The Amiga platform has had a rather chequered history when it comes to beat-em-ups. There was the terribly slow Street Fighter, with appalling samples and frame rates that struggled to get half way to ten. There was the mega-hyped Rise of the Robots, with its over-rendered combatants, huge promotional spend and as much gameplay as filling in a tax return. And then there was the surprisingly good Capital Punishment from ClickBOOM, which showed that it was possible to bring the genre to the Amiga and actually make an original, beautiful game.
I’m sure Ologram are rather hoping that OloFight will be a next generation beat-em-up to capture the imagination of the gaming public. They’re likely to be disappointed.
Choosing your fighter from a selection of eight (though more become available if you play through the story mode on the harder levels), you can then embark on the usual fare of games in this genre – a story mode, a survival mode (where you have to stay alive as long as possible), a time attack (simply beat your opponent as fast as possible), a single battle or a versus battle. And then it’s time to punch noses.
It’s difficult to discuss the actual game mechanics of OloFight without the words unfeasible, absurd, ridiculous and laughable being bandied about. The collision detection is woeful and you often find yourself in the ridiculous position of being too close to someone to hit them. Even so, when someone is coming in with a decent flying kick and it’s countered by their opponent punching their incoming foot, something is surely wrong.
Above all else, the problem with this game is the special moves. Holding down the fire button for less than a second will give you the opportunity to unleash a powerful, colourful and devastating blow.
At the end of the day though, the gameplay should have come first and foremost, and that's what's sadly lacking...
Each of the characters has a base of four moves. You can fill each of your "slots" with the same move or with any combination. Some of the moves are defensive and some are aggressive, but they will all cause damage to your opponent if he gets in their way.
But this is the problem – they’re too easy to perform and they’re too deadly. If you get caught in the wrong place, two special moves can kill. There’s no sequence of difficult joystick gymnastics to master before you can use them either; you just hold down the joystick button and point the joystick in one of four directions which present your weapon "slots".
Another problem is that when you’re playing against the computer you’ll find your opponent can usually perform one of his moves nine times, whereas you’re limited to one. This tends to make the combat slightly uneven.
Not that this makes it impossible to win. On the contrary, after a few days of getting kicked to hell, Mark refined the age old tactic of simply jigging backwards and forwards and punching the other bloke whenever he dropped his guard. It might work, but it’s as dull as a two-watt bulb.
I’m sure a lot of work has gone into the multi-layer parallax-scrolling animated backdrops. I’m sure a lot of work went into the animations of the characters, the rendered intro sequence and even the packaging.
At the end of the day though, the gameplay should have come first and foremost, and that’s what’s sadly lacking in OloFight. It may have some merits as a two player game, but frankly, we’ve had Reader Games that have been better.