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Video Game / Fighting Force

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These guys rock! From left to right: Mace Daniels, Ben "Smasher" Jackson, Hawk Mason and Alana Mckendrick.
Fighting Force (also known as "Metal Fist" in Japan) is a Beat 'em Up game developed by Core Design (creators of the original Tomb Raider series). It was released In 1997 for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. In 1999, Crave Entertainment released a version on the Nintendo 64. It was intended to be a Streets of Rage game, but ended up being a Divorced Installment. (This also explains why there is no port for the Sega Saturn despite one being planned: either Sega refuses to allow it or Core cancelled it out of spite.)

Dr. Dexter Zeng eagerly awaits the end of the world at the turn of the millennium, only for it to not happen. He then decides to make the end of the world happen himself! Four brave fighters: Hawk, Mace, Smasher, and Alana, decide to take him on!

A sequel, Fighting Force 2, was released for the PlayStation and the Sega Dreamcast with the only playable character being Hawk. It didn't perform too well.

Another sequel, known as Fighting Force 3, was in development for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Gamecube, but got cancelled.


Fighting Force provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: The biker enemies in the street level do not appear in the N64 version.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Mace Daniels wearing her black bra.
  • Batter Up!: Mooks often swing at you with bats but you're free to knock it out of their hands, pick it up and have some swings at them of your own!
  • The Big Bad: Zeng, running a criminal empire trying to end the world just to avoid being wrong about a prediction he had.
  • The Big Guy: Ben "Smasher" Jackson is this having attacks that do the most damage, however he is the slowest of the four playable characters.
  • Blown Across the Room: All of the few guns in the game do this whether done by the player to an enemy or vice versa.
  • Breakable Weapons: Every melee weapon in the game will break after a certain amount of uses.
  • Camera Lock-On: The game's camera will center on your character and attempt to adjust itself to wherever the player is moving on the map.
  • Captain Ersatz: With the exception of Alana, all the playable characters have an obvious Streets of Rage counterpart:
    • Hawk, Mace, and Smasher are Axel, Blaze and Max with different hair (and a shirt for Smasher). Ironically, Hawk and Mace's beta designs (The latter is still present in the game as the boss Jetpac) had the same hair but different clothes, while Smasher resembles Max moreso than his earlier incarnation, Hammer (also still present as the boss Driver).
    • Vulkan, originally playable but a Boss in the final game, is one for Dr. Zan.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Your character can take a licking and keep on ticking, but when they lose the last hitpoint they are through, unless there are some continues. Averted with enemies who will show some fatigue after being beaten down, and will be taken out instantly if you hit them in this state.
  • Difficulty by Region: The Japanese version, Metal Fist by Electronic Arts Victor, not only gives the main characters a facelift to match their exclusive artwork, but also tones down the melee weapons, and makes the guns more useful with more ammo. It also alters the levels significantly, such as having less, more powerful mooks in the city level for example.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: There are two of these, one with an enclosed elevator and one with an exposed one. In the former you've got a lot of melee weapons to work with including a fire escape axe, and handrails that you can rip right off the walls, whereas the latter has two instances where you have to dodge incoming missiles.
  • Everything Fades: From defeated enemies to items not picked up in time, everything just flickers and disappears.
  • Evil Laugh: Zeng has this, especially when he's getting the upper hand in the final level/boss battle with him.
  • Genre Shift: Fighting Force 2 changes the genre into a third-person action-adventure in the vein of Tomb Raider and surprisingly plays like Oni, but slower paced.
  • Guns Are Useless: Nope, they do good damage and are hitscan weapons. The downside they don't have a lot of shots, at most just five.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Smashable bottles are one of the many melee weapons in the game.
  • Heads-Up Display: The player has one which displays their health, the health of the most immediate enemy, the score, etc.
  • Hover Bike: Enemies drop down from these in the later levels.
  • Hurricane Kick: Hawk Mason has this as a special move.
  • Improvised Weapon: You can throw various things at enemies such as car tires and suitcases.
  • Item-Drop Mechanic: When killed, enemies drop items such as sandwiches which replenish health. Don't wait too long to pick them up as they will disappear after a while.
  • Jet Pack: A boss in one of the later levels aptly named "Jetpac" has one of these.
  • Life Meter: Not only does the player have one displayed in the HUD the enemies have their own displayed on the player's HUD too.
  • Loading Screen: Basically just the title of the game with the loading bar underneath. The N64 version's is more unique, displaying either the name of the next level or boss.
  • Mooks: Zeng has a lot of them, this is what makes the game the game.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Basically what the whole game is about, having to fight group of mooks after mooks.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Ben "Smasher" Jackson looks strong, and IS strong. His attacks do the most damage compared to the other 3 characters, and he's even able to pick up and use particularly weapons that the others can't. Engine block to the face, anyone?
  • Police Are Useless: Played up pretty high considering they just lounge around traffic blockades set up which form the boundaries of the level on occasion. After being defeated by the player Zeng is arrested by them however.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: You get points for breaking things such as vending machines and control panels.
  • Scoring Points: Wouldn't be a beat-em-up of the era without 'em. You get points for killing enemies, breaking things, picking up items, etc. - basically for kicking ass!
    • They also serve a secondary purpose in the N64 port; certain routes are locked off to you unless you've scored a certain amount of points by the time you're being told to select your path.
  • Shout-Out: In the N64 version only, the masked enemies in the park are all named after Slasher Movie villains. Later in the Island Lab level, there are two hazmat mooks named Monty and Waylon.
  • Spinning Paper: Happens at the end of the game when you defeat Zeng.
  • Suplex Finisher: One of the special moves that the characters can do.
  • Static Stun Gun: Some mooks near the end of the game have an arm that can shock the player, knocking them down.
  • The Syndicate: Zeng running one is what makes him such a threat.
  • Theme Naming: N64 version only, in the CD versions only the females and cryo mutants in Zeng's lab had different names (And even then the women just had another single name-pool).
  • Team Shot: The cover (shown above) and the character select screen with the heroes all standing together.
  • Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: You can do this with empty or even loaded guns though a hit only takes away a minuscule amount of their health.
  • Wolverine Claws: The female enemies you fight on the 5th stage have these.

Alternative Title(s): Fighting Force 2