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Please begin with an informative title:

I feel like changing the subject a little here tonight.  Feel like talking about one of my favorite games of all time.

Gladius

Released by Lucasarts, BEFORE they became "All Star Wars, All The Time" , it was one of the most interesting western tactical RPGs.  

(Trailer and other Stuff about a fun game on the flip.)

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The game plays very similar to a game like Final Fantasy Tactics or other Eastern Tactical game.  Pretty basic actually.  A bunch of warriors, fight another bunch of warriors, in a Romanesque gladiatorial contest.

It really had a great deal of potential.  There were some major flaws with the game however, and not discussing them would be doing the potential player a disservice.  I'll deal with the flaws first,and we can move on to the good afterwords.

First off, the game was never finished.  This is really quite obvious in the second half of the game, where it's pretty obvious that various locations were intended to be fully fleshed out, but were never completed.  When a guard standing in your way announces "This area is off-limits" that's pretty much beta-shorthand for "Finish this part".  There's some classes which were obviously intended to be playable which are left out, etc...

Another minor problem is that some of the battles are a little repetitive.  This is of course, the very nature of the game.  Various arena battles, etc.  Course, they do a great deal of variation in the first half in the game which minimizes the repetitiveness.  This unfortunately is not carried through to the last half of the game which feels VERY similar, everywhere.  Right down to the same enemies, over and over, with minor variations in loadout.

BUT, now on to the good.  Do you like movies about... gladiators?

NO, not that kind.  I mean the good kind.  Well, this captures a lot of the feel of the old sand and sandals movies from the sixties, and the 90's for that matter.  ;)  The plot's a little corny, involving a gladiator school traveling the land and fighting in the arenas, occasionally righting wrongs, but that's about it.  Still fun, and really captures the feel of being an "Underdog" especially in the early parts of the game.  I still remember groaning every time I lost a shield, and thinking how much I was going to have to fight in order to afford to replace it.

Characters are pretty good too.  With the exception of the principals (Sorry guys, sounds like you were phoning it in!), the voice cast is great.  Some of the folks doing the voices are industry standbys, but GOOD industry standbys.  Jason Marsden, in particular, is fantastic as the rather elitist Romanesque gladiator.

Downside is this game was never released for PC.  Yeah, unless you've got a last-gen system, you probably won't be able to get this unless you're running an emulator.  Doesn't mean it's not worth the time or the price.  So if you can find it, and you like your battles tactical, check it out.

Oh, and one last thing... one of the complaints made by one of the main villains is  "Nobody Dies In the Games, Anymore"  As I've always said... I love a game where you don't have to actually kill the enemies.  

Beating em fair and square is just as satisfying to me.

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