War gods - N64
MIDWAY GAMES, THE CREATORS OF THE MORTAL KOMBAT SERIES, GIVES YOU AN INVITATION TO SQUARE OFF THE GODS AND SEE WHO WINS TO RULE THE UNIVERSE! YOU TOO COULD BE A "WAR GOD"!
Yup, sounded like a fun idea, especially in the home market as there were some major tweeks to the game making the arena's 3D instead of 2D like the arcade, sporting a toned down Mortal Kombat 4 engine. Looking at the fact that the Nintendo 64 was lacking in the fighting arena of games also, this was to be a game that would revive the fighting genre on the Nintendo 64, thus far only garnering semi decent releases of Moretal Kombat Trilogy and Killer Instinct Gold. The game released and then . . . Nothing. Nobody seemed to care about War Gods. Well, there were a few fans here and there that actually appreciated the excellent play mechanics and slick graphics, but the Hokey character designs and hit or miss backgrounds really threw people off, especially since they were already heading to the arcades to cut their teeth on Midways Mortal Kombat 4. The aspect of "War Gods" being a flop hadn't occured to Midway, but love it or hate it, here is the review for one of the best worst fighting games ever: War Gods!
Just a quick glimpse into what was the design of War Gods. A few of the developers at Midway games and Eurocom entertainment got together and decided they wanted to make their own fighting game for the arcade. Members of both divisions that worked on the game were also responsible for much of the work done on the home conversions of Mortal Kombat II, 3, UMK3, and the recently released (At That Time) Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Midway figured they had cut their teeth enough on the other series, so why not? So off to work they went, released the arcade game that was actually moderately successful, and they enhanced the home version to take advantage of the said released console. The Nintendo 64 had rotating backgrounds and crisper graphics whereas the Playstation version had redone character animations but still kept the stationary 2D side scrolling style of the arcade release. The rest, is history. As a note though, the design crew also went on to release another fighting game through Midway that was a total flop called Bio Freaks though.
What to say about the game in general? It is a shame that these guys had worked only on Mortal Komabt games it seems because guess what this game is? These are the Gods that were never invited to Outworld because Shao Kahn and crew would have beat the Hell out of them, and just because their "Realms" were so lame, they would have destroyed them and then laughed at the remaining dust. For the Love of God, the character Ahau Kin looks like he is wearing a blender on his head with white hair coming out of it and rubies on it while he prances around in honorary Samoan garb. I'm not joking either. Yes, with character like "Kabuki Joe", I still don't know what he's the God of, Cy-5, a Termonator knock off, Pagen, who looks more suited to be a hooker on Hollywood Blvd than a Godess, and even Warhead, who is obviously a nuclear version of Johnny Cage, this universe they were in were ****ED! Vallah, Voodoo, Anubis, and even the almost lame looking Maximus and Tak seem Godly at least, so go figure. So, beat all the other Gods and the two bosses and your God will rule the universe!
Graphocally, the game animates very well. The strange looking use of digitized graphics with digital effects looks very cool. The point is that the characters look very different than that of what you would see in Mortal Kombat. The use of actual textured polygons mixed with digitized characters really gives this game a fresh look of it's own. It really is a mixed bag here though folks because some of the characters just look cheesy. Not sayibng that this would be the first time in video game history this has been dine, but it can really make the groove wear thin at times. Also, the details in the arenas are awesome. Some of them are very cleverly done so that you really feel the rotation of the screen without breaking the fighting going on screen. Voodoo's level especially has quite a bit going on in the backgrounds. If you watch the game though, you will notice that War Gods uses a very nice mix of Goroud shading as well as texturing to achieve the effects they pull off. The sad thing though is that the game seems to be almost completely devoid of transparencies. Not that it couldn't have been done either as the Nintendo 64 was very much capable of the effect. Still, the game is graphically sound and pleasing to look at for a moment or two.
The controls are really where this game shines. Several of the Nintendo 64 fighting games were horrid due to nauseatingly bad controls. You would figure that people would know how to make a quarter circle + A work on a digital pad, but it was a huge problem for the system as the majority of the fighters that released outside of the Mortal Kombat games, Dark Rift, and Killer Instinct Gold, had serious control issues. Mace: The Dark Ages, even though a solid fighter on the 64, even had a few irritating control issues. War Gods, on the other hand, controlled very well. Probably due to the fact that the group making the game had previous experience with the Nintendo 64 with the release of MK Trilogy. You go to use the special moves and they come off very well. The button layouts are very similar to Mortal Kombat, which is no surprise when you factor in who made the game. Fatalities are easy to pull of and are quite creative here also. Great that they got original and weren't rehashing MK Fatalities at least. So the big thing here is that the controls make this a very fun game to play on the Nintendo 64. I love the controls enough that I really do recommend the game to people as it can be a very fun fighter to have in your collection. The best thing also is that people probably have no clue what the Hell it is. If you are nastalgic for the 90's brand fighters too, this game might be up your alley as it plays very well.
The difficulty is variable, obviously you can put it where you need it and the bosses can be a pain, but they are beatable, which is a good thing as the game is cheesy enough that people might be tempted to turn it off because they may not really care about the storyline of said character they are beating the game with. The sound is excellent here, and I am impressed here as well. Some really well put together music was done here and the announcer isn't a total MK knock off as well. So all in all, this game is very fun to play. The sad thing I see here in the design is that the developers were really trying to make sure that the characters they made were as far from looking like Mortal Kombat characters as possible. Fine, but they tried too hard. It really is sad because where cheesy looking characters stand and a hokey storyline lays, beneath it all beats the heart of a sound fighter that deserves to be played. Too bad most people will take one look at the characters and decide it's another bad MK rip off. I think you should at least rent it and keep an open mind. If strong gameplay and solid controls are what you are looking for in a fighting game, you gotta' give the War Gods a look.