Written on: 07/07/2006 by TOMLEECEE (121 reviews written)
Nice water effects
Graphics are otherwise very basic
Lots of glitches
Hardly any sound whatsoever
Overall air of shoddyness
Here's the deal with Fighting Force. The Knackamiche Corporation has discovered a secret plan by the world's military forces to create a bio-engineered super soldier who will obey orders without question and go into any battle situation without fear. However, where the military abandoned the programme due to widespread outcry about the ethical implications, Knackamiche are prepared to take the baton, re-instate the programme and sell the end product to the highest bidder. Of course, this could be a problem if the 'super soldier' got into the wrong hands
Enter Sci-cops - an elite task force made up of the best agents from Interpol, the FBI and CIA. Learning of Knackamiche's plans to hold an eBay auction for the most powerful army ever seen, Sci-cops swings into action to bring the evil conglomerate down with a thump. The preferred method? Why, Hawk Manson of course.
The sequel to the 1997 PSX and N64 roaming beat 'em up Fighting Force, Fighting Force 2 deviates slightly from its roots in that it is no longer a Streets of Rage type affair, but goes along the more well-trodden path of 3D platformer-cum-fighter. What this entails is taking control of the Sci-cop's toughest agent, Hawk Manson (the only character to return from the original game) and venturing deep into the heart of the Knackamiche Corporation's far-flung installations to disrupt production of the cloned soldiers. Rather than use diplomacy, Sci-cops has instead chosen to send you in with a varied assortment of guns, grenades, knives, sticks and a thesaurus of harsh language. You ain't goin' in there to talk - oh no. You're going in there to kick ass and generally be a pain in the neck.
So off you go, knuckle dusters in place, to deliver a message to the board of directors that the super soldier project is off limits. And you do this, primarily, by wandering around identikit warehouses, beating up identikit henchmen (dressed in brightly coloured lycra, no less) with baseball bats and such like. You collect keys from boxes and fallen enemies in order to progress, and you must access computer systems and pull levers to pass otherwise impassable obstacles like three foot high barriers and conveyor belts. Oh, and there's also a bit of ladder climbing too.
To be blunt, Fighting Force 2 is like a remedial crash course in game design. You wander from room to room, opening doors and collecting the key to the next room and that's it. Occasionally you meet a new goon to kick in, or find a new gun - but generally it's the same thing over and over again. Naturally, once you reach the end of the level (after about 45 minutes of pulling leavers and hammering the punch button) you encounter a 'boss fight' scenario, but if you happen to have enough ammo for your sidearm, you'll down said baddie in mere seconds ready to be whisked off to the next 45 minutes of total boredom.
Fair enough - I wasn't expecting anything spectacular from Fighting Force 2 - I mean, you only have to look at the original to get an idea of what was coming, but this kind of thing isn't really what you should be expecting to play on a 128 bit console that also hosts stuff like Shenmue.
I wouldn't have minded so much about the repetitive game play if it were a really great looking game - but it doesn't even have that going for it. No, Fighting Force 2 looks only marginally better than it's PlayStation counterpart - dodgy, bland textures, minimalist level design, extremely clich d enemies (masked goons, vested goons, uniformed goons etc), more glitches than the Apollo 13 mission and a so much polygon tearing it'd take several thousand sewing kits to rectify. Quite what Core were thinking when they launched Fighting Force 2 is beyond me, but it is nowhere near even approaching the visual standard of most other Dreamcast games out there.
But the lambasting doesn't stop with the appalling visuals - the sound too is worthy of a slating - or rather it would if there were any: there is virtually no sound in Fighting Force 2 whatsoever. Get punched by a goon and there is a groan; hit a goon back and there is a groan (before they fly backwards, Crouching Tiger style and then flash and disappear), and that's pretty much it for your ears. There's no music or any kind of ambience, so if you were simply listening to someone play but not watching the screen, all you'd hear is the same 'door opening then shutting' effect, followed by a few groans, followed by another door, ad nausea.
Of course, all these shortcomings are academic if a game is actually good fun and engaging to play. Fighting Force 2 is (you guessed it), none of these things. There are so many sloppy aspects to the engine it is a mystery how it got through play testing (if indeed there was any at all) - the 'select weapon' button is the same as the 'quick turnaround' button, so whilst you fumble for a gun or a grenade Hawk is continually spinning around on the spot. Likewise, the 'action' button also doubles up as the 'attack' button so if you aren't in the right place when attempting to open something, press something or climb a ladder, Hawk just stands there punching the air (or more annoyingly if you have a gun equipped, firing off valuable rounds into a wall). However, the way the camera occasionally decides to wander off and get stuck in a wall eases the stress because you can't actually see Hawk spinning around or missing ladders. Or, for that matter, being punched from behind by a baddie that just appeared in the corner
There are a few cool things in Fighting Force 2; like the way you can either lob a grenade or roll it along the floor, and the rippling effects on the surface of the (alarmingly numerous) vats of acid but that's about it, sadly.
As a project by a group of students on a computer and videogames course, Fighting Force 2 would undoubtedly be an A+ piece of work; but as a full-blown, on the shelves, full price erm full game well, frankly it's an embarrassment.
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