Are fighting games on the way out? Koei thinks not. Considering their latest push for their new fighting title Dynasty Warriors, they are expecting nothing less than a resurgence of interest in the genre. Dynasty Warriors features the normal handful of fighters competing in the normal set stages. The action looks similar to Tekken/Virtua Fighter, but has a strong hint of fast-moving excitement as in many 2-D fighters. One feature that looks to have some promise is the number and the quality of the special moves.
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Huh? A fighting game from Koei, the developers behind the Romance of the Three Kingdoms strategy epics? It's strange, sure, but it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. After all, Square proved that kick-butt fighting games can come from the most unlikely places (Tobal No. 1, anyone?], and the ROTK series is certainly a fertile battleground for Koei to cull potential combatants. Surprise aside, is Dynasty Warriors any good? So far, no complaints. But this weapons-based fighter's strength lies in its novel use of defense as a strong offense. Fighting game fanatics who despise Block buttons may cringe, but Dynasty Warriors has not one but two defensive buttons that can set opponents up for some serious counterattack hurt. This heavy reliance on defense means Dynasty Warriors demands more strategy than most fighting games, but then what would you expect from Koei?
Moveswise, it plays like a mix of Capcom's and Namco's offerings. Some attacks are of the dial-a-combo variety, while others rely on Dragon Punch-esque D-pad maneuvering. Each of the game's 13 motion-captured warriors (three of which are playable Bosses] has a super combo that can be performed once his or her attack meter charges up. This meter charges as long as players remain on the offensive.
Graphically, the game looks as good if not better than the prettiest fighting games out there. It runs at 60 frames per second, and each warrior is made up of at least 600 polygons. Koei has used the high poly count to doll up the game's fighters in historically accurate warrior garb. The weapons, too-which range from maces to maracas (maracas?)-are just as true to history. Which is appropriate, considering that the game's warriors, all nabbed from the ROTK universe, are based on historic figures from China's war-torn second century. The backgrounds are real places, too-the sites of battles that Chinese students read about in their history books. To put it in an American perspective, imagine a fighting game featuring Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, and they fight hand-to-hand in Gettysburg.
Dynasty Warriors was created by Koei's Omega Force Team, which is made up of veteran fighting-game coders who were brought together specifically to develop Koei's first fighter. Consequently, the game packs much of the perks and polish of most modern 3-D fighters, including Practice and Tournament Modes, rendered endings, plenty of throws and the ever-popular glowing motion blur that trails the game's weapon strikes.
According to a Koei spokesperson, Dynasty Warriors has already done well in Japan, selling 70,000 units its first three days. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can play one arena on The PlayStation Underground, Sony's demo-filled CD magazine, Check out the news section for more info.
Most of Dynasty Warriors' depth lies in its two-button blocking system-one of the most complex defensive setups ever. The X button parries weapon strikes, while the Circle button--if used at the right time in an opponent's attack--will brush your enemy past you. leaving him or her open to a good beating from behind. Since each strike to an enemy's backside wields five extra points of damage, mastery of the brush parry is crucial. You can also block by swinging your weapon at the same time your foe does. Fortunately, the game's Practice Mode helps you master all blocking techniques.
- MANUFACTURER - Koei
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Koei transports characters from its popular strategy/RPG series, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, into a solid fighting game called Dynasty Warriors.
As a weapons-based fighter, Warriors evokes strong comparisons with Soul Blade; however, there are enough unique elements to set this game apart. The Three Kingdoms refers to the three major powers of third-century China. You choose from 10 historical warriors, each a master of a unique weapon. The real-life third-century Chinese weaponry ranges from long swords to bladed fans.
Warriors holds its own with strong graphics, solid moves and combos, and unique weapons-based fighting styles. However, the glaring lack of kick attacks cuts the fun in half.
Dynasty Warriors is a worthy game and a commendable first effort by Koei. Soul Blade remains top-ranked for aspiring weapons masters, but Warriors deserves a shot.
- Defend yourself by releasing your controls, crouching, or sidestepping.
- If you're knocked down, roll to the side before standing back up. This buys time by forcing your opponent to realign himself against your new position.
- Rapid attacks diminish your strength meter. Always build it back up before unleashing a combo.
- Walt until after the opponent has committed to a thrust before moving In to use your grab move.
- Chip away at your opponent's lifebar with quick high attacks. Then Immediately Jump backwards out of harm's way.
Dynasty Warriors looks and moves as well as Soul Blade. Distinct character designs, smooth animation, moving camera angles, and lush, detailed backgrounds fortify Warriors' superior visuals.
The hip, techno soundtrack, sharp stereo effects, and signature battle cries bring the characters to life.
The moves and combos, similar to Soul Blade's, are easy to perform. Impressively crisp button response keeps the gameplay nicely in sync with onscreen action.
The variety of characters and the unusual weapons are cool and the game-play is fun. But the lack of kick moves splits the fighting options in half.