Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Meh, The Bad and The Weird: Clayfighter

Last week, I started this column to talk about all the games out there that are either: a) really bad, b) really weird or c) really weird and really bad.

This week, instead of doing a game that is really bad, I'm focusing on one that is actually not that bad, just pretty weird. That game is Clayfighter.

Clayfighter is a game that uses that digitized video technique (like Mortal Kombat), except this uses digitized claymation. So, basically think of it as Sub-Zero meets Wallace and Grommit. One of the weird parts of it is it's plot. It's basically that a meteor hit a circus, gave all the workers clay-based super powers and they all fight to see who will be king of the circus. They've got a Strongman named "Tiny", a Wagneres

Boogerman: A Pick and Flick AdventureImage via Wikipedia

que Opera singer named Helga, an over the top (but pretty funny) Elvis impersonator named "Blue Suade Goo", just to name a few.

The company that made this game, Interplay, made other games too. Some of them include Earthworm Jim and Boogerman (which I will try to do soon), and the company was widely considered the Troma (those people that made Toxic Avenger and Kabukiman) of video game companies.

Back to what I was saying. I remember playing it as a kid, and getting pretty scared from the clowns in it. By today's standards it'd be considered maybe Teen or at least E 10+ but when my mom got me it, it was made before the ESRB was made so it lacked the ratings sticker. I can't honestly blame my mom for getting it, because on the front, it looks like a nice game for kids.

One of the things Clayfighter does differently from other fighting games is the timer. You see, in most fighting games, the timer is a little clock at the top of the screen that's slowly counting down from usually 60. But in Clayfighter, they use a little bomb with a fuse at the bottom. I'm just so used to looking up for the time left, only to be thinking there isn't any time limit.
Something kinda unique it does from other fighting games is that whenever you hit your opponent, a little "POW!" bubble (kinda like the ones in comic books) appears. The whole time I was playing, I kept having flashbacks to the ol' Adam West Batman TV series.

The only major problem with this game is that the final boss character is a massive let down. When you play Street Fighter or DOA, you expect some tough, awesome-looking final boss, right? Not in Clayfighter. You get stuck with "N. Boss" (get it? "N. Boss", "End Boss"? LOLPUN) which is probably a reference also to M. Bison of Street Fighter fame. All N. Boss is, is simply a circle of clay balls with eyes. That's it. No fancy lazer beems, no cutscene long combo attacks, no SNK Boss Syndrome, just a cirlce of clay.

Like it said before, Clayfighter is not a bad game. It's just really weird, and the weirdness is likely intentional.

The next "The Meh, The Bad and The Weird" will be going back to what I did with the first one, and doing bad games this time. I'll give you a hint: it's for the Sega Genesis.