Saturday, 3 October 2015

ClayFighter (1993) - Hourglass review

ClayFighter (1993) - Hourglass review

When I started writing for a videogame blog, I knew I didn’t want to be a politician. I knew I wanted my writing to reflect a deeper truth even if I was writing about a man with a pizza fetish collecting pennies in sand castles. None of that matters. What matters is that I can sleep easily having blunted your head in with unbridled, unspoken honesty even if it’s in a language you don’t understand. My friend recently gave me an ultimatum: review ClayFighter by Tuesday or be stung to death by bees. I don’t like bees. I have never played ClayFighter.

For those of you with short attention spans consider this an abstract of the original game. It involves clay, fighting and little more. There is a problem however. My friend likes this game and I write for my friend. Politics. Sometimes you just have to dive in and, like Patrick Swayze in Ghost trying to craft clay whilst not paying attention to Demi Moore cleavage is, it’s nigh fucking impossible. Resolve pushed me on. I would put myself on the firing line. I would be a paragon for journalistic integrity. I would stay awake all night, liver pulsing with caffeine and review this game...

Tuesday: 06:00am

Somewhere between student narcolepsy and Mountain Dew drenched sleep, Tuesday rose. My blank page winked at me. The bees were coming and writing an opening declaring my devotion to honey wasn't going to save me from imminent death. I hastily set off on my stupid journey to find just what all the fuss was about. Rushing into the city, knowing stream of consciousness and fingers would be my best defence against the dark, swarming cloud, I located my refuge: a dank caffeine den overflowing with wobbling, bean addicts, set my laptop down on a grotty table and typed for sheer life.



ClayFighter (1993)

ClayFighter was a wild idea. Parents could rejoice in violence, child in tow, whilst belaying all fears of the wee bairns becoming future harbingers of global mass death. ClayFighter is love. Not Patrick Swayze love. Tough love. Real love. It’s the love of punching that snowman in the face on Christmas day when you had raced downstairs to the smell of warm oat cookies and a roaring charcoal fire only to find Santa Clause has shat in your stocking. It’s Walace and Gromit on acid. It’s…not that special.


It’s hard to know where to start with a game like ClayFighter. There’s something so strikingly unfinished and uninspired about it all, that the characters, even when they are this original; when they have moves this promising, just seem to plod about exhausted by the games own inability to mould them into something greater. This would come later with more ambitious sequels. Regardless, there’s simply no finishing touch here. No definable story. No real personality on display. It’s the recent Tim Burton movies with Johnny Depp. It’s a constant reminder of better times had elsewhere.


Yes, sadly it isn’t as gooey as you might expect. In fact it downright bland. For a game about cartoon clay wrestling to death in an exploding, flying circus this is damn boring. Perhaps I should have lowered my expectations. Perhaps I was expecting too much when I travelled back in time to pick up putty in an explosive era of Samurai Shodowns and Killer Instincts. But the original ClayFighter could have been nuclear. It just wasn’t formulated correctly. It has the grace of a game rush released for Christmas incapable of becoming anything more than the sum of hollow parts. Take that bees.

 ClayFighter: Tournament Edition (1994)

Two games? They re-released it? That's not fair! Does nobody care that Christmas is fast becoming a cold clammy season drizzled with orphan tears that they would holler “MORE” as they dish out this mess?  I'm glad version two ads a plot for the snowman but that doesn't excuse this cash in and it's still about as gripping as…Oh god, bees! Horrible, stinging bees!         

Fun 2/5

Graphics 3/5

Longevity 2/5

Endpoint 2/5 

Hourglass Recommends: 
Garou: Mark of the Wolves (1999),  ClayFighter 63 1/3 (1997), Earthworm Jim (1994)

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