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Gladiators have been entertaining crowds for centuries, and our love for these brutal killers hasn’t waned. From the theatre of the Colosseum, to films, TV series and computer games, their deadly ways create as much excitement now as they ever did. Story of a Gladiator tells the tale of one man who has lost his way.
Developed and published by Brain Seal Limited, this gory arena fighting game has you hacking and slashing your way through waves and waves of warriors. You must survive each round that you face, all while slaying your opponents in the most unusual way possible. Merely killing someone isn’t enough, you must decapitate them or crush their body under a leaping attack. It matters not what you do, as long as it entertains.
A simple yet fun concept.
The main premise behind this couldn’t be simpler. You control a man who questions his god’s existence. He began drinking too much and fighting in taverns. He would sleep with questionable ladies and was considered a mess. One day he stumbles across a Champion of the Arena, a man mountain, and someone who he aspires to be. This is the sign he needs, he knows what he is destined to become.
Your path is now laid out before you. You start at the bottom; a brawler with no skills and limited equipment. With luck on your side, you will win over the crowds and be victorious. You must upgrade your gladiator by levelling up, earning gold and buying better; armour, shields and weapons. You may request the help of the gods and use food and amulets to improve your stats. Animals will be your ally and your foe, and make a deadly opponent and companion during a battle. You soon learn that all-out attack isn’t always the best option, so planning and tactics are a must.
Lots of depth.
For such a straightforward concept, it has some in-depth mechanics. A wide range of weapons are available that offer a variety of tactical advantages. Battle boosts from food and amulets must be chosen wisely, as must the skill points earned at each level. You will receive enhanced damage on attacks and a range of fighting techniques. These can be learned and forgotten at any point to allow you to alter your approach to any fight.
As your enemies become stronger, you must become more savvy with your approach. Rolling past your foes and stabbing them in the back looks great and incurs a damage boost. Combining attacks gets the crowd going and rewards you with health replenishing foods and bags of gold. I absolutely loved the slick attacks and mindless violence. It’s unashamedly gory, and most fights end with bodies and limbs scattered over the arena.
The road to becoming a champion.
Becoming an arena god would never be quick. You face 3 different venues, each with their own challenges and unique enemies. The waves of gladiators that you face get progressively harder and gaining the 3 star rating for each battle is no mean feat. Any battle can be replayed at any point, and all gold earned is used to overcome the increase in difficulty faced in the latter rounds.
It has a clever and well balanced route to victory and though it is enjoyable, it screams “Grind Fest”. No matter how good you are at arcade fighting games, this one will spank you repeatedly. It’s an addictive, rage inducing game that will make you as angry as it does happy.
So many limbs and so much blood.
For such a basic looking game, it depicts the disgustingly gory nature of the arena to a tee. The 2D side-scrolling images move around the arena in a smooth fashion. Combat animation and the action never stutter, nor are there any issues, even when its hectic and the screen is full of bodies. The old-school character models worked really well, as did the use of a dull colour palette. There wasn’t much variety in the arenas, but this wasn’t an issue. With so much going on, you never had time to observe the environment.
The audio lived up the retro hype and was reminiscent of a Mega Drive game. The constant grunts, screams and other masculine noises made for a very manly title, but damn was it annoying after a while. The music was nothing more than expected and suited the theme and the fighting genre.
So many buttons to press.
To continue on with the arcade nature, Story of a Gladiator uses button combinations in everything it does. Though none of them were complicated, it takes a bit of focus to ensure no mistakes were made. As the action gets more hectic, I found I was pressing the wrong buttons, but I think this was my problem and you probably won’t suffer with this issue.
Alongside the story mode with its 3 challengers to choose from, there is a tournament to compete in. Again 3 characters are available and you must compete against wave after wave of opponents to be named champion. This was a great distraction from the main story and enabled you to experience some endgame traits without enduring all the grinding.
All the gore and violence without the risk.
Brain Seal Limited has done a great job of recreating the brutal environment and high energy that came with all the killing in the arena. An in-depth skill tree and equipment selection enables you to choose the game style that suits your approach. Do I recommend this? Yes, so buy it here! Fun, fast-paced, bloody action awaits anyone who wishes to become a champion. Start from nothing, wow the crowds and become the next big thing.