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Hey there guys and gals and welcome to yet another review or should I say reviews? You see, as I was searching through the forums on Blistered Thumbs, I stumbled upon a challenge issued by one of the site’s reviews editors. He challenged every would be reviewer that posts their works on the forums to write a review for either the deepest or most shallow game they have ever played. Well sir, I accept your challenge but I warn you. You are going to get more than you bargain for! What do I mean by that? Well, I played my fair share of shallow titles and I couldn’t choose a single one for the shallowest, so I decided to call it a draw and write about two of the worst and shallowest titles I have played in quite some time. Sorry to put you through this my good chap but you asked for it.
As we all know, the 90’s was the decade in time when video game violence began to become a major driving force for the industry (as well as a hot button issue for those pushy conservative types) and tonight I am going to take a look at two of the worst arcade titles to capitalize on that trend. These are Pit Fighter and Rampage: World Tour!
This is some kind of crazy money rain: Pit Fighter
Pit Fighter was Atari’s attempt at brawling for quarters in the arcades back in 1990. Was it a real contender or is it just a worthless bum?
Does Pit Fighter have a story? Not really. You can play as one of three guys who have entered an illegal street fighting tournament (this sounds familiar doesn’t it?) for what is probably some sweet Mafia money. That’s pretty much it. I guess that’s as good a reason as any to pound someone’s head in. Oh and the final boss is some kind of cross between The Gimp from Pulp Fiction and Axe and Smash of the Demolition. So there’s that bit of exposition. Oh and the ending is always the same, regardless of which character you are using. Spoiler alert: Benjamins fail from the sky and women flock to you. That’s it. End of story.
Besides the annoying grunting of roid raging he-men and a few decent sound effects, the audio is pretty abysmal. Was there music? I don’t know. I can’t remember. Oh, wait. There was but it sucked. So, moving on.
(Is this a fighting game or WWE Tough Enough?)
The graphics are actually pretty good for the time. If you happen to remember my Narc review where I explained how the developers of that game used blue screen effects to turn live actors into digitized video game characters, well the developers of this game use the exact same techniques. I really must say that the characters are larger in this instance and do look more life like because of it, which the development should be commended for. However, with this still being experimental technology, not every developer was going to be able to use it correctly and it definitely shows in Pit Fighter. In Narc, the character animation was perfect for what a game like that should be but that really isn’t the case with Pit Fighter. You see, these characters move around as if they were paper cut-outs if that makes any sense at all. The character movement just feels so unnatural and forced and delayed that it looks anything but realistic, which is what they were going for. The crowd especially. Hell the crowd takes this one-step closer in the sense that they actually look like cardboard standees (that have somehow been give the gift of slight movement). I guess after tearing the character animation to shreds like that, I guess I should end the graphical presentation section on a positive note and say that I did like the level designs. You’ve got plenty of seedy warehouses, dark allies and dank bars too fight in, which are the kind of places that would engage in this sort of shady activity. So, yeah the levels do a good job of representing the game’s dark and gritty atmosphere
("Bring out The Gimp!")
I may have had some bad things to say about the graphics but they have nothing on the absolutely horrendous gameplay but before I really dig into why this game is such a bummer to play, I do want to give some props to the developers when it comes to the gameplay. First off, I like the fact that you can pick up weapons to use during the fights. Not only is this a cool idea but I also like the weapon variety. You can bash your opponent in the head with crates, two-by-fours and even motorcycles. Hell, you can stab them with a knife if you want to. Secondly, the fact that the crowd can get involved by handing out weapons and interfere when you get too close is a pretty neat idea (kind of reminds me of ECW). Third and lastly, I like the idea of a Co-op fighting game. Pit Fighter can be a single player experience with one on one fights or if you decide to play with one or two other people, Pit Fighter becomes a Co-op game, in which you and your friend/s fight off two or three goons in each level.
Fun time is over and it is now time to get real. You know what I said about slow character movement? Well that little factor makes the overall gameplay of Pit Fighter absolutely atrocious. It feels like you are trying to literally force each and every action out of your character and it just makes for a lousy experience, especially in a fighting game where quick and fluent movements are a must if you are going to last more than a few rounds! While you are forcing your character to do a simple kick, your opponent (whose animation is also laughably bad) will proceed to whip your ass. This especially sucks during the Grudge Match bonus stages in which you can earn extra cash by knocking down your mirror self three times, since it can knock you down without even trying, while your fighting the controller to throw punch/kick. Luckily, once you get knocked out, you can continue at the exact point you left off, so this turns 12 one round fights into a greatly convenient 20 minute playthrough. I recommend button mashing to pull off some stupid looking combos and to use the occasional jump kick move to make the experience just a little bit easier.
(Would anybody be mad if I made that Pulp Fiction reference again?)
Is there any replay value to Pit Fighter? Only when you are desperate to kill some time before your stories come on and you happen to forget what an almost unplayable piece of crap it is, then there is some replay value there.
Did the developers have a few good ideas here? Yes. It also looked pretty damn impressive for the time as well but the absolutely piss poor gameplay demonstrates how this is nothing more than a shallow attempt at using violence and “gritty” adult themes to draw attention away from the other arcade cabinets.
Final Score: 3/10
Where is Jet Jaguar when you need him?: Rampage: World Tour
Now, I may receive some heat on this one but I guess I’ll just have to bare the slings and arrows of the pro giant monster crowd.
Rampage: World Tour is a sequel to the successful 1986 game Rampage and was developed for Midway by Game Refuge Inc and released in 1997 in the arcades, as well as several home consoles. Is this monster mash worth your money?
The plot is your average revenge story. Well, kind of. You see, three human guinea pigs by the names of George, Lizzie and Ralph were turned into giant monsters as part of a crazy experiment performed by the mad scientists over at Scumlabs. The trio (now a giant ape, giant lizard and giant werewolf respectively) manage to escape and destroy the lab and are now taking their revenge upon humanity by leveling every major city that stands between them and the man in charge of Scumlabs.
This is a decent story and gives the giant monsters a good enough excuse to seek vengeance, although the taking it out on innocent bystanders is a bit extreme.
Sigh. Another game that leaves me pretty much speechless about its audio. I mean there really isn’t a lot of music to speak (since most levels are music-less) of and what was there wasn’t overly fantastic but the sound effects and voice work are decent.
(This is what happens to Angel Grove when The Power Rangers go away on vacation)
The graphics actually look great for the stop motion animation vibe that the development was going for. The three monsters are animated (or should I say claymated?) perfectly in all of their monstrously insane glory. The monsters (their ugly yes but there is a charm to their ugliness) and the crew from scumlabs look fantastic and just about as good as any weird claymation cartoon to come out of the 80s and 90s. I also like the way that the characters are animated within the game. Whether they are punching and kicking each other, or pulverizing a building or puking or getting a hot foot or getting electrocuted or getting set on fire or chowing down on some humans, the animation is flawless. Their death animations (where they turned back into naked humans and slowly inch away covering their private parts) are good for a few chuckles. The animations of all of the little human characters are great as well. However, the cities are a different story. Although they look good, there could use a little more variety in cityscapes, as most of them look the same and even have the same buildings.
(I hope my insurance covers this!)
Unfortunately the gameplay isn’t as appealing as the animation. You climb on buildings and smash them and you can also destroy any cars, tanks, fighter planes and any other means of travel that get in your way. Oh and you can eat all of the people you can grab. The goal is to enter a city and destroy all of the buildings in order to move on the next city and you get bonus points for damaging other pieces of property and for eating people. That’s all there is to it really. It controls well (near perfect really) and it is good for a few laughs but once you get past level 20, you’re wondering when it’s all going to end. There is absolutely no real level variety, outside of few and fair between rocket flying bonus levels that have you dodging storm clouds and jets, gathering power-ups and eating angels (I’m sure that didn’t offend anybody). Sure different cities might have some different backdrops, landmarks and obstacles but that doesn’t prevent them all from feeling repetitive and quite frankly boring. Some boss fights would have been nice or maybe even some enemies that aren’t the army would have helped as well. The only real fun you are going to get from this is playing with a couple of friends and being a dick by beating on them as they try to rack up some points but even that gets boring quickly. How quickly? Well when playing it with a buddy of mine, we had a cheap laugh or two and then turned it off after 10 minutes.
Seriously, there is very little replay value to this thing. I’ve tried completing it a few times but considering that it is 120 levels long (I tend to give up around level 25 or so, which takes about 30 minutes), there is no way in Hell that I am going to subject myself to hours of tedium. Especially when the version I have is an arcade port without a save feature. Fuck that I say.
(It's about time that somebody called the army!)
Wow. This is just about as shallow as you can get right here. Using a crazy animation style and some violence and shock value to draw in suckers, instead of providing an entertaining gaming experience. Just the fact that this game is needlessly long just to drain some extra quarters from your wallet is complete and total bullshit in my opinion. Hell, the length isn’t any better for a console version because it’s nothing more than senseless padding to make sure that Midway could “rightfully” charge the consumer full price (may they rest in peace). This is one of the most boring and repetitive games I have ever played but I will give it a slightly higher score than Pit Fighter because the mechanics do work and I happen to like the premise and art style.
Final Score: 4/10
Sorry to put you through all of this crap but maybe next time I’ll review something better.