Fur Fighters: Viggo's Revenge
The Fur Fighters are a highly trained group of animal commandos that years ago dispatched the evil General Viggo, thwarting his plans for world domination. Fast forward many years and the Fur Fighters, led by Roofus the hound, have retired and are living the peaceful life. But all is not well in paradise. Viggo is back and wants to complete his mission to rule the world. Launching an early salvo, Viggo kidnaps the children of our heroic animals, knowing that they would never risk their families' lives even if it meant letting the world rot in Viggo's iron paw.
But if there's one group of super soldiers who won't take Viggo's threats lying down, it's the Fur Fighters. Get ready to dispatch some 12-gauge justice in the wild and wacky world of talking fuzzy animals, stupid stuffed teddy bear assassins and a psychotic white pussycat bent on world domination.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Fur Fighters: Viggo's Revenge is the sequel to what could best be described as a weird, slightly askew romp that took the silly premise of putting cute, cuddly animals in a mercenary-type situation and arming them with modern firepower. Viggo's Revenge is more of the same, only it looks better and plays worse.
Initially, as I started up Fur Fighters, the first thing I noticed was the wacky world in which the game took place. With its vibrant colors and odd, innovative world, it looked like I was going to treat myself to a really fun game. Then I tried to move one of the characters. This could arguably be the worst controller configuration in the history of video games; I gave myself a headache attempting to effectively control the characters. In case you are wondering, yes, there are several configurations to choose from, each one as bad as the next. I finally chose the "advanced 2" setting, which had me looking with the left analog stick and moving my character with the right analog stick. The weapon crosshairs are in sync with the left analog. Here is where it gets really frustrating: you can strafe right or left using the R1 and R2 buttons, the right analog stick AND square and circle buttons. Firing and jumping used the L1 and L2 buttons. Not only were the controls terrible, but as I moved my fuzzy warrior throughout the various stages I would often find myself getting boxed into a corner and not even seeing my assailant. Camera angles jumped and often slowed when turning the characters. As painful as this was, the programmers thankfully installed an auto-aim function; otherwise I never would have been able to shoot anything. Even after several hours of playing, I only found myself getting "moderately" better as I progressed.
I was somewhat intrigued about the plot, so I forced myself to continue not only for me, but also for the kidnapped children. I felt it was my duty as a parent to save as many cute and furry animals as possible. Now here it's important to mention that you can play as six different Fur Fighters, and only the parent of the "found" child can actually rescue the pilfered cub. Example: You're playing as Juliette the cat. Juliette finds a secret room in a high-rise building. Inside is Bubbles, the baby of Rico the penguin. Now Juliette cannot save Bubbles, because each child was taught to listen only to his or her own parent (like it's that easy). So Juliette must go and find one of the many teleporters scattered throughout the level. Each teleporter contains a different Fur Fighter, so Juliette could be in for some serious backtracking since only Rico can save Bubbles. Once you do find a teleporter you take over as the Fur Fighter whose face was on the teleporter (in this case, Rico), then move Rico back to where Bubbles was, and (in a short cut scene) place a rocket backpack on Bubbles, who then proceeds to fly home. Personally, I found this to be quite challenging and the highlight of the game. Often times you had to reenter the level and rescue children that you had missed, due to the inability to backtrack or the basic setup of the level that forced you to reenter.
For a game that is as goofy and kiddie-like as Fur Fighters, I noticed several "adult" in-jokes scattered throughout the game. References like a poster in a travel agency that reads "Come see beautiful Beaver Dam ' before we knock it down and cover it in concrete." Or the coming attractions poster for the video game Resident Weevil. Little blurbs like this are peppered all through the game, and will probably only appeal to fanboys like myself. Additionally, with a game of this nature one would expect that the weapons would be a bit more cartoonish, like pop guns and paint grenades. But no; expect to riddle your opponents with assault rifles, rocket launchers and shotguns. When you shoot the teddy bear soldiers, little clumps of stuffing start flying off. Usually it takes several shots to down an enemy, but you can fire off a headshot occasionally. I was mildly surprised at the somewhat "real" weapons and damage that took place.
As far as the actual Fur Fighters go, each one controls the same but each has a unique ability that undoubtedly comes into play. Roofus the Dog can dig, while Bungalow the kangaroo has leaping ability, and so on and so forth. Each character is unique in style and substance, and they all have unique voices and colorful features. It's a pity that migraines ensue after playing for any length of time.
Fur Fighters has a 2- and 4-player split-screen deathmatch. Sadly, the levels are too big and when you finally do find an opponent, it basically comes down to who can get the auto-aim locked on first. Strafing helps sometimes, but the multiplayer facet is poorly developed as the same control and view concerns come into play.
I must say I really liked the graphics of this game. Bitmapping isn't for everyone, but for those of us who liked the eye candy of Jet Grind Radio, this game is impressive. Characters are bright and clean, and levels are done better then average. I appreciated the attention to detail of the varying environments, including the blowing snow of New Quack City and the strange futuristic caves of Dinotopolis. The game reminded me of those old graphic novels like Bucky O'Hare or Usagi Yojimbo, the samurai rabbit.
It's a shame that the controls are so awful; this game has a lot going for it, including the over-the-top voices. Fur Fighters has impressive voice acting. With the funny comments and accents of the various characters, I found myself chuckling more than once. On the flip side, weapon noises were bland and weak.
If you want to laugh, read the instruction manual. While it contains the standard glossary of video game manuals, it's also littered with funny hidden messages, including one that warns of the dangers of arming your pets.
Fur Fighters starts out with a bang, but then quickly falls to a whimper -- that whimper being the controls. Never in all my life would I have thought it possible to make a game that is so impossible to control with any degree of efficiency. It almost would have been better to have everything else in the game suck, but it doesn't -- there's a fun premise, original characters, good graphics, funny voice acting and controls that can only be described as disgusting. It's really a waste, so with that I'll say don't waste your money.