The video game adaptation of comic LASTMAN is a fun chaotic experience, but does very little to create new fans of the franchise.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Release Date: 5/19/2016 (PS4/Xbox One TBA)
Developed by Piranhaking
Published by Piranhaking
From developer Piranhaking, LASTFIGHT is an arena-fighter based on the award-winning comic series LASTMAN. Created by Bastien Vives, “Balak” Yves Bigerel and Michael Sanlaville, the the first installment of LASTMAN was published back in March 2013. French readers were introduced to the enigmatic fighter Richard Aldana, a late entry into the “Games” fighting tournament featuring the best of martial arts and magic users. Despite his motivations being originally unclear, Richard quickly makes a name for himself among the ranks, as he relies solely on his martial arts skills to outmatch other competitors.
LASTFIGHT features a selection of 10 eccentric characters from the comic, with Richard Aldana and Duke Diamonds headlining the roster. The title focuses on local multiplayer, however a single player Story Mode is included, albeit sparse in content. The city of Paxtown is in disarray as the experimental drug Antitrans is turning users into crazed superhumans and mutants. Within the chaos, Richard’s girlfriend Tomie is kidnapped by the once revered priest Chandoo; now an insane mutant bird, Chandoo intends on using her as a human sacrifice. The duo of Richard and Duke set out to free Tomie from Chandoo’s lair, however their quest is continuously interrupted by Antitrans users and former allies-turned-mutants.
Though the genre features some notable exceptions, fighting games tend to push story aside in favor of intense multiplayer action. As LASTMAN’s first venture into the world of video games, LASTFIGHT has no video game legacy to match or exceed; as an extension of the world provided in the comic, LASTFIGHT is sorely lacking. Players have the option of playing through the Story Mode as either Richard or Duke, although both paths are virtually identical, except for a few lines of text; depending on how merciful the AI opponents are- as there’s no option to change the difficulty- both Story Modes can be completed together in roughly one hour. The plot does enough to introduce players to a handful of marque characters from the LASTMAN comic, but to truly appreciate the universe at hand, players need to invest themselves in the comic series.
Oddly enough, LASTFIGHT only supports local multiplayer, but those who are willing to share a single computer are in for a chaotic treat. LASTFIGHT‘s most obvious influence comes from that of the Power Stone games- arena-fighters that released exclusively for the Sega Dreamcast. Players can go head-to-head in 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 matches, with each one set in an imaginative arena based on each character from the LASTMAN comic. Players can attack using a chain of “Light” and “Heavy” moves, with each character having his or her own unique properties; Crystal for example, has the ability to charge up and throw an energy disk, while Professor Acid can release a barrage of electric shields.
If the player refrains from using the Heavy attack, its offensive power will increase; this is indicated by a white gauge underneath the character stating “MAX” when full. Each character has a shield, with the strength indicated by a blue circle underneath him or her; shield strength is also shown through visible cracks and a change of color from blue to red. Characters can parry attacks, but only if the Shield is activated just before taking a hit. The Dash ability has roughly the same function, as the player will teleport behind an enemy by dashing right before an attack lands.
Apart from characters being able to throw each other, stages include a plethora of usable objects, ranging from chairs to full-sized executive desks. Depending on the size of the thrown object, items can hit an opponent multiple times before breaking. Stage objects have the potential to secure a win for the player, however shields and dashes cannot be used while holding an item. LASTFIGHT also includes a wide variety of power-ups and alternate weapons, including the likes of a police helmet that increases the character’s movement speed, boxing gloves that guarantee a knockdown with each hit, potions that summon clone characters, and a Centurion helmet that allows the wearer to throw lighting bolts. If the character is attacked after grabbing an item, he or she will immediately drop it, causing the item to break on the floor of the stage.
A more coveted power-up, characters have the ability to mutate into one of four Antitrans creatures, but only after obtaining three unique ruins for that creature; players can transform into an infected titan creature that can summon skulls around the arena, a two-headed alien capable of firing energy blasts, a hulking warrior that stomps the ground for a wide attack, or a crawling alien that summons weaker clones of itself for a group attack. With so many weapons and usable stage assets already within each of the 8 arenas, 3 of them take it one step further; the airplane wreckage (Crystal’s stage), archaeological ruins (Professor Acid’s stage), and the koi pond (Spice’s stage) all feature “stage hazards” that are either triggered automatically or by the player.
LASTFIGHT‘s Story Mode may not succeed in drawing players into the LASTMAN world, but fortunately the visuals are sure to deliver. While strangely reminiscent of the lost PC-exclusive fighter Rising Thunder, the bright colorful visuals and electric soundtrack reflect the energy of the comic and its wacky cast of characters. Despite being reserved for the amazingly brief Story Mode, LASTFIGHT showcases plenty of artwork reminiscent of its source material; more character artwork can be found in the Gallery- or “Pin’s Set”- by completing various tasks as each character. The character intro movies excel at conveying the fighters’ own quirkiness, which extends into the 8 stages themed around each character.
It may not create new fans of the LASTMAN comic, but with its wacky cast of characters and chaotic gameplay, LASTFIGHT is sure to please anyone looking to satisfy that arena-fighter itch.