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WeaponLord

 

1994 Namco

Sega Genesis

 

Weaponlord was one of the last big titles to come out for the 16 bit systems. I remeber this game was hyped like crazy back in the day. It had an ultra indepth fighting system and the characters were desgined by comic book/fantasy artist legend Simon Bisley (better known for his full of asskicing book Lobo.) Supposedly the two head guys went out and played every fighting game out there as research as to make Weaponlord the best fighting game ever made. What actually was produced left a little to be desired.

The plot roevoles around a barbarian called the Spider King who recieves a prophesy that a child will grow up to kill him one day. But instead of doing the King Herod thing and killing all children born that year the Spider King decides he's going to train his ass off and face his death head on. Hence 25 years to the day he holds a tournament to draw out his killer.

The fighting system is indeed very intracate, involving a series of strikes and parrys in addition to the usual Streetfighter-esque special moves. The way it works is that each fighter has three weapon strikes of varying strengths and three parries of the same. When two weapons collide the one who unleashed the stronger attack wins. A parry (or "thrust-block" as it's called here) has the effect of knocking your opponent's sword back and leaving him open for a few seconds. Think Samurai Showdown but with three six degrees of collision match-ups. Of course you can chain all these thrusts and parries into rediculous combos that can decemate your oppnent.

There are Mortal Kombat style fatalites in the game as well as Samurai Showdown-like killing strikes that must be tagged onto the ends of combos in order to happen. They usually end with you chopping off the other guy's head, swatting it around for a bit, then reducing his body to a bloody pulp.

The characters are really cool looking. Each of them has the Bisley exaggerated musculature and an unique weapon, and for the most part all of them can be used effectively. The trade off for such detail is that the game animates with extreme choppiness, almost to the point that it's impossible to tell what's going on. This makes it extremely difficult to tell which level of thrust of parry you should be using at any given time. Of course the computer has no problem predicting your moves, so what ends up happening in a one player game is you getting blocked at every turn and having to rely on counterattack and loops ala Motal Kombat. Not exactly the free-flowing fighting engine we were promised. With two player the game choopy animation is a lot more tolerable as you're both working from t he same handicap. I could see how two experts could have some very interesting matches.

Weaponlord promised alot and came near the pinnacle of the 2D fighter (which in my opinion crested with Street Fighter 3.) Sadly the game doesn't diliver in the end. The engine is deep but most people will be turned off by the choppy animation and cheap A.I, although for anyone who can look past these problems lots of asskicking can here be found.

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