Gladius impressions

We take an updated look at LucasArts' upcoming multiplatform strategy RPG.


Gladius (2003)

We recently got an updated look at LucasArts' upcoming multiplatform strategy RPG, Gladius. The game has come together quite well since it was first unveiled last year. You'll start the game by picking one of two characters: Ursula, the daughter of a barbarian king, or Valens, the son of a great gladiator. Both characters will have their own unique stories that will unfold over the course of the game and occasionally intersect.

Valens and Ursula will also have their own gladiator schools that you'll have to develop as you progress through the game. Gladius' gameplay will involve many RPG elements such as exploration, character interaction, and combat. You'll travel to different towns and interact with various characters, which will drive the story forward and, in some cases, teach you about the game mechanics. Towns will let you manage your gladiator school, shop for new equipment for your warriors, and enter the local arena to check out what combat opportunities are available in the league office.

You'll also be participating in various battles and qualifying for tournaments. The latest version of the game's combat system features a new interface for various acts. The game's swing meter flashes a series of three button presses that you'll have to match in order to perform certain attacks. The game's combination meter uses a similar mechanic, although it lays out button presses in a row and requires you to match their input much like in Sony's Parappa the Rapper. The game's combat engine will also feature quite a bit of strategy, thanks to deep character and weapon systems that will feature an impressive array of fighters and more than 300 weapons.

However, despite the game's emphasis on combat, exploration hasn't been neglected. You'll be able to explore a 3D world map after meeting certain conditions, and you'll also be able to interact with NPCs traveling the roads, which will often be the key to accessing the many optional subquests in the game. Exploring the 3D map will also reward you with items and characters you wouldn't ordinarily find in the game.

The graphics in Gladius are looking quite good across all three platforms. The development team has worked to ensure the game exploits what each console has to offer. However, the Xbox version is likely to be the best looking of the three versions, due to better image clarity. Gladius is currently slated to ship this fall for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. Look for much more on the game in the coming weeks.

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