By Justin Guillou / December 3rd, 2019
|Title||Fight ‘N Rage|
|Release Date||September 26th, 2019|
|Genre||Beat ’em up|
|Platform||PC, PS4, Switch|
|Age Rating||T for Teen|
Fight ‘N Rage is a retro throwback to the classic beat ’em ups of yesteryear that will definitely appeal to arcade enthusiasts. The first thing you will notice about Fight ‘N Rage is how visually striking it is. It begins with a hardware check similar to how most old arcade games did when they are being turned on. Also there is a CRT filter to further emulate that “arcade feel” which can be adjusted or turned off entirely. I appreciate options like this because sometimes the CRT filters that get included in these retro style games or compilations aren’t well implemented or get in the way of the actual visuals themselves and make them look less rich and detailed than they otherwise would have. For Fight ‘N Rage I actually preferred them turned off because the graphics are really pretty and filled with lots of bright neon colors. It might even be a bit too bright and saturated, but it works given the game’s retro motif. It’s very stylish and generally really amusing to see in motion. The game is also filled with cute little subtle nods to the beat ’em ups that inspired it.
Fight ‘N Rage takes place in a world where humans are enslaved by mutants and a group of rebels are trying to stop these corrupt mutants by beating them up. You can pick one of three characters and fight your way through eight levels filled with enemies and chaos. The game is really simple to play; you have one attack button, a jump button and a special move button. Pressing the attack button will allow your character to perform their normal attack chain. Holding up or down on the D-pad or analog stick will enable you to throw your enemy either forwards or backwards at the end of your attack cycle. You also have a special move button which will allow your character to use various types of attacks based on whether or not a direction is held when the button is pressed. Next to your life meter there is an SP gauge that gradually fills, and if it is full you will be able to use a special move without draining your health. Otherwise using one without a full SP gauge will result in you losing a significant amount of health.
As you play Fight ‘N Rage you’ll notice that the game really throws everything and the kitchen sink at you. Enemies are constantly appearing on screen and the waves appear endless at times. They also get stronger as the game goes on and can do a significant amount of damage. Certain portions of the levels can really become a huge test of patience and endurance as the enemy waves keep pouring in, wearing down your health little by little, and it becomes very easy to get a game over and struggle even with the unlimited continues. Continuing actually brings you back to a checkpoint as opposed to letting you continue where you left off so you really need to bring your A-game if you want to see the ending here. As I played this game, I began to feel like there was something missing. The tools the game seemed to give me didn’t feel adequate enough to deal with the onslaught of enemies and obstacles the game threw at me. Worse yet, powerups and life ups seem to be rather scarce. It had me wondering whether or not I was playing the game wrong, until I eventually gave myself a game over which awarded me with some coins. It was then I realized that the “Extras” option in the main menu was actually an in-game store where you can purchase additional characters, alternate costumes, an easier difficulty mode, and most importantly… a Training Mode.
While the Arcade Mode gives you a brief tutorial on how the game works, the Training Mode goes much more in depth and taught me moves I didn’t even know existed, such as the parrying system which works similar to Street Fighter III in that you have to press forward just as an attack is about to land to negate damage from it. Playing this mode really opened my eyes into how much depth there was to the combat. And honestly many of the techniques they teach you are borderline essential for getting through certain levels and bosses. I don’t understand why this mode isn’t unlocked from the get go. I’m not sure too many players would have assumed the “Extras” mode was actually the main way of unlocking content via coins earned from an Arcade Mode that would be very difficult to clear for new players. Even with the easy mode this game was incredibly difficult, but at least the tutorial gave me more of an idea on what I was doing wrong so I could improve. I eventually managed to complete the game and the playthrough took me about an hour.
If you really enjoy the frantic nature of the game, there is lots for you to come back to. Most of the enemies you encounter can be unlocked as a playable character, and the levels are filled with branching paths and decisions you can make leading to more than 40 endings for you to unlock. So clearly this game is packed with content and replay value. However it’s up to you to make the most of it and spend a lot of time mastering the battle system in order for you to really appreciate it. The levels are large and can go on for a long time. But as I’ve mentioned before the game is oozing with style so that can potentially keep you playing even if it will kick your butt for a while. Also the music is rocking, with plenty of metal tunes to compliment the action and mayhem on screen as you are sending enemies flying or being sent flying yourself. For $20 Fight ‘N Rage is a nice little gem, however your enjoyment of it really depends on how much you are willing to put up with the learning curve. If it clicks for you and you enjoy mastering the parry system and learn how to chain attacks properly, this will probably be among the best beat ’em ups you’ve ever played and the unlockable content is sure to keep you coming back for more.
Review copy provided by the publisher
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