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Video Game / War Gods

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"Be careful what you pray for."

War Gods is a 3D fighting game by Midway Games, released in arcades in 1996 and ported to the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation in 1997. With Midway Chicago (better known these days as NetherRealm Studios) still knee-deep in polishing up Mortal Kombat 3 and its eventual Ultimate update, it would be a couple of years before they could enter the burgeoning 3D fighting realm being carved by Tekken and Virtua Fighter. To fill their market void, Midway commissioned a small development team made up of younger staff to take a crack at it, the result being War Gods.

In the distant past, a spaceship carrying a powerful ore with the power to create life crash lands on Earth. Chunks of the Ore are scattered across the planet; over the course of human history, ten mortals find pieces of the Ore, which transforms each of them into immortal warriors. The ten have now gathered to fight over each other's pieces of the Ore.

The game did not make much waves critically or commercially upon release, and its legacy was a long-standing urban legend that it was a testing game for Mortal Kombat 4's hardware. Despite being debunked by Midway Chicago's Ed Boon since release, it was confirmed by co-project lead George Petro that War Gods was indeed an isolated production that didn't even run on MK-related hardware, but rather, the graphics engine of Cruis'n USA.

For the book series, see The War Gods. For the trope, see War God. For the unrelated, yet successful Sony franchise, see God of War.

Troper, you are chosen!

  • Acrofatic: Grox, the sub-boss.
  • A Winner Is You: Despite each character having a specific backstory, everyone shares the same generic ending of possessing the Ore and bringing peace back to the world, regardless of their heroic or villainous alignment.
  • Backstory: Each of the ten characters have their own backstories, and how they become immortals in process.
  • Big Bad: Exor, who dominates the box art and in Midway tradition, is the in-game narrator.
  • Bling of War: Grox.
  • Combos: The combo system is similar to Mortal Kombat 3, complete with damage percent indicator. You can pull a sequential 10-hit combo in the process.
  • Defeat Means Explosion: Defeating Exor in the last round with him results in a satisfying explosion with an epic tune to accompany it.
  • Digitized Sprites: One of the rare games to use this in combination with 3D models; the developers photographed their actors then "wrapped" the skins around the wireframe model while combining it with motion-capture animation.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: This game has a Norse valkyrie, a lookalike of an Egyptian god (who is not the deity, but a graverobber, as per his text), a witch, a Caribbean voodoo priest, an Aztec high priest, a Roman gladiator, a stone idol, a samurai, a modern soldier, and a robot all beating the crap out of each other.
  • Finishing Move: Aside of the usual fatalities, all the characters can end the match with a powerful uppercut or an out-of-the-ring roundhouse kick to their opponents.
  • Fixed-Floor Fighting: The stages' floors have circled ring limits, showcasing the closest thing they have for 3D fighting.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Grox's manner of dress.
  • Healthy Green, Harmful Red: The characters' full health bar is represented by a green colour. As their life depletes, their health bar acquires a red colour.
  • Heroic Second Wind: A recognized if obscure game mechanic in the game. If a player has their health drained down to "Danger" levels without inflicting damage on their opponent, then comes back to win, the announcer will declare "Comeback Victory!" after the end of the round.
  • Immortality Inducer: Each playable fighter has a piece of the ore that makes them explicitly immortal. It does not quite explain how they get superpowers though...
  • Monster Modesty: The only thing hiding Grox's shame is a loincloth... thong... thing.
  • Large and in Charge: Grox is Exor's number two for a reason. A very LARGE reason.
  • Nonindicative Name: War Gods. There is no war (more like skirmishes), no one actually becomes a god, is a god, or is even a god whose domain is war.
  • Playing with Fire: Kabuki Jo.
  • Finish Him!: Given that it's made by the people that gave birth to the infamous "fatality" line, this is no surprise. What IS surprising is the fact that this is done between IMMORTALS!
  • SNK Boss: Both Grox and Exor are very hard bosses to defeat, with character having very little hitstun and knockback and need little animation startup for Exor's area-of-effect moves or Grox's throws.
  • Some Dexterity Required: The Fatalites are very hard to pull in the arcade version. Thankfully, got simplified in the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation ports.
  • Taken for Granite: Pagan's Fatality, where she releases Medusa's head, and it turns the opponent to stone before Eye Beams blow them up. Amusingly, the first part of the move doesn't work on Tak, since he's already a statue. He taunts the head until it blasts him to pieces.
  • The Announcer: Exor.
  • There Can Be Only One: All holders of the ore fight each other so they can collect all the pieces and "become the ultimate warrior or some crap like that."
  • Two Girls to a Team: While not a team per se, the roster has only two female characters: Viking virago Vallah, and dark art practioner Pagan. The bosses Grox and Exor, alien as they are, are also male-coded.
  • Vanilla Edition: The PS1/N64 ports are very barebones, even for the time - there's only the traditional arcade ladder, and while a second player can jump in by pressing start during the game, there's no separate VS. Battle mode, despite that long being a standard in fighting game home ports by this point.

"It's useless to fight me!"