Review by vmaranise

"It's fun for a few hours, then you realize it's just an average fighter with the Fight CLub name."

After seeing the movie Fight Club, I became an instant fan. It made me see things a lot differently, and realize how bad our society really is. Fight Club (the movie) was a social commentary on the decay of society, and showed us how we live lives of excess, and how our possessions end up owning us, rather than us owning them. For a movie called Fight Club, it didn't have that much to do with fighting. This is the sole reason it seems strange that someone would make a fighting game off the Fight Club license. It seems as if they decided to use the name to bait people who haven't seen the movie into buying this game.

Those people will probably be happy with their purchase. For all of us that saw the movie and read the book, we will be disappointed, assuming you understand the message, and saw past the violent underground fighting done by a few guys Saturday nights. The game does little to advance the story of Fight Club, especially in the just plain awful Story Mode, that can be beaten in under an hour. My playthrough took me all of 30 minutes.

The Story Mode is a jumbled mess of the movie's story, that looks as if no real though was put into it. There are CG cutscenes at the beginning and end of the game, and that's it. The rest of the story is told through stills, with voice acting that is just bad. To make things worse, the characters look nothing like the movie characters, and do not use the voices of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton from the movie. This just takes away from this already bland game.

Basically, your character is feeling pretty bad, and makes it crystal clear that he'd like to but a bullet in his skull. He discovers fight club, and goes on a quest to meet Tyler Durden, founder of fight club. Now your cookie-cutter character must travel to different fight clubs, looking for Durden. Although there are a few altercations that go on in these locales, every conversation can be summed up as: “I won't tell you anything until you beat me up.” You must then button mash your way through a fight, and repeat for 30 minutes, and guess what your reward is? You unlock Fred Durst. Yes, the guy from Limp Bizkit, possibly the worst “band” of all time. However, some good comes out of this, as you can now beat the crap out of Durst, which is fun for about 10 minutes, and then you realize that every fight is the same.

All the fighters are basically clones of one another, and despite the three fighting styles that each character may have (grappler, brawler, and martial arts), they are pretty much all the same. The fighting engine isn't very fleshed out either, although there are quite a bit of combos, they are all variations of others, and many of the fighters have the same combos. This means a big lack of variety between characters.

The story tries to convey some of the themes from the book/movie, but in the end it just crashes and burns on this area. The fighters talk about the “Project”, more commonly known as Project Mayhem.(This is basically the evolved version of FC, in which the members wreak havoc around town. You have to see the movie/read the book to understand) However, it feels more like it was just thrown in as something that the developers feel had to be done. The bad voice acting and lack of character likenesses makes it seem pointless.

Anyway, it really doesn't matter what fighter or style you choose, because you can just mash the buttons until your controller breaks, and you'll win anytime. This also means that there's no real need to practice your ‘mad skills', because chances are that a newbie will have an equal shot at winning as someone who thought they had mastered a character. It feels pretty bad to think that you're really good, and then realize you'll be even better if you just rape the buttons over and over. You'll totally obliterate any CPU characters if you just run over to them and start whacking on them. Each fighter has two grapples, and that's all. After a certain amount of damage has been dealt, you're bones can be broken, by grappling. Out of all the fighters I've played as, I've seen only two different kinds of bone-crunching maneuvers so far. It's pretty cool to crack your opponents arm at the elbow the 1st couple of times, but after that, it just gets repetitive.

The fighting is pretty true to the film, in the way that it is ultra violent. Each punch sends blood flying, and the stronger attacks splatter blood on the screen. Just like bone-breaking, this is a bit shocking the 1st time, but then it gets old, much like the rest of the game. Various attacks will bruise your opponents, and leave blood on their body, especially their faces. You will see teeth knocked out, blood flying, and some very painful looking fighting.

After you've beaten the lackluster Story Mode in half an hour, you can play arcade, versus, survival, and training. This is a little more fun, because in these modes you can play as all your favorite characters from the movie, not that they look a thing like them. You can even create your own space-monkey, and build him up through a rather shallow interface that allows you to customize him very little. You can then build up his skills in a small number of areas, although they don't seem to make much of a difference to his overall performance. Even if they did, you could just randomly press buttons, and win every time. All the created fighters will end up looking pretty much the same anyway. Once created, you can earn points by fighting in the various modes, to beef up your fighter in a few attributes. The sad thing is that he is still just a clone of all the other fighters.

You can fight in many of the locations from the movie, such as the Paper Street yard, to the office tower that the final scene of the movie took place. It's neat to fight in these areas, but the lack of deep gameplay means that every fight will be just the same. I do enjoy fighting in the venues from the film, though. Some areas have interactive environments, in which you can throw your opponents into another level. However, it feels very forced, because the other fighter has to be standing directly in front of whatever you are trying to smash them through, and the button combo has to be done at the correct time, all in a few seconds. Combine this with a block happy CPU opponent, and you'll find it to be frustrating to try and fling them through the window, or what have you.

I have to say the graphics in this game are pretty damn good. Muscle definition is done very well, you can see each cut in the muscle, and each ‘chunk' in the chubbier fighters. The graphics are all really smooth feeling, and the fighters are strangely shiny. It's kind of weird, because the backgrounds aren't that detailed, but the fighters are very detailed, and super shiny. This may turn some people off, but it all looks really good. Also, the CG scenes are nothing short of beautiful, with disturbingly life-like characters. This is one of the few good things about the game. However, it's not worth buying just to see 2 good-looking CG scenes, and some shiny fighters pummeling each other.

I was pretty disappointed with the overall sound in this game. The Dust Brothers do have a few tracks in the game, but this is accompanied by the likes of Limp Bizkit, with a few other bands. However, the Pixies song “Where is My Mind” was left out for some reason. The big draw of the soundtrack is that FC features custom soundtracks, so you can brawl while listening to your favorite band, which hopefully isn't Limp Bizkit. The game feels weak in other audio aspects as well. It doesn't matter whether you punch or kick your opponent, tackle them, or whatever, all the hit sound effects sound very similar. Another thing that drags down the audio is what happens when you win a fight. Your fighter taunts the opponent, and his mouth moves, but no words come out. It's as if they had to rush the game out the door in time for the release date, leaving out key features, that makes things look bad. The game definitely feels unfinished, and has a lack of polish.

It's disappointing to see my favorite movie/book (Fight Club) in this way. I absolutely love FC, but the game totally goes against the movie, and glorifies the fighting. This is nothing like what the movie describes, which is a mostly anti-consumerism message. This is why it's ironic that a game would be made from the FC license. I really wanted this game to be good, and thought it would be. There was that thought in the back of my mind telling me this game would be bad, and I rented it 1st. I was left with a button-mashing fighter that basically throws the whole premise of the original movie/book out the window. This is why it is disappointing, and will not be enjoyed by fans of the film. There is some mild fun to be had, but the lack of any real depth means the fun wears off quickly.

The biggest draw of the game is obviously the ability to play as the FC characters, and fight in areas seen in the movie. Since this was unfortunately not accompanied by a good fighting engine, the novelty soon wears off. That's what this game is: a novelty. Once you get past the fact that everything is unpolished, unfinished, and just plain mediocre, you realize this is nothing more than an average fighter with the Fight Club name slapped on. I'm not saying it's bad, it's just an average fighting game, that you really need no skill to win at. You will have fun for a few hours, but that's pretty much it.

Pros/Cons

+Finally able to play as the FC characters, and fight in the locales from the movie
+It's kind of fun at 1st
+You can beat up Fred Durst
+Really nice visuals
+You'll enjoy the fighting for a few hours
+If you haven't seen the movie or read the book, you'll like it
+10 year olds who think violence is cool will love this game

-It's nothing more than a button masher
-Only 2 CG scenes in the story mode
-Rest of the story is done by stills
-30 minute story mode
-All the fighters are pretty much the same
-Limp Bizkit has music in the game
-All the modes are generic fighting game modes
-No real fighting engine, a weak combo system, and the same moves for most fighters
-It doesn't matter which fighting style your fighter has, they're all very similar

? Who thought Fight Club would make a good fighter?

Scores:

Gameplay: 5.0/10
Sound: 4.2/10
Graphics: 9.0/10
Story: 2.9/10
Replay Value: 4.5/10
Fun Factor: 5.0/10
Overall: 5.0/10


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 11/28/04


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