Way of the Warrior (video game)
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|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 kills 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.
Players had to combat nine different World Warriors, his or her character's shadow, then defeat a dragon (High Abbot), and then a skeleton (Kull) in order to be sealed into "The Book of Warriors". Each character had a standard arsenal of offensive and defensive fighting moves, combination attacks, and special moves that killed the defeated opponent in an ultra-violent manner. The game also had several hidden characters that could be unlocked with secret codes.
The fighters were portrayed by friends and relatives of Naughty Dog employees. They each had a distinctive code name and a profile.
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. 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.
Several demos were sent out to various magazines plus a non-playable demo appearing on sampler discs for the consumer. 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 EGM, 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."
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