With a single punch, One Must Fall 2097 is a winner. The bliss of seeing sparks and shards of metal shatter from the hull of an opponent’s mechanized chest is a reward, a small piece of joy knowing what went into it, and the end result.
PC gaming in 1994 was a vastly different beast than it is now. Consoles excelled at fast-paced action, particularly with the instant-sell fighting game genre at is peak. The PC struggled to keep up, carrying sloppy, sluggish ports of genre mainstays Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II.
With One Must Fall, publisher Epic Megagames (now Epic Games) appeased the fighting-mad console gamer and strategy-laden PC gamer, all with a punch. What goes into that punch is a variety of factors, and the rewards for landing it can be ample.
That single punch is the result of strategy on the back end, where power is determined by the chosen mech pilot, arm strength, and general machine customization. The hit itself opens up the door to intricate combos, with strings heading into the 30s for a skilled, speedy player. Those above-mentioned sparks and sharp “clank” sound effect complete an effective illusion. The after-effect is more than drained health, but money to further put more intense damage behind each barrage.
That customized fighter could have, back it the days of painfully slow dial-up modem play, been taken online to battle others who have punched their way into crafting their own anomalous creation, complete with an enduring techno soundtrack that ranks amongst the best of the sound card era.
At its heart, One Must Fall is strangely uncomplicated, but the fighting system that resulted was based more on reward. Wins not only showered the conqueror with funds, but also a newscast that taunted the failure of the loser. Additional satisfaction is derived from knowing repairs in OMF requires financial investment, making that solitary punch more crucial than you know.
One Must Fall 2097 is now freeware (Emulator DOS Box required).