Good Lord! After months of dull Saturn games, the 32-bit Sega machine is finally getting its share of nifty software. Skeleton Warriors is a fine example of what can be achieved with even conventional game styles on the powerful platform. "Borrowing" heavily from Rastan and games of that ilk, you play the part of a sword-swinging warrior, on a quest to retrieve half of a powerful crystal from some bad guy.The plot borders on retarded, but the game most definitely is not. 3D backgrounds and foregrounds (a la Clockwork Knight) portray the violent, fast-paced fun. You have a sword, a gun, a shield and a couple of tricks up your sleeve.The baddies don't have a chance. Music? The best ever heard on the Saturn. Seriously. It's creepier than a big bag of creepy things with a special reason for making you nervous. Cool!
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One type of a title that the PlayStation has seen very little of since its introduction is a side-scrolling Final Fight-style of game. However, Skeleton Warriors from Playmates brings players an intriguing release that uses detailed graphics as well as rendered characters to shock the player with visual effects.
In Skeleton Warriors, you play the part of a swordsman hero with magical powers. You must eliminate the countless undead armies while avoiding being turned into one yourself. By implementing your magic and the force of your steel, you eliminate enemies. After they are destroyed, you have the option to pick up the power-up that they relinquish. This power-up stays available for a few seconds after their death, giving you enough time to pick it up and continue advancing forward. If in this time you do not pick up the added bonus, the enemy will begin to reform and threaten your character once again. In other words, the only way to keep an enemy from bothering you once you destroy it is to pick up the power-up. There is no race for points or stats in Skeleton Warriors--just survival.
The enemies also do not reappear anywhere in the level if you grab their power-up. This feature combined with no time limit makes Skeleton Warriors a perfect title for the type of player that enjoys taking his or her time to finish any level.
The beginning enemies are one-hit wonders and are meant to be more of an introduction than a formidable challenge. They come in the form of bats and skeleton troops, and later advance to giant vultures and tougher undead warriors. As the enemies begin to advance to tougher ranges, don't be afraid to put more emphasis on your magical ability to gain a range advantage and keep yourself out of harm's way. You'll need distance to keep yourself safe from the flying foes and the enemies that annoy you from the outskirts of the playing screen.
To help you along the way, there are hidden areas, 1-Ups, magic and health bonuses to use for your advantage. As plentiful as these may sound, the player quickly finds him/herself relying on not getting hit rather than trying to charge him/herself back up after an incident. A common enemy hit takes off five points of damage, and the common health recharge only adds one. With numbers like these, it doesn't add up to a good game by risking your character's life in one of many situations.
The game design in Skeleton Warriors follows the same concept as the first level of the title. The action, besides getting harder with increasing numbers of enemies and difficulty, doesn't change. The enemies just attack in greater numbers and have developed better defenses, requiring you to hit them even more than in the last level to kill them. Even though this may seem a little out of place on a next-generation system, Skeleton Warriors is still a lot of fun to play. Whether this unusual fun is caused by the superb visuals or the number of explosions will remain unknown. But anyway you look at it. Skeleton Warriors is filled with action and worth a try. Prepare your blade and ready yourself for an epic adventure that you'll never forget.
- MANUFACTURER - Playmates
- THEME - Action
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Prepare for sword-swinging action as Prince Lightstar in this game based on the animated television series.
Despite superb artwork, Skeleton Warriors' gameplay is standard side-scrolling fare (scroll right, boss; scroll right, boss), and you must wait at the edge of the screen before the game allows you to move onward. Even the basic 3D flight levels lack 32-bit polish. PlayStation owners have come to expect more, but Lightstar's quest is still an enjoyable one.
- Jump over Ursa when she rushes. Hit her a few times when she's dizzy, then run to the opposite side of the screen to avoid the falling boulders. Repeat this method to beat her.
- The coyotes on the mountaintop inflict heavy damage and are hard to hit during hand-to-hand battle. Defeat them with lasers and the special red grenades.
- To avoid falling boulders in the mine, double tap and hold Forward to run by them unharmed.
The sharp, rendered graphics create the illusion of 3D in this 2D game. The characters are large, which is a plus, but the bright explosions occasionally muddle the screen.
The effects are topnotch, from the clean blast of your laser to the clatter of shat* tering skeletons. The epic music sends you bravely into battle de* spite the chilling roars of the bosses.
Smooth, straightforward controls leave little to distract you. Your bike moves great in the flight levels, but it could have stood some tweaking.
While it has evolved little from 16-bit game design, Skeleton Warriors is fun nonetheless. Former side-scrolling swords men who want to bust skeleton heads, welcome back.