Review by Ace_of_Sevens

"Lots of potential, but lacking in delivery"

Xena: Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate can be had pretty cheap these days and there were not a while lot of fighters available for the Nintendo 64, so buying it ought to be an easy decision. Unfortunately, it doesn't really follow through with the possibilities it presents.

A fighting game is a good use of the Xena license and the style of the show is capture well here. Moves were apparently mo-capped by the stunt team from the actual show and all important moves I could think of were present.

Graphics are decent, at least by the standards of the system with every character distinctive and recognizable. Each character has a good introduction matching their personality and many have theme music from the show.

The problem comes with the actual execution. Some reviewers have complained this doesn't play like other fighting games, but I applaud the producers for coming up with original mechanics. Unfortunately, there is no apparent attempt to balance the game. Many characters special moves, while easy enough to do, are quite useless either because they take to long to do or are too slow and easy to dodge. The boss character is way overpowered and doesn't work alongside the others at all after you earn him.

Speaking of earning, there is a serious lack of options here. The single-player game is just regular matches against rather dumb AI opponents. It's good enough to play through to see all the characters' endings, but goes by very quickly. You could literally earn and see everything in two hours, even if quite untalented. There is only one kind of match. There is only one character to earn. While the characters do have alternate costumes (many of them quite good), you cannot select them in any way. The only way to see costume 2 is to have two of the same character compete. The only way to see costume 3 is to have three compete, and so on.

Yes, this game allows up to four players, which sounds great, but in practice rewards cowardice. Whoever avoids the fight and uses long-range moves will win.

So in summary, the game looks great and is reasonably true to the show, but needed some work on balancing and a lot of extra features to really be good. My advice is to only buy if it's cheap and you like the show. It's a reasonable party game for people who aren't too competitive and can ignore the balance issues.

Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/12/06

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