More fun than a barrel of Tekken 2
Dynasty Warriors is the one of the best fighting games to grace the Playstation so far. Right now (4/97) it’s only available in its Japanese incarnation, Sangoku Musou, but you should find it on U.S. shelves in a couple of months. Its combination of good graphics, smooth movement, and realistic blocking make it an excellent game. Get ready to open a can of whoop-ass in this fun fighting game.
The graphics in Dynasty Warriors are polygonal and look extremely like Tekken 2. Although it may seem a little outdated, it’s not too ugly and because of the low polygon counts, the game can be extremely smooth. On the flip side of having a smooth game, some of the characters have noticeable polygons.
The way the warriors handle their weapons is very fluid and realistic. The weapons look authentic also, mirroring their ancient real-life counterparts. The backgrounds are just like Tekken 2‘s. There is a static sky image, and there is no arena. You are free to fight anywhere, and unlike Virtua Fighter and others, there is no “ring-out.” Overall, the graphics are not great, but they are acceptable.
The controls are extremely responsive. The combinations are easy to do, making it fun even for the novice gamer. Yet there are enough combinations to attract the experienced player as well. The power moves for the characters use the usual Street Fighter conventions, like the ‘fireball’ half-circle movement and back half-circle. Even the special moves (the really big moves) are easy enough to do for a beginner, but require expert timing to pull off without getting blocked. Unlike most fighting games, there are two attack buttons, and two defense buttons. The defense buttons parry your opponents attack, allowing you a free hit. Beware, these blocks require proficient timing, and if used incorrectly, they will result in your own imminent doom. If you press both block buttons at the same time, you will attempt to dodge an oncoming attack from your enemy. If done correctly, your opponent will foolishly fall past you, and you will be able to get a free hit on his back. The controls take a while to get used to, but the practice is well worth it.
Dynasty Warriors features a plethora of characters all with different
abilities and weapons. You can choose a seven foot tall, axe-weilding
menace or a 350 pound fat man with a big hammer (yikes!). There are also
the more traditional characters with regular swords, but staves and
even a weapon resembling bowling pins round out the bunch. Each character
has a distinct fighting style as well, whether it be the refined swashbuckling,
fencing, or street brawling. The distinct styles are very refreshing in
the all too cluttered market of karate style fighters.
The sound is remarkable. All of the clangs, bangs, and bashes are sharp and distinct. The music is also at the same level. It has suspenseful score with pianos, trumpets, guitars, and all kinds of other instruments. Koei really spent some quality time working on the music and it shows.
There are many options in Dynasty Warriors as well, to enhance your gaming experience. There are the usual three difficulty levels, easy, medium, and hard, as well as the option to change any of the buttons on the controller. You can even set the buttons to be two simultaneous buttons, for example both blocks at the same time (cheating!). There are also many different game play options including, 1 player battle, Versus, Team Battle, Tournament, Time Trial, Endurance, and Practice. There is even a whole system to keep records, all of your scores/times will be saved to the memory card. This is the first fighting game where you don’t only compete by one on one fighting, but also with time trials. It adds a bit of depth to the fighting fare.
Also included in the Japanese version is a weird music video. It has 5 girls singing about something (god only knows) and has pictures of them floating around. Strange stuff.
Dynasty Warriors is a great fighting game, and all fighting fans will love it, and will be happy with its U.S. release. But it just doesn’t have that extra oomph to make it majestic.