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Mace: The Dark Age

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Reviewed by Scott McCall Straight from the arcades comes Mace: The Dark Age, which is only available for the Nintendo 64 (the PlayStation version was canceled). Unfortunately, that exclusive distinction is nothing special, as Mace: The Dark Age is spectacularly average. Like San Francisco Rush, the developers of the home version of Mace: The Dark Age had to port a 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics chip-enhanced game to the Nintendo 64 -- and the results are pretty stunning. In fact, the game graphically looks better than the aforementioned game on the system. The graphics are quite colorful and show off plenty of the N64's special graphical features. The game can fill a little sluggish and drops frames every now and then, though. Sound didn't fare anywhere near as well. In fact, it seems as if most of the cartridge space was devoted to the beautiful graphics. While the developers tried to fit most of the rockin' music and sinister voice samples onto the cartridge, it just didn't come off very well. The voice is muffled compared to the arcade version, and the music comes out in old-fashioned monaural. Ack! So if you play Mace: The Dark Age on a stereo system, be prepared to cringe once you hear the tinny soundtrack coming out of the center of your speakers. The gameplay in Mace: The Dark Age is strikingly average and boring, even though it's a weapons-based fighting game. The game uses a four-button controller setup: evade, kick, quick, and strong. Evade is for moving around the three-dimensional arena, Kick is for kicking an opponent, Quick is for a quick strike with your weapon, and Strong is for a strong blow with your weapon. You'll find a straightforward combo system and difficult-to-execute counterattacks along with a few throws. Mace: The Dark Age also has gruesome "Executions" that would make any Mortal Kombat fan proud and a cool feature that lets blood stay on the ground for the duration of a fight. The biggest problem with Mace: The Dark Age is that it's just not any fun. It seems to be more of a graphical showcase for the 3Dfx Voodoo chip than a game that was designed to be deep, fun, and challenging. And this is what makes it merely an average fighter along side with Dark Rift. Even if you're desperate for a fighter, you're better off saving your money for something else.

Graphics: 4.3 out of 5 Sound: 2.4 out of 5 Control: 3.4 out of 5 Gameplay: 2.6 out of 5 Lastability: 2.0 out of 5 Overall: 2.7 out of 5

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