Review by JPeeples

"A good idea gone terribly, terribly wrong."

Fighting Force was released in November of 1997 for the Sony Playstation. It was developed by Core Design and distributed by Eidos Interactive (of Tomb Raider fame.) A version of this game was planned for the U.S. Sega Saturn, but was canceled, however, a version was released in the U.K. A version of the game was released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. This game was touted as being a 3-D second-coming of the side-scrolling beat-em-up genre of games, games like Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. This game features 4 characters, 2 males and 2 females for you to play as. This game also features a ton of background interactivity that had never been seen before.

Graphics-7/10- The main characters looked decent enough, they were solidly built without much polygon breakup, their designs were somewhat unique as well. The enemies on the other hand, are a completely different story, many of them look identical with only their names separating them. The backgrounds look great, they are full of interactivity and are nicely detailed.

Pros- Decent character design. Excellent backgrounds.
Cons- The enemies tend to look the same.

Sound-4/10- The in-game music is very generic, it doesn’t get you into the game at all. The sound effects are more of the same, the only time they’re decent is when they involve weapons, however with normal punches and kicks they sound very bland and muffled.

Pros- Weapon sound effects are good.
Cons- Music is too generic. Sound effects sound muffled.

Gamplay-1/10- Normally, I’d love this type of game, I loved the gameplay of Final Fight and Streets of Rage, however they had something this game didn’t; a focused and well developed game engine. This game has a poorly-made, highly unfocused game engine, this game tries to incorporate too many gameplay types, the only problem with it is that it doesn’t do any of them well. The only real bright spot in the gameplay is the aforementioned interactive backgrounds. They are very unique and do add a bit of innovation to the genre. One example of this interaction is kicking a soda machine, you can then drink the soda to regain energy or throw it at your opponent.

Pros- Highly interactive backgrounds.
Cons- Poor, unfocused game engine.

Control-1/10- The control is far too choppy and unresponsive. There’s a good 1/4 second lag between your button press and the on-screen action, there’s no excuse for
that kind of unresponsiveness in a game of this type.

Pros- None.
Cons- Very unresponsive controls.

Story-2/10- A psychotic drug lord has taken over the city, the good guys need to beat him and his band of minions in order to reclaim the city. This type of story has been used in every game in this genre, a little innovation wouldn’t have hurt.

Challenge-1/10- Most of the enemies can be beaten by simply punching and kicking them repeatedly. The bosses aren't too tough, Hell, I beat the final boss only using jump kicks.

Replay Value-1/10- I wouldn’t feel obligated to beat this game once, let alone twice. It’s far too monotonous.

Presentation-5/10- The menus have a nice presentation to them, they are very well laid-out. The character design is nice as well. It’s too bad that the actual game isn’t so well-done.

Overall-3/10- I’m being generous with this score out of respect of what Core was trying to accomplish, their idea was nice in theory, but failed, for the most part in execution. At lease they tried to do something creative, that’s worth something. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this game. The graphics are nice, but that's about it, the rest of the game is pretty sub-par.

Final Thought- This game was a huge disappointment, I came into the game with relatively low expectations, and came out of it with ever lower ones. Fighting Force really needed a few more months of development time. Had this occured, the game may have been what was promised.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 11/07/00, Updated 11/07/00

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