mercenary working with the mysterious Red Scorpion organization until becoming the head of the Mishima Construction Corp to get the Ehrgeiz sword to gain the power he needs. He lost his right arm during an excavation. His ending is similar to the game opening, being pursued by a car sent by Red Scorpion, as Ken plants a grenade on the car's pursuer and it explodes. Inside the black smoke Ken leaves the premises before being caught. Ken's fighting style is Mishima-ryu karate, inspired by the Mishima fighters from the Tekken series, and his unique ability has him shoot lightning blasters from his right arm gun and planting a grenade on his opponent. During charge, he can shoot his arm gun three times.
- Han Daehan - A Taekwondo practitioner and a movie star who possesses a prosthetic leg concealing a homing missile. His mission is to find his lost leg. He is the only character to have two endings. In the bad ending, Han watches the view as he sheds a tear over his lost leg. In the good ending, after retrieving his lost leg from Red Scorpion, he softly kicks his artificial leg and leaves it to rust. Han's fighting style is Taekwondo and his unique ability is to shoot homing missiles from his artificial leg. During charge, he can shoot the missiles twice to deal critical damage to his opponent.
- Prince Doza also known as Prince Naseem - A prince from an unknown country who is a master of Muay Thai. In his ending, he shows he is practicing his moves with the sandbag before being knocked off, sending him flying through the boxing ring, falling unconscious. Doza's fighting style is Muay Thai and his unique ability is to shoot a Rocket Fist on his opponent. During charge, he can shoot the Rocket Fist twice.
- Yoko "Yoyo Yoko" Kishibojin - A high school student and a police officer from ICPO often called Yoyo Yoko for bringing a yoyo to work. She is the estranged daughter from the protagonist of Forsaken Dungeon, Koji Masuda, and an unnamed woman who is a practitioner of Kishinbojin-ryu ju-jutsu. She is the main heroine of the series. After her parents divorced, Yoko was raised by her mother and trained in Kishinbojin-ryu. As a high school student she takes part in the ICPO, and receives the letter from her estranged father. Koji tells her to investigate its suspicious activities within the Ehrgeiz tournament, as the ICPO also assigns her to the same mission. Her ending is actually canon, and she retrieves the Ehrgeiz sword after defeating Red Scorpion. She is later cornered by Inoba who wields the giant axe. When Inoba is left hanging on a ledge during their confrontation, Yoko taunts him. Yoko's unique ability is to ensnare her opponent with her yoyo. During charge, she can spin her yoyo in a rainbow fashion to hit her opponent three times.
- Lee Shuwen - A kung-fu master from China who exerts his chi to such a high degree he can reverse his aging. Lee's fighting style is Chinese kenpo and his unique ability has him wielding a long spear, as either he stabs or slashes his opponent for critical damage. During charge, he can stab and slash his opponent with his spear twice.
- Sasuke - A masked ninja who has a mysterious connection to the lost sword Ehrgeiz. In his ending, he is meditating in his home before he displays his kodachi. His fighting style is kenjutsu (sword techniques) as he slashes his opponent either once or thrice. His unique ability is to throw a glowing blue shuriken and a smoke bomb. During charge, he can throw a glowing red shuriken twice for critical damage.
- Dasher Inoba - A professional wrestler whose hulking body hides a tactical grappler. He is a disciple to Karl Schneider, the founder of the Ehrgeiz Championship Tournament. In both Jo and Yoko's endings, Inoba is a recurring enemy who wields a giant axe. In his own ending, he eats his special ramen. Inoba's fighting style is pro wrestling and his only unique ability has him Power Bomb his opponent for critical damage. It has a poor recovery time when his opponent dodges, tiring him out from dashing.
- "Wolf Girl" Jo - A runaway girl who can transform into a wolf. She is the sole survivor of an Amazon plane crash when she was a baby and was raised by wolves. When Jo saw her wolf family killed by hunters, she begins to hate humans. When she was recruited and taken in by the Red Scorpion organization, she became a mercenary despite her hatred towards people like her. One of the members of the Red Scorpion organization named her Jo. In her ending, she fights the train engineers in the train as Inoba shows up wielding his axe. Inoba cuts the rope, causing the logs to fall into the edge including the train engineers as Jo hops the ropes to safety, but ends up crashing onto the wall. Jo's fighting style is Capoeira and her unique ability is to transform into a wolf girl, which limits her to attacking; her attacks are the same as Django's.
- Koji Masuda (PlayStation version only) - A main protagonist of the Forsaken Dungeon story along with his student Clair Andrews, an archaeologist who is searching for the Ehrgeiz sword. He is the current three-time reigning Ehrgeiz champion and the estranged father of Yoko "Yoyo Yoko" Kishibojin. He sends the letter to his estranged daughter to investigate the activities of the Ehrgeiz tournament, but is later unaware that his daughter carries the Ehrgeiz sword after she defeats Red Scorpion in her ending. Koji's fighting style is mixed martial arts with assassination techniques and his unique ability is to tackle his opponent to the ground and taking a flurry of punches on them. During charge, he can incapacitate his opponent with his throws by breaking his opponent's legs, arms and neck and stomping his foot down.
- Clair Andrews (PlayStation version only) - A main protagonist of the Forsaken Dungeon story along with Koji Masuda, and an archaeology student under Koji Masuda who is searching for the Ehrgeiz sword. After she is killed in the explosion after she defeats the Guardian Dragon (ガーディアンドラゴン, Gādian Doragon?) (white dragon) and Ark Dragon (アークドラゴン, Āku Doragon?) (black dragon), her teacher Koji seeks a way to revive her by defeating the Phoenix, the final boss of Forsaken Dungeon. Clair is revived with just a Phoenix Down after Koji defeats the Phoenix. Clair's fighting style is Jeet Kune Do, and her unique ability has her wielding a katar similar to Kiros's weapon in Final Fantasy VIII to smack her opponents. During charge, she can spin her katar in a tornado to deal extensive damage.
- Django/Red Scorpion-A gray wolf, Django's fighting style is the same as Jo's wolf form, but he can spin like a spinning spike towards his opponent. His unique ability is to shoot fire blasters from his mouth. During charge, he can shoot fire blasters twice. As Red Scorpion is the final boss, his fighting style remains the same as Django's but can shoot ice blasters instead of fire. The only way to beat him is to stab Red Scorpion with two swords encased within the two boxes. Red Scorpion is the one who made Han gain the artificial leg to retrieve it as well as the Ehrgeiz sword concealed on Red Scorpion's body. When Red Scorpion is defeated by every character it will explode revealing gold coins and Han's right leg as the Ehrgeiz drops on the ground.
Final Fantasy VII characters
- "Guardian" Cloud Strife
- "Summoner" Tifa Lockhart
- Sephiroth (PlayStation version only)
- Vincent Valentine (PlayStation version only)
- Yuffie Kisaragi (PlayStation version only)
- Zack (PlayStation version only)
Connections to the Final Fantasy series
Ehrgeiz's main tie to the Final Fantasy series is the ability to play as a number of characters from Final Fantasy VII. All of them have a Limit Break where they turn red and their power increases. Cloud, Tifa, and Sephiroth are playable immediately, while it is necessary to unlock the rest by beating the game with different characters. The Buster Sword and Masamune can be drawn and wielded in combos, and Yuffie and Vincent have their trademark ranged weapons, but the game relies more on brawling in hand-to-hand (punches and kicks) combat.
Though Red XIII is not in the game, the boss character Django bears resemblance to him in his alternate coloration, while his default color resembles Seto's stone form. Django's moveset also refers to Titan, Hades, Leviathan, Chocobo, Bahamut, Ifrit, Shiva, Phoenix, Bahamut ZERO, Mega Flare, Giga Flare, Knights of the Round, Seto and Nanaki. Ehrgeiz also features music from Final Fantasy VII (arranged by Takayuki Nakamura, composer of all other music in the game). The titular sword Ehrgeiz is said to contain Materia, as well. The Phoenix Down is dropped from the final boss Phoenix inside the Forsaken Dungeon once defeated, the Ark Dragon also appears as a boss within this Quest Mode.
When Ehrgeiz was rereleased with a Square Millennium Collection, the additional merchandise only featured Final Fantasy VII characters and none of the game's originals. The disc features art of Cloud and Sephiroth, and it sold with two figures of Vincent in his two attires.
Ehrgeiz means "ambition" in German.