Wednesday, September 16, 2009

China Warrior

Hudson Soft / NEC

I didn't bother to acquire China Warrior for a very long time, as it had always looked like trash to me, and just about everyone had said it was trash. Only when I found it cheap in a local shop did I feel compelled to give it a try. When I finally started playing it, I immediately thought to myself that everyone's right: it seemed utterly awful, like a faster-paced, punch-and-kick-based Sword of Sodan but boringly terrible rather than amusingly terrible. But as my avatar chugged along and I familiarized myself with the level layouts, I started to appreciate the game for the short-term fun that can be had with it (and I do mean short-term, as it's quickly conquered). It's not a high-quality product by any means, but it's not worthless either.

As clunky and unrefined as China Warrior may initially seem, its gameplay is based on timing and memorization, and it actually succeeds with the formula--to an extent. Once you've figured out how to dodge or deflect whatever comes running, rolling, or fluttering your way, you may find yourself in a zone where the action is very satisfying.

Unfortunately, after just a few plays, I found that I really didn't need to be in much of a zone to breeze through the first three stages (of four total). They're just not challenging enough to demand much in the way of tactics or reflexes. It isn't until the final stage that I actually have to implement some strategy, and since that strategy basically involves holding back and slowing things down, the rhythm element is sacrificed.

My opinion of China Warrior fluctuated quite a bit. I hated it at once but started to like it during the "in the zone" phase and then felt it was just okay when I reached the point where I was zombie-walking through most of it. In the end, it did rise well above my trash-level expectations for it, and it does have decent replay value, as it's a good game to bide time with.

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