Review by RollingSkull

"A fair attempt at a semi-3D brawler"

Demolish Fist is a good old fashioned arcade brawler, in the vein of Simpsons and TMNT. However, unlike those classics we look back on with a twinkle in our eye, Demolish Fist uses 3D models for the characters, allowing your protagonists and the enemies to face any direction they choose. This isn't Fighting Force though. The game still plays like its predecessors, it simply has a new gimmick or two. You (And a teammate, preferably) are tasked with getting from point A to point B, with loads of enemies in between. Beatdown ensues. The plot is nonexistant. You simply pick one of four stereotypical brawler characters (All-around guy, tough black guy, bare midriff girl, and awesome looking guy everyone wants to pick. The latter looking almost exactly like Raiden from MGS2.) and hit buttons repeatedly to destroy your opponents. There isn't much depth here, but it is not a bad game.

Graphics:
Very nice 3D models make up the biggest eye catchers of this quarter muncher. There is a wide variety of enemies and levels, and for the most part, they are rendered quite well. The notable exceptions are some of the mutant enemies you face. The game designers simply chose to make the mutants look like generic horror rejects with almost no detail whatsoever. It often seemed like I was being attacked by big blobs of nothingness. Even in this fast-paced game, I could've done with a bit more detail on those guys. However, nearly every other model is very well detailed. I imagine with a few more dollars of playing, one could take a discerning eye to the graphics and find more complaints, but I certainly have none. Every enemy is distinct and well-designed.

Audio:
The music is all but drowned out by fun sounds of beatdown going on in the game. The punches and kicks have a nice sound to them, as do the many weapons, especially the chainsaw. And since beatdown is nearly constant in this game, you will probably never be hearing the music. What I was able to pick up sounded delightfully generic and unoffensive.

Controls:
The control-stick and three-button layout will not confuse anyone. The control-stick moves your character (Far too slow, I might add. Dashing only happens in quick bursts, so your character never gets anywhere fast. That doesn't detract from the game, however, as action is never far away.) while you have buttons for Guard, Punch, and Jump. You can perform special moves, the typical "Attack everyone around you at the cost of some life" move and the Vertigo attack, which I shall discuss later, with combos of those buttons. Block never seemed too useful, as you're very rarely getting attacked from less than 3 directions. Jump is only used for typical jump attacks, but it hardly has the height or the cheesing power it had in Konami's brawlers. Overall, the controls are fine, with only a bit of trouble getting my character situated to attack someone properly without missing by aiming a few degrees off in the wrong direction. Most of the time, your character auto-targets.

Gameplay:
Demolish Fist tries it's best to be a dang good brawler. A huge variety of enemies (From street punks to mutants to freaks in Cupid suits.), along with some crazy bosses ranging from a dominatrix to a mutated freak monster to a Blade wannabe to a martial arts master chick in a pantsuit (The Humvee boss is by far my favorite.), lends the game some spice. You can pick up and throw nearly everything in the environment, and the game provides you with a lot of throwing fodder. In fact, more than once, you'll find that a car filled with enemies will pull on screen (It is fairly large, comes from out of nowhere, and often runs you over for a nominal amount of damage.). The fun thing about that is that after the enemies get out, you can pick up the car with no problem and throw it at its former occupants. Definitely a cool moment. Another one of my favorite moments is where you are assailed by 9 forklifts that attempt to run you over and attack you with their lifters. Quite bizarre, but a lot of fun. One of the game's real lures, and one of your main attacks is Vertigo, where, once you've dealt enough beatdown to fill up your Vertigo meter, you can freeze the game, and your character(s) will dart around the screen at lightning speed, wailing on every foe within reach, requiring you to only pound the attack button with religious fervor. The mode ends, of course, with your character(s) looking cool as the enemies fall to the floor, KOed or simply knocked down depending if they were too tough for your meager button mashing skills. Do not fret, this is also one of your main attacks on bosses, too. They do not get a free ride. However, these cool bits tend to distract the player from the fact that the real meat of the game is not that enticing. Demolish Fist lacks any sort of depth or strategy. There is no dodging enemy attacks since so few enemies telegraph. There are hardly any grabs or throws (None that I could remember being able to repeat, if I saw my character throwing the enemy to begin with.). You can vary your beatdown combos up a bit by substituting Jump in for Attack at certain points in the combo, but that rarely makes your combos more effective. Essentially, the game boils down to a massive quarter-muncher where you charge from enemy group to enemy group, pounding as many as you can (often getting beat up simply from getting swarmed from every direction unless you use the life-cost special a lot, a disadvantage of the 3D approach.), and engaging Vertigo every minute or so to clear the screen. If it weren't for the Vertigo mode, the always interesting bosses (I really thought that Martial Queen Reiko Kannou looked real tough even in a pant suit), and the occasional really cool bits, it would be quite easy to get bored of this game

Overall:
A definite quarter muncher lacking the magic of previous brawlers, I would not encourage you to go out of your way to play this game. However, brawler fans (I know, we can get pretty brawler-starved considering how few have come our way recently) looking to sink their teeth into something new might find something worthwhile here, if only for the cool parts of the game. Be prepared to bring lots of quarters, though. You will have to continue several times to beat this sucker (Not nearly a Metal Slug amount of continuing, but pretty close.). And definitely bring a friend you don't mind having a fun, care-free time beating up thugs and laughing at how you're being attacked by a whip-wielding dominatrix who grinds you beneath her heel when she knocks you down or that the freaks in cupid costumes just burped green gas at you. If you simply take this one as a fun thrill ride, you will probably find a lot of fun to be had here if you don't mind tossing a few quarters away.

Not really helping the ailing cause of the brawler, yet not really hurting it either. Not great, not bad, just fairly good. I give this one a 7/10.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/05/04


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