Review by Spacelink

"In The Mood For A Roman-Era Masterpiece?"

After playing hundreds of games over the past decade, I have learned the fundamental truth that there are only a few nuggets of gold hidden within a mountain of trash. Gladius is one such nugget. This is a game that challenges the player, allows the use of intellect, requires a decent hand-eye coordination and will keep you occupied and enchanted for hours. The story line is deep, the characters are well fleshed-out and the over-all effect is that of a deeply satisfying game.

The game consists of a series of team battles using members of your Gladiator school to attempt to defeat various challenges. These challenges consist of many types of enemies, from Roman Centurions to snarling, slavering wolves. As with other RPG's the action is turn-based and you control the movements and attacks of your team. Unlike other RPG's, Facing and Terrain matter!. God help you if your opponents is behind and above you. Additionally, different character classes have different movement rates. Playing this game is very much like playing a game of chess. It requires you to think ahead, plan your moves, be strategic and be blessed with pretty good hand-eye coordination. The fighting is enhanced by the use of a swing meter system (think Mario Golf). However, different skills have very different meters.

The voice talent is exceptional and the sound effects and music are both top-notch. My only complaint is that the graphics (outside of the arenas) are less than impressive.

Unlike many story-based RPG's, Gladius' creators thought that you may like to share the experience with a few friends. For that reason there are two multi-player modes. There is co-op mode which will allow another player or players to battle along-side you and there is a head-to-head mode to let you challenge your friends.

So, here are the numbers:

Story - 9.0
Excellent story line lets you enter the world of Gladius and become immersed.

Controls - 9.0
Very well laid out format. I especially like the use of the C stick to allow you to pan around the various arena's. On the negative side, the swing meters can become a bit tedious.

Graphics - 8.5
Within the various arena's - WOW! The graphics can be truly stunning. This is offset by the rather poor graphical efforts outside the fights. Fortunately, the majority of the game is played within an arena.

Audio - 10
As mentioned, the music is great, the voice talent is great and sound effects are superb.

Re-playability - 10
Besides the two modes mentioned above, there are also two separate quests you can play. So finish the first, then start again on the second!

Overall Rating - 9.0

Go out and buy this game!!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/03


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