Best known for the Project Gotham Racing series, Bizarre Creations studios leaned right from the beginning towards the console market, where their racing games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 were met with huge success. But along with a genre change, the producers decided to address to the PC fans as well, with their very Spartan-named production, „The club”.
Making games for consoles left its mark on Bizarre studios though, because the present title isn’t very different from what they did before. Especially as the two types of fans (consoles vs. PC) are in an epic feud for some time, with each warring faction having certain demands. In this war, the producers (bizarre indeed) decided to release a game which can be considered an old-school arcade. And because PC fans expect that the advantages of their substantial investments be used to the fullest extent, approaching a genre which disappeared almost completely from the scenery isn’t really the best idea for a first impression.
Right off the bat we’re greeted b the „Games for Windows LIVE” logo, which, as always, is the bearer of bad news, since all the problems of this service are also featured here. It’s probably why the online servers are completely empty. True, the LIVE system isn’t the only reason for this lack of online players. The multiplayer is lacking when it comes to game modes, since Bizarre opted only for the classical deathmatch (KillMatch, Hunter Haunted) along with five team deathmatches, with a couple of variations (Team Fox Hunt, Team Capture, Team Kill Match, Team Siege, Team Skullshot), found in single-player. For example, the Siege mode refers to constraining the character in a limited area, where enemies pop-up like roaches from all over the place. The most popular game mode however would be Score Match, where the player with the biggest score wins.
Ignoring the dubious utility of the Games for Live service and the lack of appeal of the multiplayer, the single-player campaign begins with a short presentation of the bloody and illegal tournament you will take a part in, having to fight (whether you want to or not) for your own survival. This tournament is somehow similar to the secret society from Mortal Kombat, with even the famous announcement „Fight!” being present. The premise of the existence of a secret society which can organize such violent tourneys in any area of the globe without any consequence is not bad at all. Unfortunately, the narration is quite bad and the main characters won’t really make you give a damn about them.
In order to participate, you have to choose one fighter from the eight existing ones (six at the beginning and two more during the game), each with his own story and abilities (speed, power, stamina). The variety of the eight main zones – among which are the streets of Venice, an abandoned factory, a beached tanker, a federal prison and a somber English mansion – is very welcomed, because each of them contains a number of sublevels which will certainly bore you eventually.
This is because the sublevels have a very poor design, and the main goal is to stay alive for a predefined limit of time (meaning that you will have to run like hell because otherwise your character will literally explode) or to obtain an enemy damage as big as you can (by killing all enemies from the level as quickly as possible). At the same time, you will have to look for the exit, and clearly, to kill everyone until you get there. And all these just for scoring as high as possible. For each victim, you will receive a number of points. If you hit them with a headshot, perform different combos or eliminate enemies from distance, you will be rewarded with an even bigger number of points.