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Girl Fight

Score: 45%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Microprose
Developer: Kung Fu Factory
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Fighting/ Arcade/ Classic/Retro

Graphics & Sound:

What can you say about a game so unapologetically retro as Girl Fight? Its either a throwback nod to 3D brawlers from two console generations ago or a huge mistake. Well assume the former, but prepare yourself to be cast back in time to Sega Dreamcast and PSOne days. Every surface is gritty and has that low poly-count feeling about it. The girls are the real attraction, of course, and they certainly let it all hang out. Id wager the jiggling physics soaked up at least as much time as the rest of the 3D modeling combined. Watching the game played is actually kind of fun, and you can even simulate this by dialing in a CPU vs. CPU game as one of many custom options.

Away from graphics, the narration during the game is done in a computer voice that sounds almost exactly like what you hear if you toggle the "read text to me" option on your Mac. Its not an especially pretty sound and wed much rather have listened to even the least talented human voice actor read these lines. Again, this feels like an attempt to create something reminiscent of the terrible voices in arcade consoles of yesteryear. The soundtrack of Girl Fight is along the same lines, very appropriate to the content and totally something you might have heard bubbling up through the din in any arcade of the late 90s.


The best way to get started with Girl Fight is to jump into the Arcade Mode, which begins with the character Warchild and puts you through the gauntlet. There are eight girls total in the game, and the last fight pits you against both a normal and slightly stronger version of the final girl, so were talking eight battles per character. Youll get a brief introduction that tips you off to some backstory as each fight begins, but theres no grand payoff after winning Arcade. Each girl has some unique moves and there are some far-out special abilities you can trigger to gain the advantage, but mostly this is familiar fighting-game territory.

Alternative modes are mostly as youd expect, ranging from the CPU demo mentioned earlier to a training area and both local two-player or Xbox Live match options. One cool feature during two-player matches is the ability to wager points on a round that you can redeem inside the game for unlockable content. This content is the third major section of Girl Fight and probably the most contentious. In addition to costumes and items that tease more of the events that have shaped each character, youll find a bevy of pinup art. Yes, we get that Girl Fight is a Mature game, but this gallery of digital art is downright strange at best. At worst, its regressive and misogynistic in the way it basically converts these otherwise powerful women to soft-core porn stars.


Its been some time since we devoted this much attention to a pure fighting game, so maybe chalk this up to becoming better gamers overall, but Girl Fight felt really easy. Running through Arcade was a matter of minutes (per character) and the initial rounds were almost effortless. The latter half of the battles were obviously amped up a bit, but once you nailed the right combos or mashed the right buttons, it was all over. Like any fighting game, but especially the more simplistic ones, Girl Fight suffers from being susceptible to button-mashing. The line between having a sequence of moves youve legitimately mastered and just hammering on the kick/punch buttons is pretty thin. There are also some combos that feel unfairly balanced, such as the devastating Hop-Kick that launches an opponent off her feet across the ring and leaves her open to all sorts of follow-up damage. At least in a PvP match, youll have some human intelligence at work, but there is still a limited amount of depth here.

Game Mechanics:

The controls can be tweaked to your liking, but the defaults are in line with what weve come to expect in classic fighting games. The front face buttons trigger a punch or kick, with the other two buttons assigned to blocking and jumping. Dont think about Street Fighter jumps here, because were talking about short hops that can help defend against sweeping kicks or low punches, or be combined with attacks. The shoulder buttons are mapped to the Psi powers mentioned earlier that are powered up during fights and that confer special powers to your fighter for a limited amount of time. Either the Left Stick or the Control Pad can be used for movement, and we found the stick less responsive for triggering moves and combos.

Girl Fight seemed to be going for some combination of nostalgia and sex appeal, but ended up too one-dimensional on both counts. Weve always loved fighting games and logged more than our fair share of hours on them over the years, and this really feels like a shadow of games like Tekken, Soul Calibur, and even Street Fighter that defined the genre in arcades and on consoles. In terms of bringing sexy back with all the jiggling and pinup art, Girl Fight just doesnt make the mark. The average 12-year old boy may disagree, but we doubt hes really the market for this anyway, since the nostalgia is completely lost on him. Whats left is an average fighting game that will spend a very short time on your shelf.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

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