Millennium Warriors
Copyright/Publisher: First Star/Software Business,
Release Year: 1991, Genre: Fighting Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Being a young prince isn't easy, but being whacked over the head with a golf club would be a piece of cake to Prince Kronos. On his planet they like their future Great Galactic Emperors to prove themselves and surviving a posh boarding school isn't enough - only a Test Of Arms will do.

Naturally, one of the meanest, dirtiest most violent planets in the entire universe has been selected for the prince's trials. Yep, it's Earth with each of the five multiloaded tests taking place in different eras.

All the levels have just a single screen backdrop, all quite well drawn with a spot of animation, and a single opponent for you to overcome. If you succeed the next level is loaded. Only three of the levels - Cavemen, Knights and Pirates - are conventional combat.

In these you have a club or sword which can be swung a head, stomach or legs. You also have two defensive blocks, but can only move left/right - not into the screen, to get past the enemy you must crouch or jump.

As you might expect the Cavemen level is a simplistic bash-'em-up with a pretty, but basically static backdrop. However, the Knights' fight includes a dilapidated drawbridge which occasionally drops a plank or two into the water! A watery end also awaits in the Pirates level as players can be forced off the ship's bow...

The remaining two levels are shooting games. The Arabian one has the players riding flying carpets and hurling magical fireballs. The final Futuristic level has Laser Warriors shooting at each while flying about with jetpacks.

Deflector Shields can block laster bolts and mental powers allow you to teleport! Both shooting games have wraparound screen so if you exit the screen to the left you immediately appear on the right side. It's an unrealistic and rather dodgy effect which I'd thought obsolete ages ago.

On the positive side the fighters have a wide variety of status bars. Health is fairly conventional - decreasing with each hit you take. Energy is depleted by actions - swinging your club all the time will soon drain this and, as with health, if it reaches zero you lose a life. Health and Energy can both be replenished by collecting special objects which occasionally appear.

The basic combat games work quite nicely with this, although on level one items appear so often that in two-player mode you can end up fighting on for ages! Attractive graphics and good spot FX help create an entertaining, amusing atmosphere which makes for a good time.

Initially there's a compulsion to see all the levels - although using two-player mode to cheat means this doesn't last long. Once you've seen everything the limited number of combat moves and somewhat sluggish response could prove disappointing.

There's some nice variety but unfortunately the rather weak and gimmicky which ends the game on a weak note. Worth a look though, especially with so few combat games out currently.

?.?.
I thought that one-on-one combat games had had their day, but this one shows true innovation. The combination of Energy, Health and Weapon levels works really well to give battles a tactical angle.

For example, even when one of the combatants has perilously low health he can run around, collecting food and wait until his opponnet's Energy or Weapon is low, then make a counter attack. These 'yo-yo' battles are great fun and often go on for ages.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 70%
Interlevel warship scene and atmospheric text. Options including simultaneous two-player, three skill levels and restart on any of the first four levels - once reached.
GRAPHICS 71%
Colourful, well-drawn backdrops give a good sense of atmosphere. The actual sprites, while small, are generally well done.
SOUND 76%
Okay attract tune plus good in-game FX, especially the cavemen grunts!
HOOKABILITY 72%
Simple to get into, especially with a friend.
LASTABILITY 61%
It's easy to reach the end by cheating, but properly mastering all the levels will take time.
OVERALL 68%
An exceptinally varied beat-'em-up.


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