previews\ May 24, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Gladius - GC - Preview

E3 2002 - First Look

Two young heroes, each from diverse backgrounds and reasons for being involved in this deadly sport, stand upon the arena floor. Let the games begin!

Gladius, a multiplatform release from LucasArts in spring 2003, is a role-playing combat game that will take players to the gladiatorial arenas in 73 A.D. Ok, so it is not exactly the historical world as we know it, but the time frame is somewhat important when it comes to technology.

This is a game that combines elements of turn-based combat with role playing. Valens, who has strong ties to the world of the gladiator, is one of two main characters players will use as an avatar. The other character is Ursula, who is just beginning to discover her magical powers and can use that element of her character as part of the arsenal she brings to the floor of the arenas.

The game sports 16 character classes and more than 100 unique character types. There are more than 200 weapons, and some can be enhanced. There are 20 arenas, with 12 different battle areas, and players may face more than 500 battles in a game.

LucasArts, which demonstrated an early build of the game at E3 2002 in Los Angeles, estimates there are more than 30 hours of gameplay contained in this product.

Not only is the gameplay turn-based, but movement based as well. You will use movement points to engage the combat, and should your opponent be too far away, you will not be able to attack on the same turn as you have moved. Therein lies the strategic element of the game.

Should Ursula fire off magic, it will not only damage the enemies, but any who fight by her side.

Graphically the game feature well-rendered environments, and the animation, though not as smooth as other LucasArts products shown at E3, was done well.

This game shows great promise and should appeal to fans who are looking for strategic combat with excellent effects and magic thrown in.

In terms of the gladiatorial arenas, give this game a ‘thumbs up.’

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