Rage of the Gladiator enters WiiWare, dominates

I was really looking forward to when this game gets released. A very specific sort of hype has followed the game since it had been first announced. You know, the Conduit sort of hype. Because of this, I was also a little worried. Not that the mentioned shooter wouldn't be good enough, but among many things that were done right, there was much left to desire.

This is fortunately not the case with Rage of the Gladiator as the game will make obvious right from the start. This is a classic Punch-out formula - you are thrown into a ring (arena) against an opponent that keeps sending various types of attack your way. Since your position is set you cannot run around the ring at will. In fact, as far as the defense goes, the player can dodge left and right, block with a shield or jump (if the enemy attack is a low blow). Same goes for attacking: you can strike left, right, up, down or smash the enemy with your shield. So far so good. Where the game absolutely shines through though is the control system and character development . You can play the gam using the "NES control style", with the WiiMote and Nunchuck or - and this is the real deal we are talking here - in combination with the Wii Motion Plus.

There is something extremely satisfying about smashing your enemy on the head just as he is about to to hit you, stopping him dead in his tracks. You will be doing this a lot through out the game. Another great concept is the combo system. Each time you hit an enemy or perform a counter attack described above, you gain a little energy. Once you have accumulated enough energy, you can unleash a powerful attack combination a genuine onslaught to devastate your enemy. You actually enter the battle equipped with a number of such combos and you can switch between them at will.

After each win, there is a level up screen in which you get to distribute 3 skill points, which you allocate into one of three available skill trees. Such mechanic will be very familiar to RPG players, since it is very similar to games like WoW, League of Legends, Warcraft 3, etc. There is an Attack skill tree, Defense skill tree and Magic skill tree. This gives the game a great replayability value, since most of us will want to try many of the possible skill combinations.

The enemies in the game are epic as they should be (ninja, archdevil, medusa, minotaur, beholder...] and the gfx is very good given this is a Wii downloadable title.

The game also has a story that is revealed between the individual levels. It's not spectacular, but it gives a nice little touch to the overall atmosphere.

Ghostfire Games can go and celebrate. Rage of the Gladiator is easily the best WiiWare title to date (not counting Mega-Man 9).

Ken does not say a thing - he is playing the game, trying to build up an assault/magic build!