Fight Club E3 2004 Preshow Impressions

We break the first and second rules of Fight Club by telling you all about the features you can expect from this upcoming fighter based on the popular movie.

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Though a certain level of apprehension is to be expected any time a game company announces a game based on a licensed property, fans of the movie Fight Club have been especially apprehensive ever since VU Games and developer Genuine Games announced their upcoming fighter based on the film. The developers at Genuine Games recognize the uneasiness that comes from the movie's audience, and at this year's E3, they want to show fans that they not only have a legitimate affection for the source material but also can make a solid fighting game based on the license. Shortly before E3, we were given the opportunity to take a look at the game's progress to see how it was coming along.

Fight Club will feature 10 of the movie's main characters as fighters in the game, including the must-haves, like Jack the Narrator and Tyler Durden, as well as other popular characters like Angel Face, Bob, Irvin, Ricky, and the Mechanic. The possibility for other characters to make appearances in the game was mentioned during our demo, but no mention or confirmation was made as to whom these characters might be. The game's fighting engine will be what Genuine considers to be a cross between DOA and Tekken. Each of the controller's main buttons will be assigned to a fighter's limb, and you'll also have a block button at your disposal. Fighters can also perform brutal throws, slams, and submissions, as well as one special attack that is unique to that fighter. The game will also feature a few different, unique styles of fighting, which are representative of certain characters. Tyler, for instance, is a much-more-martial-arts-based fighter, whereas Bob is much more of a brawler.

In Fight Club the game, all the rules of a typical fight within the movie apply. No shirts, shoes, or belts may be worn (though the possibility of alternate costumes was mentioned), and you can also tap out or verbally give up at any time during a fight. This means that even if your life meter still has life left, you can end the fight anyway. Why would you want to do this? Primarily because of the game's story mode. In the story mode, you are given the opportunity to create your own Space Monkey (the term of endearment used to refer to members of Fight Club/Project Mayhem, for anyone unfamiliar with the film's terminology) so that you can work him up through the ranks of Fight Club by earning character points through fights, with the ultimate goal of becoming Tyler's right-hand man. In the mode, you'll be given a choice of two ways to play--normal or hardcore. If you choose hardcore, your injuries during a fight will carry over from match to match, which means that the more messed-up you get, the harder it will be to win matches in the future. You can heal yourself between fights by going to the ER, but you'll have to spend character points to do so.

Injuries in Fight Club are no joke, either. Genuine is really working to make the same sort of non-Hollywood, brutal violence that the film was known for a reality in the game. One aspect of the game that presents evidence of this is its interactive environments. In most--if not all--of the game's 15 fight areas, there will be pieces of the scenery that you can ram your opponent's head into or that you can even throw him through, thus revealing new sections to that level. One example of this was the parking lot level outside Lou's Bar, where, by throwing an opponent through the window of the bar, a new fight arena was revealed inside the bar. Injuries to your opponent are readily apparent when you deliver them, and there is a lot of deep bruising and spurts of blood that splatter all over the place--and even on the screen. Breaking limbs is also a pretty impressive feat, since, by doing so, you'll be presented with a sequence that reveals an X ray-like view of the victim's skeleton; then you'll immediately see the targeted bone literally snap in half. Once a limb has been broken, it becomes useless during a fight, though you'll still be able to fight if you so choose. However, this gives you all the more reason to tap out before you become too bloodied and broken to fight on.

From what we've seen of Fight Club thus far, we must admit we're pleasantly surprised. And as such, we plan to get plenty of hands-on time with the game on the E3 show floor. Fight Club is currently set for release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox this October.

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