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SummaryPC Fighting games and their curse, despite good intentions.
The GoodLet's face it: one-on-one fighting games for the PC just plain suck. It's not that the platform can handle them, it's just that the genre doesn't seem to be such a hit on PCs, so nobody really puts any effort on these games. Save for the MK series and the SEGA PC ports we usually have to get by with half-assed ports and that's it. But what about PC-only fighting games?? There's a niche market prime for prospective collectors! Rare and usually rather bad, but always worthy of attention. Well, I guess that pretty much describes FX Fighter...
Developed from an engine demo, FXF is a polygonal fighting game following in the steps of the many Virtua Fighter clones, that is: sure they are 3D but unlike VF they try to be more arcade-oriented and replace style with beat-'em-up action. You still have a ring that counts for win points, but fireballs and 2D mechanics get thrown back into the mix.
There was some sort of storyline that boils down to an intergalactic Street Fighter, where every major planet sends his representative to fight another one in this weird tournament. If you win you can go all the way to the top and become the intergalactic champ. Lose and your planet gets toasted... Fatality!! Definetively something new and original... at least on the PC.
Gameplay follows the standard one-on-one fighting rules, with customizable round times and settings. The game also makes the winning decision to incorporate a selection of great gameplay modes that include arcade, vs and multiplayer tournament mode that's good for parties, definetively a winning addition that most fighting games pass up.
Still, probably the best achievement one can note down for FX is that it does provide a reasonably fast and detailed graphic experience at a time when polygons where still far into the future. Save for the rather crude models and the low resolution the game was a major achievement, with fully textured characters and stages, and all running fast on a 486 computer.
The BadWell, it's nice and all but when judged with all the standards of the genre the game just falls apart. Nevermind the accolades and high scores it originally received, PC gamers (and specially PC magazine reviewers) usually know jackshit about these types of games and will give high scores to just about everything that looks reasonably cool (anyone remember CGW's Rise of the Robots review?). Anyway, the sad truth is that FX Fighter wouldn't last a day in console land.
The gameplay is slow and unexciting, with jerky moves and decidedly unbalanced characters. The moves are unimaginative, as are the characters. In short, FX Fighter might have the looks, but it just doesn't have that "zing" that makes up the gameplay and stylistic core of fighting games...
There's also the stagnant stench of plagiarism in the air, at least to me! You see, I may be alone in this but I find just way too many similarities between FX Fighter and Sunsoft's Galaxy Fight, a very challenging game that had a short life in the arcades but can be found (as every good 2D fighting game out there) ported to the Saturn, and that pits a selection of sci-fi characters to fight each other for the fate of the galaxy. You could go as far as saying that it's a 2D version of FX Fighter, only with more original characters and moves. Heck, it even has pre-fight animations which show the opponent's planet that look exactly like FX's only in 2D...!! Both games came out in 1995 and to be fair I wouldn't know which one came out, but my bet is always with the Japanese on these types of games.
Anyway...say I'm just a paranoid bitch and the characters, moves, setting and everything are original... the gameplay is just not there.
The Bottom LineAveragely good fighting game for the PC, which translates to a decent but below-par effort when faced with the rest of the world.
Prime collecting material tough. These games don't exactly grow out of the ground, not now and not then.