Review: You are not your ****in' PS2 collection.
"The first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club"
Fight Club was in development at Genuine Games and VU Games for a little over a year and in all that time barely a single word about the title was revealed to the gaming world. And it's not as if people didn't want to know. They wanted to do how it would be possible to even turn an excellent movie (and book) like Fight Club into a video game that would be even slightly enjoyable. But they adhered to the rule. A few screenshots. Talk of the ability to break an opponents limbs during a fight. The huge reveal that Meatloaf would provide his voice and likeness for Bob! This is what we knew.
"The second rule of Fight Club is that YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB"
But then the talk amongst the gamers began. How could a movie that was shaped completely around the fight against the shallowness of consumerism be turned into one of the most consumer products of all? A video game, it wouldn't be kosher in Tyler Durdan's world. And it turns out it wasn't as Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and everyone else involved with the movie wanted nothing to do with the game. Some ardent fans of the book go so far as to even be angered over the movie's existence because it was also too commercial. A video game never had a chance.
"Third rule. Someone yells "stop"... goes limp... taps out. The fight is over"
Fight Club is broken up into two main sections: Story Mode and Arcade Mode. Arcade Mode is your simple ladder match fighting game as you move through a set of eight randomly selected guys all the way on up to the top. Except there is no "top" as they're all randomly selected and you might not even fight Tyler or Jack. But you get unlimited continues so you can blow right through the Arcade Mode easy and get to the meat of the game, the Story Mode.
Except the Story Mode wouldn't be the meat of any other game. It's a hackneyed piece of work about some loser joining Fight Club after a bartender convinces him not to shoot himself in the middle of his bar after the guy gets dumped by his girlfriend. So he runs around to the various Fight Clubs chasing Tyler Durdan and fighting guys that were standing in the shadows during the actual movie. It's actually no different than Arcade Mode except this time the fight order is rigidly set up and there are a few comic book-like scenes in between each fight with some rather spotty voice work. There are still unlimited continues and it's possible to save your progress at any time and come back later. It's like they weren't even trying.
"Fourth rule. Only two guys to a fight"
While there may be only two guys to a fight, who the hell are these guys? Yes there's Tyler and Jack and Bob and Angel Face, but everyone else is either on screen for three second with two lines or they have no lines and they just kind of stand there menacingly in the background. He looks scary, let's put him in the game. It's ridiculous. Four guys that were actually in the movie and six scrubs that probably have more lines on the cutting room floor individually than in the final movie collectively.
The point of all this of course is to push Fight Club's character creation tools and encourage players to make their own character. But all the created characters look the same. The tools are anemic with a few hair color options, a few options for the color of your pants and a body type picker. Maybe this is all some grand comment on the fact that game players are faceless drones in the consumer marketplace and Genuine has distilled them down to hair and pants color. That is your individual snowflake.
No. That is lazy freaking design that doesn't give the player the option to create a virtual self so much as it just pads out the feature list on the back of the box.
"Fifth rule. Only one fight at a time fellas"
When it comes right down to it, the problem with the Fight Club game is the actual fighting. The game is based entirely around button mashing fight mechanics that don't reward skill at all. A person sitting down for the first time who just pounds buttons will have just as much success as someone who has spent days learning the ins and outs of Fight Club strategy. Of course, the reality is that with all the button mashing, the game becomes stale after a few hours and no one will spend days learning the ins and outs of Fight Club strategy.
"Sixth rule. No shirts, no shoes"
For all its poor play mechanics, Fight Club actually looks and sounds pretty good. The fighters don't look anything like Edward Norton, Brad Pitt or Jared Leto, but they still look fairly decent. And not surprisingly Meatloaf, the only "official" fighter, looks as much like Meatloaf as he possibly can. The locations are also pretty good as most of them are cribbed straight from the movie. The basement of Lou's Bar, the lot at Paper Street, various back alleys and even a runway are detailed and spacious.
The music is also pretty easy on the ears. Much of it was taken directly from the movie, but hey, you use what works. The Dust Brothers and Queens of the Stone Age turn in a good soundtrack. Fight Club The Game and good, it can happen.
Now I can't let this rule go without mentioning that a lot of the fighters are actually wearing shirts and shoes when they fight. That's rule six! You can't break rule six! Bob and his bitch tits get an exception and that's it. The rules of Fight Club are not meant to be broken in any way.
"Seventh rule. Fights will go on as long as they have to"
Fights may go as long as they have to, but like I said, the fights have no substance to them. The Bonebreaker moves and the counterattacks are useless. They're all dumb luck with no skill. They require too much setup with no payoff. The Story Mode comes to a grinding halt when you're expected to break the arm of your opponent. The dumb luck required to do that is enough to make you want to scream.