Wednesday 19 May 2010

The Worst Games I Ever Played: Pit-Fighter

Pit-Fighter could have been so good. It pushed the enveloped in so many different ways: multiple fighters, full-motion video sprites, bonus rounds, and a gritty, realistic fighting style. It should have been fantastic. Unfortunately, in its execution, it was a complete cake and arse party. The plot was...well...there wasn’t a plot. You had a choice of three fighters (a 3rd Dan karate black belt, an ex-world champion kick boxer pro-wrestler), and you had to fight other badly digitised characters for money. That’s about it. To be honest, that was all the plot an arcade game about fighting needed. Especially back in 1990. Hell, in 1990 that was all the plot any video game needed.

"There is Bad Guy X. You go punch, kick and shoot him now."

How things have changed.

"There is Convenant. You go shoot, grenade and elbow him in the face now."

Back in the way back when the game was released, the graphics were pretty impressive. Your first reaction was “Wow, that’s the most realistic graphics I’ve ever seen! This is awesome”. The main problem was that, thirty seconds later, your reaction was “Why does this look so crappy?”. And another fifteen seconds after that “I’m gonna go and play Final Fight.”. And you did. Hell, you’d rather go back to Gauntlet than play this hilarious ‘roided up lump of crap. A large part of the problem was that there was only one fight strategy that worked. An attempt to try anything else would result in you bouncing around the screen like Yoda in Attack of the Clones.

The strategy was: walk towards enemy. Kick them in the stomach. Whilst they’re collapsing to the floor, quickly walk back to where you were originally. Wait for them to get back up. Walk towards enemy. Kick them in the stomach...

What should have been a “no holds barred” underground fighting brutality fest actually turned into some sort of bizarre underground Roshambo fight club.

As you went through the levels, there would be a variation of different matches (“a variation of” in this usage means “three”): a one-on-one against CPU opponents, a massive brawl against multiple opponents, and then a self labelled “grudge match” against your fellow players. This would then loop ad infinitum.

One of the things I remember from this was the really bizarre in-between level placing sequence, which would see your fighters standing on pallets on fork lift trucks, raised up to suitable heights depending on their level of performance. Why fork lift trucks, I’m not a hundred per cent sure. I suppose they thought “gritty punch-up fest”, which logically led them on to “fork lift trucks”. If this makes sense to you, please don’t get in contact with us.

You know, I could understand it being the for the sake of showmanship if it had raised the winner high into the air, but they put them on the pallets after their brief and decidedly bouncy punch up, and then lifted them up about four inches. To me, that doesn’t even seem worth switching the engine on for.

Pit-Fighter, like so many dodgy video games, builds its entire package around how flashy it looks – and ended up being nothing but an exercise in style over substance. Mortal Kombat may have been accused of a similar thing – it tried to push full motion video and Mary Whitehouse baiting gore as its unique selling points – but at least it had a pretty engaging game underneath all that. No, it wasn’t Street Fighter II or Samurai Shodown, but at least it was a playable and chucklesome punch fest. Pit-Fighter was, rather tragically, none of those things. It had unrealistic physics, repetitive gameplay and was ball-bouncingly headache-inducingly fork-liftingly retarded to boot.

Pit-Fighter was saved, to an extent, by its re-issue in 2002 as part of the Midway Arcade Treasures Volume 2 compilation on PS2, X Box and GameCube. This is because this emulation was hilariously bad in its own right. The main (and in many ways, only) problem with this version was that it had been emulated badly, and ran about three times as fast as was originally intended. This made it fucking hilarious to watch. I dare you to watch this with a straight face:

BBC Worldwide has announced a series of arena dates for the very first production of Doctor Who Live.

The new stage show, based upon the BBC’s smash-hit, award-winning series Doctor Who, promises to deliver a spectacular audio/visual experience featuring live music, special effects and appearances from the show’s most popular monsters.

Taking in nine cities and 25 dates, Doctor Who Live kicks off in London at Wembley Arena on 8th October, and will visit Sheffield, Glasgow , Birmingham , Manchester , Nottingham, Cardiff and Liverpool, culminating in Belfast on the 7th November.

Developed in association with Doctor Who’s Executive Producer and show runner, Steven Moffat, Doctor Who Live promises the same excitement, adventure and suspense that viewers have come to expect from the TV programme and will feature specially filmed new video scenes.

Steven Moffat said: "This is everything I ever wanted since I was eleven. A live show, with all the coolest Doctor Who monsters, a proper story, and brand new screen material for Matt Smith's Doctor! I'll be writing scenes for it, and probably attending every single night!"

Opening in wartime London and concluding in an epic onstage battle, audiences should expect the unexpected as the The Doctor’s arch-enemies the Daleks are joined by some of the best-loved and most terrifying monsters from the TV series including the Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Judoon and Oods to name but a few.

With an out-of-this-world set, Doctor Who Live will feature special FX, optical illusions and spectacular pyrotechnics building to an epic finale. Specially edited video clips, drawn from the TV Programme will be shown on a massive screen and accompanied by the music of longtime Doctor Who composer Murray Gold. These iconic scores will be brought to life by a sixteen piece orchestra live on stage.

Murray Gold said: "The live element always adds something extra, but these will also be brand new arrangements for a new band of very talented musicians. It's very exciting."

Doctor Who Live has been conceived as a fully immersive music and monsters spectacular.

Actors from the TV series will not be appearing live on stage, but having the same actor playing the same part has never bugged Doctor Who fans so far.

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