Forced Fight Part Deux
I love my cable TV. How else should I spend my Saturday afternoons when I’m
not playing video games? So, I was watching old Saturday Night Live episodes
on Comedy Central when they had one of those Hans and Frans sketches. You know
— the two Austrian weight lifters that pump iron and hurl insults, “You
puny little girly-man, we’re gonna pump you up.” These two guys are focused
on image, all talk, and at the heart of it, there just isn’t anything there except
a memorable tag line. Segue to Fighting Force 2.
first Fighting Force was a god-awful
game that tried to rejuvenate the button masher days of Final Fight. So,
why is there a sequel? Probably because it sold pretty well.
Well, at least they’ve gone in a new direction for the sequel. It’s only a
one player game this time, and rather than straight button mashing, it’s more
of a third person game like Eidos’ other recent release, Tomb
Raider 4. Plus, your goals are supposedly closer to a those of subversive
tactical mission. Those are some hefty promises of improvement… promises all broken.
Hawk (the hero) is your cookie cutter, dime-store tough dude. He’s back from
the first game for more freedom-fighting action. Ask me if I care. Lacking anything
that can be called real characterization, Hawk serves no other purpose thanto
be a set of legs kicking at the steady waves of thugs. He also has fists to blow
up insolent office chairs (everything you punch explodes!), and a small arsenal
of weapons to shoot things. Yes, those are the breadth of his attacks. Limited
would be an understatement.
The game opens up with a little background information. Seems like the Knackamiche
Corporation has some sort of evil plan underway. What’s the plan? It’s irrelevant
– the game doesn’t even seem to care. Genetics and human cloning bent to nefarious
deeds, no doubt. After that, you get to see Hawk pumped full of strength enhancing
drugs. Gee whiz, didn’t mommy say steroids were bad?
With the camera behind you like in the Tomb Raider series, you plod
Hawk around the straightforward progression of rooms and doorways. With very little
exploration, you are essentially pointed from one place to the next. In each room
you must push a huge boulder up a hill… err.. I mean, you are damned to kill
all your opponents before you can proceed. After the last one is felled, a key
card is left; use the key card to open the next room and repeat, repeat, repeat
is also a failed attempt to use changing objectives. Let’s say you were a real
spy sent on a covert operation; the details and goals of your mission can change
as you progress. Metal Gear Solid
had a certain subtlety that created the feel of infiltration, coupled with changing
objectives. In comparison, Fighting Force 2 is the proverbial bull in the
china shop. Even when objectives do change, you are still led by the hand to the
next task, and that task is always to just beat up some more guys.
The enemies are morons. Sometimes they’ll just stand there, complacently waiting
for you to make a move. When you fight them, its always the same – a few punches
or kicks, and they topple. There aren’t any actual combos either, just simple
pseudo moves executed by a three button sequence. The times that the enemy does
manage to hit you, it just feels like a cheap smack.
Handguns. Shotguns. Clubs. Grenades. Yes, there’s some weapon variety, but
they all function under to three basic constraints. Shoot it. Whack it. Or throw
it. When a gun is emptied, do you reload? Nope. Hawk throws the gun at the enemy.
Lets just say that Hawk just doesn’t seem like the brightest of boys.
Graphically, there is no prevailing sense of style, and a few problems that
don’t help either. The dreamcast version is nice and sharp, but the textures are
unbelievably bland, and the characters all look primitive and blocky compared
to those in topnotch Dreamcast games. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this was quickly
ported over from the Playstation with few improvements. Warehouses, corporate
offices, boiler rooms – they all look bland and uninspired. The same thing can
be said for the enemies. Other than Hawk, they all look the same. There are also
some clipping issues and problems with the camera in tight corners.
I would like to say something about the music, but there wasn’t any. Not one
note. Not even any environmental noise to speak of. Groans of pain and your standard
chopsocky sound effects comprise the total audio package. [I don’t know what
‘chopsocky’ means, but i like it. ~Ed]
Fighting Force 2 is one game that seriously needs to be pumped up.
While it is actually playable, and an attempt at something different from the
awful first Fighting Force, this game is so boring I can hardly stand it.
There’s no variety in fighting foes. There’s no exploration or depth. If you wondered
why I mentioned Comedy Central in the beginning, it’s because this game is a joke.