Gladiator AD - WII - Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

Is there such a thing as a third-person fighting game? Most people don't think of the genre in that way. We play either 3D fighting games (those that let you move around the environment) or 2D fighting games. There aren't any "third-person" fighting games because, once you get into that territory, the game often drops the fighting aspect for a more traditional action game.

Gladiator A.D. breaks the mold by being an over-the-shoulder fighting game. There is a 2D, side-by-side element to the combat, as the camera shifts between views depending on what's going on. But the primary view is just behind the shoulder of your gladiator. It's an interesting perspective that'll definitely change the way you look at fighting games.

Obviously though, if the game itself wasn't any good, no one would care. Without going hands-on, the verdict on Gladiator A.D. will have to wait. However, if the fun derived from watching the game is indicative of the final product, we are in for one heck of a fighting game.

Gladiator AD Wii screenshots

At the end of each battle, you'll have the opportunity to finish (kill) or humiliate your opponent. The kill animations are gorgeously grotesque; body parts are sliced off like a hot knife running through butter. Then, after ruining his victim by crippling him forever, your gladiator deals one final blow -- one swift slice across the neck, removing the loser's head. Blood splatters everywhere. Memories of Mortal Kombat come to mind, and you start to wonder how long it will be before you can perform these finishing moves.

Killing is a necessary part of being a gladiator. It shows who's boss and ensures that your opponent will not be able to return to fight another day. Unfortunately, the crowd may not see it that way, so it is best to humiliate -- and spare the life of -- some AI opponents. Humiliation moves are as simple as a kick to the groin. Painful and embarrassing but not quite life-threatening (the guy on the receiving end of this attack might disagree). But you have to wonder: if someone were to humiliate you in front of hundreds of spectators, would you be able to walk away? Or would you hold a grudge and want revenge? Some gladiators will want exactly that. They'll eventually track you down and challenge you to a rematch. Amusingly, opponents that are defeated twice do not have to be killed. You can humiliate him once more, which could lead to another rematch. After that, who knows? If he keeps coming back, it's probably time to end it once and for all.

 

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