-By Diego Hernandez
I’ll give Girl Fight this: unlike the Dead or Alive games, this one’s title is very clear in what its main draw. True, the DOA series presented their women well in terms of allure, but there was always enough sweaty guys bashing each other concurrently so that you were overcrowded out of your pixilated fantasy (or so I’ve been told)...
Girl Fight is unique in that it supports an all-female cast, and for those of us into the fairer sex, that’s good news. However, the first objection that might be delivered could be, “These graphics are decent, but really, they’re nothing compared to the true power of the PS3.” True, but on the Playstation Network, the entire game only costs you $9.99, so the fact that Girl Fight doesn’t have the good looks of say, the latest Tekken or Street Fighter, makes the inferior graphics a matter of little import.
The story behind it? A surreptitious scientific organization called The Foundation kidnaps women with psychic powers (all coincidentally attractive) and then forces them to fight in virtual arenas. The goal? To create super psychic, super sexy soldiers, and hopefully ones that won’t use their enhanced strength to tear out the scientists’ spines. As far as stories go, it’s not exactly Philip K. Dick. But then, fighting games have rarely possessed coherent plots. After all, Mortal Kombat was never exactly Chuck Palahniuk, and Marvel Versus Capcom was never exactly, um, Michael Brian Bendis. (And you can tell that Hollywood has learned this lesson quite well…)
Of course, we don’t go to fighting games for a Poe fix: we go to wail on people we never would in real life! So what about the rest of Girl Fight? The demo, with a largely computerized yet sleek look, gives you the option to enter a fight, to train, to watch the credits, and also to customize your experience with a help/options menu (which lets you control volume, sounds, difficulty, time, vibration, and number of rounds). Training is a useful way to get the feel of Girl Fight, and it is a genuinely solid way to prepare for an enemy that eventually won’t just allow you to knock her around (unless you change the preferences so that your opponent will fight fire with fire). Moreover, the soundtrack for this demo is acceptable, ranging from a somewhat tolerable electronic track (which, however, I suspect could drive a man crazy given enough time) to a far superior metal track with impressive female vocals.
The control scheme doesn’t feel like anything new, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just doesn’t really feel all that different from your typical Tekken or Street Fighter game, which I have to admit in that those games rarely get the controls wrong, if ever. You’ve got your punch, you’ve got your kick, and you’ve got your grapple. Unfortunately, jumping, by pressing circle while holding the left toggle stick up, feels awkward. This is especially the case if you try to land a leaping punch or a flying kick. Then we have the differences between the two fighters available, that is to say the lack of differences between the two scantily-clad competitors. True, they look as different as night and day (Warhawk is clearly a military career woman who just so happens to like showing off her midriff, and Chaos looks like Wonderland eventually became a post-apocalyptic wasteland), but they still fight similarly except that Chaos feels a little more like a brawler. Moreover, both characters deliver german suplexes when grappling from behind as opposed to the different moves they utilize when grappling from the front. Hopefully, the complete game will have more diversity in its roster’s combative diversity.
However, the singular inclusion of the “psi” power-ups helps make up for the game-play flaws. You get three in this demo (several more in the complete game) including “steel skin”, “life leech”, and “psi drain”. The first allows you to increase your defense, the second allows you to gain health whenever you strike, and the third allows you to gain more psi energy the more you dish out girl fury. These psi abilities last only a limited time, not long enough to become monotonous but short enough to add kick to what could have been a bland game-play experience. If there’s any reason to play Girl Fight besides imagining your all-female remake of Fight Club, it would be the psi abilities.
I had a decent amount of fun playing Girl Fight, and like me I think you’ll have fun acting out your gratuitous and unlikely fantasies. Girl Fight is available on the Playstaion Network for only $9.99: the complete game will get you eight female fighters, several more “doomsday” stages, and the ability to earn virtual currency which in turn will earn you new psi abilities, alternate costumes, back stories, and illustrations.