Pray For Death
It seems that Death has gotten bored sitting around the Nexus and has figured out a way to make life or death a little more exciting. One day we will all have to meet the Grim Reaper himself, and on that day we will be given an opportunity to, shall I say, earn our way back to the mortal plane. All we have to do is beat Death at a game of his choice. In the older times that would have been chess, but nowadays that seems just a little too cerebral and, after all, what kind of game would this be if all you had to do was beat Death at a game of chess?
Death realized that life was about survival of the fittest. He further pondered that death should also be about survival of the fittest. He was well pleased with this idea until after several battles with the newly dead, he realized that the majority of people were scarcely worthy of this honor. In fact, Death found them to be quite pathetic. It was then that he had his next brainstorm. He would open the competition to those who had long ago shuffled off their mortal coil. Ten such warriors accepted the invitations. Among these honored dead included the likes of Cthulhu, Uriel, Anubis and Xenobius.
You've got a lot of choices regarding gameplay. First off you can play single, two person or multiplayer games. The options for the single player game are story mode, tag team or death mode. Story mode is the classic Mortal Kombat configuration. You start out at the bottom of the ladder and one by one have to defeat each opponent before you can move on. If you make it to the top of the tree, you will find immortality, but don't get too cocky -- there just might be some surprises along the way. Tag team mode is a little different. You get to pick three, five or seven of the warriors to be your champions. You must then defeat the remaining characters in a series of one-round bouts. Sound easy? Well, it's not. You do not get to replenish your energy level between rounds. As soon as your current champion is defeated, your next champion steps into the battle to continue the carnage. The last single player option is Death mode. You can only access this mode after you have finished the game up to the Demon level (level four).
The two player option also gives you a couple of secondary options to choose from. You can play head-to-head, team or tag team mode. The head-to-head mode lets you just go at it and try to mop up the floor with your buddy. The team mode is interesting in that each of you gets to select a team of three, five or seven warriors to duke it out against each other. Lastly there is the tag team mode. You and your friend get to pick a team of warriors and they have to fight against your opponent's characters in a series of one-round bouts where neither of you gets to replenish his energy between rounds. Last one standing wins.
The multiplayer option allows you to call up to 16 of your closest friends and have yourself a virtual bloodbath. In tournament mode you can select between four, eight or 16 characters. Each player gets a character to use throughout the tournament. You go head-to-head in a direct-elimination mode. One loss and you're history! You can also choose to play Double Death. You can play this with up to eight players. The first stage is a series of four randomly chosen matches. Your performance during your two fights will determine your destiny. If you lose both games, you are out and should be ashamed of yourself. The rest of the players continue on until there are only two of you left. Two men enter, one man leaves. The last multiplayer option is Final League. With six, eight or 10 of your closest friends, you can set up for league play. Each person gets to pick one warrior to use for the entire season. You continue to accumulate points for victories, special moves and combos, so you don't have to win every match to still end up being the top dog.
Pray For Death is a solid game and the developers have to be complimented on coming up with so many spins and twists on the mano-a-mano fighting game. There are enough different styles of gameplay here to keep the average gamer going for a while, ever striving to learn and exploit the various special moves of each of the warriors. The multiplayer option is one that I haven't seen before, and I don't doubt that some of the hardcore fighting game fans could get themselves pretty worked up over this.
The graphics in Pray For Death are very good. The animated introduction and cut sequences were very smooth and nicely detailed. The characters themselves were pleasantly unique and well formed. The backdrops to the fighters were finely detailed and original. I especially loved the movement of the water on Anubis' level. For those of you into these fighting games, you will be pleased with the amount of blood and gore, but LightShock was sensitive enough to allow you to turn off the blood and view the game in a safe and sane mode. Visually, Pray For Death is top of the line when it comes to fighting games.
The audio in Pray For Death is of decent quality. The background music and the occasional maniacal laughter in the midst of the fighting really get you pumped. The kicks, punches and ranged attacks all have satisfactory connecting sounds that let you know that you've inflicted some serious damage. All in all, I was pleased with the audio quality and type.
The documentation gives you some background information on all the characters that you can fight with or against. The game's makers were pretty thorough in their coverage of the troubleshooting issues and additional assistance needed to get the game to operate properly on your system. It was irritating that only a couple of the special attacks each character is capable of were included in the documentation. I know it's half the fun trying to figure out what the special moves are, but I guess that I'm not as patient as the rest of you, especially when you get additional points for special moves that you successfully pull off. I searched the Internet, but still haven't found a complete listing of all the special moves. It was a little frustrating getting wasted by the computer until I could figure out a couple of decent special attacks with each of the fighters.
Windows 95 or DOS: 486 DX2/66 or higher, 8 MB RAM, 12, 30, 40 or 70 MB hard drive space, 2X CD-ROM drive or higher. Supports all major sound cards
Recommended System: Pentium 90, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 40 MB hard drive space
Pray For Death is a pretty good mano-a-mano fighting game. The action is fairly quick and in your face, but like most fighting games the quality just isn't up to arcade levels yet. Pray for Death comes pretty close to satisfying my head-to-head fighting urge, but the occasional frustrating moment keeps me yearning for something more. I enjoyed the introduction and cut sequences; they were smooth and well-done, but that's not enough to allow me to give this a total thumbs up. If you're into the mano-a-mano fighting genre, Pray for Death is worth checking out -- if only to see Cthulhu kick some butt. But beyond that, there is not a whole lot that makes this game stand out from the glut of fighting games hitting the market. I give it a 68 because overall the gameplay is solid, but in the end I find myself wondering just how far we can take this genre.