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The eight fighters who have come to battle are the following: Eiji age 21, Kayin age 22, Sofia age 24, RunGo age 30, Fo-Fai age 106, Mondo age 42, Duke age 29, and Ellis age 16. Each character comes with their own weapon and special attacks. Some of these weapons are swords, knives, iron claws, whips, spears, etc..., and the special attacks often include the throwing of fire balls. After having selected who you want to be, you'll go to battle against the other seven and if you are successful, you'll fight against Gaia, a forty-some year old monster measuring 214 cm high and weighing 100 kg. In order to beat Gaia, you'll have to know how to maneuver your character to avoid being hit and how to sneak up on your opponent. Using your character's special attack is quite useful when trying to beat Gaia.
Each fight is fought on a platform that is either round or square, hovers in space and is located either in the clouds, plains, castle like buildings made of stone, high in the mountains with waterfalls, on a transparent platform in the city, etc. The ring, background and characters are all drawn in 3D and is very realistic looking. The skies resemble realistic photos of a blue sky with light cloud cover, and the fighters are made of fully textured polygones shown at a rate of 90,000 per second. These polygones are rounded off at the edges to give the character a more realistic and human look. The characters are dressed in a way that matches their weapons and where they come from. When fighting against the same character as the one you are fighting with, the other player (either the computer or one of your friends) will have a character identical to yours except for the color of their cloths and hair, making it easier to tell who is who. All eight of the characters have a double which you may select by pressing the select key when your cursor is on a player.
The sound quality in the game is excellent, in stereo (mono is available) and will drive your adrenaline during the fight. Each character makes a specific type of yell when attacking to add to the feel of the fight. The music has a good beat to it with a lot of bass, is sometimes a little techno, and changes for each fight. When a character is being beaten upon, you'll hear them yell ouch or ouf as their energy bar decreases, or crying out their last breath as they die.
Each character has an energy bar located at the top of the screen under each of their names. In between the bars is the time left for the current round which is seletable from unlimited (00), 60 to 90 seconds. If there is no winner by the time the timer reaches zero, the person with the most energy left will be declared the winner. Otherwise, the match will end when one of the fighters' energy bar reaches zero or they fall off the platform. If both fighters fall off the platform at the same time, the match will be considered a draw and restarted.
In the Options menu you will be able to adjust the level of difficulty from very easy, easy, normal, hard to very hard. The set point, which is the number of matches you must win against the same player before moving on, can be set from one to seven. Your strength may be adjusted from 50% of regular strength to 200% making you twice as strong. There is a feature called Auto Defence which, when placed on, will do just that and have your character defend itself when needed. There are four camera views to choose from which are normal, long, sky, and overhead. The sky view provides an airplane type view of the platform and it is very hard to see what you are doing. The other views are more realistic for playing and render the game more interesting. You also have 32 different ways of setting up your control pad to your liking which uses all 12 buttons.
Once you have beaten all eight characters (including the one you are playing), you'll get to fight the big boss Gaia. Gaia isn't going to be easy to fight and will try to show you who is boss. If you manage to get by Gaia, then you have finished the game and become the new champion. You will be awarded with the Super Attack sequence for the character you were playing with. The Super Attack can only be used when your power bar is in the red, but can provide enough fighting back power for you to win the fight. Learn them and use them wisely.
Toh Shin Den is a great 3D fighting game which will appeal to all levels of difficulty because the game can be set to be really easy or real hard! Graphics are smooth and fast with fantastic 3D backgrounds, some of which even have a window of your game in progress on the wall, and the sound is excellent for use with a sound system. Toh Shin Den should be one of the games on your playstation list.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America,
919 E. Hillsdale Blvd., 2nd Floor,
Foster City, CA 94404