Classic Game Review – Olofight (Amiga)
Olofight was first announced well over a year before it’s release to an eager market looking forward to the Amiga having a new beat-em-up. Promising lavish rendered graphics with thousands of colours on screen at once, it seemed as if we were going to get a great game…
As was expected with most modern beat-em-ups on all platforms, Olofight continued the trend of having a completely pointless, and implausible back story. Too many companies spend more time developing their game plots rather than concentrating on the gameplay and it would seem that Olofight had suffered in this respect.
Here, we were presented with a view of the future where the Earth has been destroyed (by an asteroid collision – how original!) and the remnants of what the human race has evolved into now exist on eight small planets in a distant system. The new races have been in constant conflict with each other. Now, a leader of an alien race has discovered the location of an immense power source that could make him unstoppable. Each race sends its own fighters to stop him, but on the way, they encounter each other and the age-old conflicts begin once more…
Olofight is controlled using a single-button joystick (or pad), the basic fighting moves for the game couldn’t be more straightforward. Each direction corresponds to a different attacking or defensive move, which is also dependent on whether or not the fire button is pressed or the relative position of your fighter. Using this method, a total of 31 basic moves, including two throws, is available to the player right from the start.
In addition, there is an innovative system in use for activating the fighters special moves. At the start of each game, you have four “special move” slots into which you can select what attacks/defensive moves you wish to use. To start off, you are only allowed four per game, but as you progress and your fighter’s skill improves, more will be available. To use any special move, simply hold down fire until a power bar is illuminated, then push up, down, left, or right to use the corresponding move. It’s as simple as that.
The game offers a range of different fighting options ranging from a straightforward two-player game allowing you and a friend to beat each other senseless to a time attack mode seeing how many opponents you can defeat within a fixed time limit. As well as this is a standard arcade mode and a survival mode where you have to see how many opponents you can take on before you run out of energy. Nice to see that there is more than a little variety on offer rather than just having a straight fight and nothing else. Then for the fights themselves, comes another new element for an Amiga fighting game…
Each of the basic fighters on offer (not forgetting the hidden characters that can be unlocked later in the game) have their abilities rated in different categories covering attack, defence, resistance, and energy. Each has an effect on the way your character plays, reacts to attack, and forces you to learn different skills and tactics for each fighter if you are going to beat the game.
Visually, the game looks very attractive. The backdrops are relatively smooth and are very colourful and the characters themselves are all completely rendered. The animation isn’t particularly stunning, but when the graphics are this detailed it is quite understandable that there aren’t as many animation frames as the developers would have liked to include. The game kicks off with a nice rendered intro introducing all of the characters, and there is some reasonable title music.
One nice touch is the in-game music which has an option to be game-responsive where the music adapts to the on-screen action. To be honest, I didn’t really notice a difference, but maybe that’s just me! The final icing on the cake at the time included a networking option so you can upload your highscore data to The Real Ologram’s web site, and the ability to adjust the graphic detail settings for slower processors.
Sounds good? Well, sadly Olofight is all promise and window-dressing. Rarely do you feel in control of your fighter and all the characters seem to be incredibly unresponsive. If that wasn’t bad enough, the game was just too damn difficult! At the start, you can load up with a maximum of four special moves, and your fighter’s statistics are pretty low. The first opponent you have to face has stats several times higher than you, meaning that they do MORE damage, take LESS damage, block better and have more energy to start with putting your back right up against the wall before you even haev a fighting (sorry!) chance!
Also they have a wider range of special moves available and if that wasn’t bad enough, they have the skills to have plenty of moves in each slot. I can remember on countless occasions playing the computer with 4 moves compared to the CPU’s 20 or more! Hardly what I call giving the player a fair chance – and this is on the EASY setting. All it takes is a couple of special attacks from the computer and it’s game over before you start. To make things worse, you can’t access the extra characters unless you complete the game on the hardest settings!
To be honest, I thought Amiga beat-em-ups hit an all time low when we were “treated” to the release of Rise Of The Robots and fortunately, we were spared the sequel, but now it’s spiritual twin has appeared and other than the graphics, sound, and special attack system, differs very little from Rise Of The Robots. I would have much rather had non-rendered graphics and a game system that was more forgiving. ROTR could be beaten with a single move and that’s really the only way you can get anywhere with Olofight. Sorry, but this is too damn hard to play properly and get any enjoyment out of it.
What really lets Olofight down is that there has been so much effort put into the extra frills and gloss to the package (including the great presentation on the box and manual – not forgetting the posters and stickers) that someone forgot to work on the game itself somewhere down the line. It’s all well and good having thousands of colours for the graphics and fully-rendered fighters, but if it’s no fun to play then no-one will want to load the game more than a few times.
Sadly, this game failed completely to live up to expectations and it is such a pity to see this from a game with such great potential. It was heartbreaking at the time to see a game so disappointing from a new developer wanting to support the Amiga so much. It had trouble standing up to Amiga fighting games, let alone the best that other platforms offered. And when all other fighting games are being compared to the Tekken and Virtua Fighter series, I expect an Amiga game to at least offer something better than IK+ or games that have been available for several years.
Olofight was released by The Real Ologram, and was available for all based AGA Amigas. The bulk of this review was published previously.