Pros: Quite fun... but...
Cons: ... fiddly controls, little authenticity to the cartoon
Everyones favourite duelling cat & mouse, Tom & Jerry, have hit the computer screen before, but this time theyre up for a real fight. Enter Tom & Jerry: Fists of Fury.
This is a one-on-one fighting game, pure and simple. Virtua Fighter with cartoon cats, dogs, mice, and ducks. I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see Time Warners name associated with this one, given that the cartoons were MGM. Whether that has anything to do with the failings of the game, though given that the more modern Tom & Jerry cartoons are awful (with very few exceptions), it is doubtful whether a stronger MGM influence on this title would have made much difference.
The game is frantic and fun, Ill give it that. Once youve selected your character, difficulty level, and opponent (most are locked until you defeat others annoyingly, they seem to re-lock each time you load the game), youre up and fighting either the computer or a friend / foe. The action is fast although being restricted to one small room / area feels a little claustrophobic though at least theres a different setting for each character in tournament mode (where you fight a progressively more difficult opponent each time.) Theres not really much variety though pick up objects and either use them as handheld weapons or throw them at your opponent.
I tried using the keyboard and joystick, and both proved somewhat fiddly. (The joystick however wouldnt have been a problem if the game hadnt refused to recognise two of the fire buttons I wanted to assign!) You do get the hang of it fairly quickly but I still found myself accidentally hitting the wrong key on a too regular basis! (You can put that down to player error if you want, but it was the damn keys I tell ya!) Anyway, the keyboard controls are totally customisable so it shouldnt be too much of a problem.
I feel that a real opportunity has been missed here. While the gameplay is certainly fun for a while, its not really funny, nor does it have any real strategy to it apart from working out which object in each level deals the most damage. Wheres the strategic placing of a garden fork for someone to run into? Or tossing bowling balls at them and watching them frantically try to juggle them? Those sort of things may of course be very difficult to incorporate in a game but somehow I feel that the spirit of Tom & Jerry isnt portrayed in this game, and thats its main fault.
There are 9 characters and several difficulty levels, so provided you dont get bored with the game theres no reason to think youll beat it quickly. But (see Will You Still Be Playing It In 6 Months.)
The graphics are okay but nothing special. The 3D environments look quite nice but the characters themselves lack detail and only bear a passing resemblance to the cartoon characters (even taking into account that the original cartoons are 2D while this is 3D).
The sounds are manic but lack that authenticity, basically consisting of various crunching and screaming noises. The characters voices, such as they are (they dont actually say anything - unless owowowowowowaaaaaaaah is a word...), sound reasonably authentic on some characters but not on most. Disappointing.
Will You Still Be Playing it in 6 Months Time?
then again, theres no reason to think you wont be bored of it in far less than 6 months
Is it Worth the Money?
Not a bad effort, but I cant really give this a Recommended rating. Relies too much on the appeal of the characters without actually trying to do anything to draw on that appeal. The two-player mode is fun but still should have been better. Not recommended unless perhaps you have children who are mad on Tom & Jerry and you dont mind the cartoon violence if theyre easily pleased it would help, too !
Graphics: - 67% - not too bad but they could certainly be better.
Sound: - 64% - quite fun but not authentic.
Playability: - 60% - fiddly controls, no real strategy element.
Longevity: - 54% - youll probably get bored of it quite quickly, though if you dont theres a long-term challenge to beat all the characters at every difficulty level.
Replay Value: - 62% - slightly higher than above because of the two-player mode.
Value For Money: - 58% - its not the best few quid youll ever spend, but not the worst either.
Overall Rating: - 59% -doesnt live up to its potential.
OS: Windows 98SE / Me / 2000 / XP
CPU: Pentium 2 266MHz or higher
HDD space: 160Mb
Graphics card: Any 16Mb 3D card compatible with DirectX 8.0 or higher
CD-ROM: x8 or higher
Tom & Jerry: Fists of Fury is available on the Ubisoft Exclusive budget range.
For more budget software visit Sold Out Software
For a far more satisfying cartoon gaming experience, try Bugs Bunny: Lost In Time