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->''"Some fighters have come for personal glory,''
->''Others have come to fight for those they love,''
->''But all will do their best to be victorious in this tournament''
->''Which will decide their fortunes..."''

''Battle Arena Toshinden'' (simply titled ''Toshinden'' in Japan) is ''the'' first 3D {{fighting game}} franchise where every character toted a weapon of some sort (the first series to do it in 2D was ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown''). It was considered a {{killer app}} when it was released as a PlayStation launch title, and Sony promoted it heavily. However, as the years passed by, it got left in the dust, as it was upstaged by other 3D fighting game franchises such as the ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'', ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'', and the ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soul]]'' series, who continued to innovate and refine their gameplay while ''Toshinden'' remained stagnant. Not quite as fondly remembered as it was back then, but still worth a look.

The story of ''Battle Arena Toshinden'' revolves around a secret fighting tournament known only as the Toshindaibukai and that those who are deemed worthy of participating in it are handed invites by a [[NebulousEvilOrganisation secret group]] known only as the Himitsu Kessha (Secret Society in the English version).

The first game in the series has eight participants competiting in the battle, each of them having their own reasons for heading into the tournament. The second game would be much like the first, except that two new challengers would enter into the fray and that the tournament itself would be nothing more than a mere ruse in order to lure out a specific target named Gaia, who happens to be a former member of the Himitsu Kessha, marked for immediate death after illegally holding the first tournament without the consent of the Himitsu Kessha and that he had tried to start a rebellion against the organization.

The third game in the series would center around a new antagonist group known as the Soshiki (Organization in the English version) and their leader, a power-hungry megalomaniac named Abel. In order to bring a [[GodOfEvil destructive fighting god]] named Agon Teos into the world, Abel and his minions must gather the [[ThePowerOFBlood blood]] of the strongest warriors and targets the Toshinden fighters as their [[HumanSacrifice sacrifices]]. Hunting them down mercilessly with underhanded ways, and hiring assassins and enemies that could bring them in, he then gives the fighters an ultimatum: Participation in the third tournament to corner them and settle things face to face in the ring, or forever find themselves and their loved ones chased down and victimized until they surrender or die trying to escape their grasp.

The fourth and final game in the original series would take place a few years after the events of ''Toshinden 3'' and that it would center around a young man named Subaru Shinjo (the son of [[spoiler: Sho Shinjo]] and [[spoiler: Cupido]]), who sought to find his missing uncle [[spoiler: Eiji]] while participating in a new Toshindaibukai tournament.

The series also has a 2D [[{{Game Boy}} Game Boy port]]. Unlike [[PortingDisaster other fighting game ports was released on the Game Boy]], it's [[PolishedPort actually quite good and entertaining]]. It includes all the 8 playable characters from the first game and 4 bosses (Gaia, Gaia II, Sho, and Uranus). [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome The background music is also outstanding to say the least]]. One weird fact that distinguish it from other 2D fighting games is that keeps its ''Ring Out'' feature from the 3D games, but it's made in such a way it doesn't break the game balance (you've a 3 points ''Ring Out'' meter; until it gets emptied you don't fall). If you have time in your hands, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pxUyuwrW4 give it a look]], it's worth it.

In 2009, the series had gotten a {{spiritual successor}} for the Nintendo Wii in the form of ''War Budokai'' (often called "''Toshinden Wii''" by publications), a weapons-based arena fighter with heavy anime influences which also incorporate skills such as {{summon magic}}.

[[TheAnimeOfTheGame The original games were also adapted into a 2-part OVA anime in 1996]], directed by Masami Obari (who also directed the ''[[VideoGame/FatalFury Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture]]''). It was the first anime DVD released by Creator/CentralParkMedia in the Western market (and possibly the first Western market anime DVD period).

There is also evidence of a long deserted plan for a [[http://www.mmcafe.com/archive/news35.htm Toshinden prequel]], through the pictures found in ''Toshinden Card Quest'', now long known as ''Toshinden Next''. As it stands, ''Next'' was supposed to have delved deeper into the affairs of the four executives of the ''Toshinden'' games, being Gaia, Cupido, Uranus, and Chaos, before what would lead into Gaia's mutiny, and as well into supporting characters mentioned and hinted to in the main series, with the Secret Society's own influences affecting them all as well.

Has a [[Characters/BattleArenaToshinden character sheet]] now.
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!!''Battle Arena Toshinden'' contains the following tropes:

* AllThereInTheManual: Concerning the series' own world and information, much of it is ''hugely'' contained in the many Japanese only development books and strategy guides.
* TheAnimeOfTheGame: A two episode OVA, which was dubbed by U.S. Manga Corps and edited into a single movie.
* BottomlessMagazines: Played straight with Vermilion in ''Toshinden 2'', which did not have any ammunition meters to the point that he was a literal {{game breaker}}. However, this was subverted in ''Toshinden 3''. Nagisa, Adam, and Vermilion all use firearms, but have to reload them occasionally. Vermilion has to do so constantly, because his regular weapon attacks rely exclusively on them. David has six shots in his pistol, but he can't reload it at all.
* CatharsisFactor: {{Invoked|Trope}} with [[EasierThanEasy the easiest difficulty setting]] in ''Toshinden 2'', which is called "Stress Relief".
* CaptainErsatz: Judgment ([[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason Voorhees]]), Zola (ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}) and Ten Count (Music/MichaelJackson).
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Toshinden 3'' in particular, dealing with the antagonistic Organization and their interests into the occult and BloodMagic for their ends.
* DefeatMeansPlayable: Everyone's {{evil counterpart}}s in ''Toshinden 3''.
* DualWielding: Several characters (Tracy and Rachael with their [[DualTonfas tonfas]], Ellis with her [[KnifeNut daggers]], and Vermilion with his Peacemaker and a ''[[SawedOffShotgun shotgun]]'').
* EvilCounterpart: All of the main characters had one, and they were introduced as {{sub boss}}es in ''Toshinden 3''. Look closer, and [[Analysis/BattleArenaToshinden you'll see that they all share special themes in relation to each other.]]
* GaidenGame: ''Battle Arena Toshinden URA'' for the SegaSaturn.
* GuestFighter: VideoGame/EarthwormJim in the PC version of the first game. Rather than having his own attacks, though, he's just a skin swap of Rungo.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: Numbered difficulties in ''Toshinden 2'', the "Stress Relief" and [[HarderThanHard "Impossible"]] levels in ''Toshinden 3''.
* MovesetClone: Eiji and Kayin have the same basic moveset (Rekku [=Zan/Sonic Slash=] and [=Hishouzan/Deadly Raise=]) although with a few differences. Sho functions as the "Akuma" character, with more powerful versions of all of both characters' moves.
* NebulousEvilOrganisation: The Himitsu Kessha (literal translation: "secret society") in the first two games and the Soshiki (literal translation: "organization") in the third game.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Ten Count, one of the "evil" characters in ''Toshinden 3'', looks, sounds and moves suspiciously like [[Music/MichaelJackson a certain gloved pop singer]]... His taunt (the infamous "crotch grab" part of you-know-who's dance routine) will instantly max out the opponent's Overdrive gauge when performed.
* ScoringPoints: Only the first game had this; the others used a timer.
* {{Shotoclone}}: Eiji and his brother Sho; Kayin; Mondo; and their clones.
** Eiji and Kayin even ''do'' look like Ryu and Ken with swords, to boot.
* ShoutOut: In ''Toshinden 2'', Chaos had some secret moves via {{some dexterity required}} commands that are blatant references to other fighting games, usually something made by Creator/{{SNK}} (the specific special moves that Chaos does includes [[VideoGame/FatalFury Terry Bogard]]'s Power Geyser, [[VideoGame/ArtOfFighting Ryo Sakazaki]]'s Haoh Shoko Ken, [[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters Kyo Kusanagi]]'s Serpent Wave, and [[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters Iori Yagami]]'s Dark Thrust).
** As a more blatant example, selecting one of Adam's alternate costumes in ''Toshinden 3'' gives him a human, [[Franchise/StreetFighter Zangief-like]] head.
** In some offical artwork, Abel looks ''a lot'' like [[Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure Dio]].
* [[{{Spinoff}} Spin-off Game]]: ''Toshinden Card Quest'' and ''Puzzle Arena Toshinden''.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''War Budokai'' for the Wii.
* SurprisinglyGoodEnglish: In the first game.
* UpdatedRerelease:
** The Sega Saturn received a port of the first game titled ''Toshinden Remix'' (''Toshinden S'' in Japan), which added an extra character named Cupido to the roster. It was so graphically worse then the [=PS1=] version, that it virtually proved the Saturn was the weaker machine overnight -- a ''really'' bad move for Sega (as better looking 3D fighting games, such as ''[[VideoGame/VirtuaFighter Virtua Fighter 2]]'' and ''VideoGame/FightingVipers'' were later released).
** ''Toshinden URA'' is often mistaken for a port of ''Toshinden 2'', but it's actually a different game with a different fighting system and roster (Gaia, Chaos, Uranus, and Master were replaced by Replicant, Wolf, Ronron, and Ripper). It also had a different story from ''Toshinden 2''[='=]s own, which revolved around a mysterious traveling fighter named Ripper, seeking out his missing sister (who happens to be [[spoiler:Cupido]]) while dealing with a conspiracy that had involved the theft of an advanced fighting robot.
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