SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$49.99

DEVELOPER
ASCII

PUBLISHER
Agetec

RELEASE
06/99

Fighter Maker Review

By: John Doe


The one thing you can say about Fighter Maker is that you have never played a fighting game like it before. This game isn't about simply punching out your opponent; this game is all about learning how to make the moves that will eventually punch out your opponent. Be warned. This is a game for those who, and I can't emphasis this enough, really like to tinker. Lazy gamers need not apply.


Highs:
Lows:

This game isn't for everybody. But it's as much for the aspiring fighting game programmer as it is for the smart ass who spits out, "I could make a better fighting game than this" every time he plays a new game. Either way, you put your money where your mouth is with Fighter Maker. The one thing you will definitely walk away with is a new respect for the amount of work that goes into making a fighting game. And just think, creating the moves is just one aspect of a fighting game. You can do the math and figure out just how long and tedious game design is. It's mind blowing.

Fighter Maker isn't a great playing game or even all that great looking. It does accomplish what it set out to do which is teach you how to make your own moves, no matter how outlandish, bizarre or realistic you try and make them. It all comes down to the amount of time you spend with the game. I've spent months with it and can now whip off moves quite quickly. If you spend 10 minutes with it, don't expect anything. This game is what you make it. You've got to commit to the long haul with this one.

After sitting down with it at first, I spent over two hours trying to make my first move. Now, I didn't have the luxury of a manual until later, so I would expect the average person to get their first move in about 30-45 minutes. And don't expect it to be a good one either. If it does what you programmed it to do, be happy. The details are staggering at first, but the controls make programming a breeze once you are comfortable.

In the edit mode the movements of your character's limbs are created with a series of frames with each limb able to rotate on the 3 axis (X, Y, Z). The game says that you can simply create a move with a beginning frame and an ending frame and the game will fill in the rest. This is true but it really doesn't seem to do it very well, which means if you want it to look perfect, you'll have to create the entire movement frame by frame until it is up to your standards. This is where the difficulty comes in. Once a limb has been moved it changes into a wireframe model, which makes it hard to see its position. This is where you will end up with inverted joints in the arms, or knees that inexplicably bend in ways nature didn't intend. Of course, this all takes time to master. If making a game was easy there would be a million games out there and 9,999,999 would be crap. Which reminds me of the Atari 2600 era...

Since you have to choose the character you are going to edit, it is wise to see if they already use the move you are trying to create. I spent four hours creating a spinning jump kick only to find that it was pretty much already in the game and looked about 1000 times better than my feeble attempt. In the games defense, if you really spend a lot of time experimenting you will create moves never before seen in a video game, for better or worse. It's all up to you. Unfortunately I have the feeling that the amount of work involved will scare off most people before they really get a chance to understand it.

Complaint Dept. The biggest complaint is the omission of a create-a-player feature. Surely someone would have mentioned to the game designers that games like Tobal 2, WWF Warzone and Attitude have this and are extremely popular because of it. If Fighter Maker sported this feature, it would have made all of the difference. The other bone of contention is the actual fighting in Fighter Maker. The game is average at best. The sound effects are weak and lack the bone crunching impact you have come to expect. The backgrounds are nice but blasť. The best way to describe it is "completely void of personality." I would think that given the foundation of the game, the artists would have devised some amazing characters. Sorry. The only one with anything going for him is Skullomania from Street Fighter EX, who is the only recognizable character. And last but not least are the 15 memory card blocks it takes to save. You'll need a full memory card for each character you create. Now considering how much info goes into a save that's pretty understandable, but unless you own a dex drive and can dump your saves to your PC you aren't gonna like it.

Personally I really dug this game, but I had to work hard to get to get to that point. I almost gave up a few times but continued on because the concept is cool. Yes, it's hard work, but you know what? Some things in life are hard. I know that you all grew up with Elmo, Big Bird and Barney who made everything fun. They taught you that learning is always enjoyable. Sorry. Not in real life. Sometimes you have to work your brain and get your hands dirty without some annoying puppet singing a catchy tune to encourage you. Fighter Maker is going to take you through a wide range of emotions. But if you have the balls to stick it out and actually want to learn something, the last emotion you'll have is pride and a feeling of accomplishment. I hope that other studios decide that the "make your own game" is a legitimate genre and we start seeing some more innovative titles like Fighter Maker, like the often mentioned RPG Maker from the same developers. It's your call on this one.

OVERALL
7.0

GRAPHICS
7.0

CONTROL
7.5

MUSIC/FX
5.0

FRUSTRATION
9.0

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