Fight For Life


Review by Will Matson



Graphics: 7

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 7

Fight for Life is said to be the last game that Atari did for the short-lived Jaguar. The game is a 3D fighter similar to the Virtua Fighter and Tekken series. It is a good, unique addition to the fighting genre, with just a few flaws. The purpose of the game is your standard fighting game tournament which I won't bother to explain too much here.

All of the selectable characters have died prematurely and are competing in the tournament for a chance to battle the son of the devil (known as Junior) and gain another shot at life. The biggest surprise of the game comes when you beat Junior in 2 out of 3 rounds, it will both shock and frustrate you.

The graphics in Fight for Life are a mixed bag. The fighters look nice, particularly from a close up perspective, they are just a little harder to make out from a distance. Too bad the whole game wasn't from a close up perspective, rather than just the pause screen/replays. The backgrounds are detailed and look vibrant on the Jaguar.

The one drawback in the graphics department is that a lot of colors (particularly those used for the rings) are really bright and tend to clash. The bright colors may bother your eyes a little if you are playing for an extended period of time. The color choices are rather bizarre but otherwise this game looks pretty good, given the time it was released. These graphics are not on par with the Virtua Fighter or Tekken games but they certainly aren't shabby either.

The music in the game is above average, a good hard rock soundtrack. The sound effects of the hits are average fighting game fare and don't stand out. The voices used in the game are decent, as well.

The gameplay is where Fight for Life stands out. The gameplay is different from most other fighting games. It is sometimes quite a chore to try to hit an opposing fighter with an attack. You may occasionally find that you have to try several times just to score a hit on another fighter due to slow movement and awkward camera angles. This translates to long rounds.

Another thing is that each fighter has a long life bar and none of the moves do a significant amount of damage, even the special ones. You have to pound your opponent several times (frequently well over a dozen) just to empty their life bar. Because of these factors, the rounds in Fight for Life are by far the longest I have ever seen in a fighting game, averaging anywhere from two to five minutes depending on your skill. You can end a fight quickly by knocking a fighter into the edge of the ring which results in them being electrocuted and losing the round (loosely based on the Virtua Fighter 'ring outs').

A big positive is that the control is sharp and the special moves are not difficult to do. It is best to use the 6 button pro controller but you can still play the game with the original 3 button controller. On the 3 button controller, some of the functions (additional punches/kicks, dodge/sidestep) are on the Jag's number pad below, which can be inconvenient if you are not used to the pad or game.

Another unique feature is that each time you beat a fighter (two out of three rounds) you get to select two of their special moves to use in future fights. By the end of the game, your fighter will amass over a dozen special moves, which gives you a hefty advantage if you master them. The challenge is fair but not overly hard, as the computer doesn't aggressively go after you like in other fighting games. In this game, the computer plays more of a defensive/counter strategy, which further slows down fights/rounds. The biggest challenge comes on the last fighter, Junior.

Fight for Life is a fine fighting game for the Jaguar, if you can get used to it's slightly unorthodox nature. It is tougher to get into than some fighting games so spend some time with it and I am sure it may grow on you. Fight for Life is worth checking out with another player to provide more variety and better competition.


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Last updated: Friday, December 26, 2003 09:19 PM