the phenomenal success of the adventures of Lara Croft in Tomb
Raider, Core Design are continuing to broaden their horizons as they
take on the heavyweights of the beat-em-up genre with their new 3D
arcade-style fighting game, Fighting Force.
We follow the exploits of the four main characters, Mace Daniels,
Hawk Manson, Ben (Smasher) Jackson and Alana McKendrick as they
fight their way through approximately seven action packed levels
which break down into around 25 awesome stages. The levels range
from office buildings and trains, to flying airships and secret
It is a few years past the Millennium and Dr Dex Zeng is
infuriated. As a former high powered Government Agent with his nose
in many areas, as well as a renowned radical scientist and professor
in Theology, Dr Dex Zeng truly believed the end of the world would
come by the year 2000. Events occurring toward the turn of the
century confirmed to Dr. Zeng that the year 2000 would bring the
Armageddon. The signs were clear!
Zeng was so sure, in fact, that he even convinced many of his
ex-employees that this was fact and they helped him prepare for this
almighty conclusion. A man of great wealth, Dr. Dex Zeng is in fact
Dr. Timothy Leary a biological scientist. Zeng is like a better
functioning idiot savant. He is brilliant in what he does. He sets
his mind to a goal and achieves it - no matter what.
Over the years, Zeng has developed a megalomaniacal complex that
many suspect may have been caused by the use of synthetic drugs he's
made for the government and tested on himself and other family
members. Like the few megalomaniacs in history, he actually thinks
he is the keeper of the earth. The Father Nature. The Chosen One. He
feels that anyone in his presence should bow before him as though he
were a God.
Well in the year 2000, his years of perpetuations of the coming of
the end drew close and when the millennium hit us at 12:01 am
January 1, 2000..... nothing happened! Filled with outrage
intensified by the millions of party-goers and rioters that surround
him, Dr Dex Zeng insists that something went wrong. He knows from
his years and years of reading, teaching and hypothesizing that it
was supposed to happen. Fortunately, Dr Zeng had a plan in case
something like this did happen. He is prepared to fix the Apocalypse
- to force it - to correct the malfunction. And the scary part is
that he is one of the very few who can make it happen!
Dr Zeng now believes that it is his job, at any cost - to end the
world. With the help of biological warfare devices and several
militant followers, as well as his connections in the Underground,
it shouldn't be difficult. But, one of Dr. Zeng's lab assistants,
Snapper, decides she can no longer stand this man's corruption and
calls on a friend for help in stopping him. With this act she helps
bring together what will be known as one of the most volatile teams
ever created! IT'S TIME TO END ----- THE END OF THE WORLD
Forces gameplay lies somewhere between Tekken 2 and Die Hard Arcade,
except that the characters are placed in a complete 3D world that
enables them to walk around and explore, using and abusing
surrounding objects at will. A two player back to back mode will
also be included so you can take a mate along to watch your rear.
Fighting Force allows the players freedom of movement within its 3D
worlds which vary in size from a small elevator to a park the size
of a football pitch. Choose your own destiny by selecting which
route you want to take through the game. Play it again and you can
take a different route, exploring new areas not previously seen.
to live in a world of polygons where everything is prim and proper.
Fighting Force looks gorgeous and the level of detail is remarkable.
All of the characters, both heroes and villains, have their own
individual look. The forceful four are dressed for the street and
ready to rumble. Hawk struts around with his sleeveless shirt
hanging loose flashing his muscular physique while Ben (Smasher)
Jackson only just fits inside his clothes due to the sheer size of
his frame. The black leather clad gals hide behind an image of
sweetness and beauty but this will fool no-one when the action gets
The enemies appear in many guises. Bouncers move out from the
darkness wearing black tuxedos and dicky bow ties, street gangs hide
behind Friday the 13th masks and leather clad bikers stroll around
on their highly polished machines. I specially liked the idea that
every enemy has a name which is displayed on screen while you kick
the crap out of them.
The interactive scenery is accurately portrayed. In the very first
level you can kick shit out of a patrol car which rocks and sways on
it's suspension as you get the boot in. After much pounding the
bodywork begins to show scratches and dents, then the windscreen
will shatter before finally the wheels fall off and the entire car
falls apart. Emergency fire boxes can be smashed open to reveal
vicious looking axes while down on the subway trains roll alongside
the platform at a regularity that I have never experienced.
Each strike on your opponent will see blood spurt in the air while
performing a special attack shows a light blue trail to give the
effect of speed. Explosions have been well handled as they light up
the surrounding area with an almighty flash. Anyone too close to the
point of detonation will be hurled back by the blast, crashing into
anything or anyone who happens to have been standing behind you.
This can greatly reduce your health which is displayed permanently
at the top of the screen.
is little to no speech during Fighting Force but there are plenty of
grunts and groans to be heard when fighting is in progress.
Explosions are handled well, as are the accurate sounds of the
weapons. Gunshots are loud and sharp, breaking glass is crisp and
clear while the rocket launchers leave a ringing noise in your ears.
I cannot remember anything about the in-game music, so I guess it's
hardly worth mentioning.
loading up Fighting Force you are faced with an option screen that
allows you to choose the difficulty setting from easy to hard, make
adjustments to the sound and configure your controller. Your
progress may be saved on a memory card although previous levels will
be overwritten. Core had intended to include a two player head to
head mode within an enclosed arena but this does not appear to have
made the final code. There is however a two player option where you
can team up with a mate and fight off the enemies back to back. Both
characters are displayed on one screen and although this can be a
little restricting it generally works quite well. The game is Analog
compatible and I would recommend that you use the new pad if you own
one as it complements the game.
I was looking forward to playing the complete version of Fighting
Force after playing a short demo some weeks ago. These were
obviously the two opening levels, not too tough, not too rough. In
fact a rather tasty introduction to a game that looked like it could
grow into something very nice indeed.
Before the action begins you must select your fighter. Each of the
four main characters have attributes that enable them to perform
specific tasks or gain access to areas that the others cannot reach.
They each have their own character-specific special moves and are
all capable of using weapons.
Mace is one hot woman with a taste for blood as well as desire.
She's the one who teases and taunts you just before she takes you
out. Mace Daniels has heard of Dr Zeng through Snapper and can't
believe what she's hearing. She never thought of Dr Zeng as
dangerous but then again, she hasn't exactly been paying attention
to him. She believes the freaked-out Snapper and sees this as an
opportunity to get some of the things she loves most - danger, fame,
fortune and men. Mace is beautiful - kinda' like a La Femme Nikita.
She's not brash or loud or annoying. She would purr to her assailant
rather than say,"Hey punk!" Mace is a woman aware of her
sexual magnetism. This, coupled with her array of martial arts and
weaponry skills, makes her a fighter that men as well as women envy.
An aggro vigilante now, Hawk Manson once was a freedom fighter for
all the social wrongs in the world. Well, nice guys finish last and
Hawk decided to let the weak be weak and the strong be strong. He
has run into Mace several times and though the two are acquainted,
they have never spent any real time together. Hawk has seen Mace
fight and this is the one thing that stirs him inside like nothing
else. Hawk has better things to do and when Mace contacts him by
attacking and pinning him down just before he turns her over to take
her on, she smiles a sexy smile and tells him that she needs his
help. Hmm, there's some sort of chemistry here, but both are too
headstrong and stubborn to admit it. Hawk has several jobs at any
given time, but he takes on this job because it is the first job in
a long time that is tinged with a bit of 'goodness'. Hawk is an
optimist deep down and wants to help fight the good fight. This is
Alana Mc Kendrick is a raver. She spends her nights dancing away
and most of her days with little sleep while she goes to school. The
semester is over and Alana is raging at all the cool warehouse
parties where she hangs with her friends. Alana has special powers
and though she rarely uses them in her day to day life, Alana has
been planning on putting an end to Dr Zeng ever since his followers
tried to recruit her. What isn't known to many is that Alana was
kidnapped by Dr Zeng. He had witnessed some of her powers and
decided that she must mother the child of his seed. Luckily she got
away. When Mace comes to her and asks for her help, Alana is
overjoyed. A little too overjoyed. Mace wonders if Alana, at her
young age, really understands how dangerous this is. Believe me,
Alana knows. It's just not her style to get serious until she's
kicking ass and believe me, she will crack some heads!
After Hawk Manson agrees on bringing Dr Zeng down, he heads to one
of the world's most dangerous prisons to find Ben (Smasher) Jackson.
Ben Jackson has been serving multiple life sentences and the prison
is very fond of him. You see, they've been renting Ben Jackson out.
The public doesn't know it, but it cuts down inmate deaths and above
all, it brings the prison a wad of money every time he gets sent
out. Ben's super strong powers have been probed by the prison
doctors and none can figure just how they are activated. Many have
speculated that Smasher is not of human race. This has yet to be
proven. The Prison's number one and repeat client of Ben's is Hawk
Manson. Hawk has been bribing the prison for years. He wants Ben to
be set free and made the bargain to contract Ben 15 times. Sorta
like 'Rent to Own'. Hawk is pissed. He's determined to fight this
fight as well as try to break Ben free of his restraints. Only a few
problems: Ben is like a loose cannon. He smashes everything in
Fighting Force is set in a real 3D world therefore the player must
decide which of several routes they must take. Beginning from the
car park you will be confronted by security forces who will attack
you in group force from all angles. Each of the face buttons
implement a move. A single button press will result in your
character throwing a punch, kick, jump or grab while double taps
will expand on the move. Combos are available by pressing multiple
buttons at the same time. The shoulder buttons are used to run and
zoom the camera in and out of the screen. Holding down the run
button while pressing one of the face buttons will launch your
character into the air to perform a flying kick.
If you begin taking too much damage you can check out the
enviroment for interactive objects. Handrails can be ripped from
their posts and used as weapons. Garbage cans may be launched
towards your attacker knocking them flying off their feet. Vehicles
can be trashed then the remains used as weapons. Some enemies carry
firearms which can be knocked from their grasp and fired back at
them. As the game progresses the weapons appears thick and fast,
broken bottles, bazookas, crates, axes, hand grenades, iron bars, in
fact anything may be used that you can get your hands on.
Each level is restricted to a themed zone where boundaries prevent
you from running away from your opponent. Once all of the enemies
have been defeated you may just have time to check out the scenery.
Feel free to kick seven bells out of the vending machine. The
contents can then be used to top up your health. Some containers
hold full health power-ups while others may hide nothing but fresh
Moving on from the Car Park you enter the confined space of an
elevator. It will stop on every floor, the doors open and in charge
four security guys armed to the teeth. They tend to attack you in
turns but if you become surrounded they will all weigh in with a few
Back on the streets the sound of a motor bike can be heard rapidly
approaching. The rider then begins a series of charges and if they
connect your character will be sent sprawling. A well timed blow
will send him hurtling from his vehicle and the resulting explosion
will scatter mechanical parts around the street. These may be
collected and used as weapons against the approaching street gangs.
A short FMV shows a large transportation truck sliding out of
control before grinding to a halt. Out jumps the driver who is one
large mother...... This is the first of many boss characters who
must be defeated. Beat the truck driver and you will be offered a
choice of six routes. The City Park, the City Bronx and the City
Centre have two routes each which eventually lead to either an air
base or submarine base. Depending on your chosen course you will
find a wide range of enemies waiting to ambush you such as killer
vamps, motor cycle gangs, zombies, roller blading babes, soldiers,
snipers and wild dogs. As well as your final confrontation with the
evil Dr Zeng, there will be around 6 main bosses from recharging
cyborgs to flying killer robots.
When first approaching a gang you will be unsure how they will
react. They could stand ground and fight, retreat and regroup or get
scared and run off. You must use different combinations as the
enemies AI will recognize your favorite combo and block it if you
used too often. Unfortunately, as the game progresses you will soon
be able to predict their movements which loses that all important
sound and visual content of Fighting Force cannot be faulted. Each
of the locations are bright and colorful while the characters look
ultra-cool and move around the set with relative ease. If there is a
fault with Fighting Force it is that the gameplay becomes a little
repetitive after several levels. Four of five enemies attack at the
same time, you keep knocking them down until their health runs out
and then four or five more enemies attack at the same time, you keep
knocking them down until their health runs out....... Get the idea.
A very good effort Core, but a little more variation in gameplay
the next time, please.
Force is a cracking idea that just fails to reach that classical
status. The polygon graphics are stunning and should be complimented
and generally this is a worthy effort from Core. You will be
instantly drawn into the gameplay but as the levels move on it
begins to feel more of the same. Don't get me wrong, Fighting Force
is no easy ride, especially when you turn the difficulty setting up
high and the two player mode is excellent short term fun. Perhaps if
they had included more varying enemies like the health recharging
cyborgs and the electro firing security guards it may have made the