playstation homepage   Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews



Get your PSX games HERE!

Developer Core Design Options
Distributer Eidos Interactive 1-2 Player
Game Type Scrolling Beat-em-up Memory Card
Review Date November 1997 Analog Compatible
Screenshot No.1
Screenshot No.2
Screenshot No.3 
Setting the Scene
Following 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 islands.

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

Fighting 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.

Oh, 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 hot.

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.

Sounds and Effects
There 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.
On 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 his chance

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 sight.

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 air.

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 blows.

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 surprise element.

Value for Money
The 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.

GRAPHICS: 17/20 Fighting 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 grade.
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 14/20

Get your PSX games HERE!