Genre: Multiplayer Arena Combat
Publisher: Diversions Ent.
Developer: Diversions Ent.
Release Date: September 2, 2003
Pre-order 'ONE MUST FALL: Battlegrounds': PC
If you were to imagine BattleBots style combat hundreds of years from now, you would get a general feel for One Must Fall: Battlegrounds. In OMF:B you are the pilot of a robotic warrior, pitted against others in a large arena where the enemy robots aren’t your only hazards. Once the countdown is finished the fight begins and does not end until there is only one robot standing.
The beta build of OMF:B that we previewed didn’t have much in the way of a plot, but not many fighting games really need one. However, before every fight (and occasionally every round) the combatants exchange a bit of words, whether it be a professor chastising his creation or two women agreeing on the fact that you definitely need a beatdown. Every character has a bit of a backstory, from being a legend in the arena to hip and arrogant urbanite.
There are a multitude of characters to choose from, and every one has varying strengths and weaknesses. One character might be very strong and defensive but lacks agility and focus, while another character might be extremely nimble but can’t really take it or dish it out. Once you pick your character you choose your class of robot, which don’t have any real strengths or weaknesses on their own but have a varying regimen of attacks and moves. Without getting into too much detail over what robots there are to choose from, it is safe to say they run the gamut and there is something to please anyone in terms of what they look like and what they can do.
The combat itself is hit and miss in the current version. The combo system works well, as does how the fights can get very hardcore and entertaining. However, there is no way to lock on to an enemy, so if you throw a munch and they move the slightest bit you have to rotate and try again, which can get really annoying if you have to do it many times in a row. When you do connect and start a beastly combo it just about redeems itself though, as the combos are not only flashy but actually look like they would cause some damage.
The arenas themselves are filled with objects that are not exactly robot friendly. In the iceberg level if you are not careful you can find yourself knocked into the ocean that surrounds the arena, which is instant death. In the power plant level be prepared to avoid the electrified walls and the hovering droids that will shock anything directly under them. On the other hand these obstacles can be used to help destroy your enemies as well, nothing gets the job done better than a multiple hit combo followed by a swift kick into an electrified fence.
Graphically OMF:B hits the mark overall. The arenas are fairly detailed and well laid-out but the graphics are at their best when you look at the robots themselves or the special effects, such as electric bolts, flamethrowers, or fireballs. It is worth noting that the graphics do seem a bit dated, but not bad by any means. You won’t need a beastly rig to appreciate OMF:B but you will be a bit wowed when you first see a gigantic molten fireball rolling your way.
The sounds in OMF:B don’t pack a whole lot of punch, every time your attacks connect it is just the sharp clang of metal over and over again, with nary a crunch or crumple to be heard. The other sounds in the game don’t follow that trend though, and are just as diverse and well implemented, as one would expect. OMF:Bs musical score is heavily based around a fast paced techno, which fits the futuristic theme but does not always fit how the arena feels.
Overall OMF:B feels like not only a futuristic sport but also almost a throwback to things like Ultraman and the Guyver. Right now OMF:B needs a little more love but is not finished by any means, so final judgment will have to wait. Given time OMF:B could turn out to be a well grounded arena combat game, while it won’t raise the bar in terms of graphics or sound it could end up being a worthy purchase for those who just want to throw down and have a little robot to robot combat.
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