News flash: The PC version of Battle Arena Toshinden isn't as good as the PlayStation version. Go figure. But even if you're using a run-of-the-mill graphics card, Battle Arena has some of the best 3-D graphics around. Unfortunately, to really play the head-to-head fighting game you either have to work the keyboard faster than a receptionist on speed, or give up some serious maneuvering action if you go with a standard game pad. Either way can leave you fumbling for power when the battle gets heated.
Fans of the PlayStation version will feel right at home with the storyline and characters. All the same characters are here, all with the same missionbeat the crap out of everyone. Like several other fighting games, each of the eight characters brings his or her own special weapons. Mondo, an ancient Japanese warrior, wields a big spear. Rungo, an American miner, bumbles around loudly and carries a big stick. But the coolest feature of each character is their secret powers and desperation moves. With the PlayStation version, using a secret power only takes a couple of pad and button clicks. On the PC version, it's nearly impossible. For instance, one of Mondo's moves is to fly up in the air and shoot down fireballs, laying waste to whomever is underneath. The special key-combination for his move is: d, sd, s, sa, a+rlet's see you remember that the next time you're in the heat of battle. And if you use a gamepad, you can't use the special power at all.
Battle Arena Toshinden's one saving grace is that it's completely networkable, either through directly-networked computers or modem, so you can beat down people around the world. While the graphics and music to Battle Arena are great, actual play could be vastly improved.