Title: Xena, Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate
System: N64





When you think of shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journies and Xena, Warrior Princess and the period of events in which they take place, it seem almost like a no-brainer that you could make a fighting game out of it. With a multitude of characters throughout the entire series’ universe and of course the mythology on which it’s based, you have a veritable untapped well of playable people. Xena, Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate does some of that but falls far short of being anything memorable or worth owning with 2 small exceptions: Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi.

With 10 playable characters to start, from humans Xena and Gabrielle, Autolycus (Bruce Campbell’s character) and Joxer (Ted Raimi), to a small handful of gods like Ares and Callisto, you get a decent spread from the series. Choosing your character you play through and battle every other character (and yourself, which is never really explained) in a contest of sorts to see who should get the Talisman of Fate; your warrior of the game’s boss Despair, a demon-like character created for the game. Unfortunately with that spread comes with the biggest downside to the game: the graphics.

I laughed a little when I played through with Autolycus, chuckled as I played the practice mode with Xena, but outright cringed when I saw Ceasar. His head his mishappen and looks like someone took a printed version of his face and just bent it to accommodate the shape of a skull. You get a small redemption graphic-wise when you see Despair, but it really only goes to show that the graphics only hold up against things that aren’t supposed to look human.

The controls are about as can be expected with the system’s normal games. While mostly a button mashing affair you get some combo chains (that you can play with in Practice Mode but there’s no help as to how to do them) that can lend a little more variety to your character’s blocky movements and marrionette-like combat.

This game is not without it’s redeeming factors, like how you can play through with Despair upon completing the game, but I would have liked to see a few more characters and some unlockables. Throwing in Hercules as an unlockable character at the very least would have been a good enough reason to play through the game with a specific character but the game instead lays out everything it has to offer at the title screen.

But there is good news. What it has to offer involves Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi, even if their likenesses are stretched and distorted.

As I mentioned in the review, Ceaser’s character image in this game looked like it had basically been printed and bent, which immediately made me think of those cutouts on the back of cereal boxes and the like. The graphics in this game are terrible, even for a system which was still trying to find its footing in the world of 3D rendering.

BIO Freaks – Also created in part by one of the same studios, BIO Freaks is another fighting game with no story and button mashing combos. It’s no surprise that the game has very similar elements with one of the creative studios behind both, but the advantage BIO Freaks has is that at least the characters don’t look human because they aren’t supposed to be.