Just when standard one-on-one fighting games seemingly faced extinction, WeaponLord arises from the ashes of the home video game genre -- but not without a few faults.
Re-Inventing the Fight
WeaponLord has no simple fireball motions, no cheesy corner traps, and no half-life air juggles. It's complicated moves re-invent fighting-game controls. Even the throws require more than being close to your opponent and pressing one button.
Instead of solely using the standard motion-then-button routine, WeaponLord's system involves holding down buttons, then executing motions on the directional pad. While the controls are responsive enough, mastering this unique play engine requires patience and practice. Once you're familiar with it, though, you can execute some pretty wicked combos.
A unique system of blocking enables you to knock down an opponent's guard and even block in the air. The former is particularly arresting because it constantly puts players on the offensive.
The game also has its own variety of finishing moves that require more than simply pressing a series of buttons and letting the computer do the rest. Finishing moves depend entirely on the skill of the player, who must combo into a special move in the final moments of the last round, which then triggers the finishing move. Flashy players can decapitate their opponent, and if they're good enough, bat the severed head around.
Three play modes -- Story, Arcade, and Versus -- heat up the action. The first two are for one player; however, the game really shines in the two- player Versus mode, where the exciting matches are long and grueling.
The graphics are colorful: Sparks fly when weapons clash, and blood flows freely. There are humorous visuals, too -- like cutting off Korr's long ponytail. The backgrounds are also well done, but some of the background elements suffer from choppy animation.
The audio accompaniments, from the clanging of rugged metal to the slicing of tender flesh, are fitting. However, the music on some stages sounds heavy handed and operatic.
The Final Cut
Some gamers may be put off by WeaponLord's complexity, and it's surely not for the squeamish. But WeaponLord's multitiered fighting cuts a notch above the rest of the recent pack.
Weaponlord DownloadsWeaponlord download
Sharpen your weapons, the barbarians are coming! If you've mastered other fighting games, look to WeaponLord for an enjoyable fight that steps outside the norm established by previous 16-bit battlers.
Drawing its influence from fantasy lore like Conan the Barbarian, WeaponLord introduces seven warriors, each armed with a weapon and an overly muscle-bound body. A standard match tests you in the best two out of three rounds.
In the Story mode, you defeat the other characters until you meet the boss Zarak (who's playable in the two- player Arcade mode). Eight players can take turns fighting it out tournament style in the Versus mode.
Graphically, the sharply drawn characters stand tall. In close combat, however, they blur together so that it isn't easy to see who's getting hit. Overall, though, the visuals are great. Sparks and steel fly when weapons collide. These barbarian barbers can even cut off each other's hair during a match, and of course, they draw plenty of blood and pack gruesome finishing moves like exploding heads.
Great sound effects like the clang of steel against steel and battle cries like Bane's victory howl add spice to each slice. The ominous soundtrack and omniscient voice of the announcer round out the sound.
Lord of the Sword
WeaponLord's controls are exceptional. The characters are extremely agile, and each one pulls at least nine special moves. With practice, you can chain the special moves together into intense combos. Also, a thrust-block feature enables you to anticipate an opponent's attack with an aggressive block that opens them up for a counter. If WeaponLord's blade has a dull spot, it's that it offers only seven playable characters and no hidden ones. At least you can work toward some multiple endings in the Story mode.
While the advanced game- play may scare away beginning barbarians, others will appreciate the deep controls. If you're a hardcore fighting fan, chances are you'll dig WeaponLord.
- You can break out of Divada's teleport to launch a surprise attack from above.
- For a good two-hitter combo as Zarak, lead with a basic hit and follow with the Web Rip (motion [right] [se] [down] [sw] [left] [B] or [C]).
- Super NES/Genesis
Both a warrior and a sorceress, she's got more than a few surprises tucked away somewhere.
He's tough, but pretty full of himself. We hate him.
A big spider guy. In fact, he's the biggest one there is. Ick. (
Master Warrior of the Tarok tribe. A nice guy - when he's not cutting you in half.
A woman who thinks she's a bird. Gotta watch the ones who climb into trees and stare at the sky.
A strong, graceful, cunning warrior, it's easy to see why she's the DemonLord's most favored - those honker thighs probably don't hurt either.
Ugly, mean, nasty, vicious, brutal - we like him.
- Namco for Genesis
What makes this game worth owning are the remarkable thrusts, blocks and parries that can be achieved once you master your weapons! What makes it so-so is the fact that it's only a 2-D fighter in the long run. You could give it a try.
- Machine: Genesis
- Genre: fighter
- Players: 1 or 2
- Publisher: Namco
- Developer: Namco
BRING ON THE BARBARIANS
With total of seven characters, Weapon Lord offers some nice choices in fighting styles.
Since the latest flurry of mind-blowing 3-D fighters, it's difficult to get overly excited about another 2-D fighter adding its name to the list. This is the disadvantage faced by the creators of Weapon Lord, a new side-view fighter from Namco. The obvious question that comes to mind in considering WeaponLord and its place in the world of sought-after video games is whether it offers anything new to this extremely tired genre.
From the beginning, the creators of WeaponLord set out to offer a little more than most gamers have come to expect of 2-D fighters. The most exciting innovation is the added attention to the weapons. Each character carries an impressive form of sharpened steel and they all start with a pretty good idea of how to use them. So what's new about fighting with weapons, you ask? Well, never has there been a fighting game where weapons can actually be used for thrust blocks (a block specifically designed for a counter-attack), actual parry moves and weapon-breaking moves. These moves and tactics don't really come into play until you've begun to master the game a little bit, but once you start developing these skills, they do add quite a bit to the game play.
Beyond the advanced weapon play, however, there's not a great deal to get excited over. There are some stand-out moves, and a bit of blood thrown in for good measure, but for the most part the action is fairly predictable. The graphics are pretty good, including some nicely-sized characters, but the animation is a little bit stiff, making some of the strategy aspects difficult to master, and the system of combos and fatal moves is reminiscent of other games.
In the end, WeaponLord is a very nice addition to a heavily-worn genre with some thoughtful and well-executed touches, but it's definitely still part of that genre. And for you Nintendo fans, there is a near-identical version available for the Super NES.
- Manufacturer: Namco
One of the hotter titles we saw at CES was this brawler from Namco. It may not seem like much of a breakthrough, but its weapon-based combat system makes a big difference when you play. Blocks, parries, and counterattacks can all be made with one well-timed swing, leaving room for some very complicated strategies. Also coming for Genesis, you can expect it in a month or so.
- Machine: SNES, Genesis.
- Manufacturer: by Namco.
Combat with a cutting edge! Prepare yourselves for the barbaric weapon-wielding action of Weaponlord. Namco promises a fighting game like no other, and we hope it's right. Come March, everyone gets a chance to tackle the 'unique' weapon-to-weapon fighting of Weaponlord. Is there gonna be blood, Fatalities, or the like? No word on bloodshed, but Namco is promising more combos than in any fighting game.
We're gonna hold onto our mighty pens until we see whether Weaponlord cuts up the competition or just scratches the surface.