Hello all! Last week, we looked at a colorful GameCube not-exclusive.
This week, I check out a game that I bought for $7 years ago.
Spartan: Total Warrior was a hack-and-slash by The Creative Assembly, in a radical departure from their Total War RTS series. It’s for the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. You play as a spartan named, uh, “The Spartan” as he goes on a variety of hack-em-up missions in Greece in 300 B.C. There’s not much to the plot; it’s a bunch of cliché Greek Mythology stuff, but the plot stays out of the way enough, and it’s not outwardly terrible. It’s just sort of there.
The main attraction to Spartan is the gameplay; 95% of the time you spend with Spartan is hacking enemies to pieces with a simple but deep combat system. It’s pretty basic; you’ve got a standard attack button and a “radial attack” button, and...I mean, basically, you’re mashing buttons, but it’s easy to look cool and feel powerful in Spartan, which is really the most important thing with a game like this.
There’s also a healthy selection of weapons, each with a (slightly) different feel, and some magic abilities, like turning enemies into stone, which becomes really handy in the later stages. It’s all basic, but it’s fun and it works.
Spartan, to me, is a game I payed $7 for, years ago, when the Toys ‘R Us in my neighborhood was closing down (fun fact: it’s since reopened). I had seen it in stores and in magazines and what not, but I wasn’t terribly interested in it at the time. It was still pretty new when I bought it; it was still going for $50 at other stores. So I figured, why not.
What I got was a game that was a fun romp that lasted a few hours. I didn’t come back to it again; it’s one of Those Games that are great for a weekend playthrough, but just one. The kind of game one would rent from Blockbuster if that sentence was still a valid thing to say. And that’s fine. Games like Spartan show us that not every game needs to be an Uncharted, or a God of War. Hell, if every single game were Uncharted, then Uncharted would suck. It’s like...if Final Fantasy, The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, etc. are full meals at a fancy restaurant, then games like Spartan are like snacks.
It’s the kind of game that you’re not really gonna obsess over (there’s not much in the way of secrets), nor is it the kind of game that you’re gonna replay, really. You get everything out of it in one playthrough. But that’s all you need with a game like Spartan; it’s a game that knows what it is, and doesn’t overreach. It’s not a masterpiece—it’s short, the plot is dull, and it’s just a hack-and-slash without much in the way of variety. But it was the perfect game to pick up for cheap. In all honesty, I’d have probably regretted spending $50 on Spartan way back, but it’s a solid if unremarkable game. Worth a single play, and fun throughout that single play (coincidentally, this is how I play Call of Duty).
Oh, I should note the game runs like a champ with tons of enemies getting sliced to bits on screen. The engine was pretty damn good for its time. It’s still pretty good looking, if a bit flat.
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Next week, we’ll play one of the earliest “DOOM clones” out there, although it’s also published by id, so...