FRANKO: THE CRAZY REVENGE / Mirage Interactive / PC
 
 
There was apparently a thriving amateur game design scene in Poland afer communism eased up in the early '90s, and some wild stuff came out of it. Franko seems to be one of the better-known titles, to the point that it's even had a modern sequel, but that seems to be more for its lurid and poorly-drawn depictions of violence than any kind of quality. In fact, it's pretty godawful to play.

It's a clunky beat-em-up inspired by the forefathers of the genre like Double Dragon, Final Fight and Streets of Rage ... in fact, I'm pretty sure most of the sound effects were stolen directly from Streets of Rage. Franko gets beat up by a gang of bodybuilder thugs in the introduction, which apparently is the impetus for the Crazy Revenge, for which he is joined by his buddy Alex. Apparently said revenge stretches on for three stages and incorporates some driving segments, but I only know this from watching videos, because good luck to any normal and sane person in getting through the first level.

One of the things about old-school beat-em-ups is that they each had their own little vagaries in hit priority and collision detection, and experimenting and coming to grips with all that was part of the process of getting really skilled at them to the point that you could run for a long time on one quarter/life. In Franko, this system is real simple: every single enemy always has ultimate priority, can interrupt your moves at any time, and there's no stun-locking or knockback whatsoever. Basically, you just have to hope the enemies let you hit them without interrupting, which just seems to be a random dice roll any time you square off.

The game probably would have been utterly forgotten by time if not for the gratuitous blood and the general 12-year-old-boy sense of lewdness infused throughout the design (like the random voice sample of a guy saying "fuck off" that accompanies the music off-beat for no apparent reason).
 
 
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