Fighting Force is a dream come true for addicts of the old 16, and even 8-bit horizontal beat-’em-ups, Double Dragon, Renegade and Streets of Rage.What it has successfully managed to do is take the essential ingredients of all those addictive two-player games and put them through the 3-D mixer.
What Core Design has ended up with is a fully-immersive 3-D slaughter-fest that allows two players to work in tandem against an army of dark-suited Men In Black types, street punks and other assorted weirdoes in an attempt to defeat the infamous megalomaniac Dr Zeng.
The game ethic is frighteningly simple – choose one or two of the four main characters: Mace Daniels, Hawk Manson, Ben ‘Smasher’ Jackson and Alana McKendrick (each of which has their own strengths and weaknesses, depicted by size and agility), and kick the crap out of literally everything and anything you come across. This includes the unbridled satisfaction of destroying parked vehicles, building contents and virtually anything else which looks moveable.
VIOLENCE IS GOLDEN
After smashing a car to pieces you can then use tyres and engine parts to knock out swarming enemies. Throw something accurately enough and you can take out two or three at a time! One of the most impressive aspects (and satisfying) is the manner by which enemies can be dealt with in the two player mode. One player can grab hold of a floundering goon while the other gives him or her a real going over – excellent stuff.
The sheer freedom that players are allowed is admirable too. Suppose one player needs to go in an opposite direction to the other in order to grab a weapon, you can zoom the view out by pressing one of the shoulder buttons so that both players remain on-screen at the same time. It would have been better if the CPU compensated for this automatically, but it isn’t too intrusive on the gameplay. Often the computer will automatically move the player(s) on to the next section if everything has been completed and at certain points in the game. You come to a junction (usually after a skirmish with one of the six main bosses) and must choose which level to go to next. This increases the replay value and means that on any subsequent games you can try a different direction. In total there are eight actionpacked levels broken down into 25 stages. Each one is relatively short, but quite tough (even on the medium level), especially in the single player mode.
IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!
Although each character has more slick moves than John Travolta, they’re very easy to pull off, and are more suited to the fouron- one attacks that regularly occur.Who wants to attempt a 25-button combo when enemies are coming at you thick and fast from every angle anyway?
Weapons are liberally scattered around each level, but if you look carefully enough, you’ll come across more impressive pick-ups, including shot-guns and rocket launchers to name but a few. If you fancy a bit of one-on-one, there are eight special Tekken-style arenas which pop-up as bonuses after every completed level, which is a fun alternative to the endless slaughter!
Some people will undoubtedly claim that Fighting Force is too simplistic and repetitive, but they’re missing the point. It’s a well-crafted translation of the highly addictive originals mentioned earlier, and plays extremely smoothly. The conversion to 3-D has been as seamless as is possible and more importantly, works well. After a while, it does become repetitive, but you still keep coming back for more – it just feels so right and the learning curve (thanks to good AI) is spot on. All in all a great game.