"You win some, you lose some. (And no, I don't mean contractions.)"

The original Fighter's Destiny was what I would like to fondly deem a 'hot mess'. The game was sloppy, poorly-localized and kind of lethargic in its pacing, but ultimately it was fun to play and that's what matters. It's not a superb fighter by any means, but it got the job done, especially on the fighter-starved N64. Thus, imagine my surprise when I discovered that this game actually received a sequel. Between the middling quality and the decidedly poor sales (around 30000 copies), it seemed like a rather odd license to pick up. Since chances are you haven't played it, the second title hardly saved the Fighter's Destiny trademark from obscurity, and the games have slowly slipped into the cracks ever since. It's a shame, really, because they are genuinely fun and playable games.

Fighter Destiny 2 (missing its contraction due to copyright issues) makes some improvements on its sequel as it rightly should, but all of those improvements really seem to lack significance. The big deal is that the game has finally boosted its pace up from 50 FPS to 60, and though the difference is not game-breaking it is certainly noticeable. The game all-around handles smoother and more quickly, so that it doesn't feel like an anemic polygonal quicksand battler. The graphics and music have received a touch up, as well as a significant extension onto the Master Challenge. Instead of a puny roulette wheel, you now guide your characters across an expansive board-game style playing field where you can not only learn new moves but also improve your stats as well. These new interactive elements do a great deal to make Fighter Destiny 2 a fighter apart from much of the competition.

At the same time, however, it really isn't enough. Between this title and its predecessor, there was not really a huge margin of change. Sure, we got a little aesthetic primping and an improved game mode, but the game at its core has changed VERY little. With most fighting game sequels, the games introduce numerous new characters and add a plethora of new moves to the returners; Fighter Destiny 2, however, is devastatingly lazy in this aspect. The character issue is easily the most crippling in this game. Either the characters are ports from the original game (the likes of which only rank at a surprisingly low four: Mei-Ling, Pierre, Ninja and Abdul) or they are direct ripoffs. Adriana, for instance, has all of the exact same moves as Valerie. The most humiliating thing about this is that these new characters get absolutely NO new moves. Not a one, even in Master Challenge mode. Seriously, what the hell was South Peak thinking? If you're going to create all of two new characters for the sequel to a fighting game (Dixon and Fabien, both of which are unbalancedly powerful by the way) then at the very least you could give them new moves. This is a serious disappointment. There aren't even any new secret characters, except for Cherry, who's just a horribly diluted version of Joker with a few moveset revisions.

With that on the table, Fighter Destiny 2 really offers very little more than its predecessor. The same great gameplay is there, full of innovation and uniqueness. The new character designs, despite having horribly plagiarized moves, are definitely a step up on the boring models of the previous game. And that extra speed in the combat definitely helps. But I've gotta be honest -- there's nothing that makes this game much more appealing than the last. If you own the first game, don't bother with this one, because the new content doesn't justify purchasing another game (though you could probably get both for very cheap these days). If you don't, then definitely pick up this one, because it is an improvement over the first game...however insubstantial.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 05/24/06

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