Alex and Franko were a pair of great friends, born in times where Poland was morphing from communist country into something else. Lost in the world, they couldn't find them self in the new reality. Living in the Polish city of Szczecin, the two were growing up in a rather unfriendly neighborhood. Mastering martial arts, they found their life tough but very interesting. Until one day a band of thugs attacked them. After a long fight, when Franko was able to see and feel again, he saw a body of his friend, and in his ears he still heard the laughter of the band's leader, Klocek. Now it's time for revenge.
Franko is a classical Double Dragon-style action game. With excessive amount of blood and violence, it is suitable for mature audiences only. The player walks right through the streets of a Polish city (decorated with typical decor of the communist era). On his way, he faces various kinds of enemies, from punks, through karatekas, to infamous Communist law enforcement groups like ZOMO. The enemies can be fought with a variety of hand-to-hand blows and moves, though some of them carry guns.
Franko and Alex were walking around the block as usual, and as usual, they were bored. Same buildings all around, same faces without a smile, just another regular day. But this time something happened - a new gang showed up in town. Franko and Alex got beaten up real bad. Since then nothing has been as usual, and something had to be done. They decide to get revenge on Klocek, the boss of this new gang.
This is where our game begins. I must say that this game is written completely in the Polish language. I have placed a little translation of the most important elements of the game in the archive, such as the menu and stats on the screen.
It's a beat-'em-up-type game: you wander the streets fighting people. In the beginning it's easy, but with every inch you walk it becomes more difficult; at first you'll come across simple thugs and junkies, then later karate fighters, police, soldiers and of course more powerful thugs. And as the game progresses, the enemies not only get tougher, but also smarter. For a couple of fights, you can kill everyone with an easy flying kick - no need to get close to the enemy when you can "fly". At the end of every odd numbered stage, you'll come across a Boss. They can be a pain in the neck, but after some beating they also die. And after defeating each of the bosses, our hero can do some nasty stuff to them.
To fight you need to use several buttons: You can try to press "A", "Z", "X" or "CTRL"+a directional button to hit, kick or catch an enemy. The last option is the most fun, but hard to achieve, as you need good timing in order to accomplish a catch and not to get hit in the meantime. While you hold your enemy you can give him a series of hits depending on the direction key you press. These are the most nastiest, and probably you'll find a way to throw your enemy into the air using him as a projectile to hit others - not easy, but rewarding in terms of the pain of villains.
Between three regular fighting levels there are nice, easy bonus stages - you get a car! Don't think about a sports car or a limo - it's a 1980's polish classic Fiat 126P, probably the smallest car ever until the Smart came on the market. On the road some people will appear: Your job is to drive over the bad ones, and avoid hitting the innocent. This is the easiest part of the game, and the only place where you can replenish your health. If you kill punks, your health bar increases, but if you bump old lady - it goes down.
This game was created for the Polish market, but since there isn't much text in the game it probably won't be a problem. I tried to translate the in-game lower bar, which shows your energy, body count and other numbers. But others were impossible to translate. A lot of things in the game are local injokes, most taken from the period when Poland was a communist country. Some of the villains are members of a communist militia called ZOMO. The Fiat 126P mentioned above was one of the most popular cars in those days in my country. There are a lot more references to Polish culture, but it's not the time or place to show them all.
It's time for some final thoughts: If you like fighter games, this title should give you a lot of enjoyment. It has some drawbacks, though - it's impossible to use anything apart from fists and legs. It could would have been nice to have the use of a bat, a pipe or something else to make your enemies suffer more and go down faster. The in-game sounds are not easily understood. It's a minus, but the voices are speaking Polish, so you won't notice the difference. Nothing new will occur during re-play - that also could be counted as a minus - but back in the day, what game was less repetitive?
In my opinion there are also elements which make this game score higher: first, the bonus special driving stages are fun. Second, the level of violence and blood spatter can be compared to the Mortal Kombat series. Graphics are clean and colorful, music is heavy - I consider these as positive points for the overall score.
I encourage all of you to try this Middle European classic game. Don't be afraid of the Polish language - START is the button you need to press to start playing :)
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