Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fighting Run


There have been times when a developer's best efforts didn't work out but warranted commendation nonetheless, when brave designers came up with a fresh idea and gave their concept a shot. And there have been times when it seemed obvious from the get-go that a developer had impending disaster on their hands and should've discarded their clearly flawed blueprint at once. Fighting Run never could've worked, as its premise (two robots barrel down a corridor while thrashing one another) is too fucking stupid; it really makes you wonder what the hell Nichibutsu were thinking when they came up with it (though with Nichibutsu nothing should really come as a surprise...). Why in the world must the warriors participating in a given match charge through a speed tunnel while battling? When my brother Duomitri and I have a dispute to settle, we square off like men; we don't go frolicking down the street side by side.

Well, in the Fighting Run universe, there are quite a few goofballs who enjoy this ridiculous brand of "competition," enough to fill the ranks of numerous circuits that you can advance through. As you proceed, you earn power points to improve your robot's speed, strength, and defense as well as a few weapons that, for the most part, aren't all that useful (though there's a cool chain-thing that enables you to harpoon an opponent stationed behind you and hurl him into perfect position for a beating).

How well does it play? Well... how well do you think it plays? Is there any strategy involved? Oh, sure. I like the strategy of sitting in a corner while my dumb computer-controlled foe stumbles suicidally into crap that's littered about the track.

Oh, there's "variety" too, as the corridor designs go from one type of ugly to another. There are some "funny" intermission scenes as well.

Zoom through the entire goofy gauntlet and you'll be treated to jovial end-game celebration screens. I was certainly happy when I reached said screens--happy to have gotten it all over with. But, funnily enough, I didn't mind experiencing Fighting Run. It is indeed a unique form of, uh, "robo-gladiation." And it does feel good to deal the final blow to an opponent and watch the ensuing explosion. However, the game certainly isn't novel enough (or nearly enjoyable enough) to make its many flaws forgivable. Anyone who does go ahead and purchase it will be making a "What the hell are you thinking?" sort of move, just like Nichibutsu were when they went ahead and designed the damn thing.

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