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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Friday Free Game: Swords and Sandals

For the triumphant return of the Friday Free Game, I present Swords and Sandals, a great game on its merits of fun, personality, and replay value. Maybe I just like it because it appeals directly to the old-school gamer geek in me, but I can't deny the sheer pleasure of the old hack-slay-loot-powerup cycle. You know the one: kill the baddies, loot their corpses, get better stuff, kill bigger baddies. It's a tried-and-true formula that never ceases to amuse. And this game plays it to the hilt.

You're a gladiator. That means that you fight for the crowd's amusement until you die for their amusement. You create your gladiator, customizing his hair, skin, beard and characteristics, then you're off to buy your newbie equipment and head into the ring to spill some blood.

The combat system is a sort of turn-based affair, with a number of options for moving, taunting and attacking your opponent in various ways. Personally, I found the dancing around a rather pointless waste of energy and usually opted to just run in and starting beating the snot out of the other guy (this could also be why I never made it that far in the game). If you win, you get more money for better equipment, and additional levels to increase your stats. Every so often, you face an arena champion, who usually stomps me into the ground. No problem, whip up another gladiator in three seconds flat, rinse and repeat.

What's great about this game is all of the little things. The title song always makes me laugh, and the graphics have a sort of South Park-meets-Spartacus quality that fits the humorous theme perfectly. There is abundant help text throughout the game, making it easy for new players to get the idea, and there's just enough variety to keep it interesting As a temporary distraction from whatever else you're supposed to be doing, Swords and Sandals fits the bill perfectly.


Comments on Friday Free Game: Swords and Sandals
  Comment from Anonymous Anonymous at Saturday, October 14, 2006 12:29:00 PM
A brilliant, albeit rather easy if you go the taunting way, game, but it only let me reach level 9. Then it bloody ended. yes. just like that!

Anyway. Top find!
  Comment from Blogger MacFurious at Tuesday, October 17, 2006 8:52:00 PM
I made it to level 9 last night. Damnit, I want the full version! :)
  Comment from Anonymous Anonymous at Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:07:00 AM
Check for more sword and sandal games!
  Comment from Anonymous Anonymous at Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:08:00 AM
swords and sandals

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.