Faith Fighter

More Sacrilege


Paolo Pedercini is best known for excellent, and risky games like the McDonald's Video Game, which takes cruel aim at the international fast food purveyor, and Operation Pedopriest, which takes equally cruel aim at the Catholic Church's proclivity for whitewashing the child abuse of some of its prelates. Faith Fighter is his most recent title, and it would be, well, cruel of us not to review it, since we have written so admiringly of his previous efforts.

Faith Fighter is a classic Street Fighter-style game, in which you choose one of several characters and engage in fisticuffs with another, either a computer-controlled character, or another player whacking keys on the other side of the keyboard. As one might expect, each character has special moves that can be triggered by key combinations. Two falls out of three. What you expect, albeit in Flash, and free.

In Faith Fighter, however, you control Jesus, Mohammed, Ganesh, Buddha or "Buddai" -- or "God". No Moses (an oversight; surely the ur-faith of the People of the Book should get a look in), and "God" is an odd one, since all the Abrahamic faiths worship him. Also, I'm not sure of the distinction between Buddha and Buddai; the former seems to be the Buddha of the Esoteric Path, while the latter seems to be the chubby Buddha of the Far East -- and while they are represented differently, surely they are at least as similar as the Artemis depicted as a warrior maid and the Artemis depicted as a representative of the Great Mother. The same deity (or rather, bhoddisatva), surely.

Now, in a sense, this is very daring, particularly in providing a depiction of the Prophet, the very inclusion of which is surely offensive to the sort of fanatical religious bigots who fly fully-loaded jet liners into buildings down the street from me, and who also have a habit of declaring fatwas against, and sometimes succeeding in assassinating, artists who dare challenge their repugnant Medieval beliefs. And if a mere depiction of the Prophet is offensive, then surely showing him engaging in fisticuffs with the false idols of erroneous and inferior sects is also, not to mention that he can lose.

But in another sense, one wonders why Pedercini bothered; in terms of gameplay, and its naughty nose-thumbing to religious beliefs, it's basically the same game as Bible Fight, different only in that Bible Fight's characters are drawn solely from the Judaeo-Christian tradition, rather than generalizing globally.

And when you come down to it, Bible Fight is a better game -- faster, and smoother playing, and with more entertaining special moves. Which is odd in its own way, because there's hardly a better Flash game around than the McDonald's Game -- Pedercini knows his way around ActionScript, surely.

Oh well.

the99th sez:

I actually think Faith Fighter is the better game; the controls feel more integrated and solid in their simplicity. I also feel that Faith Fighter is more honest in its appraisal of religion. Bible Fight puts you in the role of a character from Judaeo-Christian mythology, against the backdrop of a setting from Judaeo-Christian mythology; its satire is mired in a tongue-in-check rendition that is smeared between chuckly, irreverent fun and a critique of religion. In Faith Fighter, you're battling different gods, different worldviews, against the backdrop of the planet Earth, and when these worldviews collide, people die. It's not as sophisticated a procedural metaphor as that of McDonald's, but it's there.

Plus, "Worship Me!" -- that's fucking funny, I don't care who you are.


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I'm not sure which is better

I'm not sure which is better gamewise, Bible Fight or Faith Fighter, what I do know is that Bible Fighter was first and anybody developing a game along the line needs to be aware the things are going to be compared. What Faith Fighter lacks for me is replayability value, I wish there was something that would make me want to try all the different character, maybe at least some scripted conversations on the sceen where your current opponents is shown? On the other hand FF, as opposed to BF, attempts to pass on some message about the consequences of religious conflict rather than just wink at the player and stick a tongue at a priest.

Also, I couldn't help but chuckle when I noticed that FSM floating in the Jesus' background, are we going to have a game with the Pastafarian deity fighting the Invisible Pink Unicorn and other "mock religion" figures next?

The point is the final boss

Without wanting to post a spoiler - the "joke" of the game is played out with the final boss. It's very topical, and quite funny - I gave a laugh of recognition as it was obvious once it had been seen, but I at least didn't anticipate it.

I recommend readers play through and view the gameplay etc. as a means of being in on the joke. It might be a procedural metaphor, but more importantly it's a rimshot.

Re: joke

I don't know that that's really a joke, but hey.

Man is that game easy, though. I just played as Jesus and did the spinny hand thing to get close to my opponent then just spammed the spacebar. Most fights didn't even get hurt!

Maybe it gets harder on settings other than easy, but I can't say I really care enough to find out.

Budai is actually a

Budai is actually a different Buddha, one who is anticipated to succeed Buddha. Imagine if Jesus and his anticipated second coming were different people; that's similar to Buddha and Budai.