Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
Clayfighter 63 1/3, released in 1997, is a fighting game for the N64. Developers and publishers at ‘Interplay’ had a little fun with this console. Most of the games released for the N64 had “64” in the title, and originally the game was set for release later on a different system. This ultimately hurt the game in its final version. By this time in gaming history, Clayfighter was a well-known franchise, mainly due to the famous stop motion animations they used for the series. CF’s predecessor was awarded “best street fighter wannabe” by Electronic Gaming Monthly in 1993, and the release of the N64 version was highly anticipated.
When I sat down to revisit my old Clayfighter 63 1/3 days I began to realize why I barely remembered playing it. From the very start the controls are anything but easy. Sluggish reactions on-screen coupled with a camera that can never seem to catch up leaves some really ugly-looking frame by frame action. I’m not tainted from current consoles either, just to make sure I popped Mortal Kombat Trilogy into the system. Night and day. Granted the N64 and this generation of consoles in general did not do fighting games very well. Considering that this was not the best age in fighting games I battled through my initial dislike.
Twelve playable characters join us for this adventure, although three of them have to be unlocked. Bad Mr. Frosty the Fighting Snowman, Blob, Bonker, Kung Pow, Houngan, T-Hoppy the Battle Bunny, Taffy, Earthworm Jim, Ickybod Clay, Sumo Santa, Dr. Kilnklein, and Boogerman. One of the best things about the series in general, was the interesting and comedic characters associated. Each character is unique with their own fighting styles. From an artistic standpoint the character and environment design are well done and interesting. Once one gets past the horrid controls, some enjoyment can be found, in multiplayer mode.
Originally Interplay planned 17 characters for the game. We are glad they at least kept Boogerman and EarthWorm Jim, two of the most interesting and classic characters from interplay to date. In 1998 a special edition of CF would be released exclusively for rental at Blockbuster titled, Clayfighter Sculptor’s Cut. Four more playable characters were released including: Lady Liberty, High Five, Lockjaw Pooch, and Zappa Yow Yow Boyz.
As sketchy as the camera can be it does add an interesting dynamic. As the fighters move in and out of the screen the camera pans around creating at totally three dimensional feet. Most of the environments have some sort of interactive feature and in general the graphics are great for the time. Sound effects and music could use a little work however, the games humor sometimes makes up for it.
While Clayfighter 63 1/3 won’t be going back in my console anytime soon, there are moments to be appreciated in the game. While playing, it’s obvious that there was much time invested in the animation and artistic aspect of the title, rather than the gameplay. These high points do not make up for the low however, as overall the feel of the game is anything but good. Difficult controls and sub-par camera action makes this one title you can leave in the closet.
Clayfighter 63 1/3 Gets:
1 Out of 5
+Visuals and artistic Style