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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 Episode 2, this statue holds a secret..
John Romero's Daikatana Windows Woah what a monster
John Romero's Daikatana Windows Main Menu
John Romero's Daikatana Windows Episode 3, Graveyard

Promo Images

John Romero's Daikatana Wallpaper
John Romero's Daikatana Screenshot
John Romero's Daikatana Screenshot
John Romero's Daikatana Wallpaper


Alternate Titles

  • "大刀" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A deeply troubled effort that hints at greatness Ian McLean (11) 3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars
A challenging FPS, and I'm having fun with it. Mr. Natural (2) unrated
An entertaining game with variety and a sense of humor that requires patience to appreciate. Michael Lum (3) unrated
John, why do you want to annoy us? -Chris (7769) 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars
Hey...it's not THAT bad... MadCat (61) 0.83 Stars0.83 Stars0.83 Stars0.83 Stars0.83 Stars
Reminds me of Quake Arena 2, and I like it! Arejarn (7317) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
True Lies (the hazards of demos) tantoedge (20) 2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars
It's not that bad! emerging_lurker (178) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
You call this a game? Dragoon (107) unrated
Merely Average Matt Grosvenor (2) 2.17 Stars2.17 Stars2.17 Stars2.17 Stars2.17 Stars

Critic Reviews

PC Joker Jun, 2000 79 out of 100 79
Absolute Games (AG.ru) May 07, 2000 70 out of 100 70
Gameplay (Benelux) May 31, 2000 69 out of 100 69
Gamezilla Jun 29, 2000 59 out of 100 59
Computer Bild Spiele Nov, 2001 3.03 out of 6 59
Game Over Online Jun 29, 2000 50 out of 100 50
Joystick (French) Jun, 2000 40 out of 100 40
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Jul 03, 2000 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 40
Gamekult Aug 29, 2000 3 out of 10 30
FiringSquad Jun 06, 2000 25 out of 100 25


Topic # Posts Last Post
Should I try it? 3 BurningStickMan (18024)
Dec 30, 2011
incite PC gaming's Daikatana preview / interview video 18 Yearman (27579)
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

Matthew Bailey (1268) added John Romero's Daikatana (Windows) on Jun 17, 2000