Way of the Warrior (video game)
|Way of the Warrior|
|Publisher(s)||Universal Interactive Studios|
Way of the Warrior is a fighting game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Universal Interactive Studios for the 3DO in 1994. The game was released in North America on August 30, 1994, and in Japan on May 26, 1995.
Way of the Warrior features high resolution graphics, characters with detailed storylines, and ultra-violent finishing moves. Players have to combat different fighters, their own character's "shadow", and two bosses to achieve complete victory. Each character has a standard arsenal of offensive and defensive fighting moves, combination attacks, and special moves that kill the defeated opponent in an extreme manner. The game's soundtrack consists of music from the 1992 White Zombie album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1.
Similar to Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991) and Mortal Kombat (1992), players must fight do the death with any of the World Warriors in order to be sealed into "The Book of Warriors". Each character has a standard arsenal of offensive and defensive fighting moves, combination attacks, and special moves that kill the defeated opponent in an ultra-violent manner. The game also has several hidden characters that can be unlocked with secret codes.
The nine World Warriors were portrayed by friends and relatives of Naughty Dog employees. They each have a distinctive code name and a profile. The World Warriors are:
- T-Mike Gaines as Major Gaines (and hidden character Major Trouble)
- Mitch Gavin as Shaky Jake
- Jason Rubin as Konotori (he also played The Ninja)
- Tae Min Kim as Dragon (and hidden character Black Dragon)
- Steve Chan as Nobunaga
- Chris Sanford as Fox
- Tamara Genest as Nikki Chan
- Carole May-Miller as Crimson Glory
- Gullab Jamun (Swami)
- Kull the Despoiler (Skeleton Boss)
- High Abbott (Dragon Boss)
Naughty Dog self-funded Way of the Warrior with the money made from Rings of Power. Production of Way of the Warrior began in 1993. Development took place over the course of 12 months on a budget of $100,000. ($80,000 of which came from Naughty Dog's own pocket) During that time, Naughty Dog was bankrupt and barely had any money to finish the game. Friends of the company were enlisted to portray the game's characters. As Naughty Dog could not afford a chroma key system or any kind of motion capture backdrop, a yellow sheet was glued to a wall in the developers' apartment. However, the apartment turned out to be too small. To film the moves in the game, Jason Rubin had to open the front door and shoot from the apartment hallway. The neighbors mistakenly believed that the crew were filming kinky pornographic films. Pillow cases and sheets, various items within the apartment, McDonald's Happy Meals and inexpensive knick knacks were used to create the costumes of the characters. To round out the experience, Jason Rubin joined in and participated by portraying two of the characters in the game. After the game was completed, Naughty Dog presented Way of the Warrior to Mark Cerny of Universal Interactive Studios (now the defunct Vivendi Games). Cerny was pleased with the product and agreed to have Universal Interactive Studios be the publisher of the game, as well as signing on Naughty Dog for three additional games (which would later become Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped).
Naughty Dog later worked with American Laser Games to develop an arcade version of the game; prototypes were built and tested, but were never released. Aside from the controllers, the arcade version was identical to the 3DO version, and even used a 3DO Interactive Multiplayer system for hardware.
Way of the Warrior first appeared on sampler discs as a non-playable demo for the consumer and playable demos were sent out to various magazines. While initial response was very positive, the final product received mixed reactions from the press. The reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an average score of 3.75 out of 10, praising the graphics, animation, and fatalities, but panning the controls, especially the difficulty in pulling off special moves. GamePro gave the game a negative review, citing dull character design, long load times, small sprites, weak sound effects, and shallow challenge. Contradicting Electronic Gaming Monthly, however, they asserted that "Executing the special moves is not hard". Next Generation reviewed the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "Way of the Warrior only proves that no amount of music, 3D rendering and gore can make up for the basics like gameplay and good character design." By the standards of the 3DO, the game sold well according to Naughty Dog, outdoing the 3DO port of SNK's Samurai Shodown.
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