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Fight Club

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Action

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PS2/Xbox Preview - 'Fight Club'

by Paul Reith on Aug. 25, 2004 @ 2:25 a.m. PDT

Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Vivendi
Developer: Genuine Games
Release Date: Q4 2004

Pre-order 'FIGHT CLUB': Xbox | PlayStation 2

Before we talk games, you must know I had one of those days today. I came back from a long lunch of wondering just how many ways I could have ended up with such a miserable excuse for a life. The project I’ve been working on for months has been tanking since day one, and the only one in the whole damn mess with their job on the line is me. But today – today I had a bit of good news for that pompous prick VP who sits there and chuckles about what people can get when they have money. Something I created is finally working, and the credit will give me some room – maybe enough to roll in late Friday morning. It’s almost in the bag as that pencil-necked VP opens his mouth, but then he gives all the credit to my boss, a pinhead who hasn’t been able to find his way out of the paper bag I stuffed him in last week! I’m so glad it’s Monday night and we’re going to…

The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

Finally, Vivendi has taken up the challenge to provide us with an outlet for our angst from dead-end jobs and the frustrations of life. What’s it been, five years? Fight Club is probably the most overdue adaptation of a movie to the console, and rightly so. Somewhere, someone decided to wait until a platform was ready to actually make a solid attempt at recreating the movie feel, instead of some cartoonish version of a gripping movie. Did they wait long enough?

Later, in the tavern basement…
We're in the middle of a fight, between a short guy, Ricky, and another guy, the waiter of a restaurant.

This kid from work, Ricky, couldn't remember whether you ordered pens with blue ink or black. But Ricky was a god for ten minutes, when he trounced the maitre d’ of the local food court

Fight Club provides you with 10 playable characters from the movie and four unlikely unlockables, including Fred Durst and Abraham Lincoln. You can also create your own character, choosing from three base types – brawler, grappler, and martial arts. Jack and Tyler are present, but they are likenesses instead of Brad and Ed. This could be a major detraction, but we probably can’t hold Vivendi responsible for obtaining a contract for the impossibly expensive duo. That said, Fight Club essentially delivers the characters from the movie to the console, giving you the chance to relive the magic.

Developer Genuine Games has created an environment well-suited for both local and Xbox Live play, rendering scenes from the movie, many of them the small spaces where fights actually occurred. Genuine created a highly interactive environment, where nearly everything is functional and destructible, letting Tyler bash his opponent’s face into just about anything, including the pool table and the cars outside. Each scenario finds you in a familiar environment, but wait – there’s more.

The seventh rule of Fight Club is: Fights will go on as long as they have to.

If the pool table isn't enough to finish the job, knock your opponent through a door or toss them through a window and beat them into submission in a new environment, giving you the opportunity to drive them into a very handy dumpster outside. Linked levels provide added challenge by the relatively small space an opponent must be tossed through to activate the new level. As players master the interface, unlocking the linked levels will become an art of manipulation, challenging the boredom which usually sets in as a player gains experience.

I felt like putting a bullet in between the eyes of every panda that wouldn't screw to save its species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all those French beaches I'd never see. I wanted to breathe smoke.

TYLER: “Where'd you go Psycho Boy?”
JACK: “I felt like destroying something beautiful.”

With real-time rendering of attacks, characters show the results of mutual brutality. This also affects the mobility and effectiveness of the fighter, as strength, stamina, and accuracy are affected by the injuries. When the opponent is weak, use a bone-breaking move to immobilize arms and legs, dislocate a shoulder, or break a rib. This may not finish the opponent, but the injury is real – take out the shoulder, and that arm is inoperable for the rest of the match.

The fourth rule of Fight Club is: Only two guys to a fight.

Taking the game online through Xbox Live is going to be exciting. Players may use either movie or custom characters to fight over the net, and with more matches, characters earn experience to improve skills including improved agility, strength, and quickness, slowly training a sloppy brawler into a skilled fighter that packs the punch of a steel fist.

The third rule of Fight Club is: If someone says “stop” goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over.

This is the only main digression of the game from the movie. If a player does not tap out in the "hardcore" mode of gameplay, his character dies, and all of the experience and rankings are gone. Although divergent from the movie, this is a welcome adaptation for the game. Sooner or later, players will be too desperate to hold on for the win and lose the character, returning balance to the game. If the best become careless, Fight Club can provide a return to rock bottom – a chance to again be challenged by other players online.

Overall, the game is looking very good on the Xbox, with visual quality superior to the PS2. Play is at human pace, which not only increases the need for proper timing, but also makes the game feel more realistic in recreating a real-life environment. The combos are almost too easy to execute at this time, but we expect Genuine to introduce more complex executions in the final game. Grappling moves allow the best action throughout the match, like the previously mentioned scenes with the pool table and dumpster, where a player can use objects in the environment to inflict some heavy damage.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you can’t understand the game, so get out and watch it before you even think of buying this title. Genuine Games set out to capture as much of the essence from the movie as possible in this game, and they are doing well so far. Bone-breaking moves have an X-ray special effect that is not quite finished, but will hopefully show bones fracturing in the final release. Other special effects are quite graphic, as a great hook shot to the jaw will splatter blood everywhere, including the camera lens showing the action. Fight Club looks to be excellent on the Xbox, both for excellent visual rendering and online gameplay. So far, the PS2 version doesn’t look nearly as crisp, which is slightly disappointing, but expected.

Will Fight Club really be the game to live up to the movie? Watch for our ongoing coverage on both ports of Fight Club, where we hope to tell you just how wonderful it feels to beat Angel Face into a bloody mess, only to be beaten into submission by Bob minutes later ....



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