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Tom & Jerry: Fists of Furry

Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: NewKidCo
Media: CD/1
Players: 2
Genre: Fighting

Graphics & Sound:

Televisions for decades have tuned into the cartoon that many children (and adults) have acclaimed as their favorite: Tom & Jerry. The ancient battles between cat and mouse were finally made for our video gaming pleasure by NewKidCo - developed for the N64, and now a year later its been ported to PC. Now, we get to see the grey kitty get the upper hand every once in a while...

The graphics aren't impressive, but then do they need to be? The cartoon's simple colors were merely mapped onto polygons and shipped as is. I will say that I played the game with several others and got no disappointing remarks about the primitive graphics from any of them.

The sound bytes were in good quality (meaning if they were taken directly from the cartoons, I couldn't tell), but there is absolutely no music. This and other factors might leave one to wonder just how much NewKidCo actually put into Fists of Furry.


Gameplay:

Modeled after the Super Smash Bros. fighting genre that hasn't but dominated the children's fighter on console, Tom & Jerry: Fists of Furry subtly mocks this 2D combat style with an almost simpler 3D representation. In this case, the characters are, if you haven't guessed, the entire line-up from the Tom & Jerry series, including Tom, Jerry, Butch, Duckling, Spike, and Tuffy. Sounds like the makings of a good game.

A good console game, that is. PC folks are strongly advised to get a couple of game port controllers for the kids (might I recommend the USB compatible Logitech WingMan Rumblepad(TM)?), as this game gives little to keyboard and mouse input. It's a port from the console version, so it plays best when mimicking this system.

I was a bit disappointed by the confined feeling that becomes so obvious in later stages of Fists of Furry. The game starts and ends exactly the same - except at the end, you have one more character unlocked (out of ten). The game's difficulty is of an even greater concern, but enough of this vagueness. Let's get busy on specifics.

The levels are recognized from the cartoon; these include the kitchen, the backyard, the farm, and pretty much all of the settings that you can remember from the show. Don't smile yet, there's a catch, as I can't stress the claustrophobia that becomes so apparent after nearly an hour of playing this game in single-player mode.

The initial reaction to Tom & Jerry: Fists of Furry, admittedly, entices at least a smirk. Expect a halt from passers by, since the immediate charm is unavoidable. Tom's melodramatic scream, Jerry's catch-me-if-you-can attitude, Duckling's pitiful quacking voice...well, you've been warned, but my opinion is that the fun-factor takes a steady plunge as soon as the game is started. The ten tiny levels make up for all of the settings, and the combat system does not unfold.

Oh yeah, the combat system...the only real uniqueness lies in the ability to interact with objects and send projectiles toward the opponent. An opponent with good timing can intercept these objects and send them at a greater speed - resulting in greater damage on your health bar. In actuality, the system works great, and in this respect multiplayer action can be a blast. Single-player mode is unavoidable, however, as the characters have to be earned by defeating the game at least eight times - a feat that even avid gamers will find challenging (and boring).


Difficulty:

You might have picked up something on the difficulty earlier. To be frank, this game is hard for adults. The computer's skill is so quick and unfair that it becomes a real chore to beat the single-player game - and unlock characters for multiplay. There is no difficulty setting, but different characters have different attack styles and speeds. For instance, Spike has one of the slower attacks, but his final attack in a 3-punch combo drains the opponents' health-bar very quickly. Likewise, Jerry could fit a few lightweight combos into the time it takes for the pooch to pull one of those off.

Game Mechanics:

Since the game is on PC, the choice for the input system is left up to the player. I used a gamepad, but the Fists of Furry could also be played using a regular keyboard or joystick. There are only 4 buttons that are used during the game (excluding the directional keys) which are: attack, crouch, grab or intercept (in the case of a projectile), and jump.

If the timing is right and you catch an object thrown at you, you can hurl it back at the opponent with a greater speed, which will produce a more significant amount of damage if the player does not duck or intercept the object again. Certain power-ups such as invincibility and a 'flaming' move, which invokes a power loss on the opponent if he attacks you, can be attained at certain times on the map, but be forewarned. Their taking the shape of a question mark means there is a chance you will get poisoned as well, which makes your health degenerate at a constant rate.

Tom & Jerry: Fists of Furry is clean and the two-player games are a blast - if you unlock all of the characters. While the game can be played on a PC with an almost equal value to the original N64 version, the real fun only comes from buying more equipment to mimic the console. Kids should find the mechanics a breeze, and you'll find yourself laughing all the time at the effects. While I'd like to say the game brings a unique appeal to the PC, it seems there is a reason these games are developed for console.


-Goat, GameVortex Communications
AKA Brandon Arnold

Minimum System Requirements:



N/A
 

Test System:



Intel Pentium3 1.0 GHz proc, Windows XP, 512 MB RAM, 32 MB Geforce2 (Go), ESS Maestro III sound card, 32x CD/DVD-ROM

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