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Mythic Blades

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action
Publisher: Cartel Games
Developer: Vermillion Games

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PC Review - 'Mythic Blades'

by Chad on Aug. 7, 2005 @ 1:54 a.m. PDT

Mythic Blades is a visually breath-taking entertainment title which places the player in the role of Legendary Hero or Terrifying Monster during combat to determine the fate of the Olympus. Ares has challenged his father; if Ares wins, he will take over Zeus' place and rule over the Olympus - but the battle does not take place there. Instead it will be fought between Man and Monster.

Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Cartel Games
Developer: Vermillion Entertainment
Release Date: May 1, 2005

Mythic Blades is nothing if not unique. On one hand, it's a rare entry in the fighting game genre on a platform known for anything but. On the other, maybe there's a good reason for that…

Trouble's brewing up on Mt. Olympus (or "the Olympus" as the game refers to it), and as is the trend in games these days, Ares, god of war, is at the center of it. He's not too pleased with how Zeus is running things, and he's rallied enough of the other gods to his side to force Zeus to play his little game. As is the case with most things in Greek mythology, the gods would rather see us mortals duke it out than get their own hands dirty, so it's Ares' monsters versus Zeus' heroes. To even things out, the mortals are granted super strength and mythical weaponry courtesy of Hephaestus.

An interesting concept, eh? Think Perseus, slayer of Medusa, could wipe the floor with Jason without his Argonauts around to protect him? Or maybe Polythemus could get the better of Odysseus in round two? Well, turns out you're better off sticking with your own theories on those match-ups, because Mythic Blades' game mechanics are its weakest point.

The reason that Soul Calibur II is the current king of 3D weapons based fighters isn't because it looks fantastic (although that doesn't hurt) – it's the solid gameplay. For every move in that game, there's a way to counter it, rewarding skillful players and suggesting to all others that they practice. Mythic Blades is neither as deep nor as solid as Soul Calibur II. A light slash, a heavy slash, and a kick are all you have. Oh, you can block, too, but that'll only be an asset half of the time.

Each character has one, unblockable super move. Actually, unblockable is an understatement: it's unstoppable. Whenever one is activated, the screen turns black and the character on the business end of damage is cemented into place, as if standing before a firing squad. How badly things turn out depends on whom you're fighting. For example, Perseus' super move, which summons Zeus on-screen to deliver a 25+ hit lightning bolt combo, does much more damage than Jason's paltry 4-hit (at the most) rockslide.

The graphics are odd, too. In regards to the big picture, the game falters. Character models are fairly well done, but every single one of them (save Medusa and most of the other monsters) shares the same blank expression. Now, I understand that it's par for the course for the gods to use mortals as pawns in their games, but this particular bunch has an impressive collective resume, which includes out-smarting a few of said gods on a number of occasions, so I don't think it's asking too much to see a little emotion here and there.

The award for worst character design goes to the Sphinx, though: it looks like they just took a badly textured marble statue, give it some long nails, a pair of bat wings, and pasted some random magazine photo of a woman for the face, and voila!

The stages showcase Greek architecture in all of its rough-textured glory. Of course, then there's the changing weather on a few stages, which show off some lens-flare and light bloom that show promise.

The characters all animate the same, save for the final boss, the Hydra. They're fluid and there are only a few clipping problems, and those only show themselves when fighting the Hydra. One of the more subtle touches is how as the characters get damaged, they start to get pretty bloodied up, so at a glance, it's usually easy to tell whether or not the fight's going your way.

The game's AI is very sporadic. On the two easiest difficulty levels, it takes a break, allowing you to mash on one button and breeze through the game in about five minutes. From normal on up, there's a little role reversal, where the computer whales on you, limiting your options to either block and slowly watch your health bar whittle away or take it and let the computer put you out of your misery that much faster.

Anyone familiar with the commands for fireballs and rising uppercuts that Street Fighter has kept alive for over 10 years should find themselves right at home. The controls are very responsive, and everything works the way it's supposed to. However, if you don't own some sort of gamepad, take two points off of my score, because it's a nightmare to play Mythic Blades on a keyboard.

The single player mode is comprised of eight stages, where you fight a random assortment of fighters. There's an offline versus mode, but putting "offline" and "multiplayer" in a sentence that talks about a PC game just feels wrong. As I mentioned before, you can either breeze through the game on the easy modes in about five or six minutes or get beat to a pulp on higher difficulty levels, so that doesn't give too much of a replay value on its own.

Luckily, after you complete the single player mode, you're awarded with credits that can be spent on unlocking characters (two of which are hidden), character profiles, and an art gallery. However, all you really need to unlock is the Hydra, because with its five-layered health bar, it's unstoppable on any difficulty level. On the flip side, one of the characters is just a palette swap of Odysseus, except with an even more underwhelming super move.

I really can't recommend this game to anyone, though. Gameplay-wise, it's not strong enough to woo fighting game fans away from far superior games on their consoles or to convince PC gamers that the fighting genre is worth a serious look. Most people will be better off sticking with Soul Calibur II and renting Clash of the Titans from Blockbuster.

Score: 5.1/10


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