Gladiator (Domark) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

By Domark
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #12


As if to prove that you can't keep a good idea down here's yet another combat game. It's set in the first century AD where, armed with a nasty assortment of body splitting weapons, you enter the Roman arena as a gladiator. As ever it's a case of kill or be killed, so you had better start sharpening those blades.

You can take part in a battle against the computer or against a friend and, if you do well enough against the computer, you'll later get the chance to bet on the result of other fights. The first thing you have to do is choose your three weapons from the 45 on offer. These include shields, swords, spears, tridents, nets, bolas and daggers, which can all be used in different combinations.

The weapons are supposed to affect your performance and tactics in a fight, but it will take you a very long time to find out how because the difference is not at all clear. They all look different as you swing them around in the arena, but that's just about all. Your opponent is fairly conventionally armed to start with so at least you can have an even match on that score.

Once in the arena, you have to win fifteen fights before gambling on other games; the aim being to gain enough money to win your freedom. Unfortunately, right from the start, you are faced with fighters who are incredibly difficult to defeat. There may be a trick to beating them which I haven't found yet, but it's pretty obscure if there is. You can hack, lunge, thrust, throw and charge as much as you like, but in this sort of pitched battle you're dead meat every time.

The only way I found of winning was to get a couple of early hits in and then keep running away from my opponent until he keeled over from exhaustion just before me. The arena is shown in pseudo 3D but most battles occur purely in 2D.

The fighters are quite well drawn, but it's usually difficult to see exactly what's going on. The arenas change and can look quite good, but are always very yellow (sand probably). The action itself is very tough but not really much different from all the other combat games that have come and gone before it. Nothing special I'm afraid, and bound to cause plenty of frustration with countless deaths.

Second Opinion

This must be the naffest combat game we've had all year. The action looks ridiculous, sounds feeble and plays dismally. There's no attempt at realism or playability, and the whole thing ends up rather more like Life Of Brian than Spartacus.

Third Opinion

I never liked this sort of game anyway, and this example is certainly not going to change my mind.

First Day Target Score

Beat one opponent.

Green Screen View

Can be hard to tell who's landing the hits, but I can't really say I'm bothered.

Good News

P. Large choice of weapons.
P. It's certainly a tough challenge.

Bad News

N. Not enough variety in the action.
N. Very difficult to get anywhere against the computer.
N. Action for hits, misses and blocks isn't clear enough.
N. Not really much different to any other combat game.

Bob Wade

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