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E3 09: Gladiator A.D. is ridiculously bloody, also fun

1:50 PM on 06.03.2009 // Brad Nicholson

Gladiator A.D. is what you think it is. You control a hardened warrior equipped with a sword and shield. But it’s the little things that make High Voltage’s upcoming Wii-exclusive fighter stand out.

My demo of the game wasn’t as long as I desired -- and the game is still fairly early -- but I was surprised by two things: the simplicity of the controls and the depth of the single player campaign considering the game’s genre.

But let’s back up a second. When you boil the game down to its essentials, Gladiator A.D. is a traditional fighting game -- two costumed dudes smashing each other because, well, they can. But the perspective is much different than Street Fighter IV or Mortal Kombat. It’s presented from your character’s backside and the camera follows him as he maneuvers and dodges swings and slashes.

So, controls. There are three basic attack moves you can do with your fighter: two side slashes and a downward slash. You can’t move your fighter around -- he can only dodge attacks. Surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered by the lack of movement. All the action stays in front of you the entire time which makes the action that much more enjoyable.

Gladiator A.D. has at least two game modes: an arcade mode and a story campaign. In the campaign, you play as a fighter named Marcus. He’s a brutish low-level fighter that you take to the top of the gladiator ranks through bloodshed. It’s a typical formula, sure, but there’s a few dynamic things running in the background. You have to please crowds (they can throw stuff at you, or cause arena overseers to toss lions into the environment) and balance your appeasement versus the money you make (presumably for better armor and weapons) from not killing another fighter.

Also, this game is mad bloody. Check out the gallery for some proof.

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