After playing Fight’N Rage, I hate flies more than ever before. Dobermans have moved down the list of dogs I like, too.
A side-scrolling beat ’em up, Fight’N Rage puts you at odds with a wide range of animal based enemies. Some of them know martial arts, others come at you with weapons, but flies and dobermans gave me the most trouble. Perplexingly, flies were amongst the most resilient of enemies, too.
But a couple of particularly troublesome foes aside, there’s no denying that Fight’N Rage is one of the best side-scrolling beat ’em ups of modern times even though its feet are firmly in the past. Released in 2017 for PC and now finally making its way to console, Fight’N Rage is designed to look and feel like it was made during the during golden age of the genre. That means it has pixelated visuals, a true video game soundtrack, and doesn’t hold your hand. But it also has features that give it the longevity you’d expect of title launched in recent years.
Take Fight’N Rage‘s campaign mode, for example. It allows you to select one of three very unique characters and then battle through numerous stages, but there are multiple routes to take depending on the character you choose and whether or not you take alternative paths through some levels. All in all, it means there are a vast number of endings for you to unlock, and along with multiple difficulty levels you may find yourself paying through the game many, many times.
There’s so much stuff to unlock, too. Win or lose, you gain coins by playing Fight’N Rage which you can then spend in a shop. There are new costumes to unlock for the trio of primary pugilists, as well as new modes and features. Defeat large numbers of certain enemies and you can unlock them, too, though only for use in the game’s battle mode. Needless to say, you’ll need to put plenty of hours into Fight’N Rage until you’ve seen everything it has to offer. And even more until you’ve exhausted it of joy.
What really makes Fight’N Rage so enjoyable to play is its combat. You only have one attack button, but like classics such as Streets of Rage 2 there’s just so much to do with it. Hammer it and you’ll perform a combo; hold up or down while performing a combo and you’ll perform an alternative finisher. You can grab enemies by moving close to them, too, then either pummel them or throw them across the screen. And by pressing down, up and then attack you can perform a nifty special move.
It goes on. Multiple jump attacks are also possible, and some characters have running attacks. Then you have the super attack button, which can be used for free when a gauge is filled, or small amount of health otherwise. Combine them all together and you have the potential to create massive combos that do considerable damage. And everything’s made all the better by the fact that the controls are fantastically responsive.
Fight’N Rage just nails the feel of classic side-scrolling beat ’em ups of old. It’s something that many other new entries in the genre just fail to do. They introduce new features or boast modern graphics, but they do it at the expense of gameplay. It’s so refreshing to play a game where it’s clear that input responsiveness has been placed at the forefront.
Only the occasional feeling of cheapness lets Fight’N Rage down. Hard games are fine when they feel fair. Sometimes Fight’N Rage simply doesn’t. There are times when there are so many enemies onscreen that you can’t really see your character unless you’re playing as Ricardo, a muscular minotaur that’s hard to miss. And those flies I mentioned at the start of this review? Yeah, they have too much health. The dobermans are also on my shit list because of their large pools of health, as well as their nasty lunging punches. There’s a raft section that might wind you up, too.
But the good far, far outweighs the bad in Fight’N Rage. It really is one of the best side-scrolling beat ’em ups currently available. That’s mainly because it’s just so much fun to play thanks to its tight controls, though the fact that there’s so much to unlock helps. It may only take you an hour to blast through arcade mode, but you’ll do it time and time again. Then you’ll no doubt unlock and try out yet more modes. Or get a friend to play through the game with you in local co-op. Basically, if you’re a fan of the genre, you need to add Fight’N Rage to your library.