But I wanted to play as a Naked Lara Croft . . .
What do you get when you take Virtua Fighter 2, Fighting Vipers, Virtua Fighter Kids, Virtua Cop 2, Daytona Racing, Sonic Fighter, and various other drug induced hallucinations, throw them in a blender, and hit frappe? Well, besides bits of plastic all over your kitchen, you might end up with Fighters Megamix, the newest fighting game from the people at AM2 and Sega. Never before has a fighting game been this silly. If you thought that Virtua Fighter Kids was a result of a late night party at Sega headquarters, Fighters Megamix is that same party at four twenty the next morning.
Unlike most fighting games where you pick a character, fight every other character, then fight a boss or two, Fighters Megamix has grouped each one player mode by certain attributes. Each time you defeat a group, you release hidden characters or other secrets. When you first play, you have four groups of opponents to choose from: Novice, Virtua Fighter, Vipers, or Girls. All of those categories are fairly self explanatory. After you beat those four, opponents then get grouped by both style of fighting, and how the AI will fight. The next four are: Muscle, Smart Guys, Dirty Fighters, and Bosses. After you beat those four, the last group are all the characters that you have now released. Beat that and your character select screen is complete.
Fighters Megamix essentially has 32 standard characters, each with many of their own moves (Very few Tekken 2 repeated characters here). However, only 22 are able to be played when you initially boot up the game. These 22 characters are all the characters, including the hidden ones, from Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers. As a bonus, the Virtua Fighter 2 characters have been given many of their moves that they have in Virtua Fighter 3. To most of the gaming world, this match-up makes sense, but it doesn't stop there. As you win in the one player mode, new characters are released. Some are from other fighting games, such as 'Kids Akira' and Bark (from the Sonic game), but some are from out of nowhere. Janet, one of the "characters" from Virtua Cop 2 is released, as well as Hornet, a Daytona Race Car. (I won't even talk about the Rent-A-Hero.) Then there is my favorite: a Mexican jumping bean named Deku. But the fun doesn't stop there, that would be too tame. With some secret codes you can be a palm tree, or even a piece of meat. (What did you call me, punk?)
For the first time there exists a fighting game which has no plot, no reason that they have all been brought together, no big bad enemy to defeat, and the fate of the world doesn't hang in the balance. These are just a bunch of characters kicking the crap out of each other for the best reason possible, because they can. On the other hand, try to imagine a plot where you can have a giant duck and an Arab fighting in the same ring together. A plot for this game would rank right up there with Highlander 2 or Howard the Duck.
One of the best parts of Fighters Megamix is the training mode. Yes, you read correctly, the training mode. All the moves for the 22 "normal" fighters are listed. You can choose which move you want to try to do off of that list. Then, if you do it correctly, it will tell you! Wow, what a novel concept! You can easily learn which moves are possible in the game and which are just there for the AI to kick your butt with. However, none of the moves for any of the hidden characters are listed, so you'll just have to find those out on your own.
Before you jump in the air (hang a few seconds) and run down to your local five and dime to buy Fighters Megamix, there is one major drawback to the game. In order to fit all these fighters and their moves, the designers at Sega felt the need to use the Fighting Vipers graphical engine. What an awful mistake that was. The graphics just aren't good enough. Maybe if this game had come out before Virtua Fighter 2 it might have been be acceptable. Unfortunately, we've seen what the Saturn is capable of, and this game just doesn't take advantage of it. The graphics very rarely make this profound a difference in a game, but Fighters Megamix would be one of the best fighting games out there if they had only put it on the Virtua Fighter 2 engine. As it stands, many people take one look at the game and are immediately uninterested. A pity for such a fun game.
Fighters Megamix is a good dose of goofiness in a genre that has been bogged down with seriousness. With a huge number of characters, moves, and surprises, this game should be one of the best fighters of all time. With the Fighting Vipers engine, however, it may just pass in to obscurity as a very good attempt. So if you're tired of all the basic "save-the-world" fighting games, you should take a gander at this game. If, however, you have a problem dealing with reality already, fighting as a kangaroo in a Santa outfit might not help.
Click for Secret Codes, but don't tell anyone.