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The Spartan empire is crumbling, before the gilded walls of your home city the Roman legions lay siege. This is the battle that will decide master and servant in this ancient land and if you defeat the armies of this new dominant power from the west there is still the awesome Medusa to defeat
hang on. I'll start again.
It's the golden age of ancient Greece, a time before history is even recorded, mythical heroes battle with fierce gods and giants and the dreaded medusa stands between you and your enemy, Alexander's Macedonian army and .bugger
Its 333BC and the Macedonians from the north threaten your lands, these barbarian outsiders need to be put in their place before you can settle your score with and even older enemy Troy an enemy that ..what ..Troy? Ok I've got it.
Its 1100BC and you stand before its ancient walls ready for the war to end all wars, the wounds from the fight with Beowulf the Danish war chief barely healed.. Beowulf, isn't he dark age? .oh I give up, who ever worked out the concept for this game clearly never read a history book.
Spartan: Total Warrior is a game set in an ancient Greece that seems to be a melting pot of all the best bits of history and more besides. It's almost as if Mel Gibson was pulled in to do the historical context but if historical accuracy is not an issue it's not a bad little number. Still winging aside, what's it all about. In the game you take control of an ancient warrior fighting his way through sieges, set battles, one on one combat and a wide variety of missions. You see your character through an over view, a familiar feature in games today, the angle of the overview can be changed to suit the situation. There isn't much you really need to know to get going. Three difficulty settings decide how tough you want it to be and then its pretty much learn your trade as you go along. The game plays as chapters in a story, each one a mission that you have to guide your warrior through. Combat is straightforward and is really all about hitting buttons quickly, but as you progress you learn more manoeuvres and combat skills that require a certain sequence of buttons to enact, so the skill element to combat does build. That said you can always achieve quite a lot by frenzied slashing, which suits entry-level gamers like myself just fine.
Missions normally involve a bit of fighting and achieving a goal like opening a city gate, freeing prisoners or defending a key position against all comers. You are not alone in your fight either, generally there will be a lot of soldiers around you fighting to their own instructions but to help you personally there are a number of other heroes who will sometimes follow your lead and at other times go their own way.
The screen is very straightforward, a health bar monitors your wounds, a power bar and a rage bar show your reserve powers that you can deploy and there is a radar and compass to point out enemies as well as the direction of the next objective. Weapons suit the period well and there are a few out of character artefacts such as bombs at your disposal but then we have already discarded The Oxford Companion To Classical Civilization in favour of less authentic behaviour.
There isn't really that much more to it really, you learn the game as you go and it doesn't take long to master, which I did like, the background visuals are good but not great and the same goes for the characters and close detail. The cities in particular provide a nice backdrop to play against, nicely rendered but again winning no awards. There is some variety in the game play, but after a while it does get into a repetitive rut. The very thing that makes the game easy to get to grips with is the same thing that makes it become very familiar far too quickly, but I guess that that is the price you pay. Its not a game that will hold the attention of the seasoned gamer for too long, even at the harder settings I'm sure any game brain will find little to challenge them for very long. For those players of a more occasional nature it seems to find its place.
It is high in visual action as there always seems to be a large amount of bodies taking part in the battles and missions at hand and all of this milling about and high body count reminds me of the age old classic Diablo. Like I said, in almost all areas it's good but no more than that and is really a game for a short diversion from a more complex game or suited to short time gamers. Close but no cigar.
Spartan: Total Warrior takes the player on a heroic journey for conquest against the malevolent Roman Empire. The Romans, under the bloodthirsty Emperor Tiberius, have seized control of much of the civilised world through ruthless violence, cruelty and oppression. Sparta alone remains defiant.