And they don’t live happily ever after…
Do you remember the first time you played Super Mario Brothers? Can you remember the way you felt inside after getting through the first couple of levels, that funny
addiction feeling that made you come back for more, even after you’d beaten it for the umpteenth time? Or Battletoads, when you would run around for hours with your friends trying to fight past every enemy, every boss, and get better every time?
[image1]Good, keep those in mind… now drop them into the toilet and flush. You have just experienced Fairytale Fights. And who would’ve thought a game with “Fights” in the title wouldn’t be a “fighting” game, anyway?
The “story” of Fairytale Fights (which can only be found online… seriously, it’s not even in the booklet) is that four fairytale legends – Little Red Riding Hood, The Naked Emperor, Snow White, and Jack (the one who bought the beanstalk beans) – have lost some of their credibility as heroes (or something like that). So you take control of one of them and go out, ready to save the day and restore their fairytale status. In reality, there is no difference between the “stories” or the characters at all. Everyone plays the same, everyone has the same abilities, and – let’s be perfectly blunt here – there is absolutely no story at all, let alone specific storylines for specific characters.
I really hope this game was pushed onto the back burner for about five years, because it would look questionable even on the original Xbox. Little jagged edges are all over every character, and the generic environments and the same enemies that repeat over and over again a la Streets of Rage or Double Dragon really don’t lend themselves to more than an hour or so of play. And this game goes on for a long while, introducing one new enemy every new chapter you unlock. Just one. And then, that one enemy comes at you in multiple unrelenting waves.
[image2]Whenever you deliver a killing blow with a sharp object (and for some reason the pitchfork), you receive a quick visual of the enemy being cut in half by your final blow. This might have been cool if it wasn’t one of two different stock animations every single time (either cutting them in half from the head down or at the waist). I guess it serves to remind you that you’re killing something, in case you weren’t already aware.
And what do the enemies leave behind? Not their bodies (those disappear immediately), but a volcano of blood which can be used to slide around like a kid in socks on a linoleum floor. There are actually a few Achievements/Trophies that revolve around this, but while it might look like an impressive pool of red after a big fight, the controls which are ironically enough as slippery as a kid in socks on a linoleum floor make it more pain than pleasure. Fairytale Fights is simply plagued by slippery and slow movement controls, which makes jumping a nightmare.
Fighting is regulated to the right analog stick like Too Human, and without any other means of fighting, the four moves get stale quickly. This is even with the array of weapons available, everything from knives and axes, to candy canes, cuckoo clocks, and a variety of similar-handling guns. There’s really no difference between guns, and using different guns don’t really make much of a difference against enemies. Achievements/Trophies are available for killing a certain amount of enemies with a certain type of weapon, but it’s really just a grinding number. And too big of one, if you ask me… you can only look at that little f***ing gingerbread man so many times before you want to take a candy sword to yourself.
[image3]This is especially obvious when it gets to the bosses, which are by far the cheapest I’ve ever encountered. Every one of them seems to follow one rule: You’re supposed to know how to beat them already. They are brutally unforgiving, almost always landing a one-hit kill on you (which is more frustrating than it sounds, even with an infinite life system like the Lego platform games) in a plethora of ways. Eventually, it becomes more of a masochist nightmare than Metal Slug (1, 2, Fire-Knocks-Me-Off-The-Ledge-Anger-Cry), but at least Metal Slug felt as though every life lost was your own fault.
I’ve strained my brain for something good to say about Fairytale Fights, but I don’t have anything. It’s ugly; it’s slippery; all of the enemies blend together because they’re all the frickin’ same… it’s awe-inspiringly bad, really. Not since Superman 64 have I played something this stomach-wrenching, and at least in the end that was funny-horrible. This one skips by funny-horrible and goes right back to bad. I love subjecting my friends and family to some of the worst games I’ve played, but this one will not be shared with anyone (and I’m the guy that enjoyed the Burger King games).