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atari saboteur
Written by  :  WJAndrews (35)
Written on  :  Feb 03, 2004
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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One Must Fall: Battlegrounds gets the award for most underrated game of all time.

The Good

To start, it should be said that I hate fighting games. From the first time I played Mortal Kombat, I hated getting bashed up by the big old teenager next to me who memorized a 300 button combo. I cannot state one time in my life I enjoyed playing a fighting game, whether it was Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter GC Turbo 9000 Bluesilver, or even Super Smash brothers, I never liked them. And yet, I absolutely adore One Must Fall: Battlegrounds. To me, OMF represents what fighting games could have been. It is what fighting games should aspire to be. Gone are the days of my unrelenting hatred towards fighters. No friends, One Must Fall: Battlegrounds has awakened a warm, fuzzy, gooey chamber in my heart for the possibilities of a genre too long chained down.

Take a taste of the depth of One Must Fall, and you'll find sweet, sweet, sugar. Here is a game that does away with the evil institutions of the past, such as lengthy memorized combos, ludicrous learning curves, button mashing, and even the limitation of a fixed 2.5d camera. Yes, this is beautiful. One Must Fall is deep. Enormously deep. One match in the multiplayer mode will tell you that. As you play within the community, you'll start to remember faces. You'll see their tactics change right before your eyes, you'll see how they get better. You'll witness the most masterful player you've ever seen become a ragdoll compared to your mighty counters. All this is possible, and without spending ages learning how to even be competitive. Honestly, One Must Fall is not difficult to learn. The combos are all linked together logically. For example, the momentum caused by a forward moving right punch sets you up to instantly follow up with a left punch, which might leave your legs in the position to do a left kick, which may knock your opponent into the air, and thus set you up for a whole new chain of aerial attacks. At first, this is daunting. The combo system in the game presents a level of depth I've yet to see in any game I've played, even including most RTS games I've played. One Must Fall doesn't just give you a variety of strategies. It forces you to use a variety of strategies. The game is just loaded with variables - from impressive arena hazards down to the grudges pilots might hold against each other - One Must Fall has so much variety it makes your mind tingle at the possibilities. The old monkey see, monkey do effect of mimicking other players combo attacks is not necessary - you can make your own. Of course, the game wouldn't be quite so great if everyone had to learn this excellent combo system - you can compete without even needing combos. Every attack in One Must Fall, for every pilot, has a use. In many cases, a simple punch from one of the Warlord's maces is as effective as a combo attack that is four times as complicated. One Must Fall does away with all out memorization - it opens up strategic thinking even to new players. This is what I've always dreamed of. A game that provides endless strategy, endless levels of mastery, endless variety in general without making you spend 50 hours with it.

The Bad

One Must Fall has low production values. The game is made by a company with an almost non-existent track record. The community is also suffering, due to often unfair and deeply flawed reviews (PC Gamer comes to mind). Finding a match in One Must Fall can be difficult, and at first playing multiplayer games is a little scary - but fun nonetheless. The unpatched version of the game is also buggy as all get up, thankfully this can be fixed with the game's convenient (and fast) auto patcher.

The Bottom Line

One Must Fall: Battlegrounds is the best fighting game I've ever played. My dislike of the genre didn't come about by only playing one or two: I've played fighting games. This is a game that has flaws. But, if you can play the game for even fifteen minutes, and say, "Wow, I'm enjoying this," you'll discover that even the things that you didn't like at first (for example, the speed of the robots) are really just there to improve the game. Give One Must Fall a shot. Decide beforehand that maybe this is a game worth playing, and you're sure to find a fighter that has depth, community, and most importantly, accessible fun in one inexpensive package. This game is surely one of the best I've played, and I hope you might find a place in your heart for it as well.

atari saboteur