ZX Computing

By Domark
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in ZX Computing #23


Gladiator shows life at the sharp end of the Roman empire as you hone your combat skills to avoid death in the arena and work your way up to become the Emperor's champion.

Before going into the arena for real, you can watch two practised gladiators hacking away at each other and make a wager on the outcome. To prepare yourself, it is advisable to experiment with the various movements and weapons at your disposal on a stationary opponent in a two player mode. This however can be more difficult than you imagine as if you get too close you may walk onto the sword of your inert adversary.

When you have lunged, jabbed, parried and thrust to an acceptable standard you are ready for the contest to begin. An important element is choosing your weapons - an armoury of daggers, swords, lances, nets and tridents can be used or if you feel defensive there is a choice of shields. In all, there are 45 options from which you can select three. You won't see what fiercesome weapons your computer champion has opted for until you are face to face.

The controls are complex and take time to master either on the keyboard or with joystick, there are 25 separate movements and many require a double-burst on the joystick. While you are still improving your gladiator skills, you will have to get used to playing pin-cushion for your opponent. There are three bouts in each game and your defeat or victory is confirmed by looking to the Emperor - the figure transforms into a huge hand to give the thumbs up or thumbs down signal.

If single combat games appeal to you, Gladiator should provide you with many hours of swashbuckling pleasure and if you want a duelling game with that extra element of difficulty then definitely take a stab at this one.