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October 31, 2005
Spartan: Total Warrior - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
10/10/2005THQCreative Assembly1MA15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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The Medusa weapon being fired.
Over the last couple of years we have been graced with a couple of Roman styled battle games, no doubt thanks to a certain Russell Crowe movie. Capcom's Shadow of Rome was released late last year and proved a very enjoyable title while LucasArts released Gladius and Acclaim Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance - both also quite good in their own right. Spartan: Total Warrior is another entry into the mix but is exciting mainly due to the developers, The Creative Assembly who develop the Total War games on PC.

As the ruthless Roman Empire, under the bloodthirsty Emperor Tiberius, marches across the civilised world and seizes control of all in its path, one solitary land of warriors remains defiant: Sparta. As the Romans gather at the gates of the city, one lone Spartan rallies his comrades to stand firm against the evil empire. This is your battle! Fight alongside hundreds of allies to liberate Sparta from the oppression of the Roman Empire, while completing a personal journey from Warrior to Hero and eventually Legend. Discover mythical beasts, legendary lands, legions of foes and divine weaponry, and earn your right to be called a true Legend.

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Graphics really are gorgeous.
Spartan: Total Warrior takes place across 13 levels set on three continents. From arid wastelands to full-scale cities, through dungeons to rugged mountains, and finally to the ultimate showdown in the Imperial Coliseum in Rome this game has it all. Essentially this is a third person action title, not too dissimilar to Koei's hit series Dynasty Warriors. As you hack and slash your way through the levels you'll have different smaller missions to accomplish. Perhaps you'll have to defeat a boss, or perhaps defend some prisoners you've just rescued or man a catapult to take out some enemies.

The game includes a wide range of enemies, some are merely fodder for you to slay with a minimal amount of effort, but some are as tough as nails and require a variety of attacks to take down. The bosses in particular are certainly a challenge, it took us a while to defeat the Medusa and Cassius. Weapons include wide variety such as swords, dual swords, spears, hammers and bows. Not only will each weapon have a swift attack against individuals but also sweeping and powerful attacks.

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Around the coliseum.
Sadly the biggest omission from this title is a complete lack of multi-player options. We're not just talking about online gameplay but also a lack of 2-player split-screen action. The enemy AI is adequate, but not quite as good as one could hope for. Quite often enemies will turn to run away thereby exposing their backs to you, and your sword. Also needing improvements is the targeting when using the bow and arrow. This aspect of the game is downright annoying as the automatic targeting will almost never select your intended target wasting valuable seconds as the enemies swarm towards you.

Graphically this game really impresses. Sure we've seen large scale battles in the past, most notable in Koei's Dynasty Warriors titles. This game surpasses them with much richer texturing and most importantly a much greater draw distance. In terms of characters on screen the count is also a little higher with dozens often viewable at once. It's even possible with the right analogue stick to rotate around your character and zoom right in for close up action or way back to get an overview of the entire battlefield. All this is done with a silky smooth frame rate. If there is one complaint to be leveled at the graphics itís that the cut scenes show just how poorly modeled the characters are close up and when talking. Perhaps the company should have used pre-rendered CG.

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Characters look impressive.
Audio in Spartan: Total Warrior is a very mixed bag. The sound effects of the battlefield are great with plenty of scream and clanging of weapons while the music also sets the mood perfectly. What really pissed us off however was the voice acting. Yes, the dialogue is good, but whoever picked the voice actors needs their credentials re-examined. I mean this is set during the Roman and Spartan era. Why then do the main characters seem to have accents that range from British to American, but nothing in between?

I really hoped Spartan: Total Warrior was going to be good, partially for my love of Sega who are publishing the title, and partially due to my bloodthirsty need to slay dozens upon dozens of enemies. End result; This is a fantastic title and one which will keep gamers, myself included, more then happy.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSThis is large scale battles at its best. Certainly pushing the PS2.
SOUNDMusic and effects are good, but what's with the accents?
GAMEPLAYIt may seem like a button masher, but there's more to do at times.
VALUEOnly single player but a lengthy game will have you hooked.
OVERALLSpartan: Total Warrior is a fantastic title that action fans should really enjoy. There's little to fault and plenty to do. Well worth adding to your collection if you like this style of game.

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