One Must Fall 2097 is a remarkably good fighting game and, in fact, could possibly be one of the best fighting games available on the PC. The game compares favorably to some Arcade and console fighting games although it's not quite in the same league as top echelon standard fighters like Street Fighter II and its derivatives. However, its plethora of options and modes enhance the game.
One Must Fall 2097 is unique in giving you a choice of characters and robots as opposed to just one or the other. The characters all have different physical characteristics and the robots handle differently and possess unique signature moves. This makes for some remarkable variety in the basic fighter gameplay. Throw in hazards like fighter planes trying to gun you down during a fight or electrified fences and a full tournament career mode and you're virtually swimming in gameplay.
The extras wouldn't count for much if gameplay was terrible but, thankfully, the game delivers solidly in this regard. The fighting engine is fast and responsive and features some good combo possibilities. The AI programming is also fairly impressive and its fighting ability ranges from utterly moronic to amazingly difficult.
The ten characters and robots are, for the most part, evenly matched despite having quite different attributes. As far as the fighting system is concerned, you'd be hard pressed to tell it apart from a quality Arcade fighter's system. The only problem of any significance is the limitation of only two attack buttons, one for punch and one for kick.
To the game's credit, though, it manages to overcome this handicap by allowing you to pull back while attacking and executing a heavy attack. Having at least one more punch and kick button, though, would have been a welcome addition.
The versatility of the fighting system is shown off in the game's tournament mode. Your character's progress is tracked via three meters and your robot's upgrade status is tracked with a handful of stats. The fighting engine manages to simulate the many possible statistical combinations so the same robot with different stats feels quite distinct in a fight.
Furthermore, the ability to build up your character and robot stats as you desire, adds a new level of strategic depth to the game. You can build a well-rounded fighting machine or spend all the money to specialize in one or two attributes -- your choice. During the tournament, the fighting experience is quite different depending on how your character and robot are developed.
One Must Fall 2097's technical performance is quite decent and, with one exception, the graphics are well done. The robot models show a good deal of creativity in design and, when moving, have fairly smooth animation. The backgrounds, though, are a bit dull in comparison to backgrounds from other fighting games.
The sound effects consist of the standard metal clanging sounds associated with robotic combat -- effective but not particularly impressive. On the other hand, the game's music is very good and consists of a set of catchy upbeat techno-like tunes that fit in with the robot combat theme particularly well.
One Must Fall 2097 is an exemplary package. It has a solid and enjoyable fighting system and includes a unique tournament mode that increases the game's replay value exponentially. Had it been released as an Arcade or console fighting game, it would fill a niche as one of the great games of the genre. If you're a fighter fan, though, regardless of preferred platform, you must experience this game.
Graphics: Great characters but the backgrounds are a little simplistic.
Sound: The game has solid sound effects and a set of very catchy techno tunes.
Enjoyment: The fighting system is very good and tournament mode adds a great deal of depth.
Replay Value: The tournament mode, arguably the first implementation of a career mode in fighters, gives the game great replay value.
One Must Fall 2097 is a fighting game with a twist. Instead of the usual Street Fighter II trend of games, in this game you play one of 10 characters controlling one of 10 huge robots in a fighting match.
According to the game, in the year 2097, the human race is controlled by one company known as W.A.R., which started as a small company providing the Earth government with construction robots. After a while W.A.R. grew further and further and eventually took over Earth Gov.
In the year 2097, W.A.R. decided to colonize Ganymede, one of Jupiter's moons. Because of the harsh climate and difficult terrain, they sought for one person, the best of the best, to rule Ganymede for them. They've decided the best way to choose this person is to organize a huge contest, in which the winner will earn a seat in the W.A.R. high counsel and control of Ganymede.
You're one of the contestants, and you want to win.
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One Must Fall: Battlegrounds, Jazz Jackrabbit, Jazz Jackrabbit 2, Mortal Kombat, Jazz Jackrabbit CD-ROM, Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos, Quake, Quake 3 Arena
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