Star Gladiator Episode I: Final Crusade is one of the lesser known fighting games in Capcom's long list of fighters, notable for being Capcom's first attempt to make a mark in the 3D world of fighting games like Virtua Fighter, Tekken, and the Soul series in the nineties. They did try hard to make the game different from the others by using a different hardware for the original PlayStation, similar to the Street Fighter EX series and the first Rival Schools game on the same build. It has a Plasma gauge, similar to most Capcom fighting games, but what set it apart from the others was the fact that different command inputs (via a specific fighting combo) were required to make the Plasma Strike (super move) work.The story of Star Gladiator takes place in the future year of 2348, in which intergalactic travel is very common and that mankind is able to interact with many different alien species. Dr. Edward Bilstein: a well-renowed and prestigious Nobel Prize winning physicist for the Earth Federation, uncovers the secret of humanity's sixth sense and discovers how to use it as a new type of energy source called Plasma Power. While Bilstein is able to gain fame and fortune for his discovery of Plasma Power, the Earth Federation initiates a private investigation into the matter and is shocked to learn that Bilstein had used actual human bodies during his Plasma Power experiments. Through this horrifying revelation, Bilstein is arrested and exiled from Earth for his heinous crimes, being placed in a prison satellite that orbits the Planet Zeta. Four years later, Bilstein, who is now in a cybernetic body, escapes from the prison and gathers his own cadre of fighters and forces, calling his new group "The Fourth Empire" and declaring his personal conquest of the universe. Realizing that Bilstein must be stopped, the Earth Federation decides to gather people who are able to use Plasma Power in their own right and attempt to destroy the Fourth Empire before they're able to conquer Earth and the rest of the universe.The character roster is rather small but somewhat memorable for a fighting game and Capcom did a good job to make an effort in giving the series some depth, similar to that of the Star Wars franchise. This game introduced us to several unique faces with their own weapons.Despite the effort on the PlayStation with the other Capcom games, Star Gladiator did not set the benchmark like Street Fighter. However, it did manage to warrant a sequel for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000, Plasma Sword: Nightmare of Bilstein (originally, Star Gladiator 2). It dropped the first game's Plasma Combo system in favor of the traditional Street Fighter-esque method of unleashing super moves and also, it had introduced fourteen new characters, though ten of them (aside from their designs and original stories) mirrored most of the original cast in terms of weaponry and movesets.While the series hasn't seen another entry since, a few characters have made cameo appearances in the crossover games (Marvel Vs Capcom 2, Capcom vs. SNK, the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series, Capcom Fighting Evolution/Jam, Tatsunoko Vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars and Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3).It has a character sheet for this game.
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