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Written by  :  galaxygarden (7)
Written on  :  Sep 26, 2021
Rating  :  0.71 Stars0.71 Stars0.71 Stars0.71 Stars0.71 Stars

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Among one of the worst fighters for the PS1.

The Good

Horror themed.

The Bad

Slow paced gameplay. Clunky controls. Bland character design. Overall ugly looking game, even for its time.

The Bottom Line

Killing Zone has to be amongst one of the worst fighting games for the PlayStation. Just to put into perspective, this title was released the same year we got Tekken 2, Street Fighter EX, and Mortal Kombat Trilogy. How the developers of Killing Zone thought their efforts would suffice to go up against the other fighting games of its time is beyond me.

For starters, the game itself has no story. No text background, no in-game cutscenes/intros to explain why exactly these creatures are battling. Killing Zone's instruction manual, however, does lightly touch up on some of these characters' "backstory" (if you can even call it that), but it still doesn't do much to clarify or solidify any resemblance of a story. In fact, there's not even a final boss battle in the game. The final match of every playthrough will always end with a mirror match with whatever character you have miserably dredged your way with. Once this mirror match is completed, the player is slapped in the face with some statistics regarding their playthrough, and it abruptly ends and takes you back to the main menu. The statistics that the game shows you at the end of your playthrough are virtually useless. There are no bonuses, no unlockables, and there isn't even a hi-score to keep track of either, so I'm not entirely sure why the game (or the player) would really care about these stats.

Killing Zone is quite an ugly game. I am an avid fan of the fifth generation of gaming and am normally not harsh on graphics as obviously there were technical limitations at that time, and things of that nature. However, Killing Zone was ugly even for its time. Its other competitors, such as Tekken 2, had full color FMVs complete with sound, and main menus with design. Upon starting up Killing Zone, we're greeted with the publishers' logos and dumped straight into one of the most bland opening screens I have ever seen. The game's logo stares lifelessly back at the player while offering three different choices to pick from (Normal mode, Auto mode, and options), no soundtrack. The text in the options menu looks like a debug menu out of an arcade machine, with the most default vanilla text you've ever seen to confirm your selections. As for the character models themselves, they are very choppy. Many times multiple parts of their bodies will clip into each other or just simply overlap layers -- i.e. Frankenstein's foot overlapping his pant leg, unintentionally of course. Arenas are commonly bland as well. Most of them are plain square platforms with some stock photo backgrounds or ugly gradients on the floor to give the appearance of water or something.

As I mentioned, the game offers two modes of play -- "normal mode" and "auto mode." Normal mode is your typical 'Arcade' playthrough where you battle through seven stages (again, with no boss battle or story to follow along with). You can choose from seven (and ONLY seven) fighters to play with. There are no unlockable characters in this game. All your typical Halloween favorites are here -- Frankenstein, the Mummy, Wolf Man, Medusa, though all of them of course actually have different names in the game. The names of these characters also change depending on if you're player one or two -- i.e. Frankenstein is known as "Drake" if player one is using him, or Vilken if player two (or the CPU) is using him. Very odd.

Auto mode is a bit like this awkward trainer-style gameplay where you basically give commands to whatever fighter you choose. Apparently they pick up extra skills along the way to make them better fighters, but I honestly did not get that far to see exactly how it works as I was just bored to tears by the end of the first stage in this mode. To add on to that as well, Killing Zone does not feature a save mode of any kind, so what's really the point of levelling up your character and making all of this progress in auto mode if you can't save it and have to do it all again the next time you boot the game up?? Very counter intuitive.

Overall, this is a very uninspired game and frankly I'm not entirely sure why it was made in the first place. Clearly, there is no passion or enthusiasm reflected in any of Killing Zone's design or gameplay. There is no kind of story or plot to follow, characters are pretty much generic Halloween icons with no special takes, and the project as a whole just seems unpolished. Again, when you consider that in 1996 players had access to games like Tekken 2 and Mortal Kombat, both of which look and play better, it's no wonder why Killing Zone was a huge flop.

I'd only recommend this game to only the most enthusiastic player of fighting games -- and really that would only be to let them see for themselves just how bad it is. As for anyone else, save money and time and don't even think twice about Killing Zone.