Xena: Warrior Princess
If ever there was a surprise hit on television it would have to be Xena:Warrior Princess. Breasts.We can’t figure out for the life of us why it has become such a hit. Boobs. Maybe it is the sharp scripting and flawless acting. Knockers. Maybe the superb set-pieces elevate it above all the other nonsense. Jubblies.Whatever the secret recipe, has it converted well to the PlayStation? Great big wobbly bazookas.
Whilst out for a stroll one day, ‘special friends’ Xena and Gabrielle were plunged headlong into a riotous, rip-roaring, swash-buckling adventure of massive polygonal proportions. This, brave gamer, is where our VR episode of Xena begins. The first thing that strikes like one of our dear Xena’s Chakram attacks, is the badly drawn lands she slashes her way through. Your eyes are instantly sucked into staring at cliff-sides and courtyards lovingly crafted from kitchen floor tiles. Blocks of colour gently undulate like liquid under your feet and the nearer scenery gets the more nauseous you feel. Compensating for this lo-res, toddler class effort of background animation, are the characters. Xena herself rivals an early Lara for detail, with her Frisbee at her side and a fully loaded chest of pure tit. Enemies are corkers too, looking like Hell has had a car-boot sale and off-loaded the earth with a family size box of nasties and salivating things. Giant Cyclops’ roam the mountains like extras from Clash Of The Titans, Medusa and her follicly frightening brethren slither around their boudoirs of exotic garden ornaments, zombies lurch and crawl hungrily about, golems ooze effortlessly from mountain sides, skeletons rattle around and occasionally you’ll encounter a drunken pirate up for a bit of ‘how’s-your-father’. Thankfully, because of the vast amount of enemies, there is a vast amount of limb removal and forced extraction of sticky innards to be done. Xena has pretences of being a puzzle/adventure/action fest but it is nothing of the sort. This is pure action all the way with slit throats, gushing arteries, the lot! Anyone looking for something else will be greatly peeved.
Xena’s combat moves are a cross between super agility and an epileptic fit. Attacks are executed at such a rate her arms become a blur of leather and steel but there are different techniques that can be learned to vary your combat. Most make her look daft as a brush but they’re a giggle nonetheless. A 360° flying split-kick allows you to see her knickers. Nice.
There is more than a passing resemblance to Nightmare Creatures, especially in the jerky control system and camera angles but Xena doesn’t quite have the sophistication and gravity of gameplay to produce something breath-taking. Combat seldom alters from three-on-one ambushes despite being well balanced with enough FMV and storyline, and the few puzzles rarely stretch beyond the casual flicking of a switch. In fact, much of Xena’s adventure is recycled from games such as Fighting Force, Nightmare Creatures, Golden Axe and the little known Legend. The most original aspect of Xena is the use of her Chakram (the Frisbee) and we’ve even dedicated it its own space for your delectation.
Beyond this though, Xena unsteadily hovers between all-out good fun and repetitive slasher syndrome.We’d go with the ‘check it out’ verdict, though. There is enough variety in bad guys and reasonable amounts of puzzles and tasks to maintain the vitality of gameplay. Anyone seeking a Tomb Raider or DeathTrap Dungeon look elsewhere though, you shouldn’t expect anything more from a game based on a TV series where the star is called Lucy Lawless and her most intelligent line is: “Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay!”