More like Forced Fighting...
A few years ago, a couple of tough, streetwise brothers had a smash hit video
game and created a new type of hard hitting action. No, not those wimps Mario
and Luigi, I'm talking about the bad boys of Double Dragon
. When I would
take a break from kicking Akuma's ass, I spent quite a few quarters helping Billy
and Jimmy Lee rescue that girl from the Mad Gear Gang. Fighting Force 64
is the same sort of game, updated for the millenium with full 3D Nintendo graphics.
I know my way around a fighting game and I can "tednuuuugent" with the best of
them, so believe me when I say that this particular "Fighting Force" shouldn't
be out on the street trying to do anything. They certainly shouldn't be taking
on a crime syndicate or an evil madman. They really should have just stayed at
home and ordered pizza.
However, instead of tasty Italian food, these four brawlers just can't wait
to chomp on the evil Dr. Zeng, in what looks to be a candidate for the dumbest
plot of all time. Dr. Zeng, it seems, is out to destroy the Earth, with him on
it, just because it didn't already blow up at the millenium. For some reason,
he has also been able to convince some local militia groups and members of the
"seedy and licentious New York underground" that this is a brilliant plan. Only
his lab assistant, Snapper, seems to feel that there may be some flaws in his
reasoning, so Snapper summons our heroes: the Fighting Force.
Mace Daniels is the sexy, yet aloof private eye. Hawk Mason is certainly ready
for action with his excellent background as "freedom fighter for all the social
wrongs in the world." Yep, all of them. The big bruiser of the team is Ben Jackson,
an homicidal maniac who, for some reason, can be rented out from the local maximum
security prison. Finally, for no explained reason, we have Alana McKendrick, nightclub
party girl, and Dr. Zeng's daughter as well. What a stroke of luck!
The graphics are fairly bland. While the characters look pretty good and there
are no visible polygonal errors, the setting and backgrounds are usually just
boring locations with boring repeated textures and some excuse to fight. And fighting
is exactly what the Fighting Force should avoid at all costs.
of all, the slowdown is unbelievable. You want action? Look elsewhere. Both your
fighter and the enemies just stroll about with quiet equanimity, better suited
to a day in the park than a street brawl. The control and the response are both
terrible, as you wait for the characters to actually do anything. Forget what
I said about the park, this slo-mo game is more reminiscent of fighting underwater.
Now Double Dragon didn't have a very complex fighting system: kick,
kick, punch… punch, punch, throw. But Double Dragon made it fun, and tricky
if you didn't want your enemies to gang up on you. Fighting Force, on the
other hand, reduces this to punch, punch, yawn… kick, kick, snore. This is perhaps
the first fighting game I've played where I would rather avoid the fights. Can't
we all just get along?
The game does have all the additional features of Double Dragon. You
can team up with a friend for some two player "action", and while this is slightly
more fun, it is still a pretty good way to insure that your friend will quickly
get bored and go home. There are also a few objects on each level that you can
break: a car, or a window or a Coke machine. You can pick up weapons and use them
slowly and awkwardly, just like the hand to hand fighting. Not enough to really
help this loser.
Unfortunately, that's just about it for Fighting Force 64: A glass-jawed
contender that loses in the first round thanks to my trusty dragon punch. Don't
waste your money backing this turkey.