Reviewed by Mike Wales
One knock against the Nintendo 64's software library has been the lack of 3-D fighting
games for the system (War Gods and Dark Rift notwithstanding). Thanks to Ocean,
some of that void may be filled with the release of Fighter's Destiny. Although the
game may not have the big name of better-promoted titles, it does have a lot of
little features that make it a unique entry in the genre.
Possibly the most outstanding feature of the game is its scoring system. In order to
win the match, you must score 7 points. Although you can win some points by beating
on your opponent until his or her life bar is depleted, you can also score points for
knocking or throwing them down, forcing them out of the ring, countering their
moves, successfully performing a special move and winning on points when time
runs out. Although defeating an opponent by using a special move usually garners
the most points, the rules are fully customizable, so you can change the points
awarded for any given type of victory. You can also adjust the ring size and time
and number of rounds. If you think throws and ring-outs are cheap, for example,
you can set the reward for these types of victories to be lower than for the more
difficult victory methods.
Another unique mode in Fighter's Destiny is the Master Challenge. In this mode, you
fight against an aged and wise Master. If you defeat him, you will earn a new special
skill. The special skill won is selected at random. It's also possible that when you
select the Master, you're pitted instead against the Joker. If you lose to him, you
will forfeit all special skills you have earned so far.
Of course, even with all the different modes, the game wouldn't be much fun without
a good fighting engine. Fighter's Destiny can seem like a button masher at times, but
if you check out the Command List that is available while you pause the game, you'll
see that there are over 60 moves available per character (some are shared by different
characters). While the fighting styles vary from character to character, it also
appears that the moves are taken from a variety of martial arts, from karate to
wrestling. It's possible to sometimes beat the CPU by using the same moves over and
over again, but against a human opponent or the Joker, you're not going to get far
pressing buttons at random. Fortunately, you can customize your Controller buttons.
It can help to customize your four yellow C Buttons to equal A + B, since that sequence
is a component of most special moves. Combos and juggles are also possible. The
game's training mode allows you to focus your practice on these special techniques.
The graphics in Fighter's Destiny are appealing if not spectacular. The polygon-modeled
characters feel solid, with smooth and realistic motion-captured moves. Flashy graphics
and dramatic camera-angle shifts highlight special moves. Battles take place on large,
unobstructed platforms before different backgrounds.
Overall, Fighter's Destiny is a solid addition to the N64's line-up. It may lack some
of the flash and name recognition of other fighting games, but it's worth a look if
you're seeking a new and unique fighting challenge.