Spartan: Total Warrior GameCube Preview

Spartan: Total Warrior GameCube Preview

There have been numerous attempts in this generation and past generations to create games that allowed you to feel like you were really a part of those “big battles.” The best attempts can be easily seen in games like the Dynasty Warrior series or even others like Drakengard. The makers of the well-received PC game Rome: Total War, Creative Assembly, is now making a console game that may do the best job of helping you feel like a part of those “big battles” this September! So with the guarantee of mass killing battles and over 160 soldiers to do those very battles with, Spartan: Total Warrior indeed looks very promising!

The person you will be taking control over in this game is simply dubbed “The Spartan.” His mission in life right now is simply, take down the Roman Empire! In a live demo tested by IGN themselves, a level on display shows a mission right after the Romans has managed to cook up a weapon of mass destruction. Somehow they’ve managed to capture the mythological Medusa and are using her powers to literally create a “stone cannon.” That means pretty much anyone that is in the path of the beam will spend the rest of their lives on display in someone’s town square. Unfortunately, the Spartan and his team have to stop this, so they are forced to go right into the heat of this!

Spartan obviously isn’t alone, he actually has a good few dozen soldiers by his side that will help him get rid of a good number of the opposing Roman army. So if you’ve seen movies like Troy, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, or any other movie that emulates massive battlefield conflicts, you will be seeing virtually the same thing here! The bashing of skulls, the taking of names and the slicing of various body parts will very much take place!

In terms of beginning weaponry, Spartan “sports” a basic sword and shield for his heavy-duty battling. He will actually utilize both for a number of combos that will evolve throughout the game. He also has a bow and arrow at his disposal that will allow him to execute safer attacks from a distance, but it’s also far less useful. Think about it, this is a heavy duty melee game, the last thing Creative Assembly wants you to be doing is focusing on long range attacks so you can’t get scratched! Now you may also now be under the impression that this is nothing more than a button mashing hack ‘n slash contest. That doesn’t seem to be entirely accurate, considering there seems to be a plethora of awesome combos that you will have to utilize depending on your “unique” situation in the game. Are you surrounded by 15 enemies that you have to command with multitasking or are there only three that you can simply toy with?

Your shield can actually be used to bash and stun, followed by a nice number of sword melee attacks that can then trigger a nice finishing maneuver! However, that is really only useful for the small stuff, Total Warrior is all about the big battles remember? So the real strategy will cause you to master the technique of “crowd control.” Sometimes your fellow soldiers will need the aid of your battle mastery, while there are always certain members of the opposing army that you may need to really focus on first before they completely obliterate your team.

Now while it’s all good and dandy to help out your fellow soldiers in distress, you can’t be entirely selfless in this game you know? While it’s important to help out your comrades, it’s just as vital to keep yourself alive! Just simply rushing into a fight with your “I can take 50 people down at a time!” ego will quickly earn you a spot underneath the earth. It is actually much smarter to take on your enemies in little bands at a time. Meaning, it’s more efficient to lure out your enemies at various times so you don’t end up becoming overwhelmed by 50+ people. You can even distract some enemies into coming into one of your OWN groups of ambushers so you’re not the only one outnumbering the opposition!

To make things more interesting in battle, Spartan can execute a fair number of special battle tactics! There is the maneuver, Favor of the Gods, that can be used on an occasional basis that helps you take on a group of enemies. There are also Rage techniques that will truly turn you into someone like Kratos of God of War. For example, in the simple situation of giving a certain enemy a nice cut or two when fighting face to face, a Rage attack would allow you to do the former, but then following it with a nice boot 20 to 30 feet across the battlefield! Also be prepared to remove some heads, as some attacks will eventually get upgraded to allow for some decapitations!

In terms of your bow and arrow, they can actually either be shot off one at a time or in groups depending on what you may need to do. Your arrows can also be powered up with various abilities with only a fire element having been shown in the demo. During various battle sequences, Spartan has the option of picking up used arrows from the ground to replenish his supply. He can also refill his “Favor of the Gods” meter as well as his actual health at the game’s various shrines! Located throughout the game, Spartan simply has to kneel down and offer his prayers and he will be fully regenerated and ready to go!

Now you may also be starting to think that Total Warrior focuses on nothing but huge battlefield action sequences. That’s not true either. In another level displayed in the demo, you are in a castle that is about to be sieged by the Roman army through the use of three different towers. Roman soldiers begin to eventually come by the numbers out of these towers, and your first task is to simply keep knocking them off as quickly as they are trying to come in! All this action is ensuing with different kinds of levels and staircases with soldiers duking it out in these locations. Spartan can then choose to either help his comrades in the battles they are partaking in, or attempting to stop it all together by removing the Roman presence.

In order to rid this castle of those siege towers, someone known as a “sapper” will begin trekking across the battlefield in an attempt to begin setting some explosives! The Spartan’s job quickly changes into that of an escort, as it’s your vital job to make sure this fellow gets to where he needs to so this conflict can be ended. When the sapper has done his job, your new job is to actually light the fuses! Accomplishing this task will have your team put a nice little dent in the Romans’ occupation. In other words, the developer’s goal with many of the missions in this game is to have you take on two to four things at once while not becoming overly frustrated with having to do so.

Now as you progress in the game, Spartan will obviously gain in overall character build. Three different weapons will eventually become a part of your battle repertoire: a spear, dual swords and a maul. Now just like any other warrior has these attributes, his strength, speed and defense will also receive some hefty upgrades! Now it actually hasn’t been finalized how Creative Assembly will have this stat building occur, but it will indeed be there in some form in the final product. To make things even sweeter, Spartan’s actual appearance will change to reflect his upgrades!

Now as for your actual enemies, Creative Assembly has done very well to make sure they will be diversified. You will take on the normal Roman soldiers that encompass gladiators and legionnaires. You will also take on freaks of nature in the forms of various giants and skeletons! So Total Warrior not only focuses on the realistic aspect of Rome’s heyday, but there are some fantasy elements thrown in there as well! Also for some extra features, there will also be various arenas to do battle in. This is virtually a “test of survival” as you take Spartan and a group of his fellow soldiers into infinitely many battle scenarios until you find yourself defeated!

So all in all, Spartan: Total Warrior seems like it just may be another epic action title to grace current generation consoles this fall! A plethora of battle tactics taken to the battlefields of ancient Europe in the Roman Empire’s peak of command just may make this one of the most entertaining titles

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