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Fighters Destiny

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Reviewed by Scott McCall Fighters Destiny is the American version of Fighting Cup. For whatever reason, Fighters Destiny is one of the first Japanese-developed games to be released outside of Japan first. While the American version hit the shelves at the end of January, the Japanese version won't come out until April. Fighters Destiny is also the second game to hit the U.S. that was produced by Imagineer and developed by Genki -- the same companies who did Multi-Racing Championship. And right from the beginning, it's easy to see some similarities in the two games, right down to a similar menu system and voices used at similar times. Like Multi-Racing Championship, the developers of Fighters Destiny chose to make their game similar to 32-bit games. I think you know what I mean. There's that certain "style" of racing and fighting games that is only found on the 32-bit gaming systems. What I mean is that they are geared more toward older gamers rather than teenagers or younger gamers. Multi-Racing Championship and Fighters Destiny are also similar in the fact that they appear as if they could be done on a 32-bit system. You probably already heard about Fighters Destiny's unique system of fighting. I'm going to recap it and then go into more detail. Please note that all point totals are the default setting. In the Vs COM or Vs Battle modes, you will win the match by getting 7 points. You get 1 point for a ring out or a judge due to time out, 2 points for throwdowns or locks or body attack skills, 3 points for a knockdown or a counter, and 4 points for a special attack. The point system can be changed to your liking in the options mode, which is a great idea. You can change any of the aforementioned ways of getting points to give you anywhere from 1 to 5 points. Each fighter in the game has a health meter. But it's not quite like energy meters in other games. Yes, it does go down, but an opponent can get points on you without your meter even going down at all. For example, throwdowns (getting close and pressing A and B) will give the attacker 2 points if they pull it off. That means you can beat the computer to an almost pulp, but if it would successfully pull off a throwdown, then your cause would be wasted. While we're talking about throws, it should be pointed out that Fighters Destiny has a great throwing system. Throws can be escaped (unless you're dizzy) and throws can be reversed (though you don't necessarily reverse your opponent into a throwdown). So throws aren't really cheap in this game. Any time at least one point is won, the game shows a replay of the winning move and then you "restart" the round. All I mean is that the fighters get their energy back. Also, underneath your energy is a meter of stars that show how many points you got. So there are many different ways to win a match. For example, you could get 7 ring outs (1 point), which would be like 7 rounds. Or you could perform a special (4 points) and a knockdown (3 points), which would be like 2 rounds. Or there could be hundreds of other combinations between you and your opponent, with the computer getting points some of the time. You only get to move on to fight the next character once you get 7 points. If the computer gets 7 points on you first, then you have the opportunity to continue an unlimited number of times in the Vs COM mode. Here's how the points are acquired. Oh yeah, I should point out that the total number of points required for victory can also be toggled from 1 to 8, with the default being 7. Anyway, ring outs (1 point) occur when the player gets knocked out of the ring. It's possible to hang on the ledge and get back on. It's possible to pull someone off when you're hanging. And it's possible for your opponent to knock you off when you're hanging. By the way, the ring size can be changed in increments of .5, from 4.0 to 12.0 meters. The default is 6.0 meters. One point is also awarded when there's a draw, i.e., if no one got a point in the allotted time. You can set the time to 15, 30, 45, 60, or unlimited seconds in the options. The default is 30 seconds. Two points are awarded for throwdowns or lock skills. I already discussed throwdowns, but there's also a lock. Basically, there are moves to keep an opponent locked up. Then the opponent has to press A and B rapidly in order to get out of it. If they don't, then 2 points are awarded. You get 3 points when there's a knockdown or a counter. Knockdowns can occur in several ways. First, after you deplete your opponent's energy meter, they turn purple and become dizzy for about five seconds, after which they get some strength back. During this dizzy spell, you can basically perform a throwdown for 2 points, knock them down for 3 points, or perform a special move for 4 points. In regard to knocking them down, you basically just have to beat on them with successive hits to get the 3 points. But there's also a special one-hit knockdown, and your opponent doesn't have to be dizzy for this. This gives you 3 points. Finally, you can perform a special attack when your opponent is dizzy to get 4 points. As stated above, Fighters Destiny presents the player with a multitude of options to customize the game. But there are also various other options and modes in the game. The Vs COM mode is the one-player mode in which you must fight against every character. Playing this mode many times with many characters will unlock hidden moves and the ability to get hidden characters. The Vs Battle mode is for two players. You can choose either "Normal" or "Win or Lose." Normal is self-explanatory. Win or Lose is when a saved character fights another saved character. You win and lose moves from each other in this mode. Fighters Destiny also contains some unusual yet cool modes. For example, the Record Attack mode presents you with three types of fights: Survival, Fastest and Rodeo. In Survival, the object is beat as many characters as you can in a row without losing. In Fastest, the object is to beat as many characters as you can in under one minute. In Rodeo, the object is to stay in the ring with a cow (!) for at least one minute. There's also the Master Challenge and Training modes. In the Master Challenge, there are 12 icons on a wheel that randomly spins. Eight of the icons are masters and four are jokers. So if the wheel stops on a master, then you fight the master. If you beat him, you gain a new skill. If the wheel lands on a joker, however, then you must beat him, or you will lose all of your gained skills. Unfortunately for you, the Joker is a formidable opponent. There's also an awesome Training mode that lets you practice the various forms of combat -- normal, aerial, special and escape. The control in Fighters Destiny is unlike anything I've seen before. Rather than conform to a Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat or Virtua Fighter scheme, the game gets about as original as you can for a fighting game. First, you have your choice between the Control Pad or Control Stick, though you have to turn on the Control Stick in the options screen. Then these are the buttons you use to fight (the configuration can be changed): the A button is a lower attack, the B button is a upper and middle attack, the R button is defense, and the L button is Hirari, or auto-avoidance. That's it. Holding down L and pressing up or down on the Control Stick or Control Pad will enable you to move around the ring. If your opponent tries to attack you while you're moving around, you'll often automatically avoid the attack. Although Fighters Destiny sure doesn't have many buttons, I think it's nice not having to memorize the location of six different attack buttons. Because of the small button selection, moves are pulled out a la Virtua Fighter. And, believe it or not, there are many moves in the game. You can pause and look at a "Command List" of all the moves for each fighter. Fighting in Fighters Destiny is more on the realistic side. You won't find any fireballs or hurricane kicks here. There are some pyrotechnics used with some moves, but they are not part of the attack. All moves in the game are punches, kicks, throws, holds, tosses, etc. -- the hand-to-hand combat type of moves. Consequently, that means it plays differently from other fighting games. While you might be used to standing far away from your opponent in a Killer Instinct, Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat game, the action in Fighters Destiny takes place up-close. There are combos in the game, too, but they do not appear as often as the newer fighting games. One of the things I really like about Fighters Destiny is that it seems like there's some kind of move to counter whatever your opponent throws at you or vice versa. Properly timed punches can connect with an opponent who's trying kick while a properly timed kick can connect with an opponent who's trying to punch. If someone tries to perform a one-hit knockdown move, then you can make them get out of that motion with a properly timed quick attack. And since there are three types of blocking (high, low and avoidance) that the player must properly use, you won't see any turtlers in the game. Essentially, the key to success in the game is using moves at the proper time and not mashing all the buttons at once. Finally, here are two other notes I want to quickly mention. First, there is not an ounce of blood in this game. It only got a "Teen" rating because it's fighting. Second, the game saves all your options, hidden moves, hidden characters, and best times on 2 pages of a Controller Pak. The graphics in Fighters Destiny aren't bad at all. Yes, the backgrounds are actually flat while the ring rotates around. Yes, the characters look more like polygons than other fighting games on the N64. And although there is a huge variety of moves, there isn't a ton of animation for them. However, the most important thing is that Fighters Destiny is quick. Because of the nature of the style of fighting, it doesn't seem very fast, but the animation is moving at over 30 frames per second. Basically, the graphics are solid but unimpressive. Like the graphics, the sound really isn't that impressive, either. The music suits each level you're fighting on pretty well, but it sounds a little too MIDI-like. At least it's better than the music in MRC. There's also a ton of voice in Fighters Destiny. Mainly, it comes via an announcer who gives comments during the fight. Some of the things he says includes "Wow," "Stunning player 2," "Keep going," "That was a very good move," "Come on, let's do it," and more. In addition, he also announces the result of points won. For example, he'll say "Knockdown -- three points won." or "Ring out -- one point won." Furthermore, he has a comment about the match before it starts, and most of the characters have voices and grunts, too. So what's the verdict? Fighters Destiny is easily the best fighting game on the Nintendo 64. Of course, that's not saying much, but the game still holds its own against some of the heavyweights. It's not quite as good as a Virtua Fighter or Tekken game, but it's still extremely fun and strategic. Add in a challenging one-player mode, a nice two-player mode, many optional kinds of fights, and the ability to change every facet of the point system, and you also got a fighting game that is filled to the brim with replay value. Finally, a great fighting game for the N64 that everyone can appreciate.

Graphics: 3.6 out of 5 Sound: 3.4 out of 5 Control: 4.1 out of 5 Gameplay: 4.4 out of 5 Lastability: 4.2 out of 5 Overall: 4.2 out of 5

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