The Game Little Fighter 2 is a fun little 2D beat em up with a heavy DragonBall Z feeling to it. You and up to 4 friends on a single computer or up to 8 friends on a network control... well... a little fighter and duke it out on a flat scrolling battlefield. The battlefields also have depth, so you can not only move from left to right but also from front to back like in Final Fight or Streets of Rage.
Gameplay You control your little fighter with either the keyboard, joystick or gamepad. The actions that you can perform besides moving in the eight directions are Attack, Jump and Guard. Aside from the normal attacks and short combos it is also possible to perform the obligatory special moves using a combination of swift directional movements and the above three actions. Some of these specials are pretty cool and as stated above remind one of the famous Dragonball Z series. The commands are all nice and responsive so if your'e playing against a friend and can't get that fireball special off when it counts then it's definetly your fault and not a "bug" you big cry-baby :P.
Like always battle continues until you or all enemies are defeated. Now and then an item will drop from the sky onto the battlefield. These items can be picked up and range from baseball bats to boulders to bottles of something that heals you when you drink it.
There are five different playing modes: Standard VS, Stage Mode, 1 vs 1 Championship, 2 vs 2 Championship and Battle Mode.
Stage mode is like a Final Fight or Streets of Rage clone. Instead of just fighting until all enemies are defeated you move through stages and fight numerous baddies along the way. At the end of each stage you have to defeat a boss character. It can also be played in multiplayer and it is possible to find "hostages": Tied up characters that will fight on your side if you free them.
Battle Mode isn't as good as it could be. You create an army of the Stage Mode enemys for yourself and an army for your enemys and go to war. A hundred characters on the screen at a time looks neat but you can't really influence the battle... sure you can give commands but there isn't any reason to. The battle is decided by either which army is stronger or which computer controlled characters happen to fight better... unless you really are GOOD and change the course of battle on your own.
Characters The most important thing in a beat em up are the available characters, their diversity and how balanced they are. Little Fighter 2 has 10 of them and most are pretty different from each other in style. You have for instance the "normal" energy-ball slinging martial artists and then you have "Henry" who uses a bow as his main attack. Or "Rudolf" the samurai (what the?) whose main attacks are throwing stars and running katana attacks. This isn't Tekken though so don't expect completly different complex fighting styles. Each character has his normal move set and a couple of specials and that's it. This isn't nescesarily a bad thing though, as Street Fighter 2 proves.
The characters seem fairly balanced, although I have managed to defeat the computer on the hardest dificulty by just shooting like mad with Henrys bow. This is probably more of an AI issue than balance issue though.
Overall the character design is decent enough and everybody will probably have their favorite Little Fighter.
(Btw: It's possible to create your own fighter but this is done by scripting and creating your own graphics so I never tried it.)
Graphics & Sound Although done in 2D the graphics are quite good for a freeware game. Alot of actions don't use many frames but it still comes across smooth. The special attacks look pretty cool and the backgrounds look nice. Sometimes the screen is jam packed with sprites and even though the Battle Mode isn't that great, it is fun to watch.
The sounds aren't anything special but they don't get on your nerves and do their job well enough. The combination of sounds and smooth graphics does give you the nice feeling of kicking the enemys butt.
Summary Little Fighter 2 is a very decent beat em up that is very worth the price. It's definetly quality freeware and well done but it just isn't my thing and I got bored with it pretty fast. I think it's really good.... but I can't play it longer than half an hour twice a week. Don't take my word for it though... it's just my personal opinion and it would be a shame if nobody downloads it because of what I say. Besides I havn't played a multiplayer game yet and I'm sure that it's much better then in singleplayer. I'm giving the game a higher rating then I would usually give a game that bores me this fast because I'm trying to be objective. Anybody interested in beat em ups should download and give it a try. I can really imagine some people falling in love with this very well done game.
Note: Little Fighter 2 is also available through Vapour