STAFF REVIEW of Spartan: Total Warrior (Xbox)

Friday, November 25, 2005.
by Rhiannon

Spartan: Total Warrior Box art I must admit that I have never played a game of this genre before. That was a mistake. Spartan Total Warrior drew me in and held my attention for a couple hours at a time, and that?s hard to do to any busy mother. The game features fierce battles between Sparta and Rome. Imagine if you will the power to decapitate and slay numbers of opposing soldiers at a time.

The sheer amount of damage Spartan was capable of leashing out upon the footmen of Rome was oh so addicting. I honestly can say that I had so much fun giving thrashings, unleashing my deadly combos and using the power of the Gods to destroy those in my way. The story of Spartan, the main character, is a very common one throughout all genres of games, so this was not a strong point for me. The graphics could have been a bit better within the cut scenes. The voice acting was well done, and accurately depicted. However the game play is one that will pull you in and hold you.

Spartan is an unnamed orphan (this is what I meant about common story that?s been done) who is raised through the ancient Greek training camps to become a true warrior of Sparta. This ancient city is one of the last cities to stand against the might that is Rome. Spartan has a gift though, he is guided by Ares, the God of war. Ares guides the warrior through battles and helps him in his quest to know the truth of his past. Spartan is also aided in his quests and battles by his friends,Castor and Pollux, twin brothers who have strength and intellect respectively. Spartan also finds Electra, a princess of the Amazons, along the way. The first battle takes place outside the gates of Sparta where the warrior must defend the city from Roman invaders. After each battle there is a boss fight, of course.

Each boss fight is different from one another, because they require a different strategy of defeat. It is always important to listen to any help your fellow comrades in battle may be shouting to you. Also each defeat of a mythological boss gains Spartan a unique weapon that each has special powers of the Gods attached to it. For instance the blades of Athena allow you to strike foes down with lightning, the shield of Medusa turns enemies to stone, and the hammer of Beowulf that shakes the ground beneath your attackers. The end of each chapter allots you tokens to spend on power, health and damage, and also gives you a save point. I would recommend this game to anyone, and all gamers alike. As I said before, I have never ventured into this genre per say, yet I found this title to be so enjoyable. I was not bored even though the story plot has been done again and again.

I never felt as though I was button mashing, as the combo moves are easy to perform and easily remembered, by using combinations of the triggers and buttons. If one does have a problem with remembering combo moves a menu can be brought up each time with the directions for each attack move. This is a game you can pick up and play right away, with no learning curve to worry about. With each boss defeat you gain a unique weapon and part of the story, so you feel as if you have truly accomplished something rather than going through the motions. The ability to change weapons on the fly for certain jobs is also a boon to the game. Over all, Spartan Total Warrior is a must play for those looking for a good time.

I have some praises and complaints regarding the graphics of Spartan Total Warrior. Let?s begin with the praises. I loved the seamless transition of frames during battle. The sheer number of npcs on screen presented no problem. There were no issues with lag as the screen was flooded with images and background textures. When Sparta would perform a power or combo, there was no confusion as to where he was hitting and who was going down. The combos and power moves all looked amazing, increasing my urge to perform them. Speaking of background textures, the buildings of Rome, and Sparta were beautifully done. War zones, armor and shields were all appropriate for the time period, and I can?t say enough about the great building structures in the game. My major complaint involves the poorly done graphics of the cut scenes. The characters appear too polygonish in my opinion. I thought for a game this late in the Xbox development that the full use of graphics capabilities would have been utilized. It?s a shame that with this much technology that the characters looked so poorly in the cut scenes.

Spartan Total Warrior made great use of their voice actors. Each one had an appropriate accent and was melded well with the game. It sounded emotionally accurate rather than plain old voice acting, if you get my drift. While in battle combo moves had awesome sound as well as power moves. Swords clashing and shields bashing? Yep all of the above. If you?re paying attention you can even hear your comrades shouting commands or warnings to you. It?s very important to heed their commands and warnings as well, so the way that their voices are audible yet do not take away from the battle atmosphere was brilliantly done.

My only recommendation to Sega would be to please utilize the full capabilities of the Xbox graphic card. There is no excuse for the cut scene graphics to be so poor this late in the game. Other than that well done!

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 10.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.2 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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