Fight Club for PS2/Xbox, Review
Fight Club for PS2/Xbox. Review
Publisher: Fox Interactive
Developer: Genuine Games
A few graphical gems;
Nice bone-breaking finishing moves;
Bob's man-boob physics
Generic cast of fighters;
Generic move sets for each one;
Light on modes and other content
A few regular Joe Lunchpails beat each other's brains out for the pure thrill of it. It made for a darn good motion picture, but it's not quite a formula you would think a hit game would be made of. This is far from the only strike against Fight Club, which joins a disturbingly long list of licenses that have been turned into gaming death.
The list of selectable fighters could just as easily be a lineup of the guys working at the neighborhood Jiffy Lube. With no ornate costumes or wild features, they're just a collection of normal dudes. There's no motivation to play as them -- should you be the older guy or the lone Asian? The one exception is Robert Paulson, or Bob as he's called in the game, who retains his comically large bosom and the vocal stylings of Meatloaf. Even Tyler Durden and Jack come off as nobodies, since they look nothing like their actor counterparts, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.
Along with looking like background extras from a better fighting game, these guys couldn't fight their way out of an elementary school playground. Since the game is rooted so strictly in reality, you'll see no special moves and very few cool combos. What is here is overly difficult to control for how simple it is.
Every character uses one of three fighting styles, none of which are all that exciting. Throws (one per character) and counter-attacks are about as fancy as things get. However, if you do a grab when your opponent is nearly defeated, you'll execute a cool bone-break move. Here, you get an x-ray view of the damage you caused. If he's still able to continue after that, he won't be able to use that limb for the rest of the match, but that's a very rare occurrence, negating the novelty slightly. Also, Tao Feng on Xbox did a better job with the injured-limb gimmick.
Few fights go until one person's health bar is totally empty. Most fighters know when they're licked, and will tap out. As rule number three of Fight Club states: "Someone yells 'stop,' goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over." Of course, that makes the ability to continue after being defeated a little suspect, but we all know games don't need to totally stick to the subject matter.
Each stage has a breakthrough environment, but it's doubtful you'll show the initiative to root around to discover them. The environments themselves look great, and are one of the few good points of Fight Club. Even they have their faults, though, as interaction is kept to a minimum. There's just no comparison to the vibrant, variety-rich levels in Def Jam Fight For NY -- which essentially bests this game in every conceivable way.
Story mode is a chance for Fight Club to use its cinematic ties to relive the tale of Tyler Durden. You're a no-name character who wants to join the club. You end up having to fight at every turn and get the runaround looking for the elusive club leader. Your competition, though, is as intimidating as a crossing guard, since -- again -- there is little to distinguish them from the rest.
Getting to the finale is a paltry payoff. The way the conflict between Jack and Tyler is shown is both confusing and ineffective. Adding insult to injury, your reward for beating story mode is unlocking Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst as a playable character -- or should I say his stunt double, since the model lack's Durst's dumpy physical stature.
Arcade mode is just a romp through the rest of the fighters, with a short CG movie being your reward for victory. Multiplayer is a bit more substantial. Using the rudimentary fighter creator, you can bet character development points -- which are used to update your brawler's attributes. Hardcore created characters can be retired if they get too beat up, thus adding an element of risk to each fight. You can also battle online, which would be more impressive if the gameplay was something worth logging on to play.
The presentation of the entire game really missed the mark. There is no mid-match talk, and no real introductions of the combatants. You don't realize how much you miss those little things until they're gone. The soundtrack features Korn, Dust Brothers, and Queens of the Stone Age, but the default setting on music is so low, you'd never notice. Story mode's rapid-fire still renders are a little cheap, and makes this seem like even more of a C-grade game. Perhaps the nicest little addition is blood splattering across the screen during fights.
Fight Club fails both as a supplement to the popular (though five-year old) movie, and as a competent fighting game. The best that can be said is it might get you pumped up to pop in the DVD. The worst-case scenario is that you pick a fight with the game store clerk who let you buy this title, and get your face punched in. Then you'll be stuck with both a black eye and a crummy game.
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