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Battle Arena Toshinden (DOS)

Teen
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
69
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Zovni (9350)
Written on  :  Oct 03, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars

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Summary

It takes more than a whip-wielding dominatrix to make a successful fighting game

The Good

Toshinden is sort of a rarity in the world of console fighting games in the sense that nobody can explain how it ever managed to become such a success. Ok, it's not a blockbuster franchise, but it did sell quite a few copies and has more sequels and ports than I'd care to count.

The simple answer is that it was a first generation psx-title, and as such the only option available if you wanted 3D fighting action with weapons a-la Samurai Shodown, yet that doesn't explain how the game got ported to the PC instead of other titles like Tekken, yet that's exactly what it did. Ported by god knows who, Toshinden and it's merry band of fighters landed on Dos back in the days when 3D accelerators were starting to become a trend. To it's credit, making a 3D accelerated game in those pre-Direct3D days was nothing short of nightmarish, yet Toshinden came with a functional software engine as well as a multitude of first generation 3D cards to use should you have one, and as far as graphics go, it was a pretty safe bet that you weren't gonna find a better looking option for your PC.

Also available are plenty of multiplayer options such as modem/network play which allow you to extend the life of the game considerably should you find someone else that somehow got stuck with a copy of it and is willing to play it.

The Bad

It sucks ass, plain and simple. As explained it's moderate success can be blamed on the fact that the PSX had about 2 other fighting games at the time, but that's it, if you think it's one of those fantastic console-only titles that somehow got ported to the PC you are absolutely wrong.

Basically what you have here is a lame-ass Virtua Fighter clone with a more arcadey feel and the addition of weapons. Ever heard of Soul Blade/Edge/Calibur? Well, that's it. Only Toshinden manages to take the premise and render it useless by placing it under the hood of a boring, slow-paced fighting game.

For starters the characters are horribly clich├ęd (right down to the identical Ryu-Ken main characters) and unoriginal, with only a whip-wielding, tit-bouncing dominatrix to arouse your interest, the rest are all Tekken rejects. Not only that, but there's no story or development whatsoever so as to make them a little more charismatic. Worse yet: balance is pretty much inexistent, with some characters being almost embarrasingly easy to win with, and others that are almost impossible to use.

Moves are simple and straightforward, but they lack the finesse in execution and animation of VF, and the spectacular flashy effects of Tekken, so they end up rendering the gameplay pretty ho-hum (except for the "desperation moves" unique to each character that are much flashier than their regular counterparts). Sound is terrible, with nauseating midi music and garbled voiceovers and effects, etc. etc.

About the only thing that Toshinden does right are the graphics, but one look to it by today's standards and you'll swear them off as prehistoric crap with only rudimentary textures to separate them from earlier efforts like FX Fighter or the original VF.

The Bottom Line

It's somewhat depressing to see lousy games somehow ported to another platform when better and more successful titles get the shaft and become exclusive properties of X platform, but that's exactly what happened here. I know there has always been a shortage of good fighting games for the PC, but Toshinden is NOT a good fighting game, so just move along and pretend it's not there.