Feel the wrath of Rome as you viciously slay your enemies in Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance. You are the undefeated Invictus Thrax, the champion of the former emperor of Rome, but what is it that you’re avenging? For starters, you’re taking revenge for the sudden and mysterious death of the lord that would have set you free. Not only that, you’re also taking vengeance for the fact that, not 10 minutes into the game, your “invincible” hero dies to something we won’t see until later in the game. In order to achieve your objective Thrax will have to kill an insane ruler called Arruntius and stop his plans of destroying Rome.
Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance throws the player straight into the action by giving you a taste of the power you’ll eventually achieve. Arruntius has arranged a mad tournament to celebrate the birth of his new kingdom aptly named Arruntium. Now you’re at the epicenter of the tournament with your best equipment and making mincemeat of your enemies with hardly any trouble. But, uh oh, what’s this? Arruntius has a trump card? And it’s indestructible? Better steel yourself as you awaken in Elysium and get an info dump from two deities who explain to Thrax that Arruntius is borrowing upon the power of two evil entities in order to drive the world into chaos. As always, it’s up to you (the player) to set everything that went wrong on the right path.
This game was originally released on PS2 and Xbox during 2003 to mixed reviews. Polarizing would be a good way to describe Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance as it seemed that many players couldn’t find a middle ground. Either you loved the game or you hated it, with very few people claiming it was mediocre. Thirteen years later and the game is now ported to Windows 10, giving players another opportunity to play as the invincible Thrax. The new version offers improved performance and bug fixes. It features both controller and keyboard support as well for those who prefer a control in their hands.
Speaking of controls, the game is a regular hack and slash beat-em-up in a 3D plane. You’ll attack, defend, and dodge all sorts of mythological enemies while finding collectibles that will increase your power. At times, the game is really challenging and those who like some difficulty to this game might enjoy this aspect more than I did. Where it shines, though, is that the controls feel crisp and responsive which ensures that, as long as you’re aware of your situation, you’ll more than likely come out on top. However, at times I felt the difficulty was a little bit cheap, so I advice you players keep that in mind. Perhaps it’s time that we all revisit Rome once more in Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance.
Available for 5.99 at the windows store on Windows 10.