Game Over Online ~ Heart Breakers

GameOver Game Reviews - Heart Breakers (c) Family Productions Ltd, Reviewed by - Freddy Krueger

Game & Publisher Heart Breakers (c) Family Productions Ltd
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 3D Accelerator Card
Overall Rating 43%
Date Published Thursday, February 24th, 2000 at 01:07 AM

Divider Left By: Freddy Krueger Divider Right

Fighting games have had a less than stellar career on the PC. Titles such as Virtua Fighter, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat have all thrived in the arcades and on multiple console platforms, but the transition to the PC has been less than smooth. In fact, it's been quite some time since we've seen any serious attempt at a fighting game for the PC. Heart Breakers, from Asian developer Family Productions Ltd., attempts to thwart that theory using a blend of old school style graphics and action packed game play. It might have worked if it didn't come off looking like a clone, one whose shortcomings are sure to guarantee it won't last many rounds in the ring.

Like most fighting games, Heart Breakers doesn't draw from plot lines or character development, it goes straight for the kill. One arena, two fighters, no talk, all action. The result: priceless. After all, do you really need a reason to beat the crap out of somebody? Family Productions Ltd. (as ironic a development team name as it might be) doesn't seem to think so and I'm sure most gamers will agree. Heart Breakers doesn't fail in terms of concept, they just fail to deliver.

Heart Breakers features 11 characters to choose from, as well as 4 secret or special characters that you can unlock at the options menu. There's a wide assortment of fighters including both male and female characters and even a bionic fighter to boot. While there doesn't seem to be any background to any of the characters, each fighter does sport his or her own theme, with special moves built around those themes. Many of the special moves are spin-offs from Street Fighter, like the energy blast, there are relatively few moves that we haven't seen in previous fighting titles. The objective of Heart Breakers is simply to beat each fighter including the special characters, whom are unlocked once you've beaten each of the starting fighters.

The biggest drawback of Heart Breakers is the graphics. While they are 3D accelerated, they don't seem to take advantage of that fact. The environments are relatively bland and there's absolutely no interactivity with the surrounding area. You can't pick up any objects in any one arena and use them to your advantage. There's no animation occurring in the background and there's no atmosphere created for each arena. There are video replays that show the finishing moves, upon winning or losing a match, but that's the only time when the arenas are represented in 3D. Some of the characters are nicely animated while others just seem horrible. One of the few highlights in the visual department is the over-exaggeration of the female form, which is especially noticeable when one of the ladies wins a fight. A small, animated sequence is played whenever you win or lose a fight, and let's just say the ladies are very well endowed. I haven't seen that much bounce since.. well, that's a story for another time. Let's just say they make Lara Croft's rack look like a couple of tylenols on a table.

You can tell Heart Breakers is an Asian developed title simply by listening to the voice effects (Hart Breakahs), not to mention the names of the fighters when pronounced. The game offers a musical score that is reminiscent of previous fighting titles. There's also an assortment of sound effects both in and out of gameplay, which seem to be taken straight from previous fighting games, most of which are very anime-like or cartoonish. The Asian flavour is definitely present not only in the style of graphics, but the audio department as well.

In terms of gameplay, Heart Breakers is fast and furious, just like a fighting game should be. The problem is, you aren't going to find anything in Heart Breakers that you haven't seen before. Each character has four basic controls: heavy and light punch, heavy and light kick. Each character also has a number of special moves and combos that can be performed by hitting the right keys in a particular order. As I mentioned before though, many of the special moves seem like copies of moves we've seen in other games. You can also perform such actions as jumping, ducking, rolling, defending, and more. There are five levels of difficulty in Heart Breakers, but even the easiest level is rather difficult if beginners haven't learnt the defensive positions. There are also moves in-close that can be performed, if you manage to get beside your opponent, such as flips and other wrestling style manoeuvres. All in all, the gameplay in Heart Breakers is fairly solid, if not unoriginal. It's unfortunate that they couldn't come up with some unique environments to fight in, or moves to perform.

The only multiplayer option available in Heart Breakers is the ability to fight a friend on the same machine. There's no Internet or LAN support. In terms of control, you can use either your keyboard or a gamepad to control your fighter and with only four main keys to worry about, it's got a relatively small learning curve.

As I played this game, and now as I write this review, a few questions have crossed my mind. Why did they call this game Heart Breakers? Are these fighters former lovers looking to exact revenge on their ex's because they left the toilet seat up? Are those boobies real? Are melons on sale this week? Heart Breakers is an action-packed fighting title that unfortunately borrows more than it creates. It doesn't deliver when it should and the bottom line is this: I enjoyed Heart Breakers the first time around, when it was called Street Fighter.

Graphics [7/20]
Sound [8/15]
Gameplay [15/30]
Funfactor [8/20]
Multiplayer [1/5]
Overall Impression [4/10]


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