PSX Mania – 018 – War Gods (1997)

Completion time: 5:39:19

Pardon my French throughout this review. I’m someone who strongly believes you do not need to swear in a review to get your point across, and it looks amateurish. That’s why I ask for forgiveness for what will come out of my mouth here.

War Gods is complete and utter shit.

Oddly enough though, the actual combat system is decent and sound. Each character has at least a fireball, a “catch” trap, and a dashing attack. With another person, friend or stranger, I could see War Gods being entertaining enough. But then you play the single player game, and you realize what a straight up bullshit system the AI is using. I shouldn’t be surprised though – Midway were the kings of absolute ass AI; Mortal Kombat games had spike difficulties starting on the third fighter, NBA Jam and NFL Blitz have rubber-banding AI that automatically becomes gods when losing in the second half.

I’m not a casual fighting game player; while I never did tournaments during my peak, I was a very good Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike player (I mained just about everyone short of Akuma, Makoto, Yang and Q throughout the last 20 years), and a halfway decent Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 player as well (I had a rage inducing Dr. Strange/Rocket Raccoon/Dr. Doom or Wesker team that was awful to try and figure out). I could exploit the 3S CPU almost consistently and get MSF after MSF ratings. I know how to abuse gimmicks and systems in fighting games. I’ve played fighters from Midway to Capcom to SNK to Arc System Works, and everything in-between. So I’m no newbie when it comes to fighters. War Gods has straight up the most asinine difficulty spikes I’ve ever seen in any game.

I mentioned that Mortal Kombat games are notorious for having spikes at the third fight and on. War Gods retains this annoyance, but will magnify it by 300. MK CPU read inputs, countering most of what you do as you do it (throwing a fireball? They’ll jump on the input pressed to complete it). The thing is, each character has “capture” and dash attacks, and they will be relentless with it. 3D means nothing when you can’t move from being relentlessly rushed down by these tactics.

But then there’s the mini boss and the final boss. While the mini boss had an exploitable method of defeating it (space yourself and 3D walk when it splashes, then kick it once), the final boss is way too erratic to sustain any time of plausible and concrete strat. Every idea I had, I swear the CPU was reading my mind and stopped doing what I was baiting it out to do. I only barely, by some miracle, beat the final boss with a modified combination of two cheap strats I thought of. There’s zero semblance of skill application anywhere with War Gods, especially the final boss.

None of this would have been this severe had there been unlimited continues, but War Gods said screw that and gave you between three and eight. I could at least then just repeat the battle over and over if it were unlimited, and not have to fight through the gauntlet of garbage over and over and over. I even put the difficulty to VERY EASY and the final boss fight was still complete and utter bullshit. When I beat the game, I found out though that the difficulty somehow went back to Easy. But still, the reason why Midway fighting games in the arcades were always second rate afterthoughs that were only relevant due to its violent content, was because of these imbecilic spikes in difficulty. Now I could say the same about SNK final bosses, but they are 100% winnable with actual thought and strats, and they even give you continue advantages if you suck too hard, like less boss health, full super meter, etc. When you have to win a fight by luck and not skill, idea application or honest to goodness effort, then you done made a shitty fighter.

War Gods makes Blaster Master Blasting Again feel like it’s a competent work of art. I have not raged at a video game like that in a long time. This was more rage than the two screw spots in Silent Bomber. My only true regret is that I played this on an Xstation, so the game file is on a micro SD card. Had this have been on a disc, I would have literally snapped the thing in two on the mic. An absolute miserable pile of shit video game.

Rating: 0

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