-Some boss battles feel unfair
-Game slackens after first few levels
-Cutscene graphics very poor
-Arrows and camera extremely frustrating
-Dodgy health system
Total Warrior does a lot of things right. As far as hack and slash games go, it pretty much ticks all the required boxes. There are hundreds of enemies on the screen at once with practically no slow-down, your character is a killing machine and you've got more than enough shining weaponry to make a mockery of whole armies.
However, Total War also let's itself down in trying to better itself. You almost feel sorry for the game, in that it started off so well. Total Wars best moments are unfortunately marred by a poor camera and a simply atrocious arrow targeting system.
However, the game does still have the ability to thrill. There are many exciting setpieces and boss battles, including fighting against a giant mechanical man, a seemingly non-stopping hoarde of warrior skeletons straight out of "Jason and The Argonaughts" and a huge scaling battle against the might of Romes forces.
Total Warrior is best when it isn't just you alone. Unlike Dynasty Warriors, the game offers its best moments when you are thrust into the action with an army. Not only does it produce amazing looking setpieces as two armies charge towards each other, it also gives you a chance to really get stuck in there. However, all too soon, the game decided that the Total Warrior is ready to go at it himself. What results is still fun, no doubt - but it just doesn't reach the scale of the epic battles of armies that you see in the earlier parts of the game.
Those are the good moments though. Other times, even on Easy mode, the game overwhelms you with seemingly impossible scenarios. One of these is a fight against the toughest enemies in the game in a huge area, while the levels boss is continually firing fire arrows at you. It feels unfair, and it lets down the game no ends.
Another thing that makes the game seem unfair is the health system. You have the ability to upgrade your warriors stats as the game goes along, but unfortunately for you, it doesn't seem as though the game keeps up. To regain health you have to pray at a particular shrine, which in the heat of battle is a particularly bad idea, as you are pummelled with enemy fire while trying to regain health. Even more infruriating is that even though your health bar increases throughout the game as you upgrade it, the prayer shrines never increase in power. This eventually results in making it impossible to top up your health fully without using up more than one prayer shrine, which get destroyed after a certain amount of health is absorbed from them. It lets down the game and once again makes it seem unfair.
Then, there is the scenario of the boss battles. At times these can be epic and scaling (ie the Sentinel boss battle), but at other times seem just silly. Your enemies have a cowardly tactic of running away to regain their magic, leaving you with no choice but to frantically chase after them in a ridiculous game of cat and mouse. Indeed, it seems rather stupid that after all your enemies tough talking, they seem to do nothing but run away and collect orbs while fighting you. On the plus side, most of these boss fights result in you gaining the bosses weapon after the fight. These range from the super powerful magical Medusas shield, to the extra cool Blades Of Athena. Each weapon has it's own unique attacks and characteristics. Medusas shield has the ability to turn hoardes of enemies into stone, whilst the Blades of Athena offer lightning fast attacks, decapitating anybody foolish enough to stand in your way. Unlike other hack and slash games like Dynasty Warriors, you also feel as though you have a purpose in causing all this mayhem, as the engaging and evolving story is one of the games strong points.
However, the games biggest fault lies in it's camera and arrow targeting system. Luckily, the camera is generally in a good position and can be centred with a quick tap of R3. But when you need to move it, all hell breaks lose. The camera seems to take on a mind of its own, trapping itself in scenery and moving itself far too fast for its own good. It takes careful movements to master the camera controls. Even worse however is the arrow targeting system. A clear candidate for worst targeting system ever, the target will generally aim at eveything apart from what you want it to. A quick change of the camera is supposed to correct it, but in reality all this does is send the Spartan spinning and losing the aim altogether. There are certain parts of the game which requite targeting and shooting of specific targets with the arrows, which is made ludicrously hard thanks to the targeting system aiming at enemies instead. This system makes the games placement of explosive barrels and containers virtually pointless, as by the time you've aimed at them to clear away other archers, you've have already sustained a significant amount of damage. It let's down the whole game.
On the whole, Spartan: Total Warrior is an enjoyable hack and slash game. There is a rather good arcade style arena game, offering you a chance to hack and slash at as many enemies as you can handle, and there is also the option to replay any level from the main core of the game. These add some replaybility, which was a smart decision in the absence of any multiplayer. As good a hack and slash game as Total Warrior is, it is however flawed by some minor and some major errors throughout the game, which let down the overall experience. The graphics are hardly going to win any awards either.
Overall, Spartan: Total Warrior is a good buy for those who love the genre, and a good rent or cheap buy for those looking for a decent game when everything else has been completed.