Fighting Force

a game by Core, and Eidos Interactive
Genre: Action
Platforms: PC, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 5 reviews, 8 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 4 votes
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See also: Fighting Force Games
Fighting Force
Fighting Force
Fighting Force
Fighting Force

So why hasn't anyone developed a 3-D, go-anywhere version of Final Fight/Double Dragons yet? ASC Games' Perfect Weapon was a step in the right direction, but its retendered environments were too limiting. Die Hard Arcade was really, really close, but its corridors and rooms didn't give gamers much room to maneuver. Now Core Design, the Unbiased developers behind Tomb Raider, is finally hitting the mark with Fighting Force, a 3-D fighter that lets gamers spread out and kill someone.

The game packs 30 stages in all, which are divided into 10 levels, and it's obvious that these stages are inspired by the Final Fight and Streets of Rage beat-'em-ups. The game begins on a sidewalk alongside a busy street, with your character under attack by suit-wearing goons from all directions. But since the polygonal environment is so expansive, you don't have to wade through the villains in a straight line from one end of the level to the other. You can take the fight out into the road if you want, clambering onto the safety meridian and tossing villains into the paths of speeding cars.

When you get near the exit point of one stage, the computer takes over and runs your character to the next stage of battle. You'll also come across forks in the road in some levels, so you'll have to play through Fighting Force several times before you see all 30 stages. By the end of the game, you'll have battled through an office building, a submarine and a shopping mall flying fortress, among other locales. Some stages-such as the wide-open sidewalk and city park areas-allow more exploration than others, but all levels allow full freedom of movement

But beyond its mere 3-Dness, the coolest thing about Fighting Force is that nearly everything you find can be used as a weapon. See that hot dog cart? Pick it up and crash it down on your enemies. Or smash open that pop machine and use the soda cans inside to K.O. the approaching punks. Fighting Force's levels are so interactive that whatever isn't nailed down can be used against enemies. The game has its share of normal weapons, too, such as knives, guns and missile launchers. But why blast a baddie with a gun when you can chuck a car instead?

Of course, Fighting Force lets you get your knuckles bloody, too. Players can pick one of four characters-two dudes and two babes-to take through the game, and each has more than 40 moves. Most attacks are simple jab-jab-kick combos, but the characters have a few super moves and projectile attacks in their arsenal, too. Best of all, two players can fight alongside each other in true Final Fight form.

Fighting Force is only one of several projects now under way at Core Design (which, considering the mega-success of Tomb Raider, is no doubt just fine with Eidos Interactive, Core's U.S. publisher). Other games in the works include Swagman, Ninja and-of course-Tomb Raider 2. But don't get too excited about playing all these games at once. Core has pushed forward Ninja's release date from August until later in the year so that Fighting Force and Swagman can have their time in the limelight.

  • MANUFACTURER - Core Design
  • THEME - Action
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2

Download Fighting Force

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

You Know Those Tv Sitcoms Where someone will be taking a drink and then their best friend/flatmate/illegitimate lovechild will tell them a piece of surprising news and the drink will then be sprayed from the mouth across the room in a comical fashion? Well it really happened to me the other day. Really. It wasn't a set-up. It wasn't part of an elaborate attempt to convince a female member of the species that I truly was possessed of a GSOH. It was just utterly spontaneous and the studio audience that lives in my head and follows my every move was collapsing in the aisles with laughter. OK, so I guess you had to be there.

I was reading the Fighting Force design document that the PR lady from Core Design had given me over the breakfast table (what she was doing at my breakfast table was anyone's guess), and I had just swigged a mouthful of coffee when I read the following line: "A man of great wealth, the evil Dr Dex Zeng [the main villain of the game] is in fact Dr Timothy Leary." SPLLLTHHHHH!!!

Who?

Timothy Leary? What, the Great Experimenter? The Harvard professor who did a shitload of LSD and Marijuana in the 60s and 70s, was arrested by the US police for being "the most dangerous man in America" (according to Nixon), broke out of jail by fixing the answers to a psychological test that he himself invented in order to get placed in a minimum security prison from where he promptly hopped over the wall, influenced a generation of peaceniks and recently died live on the Internet (well almost - he was going to and had a webcam set up to constantly monitor him, but his actual moment of passing took place away from his computer). The man's a legend. And now he's a villain in a computer game. At least he can't sue.

He can try to blow up the entire world though. Which forms the plot of Core's Fighting Force - the first (as far as I can remember) totally three-dimensional scrolling beat 'em up. By which I mean that you have a character, or characters who have all the fighting versatility of their Tekken counterparts and an environment that's almost as open and free as Tomb Raider.

It's arcade fun in the traditional sense (minus the coin slots, fag-stained carpeting and hordes of 12 year old delinquents "hogging the machines), but with a '90s, polygonal twist. Remember all those side-on fighting games that appeared about six years ago? The ones that involved one or two players steadily progressing along a moving background, fighting off four or five enemies at a time and were usually set in urban hell-holes. Either that or they were licences involving X-Men, Ninja Turtles or Bernard Cribbins (I don't remember that one - Ed). Well, Fighting Force is a three-dimensional version of those.

Places to go, people to kill...

Your mission of destruction takes you to various locales, all set in the kind of near-future urban nightmare that all American cities are inevitably heading towards. And while the game purports to be fully three-dimensional, in truth the levels are a combination of 'total freedom' 360 degree locations and more restricted two-dimensional areas that are viewed in a 3D Tekken-sty\e fashion.

You're probably thinking, "Con! They say three dimensions when in truth they mean only two. Pshaw!" Well first, stop being such a ponce, and second, it's more logical than it sounds. Exterior locations (car parks, normal parks, city streets, air bases, etc) all allow you to wander around at will, dishing out pain from any angle you see fit. Interiors (corridors, office reception areas, train stations, submarines, etc) are naturally restrictive and so the camera stays in just the one axis, zooming in and out where needed but generally forcing you to move in the right direction. After all, when the world's at stake, you don't really want to waste time exploring broom cupboards. Unless it's to use one to split someone's rectum open (er, the broom, not the cupboard).

Each stage is filled with more psychopaths than a News Of The World story about the NHS, and everyone wants to kill you. If they can first take some time to pound your face until it resembles John Merrick, even better. Among the roster of human canaille that you'll be facing are besuited gangster types, baseball batwielding street punks, vampish women carrying Whips (natch), zombies (not real ones, but gang members who fashion themselves after the undead), roller bladers with real blades on their wheels, SAS types, martial artists, jetpack pilots, burly dockworkers (ahem) and motorbike dudes with swords. Of course, there are a fair number of innocent civilians around but that's not your problem. They shouldn't be thick enough to go outside in such a violent world. Scum.

Forget the world

As well as the main game, Core are promising a two (possibly four) player 'arena' mode in the manner of a traditional 3D beat 'em up. A full range of 'combos' and special moves are included in both games, which in essence makes Fighting Force two games in one. Plenty of arenas will be available, but it's up to the player to gain access to them by beating some of the end-of-level guardians in the main game. Which is a nice incentive - make progress in one game and you'll be rewarded in the other. If only all games were so considerate.

Next month: we probe beneath the surface of the game to find out about the characters' fighting abilities, what weapons are on offer and spend some quality time with the programmers, designers and sundry hangers-on. Probably with some silly pictures of the team.

The Characters

MACE DANIELS

a Am I reading too much into this or is Core's character , A profile trying to subtly suggest some kind of lesbian overtones in their newest 'babe' character? I quote verbatim: "Mace is aware of her sexual magnetism, yet she couldn't care less about men. She is always pr* being pursued without giving ANYONE the time of Ll day. This makes her a fighter that men AS WELL AS WOMEN envy" (sic). Is it just me?

Whatever the case, Mace is a pretender to Lara Croft's s 'virtual sex kitten' crown. Vital stats of 38-22-38, an IQ of 200, 21 years old, 126lbs... (I know, I know. Do we need this much information? No, but it's there anyway.) Personally, I can't wait for the 'live' A version of this one.

HAWK MANSON

I hate people like Hawk Manson. I mean, let's take the name for starters. Hawk Manson. How's he expected to survive through life with a name that's such an obvious attempt to be macho? People will laugh at him everywhere he goes. It's like being called Blade or Hunter or Wolf. If we're being honest here, his name should really be Subconscious Compensation For Tiny Penis Manson.

Which also goes to explain his overly muscular physique. Anyone with even half a life wouldn't be able to spend the necessary amount of time at the gym that this guy has without resorting to steroids. Meaning that he's probably never had sex. Ever. And he's got a stupid haircut. (Look who's talking - Ed.) I hate him for no good reason at all, but then I'm irrational like that.

BEN 'SMASHER' JACKSON

Now here's a really dodgy role model to V include in a computer game. Smasher is basically a slave. He's Hawk's personal rent boy. Hired out by a corrupt prison guard, Hawk uses Ben as muscle on big jobs before returning him to his tiny pen to continue travelling the Bourneville Boulevard with his cell mate.

He's also thick as pigshit, which means that rather than engaging enemies with cutting remarks and Wilde-esque witticisms, he prefers to smash things up and then use the remains as weapons. Large trash cans, car engines, small children, large children, school buses full of screaming children that are gradually having their heads crushed under the pressure of his large biceps, etc...

ALANA McKENDRICK

Or Baby Spice. A 17 year old who was subjected to various drug experiments by her father - Dr Zeng!!' The end result of all these hideous drug tests is a rebellious, warehouse party-loving teenager who utterly loathes her parents and firmly believes the world owes her a living. Which just goes to prove that liberal parents are no more effective than conservative ones.

Naturally she's out for revenge, and so when Mace ' calls and says, "Hi Alana? Listen, me and a few buddies are going over to kill your Pop. Fancy tagging along?" she jumps at the chance. And, of course, who better to take into a heavily-armed killer fortress with hundreds of gun-toting villains trying to dismember you at every turn than a teenage girl who's only known special power is the ability to fall instantly in love with any boy-band going?

Pop Quiz: Which Is More Fun- Swingball or chess? If you answered chess, you might as well skip the next four pages. Fighting Force is not for you. Swingball'" fans however, stay tuned - as should anyone who enjoys a bit of good ol" dumb entertainment. This is a beat 'em up game in which you get to smack lots of people right in the chops. A cerebral feast for the intelligentsia it is not. If this upsets you, go away. Go away right now.

Have they gone? Fine. The rest of you: follow me.

Back to the old school

Here's the basic concept behind Fighting Force: take an old-fashioned side-scrolling beat 'em up game of the Streets of Rage variety, and give it a cutting-edge 3D makeover, adding a host of new gameplay elements as you do so. It's surprising no-one's done this on the PC before now: scrolling-n-fighting games have been around ever since Irem's Kung Fu Master first appeared in the video arcades. From 1984, when Kung Fu Master made its debut, they sustained their popularity thanks to successful arcade releases such as Double Dragon, Altered Beast, Final Fight, and Two Crude Dudes - each of which were subsequently translated for consumption in the homes of bloodthirsty Megadrive and SNES owners. Indeed, games of this ilk were a staple of the 16-bit gaming market. Some were a great laugh (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), some were absolutely appalling (Cliffhanger), and some had dwarves and orcs in them and therefore don't really count (Golden Axe).

Like action movies (their closest Hollywood equivalent), scrolling beat 'em ups often stick to a particular formula - an unwritten code of law from which they must not deviate. Fighting Force is no different. Let's pick through those rules right now - and describe the game in more detail as we do so. Kay? Kay?

**The ten laws of scrolling beat 'cm ups **

"The game must feature a group of seasoned fighters, of which one must be a 'big bloke', and another a 'cool' bloke. Women should be extremely attractive, young, and considerably more agile than the male characters (although they may NEVER be physically stronger)."

Well, that all seems to be in order. Check out the panel for more information on the Fighting Force kicking crew.

"The game is not a meaningless series of fight sequences; it is telling a story. A stupid one. Preferably involving an evil overlord and a dastardly scheme."

Well, we've got a cracker here. It's the year 2003, and our heroes are struggling manfully to reach the secret H.Q. of Dr. Dex Zeng, a traditional 'mad scientist' who's planning to bring about the Apocalypse he believes should have rightfully occurred at the turn of the millennium. If he has his way, planet Earth shall burn as its population dies screaming. I blame the parents myself.

Anyway, our heroes are out to stop him. You've got to admire their motivation. If I knew that a crazed megalomaniac with countless millions of dollars at his disposal was hard at work plotting the end of the world as we know it, I'd give up completely, hide under a blankets and whimper tearfully about how cruel and unfair everything is. And the planet would get blown to bits and I'd die. Not so our heroes. They know exactly what to do: seize the rose by the thorns, grit those teeth and roll their sleeves up. "I'll break through his defences and stop him," they must have thought, "even if I have to beat every single one of his henchmen to death with my bare hands." Which brings us to the next given absolute.

"The player(s) must face an apparently endless stream of assailants, each loyal to the overlord's cause."

No kidding. Dr. Dex Zeng's devotees are legion. The press release describes them as "several militant followers," which implies that there are about 100,000 less of them than there actually are. Whatever the difficulty setting, they never stop coming - an unremitting tide of hooligania violentis, each of them doggedly hell-bent on knocking your head off. Imagine strolling into the centre of a National Front rally wearing a T-Shirt with the words 'All White Men Are Poofs' printed on it in bold, black capitals; the ensuing scenes would be strikingly similar to much of Fighting Force.

There's no respite. Enemies continually spill out of doorways, alleyways, subway trains and the back of trucks. They stride towards you with a menacing sense of purpose, clenching their digital buttocks, inwardly chanting a Neanderthal mantra: must hit man hard in face. And not one of them so much as smiles at you.

"Weapons must be made periodically available during the game. Both dedicated hardware (knives) and impromptu weaponry (bottles) are permissible. All such objects must be unusable after six or seven blows."

Now here's an aspect in which Fighting Force scores highly: the sheer variety of things with which you can thrash people senseless is quite unprecedented. There are three whole methods of getting your hands on a maiming tool of some description. The first, and best way is to knock it out of an enemy's hand. Baseball bats, knives and guns are all readily available in this manner; the game should be made compulsory training for all student teachers in South London, where it can be regarded as interactive documentary (although the occasional grenade or rocket launcher might raise an eyebrow).

Your second option is to keep an eye out for nearby 'trackside objects' which could conceivably come in handy. The programmers have included a bewildering number of these: oildrums, crates, suitcases, dustbins, parcels, planks, instance. Start smashing ten bells out of the accursed thing, and the alarm goes off and the windows start to shatter. Really trash it and eventually the wheels fall off - which you can then lob at the enemy. Play as 'big bloke' Smasher and you can even rip the engine out and swing it around. It's also possible to wrench railings from the walls, forming an impromptu baton, and to grab fire axes from emergency boxes.

"The enemies must be incredibly stupid"

Ah. Not so. The bad guys in Fighting Force fearlessly break rank with tradition and actually use their noggins from time to time. Drop a gun and one of them may well pick it up and ventilate your chest with it. They'll also grab discarded knives and baseball bats on occasion. More frightening still, certain attackers sometimes peel away from the main fight and explore the scenery in search of objects to throw at you. Their A.I. routines also stretch to provide them with a kind of collective memory; if you repeatedly favour a move, they'll learn to block it. It's hardly a battle of wits, but it does represent a substantial improvement over yer average piece of cannon fodder.

"The game must be split into multiple stages. Progression will be interspersed with segments in which players are temporarily confined to a limited area until such time as all their attackers have had all traces of shit beaten out of them"

That's true of Fighting Force. The game is staggered (Below) Tee hee. Tee hee hee. Snigger. Chortle. Chuckle. Snigger. (Bottom) The multiple transparency effects lend an air of fragile, eerie beauty to the low-brow brutality of the proceedings. (Bottom left) The one-on-one arena mode enables two overweight, sweaty computer game fans to temporarily don the guise of a pair of lithe, leggy hellcats. across seven levels, which in total are split into around twenty five separate chunks. There's plenty of variety here, even if the settings sound peculiarly familiar. The characters slug it out in the darkened alleyways of the Bronx, in the corridors of a giant office block, through a park, on board a subway train, atop a variety of lifts: indeed, every location you've ever seen in an action movie seems to rear its head at some point in the game.

"The fighting itself must be both simplistic nd repetitive"

Well, yes. Core's initial plan with Fighting Force was to endow each character with as many moves as the characters in say, Tekken. Unfortunately, given the full 3D environment, that's proved impossible (most one-on-one beat em ups, despite their 3D appearance, limit the action itself to a two-dimensional plane). What you're left with is undeniably more complex than the Final Fight school of scrapping, but not light years beyond. If you're good, you'll have learned your chosen character's every move by the end of the second level, so the only thing to look forward to is the ever-changing scenery, the promise of some new weaponry, and a host of unfamiliar enemies. More than enough for some, but those who aren't fans of this kind of caper in the first place are likely to tire of the ensuing repetition before long. But what can Core do? The only solution PC can see to the problem is to introduce a new 'move' for every character at the start of each new level - which would surely urge the player onward.

Still, if you've got an obsessive-compulsive disorder tempered with violent anti-social tendencies, Fighting Force is bliss.

"There must be a two-player option."

Another count on which Fighting Force hits home; not only is the pre-requisite co-operative mode included, there's also a mano-a-mano 'Battle Arena' mode in which you and your bestest pal can punch each other repeatedly around the head face and neck, using one of the four 'good guys', or (depending on your progress through the main game) an 'end of level' boss. It ain't exactly Virtua Fighter 3, but it is a very welcome addition.

"The absurdist nature of the violence must make the player laugh out loud"

Yup. Perhaps we're all sick, but don't you agree that there's something intrinsically hilarious about relentless, merciless physical brutality? If you don't so much as stifle a chuckle when 'Hawk' headbutts a street punk, or suppress a smirk as 'Mace' senselessly murders a pair of couriers with a stolen fire axe, then you're not human. Or inhuman. Whatever.

"One of the characters must have a move whereby (s)he knees an enemy repeatedly in the testicles"

Hey. They haven't let us down.

In conclusion

Fighting Force isn't going to win over anyone who strokes their chin and reads Granta. You will never see it smugly dissected by a panel of self-important tossers on The Late Review. It won't be considered as a pinnacle of artistic endeavour. It is not an Peckinpah-style tribute to the hypnotic and balletic beauty of violence. Nor is it a daring graphic treatise on the nature of man's inhumanity to his fellow man.

No. It's a computer game in which a lot of people get hurt in a variety of entertaining ways, with excellent 3D visuals and a surprising amount of detail. So if you like the sound of that, our advice can be effectively summarised with this pithy, direct epithet: buy it.

Here's that Fighting Force line-up in full:

Mace Daniels

It's probably safe to assume that Mace is no relation to Helen Daniels off Neighbours (who we'd really like to see in a fighting game). She's a 21-year-old hell vixen with an unquenchable thirst for violence. And she's gorgeous. Not a black eye or broken nose in sight. Apparently, when she's not acting as a paid mercenary she earns her living as a private eye.

Some may consider her character profile far-fetched. We couldn't possibly comment.

Hawk Manson

It's probably safe to assume that Hawk is no relation to either Stringfellow Hawk off Airwolf, or Charles Manson off The Late Nineteen Sixties. He's Fighting Force's obligatory 'cool' character, although if you ask me he looks like the kind of brainless beefcake that gets hurled out of windows by women in offensive car advertisements. According to the PR bumph there's some 'chemistry' going on between him and Mace, although I had an eye on him for hours and he didn't so much as goose her.

Alana Mckendrick

It's probably safe to assume that Alana is no relation to Simon McCorkindale off Manimal. If you like characters who kick people a) a lot and b) very quickly indeed, pick her. She performs perhaps the most useful move in the game - a kind spinny flying kick thing that clears the room quicker than an angry wolf at a sophisticated dinner party.

Ben 'Smasher' Jackson

It's probably safe to assume that Ben is not related to Ben the Giant Rat, alluded to in the song 'Ben' by fellow non-relation Michael Jackson off That Notorious Civil Suit Which Was Quickly Settled Out Of Court. He's big, he's burly, he's unlike Liz Hurley. He's better at smashing stuff up than anyone else (hence his nom de scrap), and as is de rigeur for fat videogame characters, he's a bit slow but incredibly strong. His favourite magazine is Bella and he often spends the night down the local docks, swanning around in a great big skirt, holding a handwritten sign that reads "SAILOR'S PLAYTHING- 50p A GO". Honestly. The man's naught but a big hairy jizz jar.

Streets of Rage meets Tekken in this "punks step up to get beat down" brawlfest filled with flailing fists, head-stompin' psychos, and blood-drippin', broken-bottle-wavin' action.

Story Line

The evil crime boss Doctor Zeng is using a new drug called Bio-thene to turn the nation's population into zombies. He's also stolen a new energy source that increases Biothene's potency 1000 times and turns the drug into a powerful fuel. Zeng is rumored to be creating a weapon of apocalyptic proportions, one that will orbit the earth fueled with Biothene and destroy the world on his command. It's up to you stop the madman and save the world.

Fighting Features

Fighting Force features 3D slobber-knockin' fisticuffs at its fiercest. One or two players can enter the fray choosing from four fighters, each possessing their own moves and attributes. Players battle through 10 nonlinear levels consisting of approximately 25 stages from big-city office buildings to flying airships and secret islands. If you and a friend just want to duke it out, there's a Battle Arena mode that resembles the two-player fight at the end of Die Hard Arcade.

Moves and Mayhem

Each character struts the streets with over 50 moves in their repertoire, including devastating combos, throws, and special moves. You'll be able to punch, kick, pull an enemy's jacket down to lock his arms as you pummel him, shoot villains who are already down, and link up with another player to tag team fools. Interactive backgrounds enable you to pick up everything from rocket launchers to hot dog carts, and you can even smack soda machines to get pop bottles that you can use to smash heads.

Hot on the heels of its success with Tomb Raider, Eidos is brewing up another interesting game with a totally different slant. Fighting Force can best be described as a 3D version of Streets of Rage. You command one of four characters as you battle through high rises, city streets, and more while throwing enemies, splitting skulls, and firing weapons like you was straight outta Compton. With great-looking graphics and more than 200 moves per character (including multi-hit combos and, in the two-player mode, the ability to hold enemies while your partner pounds 'em), Fighting Force has the potential to be the best next-gen beat-em-up to hit the shelves this summer. If all goes well, this title could become a force to be reckoned with.

It seems Fighting Force is right on track for an October release. Eidos' fighting game (spotlighted in the July '97 issue of EGM) will feature 3-D fighting similar to Streets of Rage, complete with 40-50 moves per character and a bizzaro madman who plans to feed the world large doses of LSD in hopes of global genocide. With Core Design (Tomb Raider) doing the programming honors, expectations are high.

Overview

Memories, memories, memories. Fighting Force takes me back in time to the 16-bit era where side scrolling beat-'em-ups ran rampant. Great games like Final Fight and such. I spent many an hour bashing heads with the lead pipe and special moves in that game. Now it is the 32-bit era and frankly, I am surprised it took someone this long to release this type of game. The question is whether or not this generation will embrace a brawler like Fighting Force, or did this genre come to an end with the 16-bit systems?

Fighting Force lets you choose four different characters to battle through 3D worlds. You can either play alone or play with a friend to team up and whup some ass. Weapons and hand to hand combat are all abound to help you make it through the seven levels and 22 stages. A lack of action is not a problem with this game.

Gameplay

This game can be best described as a 3D Final Fight. Everything, from the silly names of the opponents to the subway levels, screams Final Fight. This is not bad, because I loved that game. If you have never played it, the object is the same as with Fighting Force. You play as a good guy who is always being harassed by a gang of thugs. Your job is to beat up these thugs by any means possible and progress farther into the level. Once you reach the end of the level, you will see a count of the enemies you got and how much damage you inflicted, and then it is on to the next level. That is about it.

Fighting Force lets you choose from four different characters to play, each with their own unique attributes. Two of the characters are men and two are women. All of the characters have one thing in common: they can bust some serious noggin. They all have standard punches and kicks but each one has unique special moves. Some of the moves are more devastating than others, but also take longer to pull off.

A big part of the game is the various weapons you will find to help your cause. For example, if you beat on the cop car at the beginning of level one, a rocket launcher pops out of the trunk. Pick it up and wait for someone to come attack you, and launch a missile at them. I really enjoyed blasting the van full of bad guys. You will also find night sticks, grenades and pistols. Just about everything that is on the screen can be picked up and used as a weapon also. Throwing tires, engines, trash cans and anything else you find will help keep you alive longer.

The thing I liked most about this game was the freedom you had. You were free to pretty much explore anywhere you wanted. You did run into dead ends and walls quite often, but you could still roam around in a 3D environment, which was quite fun. Also, you were able to interact with the backgrounds and environments by smashing buildings and other objects.

That brings me to the thing that sets this game apart from the older 16-bit titles that share the same game style. Since all of the objects can be interacted with, it is up to you to do so. To be more specific, it was up to you to smash the hell out of everything. At the end of the levels, you receive points for the amount of damage you inflict on your surroundings. As a general rule, it was always good to hit anything that looked like it needed to be broken. If it looked like it was breakable, it probably was.

One thing to be cautious of is the learning curve of the controls. Actually, the controls are easy enough. It is the orientation that takes some time to get used to. Since this is a 3D game, it takes some time to adapt to the different angles and directions. There were numerous occasions where I wanted to do something, but turned the wrong direction. After playing for a bit, it does get easier but it never really becomes second nature. I guess this is an inherent problem with 3D games and having the freedom to move in and out of the screen, but it is still an issue.

The other thing I really did not like about this game was that it became repetitive. It seemed like you were fighting the same guys over and over. Sure, you moved up levels and the bad guys changed between levels, but there was not much variation during levels. I don't want to say that the game gets boring, but once the shine of a new game wore off, it definitely lost some appeal.

Graphics

The graphics in this game are pretty well done. The 3D environment gives you an idea of what is to come in the future. On the flip side, the 3D also reminds you that there will be some adjusting to do to get used to this type of game in 3D. Even though the bad guys did get repetitive, they were still cool-looking and had personality.

Bottom Line

I think the old school gamers will enjoy this game just for the nostalgia of the gameplay. As far as the newer generation gamers, you will have some fun with this title, but you may not find it overly exciting. About the same time you get a handle on the feel of the controls, you will also start to tire of the same old enemies. You could do a lot worse than this game.

Fighting Force is an old-school Streets of Rage-style beat-em-up that'll have PlayStation thugs bashing punks bloody for months to come. If you're down with blasting bad guys and kicking fools in the head, then Fighting Force is just the violent fix you're looking for.

The story is simple: Some psycho named Doctor Zeng is trying to destroy the world, and it's up to you to battle his henchmen--and ultimately Zeng himself--to ensure the safety of mankind. You choose from four characters (including a femme fatale and a vigilante freedom fighter) for one- or two-player chaotic combat. Brawlers can rip railings off the wall to whack enemies, blow up cars, and smack around scum on the subway system. Unfortunately, the two-player game suffers from severe slowdown, and your fighters sometimes get stuck when they wander too far away from each other.

Fighting Force might not be the most cerebral game, but if martial-arts mayhem and mad beat-downs are what you're after in a game, roll with Fighting Force for some pimp-slapping good times.

ProTips:

  • To take out a bunch of enemies at once, run around, then slide into them as they line up to hit you.
  • Throw objects offscreen to kill enemies coming at you.
  • After completing a level, run around the empty stage and collect any power-ups that are still lying around. You'll sometimes find added health that just might make a difference in the next round.
  • While playing as Hawk, 'if you find yourself surrounded by enemies, floor the whole group using your Spin Kick.

Graphics

The detailed 3D environments are packed with interactive items, like soda machines that you can smash for health power-ups, but sometimes buildings and vehicles block your view of the action.

Sound

Gunshots, groans, and the sounds of smacking fists add audio punch to each fight The music should've been hyped up more, though, to match the action on the screen.

Control

Each character has over 20 moves and plenty of weapons at their disposal. But if you're standing by a weapon and try to throw a punch, you'll be in trouble. Instead of throwing a punch, your character will bend down to pick up the weapon and end up getting pummeled.

Fun Factor

Despite its few flaws, Fighting Force delivers the fierce fun and beat-fools-silly action that PlayStation gamers are looking for. Take it for a rumble if you have the guts to bash the bad guys and save the world.

Snapshots and Media

Playstation Screenshots

PC Screenshots

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