News Article

First Impressions: Rage of the Gladiator

Posted by James Newton

Unleash Hell!

Rage of the Gladiator may not be ready to step into the WiiWare ring just yet, but when Ghostfire Games invited us to a little sparring session with their first-person fighter we accepted immediately. We came away battered and bruised, but still very impressed with how Rage is shaping up.

Each of the game’s three control methods feels completely different. Holding the Wii Remote horizontally reminded us of classic NES fighter Punch-Out!!, with (1) and (2) controlling punches and (DPAD) used to evade and jump. It's a simple system that's sure to please old-school fight fans, and it's good to see Ghostfire accommodate classic gamers in this way.

Remote and Nunchuk is another option, which serve as your left and right arms and using (STICK) and (DPAD) to move and perform low attacks. It takes some getting used to attacking with both hands, and throwing low blows into the mix doesn't help, but there's an introductory tutorial that'll have you feeling ready to take on anything within minutes. Both these control systems are completely serviceable, but the one we were most keen to try out was MotionPlus, which was by far the best option on display.

Using the add-on literally adds a new dimension to the gameplay – you can now swing upwards and downwards, landing crushing blows on enemies’ heads and chins. A Remote swing in each of the four directions launches an attack, and although there’s a short delay between the action and the attack it still works quite well. You can increase the attachment’s sensitivity too, something we haven’t seen in too many other titles, but the default setting of 40% works well enough to start.

Earlier comparisons to Punch-Out! gain accuracy when tackling the game’s first adversary, Harlan the Crusher (a minotaur by any other name). . The key is to learn your opponent’s attacks, then dodge and counterattack with good timing, landing heavy blows and combos when an opening presents itself. The reliance on precision timing and patience make it stand out against many other fighting games which rely on hitting first and hitting hardest: here that approach will get you nowhere. With each successful attack fills an energy bar that allows access to devastating super combos, though at the beginning you only have access to one.

Defeating bosses gives you experience points and the chance to upgrade in one of three areas: Attack, Defence and Magic. Putting points into the Attack tree grants increased hitting power and critical hits; Defence ups your armour’s protection; and Magic governs your energy’s regeneration. With only half a dozen or so points per fight, and five points in one area needed to unlock the next tier, you have to make some tough choices but ones that ultimately will develop your fighter in the way you want. You can’t simply repeat easy fights hoping to accumulate more experience – you only gain points from your first fight against an enemy, putting the emphasis firmly on learning your opponent’s moves rather than repeating easy victories.

Rage of the Gladiator is really coming together – the decision to include MotionPlus was a very smart one, making the combat far more engaging and satisfying. The other control schemes work well too, but we had by far the most fun using MotionPlus. With chunky and well-styled graphics, great sound design – including unusually good voice acting – and truly challenging enemies, we can’t wait to get our gladiatorial gloves on the final version in the near future.

There's plenty of other Rage of the Gladiator coverage over on its game page, including videos, screenshots and the news on the game's official contest, which – we can now confirm – is going to be extremely difficult.

From the web

Game Screenshots

User Comments (33)



Sean_Aaron said:

This is shaping up nicely. Really nice to see WiiWare devs getting follow-up titles on the system.



bro2dragons said:

this is so awesome. man... i'll be getting a job this summer... but i'm afraid after i put a percentage aside for saving, and then take what i can use for fun stuff... it's all gonna be spent catching up on downloadable titles.... and probably a bigger SD card!



nasachi said:

hmmmm, i love Punchout and i like the gladiator setting, hope this becomes good




A punch out style game with wiimotionplus? What's not to like? (unless its a disaster, which it doesn't sounds like its going to be)



maka said:

cool. I'm glad to see M+ support. More titles need to use it and I think there are enough units out there to justify it



retrobuttons said:

The artstyle looks really cheasy and tacky. Horlan the Crusher??? This game is extremely B and stinky.

EDIT: This isn't Groundhog Day. Untitled



longtimegamer said:

You must be looking at something different from what I'm looking at. Looks great to me. Graphics look awsome for wiiware. I'm glad that there's sort of a RPG element to it in the form of leveling up.



Supermegaman said:

Glad to see wiiware is finally being put to good use! People do get bored of puzzles eventually...



James said:

I like the art style - everything's got a nice chunkiness to it. I'm not saying it's not cheesy - it really is - but it's got a Ray Harryhausen sort of feel to it. As for stinky, well, WiiWare games have no discernible smell that I can find



ghostfire said:

Thanks for the comments guys! We're really glad to see coverage here on WiiWare world for Rage of the Gladiator and are looking forward to it coming out soon -- it should be out Q1 2010.

-Ed Roman, Producer of Rage of the Gladiator



BulbasaurusRex said:

This is 4th on my list of most anticipated Wii games of 2010 after Lego Harry Potter, NBA Jam Wii, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, a huge accomplishment for a WiiWare game in a year with a very strong Wii lineup.



MrPanic said:

This game looks like a bad B movie, I'd rather not play it even if the gameplay is good.



longtimegamer said:

@MrPanic: Really? Just because of the looks and even if it's good?

Also to everyone who said so, What makes it "B" or cheesy? Is it the dialog?



bro2dragons said:

@Ghostfire: Q1? man... nobody wants me to have any spare cash... this, Pearl, Cave Story, Super Meat Boy, Worms... how's a jobless college guy 'sposed to keep up?



brandonbwii said:

Same here, bro2dragons. I still have to wait until I can afford No More Heroes 2. Still trying to decide on that or Tasunoku.

As for Rage of the Gladiator. It looks awesome, but also clunky from all those early videos. I won't pass judgement yet though because, like Nintendo's old saying, playing is believing. Unfortunately, I've been on the go with different appointments and such and therefore have been downloading more dsiware than anything else (also it cheaper). So I can't say this will be a day 1 purchase, especially with the lack of online. That makes it a bit harder to recommend, or even gift, to my friends.



Kirk said:

I'm buying this game no matter what because the dev-team actually took on board a few suggestions I made and included things like realtime lighting on the fire/attacks, although I noticed that a few of the attacks/magic that use fire/light/lightning/flashes are still missing that realtime lighting , and to be fair it also just looks like a really good game anyway so I probably would have bought it regardless.

The more I hear the more I like.

Regardless of how well it ultimately sells I personally think this is looking like it might be one of the most all round polished and well crafted games on WiiWare to date.

Also, to the few people who are saying it looks "B" and "cheesy", in a negative way as though it were actually looking bad, I would suggest it looks more "solid", "bold" and "chunky", and those are all meant in a positive way as in it's actually looking really good imo, and just a hella lotta fun!



Reala said:

Been looking forward to this for a while, also its great I'll have another game to use my wmp with alongside Red Steel 2.



ghostfire said:

All of the game's special effects now have realtime lighting. Some of the earlier videos and screenshots (examples: the ones in the article above) don't showcase this because they are a bit older.




VilicoBRA said:

This is great!

I really liked Helix (also from Ghostifire). Great use of the motion controls. It is fantastic for exercise, get in shape and that stuff. I hope it sells like other fitness games.



CoffeeWithGames said:

I'm really looking forward to this game. I hope this game has the polish to make it great, and to sit alongside Punch-Out for years to come.

Also, the fact this game uses WM+ is one reason I'm debating on picking up the Red Steel 2 bundle with WM+. I want a reason to have WM+, and I didn't see WSR or any of the other games as compelling reasons to own it yet.



Crunc said:

So does this support using two remotes with two motion pluses, or otherwise how are you controlling your fighter? If it uses two remotes and motion pluses, that would both be a first, and be completely awesome. I have a feeling that that's not the case though, and as such I'd really love to see an explanation of how the controls work with WM+.



rjejr said:

It's out today - woo hoo - and to answer Crunc above, though I haven't played it yet, after watchign a few videos it looks like all right hand (WMPlus hand) attack and left hand (nunchuck attactment) block with a shield probably by just pressing C or Z so I don't see any reason for 2 WMPluses,.

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