Pit-Fighter (Arcade) review
"As you step into the pit, the stench of cheap beer wafts into your nose. You can’t see very far in front of you; the florescent lights overhead only give off a meager glow, leaving nothing but moving shadows where the surrounding crowds should be. But even if you can’t see the people very well, you can hear them all too clearly. Amidst the curses, racial slurs, and drunken gibberish, you can sense that these patrons are ready to see some ass-kicking. In fact, that’s exactly what you’re here to d..."
As you step into the pit, the stench of cheap beer wafts into your nose. You can’t see very far in front of you; the florescent lights overhead only give off a meager glow, leaving nothing but moving shadows where the surrounding crowds should be. But even if you can’t see the people very well, you can hear them all too clearly. Amidst the curses, racial slurs, and drunken gibberish, you can sense that these patrons are ready to see some ass-kicking. In fact, that’s exactly what you’re here to do; armed with your bulging muscles and keen fighting instincts, you’re about to brawl with some hulking monster of a man, clobber him into submission, and win as much prize money as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter how you win, be it a bunch of cheap shots to the nuts, a frantic slash of a knife, or using whatever blunt objects that happen to be laying around. The point is that you have nothing but the victory to live for. Such is the life of a Pit-Fighter.
It’s not like these guys chose to live a life of constant violence and pathetic earnings. It’s just that their grotesquely excessive bodybuilding and years of combat training don’t mix well with all those cookie-cutter 9-to-5 gigs. But in this latest bout of Pit-Fighter, you’ll be able to control three of the best that the underground sport has to offer. You’ll become acquainted with Buzz, the ex-professional wrestler whose strength is rivaled only by the size of his mullet. Then there’s Ty, a former kickboxing champion whose fancy footwork is too hot for official matches. Lastly, there’s Kato, a diminutive 3rd degree black belt who would rather spend his time in drunken bar fights instead of teaching his ancient skills to a younger generation of disciples. But before our “heroes” can attain what they perceive as glory, they’ll have to fight their way through masked luchadors, generic bicycle gang members, and even a leather-clad femme fatale. With nothing but wads of cash on the line, only the strongest will survive.
Or in your case, the one who button mashes the most. Unlike countless other fighting games of its day, Pit Fighter requires virtually no strategy whatsoever. There are no special moves or combos to memorize; your character can only perform a bunch of stop-motion punches, kicks, and the occasional throw if you happen to get him close enough to the opponent. The only semblance of depth comes with the characters’ speed, strength, and range. While Buzz can smack his foes to death with a few heavy-handed punches and spandexed thighs, many of the other fighters can run circles around him. The opposite is true of the little karate bum; his lightning-quick attacks can barely put a dent in his foes. Unfortunately, the game’s abysmal hit detection eliminates any potential for depth that could have been used. There’s little point in developing strategies or timing attacks when you can only hit your opponent a fraction of the time. The game tries to mix things up by dropping wooden sticks, crates, blades, and other weapons along the floor, but you’ll likely end up mindlessly hammering away at the controls and praying that you whittle down your foe’s health before you have to pop in another quarter.
That’s assuming, of course, that you’re willing to subject yourself to the pathetic fights that the game tries to depict. While the characters are modeled after real people (may God have mercy on their poor souls), their actions are anything but realistic. They look like cardboard cutouts glued into the pit; their choppy animations and heavily pixilated colorings are a far cry from other arcade fighters. It doesn’t matter if Kato (whose pasty muscles are obscenely over-proportioned) is a black belt; no character should be able to go from standing still to fully extending his punching arm to making a gut-busting kick in the space of half a second. It’s as if the game designers decided to film half of the motion sequences, the forgot to finish the job. The rest of the game isn’t easy on the eyes, either. All of your battles will take place in the identical pit, complete with a cramped fighting area, a bland hardwood floor, and jeering drunkards that are nearly invisible beyond their dark outlines. At least the game includes a few patrons that will actually stab you if you get too close to them. It hardly saves Pit-Fighter from its utter horridness, but it’s still contributes something to an otherwise bland atmosphere.
Oh dear. There is little, if anything, worth commending about this game. It depicts the gritty violence of a not-so admirable job, but does little to make the characters seem more likeable. Despite their supposed extensive combat backgrounds, the fighters can barely muster anything more than a bunch of punches and kicks. With terrible hit detection and an utter lack of depth and strategy involved, you’ll end up button mashing your way through the game’s gauntlet of generic foes. The animation quality is laughable; it’s great that the game designers used stop-motion systems to depict the action, but not when there’s little effort put into making them look realistic and move smoothly. Needless to say, Pit-Fighter is easily one of the worst games that Midway has ever conceived, if not one of the worst arcade games ever made.
Community review by disco (May 14, 2007)
Disco is a San Francisco Bay Area native, whose gaming repertoire spans nearly three decades and hundreds of titles. He loves fighting games, traveling the world, learning new things, writing, photography, and tea. Not necessarily in that order.
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