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iFightBack (PC)

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

iFightBack was made in 2017 by Self-Defense Software for PC. iFightBack is not a video game. It understands itself as an interactive, personal and home defense, virtual firearms simulator. But as for the similarities it shares with FMV light gun games this piece of software caught my attention. It can be played with any PC light gun behaving as a mouse input device.

The shooting simulations are dived into three groups: There is a so called Interactive Video mode, which consists of the FMV segments. Besides that there is a Hogan's Alley mode which lays stock images over video footage, effectively behaving similar to a real Hogan's Alley facility. In the third section are simulations of target shooting and silhouette shooting.

The simulations are randomized. A specific level can progress to up to 9 different branches. As an example in the same level an enemy may approach from the front, from a car, from behind and bystanders may be inactive, frightened or enemies.

In the options a weapon can be chosen, a level branch path may be selected and other settings can be tweaked. One feature is for example the display of hit boxes, which underlines the transparency of putative covers, such as furniture and thin walls. As being an educational piece of software, the enemies are just taken out if they are shot into the head or center of mass.

In the help section the software gives some gun safety information and shows in two tutorials how to modify an Ultimarc Aimtrak gun to make it more fun. One interesting feature of the software is the support of user made levels.

Personally I like iFightBack. Playing it for a long time will reveal a bug here and there, but the software is still very young, and these bugs possibly are addressed in the future using the built in update functionality. Is it as fun as the old FMV games? No, in my opinion it isn't. But be aware that those games had budgets well over a million dollars back than, which would even translate in about twice as much money today using an inflation calculator. Self-Defense Software is a small company and has compared to Hasbro, Worlds of Wonder and Digital Pictures limited funds. I was pretty excited when I read about iFightBack, as I was fondly remembered of American Laser Games who started with shooting simulations themselves under the name Institute for Combat Arms and Tactics.

The simulation comes in a tiny white clamshell without a proper keep case in order to keep shipping costs low.