Fight’N Rage is an amalgamation of almost the entirety of the beat ‘em up genre, encompassing everything from Double Dragon to the delisted Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. Citing the likes of Final Fight, Battletoads, and the hidden classic Captain Commando as its influences, this game borrows a lot from genre greats but it brings all of these influences together to provide an incredibly deep and content-heavy beat ‘em up package. Even the most casual fans of the genre will be impressed by the immense gameplay variety and bottomless pit of content on offer here.
Fight’N Rage is as much a fighting game as it is a beat ‘em up, as the game manages to achieve with just three buttons what most modern fighting games struggle to do with six. Although it belongs to a genre notorious for its repetition, the gameplay variety on offer is immense even in just the core combat alone. There is the standard attack button you can bash for combos, then there is the special button attack which uses up the special gauge but can still be utilized further at the cost of health (much like in SEGA’s Streets of Rage 2), and then there is of course a jump button which can be used in combination with the two attacks.
When you first start playing Fight’N Rage it’s easy to assume that the standard attacks and combos are all there is to the gameplay, but once you start experimenting with the timing, delay, and the directional pad, you stumble upon new combos and attacks you never would have guessed. With each of the three main characters there is an incredible amount of depth to their combat finesse, and the more you try to experiment and learn, the more versatile the gameplay feels. It is incredibly satisfying to juggle ten enemies with an effortless combination attack once you have put in the time and effort.
As a beat ‘em up Fight’N Rage appears to be quite simple on the surface – you’re basically going from area to area to beat up an entire army of foes as per genre tradition – but much like the fighting system even the level design is deceptively simple and straightforward. The main campaign is truly a labyrinth of alternate paths and routes, each offering something a little different in enemy patterns and a few neat gimmicks here and there; it certainly never gets repetitive thanks to the impressive cast of challenging boss battles. The replay value is immense thanks to the branching paths which lead to a number of possible endings, which when combined with the immensely deep and enjoyable fighting system, ensures you’ve got a recipe for one addictive video game.
One thing Fight’N Rage does better than nearly every other modern video game is that it has secrets to discover, both in content and gameplay. In the current gaming landscape, everything is transparent thanks to social media, but this is a video game which inspires a close-knit word of mouth community, the likes of which have never been seen since the early days of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Even now, new combos and branching paths continue to be discovered by Fight’N Rage players, and it’s definitely one of those gaming communities you want to be a part of, where the internet space suddenly transforms into a school ground filled with gaming rumours.
If the gameplay variety wasn’t enough, Fight’N Rage pushes the variety further by offering a treasure trove of unlockable goodies which include new game modes, costumes, and even playable characters. All of these can be purchased using gold coins earned during gameplay, adding further to the game’s replay value with the incentive to farm for coins. There’s really no shortage of content and gameplay variety here, and even the most casual fan of beat ‘em ups will enjoy the value proposition.
Fight’N Rage generally looks and performs great with its classic meticulously animated sprites set in a pseudo 2.5D world. The music is one of the highlights of the presentation; mostly of the power metal flavour, but occasionally switching to other styles which offer a nice break from the guitar solos. The metal soundtrack can be quite in your face, but thankfully there are other instruments used to capture the upbeat jazzy feel of ‘90s video games.
Fight’N Rage on Xbox One is an ocean-deep video game belonging to a genre not normally known for offering gameplay variety. The fighting system and level design have a level of depth and variety which provide plenty to discover for those willing to commit. Beyond this there is a pandora’s box of unlockable goods and secrets worth coming back to again and again. It may be a deceptively simple beat ‘em up on the surface, but those willing to learn the intricacies the hard way will find their efforts worthwhile.