Rock Night: Fight Band
After a particularly poor gaming session the other night, my friend and I decided we needed to drop a game in the 360 that will make us feel better about ourselves and just have some fun. So we tossed in the excellent boxing game Fight Night Round 3, but we still had the Rock Band instruments plugged in from the previous night. So we decided that we would do a versus game, guitar versus drums.
We started up with a quick match between Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti. Unfortunately, with drum and guitar controllers, we found quickly that we were not going to be reproducing the legendary first battle between these brawlers, but we did get a lot of laughs.
To start, we had to choose control method #3, which puts your regular punches on the 360 controller's face buttons instead of the analog sticks. Neither controller actually has any analog stick functions at all, so we quickly found out that we did not have the ability to move or even defend ourselves correctly. We would close the gap between us only by lunging forward in a clinch, and even then we had a hard time finding the right range to both do battle.
I lurch forward by flicking up on the strum bar, which causes my boxer, Ward, to try to clinch. Gatti waits for me. As soon as I get in range, he starts beating on the blue and yellow drums, giving me jabs and crosses while I'm still trying to close in. You see, for some reason, I can't throw those same punches. Instead, I've only got two - left and right hooks to the body, which I seem to only be able to unleash by holding either the green or red buttons on the guitar's neck and flicking the whammy bar to throw the punch. Nope, not the strum bar - the whammy bar. (Rock Band controllers apparently work in mysterious ways). But I do it - I get inside and start pounding him with Micky Ward's powerful hooks.
I've almost got him down while he's been working on me and hurting me. I'm comboing the hooks together like you wouldn't believe, and apparently Fight Night says that Ward's got more punching stamina than Gatti because I've got him in the corner, throwing nonstop hooks, while he's returning with the same but is fatigued to nothing. And here comes the punch to put Gatti in the KO moment, where only one or two more punches will put him down. I realized early on that with no analog sticks, the first person to go down is going to lose the fight.
But he clinches by hitting the up arrow on his drum kit's D-pad! I flick my strum bar up to break the clinch, and now he's destroying my face with hooks because he's got full punching power temporarily. It's not long before I'm left in the position that he was just in, and I manage to get off a clinch just as a finishing punch was going to put me down. The round is over, and without analog sticks, the best we can do is auto-heal our boxers' wounds.
Round 2. He waits for me this time, seemingly happy to stay backed in a corner. I think I've got him, as it's easier for me to move inside and throw the only punches I can make my guitar throw - hooks to the body. But now he's timing his jab-cross combos and I can't get inside. I'm down to half my health bar by the time I do successfully get inside (while the commentator complains about us doing so many clinches), and manage to put Gatti in trouble before his punches can really hurt Ward. But another quick clinch saves him, and with no way to defend myself or back away from Gatti, all I can do is eat a mega-flurry of about 25 power punches in a row and just try and fire back.
Unfortunately, the body punches I'm throwing by alternating red and green buttons and wailing on the whammy bar don't really "interrupt" what Gatti's throwing, and his punches to my face are defusing what power I have left. It's not long before I'm in a KO moment and staring down defeat. I save myself with another luckily-timed clinch on the strum bar. Meanwhile, my buddy is just destroying those poor drums, beating on them in a way he's never done during "Gimme Shelter" or "Go With the Flow". After doing some serious damage to Gatti, I'm back in a KO moment, and this time my buddy plays it smart and is just popping me with a jab (blue drum) over and over. I go down, and I know I'm done. No analog sticks are available - I'm trying everything, flicking the little special effects switch, pounding out an awesome solo on the bottom-buttons on the neck, mashing that whammy bar like never before. Nothing. I suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of Arturo Gatti and his drum controller.
Of course, this isn't the first time that my friends and I have thrown together wacky handicaps to make the games that we've played a little too much just a tad more interesting. I don't know if other people have done this, but in high school we would play Street Fighter II on the SNES with our feet, or with the controllers upside-down in our hands, or even with the TV off and just the game sounds playing over the stereo in a "blind match". But none of that is quite as bizarre as controlling boxers with a guitar or some drums. And now that I think of it, one could load up the XBLA version of Street Fighter II and use the D-pad on the Rock Band controllers to fight. I imagine that getting out a Hadouken on a guitar would be pretty tough, but if you "go lefty" it might actually be easier.