By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on October 7, 2016
Aaaaand... we're back! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Big Red Timemachine is once again ready to blast off into the past and relive some of the more glorious moments of gaming. After our last excursion into the past (the details of which Dennis and I both seem to remember quite differently, by the way...), we sat down and had a good discussion about the direction this undertaking needs to take in order to keep getting the results we need. We agreed that Dennis would no longer try to make 'improvements' to MY timemachine without consulting me first, which in turn led to me, promising not to shoot him in the face with a shotgun ever again. Sounds fair, doesn't it?
There was, however, something that bugged the hell out of me since our return. I seemed to have misplaced the one item that kept me reasonably sane for these past few years of time travel. Something very dear to me has somehow gone missing and I can't seem to find it anywhere. And believe me when I say that if I find the one responsible for this heinous crime, he or she is going to pay for it through the nose. "What could be so important?", I hear you ask. Well, my friends, let me enlighten you; it's the one thing that I absolutely cannot live without. The one thing that keeps me sane in this mad world: my vintage 1982 He-man figurine!
Trust me, this guy has been my best friend since those dark days at the start of the 80's and has joined me on every adventure I have ever been on. So to lose it would be devastating! Just thinking about it makes me so mad that I could punch someone really, really hard... Dennis? Why are you cowering in the corner, it's not like you had anything to do with the disappearance of my He-man toy! Or did you...?
Oh well, this will have to be resolved later on, for now, we have a game to look at! And what a game it is. It's a good thing I'm in a hitting mood, because we'll break a lot of noses where we're going! So, all engines check! We're off for 1997, to take a look at a game, developed by Core Design and published by Eidos for the Playstation, the Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows: Fighting Force!
Launched in 1997, Figthing Force put the player in the shoes of one of four heroes; Hawk Manson, a 26-year old ex-freedom fighter. Ben "Smasher" Jackson, a 29-year old rent-a-con, serving multiple life sentences for his numerous crimes, Mace Daniels, a 21 year old female private investigator, who happens to be insanely hot and has a taste for violence and, finally, Alana McKendrick, a 17-year old raver girl that will never walk away from a fight. Together, these four unlikely heroes must stop the evil plans of a mysterious criminal mastermind called Dr. Zeng.
You see, this Dr. Zeng is a bit of a loony. He was so convinced that the world would end in the year 2000 that, when this didn't happen, he insists that something has gone wrong and sets his mind to... wait for it... FIXING THE APOCALYPSE. Yes, dear readers, Dr. Zeng is completely off his rocker and sets out to bring about the end of the world. Naturally, there are a lot of people who'd rather not see him complete this task (for obvious reasons) and our four heroes are called in to stop him and his henchmen (and henchwomen) at all costs.
Fighting Force, as the title might give away, is all about fighting. It is a cool beat-em-up game in which one player, or two if you're playing cooperatively, makes his or her way through waves of enemies while traversing the environments of the game. At first, you start of in a urban setting, but as the game progresses, you will find yourself in a skyscraper, in a shopping mall, on a naval- or airbase, depending on the choice you make, on a giant hovercraft and finally, on Dr. Zeng's island. You will battle a number of different enemy types as you make your way towards your final goal, which you will have to take care of before they take care of you. To this end, you can use your fists and any weapon you may come across, including: bottles, guns, iron bars and, in the case of Ben "Smasher" Jackson, even a car engine that can be thrown at your enemies.
Each of the four characters have their own unique set of pros and cons: Hawk and Mace are the two more rounded characters in terms of gameplay. Ben is strong but slow and Alana is quick but packs way less punch than Ben. When you start your adventure you get to choose from one of the four available characters and keep playing as that character for the duration of the game. If you choose to play cooperatively, a friend can control one of the three remaining characters and the both of you can go up against Dr. Zeng's forces together. Personally, I like the cooperative mode the best, because it's much more fun to crush a lot of skulls when you have a partner to rely on. Besides, beating the living crap out of enemies is always more fun with two, isn't it?
Graphics-wise, Fighting Force looked awesome back then! The characters were richly detailed and the environments were expansive and offered a lot of weapons for you to wield. The soundtrack complemented the fast-paced action and gave the game a frantic edge at times. Although the story is not the best one ever written, it's more than adequate to give your actions purpose and the game a focus point to work towards. So, all in all, Fighting Force is a very good game if you're into beating enemies into a pulp and saving the world in the process. And let's be honest, who among us isn't?
So, that seems to be all the time we have for this week. Make sure to tune in to the next Big Red Timemachine in two weeks, when Dennis will take you on another trip down memory lane. Speaking of Dennis, where the hell did he go to? I'd like to ask him a few questions about my He-man doll and he better have the right answers, or I might just have to go back on the promise I made earlier... now where did I put my shotgun?
Core Design & Eidos Interactive