During the span of history, there have been many great strategists that have lead their troops to victory. The greatest of these are known as Battle Lords and are respected greatly. In a tournament to discover the greatest of these battle lords, great warriors have been pulled out from different eras and available to be controlled by the strategists. The Battle Lords will make their champions fight 1 on 1 amongst themselves to find out who can triumph over all others and obtain the highest ranking. The Battle Lord who can master his will over different warriors will become the Ruler of the Battle Lords. Battle Wrath is a side-scrolling fighting game. The player starts by naming their Battle Lord and then choosing to duel with an enemy battle lord (either computer or another player) in a sanctioned (adjacent rank) or unsanctioned (very different rankings) fight. Each Battle Lord then chooses a character from amongst the available 8 different warriors. These characters then appear in an arena and must deplete each other's energy. The player has two attack buttons, one for arms (punches) and one for legs (kicks), which can be used with the directional keys to perform a variety of moves. If the enemy is hit a certain way, decapitation can occur (though this can be disabled as "PG Mode" in the options), which limits the attacks available from that player. Each character also has a unique "special move", which deplete power gems. These power gems can be gathered by having the character stand still and charge up. Each character also has a "Battle Wrath" special move which can only be used when the Battle Lord is ranked #1 (and therefore is the Ruler), likewise better ranking enhances the normal character abilities.
Let it be stated that my purpose in reviewing a game is to be as considerate as possible. That is because there are all types out there. There for whom my review will be their first introduction to a game. And then there will be those for whom this game represents some treasured memories of the past, of hours lost exploring this game's nuances, discovering and mastering the games subtle ways.
Against my stated MO I am going to say, for Battle Wrath, I hold up a sign of warning to the first and pity the last. Despite my best attempts I could find almost nothing to like about this game. It's more like a proof of concept that failed, but instead of scrapping the project they slapped it together and tried selling it shareware. I'd be surprised if they make a single sale.
Battle Wrath does have what might be called an innovative fight system. You press and hold down your attack key and then press a direction after your attack has had a chance to charge up a bit to unleash it. Consequently your movement keys, since they double for putting the spin on your attack, do not allow combination like up and left at the same time. There's a key for that. Most of the time this new and exciting attack method results in you either being hit while charging up or giving your opponent enough time to get out of the way. Needless to say I personally lost every round I fought in and had very little interest in navigating its clunky interface to try and improve myself.
The game lacks any sort of structured story. In fact it is so lacking of structure whatsoever that enduring it becomes an exercise in endurance. Instead of some tiered fighting system you must set up each fight by picking who is fighting and who they're fighting with. If you're confused, that's because I think that's part of the "charm". I found this dual level of character interaction disturbing. Not only do you have the fighting characters, but you have the player characters, one that you've made and several of various AI levels. To gain rank you must set up your character (and your fighter) to fight against another character (and fighter) of nearby rank to start a "sanctioned fight". If you win you move up in rank, if they win they do. I suppose this is so that you can make a dummy character and just beat up on them to learn the moves, gain a level, and start getting beat up by the computer.
If you are determined to play this game it comes with a text file that explains its convoluted fight style, keyboard setup up, and moves for each fighter. I will point out for those foolish enough to jump into the deep end without waders that player 1's movement keys are set up around the 'f' key and use 'a' and 'z' for your attack buttons. If you're one of the crazies that like using the number pad, set your character up as player 2.
This game let me down quick and never redeemed itself. I don't normally like belittling anything this much, but I'm giving this game a 1 and not apologizing for it.
People who downloaded Battle Wrath have also downloaded:
Battle Arena Toshinden, Astro Avenger, Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Beats of Rage, Ashes to Ashes, Barbarian (Mastertronic), Assault Dragon (a.k.a. Day 5, The), Barbarians
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