Electronic Theatre In-depth Reviews: Fight Club

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

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             “The first rule of Fight Club is…” yadda yadda yadda… you’ve heard it all before. A thousand times when the film came out, and a thousand more times in the magazine previews of this game. But then that surely just goes to prove how undeniably fantastic a film such as Fight Club is; appealing to the mainstream with it’s bloody and violent action, whilst the viewers appreciating a more psychological experience can be consoled with the anti-capitalism, anti-communist, anti-society political influence of the production and the realisation that the nerd kills Brad Pitt. Class.

            Being a film that distinctly put the latter cerebral context ahead of the violence (although both are in abundance!) a recreation of the title as a videogame production was certainly not at the front of my fightclubxbox1.jpg (6863 bytes)mind after having seen the film for the first time, and the suggestion of a seemingly basic one-on-one beat-’em-up would have been preposterous! But, for reasons obviously beyond me, a licence has been granted on this product, and Fight Club hits the Xbox with a bit of a cerebral mess.

            The basic gameplay within Fight Club is very well constructed. The bouts feel like actual fights, as X and A are used as leading Punches and Kicks respectively, in combination with Y and B for more aggressive attacks and finishers. The first few matches will leave you wondering exactly what it is you have to do to make your character perform more than a jab, but in time you’ll pick up the basics of the heavily combo-based fighting. Jab, jab, punch… Jab, jab, uppercut… Jab, jab, jab, Axe Kick… once you grab this basic principle you’ll begin launching spin-kicks and Pile-Drivers at break-neck speed… which brings me nicely onto my next point; the bone-breaking effect.

            The bone-breaking effect is considered, at least by the marketing department at Sierra, to be a major feature of the title. As each bout lasts only one round, when the enemy’s energy is low pressing both A and X simultaneously well execute a grab followed by the bone-breaking manoeuvre. It’s true that, at first at least, the attack does look rather cool. However, after your fiftieth execution of exactly the same animation – it gets a little repetitive. The arena you’re able to brawl in seem in range from really cool to boring, with some environments boosting interactive features and others displaying badly drawn fightclub3.jpg (19402 bytes)background-characters seemingly ignoring the action taking place.

            The title’s graphics are a reliable feature and the animations during bouts are very well drawn. However, the Story Mode seems a little incomplete. I may have missed the idea totally, but with the exception of the story introduction and ending (which are demonstrated via some very nice FMV) the entire story is told only by still images and voice-overs. As I say, I may have missed the point entirely and this maybe the developer’s attempt at some fashionably-artsy work reflecting the films’ nature, but to me it just seems unfinished. The create-a-player options are quite minimal, with the variants for your character being only handfuls. With the XboxLIVE! feature being a fairly major part of the title, taking your created character online will often result in little more than identical-fighter stalemates. A real shame. But these flaws just mirror the rest of the game’s imperfections; sloppy post-production. No mini-games, few game modes, no special features and a bland create-a-character strip the game of any extended playability.

            After completing the Story Mode and the Arcade Mode several times, unlocking all the characters and creating an all-powerful brawler, there doesn’t really seem to be much urge to continue playing – if you even get that far. The XboxLIVE! options add a nice touch, but fall far short of being enough to warrant a subscription alone. The final insult to the wise-cracking, society-analysing, eye-opening motion picture is the ability to unlock and play as the loathsome Fred Durst. Damn.

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