Harken me for I tell a tale known to precious few, and extend a challenge to compete with the greatest warriors the world has ever known. The victor will gain entrance in the Book of Warriors and his name will be law for centuries to come. Although nobody knows from whence the Book of Fighting came, it is known that it is the complete compilation of the world's greatest competitors, their methods, and their stories. Written by magic in the blood of champions the book has been kept since before history in a mountaintop citadel in the Himalayas. It is at this citadel that the world's greatest competitors fight for inscription of the Book. Good and evil, mortal and immortal convene once a century to compete under my watchful eye. As guardian of the book I am devoted to the three true forces of nature: Good, Evil, and the Pain caused by their eternal conflict. In an endless search for resolution to this struggle, I have yet again brought together the planet's greatest warriors, but for the last time. For the Book of Fighting has but one empty page, and it is written that the way of this tournament's winner will fill this page, finish the book, and tip the scales in favor of good or evil for eternity. The balance of the world will lay in the hands of only one. Find the way, noble challenger! Find The Way of The Warrior!''
Released by Universal in 1995 for the 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.
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
This game provides examples of:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 lava.
- Cult Sound Track: One of the selling points about this game was the soundtrack by White Zombie.
- Dem Bones:
- Kull the Despoiler is a giant animated skeleton.
- The guardian of the Book of Warriors, also the announcer, is a disembodied talking skull.
- Demonic Possession: Gulab Jamun possesses the bodies of Dragon, Major Gaines and Fox, making them each fight you as Black Dragon, Major Trouble and Voodoo, respectively.
- 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: Since the game was designed to outdo Mortal Kombat, after all.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The ninja character bears the descriptive moniker of... Ninja.
- Mortal Kombat pastiches are: Ninja (based on the Ninjas (Scorpion, Sub-Zero, etc.), but also given the ability to perform Lightning attacks similar to that of Raiden), Konotori (Having an appearance similar to that of the aforementioned thunder god, but having a play style and techniques much like those of Kung Lao and Kitana) and, to lesser degrees, Dragon and Fox (based on Liu Kang and Jax, the former sharing the bio of Johnny Cage). Kull the Despoiler also has several elements of Shao Kahn. One might also claim Shaky Jake as being a copy of Kano, but it is an aversion and merely coincidental as Kano wasn't portrayed as being Australian until the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie and in canon in 2000's Mortal Kombat: Special Forces.note
- Street Fighter and Final Fight pastiches include: Nikki Chan (Chun-Li), Major Gaines (based on Guile), Gulab Jamun (based on Dhalsim), and Crimson Glory (Poison).
- Nobunaga is likely a tribute to the Samurai Shodown series by SNK.
- The aforementioned Shaky Jake is an obvious copy of Crocodile Dundee, even including the line of "This is a Knife!"
- 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.
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!"
- The fatalities seem to attract this:
High Abbot: [Performing the shrinking spell] "Low Abbot!"
- To a lesser extent, Skull Magic:
- Iaijutsu Practitioner: Nobunaga.
- Jump Physics: The characters leap like they're on the moon.
- Meaningful Name: Major Gaines gets major (muscle) gains from his super mode.
- 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.
- Overly Long Fighting Animation: Dragon has one of the longest win poses in fighting games, consisting of him repeatedly stretching and cracking his neck before striking a final pose. It takes five whole seconds to complete.
- Public Domain Character: Nobunaga...Nobunaga, Hm...
- Punny Name: Gulab Jamun is named after an Indian sweet made of a solid form of milk and coated in syrup or honey.
- 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 suffering caused by the conflict 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.
- 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.
- 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.