Global Gladiators

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Global Gladiators
Global Gladiators Coverart.png
North American cover art
Developer(s)Virgin Games USA
Publisher(s)Virgin Games
Producer(s)David Luehmann
Designer(s)David Bishop
Programmer(s)David Perry
  • Mike Dietz
  • Christian Laursen
Composer(s)Tommy Tallarico
Platform(s)Genesis, Master System, Game Gear, Amiga
  • NA: 1992
  • EU: March 1993

Global Gladiators is a 1992 platform game developed by Virgin Games USA, originally programmed by David Perry for the Sega Genesis and eventually ported by other Virgin Games teams in Europe to the Master System, Game Gear, and Amiga. The game is based on the McDonald's fast food chain and has a strong environmentalist message.

The game is a spiritual successor to the NES game M.C. Kids, another McDonald's-themed game that also featured Mick and Mack as its playable characters.


In the single-player game, the player controls Mick or Mack through four worlds; Slime World, Mystical Forest, Toxi-town and Arctic World. Each world has several sub-stages where the character must collect a certain number of Golden Arches to advance. They are guided in their quest by Ronald McDonald, who appears at the beginning and the end of the game. The characters are armed with a Super Soaker-type gun that shoots gooey projectiles.

Development and release[edit]

During Virgin Mastertronic's expansion into the United States, it entered a deal with McDonald's to publish a video game themed around its restaurants within six months. Programmer David Perry, then an employee of Probe Software, convinced Virgin with his work on The Terminator that he could quickly make a satisfactory game for the Sega Genesis. Virgin contacted Perry with a generous offer to hire him into their American development branch in Irvine, California, and granted him an apartment overlooking Laguna Beach.[1]

For Global Gladiators, the development team combined tools that they had developed for previous titles.[1] The animation, background art, and music were respectively created by Mike Dietz, Christian Laursen, and Tommy Tallarico. David Bishop served as the game's designer, while the levels were designed by Bill Anderson.[2] Aside from some branding, the game had little to do with the McDonald's franchise. This displeased visiting McDonald's executives, who questioned the lack of restaurants and Ronald McDonald. To this, Perry bluntly replied that no one liked Ronald McDonald and no one wanted restaurants in the game. Perry had planned to return to the United Kingdom upon the game's completion, but its unexpected critical success convinced him to stay in California; as he recalled, "it suddenly made people appreciate me".[1] Global Gladiators impressed Walt Disney Computer Software producer Patrick Gilmore, which led to a relationship between Virgin and Disney that would produce such titles as Disney's Aladdin and The Jungle Book.[3]


Sega Pro magazine gave an overall score of 93/100 noting the game’s challenging difficulty, praising the games graphics stating “brilliantly animated sprites and characters give this game a very polished feel” and the game’s sound as “very much geared to the rave style with a few rocky tunes for good measure” and concluding “A great game that will keep up till the wee hours, a definite purchase for all of you seeking a big challenge.”[7] Mega Action gave an overall score of 93% and describing the game as "A brilliant game with some really nice sprites[8]."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Anderson, Magnus; Levene, Rebecca (2012). Grand Thieves & Tomb Raiders: How British Video Games Conquered the World. Aurum Entertainment. pp. 213–214. ISBN 978-1845137045.
  2. ^ Virgin Games USA (1992). Global Gladiators (Sega Genesis). Virgin Games. Level/area: Credits.
  3. ^ Horowitz, Ken (March 11, 2014). "Behind the Design: Disney's Aladdin". Sega-16. Archived from the original on March 15, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  4. ^ "Global Gladiators (Genesis) - GameRankings". Archived from the original on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  5. ^ Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed; Alessi, Martin; Sushi-X (September 1992). "Review Crew: Global Gladiators". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Sendai Publishing. p. 24.
  6. ^ "Sega Master Force Issue 2" (2). September 1993: 10. Retrieved November 19, 2015. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Global Gladiators Review. Paragon Publishing. March 1993. p. 27.
  8. ^ "Mega Library". Mega Action (1): 65. June 1993. Retrieved March 21, 2022.

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