The hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone. . .
The skeleton in front of you snarls, ready to pounce. As it lunges towards you, you bring your sword down, shattering your foe into a thousand pieces.
You walk away, leaving him for dead. Unfortunately, the skeleton reforms
and attacks you from behind. Next time, you’ll remember to remove its crystal, so that it can’t regenerate itself and give such nasty surprises. You are Prince Lightstar, defender of the realm.
It is up to you to defend your lands against the infamous Baron Dark and
his hordes of skeletons who are wreaking havoc. Only when the Lightstar Crystal has been rejoined
can peace once again reign.
If you’ve ever seen the cartoon of Skeleton Warriors, you’re probably ready to be unimpressed with the game. Though the cartoon has a great plot, the animation is horrible. The
video game, on the other hand, is surprisingly cool. With rendered graphics,
a good soundtrack, and a gothic feel, Skeleton Warriors is a much
better as a game than aa a cartoon.
…Now if only they could improve on the gameplay…. . .
The most notable thing about Skeleton Warriors is the impressive
graphics. Fully rendered characters move and fight so smoothly that you
can’t help but be impressed. When the skeletons are destroyed, their bones
scatter about the screen, leaving a crystal where the skeleton once was.
If you do not get that crystal in time, the skeleton will reform and attack
you once again. If you get the crystal, each bone explodes independently
wherever it is on the screen. The light cycle sequences are also very well
done. Reminiscent of Panzer Dragoon, you are only able to steer the
cycle within the confines of a predetermined track. In between certain
levels, there are also cinematic sequences so detailed that they are enthralling in and of themselves. The boys at Neversoft did cut a few corners, however, the
most notable being that when you turn Prince Lightstar around,
the graphics simply reverse. This creates such oddities as the leg guard, having once been on the right leg, is suddenly on the left. Little shortcuts like that don’t affect the gameplay, but they are really annoying if you notice them.
After you get used to the graphics, the next thing you notice is the music.
Dark and foreboding, the music really pulls you into the game.
Skeleton Warriors takes full advantage of the CD sound that the next
generation systems have. The sound effects, on the other hand, are in dire
need of work. Some sounds seem to be in the wrong place. When you press
the block button, a metallic sound is emitted even if you are not blocking
anything. Though the fantastic music tends to drown out the poor sound
effects, it still is noticeable. Another unfortunate shortcut. . .
However, the gameplay is where Skeleton Warriors really falls apart.
Unoriginal and uninspired, the game seems to drag on at points.
Before moving on to a new point or saving, each level must be completed in its entirety before you die. When you invariably die several times right at the end, this little feature can get quite annoying. The game itself is
nothing new. Walk along, kill enemies, reach boss, kill boss, next level,
kill enemies, etc. . . Sometimes this setup, when done well with lots of little saving graces, makes an
excellent game, as in the case of Earth Worm Jim. Skeleton Warriors,
however, just seems to be a recycled game with new packaging.
With such excellent graphics and music on a mediocre game, one has to wonder what
the designers were thinking. If they had spent more time on the gameplay,
Skeleton Warriors could have been the best game ever to come out on
a Saturn. Instead, it is just a rehash of thousands of games we have seen
before, with nothing new.