Review by rdkalal

Reviewed: 01/30/06

Very fun and challenging.

Spartan: Total warrior is an action adventure game made by Sega. The game takes place around 300 B.C. in ancient Greece. The Spartan (the only title given to him), along with his only friends, Castor and Pollux must defend the city of Sparta from the Roman empire.

One might think that this game is merely a hack-and-slash, but there is more depth to the controls and story than a typical game of that genre. Instead of smashing one or two buttons to attack enemies or press switches, there are many combinations of buttons one can push in order to attack one foe, or many. Moving the spartan is done with the left stick and the camera with the right. There is actually a bit of strategy in this game. You can't just run around hacking enemies, they will block. At times The Spartan will have to kick a foe to make him lose the grip on hi shield for a second, giving you the chance to attack with the sword. Strategy is essential if you want to live in this game. I haven't noticed many problems with the camera, it is easily controlled and rarely positions itself at an odd angle. The Spartan can attack a single foe, do a swinging attack to hit several enemies while also clearing the area in front of him, fire a bow and arrow along with some special attacks. One of these special attacks is a rage attack. As The Spartan hits enemies he builds up rage, when the rage meter is about three quarters full, he can do a rage attack. This is done by holding R1 and pushing one of the attack buttons. During a rage attack the game will go into a short slo-mo mode and The Spartan will perform an extra violent attack which usually results in decapitations. The rage attack can also be used with the bow to shoot many arrows very quickly. Another special attack is the "Power of the Gods," The Spartan can do a wide range lightning attack on enemies by filling up the gauge associated with the special attack. This is done by collecting blue orbs that appear after killing enemies, or praying at shrines located at various points on the map. There are two types of shrine, one will fill your "Power of the Gods" and the other will fill your life. While praying at a shrine you are vulnerable to attack and once the shrine is completely used, it crumbles. Occasionally, enemies release green orbs which will fill your life a little.

Every level starts with an introduction of objectives. The Spartan will be given orders to perform various tasks, usually consisting of killing everybody, or protecting certain people. Occasionally The Spartan will need to control arrow turrets and arm explosives in order to complete the objective. The Spartan is never alone on the battlefield, he always has his friends by his side and many spartan warriors to assist him, although they never seem to do a lot to help. Game play is very fun, but at times can be very frustrating. Spartan: Total Warrior is not the typical easy hack-and-slash, this game is hard! There are many enemies, fellow soldiers, and sometimes civilians on screen at once. There are times when it can be hard to keep track of the objectives and your health. I have died many times while playing and it does get frustrating. Because of the difficulty, when you do finally finish a level, it feels very rewarding. It's nice to know that this game was not made to be excessively easy and can be enjoyed by people who like a good challenge. Graphically, the game is about average for the Playstation 2, but the amount of on screen action is very impressive. I have not noticed any slowdown even with hundreds of enemies charging at me. The sounds are good, screams and decapitations sound as realistic as they need to. Voice acting is well done, everybody sounds like they look.

Beside the regular story mode, there is an Arena Challenge mode where The Spartan is pitted against many enemies at once, the higher the level, the more enemies. Throughout the story mode you can find secrets, which will unlock special armor, weapons and the such for Arena Challenge.
Loading times are mediocre, there is a little bit of a wait at the beginning of each level, but no loading during the level. There are regular check points also, so if you need to take a break you can always exit and save, then come back at the last checkpoint. Sometimes it seems that the checkpoints are to far between, but that just adds to the strategy of the game.

Over all, Spartan: Total Warrior on the PS2 is a very fun and challenging game. I would recommend this to people who like games such as Devil May Cry and God Of War.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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