Friday, 24 July 2015

Outfoxies - Arcade


No foxes are involved


It's every once in a while a game really surprises me as to just how inventive an arcade game can be. It's been a long time since I saw anything like this one and with Outfoxies, I can only really liken it to a sort of 2D version of the original Power Stone, or Super Smash Brothers with less in the way of items and combat.

Some large and creative areas here

Outfoxies is about over the top arenas, crazy characters and duelling spies one on one in a very action orientated game that seems like the semi-final showdowns in numerous James Bond films, especially with one particular character that seems to be a direct copy of Tee Hee from Live and Let Die (You know, the tall guy with the metal claw arm thanks to a hungry gator... or croc, I forget and I don't stop to ask when running from such things).

Dead on a dead whale... How embarassing.

Your characters in Outfoxies, range from Any Job for Cash man, Psycho Twins, Naughty Chimp, Professor Chairbound, Madame Killer, Circus nutcase, Tee Hee rip off and High Class Hit Woman. Each character brings something fairly unique to the table aside from speed and strength bonuses, the professor in a chair is able to turn aruond and negate most projectile damage with his reinforced wheelchair at the cost of mobility, the chimp is faster but takes more damage while the more generics of the group are John Smith (Great name) and Betty Doe (Missed a trick there, should have been called Jane).

Rocket, grenades, machineguns, swords and more to use.

Each character has their own level and the missions are all to kill the other spies for cash. Levels range from cargo planes while in flight, to circus tents (complete with their own human cannonball cannon), to boats on the oceans in storms, an aquarium and a train while it goes through tunnels. The levels themselves are dynamic in that things change all the time. The train will periodically go through tunnels, forcing combat inside the carriages. The ship and plane levels will tilt and sway violently with the combat that takes place, the aquarium will flood and fill with chompy little critters at the first opportunity and each level will generously spawn a variety of weapons.

Obligatory "I Win" sticker

Combat takes place in Outfoxies with a simple interface, the joystick moves you around while the attack button will generically attack and the jump button, naturally, jumps you from place to place. You can jump and down through levels and floors, climb onto things, pick up and toss barrels and crates and assault your opponent with a mixture of guns, machineguns, rocket launchers, grenades, flamethrowers, swords and weapons based around the level in which you fight. As such your own fists aren't all that powerful and as such, you'll often be scrambling for death-dealing weapons, particularly the explosives.

Hi-explosives at the Hi-Top

Each round takes about a few minutes, combat can be fast paced or get bogged down in a simple exchange of blows back and forth as one person gets floored only to rise and floor the other. If one character has higher strength/defense then it's clear who the winner is going to be at that point (usually the CPU player), otherwise it becomes an issue of who gets the explosives and who gets slapped hard with the death cannon rocket launcher.

"I'm on a boat, I'm on a boat..."

The sounds within the game are your usual set of explosions and booms with a little focus on the music but with so much going on you barely will be listening to it. However the digitised speech for every item pick up, enemy interaction and as an announcer voice, serves the game well, as does the final few speeches given by the Last Boss within their mansion (bonus points for 3 attack dogs and the more vicious fluffy, yappy dog too) really add to the overall experience of the game.

Last level, run a gauntlet into a bossfight

That said, Outfoxies has flaws. The screen gets far too small to see clearly unless the fight is very close together, which is ok if it's human vs human but against the computer, you're disadvantaged by an algorithm process that negates the need to be able to see clearly. In 1 vs 1, the game is a lot of fun and the sheer size, scale and scope is remarkable for an arcade game to the point that I'd like to see it redeveloped, though once you add more weapons etc, you're looking at games that already exist. Certainly an overlooked game and if you find one of them around, play it, you won't be disappointed in the entertainment.