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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by agetec

Ups:Fighter creation.
Downs: Lackluster basic fighting game; creation is difficult; clunky interface.
System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation
FighterScreen1.jpg (7507 bytes)Every now and then a really great game comes out. A game that does not disappoint, a game that lives up to your expectations and provides hours and hours of fun. Unfortunately for fans of fighting games everywhere, this is not one of those games. While playing this game I was reminded of something an old wise man once told me, "Chase one rabbit and catch it. Chase two and they will both escape." Never has the truth of this statement been more evident than in agetec’s new title, Fighter Maker.

Fighter Maker is divided into two separate but equally disappointing parts. The first and simplest is the arcade mode. The graphics are uninspired and just aren’t in the same league as other games in the genre. They’re just plain boring to look at, and the fact is that, graphically speaking, Fighter Maker is a giant leap backwards. You have a fairly impressive twenty characters to choose from, but unfortunately they’re all pretty drab. Just grab the one that you think looks the coolest. They’re all superficial and lackluster so it won’t make much difference which one you decide on; you’ll be bored with its simplicity in about five minutes anyway. Although there are twenty fighters available, you are only permitted six battles before the game ends. There are no boss characters to fight and no fanfare when you win. The game just ends after six fights. You win. Yahoo. The credits start rolling by without so much as a "Congratulations you win" flashing across the screen.

FighterScreen3.jpg (6728 bytes)The controls-- and the character movement-- are sloppy, slow, and imprecise. They utilize only four of the eight buttons on the controller: Hi attack, mid attack, low attack, and block. You cannot jump at all and you cannot crouch unless you are blocking low. Many of the moves are blatant copies of moves from other fighting games such as Tekken 3. This wouldn’t have bothered me at all if they weren’t such poor copies, but as it is the game succeeds only in reminding you that you have seen all of these moves done more effectively in better games.

The edit mode is more than a good idea; it’s a great idea. Gamers can finally construct a character to their exact specifications. You can choose the body, choose the fighting style and choose how your character moves. This game is challenging, innovative, and has a great concept, but after playing it for a while I was left disappointed and confused as I tried to figure out what was missing. Why wasn’t I enjoying this character creation game? Then it struck me: fun. This game isn’t fun. It isn’t even a little bit fun. The character generation mode feels more like going to work or being punished than sitting down to play a game. "Tommy, you didn’t eat all of your vegetables! Go to your room and make a multi-part throw for Fighter Maker!" Granted, this isn’t entirely the game's fault. The Playstation controller just isn’t designed to be a programming tool and trying to use it like one is the first mistake. The menu set up is too complicated to use effectively, and you’re forced to spend way too much time toggling between menus and screens in order to get the desired effect.

FighterScreen4.jpg (6412 bytes)Movement is created by linking a series of frames. The game boasts that you need only supply the starting position, ending position, and return position to create a functional strike. Just add a few more stages to give the movement a more lifelike feel, and the CPU will fill in the transitional movement. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work out this way. The CPU isn’t very good at filling in the transitional phases, so you’ll have to do a lot of the frames yourself if you want it to look even semi-realistic. Although you have supreme control in maneuvering all of your fighter's appendages, the effectiveness is limited because it is often very difficult to see what’s going on. More often than not the angles will be way off. Bow legged kicks and backwards hands are the least of the problems you will have in designing a fighter. Periodic uncontrolled spasms are going to be common in your character's movement until you spend a lot of time working out the glitches.

The throws have a lot of potential to look really good, but once again the ability to actually create a complete throw is going to be well beyond the frustration threshold of the average gamer. Not only do you have to design the throw, but you also have to model how your opponent will move while being thrown. Since you cannot have both models on the screen at the same time this is an extremely aggravating and time consuming process. If and when you actually finish the throw you’ll likely find that your vision of a new devastating move lost a few notches on the cool scale when it became reality.

FighterScreen2.jpg (5666 bytes)For the majority of video game fans Fighter Maker will be a disappointment. If you are the hardest of the hard core fighting fans you might find something worthwhile in the character creation mode, but only if you can get the hang of it before going postal from frustration and chucking your TV out the window. Just keep in mind that in addition to a copy of this game you’ll need fifteen memory card blocks and about fifty hours of free time per character you wish to create. Oh yeah, you need patience too. Lots and lots of patience.

--Jeff Luther