FIGHT TO WIN or DIE TRYING!
Since the release of Sega's Virtua Fighter, fighting gamers have been obsessed with finding the perfect 3D fighter. Hundreds of great titles have been released for arcade and home machines but very few for the PC. We all know what our PC's can do and should do. Fortunately, in 1995, Argonaut software, through GTE Entertainment, released their 3D fighting debut: FXFighter. It won numerous awards for being the greatest PC-Fighter of all time. But now in 1996 the girls and boys at Argonaut really have a challenge at hand. Dedicated PC-gamers have watched impatiently as Battle Arena Toshiden, Virtua Fighter II, Tekken 2 and many other games for the Sony Playstation and the Sega Saturn have stunned the fighters market with their phenomenal texture mapped, motion capture, 3D fighters. Now it's time to put some of those beauties to the test on a PC with Argonaut's latest release, FXFighter Turbo.
It all began with the Cadre. They are a mysterious organization devoted to science and funding their research by selling their deadly creations to the highest bidder. They created the deadly planetoid Anarchis, a fierce battle station. As a fail-safe system, a huge thought-controlled computer was built into the planetoid which would only respond to the captain. Their next project was to combine the abilities of several races with mechanical, electronic, and organic sub-systems, to create the ultimate soldier: Rygil. To the dread of the Cadre, something went awry; Rygil became self aware, stole the planetoid Anarchis, and traveled the universe to satisfy his dark goal of conquest.
One by one, he challenged the planets of the Aycul Region to hand to hand competition. The winner would take Anarchis from Rygil as his reward, and the losers would watch as their planet was destroyed from space. All the great warriors were defeated and the captured races were forced to fight each other, Rygil and any new challengers over and over. Years of hard work and determination by the Cadre finally produced a better fighter, Kwando. The masters of science sent Kwando to fight Rygil and destroy Anarchis. Along the way, the new super android met up with Linna, one of the high commanders of the Dhotis forces. She managed to avoid the destruction of her planet and watched in horror as her entire race was destroyed. Now, seeking revenge, Linna and Kwando seek out Rygil planning to rescue the captured warriors and finally defeat the all powerful Rygil in a battle to the end...
Setting up the game was a breeze. I put the CD in the computer, clicked a few buttons, and in moments I was kicking alien ass! (Actually they were kicking mine).
FXFighter Turbo has some wonderful new 'adds' that fans of the original will be pleased to hear about. First of all, in addition to the two new characters, there are new moves and combos for each character. The creators also added a 'Bloodlust Move' which is a Super Move that's easy to perform and a treat to watch. Another add is the random character selection -- A '?' in the area where you select your character. The Windows95 HELP menu for the game will give you a list of all the character's moves and combos, so don't worry about having to figure everything out the first time around
Players can choose from several modes of play with three game speeds. There's tournament play, where you and seven of your closest friends can bludgeon each other into the ground. An Endurance Mode was also added so now you have the option of choosing multiple characters with a friend for a good old fashioned beating! And of course, one player tournament or two player challenge. There are eleven different arenas in FXFighter Turbo and you also have the option of fighting as Rygil. Lastly, Players should be happy to hear that FXFighter Turbo is open to online combat. So after you've beaten the game and you need some organic competition, go online and pummel those nobodies away!
The graphics in the game were a bit disappointing. After reviewing Cyber Gladiators and being amazed at that texture mapped marvel, I expected a lot from the FXFighter team. There are a lot of changes since the old version, but not enough to break today's standards. Another disappointment was the 256 color mode, which is a real pain for someone whose computer runs on 16 bit color. When I install new software, I want it to adjust to my system, not the other way around! (I'm praying to find a patch on-line that will eliminate the nuisance.)
Although the installation guide does say that it runs with S3D Accelerator Cards, I have to wonder how much better it could be with the limitation of 256 colors still there. I had been playing Tekken 2 on the Sony Playstation the day before and I was so overcome by the realism and combo system of the game, that I wound up shutting off FXFighter Turbo for an entire three days to get my fill of the 3D Playstation God!
The music was also no thrill. The tracks from the old game have been revamped and although I was kinda' getting into it, my roommate walked in and said, 'What's that cheezy 80's techno you're listening to?' I thought about it for a second and decided, 'Shit, I must have been having some kind of flashback!!!'
Overall, I have to admit, despite the disappointing graphics and the 80's techno, FXFighter Turbo is really a great game. When you sit down and get into it, it can become quite addicting. The motion video cut scenes are well done and the vocal commentaries from the 'computer referee' and other characters are great. Watching the movements of the characters was the most pleasing aspect, as it should be in a 3D fighter with the given credentials. After the closing animation, you'll also find a nice treat: the programmers, actors, and animators from the company are revealed in a pretty funny closing video. I say that if you enjoyed the first FXFighter, you'll more than likely enjoy the Turbo version. It is a much better game than the original just don't expect to be swept off your feet by the graphics...