Review by Dwiguitar

"If XBOX had only made more like this"

Gladius is an Strategy/RPG game which utilizes the early titles in the mix-genre and adds a great abundance in both directions. First off, there are two separate storylines to play. Both, will lead you to the same end-game. However, they take a much different feel upon replay. As either the young lady-warrior in a Barbarian family, Ursula, or the young noble warrior, Valens, your mission is to uncover the secrets of 'Gladius' (Your home world), and in the process, save the world from distinction in AND out of the arena.

The game offers the freedom of forming a 20 member army, complete with rogue warriors, beasts and friends you've met along the way. Together, you travel from town to town, fighting in tournaments, claiming fame and fortune, and learning of local events.

At first play-through, one may suspect this game hasn't the depth, that a second, third of fourth time through proves it has. For instance, there are countless times when one's RPG ingenuity comes into play while learning of events which occur at specific times. Indeed, everything NPCs relate to you is as valuable as anything gained from war in the coliseum. Not heeding their warnings and details, one could presumably rush through this game without finding specific hidden characters, unlocking secret fightgrounds and even missing the point of the quest completely. To say that I surprised when I once found myself walking in an apparent blank white world in the clouds, only to find a ghostly character who has a special task for me would be an understatement. Or the time I found a Black Satyr who was willing to join the cause, or the whirling Dervish who decided it best to join the party. The list goes on and on.

I played the game four times through. I believe I've uncovered nearly 90% of the game's depth. Specific things like getting the Yeti to join the party, or the Giant Bear, or the evil doer with the strange name who burnt the party to crisp during our only battle. (I've searched for this guy many times without finding him again!); This is what makes the game so special.

My advice, leave the cheat codes on the shelves and try to master this cunning, brilliant masterpiece for yourself. It will take more than a quick romp in the Arena to lay claim to the final victory which must surely await someone who can uncover it all.

For customization abilities: 10
For replay value: 10
For excitement: 10
For intrigue: 10
For creativity: 10
you get the point. . .

As you can tell, this is one of my favorite 2 or 3 games of all time.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/16/11

Game Release: Gladius (US, 10/28/03)

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