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Fighter Maker
Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: ASCII Entertainment
Developer: ASCII Entertainment
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Fighting/ Editor

Graphics & Sound:
One place where the graphics in Fighter Maker shine is the special effects when hitting an opponent hard. There is this cool looking “ripple” effect in the air (something Sliders fans would be familiar with). Overall, however, the graphics in Fighter Maker are not as good as a lot of fighter games out there. Think the first Tekken. The appearance of the characters and the backgrounds are simply less detailed than other, more recent, fighting games. Also, the models seem to have a lower polygon count than most other fighting games. This detracts from the fun of the game slightly, if at all, however. The fighting game itself is not the main attraction of this game. The fun of this game comes in the Edit option...

The sound in Fighter Maker, on the other hand, is actually quite good. In fact, the background music is a pleasure to listen to while playing. It’s hard to describe, but is up-tempo, and somewhat driving, yet with a nice oriental flair. (Okay, I know! I SAID it was hard to describe.)

Fighter Maker is somewhat fun to play in single player mode, and is much more fun to play in multiplayer mode. If you want to have a BLAST, however, you should each build your own character and your own custom moves. Then pit your creations against each other. There are a set number of characters (appearance) to choose from, and each one has its own default fighting style, although you can change things up quite a bit with the editor -- everything from individual stances to hits and kicks to blocks, and even grappling moves. This allows a great amount of freedom of development, but requires a little bit of a learning curve to be able to fully utilize it.

One interesting thing about the grappling moves is that you get to design both sides of the attack: the attacker and the opponent. This is required to make the two fighters appear to interact correctly, but it allows you to have total control over the “dance” between the two fighters when that grappling move is executed. You can use the fact that you have total control over both characters to perfect the appearance of a standard move, or use this fact to make ridiculous moves. For instance, you can create a move in which one character simply waves its hand, and the other character goes flying backwards, taking damage. Another would be in which with the nod of your fighter’s head, your opponent “folds” up all of its limbs and head into its torso, and lands with a thud on the floor. While you can’t remove limbs, or permanently modify the opponent, you are pretty much limited only by your imagination beyond that. (Look for the “Lewinsky” grappling move to surface on the net soon.) Imaginations, get to work!

The one player game in Fighter Maker is short. It’s not really all that difficult, either. You play against a few opponents (seemingly chosen randomly), some being harder to beat than others, and then you’ve completed the game. The game only requires you to beat something like five of the 20 pre-made characters. It is not apparent as to why the Normal mode isn’t a LOT longer, but difficulty is heavily dependent on your character. If you choose to make your character’s attacks overly powerful, then the game will be fairly easy. Essentially, you are given some of the development duties. If it’s too difficult, fix it!

Game Mechanics:
Fighter Maker is an odd, wonderful game. It is in a very small genre of games that allow the player to really customize the game. I instantly am reminded of Carnage Heart. The difference is that Carnage Heart limited the gamer to devising artificial intelligence routines and outfitting a robot, thereby removing the player from the gameplay. Fighter Maker, on the other hand, allows the gamer to create their own fighting A.I. (called “Logic”) for the CPU to use when using their character, although it doesn’t require the Logic for a player to use the character. Instead, Fighter Maker allows the player to create and enhance the gameplay, instead of being removed from it. I only hope that Agetec releases a Fighter Maker 2 for the PlayStation 2, which will allow gamers to load their Fighter Maker characters and outfit them with customized appearances (say, flowing hair, physically dynamic body movement), and that the sequel have a longer Normal mode. Also, that they use the PS2’s graphics capability and additional memory to greatly enhance the appearance of the characters and backgrounds.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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