Clayfighter did manage to become a success
for Interplay, at least enough to release a somewhat improved sequel. The charm doesn't
take long to wear off in the 16-bit era, and it's even more obvious on the N64 after
dealing with Clayfighter 63 1/3. This is an abysmal fighting game, and there's
not much worth discussing beyond that. It's probably the best playing game in the series,
but by the time of release, this one was far outdated and hardly even competitive.
There's little argument that the world needs more Earthworm Jim
titles. Putting the character in a game like this doesn't do much for public relations.
The clay-animated figures don't even look like clay. They look like cheap, rendered
sprites from any other 2-D fighting game out there. They're blurry and pixilated, hardly
feature any animation, and those fierce hits (this is a six-button brawler) simply stall
for a second before the animation can continue.
There's actually a combo system at work amazingly, mimicking that of Killer Instinct.
Michael Buffer calls out the parodied combo counts with perfection. Without memorization,
you can do little besides slapping a few hits together and getting lucky. Collision has
been programmed well enough to call it competent. The fighters come with the usual
pre-requisite set of special moves, and there's little that hasn't been before (and
better) elsewhere. The constantly charging super meter lets you let loose and turn the
match around, at least for what it's worth when you're playing this.
All of this is very difficult to see. This is a depressingly dark game, hiding the
backdrops in a mess of non-detail and other graphical atrocities. Some of the backgrounds
are littered with foreground objects that completely impair your vision. In a weak
attempt, there is some 3-D movement, and it's never very useful unless you want your
opponent to lose you.
There are some things worth mentioning here. Actually, just one
thing. This is a great parody, no question. The "Clayalities" are priceless, and
each character comes with a full roster of them. They're easy to pull off, and if you can
make it through one match, you can pull them off with a guide or FAQ. They're the games
highlight, and they have absolutely nothing to do with making this putrid fighting game
The audio flows right along with the graphics. The aggravating voice samples are simply
overwhelming. They're constant and repeated with every single attack. After a few matches,
its time for a sanity check, for both yourself and the programmers who obviously thought
this was a good idea.
If this is how the first Clayfighter title played, then maybe they were on to
something. With competition like Virtua Fighter 2, Killer Instinct, and
the ever-evolving Street Fighter series, this game had no purpose no matter how
funny it is. If you enjoy parodies, this might provide you with a few moments of laughter.
After that, it's all dissapointment.