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John Romero's Daikatana

Published by
Developed by
MobyRank MobyScore
Nintendo 64
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Hiro Miyamoto is a martial arts instructor and a member of an ancient clan of fighters. One day he learns that Kage Mishima, a sworn enemy of his clan, has gained possession of the Daikatana, a magical sword that allows its bearer to travel through time. As a result of Mishima's quest for power, a devastating disease is threatening humanity. Hiro and his friends must venture into different time periods, retrieve the sword, and defeat Mishima.

Daikatana is a first-person shooter using the Quake II engine. The game is divided into four episodes of several levels each, each episode taking place in a different time period: far-future Japan, ancient Greece, Dark Ages Norway, and near-future USA. The game uses cutscenes and text to tell the story. Two AI-controlled characters accompany Hiro throughout the quest, helping him in battles and also requiring protection. In addition to several different firearms, the Daikatana itself, which the player acquires in Episode 2, can gain experience and grow stronger as it is used. The game includes a multi-player deathmatch mode.


John Romero's Daikatana Windows The game begins
John Romero's Daikatana Windows Entering the domain
John Romero's Daikatana Windows Episode 3, Graveyard
John Romero's Daikatana Windows a dragon

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A deeply troubled effort that hints at greatness Windows Ian McLean (11)
A challenging FPS, and I'm having fun with it. Windows Mr. Natural (2)
An entertaining game with variety and a sense of humor that requires patience to appreciate. Windows Michael Lum (3)
John, why do you want to annoy us? Windows -Chris (7347)
Hey...it's not THAT bad... Windows MadCat (55)
Reminds me of Quake Arena 2, and I like it! Windows Arejarn (880)
True Lies (the hazards of demos) Windows tantoedge (20)
It's not that bad! Windows emerging_lurker (136)
You call this a game? Windows Dragoon (89)
Merely Average Windows Matt Grosvenor (2)

The Press Says

Glide Underground Windows Jun 17, 2000 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
Gamesmania Windows 2000 79 out of 100 79
Gamer's Pulse Windows Jun 07, 2000 67 out of 100 67
Total! (Germany) Nintendo 64 Feb, 2000 2.75 out of 6 65
GamePro (US) Windows Nov 24, 2000 3 out of 5 60
Gamezilla Windows Jun 29, 2000 59 out of 100 59
RealGamer (Benelux) Windows Jul, 2000 5.4 out of 10 54
Just Games Retro Windows Aug 09, 2011 2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars 50
IGN Nintendo 64 Nov 21, 2000 4 out of 10 40
G4 TV: The Electric Playground Windows Apr 20, 2004 4 out of 10 40


Topic # Posts Last Post
Should I try it? 3 BurningStickMan (17736)
Dec 30, 2011
incite PC gaming's Daikatana preview / interview video 18 Yearman (18691)
Aug 19, 2007



Long before Daikatana was released, an ad for it was was run in several magazines stating "John Romero's Gonna Make You His Bitch." Needless to say this upset quite a few folks.

Daikatana Deathmatch

In April 2007, a fan team released Daikatana Deathmatch (DKDM), a multiplayer-only modification stripping the game from all the single player parts to reduce the file size for players who only want the multiplayer part. It still requires a full copy of the game to play. The link can be found in the related links section.


Daikatana was in development for 3 years, exactly. The reason for the long development cycle was the switch to the Quake II engine. Romero decided to switch because of its colored lighting, among other graphical goodies, but when he finally received the source code, it was nothing like he pictured. Overall the story of the game's development and Ion Storm in general is as epic and profound as anything in the game. Check the related links for The Story of Daikatana.


The characters' sound files used in this game are not encrypted in any way. They're ordinary mp3 files which can be found in the data/sounds/voices folder of the Daikatana directory. There's quite a bit of unused dialogue in there which never made it into the full game. It seems the enemies and the player's two sidekicks were supposed to have more ambient dialogue (e.g. combat taunts, waiting sounds) than what was eventually used.


There are four Dopefish hidden in the game, one per time period.

German Windows version

In the German version enemy blood was colored grey, gore effects were removed and various human enemy modes changed, e.g. into robots or with an added mask to hide their face. A detailed list of changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).

Nintendo 64 version

The Nintendo 64 version misses violence in comparison to the original Windows version, e.g. purple instead of red blood. The PAL version was even cut further: the blood was replaced with sparks and civilians are immortal.


In the lobby of the Mishima Funeral Home/Crematorium, there's some solemn funeral-type music playing. This is really a slowed down version of the famous e1m1 music from DOOM.


As the sounds and dialog are not encrypted, one creative mixer was able to rearrange the dialog, add a little fake stuff here and there, add some bump-and-grind music, and came up with a long MP3 that sounds as if the two guys in the game were "engaging" the female sidekick. Computer Gaming World called it "the ONLY redeeming feature of Daikatana".


Daikatana sold 200,000 copies and had budget of over $10 million.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2001 (Issue #201) – Coaster of the Year
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2005 - #8 Biggest Disappointment
    • Issue 02/2006 - #7 Hype Disappointment
Information also contributed by Alan Chan, bkaradzic, Kalirion, Kasey Chang, Sciere, WildKard and Zack Green.

Related Web Sites

  • Daikatana Deathmatch (A modification that strips the game from all the singleplayer content, to reduce the file size for multiplayer-only. It still requires a full copy of the game to play.)
  • Daikatana News (Daikatana news and info)
  • Matt Chat 55 (Video interview with John Romero about the development of John Romero's Daikatana)
  • Planet Daikatana (Contains news, articles, FAQ, and media)
  • Something Awful review (A humorous review on Something Awful (PC demo))
  • The story of Daikatana (From Gamespot: This Behind the Games feature gives us the inside look at Daikatana and the tragedies and triumphs behind one of the most talked about games in history. )
  • Wikipedia: John Romero's Daikatana (Information about John Romero's Daikatana at Wikipedia)
Contributed to by Kartanym (10766) and Matthew Bailey (1143)