Takara has finally admitted that they are developing the mystery 3-D fighting game for Sony's PlayStation as reported in EGM. The game is called Toshinden, which translates roughly to the Legend Battle Gods, and it really rocks! We got to check out a version that was just 30 percent complete, but even that was more than enough to get us totally pumped.
Obviousiy, Toshinden shares similarities with Sega's Virtua Fighter. For example, all the fighters and their battle stages are composed of 3-D polygons. The vantage point can be smoothly rotated any which way. making for extremely cool brawls. Unlike VF, all the fighters will be equipped with some sort of weapon, such as a sword, whip, or club. The fighters responded well to key commands, and the moves were smooth and highly realistic. Our version only had four characters, but Takara stated that at least four more would be on the way. If these graphics look a little blocky to you, it's because not all the polygons have been finished. Right now each character has 800-900 polygons, but they are supposed to have just under 1000 in the finished version. Look for more on this awesome fighting game in a future issue of EGM.
This is just one of the many cool games for the PlayStation. Its future looks very bright.
Our version wasn't done yet. It's supposed to be ready for the PlayStation's launch, though.
Fighting women with whips isn't my idea of fun. I get enough abuse from the women around the office.
- MANUFACTURER - TAKARA OF JAPAN
- DIFFICULTY - MODERATE
- THEME - FIGHTING
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - n/a
- NUMBER OF LEVELS - n/a
Just as the Saturn hits the streets with Virtua Fighter, here comes the PlayStation with a polygon-rendered fighting game of its own-Battle Arena Toshinden. Looks are where the similarities end, though. Toshinden's fire-ball-motion fighting style is too easy for most fighting fans.
Toshinden has eight fighters that differ in nationality and fighting style. For example, there's Sofia, a leather-clad beauty who uses her trusty whip; Fo Fai, a giddy, elderly noisemaker who uses long metal claws; Duke Rambert, a knight in less-than-shining armor with a long sword; and Ellis, a giggling little girl who looks as if she's wearing a wedding dress and carries two long knives.
The button scheme is straightforward: two for kicks, two for punches. You can configure the top two buttons for instant special moves or use them to side-step your opponent. The controls are very responsive, and the special moves are easy to execute. Side-stepping is an especially effective tactic because you can avoid attacks, then sneak behind an opponent and smack them with a special move.
One of the biggest problems with this game is the Death moves. These can be performed only when your life meter is flashing red, and they provide a last-ditch opportunity to inflict major damage. They vary in complexity from character to character but are relatively easy to pull off.
While the Death moves are cool, there is a tendency to rely on them too much. For example, you could let your opponent beat you up until the Death move can be applied, then use it repeatedly. So much for strategy.
The graphics processing on the fighters is incredible, though the moves are very simplistic. One advantage of this play engine is that it provides the ability to chain special moves, or perform the motion for a special move while currently executing one so they are chained in rapid succession. While this may seem advantageous, it's easy to get carried away-if you miscalculate, you could leave yourself open for an easy counterattack.
The very limited combo system lets you intermix standard punches and kicks with special moves but few air juggles. This game relies more on flash than fighting.
There are three play modes: 1P Game, Vs. Human, and Vs. Computer. The first is a story mode with two end bosses, while Vs. Human is a two-player fight, and Vs. Computer enables one player to fight against a computer opponent of their choice.
Rather than the usual side view, Toshinden uses a camera angle that constantly zooms around the battlefield. Amazingly, you always remain in complete control of your fighter because the perspective never skews your perception of the controls.
Each stage has a limited battle area (though much bigger than the one in Virtua Fighter), and most stages take place on elevated platforms. Fall off the platform, and you lose a round-and you have to hear yourself scream all the way to the bottom!
Most stages are beautifully rendered, especially Kayin's stage where gigantic television screens display the action. This stage, however, tends to slow down when you fight in front of a giant screen, hampering the action. Slowdown also strikes in Gaia's stage, which takes place on a transparent chessboard over a black hole.
Speaking in Tongues
Soundwise, the vocals and collision effects overshadow the music. The voices are perfectly understandable-ranging from Kayin's intelligible English ("Deadly ray!") to Sofia's Russian where she says something on the order of Toaster thing!" Various collision sounds are cleanly conveyed from Ellis's knife slashes to Sofia's whip snap. The music, though, is so-so with only a few standout pieces.
With its stunning visuals, Battle Arena Toshinden is as fun to watch as it is to play. Had there been more technique involved, this arena could have been a real contender. It's a formidable effort, but fighting buffs may pick this game clean too quickly.
- Continuously perform motions for special moves, and they will occur one after the other.
- Keep your distance and use projectiles when fighting the boss Gala-his dose attacks can shred you In seconds.
- Be careful when you get close to the edge of the arena-you and your opponent could both fall off for a Draw game.
- At the Player Select screen, press the select button to change the color of your fighter.
- Use the side step to sneak around your opponent for a throw or a hit
- To grab your opponent for a throw, get close and press Away with a Hard Slash or Kick.
You've seen Virtua Fighter? If first looks at Toh Shin Den are any indication, you haven't seen anything yet!
Polygons with Personality
Toh Shin Den is a wicked one-on-one weapons fighting game that features texture-mapped polygon graphics. Eight combatants and a boss each fight with such weapons as a Japanese katana sword, iron-daw gloves, two-handed broadsword, and a whip.
Every fighter has standard slash, punch, and kick attacks. They also wield multiple long-and short-range special attacks, which you fire off by sweeping the directional controls and hitting an attack button.
The multibutton PlayStation control pad should strut some serious stuff here. You can handicap the controls so that a single button press busts a special move. You can also activate an autodefense feature, so that the CPU helps you defend yourself during a match. You can even set the controls to display a certain camera view whenever you like.
Toh Shin Den's other impressive features include a variety of camera angles and fast action that makes this game possibly the fastest-moving polygon fighter around! Plus, the camera views scale in and out according to the proximity of the fighters to each other.
Every system's hot for a polygon fighting game. The PlayStation definitely has a contender in the wings. Toh Shin Den could be a winner...and you don't have to speak Japanese to play it.