The inherent novelty of Fighter Maker 2 is that it gives budding game designers a little taste of what it's like to build the most basic of fighting games--down to even the smallest of animations. But that novelty will quickly fade once you discover the poorly designed interface, a somewhat limited create-a-fighter feature that's far less robust than similar features found in wrestling games, and a distinct lack of clear information on how to properly use certain modes. Indeed, all of this may even go so far as to completely dash some people's aspirations of becoming a game designer, and those who are willing to tackle the incredibly high learning curve will still find Fighter Maker 2 to be time consuming, if nothing else.
http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/ps2/fightermaker2/0001.jpgThe create-a-fighter option lacks some basic features.
Though the focus of Fighter Maker 2 is creation, there's a prebuilt fighting game already included, but let's get this out of the way: It's pretty poor in comparison to most fighting games, due to its simplistic nature, and you probably won't be able to play it for more than a few minutes before boredom sinks in. Granted, the characters featured in this mode and the gameplay mechanics are included for demonstration purposes only, to give you an idea of what a character should play like and how he or she should animate, but it's definitely not a redeeming feature in Fighter Maker 2.
The editing feature in the game is essentially broken down into three different sections--appearance, animation, and sequences. In the appearance section, you can change the sex, clothing, hair, face, and a few other aspects of your character, but there's a surprising lack of variety in just about every customizable category. The fact that there isn't a weight adjustment feature is also severely limiting, because it doesn't allow you to create some of the most well known video game characters. Instead, you're left with a generic ninja or kung fu master, all of which are the same size.
The animation mode in the create-a-fighter option is easily the most intimidating aspect of the game. Not only do you have to animate your character, but you have to do so using key-frame animation, which essentially means that every frame of animation is edited manually. It's not particularly difficult to learn how to use this mode, but making even the most basic animation look somewhat decent can be very time consuming.
The animations you create can then be used in the sequence mode, which is where you can turn them into actual moves. The sequence mode also lets you determine how and when certain attacks can take place, how much damage they inflict on an opponent, and their range of effect, among other things. Unfortunately, this mode can be a little confusing at first simply because it's not entirely clear what it is you're supposed to be doing, and the manual offers very little help since it doesn't define some of the more mysterious options displayed on the screen. The absence of detailed information on the individual modes and the poorly designed interface, which just clutters up the screen, make the editing options in Fighter Maker 2 a chore as opposed to a meaningful experience into the world of a game developer.
http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/ps2/fightermaker2/0002.jpgIt can take a few hours to create even the simplest animation.
Unfortunately, Fighter Maker 2 won't win any points from a visual standpoint either. The game has poor character models that look as though they were ripped straight from an old PlayStation game, complete with muddy textures. The backgrounds are also pretty mundane and sport the infinite fighting-plane visual technique seen in the earlier Tekken games, where the characters never actually come any closer to the objects in the environment. It's worth noting that the game does maintain a brisk frame rate, but given the bare-bones look of the game, there's no reason it shouldn't.
As for the sound, there really isn't much there. You'll hear all of the generic sound effects used in just about every single fighting game to date as well as an equally uninspired soundtrack that admittedly works well with the environments that the characters are fighting in, but that's about it.
Fighter Maker 2 does give some insight into what it's like to develop a fighting game if you're willing to spend a number of hours to effectively integrate all of the game's features. It just takes far too much time to perform the simplest of functions, and while the key-frame animation feature gives you a lot of freedom, it would have been better if it were a little less time consuming. In the end, Fighter Maker 2 will probably intimidate most of the people who are genuinely interested in the creation aspect of video games.