Preview: Fight Club (XB, PS2) Hands-On

Publisher: VU Games / Developer: Genuine Games / Genre: Fighter / Release Date: 11-16-04

I freely admit that I’m a Fight Club fanatic. However, when I first saw previews of the movie I rolled my eyes. The last thing I wanted to do was go and see a bunch of guys beat the crap out of each other for no reason. Where was the plot? When it came out on video, though, a friend of mine roped me into seeing it. Ever since I couldn’t get enough of the Fight Club Philosophy because in reality Fight Club is not about fighting. Then of course I went out, bought the book and tried to infect everyone around me with the joys of anarchy and nihilism. So when I found out the game demo was circulating around I jumped all over it like a bad rash.

Now the first rule about Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club.
Right, right, I’m fired, since I’m going to tell you all about it.

The demo allows you to get into versus mode and play one of two characters. Tyler Durden and Jack. Who’s Jack? I think it’s Vivendi Universal’s interpretation of what the narrator’s name is supposed to be from a scene where he’s reading oddly written prose. (I am Jack’s aching colon.) I’ll forgive that though because it’s odd to play a character who’s only known as “the narrator.”

Sweet X-ray effects show just how much damage you’ve done.

You can choose to duke it out in either the bar or the parking lot. There isn’t much in the way of interacting with your environment. It’s pretty much you against whoever you can rope into playing with you because it doesn’t even give you the option to play against the computer’s AI. No problem there, it’s just a demo, right?

The graphics are dark and try to go for a realistic look, but fail the reality check in the way some of the characters move. I will admit that there is a neat effect when you break a bone in someone’s body. It winds down to slow motion and shows an x-ray of the character’s skeleton. Somehow you can see the beating heart as well, but it’s pretty satisfying to see an arm snap 180 degrees in the wrong direction after you’ve been laying on the blows a little thick. Also, blood will splatter on the screen at random intervals. I have no problem with blood but the way it’s done makes it seem more like a distraction instead of some satisfaction.

The controls too were a little shaky. I’ve played a lot of fighters that were a lot more intuitive when you started bashing buttons. I really don’t expect to consult the manual or go through the tutorial each time to remember how to play the game.

I also wasn’t impressed with the characterization I saw in versus mode. If your character was beaten he would sit sulkily on the ground. I don’t want to see someone pouting, even if I did pound his ass. When you win, the character looks just as ridiculous jumping around and gloating. Then again, I’m biased in my view of how I think Fight Club should be.

You’ll get your fair share of blood splattered everywhere.

The demo was interesting, but it didn’t have the spirit of the Fight Club I’ve come to love. (I am Jack’s raging disappointment.) There are several different modes available in the game including story mode. I can only hope that the developer strove to capture some of the philosophy that made Fight Club the hit that it was. From where it stands however, it feels like a bash and smash game that needs a few things smoothed out. My conclusion? I always rent before I spend a lot of money on a game that has me sitting on the fence, especially since I first thought the movie would be a bust.