Until recently, if you had asked me what were the best fighting games on the PC, I would have replied without hesitation: Mortal Kombat II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Although they are very different in their production, they both offer a great gameplay and good graphics which is essential in this kind of game. However, the arrival of Warriors, the latest game published by Mindscape, might change the actual configuration in the world of fighting games.
The programmers made another choice for Warriors: use hand-painted graphics for backgrounds. It might be considered as a step back in technology considering all the games make use of digitized or rendered graphics to achieve maximum realism, but when you take a look at what artists have done here, you realize how wonderful they are. All backgrounds have been remarkably painted with plenty of details. The combats take place in various locations such as the shore, the woods, the ruins, a bridge, etc... and each screen can scroll to the left or right offering even more space to fight in.
Another particularity of Warriors is that your character can hang on from a particular place, like a tree branch, a hook, etc... in some backgrounds which gives your fighter the possibility to deliver a powerful kick to your opponent. Although it will not change fighting games forever, it is a good idea to allow the background interact with characters during a fight.
There are other innovative things in this game like high resolution support, replay and internal cheat mode. The first offers SVGA graphics and even if Warriors does not use the full screen when playing in SVGA, the game's window is big enough to enjoy the show. The replay mode uses a three-dimensional view a la Virtua Fighter to deliver even more excitement. Now, you can see the fight from different point of views with the camera button that allows you to move around fighters during the replay. That is so much better than looking at a standard replay mode where you can only watch the same scene over and over. Here, each vision is different as long as you move the camera, because the replay will let you see the horizontal view by default. But would it not be nice if it was possible to play in this mode like the famous game from Sega? Well, until you discover the Secret Way (in other words the cheat mode), the program will not permit this. However, you will not have to wait too long for it, as the clue is in the manual. In fact, to activate the cheat mode, the only thing you have to do is type the word 'CHEAT' at the keyboard while at the main menu. When doing this, an extra menu will appear, but when you select it, you will not see anything else other than an empty page. Pretty silly, uh?
However, as you have read this article so far, you deserve at least the first cheat mode. If you type 'REPLAY', you will be able to select the 3D mode that will allow you play with the same view as in the replay mode. I know it is not a real cheat, as usually they reward you with unlimited power or invisibility, but this mode is really enjoyable and more than just a cheat. It's like having two different games in one as the battleground is really different from one mode to another.
Until now, I still haven't mentioned about the fighters themselves. Warriors bring to life the 10 best warriors of all time, gathered by the Master who badly wants to know which one will have right to challenge him. Among the fighters, you will find Neftis born in Upper Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, Fergus born in Ireland in the 10th century, and my favorite Hank born in 1947 in USA. All of them have specific fighting techniques and special moves which are really different than those encountered in the Mortal Kombat or the Super Street Fighter series. The techniques are explained in the manual, but it is said that many others remain to be found.
The goal of the game is to defeat the Master himself in his secret arena. This will be done if you successfully eliminate all the warriors brought by the Master on his island. I managed to finish the game after a few hours, but then I was playing at an easy level which should explain why it did not take me so long.
Before you reach the end of this article, I want to let you know that Warriors has several other options. You can select the anti-alias, the level of graphic details, the shadows, the combat duration, the combat speed, etc... to optimize the gameplay as some options may slow down the game.
Overall : 91%
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