Funny one-on-one fighter where everyone is made out of clay. The characters were made by digitizing photos of clay models for that stop motion effect, which for the most part comes off alright.
The game has a bizarre circus kind of atmosphere with flutey organ music in most of the levels. There is a lot of attention to detail in the game, each character has distinct voice and sound bites, plays in a distinct manner, etc. There are no lazy palette swaps going on. Characters generally make fun of other fighting games, such as an evil snowman, a ghost with a jack o' lantern head with his own Dragon Punch move (called Boo Hoo-Ken,) an Elvis impersonator, etc. The last boss is a strange circle thing made up out of balls called "N. Boss," effectively ripping on M.Bison's name from Street Fighter as well as the words "End Boss." N. Boss only attacks with projectiles from other characters and looks like he was thrown in at the last minute. As this is a"Tournament" version of the game there are subtle changes from the original, however having never played the original I have no idea what they are.
Problems: The animation is too choppy. The characters and backgrounds and such look really good, you can tell a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into the creation of the clay models. They just don't look convincing enough when they move. As they are it's adequate, it's not so choppy that you can't tell what's going on. It's just... ghetto.
Second, the computer A. I. is possessed of a cheapness that is beyond all things cheap. On the harder difficulty levels it will destroy you in seconds flat by doing things that you cannot, like chaining charge moves into combos or hitting you with a steady stream of 20 projectiles in a row. It gets bad. Rarely do I find myself screaming obscenities out loud at the television set when no one else is in the room. This game is one of the few who deserve it. However since this is a game where a bunch of little weak attacks fails to dizzy or push you back an adequate distance you can corner an A. I. opponent and use a continuous barrage of little tiny peasley kicks or punches to slowly drain away their energy. This works like 90% of the time, obvious gameplay bug there fellas.
Despite the cheap yet stupid A. I. and lackluster animation the game has a lot of charm and can be pretty funny at times. Many other reviews I read over the internet call the Clayfighter series one of the worst fighting game series of all time, which is highly exaggerated in my humble opinion. True this game has problems, yet it's still miles above the genuine crap (Rise of the Robots for instance.) The game is worth playing for the novelty factor.
Graphics: Very detailed but with choppy animation. The backgrounds don't seem to have anything going on in them either.
Sound: Lots of digitized voice samples, some of which are actually pretty funny. As a result the background music is mostly low key.
Gameplay: Cheeseball A. I. is either too easy or too hard, yet falls for the same stupid tricks every time.