Let's be honest here. War Gods was an arcade flop. Few gamers played it (thanks to its limited distribution), and even fewer liked it (thanks to its less-than-spectacular gameplay). And this cold reaction was a surprise considering the hype surrounding the game, not to mention that Midway is famous for producing arcade gold, not garbage.
But to Midway's credit, they're trying to set things right with the home versions of their first 3-D fighter. For starters. War Gods is now 20 percent faster, not just in animation but in control response. New moves have been added, too. including combo breakers, a few counters and Wake-up moves (which are activated by holding Forward. A and B as soon as your warrior is knocked to the ground).
While both the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation versions benefit from these improvements, only the N64 game boasts the supercharged, antialiased visuals we've come to expect from the system. Projectile attacks-although they're still 2-D-looking bitmaps-no longer look as pixelated as they did in the arcade and PlayStation versions. And the arenas look especially spectacular. Hie war gods themselves appear fairly faithful to the arcade original's motion-captured combatants, except for the occasional few frames of choppy animation (noticeable when one warrior throws another).
Since War Gods' debut in the arcades was preceded by a tidal wave of hype, most gamers are already familiar with its workings. Yes. the game is 3-D. but it plays like no other 3-D fighter out there. Instead, it adheres to the old-school fighting-game rules written by Ed Boon and John Tobias with their Mortal Kombat bloodfests (but then what would you expect of the first non-MK fighter from Midway?). War Gods' 10 warriors can perform uppercuts, just like in the MK games. They rely on a Block button, just like in the MK games. Their special moves are of the Backward. Forward. High Punch. Low Punch variety, just like in the MK games. They gush blood when injured and can perform over-the-top fatalities, just like in... are we beginning to see the pattern here? The war gods can also perform combos, this time scoring up to 10 hits instead of the paltry eight or so maximum of the MK titles.
But that's not to say War Gods is without 3-D gameplay elements. Why. it even has a "3-D button" that lets you sidestep attacks and maneuver freely around the arenas. Hold this button while blocking and you can perform a leaping, sidestepping dodge. But are these features cool or just gimmicky? Check the Review Crew section for a critical look.
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It's brief spell in the arcades really didn't do War Gods a great deal of good, as people realised fairly smartish that it couldn't compete with either Sony's or Sega's slicker competitors.
Thus, a console version of the game was hardly likely to top Most Wanted lists across the Nintendo-following world. And yet, despite the fact that it's plainly not going to set the world -- or the fighting scene -- on fire, War Gods on the N64 may go some way to corking the oft-heard calls for a 3D, 64-bit beat-'em up.
Story-wise War Gods is about as convincing as Neighbours, with an intergalactic traveller crash landing on Earth, spilling his precious ore all over the shop and transforming a selection of humans into War Gods -- extraordinary beings with special powers. All of whom, it would seem, fancy their chances in a scrap, leading to a contest... to... see... who's... the... best... or... something. Yawn.
The game features 10 characters, as well as a Mortal-Kombat-esque button configuration and special moves set-up. Indeed, fans of Williams' aforementioned series will rejoice at the obvious and numerous similarities between this and MK, while normal people -most of whom will have been thoroughly annoyed with the blatant lack of effort put into Trilogy -- possibly won't. Still, the visuals are lushly created with much work put into making the sprites move as realistically as possible.
Not likely to have you scuttling down to your local EB, then, but probably enough to raise a smile. We shall, as they say, see.
You Don't Expect a Great Deal Of realism from a beat 'em up. The average fight in the street does not take place between a six-armed demigod from the underworld and a large-breasted female stormtrooper in a bikini and zebra-skin boots (except in Coventry). And whereas the average beat 'em up scrap is balletic affair, with beautiful combatants leaping through the stratosphere like gazelles with Ralgex on their genitals, a proper scrap is a writhing mass of ugliness, takes place on the floor, and looks like someone emptied a 3001b bag of whal blubber onto a rotisserie. But a good beat 'em up, like Tekken 2 on the PSX, or Virtua Fighter on the PC, at least has a vague feeling of realism. Logical button combinations, varied fighting styles, and characters who move realistically thanks to decent animation.
Wargods, a straight conversion of Midway's less-than-impressive arcade game, isn't one of those. Instead, it's straight from the Mortal Kombat/Killer Instinct school, only in 3D. Which means you get the usual range of bizarre characters, and instead of a fight, you have teleporting and ludicrous projectile moves, such as attacking people with a horde of dancing skeletons, or throwing invisible petrol bombs to make them burst into flames. It's more like a circus-based, carpet-bombing campaign than one-to-one combat.
You may feel a beat 'em up in which you don't even need to make physical contact with your opponent is the best of all possible worlds. Fair enough. But combined with the crap special effects are some of the worst animations around: one second you're crouching in your oh-so-sexy lingerie, the next you've got your thighs wrapped round someone's neck and your crotch in their face - and you don't know how you got there. This is many people's idea of a good night out. But it doesn't make a good beat 'em up.
The characters are as absurd as ever, but include the obligatory 'sexy bird' - in this case, one who wears a G-string made of dental floss and leans back and shakes her tits when she wins. You can imagine the designers thinking this will really get us going... but they probably only had one hand free when they worked on it. So no plus-points there either. And that's it, really. Crap animation, ludicrous 'special moves' and tedious characters. Who could ask for more?
In the realm of 3-D fighting, there are standards. Gamers have been enjoying Tekken, Toshinden and Virtua Fighter for years. Only recently have U.S. developers turned their attention toward this genre. War Gods is the first 3-D fighter by a major U.S. arcade vendor. Midway's fighting game reputation was made by Mortal Kombat, and War Gods was their first venture outside of that universe.
Comparing War Gods to other 3-D fighting games is pointless-it's not like other 3-D fighters. It's the "MK"of 3-D fighting. The only thing missing is the style that Ed Boon and John Tobias brought to fighting games. It's not an easy task to duplicate the kind of style that they set forth, and many have tried. (BloodStorm and Time Killers being the two best examples of games that tried to copy MK, but failed miserably.) War Gods feels a lot like MK, but the feeling of a Mortal Kombat game is gone. Since both games are made by Midway, it's natural to compare the two. Even if they were by different companies, comparisons would be made.
The graphics, while decent, seem flat and two-dimensional. The colors are dull and washed out. except for the green glow that is present throughout. Blood spatters away in globs with each hit. but the comical feeling is gone. The characters look like they're made up of stick figures instead of being motion-captured models. The kicks and punches look awkward to perform, and all projectiles are two-dimensional.
The backgrounds and fighting arenas are big. and very detailed-up to the standards of other 3-D fighters. If the amount of attention was given to the fighters' animation that was given to the backgrounds, War Gods would be a better game.
At this stage in its development. there is still time to fix a few things. The gameplay hasn't yet been sufficiently tweaked, and control is a bit on the loose side. The game controls in 2-D during each fight. If you want to dodge attacks, you have to hold the 3-D button and tap up or down. Instead of this route, it would be beneficial to be able to assign commands to the top L and R buttons, like dodging or other specials. Let's hope that Midway adds this to the home version before its release.
War Gods would also benefit from the addition of a Training Mode. Since the game may not be familiar to gamers (the arcade game never got sufficient distribution), a mode to learn some of the controls would only help, especially with fatalities.
Let's look at War Gods from a purely fighting game aspect. It isn't on the same level as Virtua Fighter or Tekken. As a 3-D Mortal Kombat, the game does pretty well. However, when new MK games are released, they have something new. something that sets the game apart from all the others in the genre.
War Gods is lacking a new feature to grab players and make its mark In the ranks. Something as simple as a power-up meter or weapons would have made an excellent addition.
Fighting game fans who enjoyed War Gods in the arcade will want to try the home version. Look for WG to be reviewed in a future issue of EGM.
- MANUFACTURER - Midway
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
The gods are coming! War Gods, a one-on-one 3D fighting game, makes the jump from the arcades to the home. Each fight takes place in a limited arena, and combatants can avoid incoming attacks by using a 3D button (not unlike the sidestep move in Battle Arena Toshinden). Ten gods from Anubus to Vallah gather to see who is the mightiest in this violent slugfest. Each character has their own unique set of special moves, including finishing fatalities. In one fatality, Tak pounds an opponent into the ground up to their neck, then punts the head! Another Mortal Kombat? We'll see.
The upcoming arcade fighter War Gods is also coming to the Nintendo 64. This 3-D fighting game combines aspects of Toshinden and Mortal Kombat, mixing the two and coming up with a healthy fighting title chock-full of moves, combos and death. Like many fighters, there are standard moves such as fireballs and throws, as well as some special moves to be announced.
The fighters are almighty War Gods who draw their powers from precious ores. The characters and backgrounds are in the style of rendered polygons and use a new digital-skin texture process to elevate the game's realism above that of past 3-D fighters.
- MANUFACTURER - Williams
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
In a time when Mortal Kombat 4 is the talk of the town, it's fairly ironic that a game like War Gods should show its face on the console market. Avid MK players will be able to jump right in and kick some tail, but they may have a little adjusting to do with the awkward 3-D button. Still. War Gods is what many, including myself, consider to be the prototype for a polygonal Mortal Kombat. It plays the same and has the same elements, like fatalities, creepy announcers. and of course, blood everywhere. In short War Gods is horribly unoriginal. The frame rate is very choppy, say 15 fps at times, which doesn't say much for the N64's abilities. True, the arcade game wasn't much better at this, but I expected the translation to be cleaner. The selection of characters is pretty meager as well. I like the way the new 3-D perspective was handled. however, and the special 3-D attacks are very effective...almost too effective. I quickly was able to use the 3-D button, especially since I treated it like the Run button of MK3. The fatalities are by far the best part of War Gods, being more imaginative than MK's. much to my surprise. While not a blockbuster title, all MK fans will want this addition to their N64 library, but most other gamers shouldn't spend their hard-earned money on it. I'd rather wait for Mortal Kombat 4.
Here's a good example of a game that doesn't get any better because of improved graphics. The PlayStation version didn't play well and guess what? This version doosn't either. It just doesn't feel right Part of it is the control and the other part are the moves-they're inventive and all. but often they're just too cheesy. I guess I like more realistic titles.
You say you can't wait for a 3-D Mortal Kombat game? Well hero it is. War Gods' fighting style (outside of being 3-D) is extremely similar to MK's (same buttons, same sweeps and uppercuts. etc.). It doesn't have quite the same catchy appeal as MK. and it only features 10 characters. Not a bad game (MK fans should check it out), but you can find better.
War Gods may have been a dud in the arcades, but Midway made a few improvements to the home version of their first 3-D fighter. It now plays a little faster, and a few new moves have been added to each god's MK-inspired arsenal attacks. Nevertheless. War Gods is an average fighter. Its fatalities will entertain you for a while, even if its gameplay won't.
This is a funny game. Pity it's not meant to be. A beat-'em-up with the most ludicrous characters imaginable, and no gameplay.
It's hard to sample War Gods without remembering the glory fighters from Midway's past: Mortal Kombat I, II, and III, Ultimate MK, and MK Trilogy. After playing War Gods for a length of time, though, you may find that the past has little bearing on this present cart.
War Cods can easily be scorned for not being as good as other fighting games like Tekken 2, Fighting Vipers, or Street Fighter Alpha 2, but N64 owners have a much smaller selection to choose from. Is War Cods better than Killer Instinct Cold? No. Mortal Kofnbat Trilogy? No. Is it better than second-rate Saturn and PlayStation fighting games like Toshinden 3 or Golden Axe: The Duel? Yes, but barely.
Among the host of problems are slowdown, weak visual details, and cheap, forgettable special moves for your 10 fighters. On the plus side are gory fatalities, some multi-hit combos, and an extensive list of moves. The 3D button, while innovative, really doesn't enhance the gameplay.
If you're thirsting for an N64 fighting game, then War Cods will certainly pacify you for a while. But true fight aficionados will want to wait for something more heavenly than these gods.
- The only way to survive most fights is to use the 3D button extensively. It arms you with a great dodging countermove.
- When you're knocked to the ground, simultaneously press Toward your opponent, Low Punch, and High Punch. You'll spring forward with an unexpected attack.
The graphics dont live up to the legacy of Midway's Mortal Kombat series. Chunky, featureless fighters and bland backgrounds don't do this game justice.
Also a step down from other Midway games, the sound features sad grunts and oddly sexual groans from the fighters that will make you chuckle rather than buckle.
The special moves closely mimic the MK set, which is a good choice. Using the 30 button, however, is sometimes confusing (it's easy to mistake it for Low Guard on the joystick). Slowdown also haunts these gods.
Despite its flaws, War Gods is fun to play to a certain degree, as is any new fighting game, especially one from Midway. The joy wears out soon enough, though. MK experts will quickly tire of the game, and novice fighters may find themselves atheists after experiencing War Gods.
It would probably be unfair to describe War Gods as a 3D version of Mortal Kombat, but do we look like we care? No, so here goes: War Gods is very much like a 3D version of Mortal Kombat, and that's no bad thing. All the atmosphere of the daddy of all beat-'em-ups is in here, with creepy music and lots of unnecessary blood. All that and some of the coolest new characters around ensure that this will be the hottest coin-op of the year.
The home versions are coming along nicely, with PlayStation and Nintendo 64 versions going through roughly the same development process as the arcade machine's. Porting the custom arcade graphics to the home systems will be quite a task, but nothing the good folks at Williams can't deal with. For all you Mortal Kombat fens out there (I believe there are more than 12 of you) the good news is that the play mechanics are almost identical when it comes to using special moves: Staccato taps on the joystick, combined with blocks and strikes to unleash some of the coolest (magical) moves you've ever seen.
The Toshinden-style rolling to avoid blows is a little unnecessary and tends to confuse you rather than help, but it does (literally) add another dimension to the fighting. Tekken's plane-shifting works better, and games like Street Fighter prove that it isn't even necessary. Still, if you're going to have 3D, you might as well have it all the way. War Gods has a number of changes to go through before it hits the streets, including new characters, tweaked gameplay and improved mechanics. We'll reserve judgement until it's finished.
War Gods lays out the story as such: Billions of years ago a being was transporting some "life-giving" ore, but unknown to this entity, our solar system was forming, which caused his ship to crash, scattering ore over all the Earth. Ten humans came into contact with this powerful substance, which transformed them into the War Gods. This is the opening premise of War Gods by Midway Home Entertainment, and although the story is less than feasible (and seems to be written as an afterthought) the game is what it looks like on the back of the box—a true 3D fighting title, with lots of moves, plus fatalities and blood if you have a strong stomach for it.
There are ten characters in War Gods: Ahua Kin, an evil Aztec priest; Anubis, the canine-headed Egyptian god; Cy-5, a cyborg; Kabuki Jo, a medieval samurai; Maximus, a gladiator; Pagan, an evil sorceress; Tak, a golem; Voodoo, an evil witch doctor; Vallah, a Viking goddess; and Warhead, a super soldier. The ore has given them amazing powers that can be utilized in combat.
War Gods is of course similar to the Mortal Kombat series of games in look and feel, with a 3D camera thrown in to get different points of view on the action. While some of the characters such as Anubis (the Egyptian God) are visually stunning, some such as Warhead are cheap knock-offs of characters from other games. The women in War Gods seem to have the power of the universe at their finger tips, but can't seem to find decent apparel. That aside however, their movement is fluid in play, and a desirable addition to War Gods.
Gameplay & Interface
Gameplay, while not awe-inspiring, is a very interesting jaunt into the world of punching, kicking and killing. Special "end" moves called fatalities (which can be turned off if you have young children) are available at a certain points in the game. When the proper key sequence is pressed, an animation such as someone getting electrocuted occurs. Each character has a special fatality that he or she can use to dramatically finish an opponent. As with other games of this type, the simple combination of left-down-forward, etc., will do a special move. All characters have a myriad of special moves. War Gods is typical in the way moves are performed, which makes it very easy to pick up on a killer projectile or holding move.
Camera angles have become a popular feature of fighting games, and War Gods makes good use of them. When the action gets heavy the camera angle changes, zooms in, and adjusts up and down to give the player the best view. When this effect is done wrong it can really make a game look bad. War Gods, however, pulls off this technique very well.
Player models are polygon based (3D), making them look more realistic, and some of the characters' movements (though not all) look very smooth. The back drops are adequate enough, and provide some decent scenes to look at while you are pummeling or getting pummeled. Player, arena, textures, and backdrops can be turned off to speed up the game, and support for 3D accelerator cards is available via a check box option. Though the game won't look as sharp with these functions turned off, it will go a lot faster, and is handy for when your graphics card doesn't want to cooperate with DirectX.
The sound is tolerable in War Gods. One of the things that bugs me about the sound in most fighting games are the things that the characters say before and after a match. Some of them say some pretty useless stuff, that when heard over and over again, would make one want to smash their speakers. If you like post-match commentary, it is certainly not totally overbearing. The music in War Gods is average as well. I say this because I cannot remember it, even though I have been playing the game for a few weeks now. Luckily, if the sounds become agitating, you can simply turn them off. While the game's music and sound effects are not bad overall, there are a few minor irritations.
The requirements for War Gods are not too steep compared to most games on the market these days: Pentium 60, Windows 95 or NT 4.0, 12 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, Direct Sound compatible sound card, DirectX compatible bus, SVGA graphics card.
Recommended: SoundBlaster or compatible sound card, 16 MB RAM, 2 MB RAM on video card, Pentium 120, game pad (4-6 buttons). War Gods will also support Direct 3D, though it is not required.
By today's standards, most anyone can play this game, except those that still own really old machines.
Documentation & Controls
Once you get past the story part of the manual, you will find that it is accurate and concise, with detailed instructions on the most common problems. Since War Gods uses DirectX 3.a, it sets up most things fairly easily. If you do not have DirectX 3.a, it is provided during installation.
What really struck me though, was how easily I could configure this game. Since War Gods uses The Direct Input API, it automatically detects input devices such as game pads, and selects them. If you prefer using a keyboard, there is an easy to understand setup dialog for them. There is also a good section on some of the most common problems that occur while setting up and playing War Gods, such as the game not running, audio and video troubles, no response from keyboard, etc. and how to resolve them.
After a lengthy study of this title, I must admit that it grew on me as I continued to play it. If you are a fan of Mortal Kombat, you will be pleased with this title, and it is definitely the fastest fighting game I have played on a PC. Not having multiplayer support or modem play is a big drawback, though. Overall, War Gods is a good title worth buying if you are a die-hard fight fan, and rates a 76 out of 100 overall.
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