God of War VS Spartan: Total Warrior

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It might sound like a shallow and unintelligent thing to say, considering the rich tapestry of culture throughout the ages that we could all stand to learn more about, but it’s amazing how many historical periods make for really great video games. I’m not just talking about the same World War II shooter getting made over and over, but eras, civilizations and dynasties that will be remembered for as long as man lives on Earth. Rome, Egypt, Ancient Greece… to be honest, those are the big three to me, but from Vikings to Victorians, history makes for some great experiences in just about all forms of media.

And there was one game I played as a child that really piqued my interest in Ancient Greece. It’s a truly fascinating topic, and I’m pleased that I could be introduced to it from such an interesting and well-made game. I am talking, of course, about… neither of the games this blog will be about, but a city-building game from Sierra, along the lines of Caesar III and Pharaoh, named ‘Master of Olympus: Zeus’. Like the two games I just mentioned, it was a pretty straightforward game about building cities, taking care of your population, and, if necessary, not only fending off the attacks of your enemies, but also sending your armies to take the fight to them. Oh, and also every once in a while A MINOTAUR COULD STOMP INTO YOUR CITY AND MURDER EVERYONE!

Yeah, this was the Greek Mythology Sim City you never knew you wanted until now. And you should definitely buy it, even though it’s one of those crazy old-fashioned games that you have to actually buy the CD for (Update: It has now been released on Steam for £6.99 and is absolutely worth a buy.) The way mythology was woven into the fabric of the game was masterful, and it’s because of it that Master of Olympus: Zeus is probably my favourite of those three city-building games. An angry God could unleash a monster in your city – and they were always themed too, Poseidon with the Kraken, Hades with Cerberus; admittedly by the time you got to Dionysus, you’d probably be thinking ‘Who?’ – and you had to perform tasks to summon the heroes who could kill them. You could build glorious sanctuaries to deities who deemed you worthy to worship them (I would say ‘Sheesh, God complex much?’ but… y’know… they are,) and they would happily wander your city, bringing benefits and troubles of their own. Hermes completed requests for you from other cities – which was actually really annoying when your enemies rudely demanded things from you and you had the option to say ‘Piss off, Xerxes,’ but Hermes would jump in before you could say it – and Ares wandered through town with his dragon in tow, who would wander off to fight anyone foolish to invade a city populated by the God of War.

It honestly feels a little bit… well, disrespectful is the wrong word, but the idea that thousands of years ago, this pantheon was worshipped by hundreds of thousands, and to me they’re just characters in a video game – with amazingly accurate voice-acting (ok, so I know I can’t exactly say ‘accurate’ when Demeter and Aphrodite weren’t real, but hopefully you understand what I mean) – feels a bit weird. But I’m glad I got to play this game as a child. I really can’t over-state how wonderful it is. It’s a simple city-building game where you can be such a tremendous leader that the Gods and Goddesses themselves will leap to your defence.

Then I grew up, and played games where you murdered them.

And finally, we have arrived at the topic of this blog. God of War and Spartan: Total Warrior; two excellent and strikingly similar yet different games that take a violent look at Greek Mythology. Medusas, Minotaurs, Maenads, Muses and more. Gods and gore. Trojan Horses and tracheotomies. Two hack’n’slash games where you play as a One Man Army – otherwise known as ‘A Spartan’ – who can take down legions of soldiers effortlessly and even go toe to toe with the Gods themselves.

So pop on your winged sandals and get ready to take a minor tour (I acknowledge the awfulness of this pun but refuse to remove it) of these two games, themselves a part of the rich, ancient history of an era known as ‘2005’.

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God of War was released exclusively for the PS2 in 2005. The company behind the game, SCE Santa Monica Studio, didn’t have many big releases under their belt, and decided to take a risk making a hack’n’slash game based on Greek Mythology in the same engine as their 2001 racing game, Kinetica. They started work on the game in 2002 under the name ‘Dark Odyssey’, with the developers later describing what they were aiming for as “merging the action of Devil May cry with the puzzle-solving of Ico”. David Jaffe, God of War’s creator and game director, stated that he took inspiration from Capcom’s Onimusha series, and, in his own words, thought “Let’s do that with Greek Mythology.”

God of War is the story of Kratos, once a proud captain in the Spartan army, who won several battles but found himself on the losing end against the army of a Barbarian King, which I am capitalising because that’s actually his official name. Desperate, he pledged eternal servitude to Ares in return for sparing his men and giving him the power to win the battle. Ares accepted, bonded the Blades of Chaos to Kratos, and the Barbarian King soon found himself minus a head. However, it turned out Ares wasn’t the most benevolent boss, and he quickly tricked Kratos into leading an attack on a village where he would unknowingly kill his wife and daughter. Given that he didn’t stay unknowing for long, and understandably plagued with nightmares, he renounced his servitude to Ares and vowed to serve other Gods in an attempt to earn the chance to forget what he had done. The game picks things up from a decade onwards, when Kratos is met by Athena, who has a task for him that, if carried out, she promises will see him forgiven for his crimes. The task? Kill Ares.

To say that God of War was well-received would be a gigantic understatement. It spawned a hugely-successful franchise – arguably Sony’s most famous – a multitude of sequels and spin-offs, and sold more than four and a half million copies, making it the eleventh best-selling PS2 game of all-time, beating out every available entry from the Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, Sly Cooper, Madden, and even Guitar Hero series. Kratos has guest-starred in Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur, Hot Shots Golf (?!?), PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale; even the PS4 port of Shovel Knight! With a generous handful of Game of the Year awards, a spot in the Top 10 on IGN’s ‘Top 25 Best PS2 Games of All Time’ list, and netting David Jaffe ‘Designer of the Year’ at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2005, no-one can deny that God of War exceeded all expectations.

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Spartan: Total Warrior comes to us from Creative Assembly, the makers of Rome: Total War, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to make that connection, even with ‘Total War – Total Warrior’ right there in the name. The project grew out of the desire of the team to make a ‘Total War’ game for consoles, but when it became apparent that technical limitations just weren’t going to budge, they settled on an action game that remained remarkably impressive on a technical level for the sheer number of soldiers and enemies you can have on-screen at once, each with their own AI. Creative Assembly have continued to make Total War games on PC, and you may have heard of a small, lesser-known game they released more recently named ‘Alien: Isolation’.

In Spartan: Total Warrior, you control… a Spartan, who is totally a warrior. His name is never given; he is simply referred to as ‘Spartan’ or sometimes ‘The Spartan’. Regardless, in 300 BC, King Leonidas (this sounds familiar,) rules Sparta, the only city-state still holding out against the conquering forces of the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Tiberius. After thwarting a Roman attack, the Spartan and his allies, including plucky comic relief brothers Castor and Pollux, sneak into the Roman camp and steal the Blades of Athena, led there by a dark, mysterious and demonic-sounding voice in the Spartan’s head that is most definitely not Ares. The Spartan fulfils task after task and strikes more blows against the Roman forces, but definitely-not-Ares seems to have his own plan for the soldier.

The game wasn’t nearly as well-received as God of War, but none of its reviewers had anything too negative to say about it either, and it earned several 8/10s and ratings of 4 out of 5 stars. Opinion is rather split on whether the combat is a button-masher or a more complex action game, but they definitely had a positive experience overall. IGN’s Juan Castro praised the game engine in particular, “Creative Assembly crafted a marvellous game engine, too, one that affords spectacular encounters filled with more action, blood and “Holy crap did you see that!?” moments than we’d care to mention.”

So let’s pit Spartan against Spartan. Best of five rounds.

Graphics

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It’s hard to compare which of these games is most successful in terms of their graphical goals and the results, given that God of War wants to look pretty – the game, not the protagonist – and Spartan: Total Warrior was aiming for a more technically impressive result, but regardless, both of them are very good-looking games. So while it’s kind of an ‘apples and oranges’ situation, let’s take a closer look at both of them.

Straight off the bat, God of War looks incredibly good, especially considering that the PS2 is probably the least-advanced console of its generation. The cutscenes are of the highest quality, and while the game would probably be kicked out of the PS2 art exhibit to make room for Team Ico and maybe the port of Rez too, God of War and its sequel are still two of the first games that come to mind when I think of good-looking PS2 games. The characters, the environments, the backgrounds – everything is of a very high quality, and while the interior of Pandora’s temple can sometimes get a little bit repetitive, there’s generally a decent amount of variety between areas, enemies and bosses.

Spartan: Total Warrior is a little more repetitive and little less exciting, but let’s start with a major positive; the developers were aiming for a game in which more than 100 enemies can be onscreen at once, each with their own AI and animations, and they accomplished this. It really gives weight to the more intense battle scenes when you have your own army at your back, and they’re all charging at the enemies, usually a fair distance behind you, because hey, you’re still the main character and you need to kill at least half of the enemies single-handedly to continue, but it’s impressive that everything moves so smoothly, whether you’re playing on GameCube, PS2 or Xbox.

Back to God of War, and while it never has a moment that quite lives up to the frantic battles of Spartan: Total Warrior, that’s really more of a difference in design. The game’s boss battles have excellent pace, and there’s a nice variety of locations in the game. On the course of Kratos’ adventure, you’ll be on the bow of a boat in the middle of a storm – and later, Hydra attack – and then there’s Athens, the ruins that Cronos is destined to wander, Pandora’s Temple, and Hell. And for background details, there’s one part of Pandora’s Temple where you descend to a cave and in the background there’s an eternal fight being waged between a group of soldiers and an unending army of skeletons, which… to be honest, I always thought looked really goofy, given that it’s the same fifteen seconds of animation repeated ad infinitum, but it’s still a nice touch. I’m not sure how else I can say it, but God of War is a game that looks really good.

The locations have a little more repetition in Spartan: Total Warrior, as my main recollection of the levels includes an underground cave, underground cavern, and of course, a sewer level. But there are some very real highlights too – there’s a level in Athens which is gigantic and open-ended, and the enemy/monster design is always interesting. Ultimately, there’s a little less variety, and it’s a little less detailed, but I still remember a few moments that blew me away. It’s just that, outside of having lots of allies/enemies appearing on screen at the same time, none of them had anything to do with the graphics of the game, either in design or implementation.

I’m going to give this one to God of War, because while both of these games manage some impressive accomplishments, God of War definitely has a much bigger ‘Wow!’ factor. From the moment you step through the gates of Athens and see Ares standing hundreds of feet tall, smashing the city from miles away, to the moment when you skirt around the edge of the temple on Cronos’ back and the camera pans out to see how far up you are, God of War is a fantastic looking game with fantastic presentation to boot.

Gameplay

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Right, down to the serious stuff now. Both games allow you to gleefully disembowel dozens of enemies at a time, but which game does it in a way that’s the most fun? God of War lets you rip monsters’ heads off, whereas Spartan: Total Warrior allows you to turn dozens of people to stone at once and then smash the statues. In the end, this is probably going to come down to weapons, so let’s compare.

God of War really only has one main weapon; the Blades of Chaos, which are replaced by the Blades of Athena and then Blades of Exile in the following games (pretty sure Blades of Exile is also a top-down action-RPG by Spiderweb Software too). He also has a few magic attacks and alternate swords, but you’re mainly going to hacking and slashing your way through things with the Blades of Chaos, and lucky you, because they’re very fun to use. The blades are bonded to Kratos with chains, which means that when you attack, you’re actually swinging the chains around and smacking enemies with the swords at the end of them, which is probably why it takes so long to kill everything. Seriously, this is one of the dumbest ways to attack people in a video game that I’ve ever seen. But, again, it is genuinely fun, and there’s an extensive system of combos that can be summed up as ‘keep hitting square for light attacks and hit triangle if you want to throw in a heavy attack’.

Spartan: Total Warrior definitely holds the advantage when it comes to quantity, as the number of weapons and the priority that they’re given is much better than in God of War. Every new weapon in the game gets some build-up and pay-off. You get the Medusa Shield after a boss fight against a Roman general who is weaponizing the power of Medusa to turn chunks of your army to stone, you get the Spear of Achilles after a journey through an ancient ruin specifically to retrieve it, and you get a war hammer named ‘Death-Biter’ after fighting a boss fight against a barbarian king who happens to be Beowulf, and right after you get each new weapon, there’s a section where you have to use it against an oncoming horde of enemies, giving you a good feel for what the weapon can do, which you’ve probably already got a good idea of as you’ve just seen its power in action.

There is a decent variety of sub-weapons and magic attacks in God of War. There are items such as the head of a Medusa, which – I feel like by this point you can figure out yourselves what this does – and most of your magic attacks are given to you by the Gods themselves. Poseidon’s Rage summons a bolt of lightning that electrifies the area, Zeus’ Fury gives you a long-range attack in the form of throwable lightning bolts, Hades allows you to summon souls of fallen enemies to assist you in your fights, and the Rage of the Gods gives Kratos a little super-mode when his attacks deal massive damage to everything around him. These are all fine, although it is a little funny how little effort goes into replacing these attacks in God of War 2 when it was necessary. Poseidon’s Rage because Cronos’ Rage, Rage of the Gods becomes Rage of the Titans… it’s no wonder Kratos turned out the way he did when he’s surrounded by beings whose only ability is ‘Rage’.

Even without taking the range of weapons into consideration, Spartan: Total Warrior still has multiple different play-styles and approaches to battle. Each weapon has a heavy attack and a light attack, and they also have radial attacks that deal with surrounding enemies – very useful when you’re being swarmed – and every weapon has its own special magical attack too. The Blades of Athena let you charged through enemies, cutting all their heads off, the Spear of Achilles give you a brief but powerful Super Mode, and the Medusa Shield calls down beams from the sky that petrify surrounding enemies. There’s also a Rage meter that builds up, and if you have enough of it, you can unleash it to instantly kill a particularly annoying enemy. Ancient Greece really was all about the rage, wasn’t it?

What decides this category comes down to this. It’s been about 4-5 years since I last played Spartan: Total Warrior and I could still remember that you have a sword and shield, the blades of Athena, the spear of Achilles, Death-Biter the magic hammer and your shield later becomes the Medusa shield, and all of these weapons have their own special, radial, and magical attacks. I played God of War about 2 years ago and I had to look up a weapons guide to recall if there were any weapons in the game other than the Blades of Chaos, because you will really never ever care about any of the others. Point goes to the Spartan.

Plot

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It would be pretty egotistic of me to assume that anyone reading this is familiar with my old writing on ScrewAttack, but I did write several hundred blogs there back in the day, and there were some recurring themes from those blogs that you could’ve picked up. I thought that Navi’s annoyance in Ocarina of Time was greatly overrated, I thought that Earthbound was the most underrated game of all-time, and I definitely used words like ‘overrated’ and ‘underrated’ far too frequently, without really understanding what either meant. But on top of these three themes, there was a fourth. I fucking hated Kratos.

This was partly out of childish spite, because I had spent my childhood building beautiful cities in ancient Greece thanks to Master of Olympus: Zeus and Kratos was smashing them all up and murdering the people who built them, but also because (and this feeling was hugely amplified by God of War 2 and especially God of 3) Kratos was a whiny petulant psychopathic man-child who brought all of his problems on himself. Even in the first game, the event that kicks off the plot is that Kratos is tricked into killing his family because Ares orders him to slaughter some random village and disguises the fact that the village is his. This immediately paints Kratos as an ultraviolent idiot acting on the whims of an ultraviolent God, who genuinely didn’t even care that the innocent people he was murdering were innocent, right up until the moment that he realises that they’re innocent people that he knows, and therefore it’s bad. Also, Kratos ends up in Ares’ servitude because he’s losing a battle and vows to pledge lifelong service to Ares in exchange for his life, so Ares could have literally just commanded him to kill his family instead of tricking him.

Let’s not forget that Spartan: Total Warrior exists too, and it has a story that evolves more carefully over the course of the game than God of War. You begin life as a Spartan who is a Total Warrior, leading a fight against invading Romans. From there you sneak into a Roman camp to sabotage the invaders, then travel to Troy to seek the Spear of Achilles, then meet up with Archimedes in Athens before making your way to Rome to find Emperor Tiberius. That’s kind of a CliffsNotes version of the plot, but it’s generally an enjoyable story incorporating several elements of actual Roman/Greek history and characters, with a mythological twist, such as boss fights against the Hydra, Medusa and Minotaur.

The weird thing about God of War is that I hated the story before I played it, but when I did play it a few years ago, I hated it considerably less. It helps that the first game has Kratos at his least-douchey, and it even explores some pretty strong themes, like how Kratos is genuinely filled with irrepressible self-loathing for his past actions, and even after he defeats Ares (uh, spoiler warning for this 13 year old game) then he’s so tormented by the memories of his actions that he straight-up tries to kill himself. I just wish that this was explored further in the next two games, instead of Sony choosing to represent his feelings by having him be really angry all the time and wanting to kill everything.

The greatest advantage Spartan: Total Warrior has in this category is a stronger supporting cast as well. In God of War, there’s Kratos, Ares, Athena, and Kratos’ deceased family. Everyone else could be replaced by a talking pie and nothing of value would be lost. The Spartan’s King is Leonidas and his supporting cast are Castor and Pollux, brothers who are respectively big, strong, stupid and loyal, and smaller, weaker but more agile, and Electra, Queen of the Amazons who somehow ended up imprisoned in that Roman camp the Spartan ends up ambushing. There are memorable villains too, with the despicable Sejanus, right-hand man to Emperor Tiberius, who himself is one of those wonderfully cowardly villains. Also, in case these characters are in danger of sounding two-dimensional, it’s worth noting that Sejanus enters one scene by riding in on the back of a skeletal dragon, and the first line of dialogue afterwards is Pollux shouting “Hey Sejanus, your mother’s even uglier than you!” Classic Spartan banter.

I went back and forth on this one for a while, what with my burning hatred of Kratos, and the much stronger supporting cast of Spartan: Total Warrior, but ultimately I have to give this to God of War. Kratos’ initial game is him at his most interesting, at least until the 2018 revival, and story is never much of a focus in Spartan: Total Warrior. After the final boss and brief explanation of how things turn out for everyone, Spartan: Total Warrior ends with the credits rolling past in front of the same motionless background that the menu of the game has, with the same menu music blaring in the background. God of War was definitely trying harder here.

Music

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Cutting the legs off of a Minotaur and sharpening them with your blades until you can throw them, one by one, into the eyes of another Minotaur is something that just doesn’t work unless you have the right kind of tune to go with it. Luckily, God of War and Spartan: Total Warrior both boast impressive soundtracks that manage to breathe life into the rich mythological tapestry of this historical era.

I’ll start with God of War, and I’ll open with ‘Vengeful Spartan’, which is Kratos’ theme, the main menu theme, and also a brief summation of the plot. It lets you know exactly what kind of game God of War is and also what kind of music it’s going to have. Dark, moody and dramatic, but also the kind of thing that would get you hyped to rip a Cyclops’ eye from his head. God of War has other amazing tracks, but they all fall into that same genre. The kind of music that’s sad, angry and epic. If you went to a friend’s house and saw their YouTube history and it was nothing but the God of War soundtrack, you’d probably want to make sure they weren’t in possession of any weapons.

The first track I’m picking from Spartan: Total Warrior is named ‘Heavy Clouds’ and it’s by far not the best song on the soundtrack, but it is the most memorable for me, probably due to that heavy drum beat that starts around 1:45. I’ll be honest, while looking through the soundtrack to this game, I’ve discovered that it’s actually far, far better than I’ve ever given it credit for, but part of the reason for that is that this is the music I heard the most as it plays during the longer, more empty stretches as you explore abandoned ruins and occasionally fight a wave or two of the undead on your quest to retrieve the Spear of Achilles. And while it’s not the best track, it’s still a good indicator of the sound of the game, featuring modern-sounding – honestly, almost funky – drum and bass as the backing for your exploration of the underground caves.

I couldn’t cover both of these soundtracks without including at least one Ares boss tune, so here’s the one from God of War. As always, the combination of ominous chanting, booming horns, tension-inducing strings and furious trumpets – it sounds like I’m just throwing adjectives and instruments together, but bear with me – is as effective as ever. This is truly a piece of music to back the final showdown between the God of War, and his former servant, hell-bent on revenge at any cost. Moody, melodramatic, and excellent.

My follow-up pick for Spartan: Total Warrior is ‘Death ‘n Destruction’, which starts off, as all tracks for games set in Ancient Greece/Rome should, with a record needle scratch and a remix of a character saying “This is a day of destiny!” I really enjoy every element of this track, which plays when you enter the Coliseum and start slaughtering Romans left and right. The booming horns, the anxious violins, and the rhythmic modern beats that have no right to be as good nor as fitting as they are. Credit to Jeff Van Dyck and James Vincent, who both created every one of the 67 tunes on the game’s soundtrack, and the former of whom was kind enough to upload them all to YouTube.

I had something of an epiphany while writing this section. I had always considered that this would be a shoe-in for God of War, given that I honestly couldn’t remember very much of Spartan: Total Warrior’s soundtrack, and if I can’t remember it, it can’t be that spectacular. But now I realise that all of the music I thought I could remember from God of War, which I’ve played much more recently, is actually from God of War 2 and 3, and it wasn’t until I listened to the God of War soundtrack again that I remembered some of them. So I’m giving this to Spartan: Total Warrior because that drum beat in ‘Heavy Clouds’ has been stuck in my head for the last five years, and will continue to be stuck for the foreseeable future.

Bosses

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God of War has always had a reputation of upholding the fine tradition of huge, larger-than-life boss fights, often coming so early in the game that it gives you a great idea of exactly how epic and violent things are going to get. And having played the original trilogy, I can confirm that this reputation is really the result of God of War 2, a game which packed in so many boss fights that the body-count of named characters is probably higher than the overall number of named characters in God of War.

The game opens with a stormy night at sea in which it quickly becomes apparent that Kratos needs to destroy a multi-headed Hydra, first by weakening the secondary heads and pinning them to the ship using some kind of inexplicable but very helpful wooden chandelier, and then by fighting the main head and bashing it against the mast of the ship so many times that the mast snaps, setting you up to lash your blades to the Hydra’s head and pull it down onto the wreckage, impaling it through the roof of its mouth and out of the top of its eye. And then the smaller heads of the Hydra inexplicably explode. It’s a very good set-up for what God of War is all about, and it’s fun to play and fun to watch.

The first level of Spartan: Total Warrior also ends in a boss fight which has the same scope of scale but doesn’t quite measure up in terms of gameplay. After running from area to area, repelling the Roman invaders from Sparta, it’s revealed that the Romans somehow managed to craft and build a working Talos – a giant bronze soldier who fights for them – and you have to manage your time carefully between fighting off endless waves of Romans and prepping and firing your catapults in order to keep the thing from smashing down the main gates to the city. The entire time you’re running around and clashing with the Roman army, the Talos is in the background, tentatively stepping towards your city, and if he gets too close, it’s an instant game over. It’s a great way of adding tension to an already fun fight.

God of War only has three more boss fights in the entire game, against a Medusa, a Minotaur, and Ares himself. The boss fight against the Minotaur is fun, and probably the best fight in the game, having multiple stages where you have to stun it with damage and knock its armour off with a ballista, and once the armour is gone, the ballista proves much more fatal, but the final boss fight against Ares could’ve been better. It’s very dramatic and climactic, but you’re using the Blade of Olympus, which you’ve never used before, and none of its moves are particularly powerful or interesting. The entire boss fight is avoiding exactly the same pattern of Ares’ attacks about 15 times, and getting a few counter hits in once he’s finished, and then… that’s it.

Spartan: Total Warrior definitely wins out in quantity, as you fight the Talos, the Medusa, a Roman General named Crassus who is controlling the Medusa, a Minotaur, the Hydra, the Praetorian Prefect Sejanus (multiple times, including the aforementioned ‘riding a skeletal dragon’ incident,) Beowulf, and finally Ares himself. The boss fight with the Hydra is my personal favourite, as you have to blow up each head with a fully-charged magic attack from the Spear of Achilles and then blow the neck up with a flaming arrow, but generally speaking, while some of the boss fights are a little underwhelming – the Minotaur in God of War is about 20 times your size, the Minotaur in Spartan: Total Warrior is about 5 times your size – then they require a little more thought than ‘hit hit hit now dodge now hit hit hit now dodge’ over and over.

This one’s going to Spartan: Total Warrior. God of War’s boss battles might be a little more intense, but Spartan: Total Warrior brings the same intensity to a few of their fights and then has half a dozen perfectly acceptable boss fights left over. This really is a 4 VS 10 situation, and I found half of God of War’s boss fights to be plain, bordering on forgettable, including the final boss himself.

Final Verdict

Well, I’ve talked about them both long enough. I really don’t have anything else to add except that I would recommend both of these games – probably Spartan: Total Warrior moreso because there’s a good chance that that’s the game less of you have played – but honestly, I had a great time with both of them. But only one of them can claim the title of ‘Supreme Hack’n’Slash featuring a Spartan protagonist fighting famous figures from Greek Mythology released on the sixth generation of consoles in 2005’.

Blades of Chaos VS Blades of Athena. Spartan VS Spartan. Undead Minotaur VS Skeletal Dragon.

The winner is…

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Yeah, that’s not the ‘God of War’ game that we’re covering, but I will take any excuse to post that picture. And in case that doesn’t give it away…

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When I started writing these blogs, I was really excited about getting to write exciting twists and giving credit to lesser-known games that were, in many cases, better than their mainstream counterparts. And if you can’t tell by the victory of triple-A, franchise-spawner God of War against the respectable but oft-overlooked Spartan: Total Warrior, then that really isn’t going very well for me. But I can’t deny, as close as this was, God of War is just the better game.

Spartan: Total Warrior wins in so many categories – technological advancement, supporting cast, boss fights, hell, even level design – but God of War’s ultraviolent adventure through Ancient Greece was the beginning of an award-winning series for a reason, and that reason is that it’s really good! And Spartan: Total Warrior finds itself getting a little repetitive and a little boring in places that just didn’t happen in God of War. Massive credit goes to Creative Assembly for putting this title out in the first place, and I hope that with the success of Alien: Isolation, they float the idea of Spartan: Total Warrior 2. Unfortunately, their first effort just wasn’t enough to topple the titanic tyrant of Sparta and the new God of War, Kratos.

That’s all from me, so as always, thanks for reading, and next time on Game Wars, I’ll be comparing the first two games I ever matched up in this series, Golden Sun and Mother 3.

Thanks for reading!

-The Dopefish

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