One of the many fighting games that tried to copy Mortal Kombat
Released for the short-lived 3DO
, Way of the Warrior
was one of the first Naughty Dog
creations. It was largely made in basements and houses of the developers, using their friends to represent the digitized, live-action fighters.
During the early stages, it received good previews. In the end, however, it was panned by critics. The fact that it was released on the 3DO (which had controllers that were difficult to use) did not help at all. Nevertheless, it is considered better than most Mortal Kombat
imitators of the time.
The plot revolves around a one-on-one fighting tournament in a mountaintop citadel in the Himalayas. The tournament is held once every century to determine the best fighter in the world. Said fighter is then given an entry in the "Book of Warriors," a compilation of the life stories and fighting techniques of the world's greatest fighters. The rest of the world either prospers or falls into despair in line with the good/evil alignment of the last winner. This now presents a problem as there is only one more blank page in the book, and the final winner will tip the scales towards good or evil forevermore.
The game's soundtrack is by Rob Zombie
, specifically the White Zombie
album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
Despite it's poor reception, Way of the Warrior
was considered good enough to give Naughty Dog the chance to keep producing games, which ended up in video game jewels like Crash Bandicoot (1996)
, Jak and Daxter
, and Uncharted
This game provides examples of:
- Acting for Two: Jason Rubin, co-founder of Naughty Dog, is both the Ninja and Konotori.
- All There in the Manual: The instruction book had fairly fleshed out bios for the cast, many of whom knew each other to various degrees before being invited to the tournament. Among other things, the Ninja is pals with Major Gaines, and long-time enemies with both Konotori and the Dragon.
- Anime Chinese Girl: Nikki-Chan.
- A Wizard Did It: The Book of Warriors is "written by magic, in the blood of champions." Presumably, said magic is why the book influences the world along the path of good or evil depending on the alignment of the last fighter entered.
- Bonus Boss: With some trouble, you could fight palette swaps of Fox, Dragon, and Major Gaines; beating them would net you a fight with Gulab Jamun.
- Breath Weapon: Shaky Jake shoots fire out of his mouth. Blame the Jim Bean.
- Bruce Lee Clone: If not this, what else would you call Dragon?
- Cast from Hit Points: Major Gaines loses life while roided up.
- Conspicuous CG: Kull and the High Abbot.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: High Abbot and Kull can cast every Skull Magic spell.
- Convection Schmonvection: One stage is set on a platform floating on a pool of
orange Jell-O lava.
- Cult Sound Track: One of the selling points (And arguably the only thing that people still like) about this game was the soundtrack by White Zombie.
- Dem Bones:
- Kull the Despoiler.
- The guardian of the Book of Warriors, also the announcer, is disembodied talking skull.
- Determinator: Kull, who is not actually part of the tournament ladder and seems to come back through sheer willpower.
Kull: Not even death shall keep my name from the Book of Warriors!
- Digitized Sprites
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The ninja character bears the descriptive moniker of... Ninja.
- Follow the Leader: From Mortal Kombat, of course. Supposedly, this game was made to secure seed money from publisher Universal Interactive Studios for the creation of Crash Bandicoot in exchange for a Mortal Kombat killer.
- Foreshadowing: The graveyard stage comes up early in the tournament ladder; the final boss is in the background.
- Hurricane of Puns: The entire cast went heavy on the puns, except for Fox.
- The fatalities seem to attract this:
Konotori: [Decapitating the opponent] "What's the matter? Lose your head?"
The Ninja: [Disemboweling the opponent] "You don't have the guts."
Shakey Jake: [Impaling the opponent on his staff] "Stick with it!"
- To a lesser extent, Skull Magic:
High Abbot: [Performing the shrinking spell] "Low Abbot!"
- Iaijutsu Practitioner: Nobunaga.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The High Abbot is essentially this.
- Jump Physics: The characters leap like they're on the moon.
- Mirror Match: Referred to as a "Shadow Match," your character's mirror is a translucent shadow instead of the traditional pallet swap.
- Not Drawn to Scale: The game tried to mimic Samurai Shodown's scaling backgrounds and combatants depending on their distance from one another, but there's very little consistency in how the fighters get zoomed. At one point, one character will tower over another; the next they will be evenly sized.
- Public Domain Character: Nobunaga...Nobunaga, Hm...
- Shaped Like Itself: Kull the Despoiler's fighting style is listed as "Despoiler." The announcer also announces the beginning of the fight against him as "Kull!" instead of "Round 1."
- Sigil Spam: A three-sided Yin-Yang◊ is featured prominently in the game, including on the announcer's forehead. The third side is red and bleeds over the other two. He helpfully explains that it represents good, evil, and the pain caused by the suffering between them.
- Shout-Out: The Book of Warriors is the Necronomicon from Evil Dead.
- Super Mode: Major Gaines, thanks to modified steroids, can grow bigger and stronger using a special command.
- Underwear of Power: Gulab Jamun.
- The Voiceless: Fox, who's voice track consists of various grunts. He was supposed to have normal spoken lines, but the voice actor became unavailable at the last minute and they decided to go with the grunting.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Dragon and Major Gaines.