I wanted to hate this game. I thought it had to be shit, I thought it looked like shit, and more importantly I thought since Mortal Kombat games aged badly, that this had no chance.
So, Let’s get ready to crumble!
Where to start…
So, urrrm, yeah…
In case you didn’t know, Clayfighter 63 1/3 is a claymation tournament fighter. All the moves and animation were animated using stop motion clay figures, it is actually a really clever idea, and the game liberally borrows it’s name from the Naked Gun series.
It uses the Street Fighter button method of weak/normal/strong attacks adding a nice dimension of Rock/Paper/Scissors, but lives in the Killer Instinct world of stupidly awesome combos.
Sadly, it does look like shit. There is no glossing over this. Clayfighter 63 1/3 looks awful. The animation is kids pre-school level (I know, I made one).
Kung Pow…. What. The. Fuck.
Kung Pow falls into the intentionally comedy racist school of design, and I wouldn’t be annoyed it it offended you.
Kung Pow is a Chinese chef with a bowl cut… He uses chop sticks for a “weak punch” and a wok for “heavy punches”… His name might be a joke on Kung Pao chicken, or it might be a reference to Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat, but, he is an overly racist stereotype.
Having said that, he is fucking awesome, and is by far my favourite character!
Oh yeah, and all his moves are named after Chinese food dishes.
As I have said in a number of reviews, I’m not the biggest tournament fighter fan. So will usually dip in, learn a few moves and quickly move on. I’m never gonna bother to master one. But my initial feelings on Clayfighter is that… It wouldn’t be the best tournement fighter.
The moves feel a bit slow and delayed, and while it is easy to do a 22 hit combo, I find stringing the moves together too difficult. I know a pro will be able to string the combos together to do the do INSANE COMBO, but I found the game too unresponsive to chain one together, and would just spam Kung Pow’s easy to pull off 22 hit combo.
For the Pros, there are combo breaker codes you can type in, however, I question the usefulness of the combo breaker. The 22 hit combos (As Kung POW) only does about 15-20% damage if all attacks hit (which it won’t), so against most players you can soak up the damage, then do your own combo.
The combo breakers offer a lot of depth, but for a casual player they’ll be too hard to learn.
I actually like the stages, there are a lot of environmental changes on levels, you can, for instance, power punch people through a door. I know Mortal Kombat 3 did this too, but in Clayfighter it makes a bit more sense.
Fighting in a lab? Punch them up stairs. Punch them through a door, etc…
In MK it was uppercut them through a roof. It was comedy ridiculous, but it never made much sense. At least Clayfighter added a vague reasoning for it.
Clayfighter doesn’t have the usual “best of three” win mechanic. Instead, you get two health bars, when one runs out, you get a slight break, then the next one starts. If you have 1 hit point left, you start the next section with 1 hit point, and them on full health. This makes fighting much fairer.
One continuous battle also makes more sense.
Claytalities are a bit crap, but again, they are fun. Also, they are MUCH easier to pull off than a Mortal Kombat Fatality. They are usually 3/4 button presses and will involves “down down down”, some are more complicated, but, they always feel doable. I still can’t do a fatality on Mortal Kombat 2 and 3…
Oh, and Earthworm Jim is in it. Not sure why.
I don’t think Clayfighter is going to win any awards from hardcore tournament fighter fans, as it is a little slow, and lacks some of the depth required to be a top fighting game.
I found I could beat the CPU on normal instantly, and even after learning some basic combos was still beating them to the same degree. I think the insane combos will be a ballache to learn, but the power of a standard punch is akin to a 7 hit combo. So utter novices could bluff their way through a fight.
I enjoyed this more than any other fighting game I have played in the last few years. The touches of humour, the easyness to pull off frankly ridiculous moves means I always had fun, though a relatively easy difficulty setting (and curve) meant I was able to breeze through the game on normal without losing a fight.
Having said that, I couldn’t play for more than an hour at a time. Serious graphic migranes start to kick in, and the annoying sound effects will grate.
Pros: Fun to play, “unique” characters
Cons: Graphics are shite, possibly lacks depth