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Mace: The Dark Age Package Art
GENRE
Fighting
DEVELOPER
Midway
PUBLISHER
Midway
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1-2
CONTROLLER PAK
yes
RUMBLE PAK
no
RAM PAK
no
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Mace: The Dark Age

Before I begin this review, let me just dedicate this to all the magazines and game sites out there who severely bash(ed) Mace and have expressed how poor they think it is. I firmly believe this is an excellent, if not profound, fighter. Atari put a lot of time into this game, not just in detail but in the fighting engine as well. It reeks of good taste and I am disgusted at the complete absence of a good statement about Mace anywhere in the game world. Now on to the guts...

visuals

Mace's visuals are simply one of the best for a home fighting game. Obviously, it's no Virtua Fighter 3 orTekken 3, but it's beautifully done and has a nice original aspect to it, and these days, original anythings in a fighting game are a rare thing indeed. The characters are smashed and loaded with polygons so they seem nice and realistic, and realistic textures are glued to those polys too. Lord Demois is gorgeous and the undead skeleton, Dregan, looks frighteningly real sometimes. But beyond the cast lies the scenery, backgrounds, and settings of this visual masterpiece. To sum it up, all the backgrounds are extremely well done, setting the tone of each of the characters' lairs. The Executioner and Mordos Kull stages are sights to behold, complete with death traps and all. Tons of glimmering special effects litter the move list of Mace, complete with fire, energy balls, lava pits, electricity, and water. Plus, there's no over-excessive amounts of gore/blood and all the blows deal realistic sprays and gushes of it. Nice, nice, nice. OK, so visually Mace hits hard... on to the sound...

audio

Mace starts off with some fitting music, nice easy, medieval. Then, when you boot up and start the first battle, you get hit with some crazy hard rock tunes, then some Japanese hoots and drums, then some fantasy strings, it all depends on the stage being played on, because every stage has an accompanying melodious track. Even though not all of them are outstanding and mind-blowing, none detract from the game experience. The sound effects are fitting, clangs from weapons, smacks and biffs from body hits, stomps from hitting turf, it's all just fine. The voices and "oomffs" are of similar quality. No bad voice acting or choices and the samples are nice and clear... the way they always should be.

gameplay

If you rent Mace, make sure you give it some time, because Mace will seem incredibly slow to any gamer AT FIRST. Mace's combo system isn't like a lot of the other games you've played and the way the game plays is a little different as well. The special moves are MK and Street Fighter traditional style, and there are only three attack buttons(that's all that's needed, actually). There's Street Fighter type blocking (hold back/down back) and an evade button, useful for those beautiful 3D-environments. I don't know why it appears to be slow upon first times, but it does, nevertheless, it soon overcomes it. Once you get into the game and become attached to some of the characters doing their combos, special moves, and fatalities, you're hooked. I'm telling you, playing with some crazy people is great fun... beyond fun.

multiplayer

See Gameplay above.

overall

In case you were wondering, it's arcade perfect. If you like fighting games, I suggest you pick up Mace. If you're somewhat skeptical, rent it and play it for at least 5 hours, for then you shall know whether it is truly your cup of joe. Personally, I enjoy it thoroughly, and I would rank it in the top seven games for Nintendo 64 so far. Atari did a lot to make Mace stick out, and I appreciate that. It's hard to come across a fighter that hasn't had 2 sequels, extreme gore, jaded characters, and insane combos. Back to basics, folks, and Mace is basic at its best. Beautiful art, deep story, enjoyable music, 2-player goodness, tons of moves, combos, and special characters to boot. To me, it's all good.

final score 9.1/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Mikey Veroni
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