Also On: XBLA
As a fan of almost every fighting game out there, I consider myself an expert player of the genre. When I tackle an unknown title, such as Chaos Code, or even obscure ones like Strip Fighter for the TurboDuo, I tend to look past the glaring faults and just try to have fun with it (I may be the only fighting fan who actually enjoys “Street Fighter X Tekken”). Girl Fight is the very first fighting game I have played where I simply cannot look past its faults, because they constantly beat you over the head. Sure, it’s scantily clad women beating each other up, but that can only go so far.
When I first load up Girl Fight, I was feeling pretty optimistic. Screen shots looked good, and there isn't really much to mess up with such a simple concept. I began playing and chose the Arcade Mode and this is where my problems started. Beginning a new Arcade run, you only have one character to choose from, one. You have to use this single character throughout your entire run of the roster and beat the boss to unlock more. I can understand something like this being in a Career type of mode, where you could level up a particular character, but not in an Arcade Mode. Apparently the developers over at Microprose didn't understand that an Arcade Mode in a fighting game usually gives the player (at the very least) 6 or 8 characters to pick from, with some hidden characters to be unlocked later. No, here there is only one, and you have to play over and over again to unlock the entire roster, making this more of a chore than anything.
Adding to the “this feels like work” feeling is the lack of any real moves or combos for the fighters. Sure some of them may have a different kind of punch or kick, but it mostly comes down to pressing punch and kick quickly and holding block when (and if) the opponent attacks. Occasionally, there was some stuttering and random lagging in the fights which really breaks flow. It’s like the game is trying to keep the action slow if things get too fast. There are special moves called PSY moves you can choose at the start that are like special abilities that reduce your damage, increase your speed and regenerate health. I used them a few times, but nothing really gave an advantage or changed the gameplay at all. In one fight, I simply pressed punch as an opponent walked closer and made no effort to attack, resulting in a perfect victory.
There about 8 or 9 fights in one play through, each accompanied by a story of sorts. The Fighters seem to be in some sort of computer program, and the Siri like voice is telling them about the “Organization”. I really couldn't follow any of it, and really didn't want to as it all sounded dry and cliché. The last fight is with “Siri” herself, which is just a see through 3D model of another fighter. Your prize for winning (other than unlocking a new fighter to use) is a cartoon photo of your character wearing little to no clothing… I don’t think Microprose even left 1991. There IS an online component, I think. Since the servers are a barren wasteland of empty lobbies, I could not test it to see how well it fared. Given the random stuttering and lagging I experienced in an offline fight, I can only imagine.
Before I continue with the negativity, let’s focus on one thing I didn't mind in Girl Fight and that is the artwork and character models. All of the characters look nicely detailed and are animated well. The actual design of the characters loses some points for having little to no originality, and range from the hardened army chick, to the crazy court jester type. Some of the backgrounds are nicely detailed, but mostly are covered in bright neon lighting that can get on your nerves. There isn't anything to interact with other than the wall that surrounds the ring, so the little animations in the backgrounds are just there for show. The music on the other hand is abysmal. It is nothing more than a selected playlist of iPod DJ type techno which is forgotten the minute it starts blaring. They scroll the name of the song and the “artist” across the screen before each fight, but I can’t recall a single one that I saw. It’s really forgettable, much like the game that accompanies it.
Girl Fight is a game that I cannot recommend as a fighting game fan. Even if it had been released in the early 90’s it would have been perceived in the same way, it’s just not good at all. Some high points like the detailed character models and nice animations ease some of the pain, but in the long run, all you will experience is dull gameplay, horrid music and stale effects. If you love fighting games, stay away from this one as it will put you in a bad state. If you enjoy scantily clad women fighting with each other, again stay away from this one, don’t even try the demo. Dead or Alive this is not, but rather it should just be… dead.