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Mace: The Dark Age

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Reviewed by Ari Packer Mace: The Dark Age is the kind of game Nintendo 64 fighting fans have been waiting for since the beginning. It isn't the best fighting game ever, but its certainly the best to grace N64 as of now. Sure, you could save your money and get a better game in half a year, but why? Mace, although not excellent, offers some solid gameplay and crisp graphics. Its a good game to tide you over until the real fury begins... The graphics in Mace are superb, almost good enough to gape at. The backgrounds are, in a sense, interactive. They contribute to the fight. There are polls and huts which one can back another up to, and even pools of water to fight in. Each background has its own uniqueness. Instead of ring outs, the area outside the ring, or fighting area, takes off energy slowly. In one stage, if you are knocked into the water, beautiful electric currents run through your body. The backgrounds also have nice animation. From a grinder with spikes and moving clouds to a burning torch, you will be impressed by the detail. In fact, there is so much detail, that when one wins, you can see his/her face (or mask) rather clearly. The sound in Mace is nothing to drool over, but it's not bad either. The music is never so bad that you'll have to mute the TV. Sometimes the music will just fade into the background, but other times the music is very intense and stays in your head. Man, I can still hear it. The sound of weapons swinging through the air is good, but not to great. Overall, the sound is below average, but when compared to other games on the N64, it shines. Although others complain about the control in Mace, I think it's fine. It's like playing Dark Rift, but faster paced. When you first start off, you'll find yourself pressing B-B-B-B, but once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder why you ever doubted it. While moves are fairly easy to pull off, combos are a problem. It takes much practice to do one of these right (lucky there's a cool practice mode- you fight a dummy with a smiley head, a wooden body, and a "KICK ME" sign on his back). Some powerful characters are big and slow, making them harder to control, but others, such as Koyasha, are quick and weak. If you aren't good at fighting games and have no strategy, the light and quick ones are best for button-meshing. The gameplay in Mace is one of it's best qualities. At first, it seems a little dull, but once you play two- and one-player for a while, it begins to be more fun to you. With two faster characters, you seem to be always up close slashing each other until one breaks it up with a fireball or clean kick. The slower characters have the power, but until your practice with them for a while, they are almost useless. The gameplay is good, and better than any other N64 fighter's, but it still lacks. Mace's gameplay isn't as good as the PSX Tekken game or the Saturn Virtual Fighter games, but as for the 64, it's the best of a sorry group of fighters. In comparison to War Gods, Mace seems too good to be true. It beats War Gods out in every aspect. The same goes for Mortal Kombat Trilogy. You aren't often forced to chaos pressing any button repeatedly like in KI Gold, but I have to give KI Gold credit for having better background music. It's the best part of KI Gold, too bad gameplay and fun are more important in a game, and this is where Mace comes in. Dark Rift was a good game with good graphics and cool characters. Mace is a great game with awesome graphics and cooler characters. As you can tell, Mace: The Dark Age is the best fighting game for Nintendo 64 thus far, and looks to hold that position for some time. If you like fighting games, Mace is a good buy, but if you'd rather not spend your money on this genre, at least rent it, you may change your mind.

Graphics: 4.6 Sound<: 3.5 Control: 3.7 Gameplay: 4.1 Overall: 4.0

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