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Star Gladiator - Episode 1: Final Crusade is a 3D fighting game developed by Capcom. It is the first game in the Star Gladiator series. The game was Capcom's first attempt at an arcade 3D fighting game, which at the time (1996) was well received by many Capcom fighting fans as several cast members bore some resemblance to the characters of Star Wars. The System 11 hardware this game ran on allowed an easy home translation to the PlayStation, and it received a better, widespread reception there. However, Star Gladiator was hardly the smash hit Capcom may have hoped for, and their future forays into the 3D fighting genre (Rival Schools, Street Fighter EX franchise) seldom fared much better.

Eventually, the game was released for PlayStation in November 1996 and followed by a sequel, Plasma Sword, which was only ported to the Sega Dreamcast despite much speculation of a PlayStation conversion.

GameplayEdit

Instead of the six-button configuration system seen in past Capcom fighting game series such as Street Fighter II and Darkstalkers, Star Gladiator utilizes a Soulcalibur series-esque four-button configuration system, which consists of two attack buttons for a character's weapon, a kick attack, and a guard defense. The fighters battle upon a hovering arena, and if a fighter is knocked off the arena, they lose the round.

Plasma Reverses are two special guard moves that can be unleashed at any time from within a battle. A Plasma Reflect enables a fighter to deflect an opponent's incoming move and stun them, leaving them vulnerable for a few seconds, while a Plasma Revenge enables a fighter to counterattack an opponent's incoming move and strike back with their own fast attack. Characters can also use a Plasma Strike, which can cause huge damage to an opponent if it connects on sight, but a Plasma Strike can only be done once per round.

Star Gladiator also introduces the Plasma Combo System. Through a specific string of attacks, a fighter can combo their opponent even if the opponent themself is blocking. If a character strings together five hits and presses a specific button at the end of the combo, they initiate a Plasma Final, which unlocks a technique that inflicts a large amount of damage upon their opponent if used. This system was later discarded in the game's sequel, Plasma Sword.

The arcade mode of Star Gladiator consists of ten fights. Depending on who the player chooses as their character, they will fight against a specific set of opponents. Gore, who serves as the sub-boss of the game is always fought at Stage 9 and Bilstein, who serves as the final boss of the game is always fought at Stage 10. Depending on how quickly the player defeats Bilstein via the arcade mode's time limit, either the game ends with a false ending or the player is then taken to a special battle against an unplayable computer-controlled true final boss named Ghost Bilstein. Losing to Ghost Bilstein results in both a bad ending and a game over while defeating Ghost Bilstein results in the chosen character's own true ending.

Characters Edit

Fighters
Blood Barbarians (Sub-boss and secret character)
Dr. Edward Bilstein (Final boss)
Franco Gerelt
Gamof Gohgry
Gore Gajah
Hayato Kanzaki
June Lin Milliam
Kappah Nosuke (Sub-boss and secret character)
Rimgal
Saturn Dyer
Vector
Zelkin Fiskekrogen

Story Edit

In the year 2348, humans have been exploring the vast reaches of outer space for the past four centuries and have established peaceful contact with various alien civilizations. People now emigrate from one planet to another and life is generally good. However, some problems arise with a couple of alien races, so the Earth Federation begins its research in creating a Plasma-power weapon to help protect the Earth from any possible outside threats.

Dr. Edward Bilstein: a Nobel Prize-winning physicist for the Earth Federation, uncovers the secret to humanity's "sixth sense": a technique for capturing the energy of the human mind and discovers how to use it as an energy source he calls "Plasma Power". The specific Plasma weapon is built, using mental power as its basis and that Bilstein is able to gain fame and fortune for the invention, but it is soon discovered by the Earth Federation that Bilstein had experimented on actual human bodies during his research on Plasma Power and that he's immediately arrested and exiled from Earth, being imprisoned in a floating prison satellite that orbits the Planet Zeta while the development of the specific Plasma weapon is indefinitely suspended.

Word of Earth's possession of a super weapon immediately spreads throughout the universe and that it instantly reduces hostile confrontations while the name Dr. Edward Bilstein is completely forgotten from within the minds of everyone. However, four years later, a report from Zeta states that an Earth Federation army base from upon the planet was attacked and immediately destroyed by a small group of rebels calling themselves the "Fourth Empire" and that Bilstein, who had built himself a powerful cyborg body and managed to escape from the floating prison satellite on Zeta, is the one who's leading this group of dangerous individuals.

With several other similar reports coming from other nearby planets and realizing that the specific pattern of attacks is leading right back to Earth, a panicked Earth Federation has only one recourse: to find people who could utilize Plasma Power in their own given accord and attempt to stop Bilstein from within a last, desperate effort before the mad genius can invade and conquer Earth and the rest of the universe with his nascent Fourth Empire. All of Earth's hopes rest in the project codenamed "Star Gladiator".

StagesEdit

According to supplementary materials, Star Gladiator's stages are more sequential as a timeline to its story's events and are ordered in the perspective of Hayato's witnessing of events.

  • Stage 1: Earth Federation Army Headquarters' Contact Elevator: An orbital elevator that is directly linked to the Earth Federation Army Headquarters, suspended off of the ground. The distance of the elevator from and to the base is approximately 3000 m (1.864 miles), and is equipped with a flux field motor that can move the platform at a rate of 200 km an hour. Hayato, June, Gamof, and Saturn travel on this elevator before being inducted into training by the Japan Army Forces managed division of Star Gladiator.
  • Stage 2: Downtown Neo Tokyo: Atop of a building in downtown Neo Tokyo. In the city's current state, Neo Tokyo's entirety was bought out by a prominent overseas megacorporation due to Japan's current economic recession. With a wave of foreign economic outsourcing and takeovers, unemployment is at an all time high and the once peaceful city is now a warren of desperation and crime. Hayato and his team train further and kill free time here before assignment.
  • Stage 3: Federal Military Spaceport: An Earth Federation Military installment dual air base and launch center. Hayato, June, Gamof, and Saturn celebrate graduation into the Star Gladiators unit, and formulate strategies and tactical calculations before the operation begins.
  • Stage 4: Planetary Space Craft Launch Station: One of many orbital relay stations that gather travelers from Earth by shuttle, and are the transitory terminals into spacecrafts headed for other planets. Here, being an Earth Federation Military installment, simulated dogfights and battle exercises for low gravity and space battles are conducted here. Hayato's party boards onto a spacecraft to be stealthily inserted into Planet Zeta.
  • Stage 5: Interstellar Spacecraft's Cargo Bay: The cargo bay of an unmanned and seemingly deserted large spacecraft, left out in the vicinity of Planet Zeta. Though its doors are open to outside space and its cargo scattered in zero gravity, the containers are connected with strong flux wiring that is invisible to the far eye. Hayato's group is stowed away within one of these containers, where the cargo will be intended to be procured by the Fourth Empire's scouting troops.
  • Stage 6: Fourth Empire Imperial Reconnaissance Plane: Upon stowing away into the ship, Hayato and his group subdue all crew and enemy forces within its depths, and hijack it into Planet Zeta. It is a Fourth Empire spaceship capable of making space to planet transition without difficulty of planetary reentry and terminal velocity.
  • Stage 7: Fourth Empire Radar Base Center: Upon making foot onto Zeta, Hayato and the Gladiators set out for a second achievable directive, to destroy the radar base for the entry of the Earth Federation Forces. This base is most crucial, as it is capable of detecting outer planetary activity of Zeta within a very far distance.
  • Stage 8: Fourth Empire HQ Army Base: Located in the deserts of Zeta, Hayato makes a lone mission to infiltrate a major Fourth Empire army base to destroy and disarm the anti air defensive weaponry within the vicinity of Bilstein's center of command. However, despite going into the rear by a ventilation vent, the deserts of Zeta are much different than Earth's, where its sands carry a greater amount of heat due to its differentiating consistency, and are constantly blown up by the strong frequent gusts, making this operation potentially extremely dangerous and difficult.
  • Stage 9: Fourth Empire HQ Bio Laboratory: Deep within the Fourth Empire's center of command exists this laboratory of Dr. Edward Bilstein's, for his incessantly depraved experiments. Many subjects of his atrocious curiosities are countless scores of imprisoned civilians of Planet Zeta and POWs of the Earth Federation Forces, and Hayato's group make it a priority to rescue the people held captive inside.
  • Stage 10: Fourth Empire HQ Summit: At the top of the Fourth Empire's headquarters is a specially constructed platform that can suspend itself by a Plasma Power fueled anti gravity engine. As Bilstein attempts to get away by flying away on this construct, Hayato manages to catch up to Bilstein and confronts him to a final showdown.
  • Special Stage: The Spirit World of Bilstein's Mind: Upon seriously injuring Bilstein and incapacitating him enough to take away his ability to fight, the mad scientist however pulls the last resort of phasing Hayato's mind and sending his conscious to a higher level of existence. As the battle now squares the two off with the core souls and pure essence of each fighter, the stakes are now higher as defeat here can only mean death.

ReeptionEdit

A Next Generation reviewer called Star Gladiator "a quirky, stylish game that is more subtle than obvious, with innovative gameplay and likeable character design." He especially praised the ability to move, attack, and defend in three dimensions, and the "intuitive and simple" controls for executing these moves.[1] GamePro's Bruised Lee approved of the game's graphical effects, unique combo system, and characters, and deemed it a satisfying first foray into 3D for Capcom.[2]

The PlayStation conversion also received positive reviews, with critics almost universally praising the characters and the variety of their fighting techniques,[3][4][5] as well as the game's graphics, particularly the 3-D animated backgrounds.[3][4][6][5] The most common criticism was that the game is too easy in single-player mode.[3][5] Art Angel of GamePro said that Star Gladiator's "visual appeal and outstanding control will put other 3D games on their backs."[5] Next Generation was more moderate, saying that Star Gladiator "is a pretty good game all on its own", but is more of a harbinger of the more outstanding 3D fighting games he anticipated Capcom would put out in the near future.[6] GameSpot assessed that "All in all, the surreal alien characters, weapon-based fighting, and overall quality make Star Gladiator yet another peal of the thunder in the resounding Capcom storm."[4]

Star Gladiator has an aggregate score of 82.40% for the Playstation version on Gamerankings.com based on 5 reviews.

Trivia Edit

  • The vocals in Star Gladiator vocals are unique in a sense that it uses both English and Japanese voice acting. This unique vocal feature is also present in the sequel.
  • Capcom's former senior manager of community, Seth Killian, mentioned in an interview that Star Gladiator was originally supposed to be a Star Wars game.[8]
  • According to older material found on Capcom's main site, there is a great deal of background story and detail on the 24th Century of Star Gladiator and its cast.

CreditsEdit

Arcade Version [Staff]Edit

Director: Hideaki Itsuno, Eiichiro Sasaki
Character Design: Akiman, Motokazu Sakai
Title Design: Shoei
Computer Graphics: Blbon, Monkey-Kick, Tako, Sensei, Nezumi-Otoko
Motion Design: Hitoshi "T" Nishio, Nɐoki Fukushima, King Joe, Naoki Fujisawa, Shinya ♨ Kitamura, Ball Boy, Jun Matsumura (28), Toru Takaoka, Kazuko ♥ Kawanaka, Masaru Nishigaichi
Stage & Effects Design: Fukumoyan, Yasuto Takahashi, Takuji Mishima, Kouichi Takeda, Takayuki Kosaka
Main Program: Yuichi "Gamof" Kagawa
Player Program: Morimichi Suzuki, Katsuhiko Sometani, Atsushi Fukushima
Enemy Program: Panda
Visual Effects Program: Kohei Akiyama, Hero Hero
System Program: Dome, Meijin, Chabin Type-M
Music & Sound Effects: Isao Ave, Yuko Kadota, Michio "XTC" Sakurai
Voice Actor: Hisao Egawa, Megumi Ogata, Daisuke Gohri, Kazumi Tanaka, Nobutoshi Hayashi, Osamu Hosoi
Special Thanks: CBX, Yuuya, Futoshi Kuwahara, Hiroaki "X68K" Kondo, Kin, Sakomizu, Ritsuko Naka, Mr. Shiraiwa, Steve Lee, Mr. Matt Taylor, Mr. Eric Suzuki, Ms. Magdalena Viloria F. (Capcom Mexico), Ms. Harumi Yamashita (Romstar Brazil), Capcom All Staff
Producer: Furoboh Aoki
General Producer: Noritaka Funamizu (Poo), Yoshiki Okamoto
Presented by: Capcom Co., Ltd.

PSX Version [Staff]Edit

Arcade Director: Hideaki Itsuno, Eiichiro Sasaki
Consumer Director: Yoichirou Ikeda
Character Design: Akiman
Title Design: Shoei
Computer Graphics: Blbon, Monkey-Kick, Tako, Sensei, Nezumi-Otoko
Motion Design: Hitoshi "T" Nishio, Nɐoki Fukushima, King Joe, Naoki Fujisawa, Shinya ♨ Kitamura, Ball Boy, Hiroki Tsuru
Stage & Effects Design: Fukumoyan, Yasuto Takahashi, Takuji Mishima, Takayuki Kosaka
Main Program: Yuichi "Okaz" Kagawa
Player Program: Morimichi Suzuki, Katsuhiko Sometani, Atsushi Fukushima
Enemy Program: Panda
Visual Effects Program: Kohei Akiyama, Hero Hero
System Program: Dome, Meijin, Chabin Type-M
Music & Sound Effects: Isao Ave, Yuko Kadota, Michio "XTC" Sakurai
Voice Actor: Hisao Egawa, Megumi Ogata, Daisuke Gohri, Kazumi Tanaka, Nobutoshi Hayashi, Osamu Hosoi
Special Thanks: CBX, Yuuya, Futoshi Kuwahara, Hiroaki "X68K" Kondo, Kin, Sakomizu, Ritsuko Naka, Mr. Shiraiwa, Kouichi Takeda, Steve Lee, Mr. Matt Taylor, Mr. Eric Suzuki, Ms. Magdalena Viloria F. (Capcom Mexico), Ms. Harumi Yamashita (Romstar Brazil), Capcom All Staff
Producer: Katsumi "Furoboh" Aoki
General Producer: Noritaka Funamizu (Poo), Yoshiki Okamoto
Presented by: Capcom Co., Ltd.

Gallery Edit

Box Art Edit

Merchandise and Advertisements Edit

Videos Edit

References Edit

  1. title=Star Struck |magazine=Next Generation|issue=21 |publisher=Imagine Media |date=September 1996|page=162
  2. title=Hot at the Arcades: Star Gladiator |magazine=GamePro|issue=96 |publisher=IDG|date=September 1996 |page=58
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 title=Review Crew: Star Gladiator|magazine=Electronic Gaming Monthly|issue=88 |publisher=Ziff Davis |date=November 1996|page=74
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/star-gladiator-review/1900-2549495/
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 title=ProReview: Star Gladiator|magazine=GamePro|issue=98|publisher=IDG |date=November 1996|page=106
  6. 6.0 6.1 title=Star Gladiator |magazine=Next Generation|issue=24 |publisher=Imagine Media |date=December 1996|page=260}}
  7. title=Capcom's First 3D Arcade Game: Star Gladiators!|journal=Maximum: The Video Game Magazine|issue=5 |publisher=Emap International Limited|date=April 1996|page=121
  8. http://www.destructoid.com/bit-transmission-episode-6-with-capcom-s-seth-killian-172324.phtml Zimmerman, Conrad: Bit Transmission Podcast, Episode 06

External Links Edit

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