PlayStation – 1997
Developed by Core Design and Published by Eidos Interactive, Fighting Force is a 3D beat’em up, a sort of spiritual success to Streets of Rage. Released in 1997, Fighting Force has you take control of one of four characters to stop the evil Zeng. There’s not really much story. The game has some cutscenes when you travel to a new area but it doesn’t really give you any information. As you’d expect from a beat’em up, each of the four characters have their own stats, from the speedy Alana to the powerhouse Smasher. The game can also be played in co-op with a friend. Graphically, the game looks ok, not terrible but not spectacular either. Some areas, such as the street look good but a lot of the indoor stages look similar, with drab tones. The character models look good but as you’d expect from a PlayStation game, there is texture warping. The soundtrack is forgettable, lacking the explosive beats of Streets of Rage. There are some voice clips but it’s nothing to shout about. Combat can feel fluid in places and sluggish in others. Combos can be pulled off easily but there is sometimes a delay with the button input. This mostly happened when I was trying a running attack. Each button has its own move. For example, O jumps, X punches, Square kicks and Triangle grabs. Grappling in the game is odd as sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t and you won’t really know until you’ve gotten hit. The X button is also used for picking up items, which is a pain especially in levels with items littered everywhere. Like most beat’em ups, you can pick up all manner of items from axes to poles and even guns. Enemies will also have weapons that you can knock out of their hands and take. The levels feature some destroyable environments, from standard crates to drinks machines and even areas where you can get weapons by pulling a bar off the wall. The game isn’t long, with a playthrough taking about 90 minutes but there are some alternative paths to take to try and boost replayability. The levels themselves aren’t as free flowing as other beat’em ups, which each one being a short stage where you’ll have to beat up a few enemies before it ends. It lacks the flow of other games, hampered further by the constant load screens. These occur between stages, cutscenes and even when the stage is simply loading the bosses. The camera for the most part does a decent job but can sometimes swing around to show enemies arriving. It falls apart when it comes to boss fights. In single-player its not so bad but in multi-player it becomes hectic. The camera tries to focus on the boss and as a result if the players go in two different directions, it gets confused as to who to follow. Overall, it’s a decent game that can help waste a bit of time and it did try to pull beat’em ups into 3D but it falls short.