Mace: The Dark Age

a game by Atari Co.
Genre: Action
Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64
Editor Rating: 6.8/10, based on 6 reviews, 9 reviews are shown
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 1 vote
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Mace: The Dark Age
Mace: The Dark Age
Mace: The Dark Age
Mace: The Dark Age

Administering a nod in the direction of the PlayStation's forthcoming Soul Blade, with its weapons-led pummelling and 11-character set-up, Mace is Atari's winter attempt at securing the N64's beat-'em up crown. And with its forthcoming arcade incarnation (above) already receiving lorry-loads of praise, and Atari themselves promising an almost exact conversion, it ought to be able to make a courageous attempt.

Perhaps the most pleasing news to emerge from Atari is that Mace will be an entirely 3D affair, with its world made up of fully polygonal characters as well as Virtua-Fighter-3-like interactive stages as backdrops for the rucking.

Its cast of 11 fighters -- narrowed down from the 30 present in the earliest stages of development - includes some interesting personalities: Lord Deimos, an armoured knight; the pierced-nippled, battle-axe-equipped hardman, The Executioner; Middle-Eastern sword-swiper Al-Rashid; token samurai Takeshi; Viking axeman Blood Axe; mace-wielding mercenary Mardos Kull; blind (?) monk Xiao Long; royal sword-lover Countess Tiria; ninja boy Koyasha; and the girl-with-attitude,Namira. There're also two bosses, Grendal and Asmodious, both of whom possess a fair rippling portion of over-muscled fleshy bits.

Mace boasts some glorious arenas, all of which have been given a different set of hazards. This means as well as having to cope with the onslaught of an especially ticklish opponent, the well-placed dangers of spikes, quicksand, lava and acid prove a secondary peril. A/lace's characters also sport some gorgeous graphical touches. Witness, for example, Namira's transparent trousers, or the flickering lighting effects as Xiao throws fire-stuff about.

Certainly, Mace is shaping up to be a fantastic entry to the N64's growing beat-'em-up billboard, and with the arcade version on its way and likely to prove thoroughly wonderful, this 64-bit exhibition could provide starving fight fans with the title they've so far been denied.

Download Mace: The Dark Age

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

People say:

6.5

By order of default, Mace: The Dark Age is the' best fighting game on the N64 thought the arcade game was OK and this N64 port serves up a similar experience. The cool polygonal graphics are Mace's strongest feature. Compared to N64 fighting games in the past, Mace's graphics are vibrant and complex. That said, the overall look still isn't as impressive as Soul Blade, a PlayStation game. The players can also pick up. destroy or affect objects in the ring which is sorta neat at first. I did like the way the levels were designed. The danger zones are a cool idea and they certainly look impressive. Peering past the graphics, things started to go downhill fast in Mace. Game control is the most important piece of the puzzle with fighting games and Mace just doesn't deliver the goods the way it should. The combos, while cool to look at (like everything else In this game), don't flow smoothly and only seem to work when much flail action is being performed. The whole feel of the control interface seemed to be locked In a yesteryear-zone, back when the 3-D fighting game pioneers were still perfecting their art. As It stands, Mace does little to convince me that my beloved N64 Is a contender for fighting game bragging rights. Three years ago Mace would have been a revolutionary game but today it is merely average. Next.

7.5

The arcade version of Mace wasn't a blockbuster, so it stands to reason that the N64 version Isn't exactly awe-inspiring. It Is, however, a pretty solid fighting game with excellent polygonal graphics. I love the level of difficulty, even on easy. The toughest gamers will have a hard time beating Mace their first few games. The Practice Mode, a welcome new feature, will help you overcome this challenge. Better than the arcade.

6.5

Don't be fooled by screen shots. This game looks good standing still but not in motion. The frame rate stinks...l know the N64 can do better in that department; look at Dark Rift. But in the gameplay department. Mace beat? out anything on the N64...SO far. It takes technique to perfect Mace (not just blind button tapping). Since Mace's style is flashy, it needs a few flashy features, like super combos. Final note: The Al is way too cheap.

5.5

When I first saw Mace I was impressed, but with further play, my impression changed. The frame rate was sluggish a lot of the time, and the moves just didn't impress me all that much, save the cool fatalities. Mace did feature some nice graphics effects (like the transparent foreground so it wouldn't get in the way of fighting). Other good points include the funny, but useful Practice Mode and the arenas. But that's just not enough.

If your local arcade had this machine in, then you probably took a close look at it at one point or another. After all, Mace: The Dark Age is hard to miss. It is clearly one of the most visually impressive fighting games around, boasting smooth animations and large, colorful characters. Now, Mace is coming home to the Nintendo 64. And if you saw what the N64 did for the home translation of Midway's War Gods, then you should have a good idea how great the N64 Mace will look.

Mace deviates from the tap-tap moves so prevalent in 3-D polygonal fighters today. Most attacks are performed with Street Fighter-style joystick movements. Each of the 10 characters (and seven secret ones) has a selection of special moves and a fatality.

The environments are what separate Mace from its competition. Some playfields are multitiered with ledges, steps and ramps, while others are surrounded by dangerous elements, such as lava, quicksand and fire.

Mace may not have a whole lot going for it other than its appearance. The home translation looks excellent so far. which is quite an accomplishment considering how good the arcade version looks. But in an age where Tekkens and Virtua Fighters rule the 3D fighting game circuit pretty graphics alone won't cut it. Mace may still sell well on the N64 considering the current drought of decent fighting games on the system, but watch for an upcoming review to see if it's worth the bucks.

  • MANUFACTURER - Atari Games
  • THEME - Fighting
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2

Another fairly run-of-the-mill fighting game, though this one makes use of weapons to good effect. Nothing out of the ordinary.

We weren't expecting much but this is a highly competent fighter that'll gladly tide you over till Capcom arrive on the scene.

A conversion of an arcade machine that provides some reasonable hack'n'slash action as a bunch of medieval fighters - big musclebound hunks and over-inflated babes for whom clothes are an irrelevance - whack away at each other with big swords. There's enough here to keep beat-'em-up fans occupied for a while, though it still doesn't offer much long-term appeal.

Ever hear of Voodoo Graphics? Neither did we until Mace came along...and then we sat up and paid real close attention. The Voodoo Graphics chip set is an accelerator board that enables a game to run at 30-35 frames per second and allows for Gouraud shading, z-buffering, as well as real-time texturing. For those of you scratching your head, what it means to gamers is that one of the smoothest, sharpest games to hit the arcades this year will probably look great on the Nintendo 64 (if they find a way to configure the N64 hardware with the VG chip set). Look closely at the pictures shown and think about what the N64 did with KI Gold. It's possible, and we have our fingers crossed that it's going to be finished real soon.

The best fighting game to enter the N64 arena so far, Mace muscles the competition aside with a deadly combo of awesome polygonal graphics and some of the bloodiest moves this side of Mortal Kombat.

Demons and Destruction

Mace's story is full of death and despair. A demon named Asmo-deus is in control of the Mace of Tanis, giving him unbridled power and the promise of eternal life--but only if he uses his dark magic to create bloodshed, disease, and poverty. As he tries to expand his terror from Europe to Asia, a rebellion arises. Some evil warriors want the Mace and its power for themselves, while others simply wish to put an end to the terror that's been plaguing the land and its people.

With that epic tale as its story line, Mace is a fun fighter that features 16 characters, ranging from an executioner to a samurai, in a 3D weapons-based gorefest filled with bloody axes and chopped-off limbs. Unfortunately, Mace only includes practice, one-player, and two-player modes. This is somewhat disappointing considering most other fighting games on the market at least offer time trials or team battles.

Each of the characters' moves are pulled off effortlessly using a four-button scheme (Quick, Strong, Kick, and Evade), along with the traditional half- and quarter-circle motions on the controller. Quick combos and counters, crazy stomach-stabbing throws, and some of the wildest, most jaw-dropping fatalities to date combine to provide twisted fighting fans with both a game to play for months and malicious moves to tell their friends about later.

Mace in Your Face

Mace's graphics include dynamic details that not only look great but add to the fun and playability of the game. You can fight up and down hills, pick up objects from the environment and throw them at opponents, and knock enemies into pits of lava and quicksand. Blood is even visible in water after it starts dripping off injured fighters. The polygonal fighters look terrific, and the overall presentation is remarkably close to the arcade version.

The sounds of clanging swords and majestic music fit the mood of the game great, but other sounds, like jumping into the water, really put a hurting on your ears.

Everlasting Mace

If you're an N64 owner who's been waiting to smack fools upside the head with a stick or slice up suckas with a sword, Mace is the game for you. It's bloody, it's fun, and it's the best fighting game the N64 has to offer.

ProTips:

  • Al' Rashid's Sand Devil is one of the toughest moves to defend in the game. To perform it, tap and hold S for two seconds, then release.
  • The characters who combine strength and speed--AP Rashid, Takeshi, and Xiao Long--are the best to play.
  • Xiao Long's 1000 Staffs move is a great way to frustrate opponents and can be linked to other combos. To perform the move, tap and hold S for two seconds, then release.
  • The best way to start a combo with Koyasha is to tap (QS).
  • Knock your opponent into the spikes of the Executioner's stage and stand on the platform above him. When your opponent tries to jump up, kick him back down to his death.

Graphics

Fierce-looking warriors and creative backgrounds boost Mace to high ground among fighting games. The only problem is that some objects get in your way during fights, blocking your view of the action.

Sound

While the music and certain effects, like the eerie voices and weapons striking sword against sword, sound great, other effects, like moving in water, are full of static and annoyingly loud.

Control

The 3D movement and four-button controller setup work smoothly and should have everyone from rookies to old-time fighters pulling off combos and fatalities. The addition of linking moves once your opponent is on the ground (like in Tekken 2) would've made for perfect control.

Fun Factor

Even with its limited number of game modes, Mace packs enough fun game-play punch to knock out its N64 competitors. If you like fighting games, Mace should be toward the top of your holiday wish list.

Mace: The Dark Age is Atari Games' first stab at a 3D-based weapons-fighting game. Even at this early stage of the game's development, both the look and gameplay are cutting edge and offer something new for fighting fans.

The Battle Begins

In the 12th century the Covenant of Seven dispatches 10 of its best warriors to kill As-modeus, a practitioner of the dark arts who wields the fabled Mace. The Mace is imbued with energy, offering everlasting life and power. With this power, Asmodeus feeds his ravenous appetite for destruction. Leaders from the East sense that Asmodeus is plotting, and strive to eliminate him before it's too late.

Mace's characters are imaginative and brutally efficient. Each of the 10 medieval fighters has their own customized weapon and fighting style, a range that takes you from Ragnar's twin axes to Lord Deimos's razor-sharp sword. Many characters have projectiles, and each fighter can counterattack moves and go into a special move or combo of their own.

Sharpening Up

The early graphics are as sharp as the weapons. With the help of Midway's new 3DFX's Voodoo Graphics. Mace's medieval theme comes alive with realistic-looking characters. The action close-up looks clean and doesn't get pixelated. Running at 30-35 frames of animation per second, Mace is fast fun.

Mace also has unique environments that enhance the gameplay. Some playing fields have pitched slopes, enabling you or your opponent to fight from high or low ground. The arenas also have dangerous boundaries that cause damage to your character. Quicksand, lava, fire, and useful items that can be thrown as weapons are just a few of the background details that await you.

To help you nab the background items, Mace's controls utilize an effective evade button that enables you to step backwards or forward into the 3D environments. Overall, the controls and the combo system are easy to pick up. New players can quickly step up and perform a basic combo; more advanced combos, however, require players to link special moves together to inflict greater damage.

Breathtaking graphics, user-friendly controls, and smooth gameplay sharpen Mace as a topnotch 3D fighter. This one should have a long lifespan in the arcades.

Snapshots and Media

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots

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