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PC Fight Club

Vol. 2, Issue 6
December 13, 1999 

PC perception.

Getting real, the PC is not what most people would consider a ‘fighters’ kind of box, or indeed a games box at all. Most consider the PC to be a ‘work’ box, not a games box. Now I know that everyone reading this is more than likely to disagree. But think about this – almost everyone reading this is from the PC gaming arena, since it’s on a site of that nature that this article is being published. You are representative of the PC gaming culture that has online access, but it has to be acknowledged that the more serious minded PC users dwarf the PC gaming audience. It’s only in the last two to three years that the PC has truly come of age as a games machine, and it’s no coincidence that it happened right at the 3D accelerator card revolution. Be that as it may, just because the PC is able to play really good games does not mean it is looked at that way. It’s still regarded primarily as a ‘work’ machine. The machine we do our taxes on, write the occasional letter on, and use AOL on. And as such, since it’s our ‘cerebral’ machine, if we do play games on it, they are generally more complex ones. The RTS games, Age of Empires, Dungeon Keeper, the deep immersive first person shooters like Half-Life and Thief, and the quiz games, like You Don’t Know Jack. All requiring some degree of IQ rather than reflexes to attain the goals presented.

This is gradually changing, but even so, PC games are expected to have a greater degree of depth than their console cousins. And lets face it, with the greatest will in the world; fighters can’t be considered that in-depth. (Of course that depends on your definition of depth, but I define it as the ability of the game to keep you coming back to it, due to new and unrevealed content and fun factor. Fighters certainly score in the second bracket, but not in the first. If you’ve seen one guy do a front kick then you’ve seen them all. Special moves and fatalities help here, but even then, most are just a variation on a theme.). As a result, a fighter isn’t something that would occur to most PC developers, mainly because one hasn’t been done before. Very Catch 22. One isn’t done, because one hasn’t been done. And if one isn’t done, no one else will do one... etc etc etc.

These seem to cover the main reasons that the PC has little fighter presence, besides the inevitable Mortal Kombat ports, Rise of the Robots (which was so dire, it is probably best to forget that this title ever happened. As I recall, it started life as an arcade piece, which was basically a 386 in an arcade box, then was a PC released game in its own right. Some of the heaviest hyping going really set this up for a fall), FX-Fighter and one small overlooked game called One Must Fall 2097. Many people emailed me to check this out, it’s an old game now found on the Epic website as freeware. Originally written way back when, its specs require a 486 with at least 4 Megs of ram. There you go, some genuine history for you. But it does actually stand the test of time. It’s fun, fast – in fact waaaaaay too fast on a PII anything, but that’s progress for you. :)

FX Fighter was from Argonaut, and was originally a SNES game, using the same FX chip that was used in the StarFox titles. I can’t honestly recall if this ever made it to market, but I know the PC version did. It was very blocky as I recall, true 3D models being used, but with very few polygons... I’m still trying to track down a copy of this...Anyone out there got one?

So in closing, it would appear right now that there’s a gap in the market for a good, fun, original PC fighting game. Anyone out there feel like taking this one on?

- Jake Simpson is a code monkey for Raven Software. He's badass.


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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Kevin 'Rorshach' Johnstone. This article is © 1999 Jake Simpson. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it, or we'll beat you to a bloody pulp.