Fighting Force 64


Review by Edward Daltone-Morris



Graphics: 4

Sound: 1

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3


With Tomb Raider, Core Design squeezed the platform genre into a pair of brown hot pants and forced it to take a revolutionary leap forwards. When Fighting Force was first announced for the Playstation in 1997 people wondered if lightening could strike twice. Could they reinvigorate the ailing scrolling beat'em up? Could they release a game that would breathe new life into the formula made popular by Final Fight and Double Dragon?

fightingforce1n64.jpg (43295 bytes)The answer was, of course, a resounding "no." Fighting Force was universally panned for being dull, repetitive and ugly. Imagine the surprise of N64 owners when, two years later, they saw that they were getting a port of the game at a time when Playstation owners were preparing themselves for a sequel. Why bother porting a game that wasn't really very good in the first place? There was no new content added in the two-year time gap. In fact, the only major differences between the two versions seem to be that the N64 suffers some terrible slowdown and is unsurprisingly lacking in the sound department.

Everything about Fighting Force 64 seems dated. The title screen gives you two choices - one to start the game and one to go to the paltry options menu where you can change the difficulty or load a saved state. Assuming you're man (or woman) enough to brave Fighting Force 64 you'll find yourself confronted with four character choices. There are two all-rounders, one (completely useless) strong yet terribly slow character and a quick but fragile woman. If you go for either of the all round characters the chances are that you'll breeze through the game, if you can stay awake that is.

All 25 levels feature hordes of eerily similar looking bad guys waddling towards you with a view to getting beaten up. As your chosen character you'll repeat the same punch or kick combo over and over again until you either loose the will to live or all of your opponents have succumbed to your awfully slow pummelling. For your convenience, this punch-punch-punch or kick-kick-kick action is all you'll really need to get through the game and handily all you have to do is tap either the A or B button. In the event of an emergency holding down the run button and taping A will unleash the least spectacular special move that mankind has ever been witness to. In true scrolling beat'em up fashion this drains a little of your health each time you use it.

In an attempt to get something new into the game the developers have made it so that a press of the Down C button will let you execute a move that involves you hitting whoever is unfortunate enough to be standing behind you at the time. Unfortunately, and quite bizarrely considering the number of unused buttons on the controller, the same button is also used for grappling foes. A lot of the time the game will get confused, so when you want to grab someone you'll often end up punching thin air behind you.

fightingforce2n64.jpg (41580 bytes)There is a plot here, amazingly. It revolves around a man who was terribly disappointed that the world didn't end with the coming of the millennium and as such has taken it upon himself to blow the planet up. With him on it. It would appear that he has enlisted a frightening number of vaguely deformed looking people called Chuck, Psycho, Pale, Tiny or Angel to help him in his task.

Fighting Force 64 didn't look too great when it was first released in 1997 and intervening two years were not kind on it. Characters are blocky and malformed and either move at a curious lethargic pace or suddenly sprint about the screen with limbs flailing. The textures are passable but are often repeated numerous times through out the levels. While the game does offer some large environments for play, with some nice touches like destructible scenery or cars that come crashing through, it does slow down noticeably in two-player mode or when there are a large number of enemies on screen.

The sound is easily the low point of an already flawed package. Sound effects are generic and tinny and few in number whilst the music is all but non-existant. The lack of a decent soundtrack somehow makes playing the game even less interesting.

In the end, it has to be noted that Fighting Force 64 is nowhere near as bad as some of the N64's premier rubbish. Whilst saying that this isn't as wretched as Superman 64, Carmageddon 64 or Nightmare Creatures is hardly high praise you have to take into account that, unlike the previously mentioned games, this is playable to some degree. You can actually get through the first three or so stages before boredom sets in. Thanks to the auto-save feature you aren't faced with the daunting task of having to play through it all in one go and don't have to repeat the early levels every time you turn it on.

However, they are about the only positive points that can be taken from the whole experience. I doubt that many N64 owners would have lamented the loss had this not been ported. For a significantly more exciting experience go and play Die Hard Arcade on the Saturn or indeed Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, Final Fight or any of the other games that this so desperately wants to be.


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Last updated: Friday, May 12, 2006 12:14 AM